Letters to Prison | The meaning of suffering

Published (HKT): 2021.05.04 09:44

When the law becomes a tool for the regime to suppress dissidents, Hong Kong people will use different ways to express their opinions, hoping that our friends on the other side of the wall will know that we are still there.

Miss Yeung Wing-yu,

Reading your letter of mitigation again, I felt terribly sad yet still hopeful!

Never have Hong Kong’s prisons been filled with so many inmates who are well-educated, full of aspirations and in pursuit of justice.

It is great that while being detained, you went from feeling lost and angry to being calm and forgiving, rediscovering your real self.

I believe your family background, your education and your personality have all helped laid a solid foundation for you to gather the strength to safeguard your free spirit, enabling you to face the future with a tender and kind heart despite the tough time in prison.

I am moved by your mitigation!

Take care!

“Nothing terrible could have snapped at me as I have a clear conscience as always; amid immense difficulties I’m still full of power and splendor.” I hope you can live up to the spirit of this poem. I will try too!

Mrs Lee

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Many happy returns to all the birthday boys and girls in May!

The birthstone of May is emerald, meaning people born in this month are good at solving problems and can come up with a variety of solutions to every problem. They take their time to research and assess every possible solution to make sure they choose the right ones.

The birthday boys and girls in May inspire us to be true to ourselves and have an organized mind. That is something everyone should strive for.

Ah Wan

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Yesterday, the Facebook assistant of Gwyneth Ho, currently detained at Tai Lam Centre for Women, posted a letter written by Ho. Entitled “Allowing ‘suffering’ to devour the movement would be ‘treating activists as condoms’”, Ho pointed out that “right from the beginning of the 2019 pro-democracy movement, sufferings were already shared among protesters”. In the past two years, Ho has been practicing how to feel other people’s pain. “Suffering can unite Hongkongers, but it can also intimidate them,” she said, adding that the real forms of treating jailed activists as “condoms” include forgetting them, as well as allowing suffering to be a kind of “emotional suppression that undermines the momentum of the movement”. She said “no one who suffers wants themselves to be forgotten”, but more importantly, “no one hopes the sufferings they experience are meaningless”.

Gary Fan, currently held in solitary confinement, recently made a sketch entitled “Touching Each Other’s Hand Behind the Glass”. He gifted the drawing to Sai Kung District Councilor Ivan Lai. According to Fan, detainees get to see their families and friends in the visitor room in prison for 15 minutes every day. During these visits, both sides place one hand on the same spot of the glass that separates them, “hoping to circumvent the barrier” and “bring their hearts together”. Every day, Fan is confined alone in his 80-square-feet cell for over 22 hours. “Missing one’s family and friends in jail is a form of torture,” he said. His hope is that Hong Kong people out there will support each other, and he believes history will bring justice back to Hongkongers.

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