By: Thomas Zhan
the Hope for a better future
Interviewed Person (Mom)
Historical Narrative The Hope For a Better Future I looked around the living room. I saw my mom, dad, and my sisters staring at the TV, all 9illed with depression as the British 9lag was being lowered. I thought to myself, Will everything be the same after we are handed over to China? Will life be the same? What will change? Millions of questions came into my mind like a herd of furious, charging bulls. I was desperately worried. It looked liked a normal, quiet night in Hong Kong, but the city was buzzing with emotion. I kept an eye on the TV while I ate dinner with my family. We didn’t usually watch TV when we ate our dinner, but that day was special, because one hundred and 9ifty 9ive years of British rule in Hong Kong were 9inally coming to an end. Hong Kong was 9inally being returned to China.
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When I was young, I visited my Grandparents who were farmers in Dongguan, China. Back then, many people in China were penniless. It was not easy for them to travel to other countries. There was not enough beds and children had to sleep on the 9loor. My grandparents’ house did not even have a bathroom. It was not even easy to get adequate food supply for each family, so each time we visit them, we bring candy, biscuits, and medicine. I was worried if this is what Hong Kong’s future would look like after China starts ruling us. I was also worried of not having freedom to travel to other countries. In fact, for several years, many people in Hong Kong dreaded this very day approaching. Some of my friends already moved to other countries, fearful that Hong Kong would be worse after the handover. Our family stayed, because Hong Kong was our home. Plus, my family had six people and also, we didn’t have enough money to buy six plane tickets.
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The ceremony started as I was 9inishing eating dinner. Bits of leftover pork were stuck on my lips. Soy sauce was smeared right under my lip. I wiped it all off with a tissue, then joined the rest of my family in the living room to watch the ceremony. I welcomed myself on the couch, and I focused my eyes on the TV. Twenty minutes had passed, and Mr. Chris Patten, the last Hong Kong governor appointed by Britain, was giving his 9inal farewell speech. I felt tears in my eyes. Mr. Patten had been such a successful governor, and I didn’t know what the new Chinese governor would do to us. Just then, my sister, Jovy, screamed, “The British 9lag is about to be lowered and replaced by the Chinese 9lag!” Her voice was so loud; it made me jump a mile. Jovy liked to shout things out whenever she felt like it. Most of the time I didn’t care, but that night I did.
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As the TV showed Mr. Chris Patten looking onto the lowering British 9lag, I asked, “What will happen to Mr. Chris Patten after the ceremony?” Jovy replied. “He will leave Hong Kong tonight by boat.” “But why not by airplane?” I questioned. My dad answered, “Because when British 9irst came here to Hong Kong, they came by boat. Now they want to honor that tradition.” My eyes were 9ixed on the TV as the British 9lag 9inished lowering and the Chinese 9lag raised up. This was the saddest part of the ceremony -‐ I could already see tears in my mom’s eyes. Jovy looked like wanted to cry, too, but she shut her eyes quickly, so the tears won’t drop. Just then, I heard popping sounds in the air. I looked at the window. Sparkling light was jumping up in the air. There were 9ireworks! I could even see it from the windows of my miniature apartment. I had always loved 9ireworks. Watching the 9ireworks dancing in the air, I actually started to feel blissful instead of wretched. Ironically, as I felt despair and anxiety about the British leaving, I also felt proud of Hong Kong. There might be new hope for a better future. Maybe the best days of Hong Kong were still ahead of us.
Interview Q&A Q: Who was there? A: Prince Charles, Mr. Patten, China President, Tong Chi Hua. (First Hong Kong Governor) Q: Where was it held? A: Hong Kong Convention Center Q: How old were you when this happened? Were you still in school? A: 25 years old. She was working. Q: Were there any other family members? A: My parents and sisters. Were you happy when China took Hong Kong? Why? A: Not really. Because she was used to the British 9lag. Q: How long did this even last? A: 2 to 3 hours. What was your favorite moment? A: When the ceremony ended. She didn’t really have any favorite moments. Q: What was the strongest moment in the Hong Kong Handover? Why? A: When the British 9lag was being lowered and be replaced by the Chinese 9lag. Q: Did you affect the event? A: No. Q: How did the people around you react to this event? A: Some people were happy, some were worried, and some were sad. Q: Why did China take over Hong Kong? A: Because Hong Kong’s territory was under China.
