Sunday, January 31, 2021

On the day that the United Kingdom opens a new immigration route for a good number of Hong Kongers

How free is Hong Kong these days?

They may not jail us all but they've already jailed more people
than we would like (and think is fair and just)
On Friday, we saw the Communist Chinese regime and the Hong Kong government's reaction to the British government's previously announced move.  And even while their declaration that they were no longer recognize B(N)O passports as legal travel documents were not entirely unexpected, they frankly were still upsetting and sowed greater fear and confusion -- the latter of which, at least, the likes of Lo Kin-hei have sought to remedy -- among many Hong Kong residents who already have been feeling pretty jittery for some time now
Months ago, a friend who is a B(N)O passport holder -- but has never set foot in the United Kingdom thus far in his life -- told me of his and his wife's plans to emigrate to Britain after this new immigration route came into effect.  A few weeks ago, he told me that they've sold their house and a few days ago, he told me that he's already scheduled for movers to pack up and ship out their belongings not too far in the future now.    
He's not the only one with plans to leave Hong Kong, and also was not the first.  Another friend announced his and his wife's decision to move to Britain last July 1st, the day after China's security law for Hong Kong came into effect.  And I know of three other people (two of them born in Hong Kong but all of them holding Australian citizenship) who left Hong Kong in the latter part of last year.    

Of course, pretty much every year that I've been in Hong Kong, I've had friends leave the territory.  But all this feels very different.  In a nutshell: a lot more people (contemplating) leaving these days are doing so because they feel they have to leave rather than because they actually want to, and earlier than they would like for safety's sake; and a good number of people who have felt obliged to leave still very much have their hearts in Hong Kong (or Hong Kong in their hearts).  

At the same time, there also are those (still) determined to stay and exercise those freedoms they have that still remain.  Against the odds, they still refuse to give up.  And while some people might see them as waging a hopeless battle, I must admit to finding it admirable and really touching that there are people still resisting and giving voice to their hopes and wants for Hong Kong still.
Take, as example, what I came across in Causeway Bay yesterday afternoon: a stall set up by the League of Social Democrats (LSD) festooned with messages and slogans like "Free Hong Kong" and "Release All Political Prisoners", and entreaties to Save the Hong Kong 12; and where people could write messages to political prisoners and sign banners calling for their release as well as pick up free festive but also political fai chun.
At a time when some people have become afraid to openly state that they are pro-democracy in public, on line and even at gatherings with friends or family, it's quite something to see that there are still a good number of people willing to be so open about their political affiliation and wishes.  In a free part of the world, it may not seem like a big deal.  But in present day Hong Kong, this demonstration that the Hong Kong spirit of resistance is still alive came across as pretty courageous and hearteningly inspirational; this especially since a police van had parked nearby and there were a number of foot patrols in the area too.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Too much news to process today

No analysis for now.  Instead, I just want to state that seeing the above list of news articles over on the Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) website has put butterflies (or worse) in my stomach.  In particular, the Chinese and Hong Kong governments stopping their recognition of British Overseas Nationals (BNO) passports from this Sunday, and the Hong Kong government moving to require people to register their identity when buying pay-as-you-go mobile phone SIM cards, are causing alarm bells to ring pretty loudly for me. 
Oh, and Joshua Wong pleaded guilty today to another 2019 unauthorized assembly charge.  (Sentencing details to be revealed on March 23rd.)  And a grand total of zero infections were uncovered in the North Point lockdown (which ended this morning); leading more than one person to suspect that, as journalist Ryan Ho Kilpatrick Tweeted, "govt tactics are starting to look either performative or a piecemeal enforcement of the mandatory testing rejected by most HKers last Sept".  Truly, it is getting clearer and clearer by the day, if not hour, that all is not well in Hong Kong. :(     

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Another "ambush-style" lockdown -- this time over in North Point

Another day, another "ambush-style" lockdown

Ironically, this government "ambush" is located where 

This is getting old quick.  The day after Hong Kong's first ever "ambush-style" lockdown ended, with a grand total of one positive case found among the approximately 330 people tested for the Wuhan coronavirus (fewer than the 380 personnel mustered for the operation), the Hong Kong government has decided to effect another "ambush-style" lockdown -- this time over in the North Point area of Hong Kong Island.

