Hong Kong protests: Union Jack-waving 'Grandma Wong' cuts a striking figure

Ms Alexandra Wong has been on the front lines of protests. She is seen here waving the Union Jack at the entrance of the LegCo building on June 21.
Ms Alexandra Wong has been on the front lines of protests. She is seen here waving the Union Jack at the entrance of the LegCo building on June 21.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

HONG KONG • Among the many protesters who have clogged the streets of Hong Kong in recent weeks, silver-haired, bespectacled "Grandma Wong", usually seen waving a large British flag, stands out.

Ms Alexandra Wong, 63, who has smaller Union Jack flags pinned to her clothes and bags, has been on the front lines of mass protests in the former British colony and sometimes in tense stand-offs between police and student activists.

She has joined millions in recent weeks who have taken to the streets to demonstrate against an extradition Bill that would allow people in Hong Kong to be sent for trial in mainland China, where human rights are not guaranteed.

Grandma Wong has been one of the few demonstrators over age 30 to stay sometimes into the early hours to show her support for thousands of activists, many of whom joined the 79 days of "Umbrella" protests in 2014 pushing unsuccessfully for full democracy.

Some demonstrators have taken to waving the Union Jack during recent protests, certain to rile the authorities in Beijing. The Union Jack was unfurled when protesters stormed into the legislature on Monday night.

"I miss colonial times. The British colonial time was so good for us. I saw the future," Ms Wong said.

She grew up in Sham Shui Po, one of Hong Kong's poorest areas, but was forced to flee to Shenzhen 13 years ago when she could no longer afford to live in one of the world's most expensive housing markets. The activist wears T-shirts in support of Hong Kong democracy when she travels into the city, but changes back into plain clothes when she returns home, so as not to draw scrutiny.

 
 

"I have no kids. That is why I am not scared at all," she said. "I don't have any worries about anyone. I just care about the future of Hong Kong youth."

REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2019, with the headline 'Union Jack-waving 'Grandma Wong' cuts a striking figure'. Print Edition | Subscribe