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Joshua Wong’s Letter to His Mother About Why He’s On a Hunger Strike

Just a bit further below is Joshua Wong’s letter titled “Mum, I Owe You a Birthday Meal” written for his mother about his decision to go on a hunger strike.

Joshua, Prince Wong and Isabella Lo began their hunger strike on Monday in a effort to pressure the pro-Beijing Government to reopen dialogue about democratic reform in Hong Kong.

Two more students have also recently joined their hunger strike, Gloria Cheng Yik-lam, 20, and Eddie Ng Man-hin, reports the South China Morning Post.

Out of respect of Rose Tang’s translation efforts, her use of British English has been left unedited.


Here is the first part of Joshua’s letter:

November 30 (Sunday) is mum’s birthday. Before that day, I said to mum: “Mum, I’m very sorry that I won’t be able to celebrate your birthday with you. We’ll take action to escalate our movement. I’ll be up all night at Admiralty and won’t come home. Let’s have that birthday meal on December 1.” Because of my hunger strike, this birthday meal was postponed.

In fact, I have had pathetically few opportunities to come home to see my family since the Umbrella Movement began. The tents in Admiralty have become my second home, but my real home has become estranged. Whenever I come home to change clothes, parents were either asleep or at work. Even when we actually met, I was too tired to talk and fell asleep because of extreme exhaustion. So we’ve only been chatting here and there on “whatsapp”. I miss having late supper, drinking milk tea on those nights with my family. In my blurred memories, I long for those meals with the whole family at the table.

Because of this, the only thing in my thoughts when we discussed who would go on hunger strike was mum’s birthday meal. I was worried if I lost the chance to have that meal, when would be our next time to eat at the same table again. I can count with one hand how many meals I have had since the occupation began. I’m not afraid of the sense of starvation brought by a hunger strike. I’m only worried the relationship with my family will become distant because of the hunger strike.

Nevertheless, I still made this decision, to go on a hunger strike with Prince Wong and Isabella Lo. As Scholarism’s organizer, it’s natural for me to take the responsibility, and should not involve two female students. I need to take action, either going forward or backward, with every fellow student in our group. The more important thing is to be determined not to let the Umbrella Revolution fail…


The rest of the letter can be read at Rose Tang’s Facebook page.

James Burke
What keeps the world ticking? James is always looking for the answer and the latest news from around the globe. When he's not behind his computer, he's basking in the Thailand sun, or dreaming of the southern hemisphere, where he grew up in rural Australia.

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