|Picking up the last edition of Apple Daily a year ago|
Today marks the one year anniversary that Apple Daily shut down.
I remember waking up relatively early, there was light rain and I raced out to the nearby Circle K convenience store to see if there were any copies of the last edition of Apple Daily.
Luckily there was a massive stack of papers and I grabbed six of them, relieved to be able to get them no problem.
|Staff waving to readers, many are unemployed|
Because it is the last physical piece of democracy that we can hold in our hands. The paper represented free speech, free press, independence, brashness, creativity, resilience and determination.
The Apple Daily website does not exist, and its founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has been in jail for the past 18 months.
Six other executives have been held in pre-trial detention for 11 months.
Everyone at Apple Daily lost their jobs that day, and since then some other media organisations have shuttered, resulting in some 1,000 journalists out of work, or completely switching to other jobs like taxi driver or working at McDonald's.
Having worked at Apple Daily is either a badge of honour or a sign to be shunned.
|Lai has been behind bars for 18 months|
We have to tell ourselves that what we experienced, saw and read was real.
We have to do that because the government, and by extension Beijing is rewriting Hong Kong's history.
The authorities have scrubbed away anything in Hong Kong related to what happened in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. For 30 consecutive years there was a massive candlelight vigil held at Victoria Park with tens of thousands of people attending, each holding a white candle in their hands as they sang songs, shouted slogans and heard speakers talk about their experiences that horrible day.
But now those vigils are no more. There are no more statues or murals commemorating the incident, nor can people even gather at Victoria Park anymore that day. It's as if the authorities are trying to re-program people into thinking June 4 is like any other day, but Hongkongers are hardwired to think otherwise after decades of annual ritual.
|The Pillar of Shame dismantled and removed|
There are no more signs of dissent, from the civil society groups, unions and grassroots organisations that supported the protests -- they have either shut down or gone underground. But shutting down hasn't ensured the peaceful end of these groups as they are still targeted by the police for things they have done retroactively. It's relentless.
A friend says it's good that I've left and can move on, but I can't.
I told him I spent 18 years of my life in Hong Kong, it played a huge role in my life and I cannot just turn my back from it.
And yet it is painful watching what is happening there day by day, as the government forms its own alternate reality, like Hong Kong was never a British colony.
It's such an absurd belief that the last governor Chris Patten had to do a double take.
|Patten mocks China for denying HK colony status|
"Sir, it was with some relief that Ben Macintyre reassured me that I really was governor of the colony of Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997 before China, in President Jiang Zemin's words, "resumed the exercise of sovereignty".
"The attempt to rewrite Hong Kong's history in the territory's school textbooks claiming that it had never been a British colony but an "occupied territory" is on par with Beijing's efforts to expunge any memory of the Tiananmen murders in 1989.
"But if Hong Kong was simply an "occupied territory" perhaps President Xi and his communist stooges in Hong Kong should own up to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people who occupied it were themselves refugees or the families and descendants of refugees from the brutalities of communism.
"They found a safe haven in a British colony and established a hugely successful free society there under the rule of law."
See, we remember. We have to.