Siu Lai Freedom Academy
There are a lot of problems in Hong Kong, government disregards citizens’ livelihood, teenagers who pursuit of ideals will be regard as ‘rubbish’ as they hinder others to earn money (there are discourses that the Occupation Movement destroyed Hong Kong’s economy). As a teacher in tertiary institutions, Lau Siu Lai (Siu Lai) feels those labels about teenagers or college students are unfair as teenagers would like to transform our society in to a better place, but the society labels and blames them.
Siu Lai and her students have attended many protests, such as anti-North East New Territories New Development, anti- Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau/Macao Bridge etc. However, the more the protests she attended, the more the undemocratic political system she witnessed. The Occupation Movement brought her into occupation communities, but what she released was that not everybody understood the social problems in Hong Kong as some of them joint this protest in order to protect students, and it was an opportunity for her to start Siu Lai Freedom Academy which provides a platform for everyone (if you want) to speak out, to share your point of view regardless of your political background.
To her, democracy is not just merely in the political state, but also include a civil society that allows citizens to have public debate or to dialogue. Within the period of Occupation Movement, different political dialogue platforms have started up, but what made her academy outstanding was that she chose to start at Mong Kok where you can find people from different social class, less-educated people, middle-age pro-government individuals, even triad members. You may think it is ridiculous to have a rational conversation between these so-called less-educated people and a scholar, but Siu Lai did it. She was successfully to draw people from this community or even from other district to come and discuss the social problems and possibilities for Hong Kong, some of these members even transformed from a pro-government to a democrat and support this Occupation Movement.
Although Occupation Movement has come to end, there are still lots of people working in different communities to transform people’s way of thinking and to bring up a more democratic Hong Kong.
Written by Yip Wing Sze