Yesterday evening, I had the time and opportunity to blog... but I just didn't feel like doing so -- this especially because my mood was heavy and thus far, I've tried to generally maintain a positive (Pollyanna-ish even) perspective when writing this blog. Some twenty four hours on, I am on a more even emotional keel. However, it seems like it would be remiss of me to let recent events in the Philippines involving a bus load of Hong Kong tourists go unmentioned and unmourned on a blog that, after all, is being produced out of Hong Kong.
On Monday evening, I met up with two friends for dinner in Kowloon City. As it so happened, our choice of restaurant was one within which a television was centrally placed -- so that people could watch whatever played on the channel of choice as they ate. And that Monday evening, the customers -- and waitresses -- found their attentions drawn to a "live" broadcast of a dramatic, at times downright surreal, hostage situation that lasted for several hours and tragically ended with several deaths.
As if it wasn't bad enough to be watching such a terrible event unfold in front of our very eyes there and then, as I did so, I found myself recalling previous times that I had watched 'live' on TV events that I knew would be top news stories. For even while the only other time I've watched such an event unfold 'live' on TV in Hong Kong, it was something positive and celebratory in the form of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the fact of the matter is that the most hard-to-forget such experience in recent memory took place when I was living in Philadelphia on the morning of September 11, 2001. (And, as a matter of fact, I did actually have nightmares that wove in memories of 9/11 along with what I had seen and read about the Philippines hostage disaster on Monday night.)
Also, while my previous 'live' TV news experience before those ones involved watching that truly surreal car chase involving O. J. Simpson back in June, 1994, the previous two before that consisted of watching disturbing Gulf War news footage and broadcasts of events leading up to -- along with the actual events surrounding -- the June 4th, 1989, massacre at Tiananmen Square...
Returning to the subject of the recent events: I don't think it is an exaggeration to state that the whole Hong Kong has been in shock and mourning as a result of the event which has hit home because it involved Hong Kongers and also was watched "live" on TV by so many. And even while I'm not a native Hong Konger, I cannot but feel so very sorry for the victims -- and by these I don't only mean the dead but such as the poor woman who physically survived the horrific hostage crisis but now is without a husband, also outlived her two daughters and finds her son in critical condition as I write this entry.
Small consolation, I know, but many people's thoughts are with these people. I can but hope that the survivors of this terrible event which saw too many individuals lose their lives possess the courage and strength to carry on living. And that this event is not easily forgotten and be one from which people can learn from -- including in terms of not only how stupid and crazy people can get but also how heroic and caring. (I'm thinking in the latter case particularly of the man who sacrificed himself to protect his wife and the woman whose quick-thinking saved not only her two children but also another child who is not biologically related to her. May there be more people like them in this world.)