Never mind that as many as half of the residents in the area of the first "ambush-style" lockdown appeared to have been tested; with no one answering 93 the door of the 306 residences that the lock-down personnel knocked on.  Carrie Lam decreed that the operation was a success.  (Bear in mind that this is also the same woman who has opined that China's national security law for Hong Kong is "on par with, if not superior to, similar national security laws in other jurisdictions, including the US" and looks to be living in la-la land, if not much worse.)  

For the record: this new lockdown comes on a day which saw Hong Kong reporting 39 new coronavirus cases, a significant drop from yesterday's 60, the previous day's 64 and the beginning of the week's 73.  Sadly, today also saw two deaths from the coronavirus; bringing Hong Kong's total number of coronavirus fatalities up to 176.    

Compared to a lot of other places in the world (including other major cities like London, New York, Tokyo and Singapore), Hong Kong's coronavirus numbers look on the miraculously low side.  But, in all honesty, whatever credit that's due for this should majorly go to the people of Hong Kong rather than its government.    

As Neville Sarony stated just yesterday: "Unquestionably, the relative success that Hong Kong has achieved in terms of mortality and morbidity rates is attributable to the practical common sense of the vast majority of Hong Kong people, despite the repeated failures of government"; and "The people of Hong Kong are hoist with a government that is demonstrably dysfunctional yet there is nothing they can do about it. Nowhere is this more blatantly evident than in the balefully stupid history of handling the Covid-19 crisis."  
As for why he believes this, read all the evidence he provides in his piece.  Doing so will clearly show up the "aura of stupidity and malice" -- to borrow the phrase from the blogger behind The Big Lychee -- that continues to hang over the very Hong Kong government that Hong Kongers canot vote out of office nor, given the reality of the naked power of its Beijing overlords, toss out. Sadly, tragically even, to quote Sarony once more: "In Hong Kong’s twilight world in which the government is not accountable to the governed, Franz Kafka rules."
People's lack of trust in, and respect for, this un-elected government has undoubtedly played a part in less than 50% of Hong Kongers surveyed by the University of Hong Kong's medical school saying that they intend to get vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus; with coronavirus vaccine skepticism being highest among younger people along with those with higher education and income levels.  When presenting the survey results, Professor Gabriel Leung made some pertinent notes about needing to address the trust deficit issue by letting science lead; with the implication being that politics shouldn't get in the way and, also, that those who the government has often considered to be the enemy (i.e., the Hong Kong people, particularly those who are not pro-government) actually deserve a lot of credit for their anti-pandemic efforts.     
Speaking of enemy: I see some irony in today's "ambush-style" lockdown taking place in the area where, back in August 2019, men armed with long sticks and other weapons sought to ambush black-clad extradition bill protestors and again one month later.  In another ironic twist though: one of the streets currently cordoned off also happens to have become home to a number of Yellow Economic Circle establishments.  (For the record: North Point was among the many parts of Hong Kong that "turned yellow" during the November 2019 District Council elections.)    
For those with a long memory: North Point also happens to be associated with the 1967 leftist riots that really were riots (as in lots of bomb attacks and 51 people killed).  With a reputation to this day as a Communist/pro-Beijing stronghold, it was where the police landed a helicopter atop the Kiu Kwan Building, whose first three floors house the Chinese Goods Centre (a Mainland Chinese emporium seen as ground zero of the 1967 riots)!  
Let's hope though that much less drama ensues in North Point tonight through to tomorrow, and beyond.  And wouldn't it be nice if no one is found to be infected there, and the fourth wave continues to recede and even draw to a close in the coming days? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

