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Yim: National Day amazing through eyes of 4-year-old

This undated photo shows Hong Kong film director Yim Ho. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Editor’s Note: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region celebrated the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Friday. Here are some of the thoughts that people in the city shared with China Daily, as they look at what the country has achieved and as they anticipate the tremendous opportunities ahead for the SAR.

Hong Kong film director Yim Ho notes that this year's celebration of National Day is a milestone, with national flags flying freely on common street lampposts with no interventions while patriots can cry out loud their love for the motherland without fear of being bullied and demonized. Here's what he said.

 In the future, perhaps on her 14th birthday, I may explain to her that she was born in an era when we the nation celebrated our country’s rise, and this was, in fact, history repeating itself

“What is a National Day?” My daughter Sonya, 4 1/2 years old, asked me on our way back after a family outing to the beach. It is like a birthday of our country, I replied. “Do I get to eat the birthday cake with a paper flag flapping atop of the cake?” This was an idea that I pinched from the book Sophie’s World — on Sophie’s 14th birthday, the young lady enjoys a breakfast-in-bed celebration that comes with her country’s national paper flag sticking out from a glass.

Obviously confused, Sonya asked, “What is a country?” That was a hard one even for a dada. A country is like, um … well, a person without a country is like, um … like Rapunzel with her precious long hair trapped in a castle by Mother Gothel, who is actually the witch who stole Rapunzel away from her real parents, and Rapunzel may never be able to see her dada and mommy again unless… “Unless she runs away and frees herself!” Yes! My 4 1/2-year-old got it, and the proud and exhausted dada raised up his palm and her daughter gave him a high-five!

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What else can I tell Sonya at her age? In the future, perhaps on her 14th birthday, I may explain to her that she was born in an era when we the nation celebrated our country’s rise, and this was, in fact, history repeating itself. It was when our astronauts performed spacewalks regularly; when our country’s culture and entertainment industry entered an unprecedented golden age, in which our box office exceeded that of North America as the world’s largest market both in box-office revenue and audience admission; when our country led the world in infrastructure investment, new roads, new railroads, new skyscrapers, and even entire new cities seemed to spring into existence every day; when among other dozens of super goodies, the integration between our hometown of Hong Kong and the mainland enabled us to take advantage of the growth and employment opportunities made possible by the mainland’s broadening economic growth.

We listened to the national anthem and started singing along. Sonya tried to pick out words from the lyrics as her brother of 1 1/2 kept time on the SUV seat, and, in excitement, hit his sister’s leg several times. This year is the first ever that national flags are flown freely on common street lampposts with no interventions, that patriots can cry out loud their love for their motherland without fear of being bullied and demonized, and that anyone can speak out the truth that the Communist Party of China is the rightful governing body for modern China. It all started to happen after the National Security Law for Hong Kong was passed. Mark this milestone.

History is still in the making, in resilience, and in strength. Happy 72nd National Day!

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