Last week, I attended a dinner at the Police Officers' Club in Causeway Bay, along with several persons who, in 1967, were working for the opposition.
They were the so called "leftists" - the ones who caused all the trouble that year, making and planting bombs, and believing they were doing the right thing.
Now, 45 years later, there we were, sharing food and drink at the same table, at a place they wouldn't have wanted to be caught dead in back in those days - openly reminiscing about what we did and why we did it.
No one was accusing anyone of any crime, even though those former pro-communist sympathizers who had been arrested, beaten, tried and jailed.
A few still carried scars, both visible and invisible, but had no regrets. Nor was there any hatred or animosity directed toward us - the police - who were previously their deadliest enemy.
We spoke of the parts we played in that epic part of Hong Kong's history. Our conclusion was: we did what we were told to do. We were pawns in that game of political chess and had no control over our actions.
During the conversation, we developed an idea and agreed we needed to ensure this part of history must be recorded by us - the protagonists - the way we saw it happening, and more importantly, we must show our fellow Hongkongers that it's better to forgive, reconcile and move forward. The magnanimity displayed by former enemies, but now friends, was touching and powerful.
We spoke of planning something to ensure all those who suffered during the 1967 riots will not be forgotten. How this will come about will be revealed when the time is right, but the process will require us to work together - something really worth looking forward to.
But there was one sour note. Some of our new friends spoke of their criminal records. The crimes they committed during the period when the emergency regulations were in force still haunt them today, as their children are banned from government jobs.
The irony is they were sent to jail because they loved their country and were carrying out acts of patriotism. But now this serves as a taboo, preventing their offspring from seeking employment in a government for which they struggled, albeit under a previous regime.
Why can't the current administration look upon those crimes as patriotic acts? They were billed by the left wing press as such then. To ban them and their children is like lumping them in the same category with the common drug dealer, triad member, thief and murderer.
If we, the common people, can reconcile with each other after what we did during the 1967 riots, shouldn't the government also find some way to reconcile with those who participated as followers?
Some time ago, the government did show gratitude towards one who was a high official in the left-wing camp. So, why can't the same be done for the pawns?
JS Lam served with Hong Kong police - `Asia's Finest' - for 32 years, reaching the rank of senior superintendent before retiring in 1996.