An "ambush-style" lockdown and other troubling developments in Hong Kong

Better safe than sorry or pandemic precaution overkill?
A now regular sight in a Hong Kong crowd

(As was established the last time around, the food handed out by the authorities was not only of dubious quality but also often culturally insensitive and showed their lack of understanding of the conditions in which many of the area residents live.  Hence, it once again falls on Hong Kongers to help and care for their fellows rather than be able to depend on the government to do so.)        
Don't get me wrong: I of course would like to see the current pandemic to end.  Heck, at this point in time, I'd settle for Hong Kong's fourth Wuhan coronvirus wave to come to an end.  (For the record: we are currently into day 71 of this particular wave and had 64 new cases today.)  
But I can't shake away the feeling that the authorities are more intent on punishing people -- or sometimes plain over-reacting -- than actually efficiently dealing with the pandemic.  And reading reports in recent days that a University of Hong Kong epidemiologist had cast doubt on the effectiveness of further lockdowns in Hong Kong (after just 13 people out of more than 7,000 tested in the Jordan area at the weekend tested positive for the coronavirus) and other medical experts questioning the timing of the lockdown and whether it was the best use of resources only increases my doubts that this government knows what it's doing, with regards to combating the Wuhan coronavirus as well as just about everything else.  

Beyond the battle against the coronavirus: Carrie Lam might want to tell the world that all is as well as can be in Hong Kong post implementation of China's national security law for Hong Kong.  But, what with respected individuals (like Ted Hui, his wife and his parents, and Pastor Roy Chan of the Good Neighbourhood North District Church and his wife) having had their bank accounts frozen on the order of the Hong Kong government, many Hong Kongers have taken fright and sent sizable chunks of their money offshore, if not left Hong Kong themselves.  
Further showing how abnormal the situation is in Hong Kong these days, even without factoring in that which is the result of the pandemic, is what has been happening on local university campuses in recent days.  To wit: Authorities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have doled out semester suspensions -- as well as such as six month bans against using school facilities -- to the president and internal vice-president of its student union after they held a memorial service on the half-year anniversary of Alex Chow Tsz-lok’s death; while the police went and arrested three students of, and searched three dormitories at, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) yesterday in the wake of a protest which took place on campus earlier this month, with what appeared to be the blessings and "full cooperation" of the CUHK authorities
As historian Jeppe Mulich, whose association with a Hong Kong university seems to have ended (and is now at City, the University of London) Tweeted: "The amount of HK universities that don't just "fully cooperate with" but frequently call on the police themselves is one of the many distressing developments of this past year." One further indication of how things are like in Hong Kong's universities these days: CUHK journalism professor Lokman Tsui recently shared that "today in class a student asked me if I was concerned teaching a class on free speech".  
Amazingly, his reaction to that query shows that he still retains his sense of humor.  Which perhaps is a good time to remember and repeat Hong Kong Democratic Party chairman Lo Kin-hei's wise words from last July: "My thoughts on the ways of life to go through the dark ages. Stay on with what we are doing, don't let fear dominate us! And, HAVE FUN! MAKE JOKES!"  Put another way: we have to laugh sometimes at the insanity of it all; otherwise, we'd break down and/or cry. :S

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Hong Kong's first ever -- and, hopefully, last -- pandemic lockdown

