Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hiking on the Peak and in Pok Fu Lam Country Park before a possible typhoon visit (Photo-essay)

After weeks of rain and high humidity, Hong Kong's been treated to bright sunshine (which has been welcomed) and high heat (which has not) over the past week.  For some days now, I've told myself I should head out for a hike -- but it's taken the threat of more rain and even a typhoon to get me out communing with nature once more.          
And, of course, as I knew would be the case, once I got hiking, I felt so happy to be doing so.  Adding to the pleasure this afternoon was: it actually being hot but no way as humid as I had expected; the visibility being better than I had expected; and my not encountering any ugly red flags and 25th anniversary banners along my hike from Victoria Gap down to Pok Fu Lam Road (along a different route from the previous hike I went on in the area a few weeks ago)!  Oh, and Typhoon Signal 1 has indeed been raised this evening.  So I don't think it'll be as ideal hiking weather as it was this afternoon for the next few days!

View from the bus heading up to the Peak!
See the reservoir down below?  That's more or less 
where today's hike ended ;b
The famous view from the Peak is hard to beat
on a high visibility day :)
Walking and looking westwards along the 
northern section of the Peak Circuit
It's impossible to cast your eyes on a view like this
A dreamy looking view of Tai Mo Shan (aka 
Big Hat Mountain) and the land to the south of it 
I don't actually recall being able to see Cheung Chau
so clearly from Hong Kong Island before!
After going down these steps, I was treated to fewer and less 
grand views but, as compensation, I got to do more "forest 
bathing" before conveniently ending the hike at a bus stop! :)

Monday, June 27, 2022

Red flags in a Hong Kong that is not in the mood to paint the town red!

Lee Tung Avenue (as opposed to street) in the days leading up to
October 1st last year -- and, in all probability. like this now too
In the period leading up to the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's Handover by the British to the Communist Chinese, Hong Kong is looking quite a bit redder than usual as well as than I, for one, think is aesthetically ideal.  This is thanks to a number of pro-Beijing organizations as well as the Hong Kong government deciding to put up an inordinately large number of China and Hong Kong flags around various parts of town, often in close proximity to a number of others.  
Prior to the run-up to October 1st last year, I don't think I saw such a crazy amount of China (and Hong Kong) flags on display in Hong Kong.  But I guess this is going to be the new aesthetic norm every July 1st and October 1st in the territory; and something that makes me miss the pre-national security law ways of commemorating the anniversaries of Hong Kong's Handover and China's National Day.
Something else that is coming to be par for the course in the lead ups to July 1st and October 1st in Hong Kong is the national security law arrest of this or that person.  Wall Street Journal reporter Selina Cheng noted that nine arrests have been made by the national security police in the past five days, bringing the total number of national security law arrests up to 207 in total.  And it says so much about the current state of affairs of Hong Kong that, as she noted in a subsequent Tweet, the national security law arrests of  "unknown, ordinary people are barely causing a stir these days, it seems".  
Unfortunately, there's not much people can do about those who get arrested in the lead up to these politically sensitive anniversaries.  But there's been pushback against the aesthetically displeasing flag displays; some of which have borne fruit.

Something else that has been erected in certain parts of the city ahead of July 1st -- and this probably specifically to protect VIPs visiting from Mainland China on July 1st -- are anti-terrorist water barriers.  The authorities may go on all they want about Hong Kongers celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's Handover and maybe even the (short) visit of Xi Jinping but, from actions such as these, you know they know that the majority of Hong Kongers aren't inclined to be in a celebratory or welcoming mood come this July 1st!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Remembering Apple Daily and those who worked for it one year and one day after its final issue came out

Display at a "yellow" shop around this time last year
Another sad anniversary came and went yesterday.  Specifically, yesterday was the one year anniversary of the last issue of Apple Daily, Hong Kong's last democratic newspaper.  I must admit: I still find myself looking for copies for Apple Daily at news stands in Hong Kong from time to time.  I guess I still can't completely believe or accept that it's really gone.  And if I feel bad about Apple Daily being no more, how much worse must those who used to work there feel.

A piece in The Guardian by former Apple Daily features editor Norman Choi gives some idea, and also about what is life now is like.  For those who are fine with just a summary, consider its title: 'My career is finished, my friends are in prison and I'm an alien in my city': Life after Hong Kong's Apple Daily".  Some excerpts from the article:   

Sometimes I feel like a garden gnome, hunkered down and being comfortably ignored. Other times I feel anxious and helpless when I think about my former colleagues in custody
I have known some of them for many years. In our old life, one joined me on a 100km charity walk in Japan, another often went trekking with me. Surrounded by nature we watched the sunrises and sunsets together. We shared hot dumplings on a chilly day after another exhausting hike. We laughed and cried together.
While they have been detained for almost a year., I still feel their presence...

It is a struggle to try and put my emotions at what has happened to us all into words, so instead I will share an excerpt from a letter I received from a fellow journalist, now in prison.

