Translation of an article by Ming Pao reporter, LAW KA Ying, published in Ming Pao on May 2, 2021.
Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of HKCTU, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for two cases of unapproved assembly of “8.18” and “8.31” in 2019. This year, he need to missed May Day activities rarely. His wife “Sister Ngor” Tang Yin Ngor [Elizabeth Tang] visited her 96-year-old mother-in-law yesterday. When Mama Lee asked about her son, she laughed and said, “Today is May 1st (yesterday), and he is going to have a parade.” Mama Li nodded, thinking of her son parades on the streets every Labor Day. Sister Ngor said that her mother-in-law was suffering from dementia. She did not know that there was no parade on Labor Day this year, nor Lee Cheuk Yan had already been in jail. Sister Ngor appeared at the HKCTU Street Station yesterday afternoon to give out flyers. Reminding everyone do not forget Lee Cheuk Yan.
64-year-old Sister Ngor is the general secretary of the International Domestic Workers Federation. She met Lee Cheuk Yan at the Christian Industrial Committee in 1982. Since 1983, this pair of labor movement lovers has celebrated May 1st Labor Day together. Recalling the past Labor Day, they were often very busy. Manage the process of parade applications, supplies, vehicles, etc. Lee Cheuk Yan got up at 7 o’clock in that morning and accepted a radio interview. “Labor Day is a day for workers, and it should let workers’ leaders speaking.” Her husband managed the parade, and she organized foreign domestic helpers joined the parade, “HKCTU mobilized all members on Labor Day. The people feel the strength and unite with the workers and others fields. The people know that everyone is not fighting alone.”
However, this year, Lee Cheuk Yan is in the Lai Chi Kok Reception Center. The Labor Day parade was not approved. The radio interview was the director of Food and Health Bureau Chan Siu Chee and the director of Civil Service Bureau Nip Tak Kuen. The foreign domestic helpers were busy queuing for testing COVID-19. Sister Ngor got up and went for a walk in the park. Afterward, she went to visit Lee Cheuk Yan’s mother who suffers from dementia. Lee’s mother asked her son as usual, and Sister Ngor smiled and replied, “Today is May Day, and he has a parade.” Sister Ngor said that she sometimes lied about “(Lee Cheuk Yan) has already come yesterday”, and sometimes said that he was too busy. Mama Lee did not read the news very much, and she would forget it even if she read it. So she still doesn’t know her son is in prison. “It might be a kind of happiness for her.”
Sister Ngor stood silently at the HKCTU Street Station at Kwai Chung Plaza and handed out leaflets at midnight. She was greatly encouraged when passerby received the leaflets. She described this as a reflection of “the heart is not dead.” As for whether she would worry that there will be no May Day parades in the future, she said that the May Day parades have been peaceful since 1983, and there is no reason not to be approved. Yesterday morning, she received a message from a worker saying that she will wait for Lee’s released from prison next year. Even she is carrying crutch or shitting on wheelchair; she has to walk on the streets on Labor Day.
Last Friday, Sister Ngor visited Lee Cheuk Yan. Lee also missed Labor Day and he has wrote the May Day declaration. Therefore, she firmly believes that her husband will be with everyone even if he is not on the street. “I hope everyone will not forget him.” Lee Cheuk Yan was sentenced to imprisonment on April 16, and that day was Friday. She went to work as usual on Monday, because she told herself to live as usual and do what she should do, and at the same time urge everyone to “hold on.” Lee Cheuk Yan will be transferred to Shek Pik Prison this week. May 26 is the wedding anniversary of them. It is Wednesday, and Shek Pik Prison is not allowed to visit on Wednesdays. Sister Ngor did not complain, but smiled helplessly.
Sister Ngor said that she had built up an optimistic attitude from the labor movement. She recalled that the number of May Day demonstrations in the years after the return in 1997 was not large, but the trade union continued to organize, mobilize, and built a solid foundation. In 2005, Korea farmers arrived Hong Kong to launch anti-WTO demonstrations, it has indirectly stimulated the local labor movement. She said: “We understand that labor movement is just like anyone’s destiny. There are good and bad. Don’t be discouraged at the bad time. You have to believe it will change. You can always try your best to do what you can do. When the timing is better, I’m already collapsed; therefore this good timing is still useless.”
Original article by Ming Pao reporter, LAW KA Ying, published in Ming Pao on May 2, 2021.