Setsuei Tezukeri -- a Japanese snack shop in Fortress Hill
that's part of the Yellow Economic Circle
Hong Kong's five day run of zero new Wuhan coronavirus cases came to an end today with the announcement of two new infections recorded, both of whom were among the 319 Hong Kong evacuees who returned via a chartered flight from Pakistan on Thursday. This May 1st also has been marked by the absence -- for the first time in years -- of a Labour Day protest march after the police objected to one taking place this year; a sure sign that Hong Kong's civil liberties are under threat from the authorities who are not above taking advantage of anti-Wuhan coronavirus measures to harass peaceful protestors.
And this evening, riot police descended upon Shatin's New Town Plaza mall once again. Remember how much of a shock it was when they did so for the first time back in July last year? But now, it's so expected; not least because the local constabulary have showed up in ridiculously large numbers to put a stop to other singing protests in malls in Taikoo Shing and Central in recent days and have been visibly out in force on the streets for much of today.
While there thankfully hasn't been any tear gas fired in the shopping mall (something which can't be ruled out since the police have fired tear gas into enclosed spaces like MTR stations), pepper spray was indeed used in New Town Plaza this evening. Perhaps it's a measure of how much all this has become par for the course when the police go up against protestors, even peaceful ones (as has been the case for the most part in Hong Kong), that I actually am not feeling all that upset by it all tonight. Or maybe it's something else.
For one thing, I am heartened by the continued resilience of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protestors. Allied to this is my sense that the police -- and their bosses -- are clamping down so hard on protests here because they are very much afraid that they aren't the ones in control of the situation. (This feeling also is bolstered by individual police officers no longer feeling safe enough on the streets of Hong Kong to patrol them on their own; with their finally having returned to conducting foot patrols in recent months but in groups of at least three rather than alone, as used to be the case.)
For another, chanting and singing are but subsidiary ways to protest this long weekend. More specifically, there have been calls for people to go and spend money at (at least) five "yellow" shops these few days, beginning from yesterday (Buddha's Birthday -- a public holiday in Hong Kong) through to Sunday; and thus far, this particular initiative looks to be going very well indeed!
For my part, I decided to kick this "Yellow Economic Circle" initiative off yesterday by going to an independent -- and "yellow" -- bookstore located in San Kong Po. On the way to Bleak House Books (from where I came out with four book purchases along with two cool protest-themed postcards), I spotted a "yellow" bakery with goods so enticing that I decided to make a point to also check it out before I left that particular area of Kowloon which I don't usually visit -- and ending up coming out of Ly Bakery with a piece of garlic bread, a blueberry danish, and a sweet potato and mochi that ended up being my dinner that evening!
Today, I continued my personal Yellow Economic Circle campaign by getting a takeout dinner from Setsuei Tezukuri of one fat eel and yellow rice roll, and one similarly generously portioned crab mayonaise rice roll. So that's three yellow shops supported in two days; which makes me feel very much on course to complete this particular Labour Day Weekend "challenge"!
On a non protest note: While I've not done any hiking this week, I have managed to get in three harbourfront walks. While they can be enjoyable even on days with less than optimal weather, they really can be wonderful on days with beautifully sunny weather, blue skies and high visibility. And yes, it was a bonus when out in Hong Kong today to see that people do appear to be practicing social distancing even while out in droves enjoying the public holiday.