The nice way to get people to behave appropriately in a pandemic

The more restrictive way of getting people to not do what,
and go where, you don't want them to! 
Between my posting my previous blog entry and starting on writing this blog entry, a densely populated section of Hong Kong was placed under lockdownAt around 4am yesterday (Saturday), the government restricted access and exit from the the area of Jordan bordered by Woosung Street in the east, Nanking Street in the south, Battery Street in the west, and Kansu Street in the north; and required the area's residents to stay at home and undergo mandatory testing for the Wuhan coronavirus until everyone in the area had been tested and the results of all those tests came in.
Those looking for a bright side can cheer that this operation will be concluded quicker than expected.  Some might also see good in only 13 people testing positive out of the more than 7,000 tested in the area during the lockdown.  On the other hand, doesn't this seem like a major hassle to subject thousands of people to -- and, shades of the so-called mass testing scheme which took place last year, inordinate expense -- in order to find 13 more infected individuals?  
With Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung talking about how Hong Kong's first ever pandemic lockdown shows how decisive the government is in taking appropriate action, one can't help but feel that this operation was a PR exercise primarily directed towards the Hong Kong government's Beijing overlords.  The message: "See?  We are working hard to try to eradicate the coronavirus!"  
Alternatively, this action can be read as a menacing message to Hong Kongers and the world at large that "We (the Hong Kong government) have the power (and ability) to lock down any part of the city that we want!"  How else to explain why the authorities imposed this lockdown?  This especially when 72 percent of the coronavirus cases in the Yau Tsim Mong District over the last three weeks occured outside of the lockdown area
In a sign that points to the lack of efficacy on the part of the authorities: in view of the area being estimated to have some 10,000 residents by some sources (and tens of thousands by others!), it would seem that a significant percentage of the area population weren't in the area this weekend if just 7,000 or so are estimated to have been tested!  And, indeed, ahead of the lockdown, several residents were seen leaving the area, bags in hand!  (All of which has led one government advisor on the pandemic to conclude that the next time an area is locked down, officials need to move faster to avoid information leaks!)       
For my part, I feel that better planning for a future lockdown would need to involve greater cultural sensitivity and overall care.  As it is, there's sadly been quite a bit of callousness on show over the course of this supposedly public health operation.  Take, for example, the food that was handed out the area residents.  Despite the area being known to have a significant population of Muslim residents, there were no provisions made early on to hand out halal packages; with Muslim residents ending up being handed out cans of pork-based spam even!  
A historian who studies famines, refugee camps and technologies of food security Tweeted her observations on the food packages delivered during the lockdown, and made far worse conclusions about the Hong Kong government.  The following is part of Jenny Leigh Smith's thread on this which I reckon is worth quoting at length: 
In recent years HK government has outsourced charitable feeding to NGOS, almost all focused on distributing hot meals. The logistics of distributing 30K hot meals today were always beyond govt/ NGO capabilities. the one place govt does have some expertise...      
Is in the food packages it supplies to refugees. I imagine these are split into two kinds of packets, one for refugees with kitchen access and one for those without, but in both cases the packages are meant to be insultingly basic, as austere and demoralizing as possible...    
My best guess, as someone who pays attention to the logistics of humanitarian feeding, is that HK's lockdown population got products from the "no kitchen refugee" list of foods the HKgov distributes to refugees.
The goal of these packages are twofold: #1 adequate calories #2 NO RESALE VALUE. That's it. Nobody worries about the optics of these packages b/c refugees have no status or platform in HK society. Someone in gov forgot the press would be watching a lot more carefully today.

Something else that members of the press couldn't help noticing and commenting upon was that the area selected to undergo Hong Kong's first ever pandemic lockdown is one of its most impoverished (as well as possessing a significant number of darker-skinned ethnic minorities among its residents).  Also that,  the words of Irish journalist Oliver Farry: "As one of Hong Kong’s poorest neighbourhoods is locked down, it’s worth remembering that the current wave was started by the city’s super-rich flouting social distancing restrictions for leisure reasons and they faced no repercussions of any sort for doing so."   

Lastly, let the record show that Hong Kong recorded 81 new cases yesterday -- pushing the territory's total number of coronavirus infections past the 10,000 mark -- and 76 today, putting its current total number of cases to 10,085.  And for those who are wondering: only one Hong Konger has received a coronavirus vaccine thus far; and he didn't get it in Hong Kong!   

Friday, January 22, 2021

Racism and persecution of ethnic minorities will not help Hong Kong!

