Friday, January 24, 2020

On the eve of a most unusual Chinese New Year

Hong Kong protest-themed banners 
Less political, more conventional and -- I'd argue -- 
less interesting rat-themed lunar new year decorations
Many months ago, a friend asked me when I thought the pro-democracy protests would end.  Before I could answer, he gave his opinion that it all would be over somehow by Chinese New Year.  By this, I assume he meant this upcoming Chinese New Year.  If so, well, the Lunar New Year of the Rat will arrive in just a few minutes and the pro-democracy protests aren't over yet -- though it's also true enough that they've been overshadowed in recent days by the Wuhan coronavirus crisis which is concerning the world despite what the World Health Organization (WHO) might want to believe.
To put things in perspective though: even this year's Chinese New Year celebrations are kind of being overshadowed by this medical crisis out of Wuhan.  Or, as more than one international news outlet has put it: the deadly virus outbreak has prompted China to cancel the Lunar New Year!
In all honesty, it really doesn't seem like there will be much cheer this Chinese New Year -- and maybe more so in Mainland China than Hong Kong!  For the record, the death toll has now reached 26 -- all of them in Mainland China thus far (though now no longer restricted to Wuhan or even Hubei province).  And there now also are confirmed Wuhan pneumonia cases in Singapore and Vietnam in addition to the eight territories already on the dreaded infected list as of Wednesday; with Hong Kong's number of confirmed cases having risen to five.   
It'd be putting it mildly then to state that this is shaping up to be a really unusual Chinese New Year.  With that in mind, I don't think it is all that inappropriate to have Chinese New Year banners that proclaim "Five demands; not one less" and "Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our time" as well as "Lots of luck and (good) things to come" about one's abode this year -- like I have post being given them at the independent/pro-protest Sai Wan Ho Lunar New Year fair last weekend.  And if I came by one with wishes for a healthy year ahead, I definitely would have got that too.  In any case, that's what I plan to go about wishing people as well as the usual Kung Hei Fat Choi this year!

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