“Life will nevertheless push us forward, like a stream that brings both hungry and sleeping fishes downstream. Strong wind will lead us towards tomorrow, no matter if we are anxious or calm.”

A Radio Free Asia article attempts to paint a more positive picture of life post Apple Daily for some of its former journalists. "One year after the paper was forced to shut down and several senior editors arrested by national security police, former reporters at Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper are still writing the stories the paper might have run, and posting them to social media", it reports.  "The Apple Daily shouldn't be allowed to just disappear like this," it quotes one of them as asserting; "I figured there had to be some work I can keep on doing."
These ex-Apple Daily journalists are providing us with profiles in courage.  One that the head of the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong (who also happens to be the current head of the journalism school at the University of Hong Kong) should draw inspiration from but won't.  
More than incidentally, a group of former Apple Daily journalists went to the site of their old office on Thursday night to literally shine lights there and leave the message that "They tried to bury us but didn't know we're seeds."  Their presence and actions prompted the arrival of police officers to harass them but -- touch wood -- there have been no reports of arrests.  
On a related note: Inmedia (an independent Hong Kong media platform which has not shut down but, instead, relocated to Singapore carried a piece this week about what had happened to plants "rescued" from the Apple Daily building by members of the public when the paper closed.  Hong Kong journalist turned London-based journalism professor, Yuen Chan, relayed the story in English on Twitter.  The final Tweet on the thread is as follows: "These plants are hardy, like the former Apple Daily staff, they have dispersed to different places, finding new meaningful roles. One former worker says his plant is a living connection to the company: "And behind its life there is a spirit, a spirit that pursues freedom".  
And yes, I realize that this may sound rather pathetic and like grasping at straws to some folks.  But from a little hope, much can grow.  And, as Claudia Mo relayed to people, it's important -- especially in these current circumstances and time -- to hold on.  And not forget.  And also to feel like there still is support from other out there.     
Speaking of which: The Consulate General of Ireland in Hong Kong put out the following Tweet yesterday: "On this significant date of 24 June - the first @UN International Day of #WomeninDiplomacy - we were delighted to welcome back to the office - fresh out of #Quarantine - our Deputy Head of Mission, Katrina Devine."  "What does this have to do with Apple Daily?", I can hear you ask.  Well, if you clicked on the supplied link, I'll ask you to cast your eyes on the photo and what can be seen in it (along with Ms Devine and the flags of Ireland and the European Union): i.e., a plate of apples, and a framed copy of the final issue of Apple Daily.   

Thursday, June 23, 2022

More bad portends -- but some "must read" articles on Hong Kong too -- ahead of the 25th anniversary of its Handover

Claudia Mo was warning people as far back as June 2016
The power outage caused by a Yuen Long power cable bridge catching fire and then collapsing on Monday was supposed to have been resolved by this evening.  But reports have come in of parts of Yuen Long being hit by more power outages this evening, with some 13,000 households being without electricity for a time and CLP -- the company which supplies electricity to that part of Hong Kong -- warning that power supply in the area may remain unstable in the next few days.
Even bigger news (or, at least, news that has attracted more comment among the Hong Kong social media community) this evening though has been that, with just a little less than a week to go before the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's Handover by the British to China (and the swearing in of the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong and his cabinet), incoming Chief Secretary Eric Chan and Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Erick Tsang have both tested positive for Covid and are now under isolation!  And while Tsang's wife (and the Commissioner of Customs and Excise), Louise Ho, has tested negative, she's of course classified as a close contact and thus has to be quarantined!  

