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Sunday, Sep 27, 2020

Coronavirus, protests and a divided people: but ‘we shall overcome’ in Hong Kong

Coronavirus, protests and a divided people: but ‘we shall overcome’ in Hong Kong

During the Sars outbreak in 2003, we sang out loud together the famous gospel song, We Shall Overcome. Some 17 years on, we are living in a Gotham-like city where rumours, violence, protests, virus fears and faces behind masks surround us.

People are angry, anxious and frustrated. The fragmentation of society has been lamented for some time, and now, the coronavirus is driving us further apart.

Shall we still overcome hand in hand once again?

Regardless of the different usages of this gospel song throughout history, its roots go back to churches in America. It was based on biblical messages emphasising on how to live with the spirit of God.

Everyone in Hong Kong is facing different degrees of hardship now, so we are all equal in some ways. We all call this city home and, now that we are collectively suffering, let’s find joy in battling this hardship hand in hand.

Of course, that is contrary to the normal human response to hardship. But the smart people of Hong Kong should be able to understand that our experience of adversity can be counted as a deposit in the bank of life and not a withdrawal.



We may not be able to control our circumstances as ordinary citizens, but we can surely control how we think about our circumstances. Instead of thinking about them negatively, we could view what we are now experiencing as a process of growth and strength worth rejoicing over, despite our pain today.

We should be able to learn and get through this together and become stronger. Only in turbulent waters, can we be purified of all that is false and useless.

This is a perfect time for us to reboot our city and walk hand in hand. It is a time not for stigma but solidarity. We shall overcome.

Let’s stop reading, close our eyes and sing this song together again.

We shall overcome / We shall overcome / We shall overcome, some day / Oh, deep in my heart / I do believe / We shall overcome, some day

We’ll walk hand in hand / We’ll walk hand in hand / We’ll walk hand in hand, some day / Oh, deep in my heart / I do believe / We shall overcome, some day

We shall live in peace / We shall live in peace / We shall live in peace, some day / Oh, deep in my heart / I do believe / We shall overcome, some day

We are not afraid / We are not afraid / We are not afraid, today.

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