Bygones are not bygones
Be it universal suffrage or the minimum wage, Hong Kongers hotly debate the big issues every day. We show our interest in various issues and stories by watching the news on television or reading newspapers and magazines.
But our attention span does not usually last for long and our interest in the issue of the day will wane. It may be considered a luxury for an issue or a person to grasp the media’s attention for more than three days.
Issues and characters that once formed part of Hong Kong’s pre-1997 landscape and mediascape have faded from our consciousness. Take the Kuomintang (KMT) presence in Hong Kong, the Gurkha soldiers and refugees and asylum seekers – they have been all but forgotten.
In December’s issue, Varsity delves into the stories of these forgotten groups.
The Kuomintang, or Nationalist party used to have many active supporters in Hong Kong. Their influence extended to cultural spheres such as the cinema and to organizations such as schools and labour unions. By the time of the handover, and even more so after 1997, KMT followers and activities are hardly seen. We talked to some KMT supporters to see if they still have the Nationalist fervour.
Gurkhas were stationed in Hong Kong right up to the final days of the British colony. After 1997, some of the soldiers chose to live in Hong Kong, though many others chose to leave. However, their children have returned to make their lives here. We look at some of the problems they encounter when they make Hong Kong their home.
We also look at how refugees and asylum seekers struggle to survive under the government’s refugee policy. The issue of refugees was a prominent one when boatloads of asylum seekers from Vietnam arrived in Hong Kong starting from the 1970s. With the ‘settlement’ of the Vietnamese boat people issue, refugees in Hong Kong have faded from the public eye.
In the People section, we profile the painter and actor Chan Min-leung and activist Vivian Leung Tai Yuet-kam. Chan is perhaps better recognized as a TV villain but he shows Varsity what a dedicated artist he is. Leung is an unlikely activist, a homemakers who always is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in and puts her words into action.