The best-known chapter of the old classic Journey to the West has to be "The Monkey King Thrice Took on the Skeletal Demon". In the story, a demon in the form of a human skeleton decided to prey on Sanzo the Monk during his journey to India to receive the Buddhist scriptures. The demon knew it is no match for the Monkey King, so it devised a plan to have him taken out without having to actually fight.
Thrice the demon disguised itself as three different people, meeting Sanzo and his entourage head on while knowing the Monkey King, who has the “all-seeing flaming eyes”, would see right through its disguise. Yet that was part of the demon's plan afterall. Each time, the Monkey King went straight for the kill, but the demon faked its death, tricking Sanzo the Monk into thinking that his disciple had killed an innocent human being and thus condemning the Monkey King for murder. The demon also knew the Monkey King would adamantly defend his actions, which would aggravate the conflict. Adding to the mix, Hakkai (who had always been at odds with the Monkey King) took the opportunity to whisper into Sanzo's ears, telling Sanzo what he wanted to hear and slandering the Monkey King. During their third confrontation with the demon, Sanzo banished the Monkey King from his sight, and so the Monkey King went back to his Waterfall Cave.
Without the Monkey King around, the remaining Hakkai and Gojo was no match for the demon. It pounced on Sanzo and captured him in order to devour his life essence. Hakkai raced to the Waterfall Cave and begged the Monkey King to return and save their master. At first, the Monkey King was still angry for being accused of murder. He was upset that Sanzo believed Hakkai's lies rather than his abilities, and refused to rescue them as a result. Only after Hakkai's insistent begging and confession of his wrongs did the Monkey King relent and go to save the day.
The reason for bringing up this story is: last month, the former Cardinal Joseph Zen wondered why no one took to the streets to protest against the disqualifications of four Legislative Council members as a result of modifying their oath during LegCo’s oath of office ceremony. Yet any Hong Kong localists (for the lack of a better term, as now "localists" is deemed a joke in Hong Kong public’s eyes) worth their salt would have remembered that the former Cardinal Zen had a hand in telling demonstrators to go home during the 2014 Umbrella Revolution. He also condemned localists’ actions during the various Reclaim movements in 2015, and criticized those who took part in the Mongkok Uprising of 2016. It is difficult to ignore the strong parallel between the way Hong Kong localists had been treated and the way the Monkey King was treated by Sanzo in the Skeletal Demon Saga.
Like the Monkey King whose abilities allowed him to see through the situation that no mortal eyes could, we Hong Kong localists had seen the need for the actions that we took, and the urgency to have Hong Kongers stand with us in rising up against China. Yet just like Hakkai, the Pan-Democrats whispered lies into the ears of pro-democratic Hong Kongers, telling them that any actions taken by localists would only push China to tighten its tyrannical hold over Hong Kong, to the detriment of everyone. The leftards in Hong Kong also whispered into people's ears that we Hong Kong localists are “violent fascists”, or that the only way forward is to embrace the Chinese people as our own, whereas we localists have been adamant that Chinese people are nothing more than the vanguard of China's invading force. Both the Pan-Democrats and the leftards want the people of Hong Kong to believe that China could be trusted to honour their part of the "One Country, Two Systems" bargain, just as Sanzo was adamant that the three people the Monkey King killed were not the same demon in three different disguises.
During the 2016 Legislative Council elections, the Civic Passion-Hong Kong Political Proletariat-Hong Kong Resurgence triumvirate proposed the "De-facto Referendum on Constitutional Reform" and "Extending the (revised) Basic Law to Perpetuity" platforms, urging Hong Kongers to support fully establishing a proper constitution for Hong Kong, one that has an actual mandate from the people by allowing public participation in the reformation processes. However, the Pan-Democrats, leftards and those that feud against the triumvirate smeared the campaign platform, tricking the people of Hong Kong into believing that it was nonsensical.
Having lost the election, the triumvirate disbanded. Civic Passion had a "changing of the guard" and retired from "active duty". Many localists, with the sour and bitter taste of betrayal in their mouths, opted to bow out of the fight, just like the Monkey King did when he retired back to his Waterfall Cave angry at Sanzo's lack of trust. At first, the Pan-Democrats and leftards partied as Hakkai would have in seeing his rival having been banished by Sanzo. Only when China finally pounced on Hong Kong in the recent months did those fools realize what they had to face, now that the localists were out of action.
Still, Hakkai eventually realized the Monkey King had been right all along. Yet unlike Hakkai who had seen his folly and raced back to beg the Monkey King to rescue Sanzo, the Pan-Democrats and leftards are having a "where's your Messiah now" moment by ridiculing Hong Kong localists for “disappearing from the scene”. When we told them that the only option is for every pro-democracy member of LegCo to resign and withdraw, it was met with more ridicule and rejection. Yet the recent controversy with the West Kowloon high-speed rail terminus shows that China is blatantly ignoring the Basic Law, the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the "one country, two systems" agreement. Despite protests from teachers, an advocate for the “brainwashing” national curriculum was appointed the undersecretary for education. The Pan-Democrats finally realised that extending "the hand of friendship" to China did nothing to save them from the Chinese acts of treachery.
The reaction from Hong Kong localists, or former localists, is likely similar to what the Monkey King would have had when Hakkai came begging for help: “I told you so.” Unlike how the story unfolded, however, we would not be coming to save the day as the Monkey King did. So I’m sorry, former Cardinal Zen – you people must pay for your actions, and the rest of Hong Kong has to as well.