An illustration in an Apple Daily ad showing 
journalist Nabela Qoser as Lady Liberty
2019, whose message some Hong Kongers still need to hear

Remember Nabela Qoser?  The Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reporter who won the hearts of many Hong Kongers with her take-no-prisoners questioning of Hong Kong government officials, including Carrie Lam, is back in the news once more -- sadly for reasons that don't put her employers, or Hong Kong itself, in a good light.  More specifically, it has come to light today that she has had her 3-year-civil servant contract by the public broadcaster and been told to accept a new much shorter term contract (of just 120 days) or face dismissal, as an investigation into her conduct continues.

As can be seen by many people (including fellow RTHK staffers and journalists) being quick to condemn the decision and rise to Qoser's defence, this is an action that many people are unhappy with.  And RTHK found itself in the strange position of reporting on the RTHK Programme Staff Union chairwoman, Gladys Chiu, describing its action against Qoser as "unprecedented, arbitrary and non-transparent" and "an insult to everyone at RTHK" as well as the Hong Kong Journalists Association condemning the decision to terminate Qoser's current civil service contract as amounting to passing down a verdict without having a trial.

Ironically, just this morning, the blogger behind the Big Lychee, Various Sectors had shared a link to a piece asking if RTHK can retain its independence and vouchsafed re how amazing it was that RTHK "has still barely been rectified. The transition to propaganda outlet has barely begun.  As if it has some sort of magic force field protecting it from Leninist ‘serve-the-Party’ duties."

I hate to have to consider the following but did RTHK think that that it had a better chance of getting away with this kind of behavior because Nabila Qoser is of Pakistani ethnicity?  For even while she's a fluent speaker of Cantonese and is indeed a Hong Konger, she is not ethnic Cantonese/Chinese -- and, sadly, there still are too many people in Hong Kong who are apt to treat brown-skinned people less well than they would those with lighter skin tones.

On a related note: South Asians are by no means the only ethnic minorities targeted by racist Hong Kongers during this pandemic.  See Exhibit B: Pro-Beijing lawmaker Elizabeth Quat's attempt last month to have a "weekend lockdown" imposed on domestic helpers -- who largely hail from either the Philippines or Indonesia, and only have Sundays off each week -- in her wildly discriminatory as well as unscientific attempt to fight the Wuhan coronavirus' spread in the territory.   
At the same time, there of course have been no calls made by politicians to lock up the dancing and singing tai tais (whose cluster is the biggest in Hong Kong by far) nor the hard drinking party animals (who are widely perceived to be particularly prevalent among lighter-skinned folks in Hong Kong).  Indeed, according to reports, those dance clubs and private clubs that have had members test positive for the Wuhan coronavirus have been allowed to stay open for far more days during this ongoing pandemic than, say, public beaches and cinemas.
Returning to the issue of race and ethnicity: it was hoped that lessons in cultural sensitivity, among other things, were learnt after a Nepalese man was wrongly sent from a Hong Kong quarantine center to hospital (instead of his son, who tested positive for the coronavirus) owing to a mix-up of "similar" names last April.  But it appears that many, including some people in important positions, have not done so.                      
For the sake of Hong Kong, including its ongoing fight against the coronavirus (which saw Hong Kong detect its first two cases exactly one year ago today and 61 more people confirmed to be infected in the territory today) and also injustice, more Hong Kongers need to learn these lessons, and as soon as possible.  To this end, here's serving a reminder that, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2014, the terms "Hong Konger" (also spelt as Hongkonger) and the less popular "Hong Kongese" refer to "a native or inhabitant of Hong Kong", without reference to that person's ethnicity, skin color or any such physical feature.  And I dare anyone to watch one of my favorite Hong Kong movies of 2015, Little Big Master, and tell me that there are people in it who aren't Hong Kongers!  

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Change in the air -- in Hong Kong as well as the U.S.A.?

