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This is the commentary for the gallery for 28 September 2014 on Umbrella Diaries.

I was in Taiwan when protestors in Hong Kong entered Civic Square on 26 September. The news didn’t make a blip on Taiwanese TV.

Lynn had been Facebook messaging me all week. Talk of a sit-in had been circulating for a long time. Rumour was that the escalation was going to be on 1 October since it was going to be a public holiday.

Everything changed the moment student activist Joshua Wong ran into Civic Square.

27 September

At 2am, Lynn texted: “They took Joshua.”

“You both okay?”

“Sleep deprived but okay.”

I replied: “Ok. Will sleep on your behalf.”

10 hours later, Lynn texted again: “Oct 1 might not happen. This is the Occupy event right now. Who knows what will be left Oct 1. This one is big.”


“That’s why I am saying come! Ok gotta run. We are waiting to be water cannoned.”

28 September

I landed at Chek Lap Kok Airport past 3pm on the 28th, half expecting Hong Kong to feel different given what I was reading on my phone. But the Airport Express was filled with silence as usual.

A supplies station had popped up outside my hotel in Wanchai. Volunteers handed me a used pair of goggles. Then they saw my camera and recording gear and gave me a new pair, still wrapped in plastic. And a bottle of water, for the tear gas.

The scale of the protest only really struck me when I got on Harcourt Road. People gave way as soon as they saw that I was holding on to a camera. The road was jam-packed with people. I had to make sure I didn’t step on anyone.

Then I saw boots. Green coveralls. Black masks. Shields. Batons.

I took a deep breath, and got to work.

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