Growing up in a small country town called Anderson in South Carolina the history I taught was our family history of struggle and poverty. Growing up in America within the public school system the only “world history” we were primarily focused on was that of our own country. Even in this narrow upbringing and understanding of world history, there are similar obstacles that emerged in reading Steve Tsang, A Modern History of Hong Kong.
The arts in particular music was the prophetic voice in my life (pre-Jesus days) and the central theme of what drove life is captured in a famous line of the rap group The Lox saying, “money, power, and respect is all you need in life.” This brings me to my first similar obstacle, in that much of Hong Kong’s history from British rule to its rise as one of the economic hotspots of the world, is driven by power, money, and respect (more like oppression in this case).
The second similarity was the influence of drugs. First-hand experience has taught me the power of making a “quick dollar” through the illegal drug market and the stability of the whole country was birth through the optimum market. America knows the struggle against drugs itself as the “War on Drugs” has been called a failed program. Moreover, Pullinger testifies to the stranglehold it puts on a people when it is woven into the fabric of ordinary life. John Maxwell has famously said, “everything rises and falls on leadership” and this statement serves as a reminder that as leaders we cannot solely measure “success” based on the outcome but must inspect the foundation to see if it is built in such a way that the impact for those who follow are also positive. It reminds me of what Jesus said:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
The obstacle will come, and the foundation upon which a person, an organization, or a country is built on will be tested and exposed as strong or weak.
Hong Kong’s current state of a Special Administrative Region continues to testify of the money, power and respect gospel as the PRC took control back from the British but would not give Hong Kong full independence primarily because of its financial impact. For the PRC it was the best of both worlds by regaining control, but in the exchange lose the capitalistic impact of Britain on Hong Kong would not be felt. Even still the prophetic voice and acts of the Hong Kong Chinese as demonstrated in the Tiananmen Square protests and the Victoria Park vigils speak to the power of community when organized as a single voice. Which brings me to the final, similarity, a voice crying in the wilderness.
The voice came to me as an unsaved freshman at college. It was a voice I had heard before but was unaware to whom it belonged too. It was the prophetic voice that spoke against the oppressive voices I had heard all my life that lead me to true freedom. As leaders, no, as people we can never let the oppressive voices resound louder than the genuinely prophetic voice. This is what the people of Hong Kong are doing in their vigils. May their voice continue to grow louder and lead to true freedom.
Though we are worlds apart, the human experience brings us closer than we think.
 The Lox, Money, Power & Respect, 1998.
 Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang, (A Modern History of Hong Kong, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 57.
 “The War on Drugs.” The Global Commission on Drug Policy, Last modified April 25, 2018, 24, http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/reports/the-war-on-drugs/.
 Pullinger, Jackie, and Andrew Quicke, (Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens, (Minneapolis, MN: Chosen, 2014).
 Maxwell, John C, (The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, Mumbai: Magna Publishing Co., 2012), xi.
 Matt. 7:23-24 (NRS).
 Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang, (A Modern History of Hong Kong, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 236.