Lan Kwai Fong's days as Hong Kong's
Party Central look to be behind it...
To be sure, stereotypical party-goer types can be found among
the crowd at the Lan Kwai Fong Beer & Music Festival...
But in the main, the crowd and mood is mellower
these days than previously :)
Back in the fall of 2014, when sections of Hong Kong were being Occupied, I accepted the invitation of a friend to go to a Hong Kong celebration of Oktoberfest. Even while I enjoyed my friend's company as well as the food and drinks on offer at the event, part of me felt guilty for being at it rather than out in "Occupied" space.
To make me feel better, my friend agreed to head over with me to the protest areas at Central and Admiralty after we had our dinner. There we found a lot more people that evening than had been the case at the Oktoberfest event; prompting my friend to ask me whether this made me happy -- to which I replied with an emphatic "Yes!"
Those memories came back to me last night as the route for the candlelight march in memory of Liu Xiaobo took participants (including myself) close to Lan Kwai Fong, where I knew this year's beer and music festival was going on. And I got to thinking about them once more when I headed over this afternoon to what used to be a crazy party area that I avoided like the plague for years but now has become a mellower place that's home to my favorite bar in Hong Kong and an annual beer and music festival which I had fun chillin' out at last year.
After three days and nights of high emotion (and political activism), I felt a need to decompress. In view of bad weather being predicted for today and also my having walked over 19,000 steps yesterday, I figured that a hike wouldn't actually be the answer this time around to my de-stressing needs. And although part of me wanted to just stay at home and maybe even lie in bed all day, I decided that it would actually be psychologically healthier for me to venture out to enjoy good company -- and also some alcoholic beverages -- at this year's Lan Kwai Fong Beer & Music Festival.
As it so happened, I spent pretty much all of my time at the fest at just one stall: that operated by Sake Bar Ginn! Ideally, in a setting and event like this, I'd have been drinking ice cold Kirin Ichiban beer topped with frozen beer foam. In its absence, I made do by alternating drinks of Kirin Ichinan beer with frozen sake mojitos -- and found it to be a cooling combination that also successfully got me pretty relaxed over the course of the afternoon!
Something else that helped put me in a good mood was that there appeared to be fewer people at this event than had been at yesterday's candlelight march! For one thing, I don't like crowds as a rule; and at events and venues where alcohol is in the mix, my sense is that the mood tends to be more mellow and pleasant when there's ample space to move, breathe, and for sound to be able to travel without people needing to shout.
For another, it confirms that the turnout at yesterday's candlelight march was actually really respectable. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that it was pretty impressive; with at least one respected news outlet having underlined its importance by noting that last night's march was the only -- not just most -- large-scale commemorative event for Liu Xiaobo on Chinese soil and the fact of it having taken place actually sends a powerful message to Beijing that the rulers there may not want to hear but can't help seeing.