Q: What was your saddest moment? Why? A: When the 9lag was being lowered. Because she would never see the Britain 9lag in Hong Kong ever. Q: What were you doing? A: Watching the ceremony on TV. Q: What did the Convention Center look like? A: A building with 9lag poles and a statue given by China. The statue was the Hong Kong’s national 9lower. Q: How did you feel? A: Depressed and worried. Q: Who was Mr. Patten? A: He was the last governor in Hong Kong to represent Britain. Q: Was the ceremony indoors or outdoors? A: Both. Q: Who took down the Britain 9lag and replaced it with the China one? A: A few Hong Kong of9icers. Q: Where were the 9lagpoles? A: In front of the convention center. Q: What was your feeling when they took down the Britain 9lag? A: Sad. Q: When did they start lowering the Britain 9lag? A: Before the ceremony ended.
Q: How tall were the 9lagpoles? What do you think Mr. Patten and Prince Charles were feeling when the Britain 9lag was being lowered? Why? A: Depressed because Mr. Patten’s 3 daughters started to cry when the 9lag was being lowered. Q: What were you doing when they were lowering the 9lag? A: Watching the TV. Q: If you were the person who was lowering the Britain 9lag, would you regret pulling it down? Why? A: Yes because I would miss the 9lag very much. I would also miss all the British things in Hong Kong.
Research Notes -‐Britain ruled Hong Kong since 1842 The Hong Kong Handover was in June 30th/July 1st (happened at midnight) , 1997 -‐The Handover was held in the Hong Kong Convention Center -‐Mr. Patten was the last governor in Hong Kong under British rule -‐There was actually an angry mob blocked away from the ceremony -‐Since 1984, Britain and China agreed on terms for the transfer of power over this territory wrested from China in the 19th century was over the opium trade. -‐China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong today, ending 156 years of British rule. -‐Change came quickly as the territory’s new ruler assumed control. -‐They planned the handover a few years ago.
Bibliography "1997: Hong Kong Handed over to Chinese Control." BBC On This Day. BBC News. BBC, 07 Jan. 1997. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/1/ newsid_2656000/2656973.stm>. "Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2012. <http://school.ebonline.com/all/eb/article-9114275?query=hong kong handover>.
Author’s Note This was about my mom experiencing the Hong Kong Handover. The Ceremony took place in June 30th 1997 and it ended on July 1st. The United Kingdom started ruling Hong Kong since the year 1842. Mr. Chris Patten, the last Hong Kong Governor represented by Britain. Now, he works for the BBC in England. Tung Chee Hwa was the 9irst Hong Kong Governor represented by China. So far, there are 3 Hong Kong Governors represented by China. Everyone was really worried when this happened. A lot of people moved out of the city and into different countries because they thought there won’t be any freedom after the Handover. Everyone was wrong. Years later, it was all the same. Now, my mom is not worried because 9irst of all, we now live in Shanghai, and second of all, nothing has changed. The Hong Kong handover took place at the all-‐famous Hong Kong Convention Center (This was in my mother’s view).
Reflection This project helped me learn more about my family’s history. I think this projects important because you can learn more about the world’s history and know what signi9icant and historical event happened to you family. What I enjoyed the most is the interview because I get to know more about the event and I could interview for real for the 9irst time. I learned my mom’s feeling which she did not talk about. For example, I didn’t know she worried so much about our lives changing in Hong Kong. The challenges I faced was when I had to chose a different family member. Because doing that means that I have to start everything over, for instance, interviewing, getting ideas for the narrative, and writing the narrative draft. I overcame them by 9inishing all of them on time. Comparing the historical narrative and the personal narrative from September, I think I grown as a writer by adding metaphors in my story, making it well planned, and using better word choice. My advice to give future students is to do your interview when you are allowed to start interviewing because if you don’t the person you will interview would be busy.