Visible change in the air!
 A (short) break in continuity, at the very least?!
Just two weeks ago, on January 6th, we got proof of that in Hong Kong when the territory saw the largest wave of security law arrests to date on the day of the Georgia senate runoff elections (remember that the USA's eastern seaboard is 13 hours behind Hong Kong), with what happened at the Capitol the next day presenting a bonus to the Communist Chinese with which they used to smear Hong Kong protestors along with gloat at happenings in the USA (salient facts be damned).  So, unlike many of my American Democrat friends who have already been flooding my Facebook feed with their expressions of elation, I still am not in a mood to outright celebrate -- or even breath several sights of relief -- just yet.

At the same time, I can't help hoping that change is truly in the air, and that it will be for the better.  On a nature note: I noticed some really unusual cloud activity in the skies over Hong Kong (specifically, Cheung Chau, which I went over to for the first time in over a year today) this afternoon which would seem to indicate that, at the very least, tomorrow's weather will be quite a bit different from today's.  
And on a Wuhan coronavirus note: there's a possibility that Hong Kong might be transitioning from its fourth wave to a fifth one!  In any case, it is hoped that we saw our last triple digit figure with regards to daily new cases this past Monday as we've returned to double digit figures (56 yesterday and 77 today); and the travel ban in effect against the United Kingdom and South Africa being extended to Ireland and Brazil.     

As far as politically related happenings are concerned, the big news in the Big Lychee today was the reversing of the decision by British Queen's Counsel David Perry to come over to head the prosecution of the 15 pro-democracy figures whose arrests back on April 18th of last year shocked Hong Kong.  Presumably, the pressure and criticism of his decision by many of his peers back home and British foreign secretary Dominic Raab got the QC to see the light: namely, that his planned participation in the political persecution of respected pro-democracy campaigners provided the Chinese and Hong Kong governments with quite the propaganda coup by way of bestowing a "veneer of respectability to a system which deserves no respect’.  
And while it does appear that it was David Perry who made the decision to pull out of the case rather than the Hong Kong government, it's been interesting to see the Hong Kong government actually reverse some of its decisions in recent days.  To be sure, they do not concern major subjects.  (We're talking, after all, about such as the holding of Chinese New Year flower markets and the preservation of an underground reservoir with aesthetic and heritage value.)  But it still is interesting to see that the Hong Kong government can bow to public pressure -- and not after months of damaging delay (as was the case with a certain extradition bill back in 2019)! 

Monday, January 18, 2021

The end is not yet in sight for Hong Kong's fourth Wuhan coronavirus wave as well as its political woes

