1. The police shot two protesters. My opinion on this is not popular.
2. The two protesters were putting up barriers to block a road. They were doing so because two days before that a young man had fallen to his death, while the police were doing a clearance operation nearby.
After weeks of claiming people had died in a railway station, that a young woman found dead in the sea had been killed, finally, an incontrovertible death linked to the protests.
3. The protesters were shot near my kids’ school. My helper had just dropped them when it happened. We had decided to send them because Mimi had a camp scheduled and the school didn’t cancel it that morning. I asked our helper to wait around for a while and told her to leave. 15 minutes later, the school announced why it was closing and asked us to pick up the kids.
I must say I’m not impressed with them. Our MTR station and bus services had shut down, and it was nigh impossible to get a taxi. But the school not so subtly pressured us to “come as soon as possible” (as if we wouldn’t) by calling.
Finally, I requested Nene’s friend’s mum who lived nearby to take them home.
It took V three hours (taxi + ferry + train + bus) to get to them and another couple of hours to get them home.
Since then school has been closed and we’ve been working from home.
4. A man tried to argue with the protesters and was set on fire
5. An elderly man got hit by a brick during a clash with protesters and people trying to clear their barriers. He later died.
6. The police stormed a university campus. The protesters’ side is that they did not nothing; the police’s is that protesters were throwing stuff onto the highway below to block it from the university. Over subsequent days, there was touching footage of protesters setting up their own canteen and organising food in the university. There was also footage of protesters making petrol bombs in the university.
Right now, the police have surrounded another universities from where protesters were throwing stuff onto the highway. One can only hope that the police don’t go in guns blazing, but one also hopes protesters could just come out.
7. The Western media portrays this as a democracy movement. Universal suffrage is one of the demands, but this is only by-the-way a democracy movement. At its heart, it’s an anti-police movement. What people are most angry about is perceived police brutality. If you read local reports, the police gets mentioned all the time as a reason for public anger, then perhaps China. Democracy comes in a poor third, if at all.
Simmering beneath is mistrust of China and an (impossible) desire for independence. The distrust of China is supposedly about high ideals and fear of authoritarianism, but is really fuelled by more petty concerns such as “mainlanders” overruning Hong Kong.
None of this fits the Western narrative, many esteemed outlets calling the (local) police Chinese police. For however long it lasts, the Hong Kong police are not (yet) the Chinese police. Heck, they aren’t even the Indian police or the American police. (one line of argument goes that the American police would never shoot protesters. But they would shoot unarmed black kids, but that doesn’t count I guess.)
8. The protesters have successfully won the media war by claiming to be peaceful and wrongfully targeted long after they had begun throwing bricks at police, trashing public premises, setting fires and roughing up the odd soul who dared challenge them. I get it from a PR perspective, but the dishonesty still rankles.
Guess I’d be useless as a politician or an academic, because academics seems quite comfortable cleaving to the version of events that suits the narrative that suits their theory.
9. The writer Haruki Murakami once said, “If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.” It’s a precept that’s appealing in its simplicity, and one that protesters occasionally quote.
This series of events has taught me that I’m not cut out for that kind of simplicity.
The saga continues.