Joshua Wong due to mark Oct 6 events
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Joshua Wong due to mark Oct 6 events

Hong Kong student leader of the
Hong Kong student leader of the "umbrella revolution", shown here during the August, 2015, pro-democracy rallies, intends to visit Thailand to help to mark the anniversary of the Oct 6, 1976, massacres. (AFP photo)

Lessons learned from the youth-led Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong will be conveyed by Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong for the 40th commemorations of Thailand's Oct 6, 1976, massacre.

Mr Wong, also secretary-general of new political party Demosisto, said in a short promotional videoclip that he would talk at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Political Science on Oct 6.

Mr Wong, who will turn 21 on Oct 13, was convenor of the disbanded Scholarism, a Hong Kong pro-democracy student activist group, that led fellow Hong Kong students in a massive "occupy" protest in 2014 to demand genuine universal suffrage.

He was named one of Time's Most Influential Teens of 2014, nominated for Time magazine's Person of the Year 2014 and listed by Fortune as one of the world's greatest leaders of 2015.

Lecturers and new students have joined hands to mark the Oct 6, 1976, clashes in a tone more appealing to youth than the nostalgic mourning of their forebearers.

Well-known young Chulalongkorn University alumni will also speak, and other activities are planned on the "Chula Folks Look Into The Future" theme. At Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus, where hundreds of students were attacked. and many slaughtered, 40 years ago by the military, police and right-wing militia led by the Red Gaur group, a more comprehensive but calmer commemoration is planned including films, boards, and forums from Oct 6-8.

Parit Chiwarak, former secretary-general of a student group called "Education for Independence," told the Bangkok Post he felt democracy movements in Thailand were less creative and diverse than Hong Kong's.

"Activists there have engaged in various issues. There are churches that advocate for refugees, student groups working for the rights of LGBT and gender issues, labour unions that provide legal aid to migrant workers, and a young generation that has set up its own political party and tries to reach out to youth," said Mr Parit, a Matthayom 6 student of Triamudom Suksa School.

Mr Parit, better known as Penguin, was interested in the idea of having a political party that resonates with young people as it would create a sustainable political space for the young.

Jason Ng, author of the Umbrellas in Bloom, last week told an audience at Thammasat University that the non-violent and student-led democracy movement in Hong Kong has been popular on the island. "At least six members of the Umbrella movement including the now-youngest politician, Nathan Law, chairman of the Demosisto party, have been voted into the legislature. It's a gradual shift from the norm that politics is dirty and we shouldn't get involved," said Ng, a well-known blogger and columnist.

He hoped Thailand's youth movements could learn lessons from Hong Kong. "As long as it's a peaceful movement, appealing and relevant to the sentiments of the people in general, it should work," he said.

Kornkanok Khumta, a Thammasat University political science student, said Hong Kong students were split after the protests were broken up with force. Some were disappointed for not achieving the ultimate goal but some remained optimistic they would get there eventually.

"Thai students felt similar in that sense, but the Hong Kong students went further, deciding they should work in the political sphere and campaign on that path. We haven't gone that far yet,'' she said.

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