Various notices (each in five different languages) about 
anti-Wuhan coronavirus measures currently in effect
An anti-Wuhan coronavirus notice pitched towards hikers
and other Hong Kong country park users
The end is not yet in sight for Hong Kong's fourth Wuhan coronavirus wave after all.  Not only has it now gone on for longer than the third wave, the number of daily new infections has rebounded from 25 on January 6th up to  50 on Saturday, then 55 yesterday and now 107 today.  
Even while these numbers remain indeed low by global standards, it is alarming to many Hong Kongers, some of whom are questioning whether not rushing to get the population vaccinated really is the ideal approach to take.  At the same time, there are real worries about the vaccines that the Hong Kong government has procured; this especially after one of them -- produced by China's Sinovac -- was found to have just a 50.38 percent efficacy in late stage trials in Brazil, making it so that, as Nathan Ruser put it, "on an individual level it's essentially a coin toss, with serious implications for those vaccinated."
Way before this revelation, Hong Kongers were already sceptical of any Wuhan coronavirus vaccination program that the government would be administering; with just 37.2 percent of 1,200 local residents surveyed between July 27th and August 27th last year stating that they would be willing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.  This is a hardly ideal state of affairs, given that a medical expert has estimated that Hong Kong cannot achieve "herd immunity" against the coronavirus unless 80 percent of the population is vaccinated.   
Probably because they had an inkling of this high level of public skepticism, Hong Kong legislators had suggested last month that the government provide a cash incentive of up to HK$5,000 (US$645) per resident to aid the success of the vaccination scheme.  Of course a better way to get people to trust in the vaccination program is for them to trust the government that will be administering it.  But, alas, trust in the government is something that few Hong Kongers have -- for many, solid reasons.  
Just today, we saw the government announce that it will be allocating billions of dollars to help one of its two major amusement parks whose primary target audience is not local stay afloat; this at a time when many locals are hurting financially -- in no small part as a result of a number of social distancing measures requiring the (temporary) closure of a number of businesses -- and Hong Kong's unemployment rate projected to hit a 16 year high when the latest job stats are revealed tomorrow.  Put another way: there has long been a sense that the Hong Kong government cares far more about pandering to big business (particularly developers) as well as Beijing far more than regular Hong Kongers.    
And over on the legal front: justice in Hong Kong suffered another setback today when a judge sentenced a man to a four-year prison term as well as fined him HK$5,000 after finding him guilty of rioting and possessing an unlicensed radio communication device at an anti-extradition bill protest in Causeway Bay on August 31st, 2019.  In making his judgement, the judge rejected the defendant's statement that he was a first aider, deciding that the six rolls of bandages that the defendant had in his backpack was insufficient proof of thisHe also saw it as a sign of the defendant's guilt that he ran away from the police... but wouldn't most people be inclined to do the same when faced with members of a police force who are liable to do this on -- as it so happens -- August 31st, 2019?  
Even when security law arrestees end up being released unconditionally (as actually happened today with teenage activist Yanni Ho), the signs remain that there's something rotten in the state of Hong Kong.  Remember the mass arrests of two Wednesdays ago and the subsequent release on bail of all but three of the 55 arrestees (two of whom were behind bars at the time of their announced arrest)?  Reportedly, that came about because, after the round-up was completed and the arrestees were being processed, the Hong Kong’s law enforcement authorities realised they had suspects in search of a crime thanks to the common law system being at odds with the national security law!  
In an ideal world, justice and common sense should and will prevail.  In 2021 Hong Kong, we await this happening, hopefully not in vain. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

An enjoyable hike in the interior of southwest Lantau (Photo-essay)

2021 has not shown itself to be all that great a year thus far -- with continued political ructions as well as pandemic problems in the three territories that I hold the most dear (and, not coincidentally, have spent the most part of my life in).  In all honesty, what's been happening in Hong Kong alone seems enough to put more gray into my hair and worry lines onto my face.  But when I factor in what's been happening in the USA and Malaysia too, never mind the world at large, I sometimes find myself wondering how much more my heart can take.   
To help with both my mental and physical health, I've found myself turning to exercise and continued Hong Kong exploration by way of urban walks and countryside hikes.  And even while I was again dealt reminders of Hong Kong now being home to political prisoners on my most recent hike (this time by way of my catching sight of Shek Pik Prison, the maximum security facility where Joshua Wong is currently incarcerated), I must say that my first hike of 2021 was generally very enjoyable, and even outright exhilarating at times.     
For the first time in close to three years, I returned to a part of Hong Kong which I really like -- and would go to more often if it were more easily accessible.  As it stands, going there and back involves two bus and one ferry rides each way for me.  At least, as far as the hiking part of the excursion is concerned, things have been made quite a bit easier by my having discovered that one can access and leave the inland section of southwest Lantau without completing Stages 5 and 6 of the Lantau Trail in their entirety... :b
Cows resting by the trailhead
After warming up by walking for about half an hour along a 
catchwater with some scenic views, it's time to head uphill
Click on the image to get a panoramic view of Lung Tsai Ng Yuen,
whose continued existence I was glad to confirm on this hike
For a good part of our five hour hike, the only other person
I saw was my hike companion for the day!
I really do get the feeling that not that many people
have actually got to cast their eyes on this beautiful vista
The hike's high point: the view from Ling Wu Shan :)
Going down that hill is hairier than ideal but the views 
on the descent really are quite something --
and definitely worth stopping from time to time to savor
The loop route I had decided on took longer (5 hours) 
than anticipated to complete but we did manage to
get to the bus stop at hike end before darkness fell :)