HONG Kong has always been impossible. The world watches right through what it perceives to be an exodus of Hong Kongers from the city after the law was passed.

But leaving is not an option for young people who don't always have British or B.N.O passports or whose families don't have the means to send them abroad to study.

Ahkok Wong, a musician-social activist I know, actually moved back to Hong Kong recently, telling me, ''I think it's an important time to be here.'' Life in Hong Kong has always been about demanding the impossible, trying to make seeds blossom in cement, he says.

After the law went into effect on July 1, I tried to write. But what I wanted to do was walk around the city, and then go to the seaside where the breeze reeks of self salt and summer, where couples make out and uncles jog near the pallets unloaded from cargo ships at the Western District pier.

To see the city through the eyes of someone who's just moved here and think, ''I want to stay here forever.''

I used to see leaving as an abandonment, but the cost of staying could now potentially be life imprisonment.

When Nathan Law was announced that he had left the city, I thought about the last time I saw him, a month ago, canvassing for an upcoming election at Hill Road. I wish I had stayed longer to thank him for trying to make this city habitable.

Four years ago, when elections still seemed to matter, I had voted for him, to make him the youngest legislator ever elected in Hong Kong, before he was disqualified.

There will be new forms of resistance, here or elsewhere, and I know he will be a part of them.

I remember the night before July 1, it seemed like all my friends were posting the same song on social media, a cover by the Hong Kong band My Little Airport. It goes :

''Take care tonight-
Things might not look like this tomorrow.''

In between the verses, there is an archival recording of Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, saying:
''Now Hong Kong people are to run Hong Kong, that is the promise and that is the unshakeable destiny.''

That promise has been broken, but this is  not the end. We will continue to make a home out of an imperfect place. To wipe down the mold, repaint the walls.

One day we could be forcibly evicted, or this could all burn to the ground. But for now, we're still here. Maybe we can still try to make this place beautiful.

The World Students Society thanks author Karen Cheung, Hong Kong.


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