Until today, Hong Kong’s most senior officials had seemingly miraculously managed to evade catching the Wuhan coronavirus  (unlike those in countries such as the USA, Britain and Brazil).  The closest any of them had come to doing so were those who had been involved in Hong Kong's version of Partygate (AKA Witmangate) and were sent to quarantine at Penny's Bay after being deemed close contacts; the most senior of whom had been then home affairs minister Caspar Tsui (who subsequently resigned for his part in the scandal).
But now whatever spell that had kept them safe appears to have been broken.  And after Ricky Lau, permanent secretary of Development Bureau, also was reported as testing postive for Covid and having been sent to quarantine, one wonders who'll be next!  (In its report of this news, the Hong Kong Free Press had the following lines: "It is unclear if Lee or incumbent leader Carrie Lam may be close contacts of the infected officials. HKFP has reached out to their offices for comment.")
Coming as they did after the sinking of the Jumbo floating restaurant and the power outages in the northern New Territories, many people can't help but collectively view them as signs of the deterioration of Hong Kong.  Another sign of Hong Kong's problems: There's been another high profile announcement of a person having left Hong Kong -- this time involving journalist Timothy McLaughlin, whose "The Leader Who Killed Her City" piece on Carrie Lam (written back in June 2020) few people who read it are going to forget.     
The news was announced by McLaughlin in his latest piece, Farewell to Hong Kong and Its Big Lie.  The following are a few choice excerpts from it: 
In Hong Kong today, falsehoods, gaslighting, and endless fabrications such as these are equaled only by the cowardice of the people partaking in this insulting ruse, an infectious cascade of lies used by Hong Kong’s leaders, and their overlords in Beijing, to reimagine the past and justify the retooling of the city. One would think that the “patriots” deemed worthy of running Hong Kong and their swelling ranks of collaborators would be proud of their role in the dismantling of the city’s freedoms, jailing of its opposition, and overhauling of its institutions. Instead, they hide their motives behind unbelievable excuses and make their moves under the cover of darkness, treating Hong Kongers with visceral contempt, like a pack of gullible idiots devoid of agency and free thought.
The narrative of the 2019 prodemocracy movement—in which millions defended their liberties and pushed for more freedom—now recounted by Beijing and its loyalists in Hong Kong is one of paid protesters, foreign agitators, and unpatriotic internal opposition. Claims that once resided in the mind of unhinged propagandists and on the fringes of the internet are now accepted wholesale in many parts of polite society, a story line being cemented in the city’s courts, where scores of activists and former lawmakers are on trial for violating Hong Kong’s national-security law...
It is a struggle to try to keep up with the lies, which arrive at a furious volume and pace: New school textbooks proclaim that Hong Kong was never a British colony, for example, and heavy editing was deployed earlier this year to make a set of postage stamps appear more patriotic. All of these fictions serve the city’s leaders and officials, and help perpetuate one of the biggest, most enduring falsehoods about Hong Kong: that it is a city where people simply don’t care about politics. One needs only to look at the events in the city for the past decade to know that this is untrue. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, few places did more in recent years to stand up for freedom and democracy in the face of an unending autocratic assault.
Ahead of the 25th anniversary of its Handover from one colonial power to another, foreign eyes are (temporarily) turning again to Hong Kong and articles appearing.  Another good piece that came out today is The Financial Times' on Claudia Mo.  Its headline is dramatic, and hopefully eyecatching: "She was loved for standing up to China.  She may die in jail".  
While focusing on Claudia Mo, the piece's writers attempts to bring readers up to speed about what's been happening in Hong Kong in recent years with lines like these: "In response to the sometimes violent 2019 protests, a newly empowered police force arrested more than 10,200 people and prosecuted over 2,800 of them, spanning the breadth of Hong Kong society, from students and waiters, to gym owners and physicists".  
They also of course pointed out that in June 2020, "Beijing introduced the vaguely worded security law under which the 47 were eventually charged. It outlaws subversion, terrorism, secession and “collusion with foreign forces”. It overhauled school and university curriculums, and forced children as young as six to take national security lessons. Residents fear they may cross red lines without even realising it. In June, the new police commissioner, Raymond Siu, said people could have broken the security law if they simply watched a documentary on the protests."  
And that: "More than 60 civil society organisations, including unions with thousands of members, have closed — some after threats to the safety of their leaders’ families. Multiple news outlets have shut down, journalists have been prosecuted and political cartoonists have fled. A snitch line was set up for citizens to report possible breaches of the security law, with police saying they had received more than 260,000 tips."
The sections about Claudia Mo herself are also informative, and touching.  A sample passage: "In August last year, a friend of Mo's named Shiu Ka-chun received a letter from her, which he shared excerpts from on social media. Mo said she had been teaching English to other prisoners and that her Christian faith was helping her. She thanked Cardinal Joseph Zen, the 90-year-old retired bishop of Hong Kong, for visiting. “I may be stumbling but not falling,” she wrote."
The article concludes as follows:

Mo has been a prolific writer, authoring at least 10 books over the course of her life, including a couple on raising children — “essentially sharing my experiences throughout my, ahem, reasonably successful motherhood”, she joked on a personal website many years ago. Her publisher Jimmy Pang misses her presence at the city’s annual book fair where she was known as the “mic queen” for standing at his stall for hours introducing her books and speaking to passers-by. 

“She would quote this line as she signed her new book for her fans, especially young people: ‘It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog,’” Pang told me. “[She meant] the fight between two dogs is not about their sizes, but more about the spirit that they hold in the fight. When you fight, relying on pure violence is futile. Focus on how to hold on.” 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Disasters strike and shock Hong Kong two evenings in a row

View from a sampan of a floating restaurant 
that's now under the sea!
For the second evening in a row, something's happened that shocked Hong Kongers.  This evening saw a fire break out on a power cable bridge in Yuen Long and this causing not only to the spectacular collapse of the bridge itself but also a massive power outage in the northwestern section of the New Territories (including Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai new towns) that lasted for hours.  
As a result, people got stuck in lifts of high rise buildings; traffic lights stopped working; and MTR services between Tsuen Wan West and Tuen Mun stations were briefly disrupted, and Tin Shui Wai station was temporarily closed.  In addition, services at a number of area hospitals were affected, as the power supply was unstable, and there was talk of a need to transfer patients to other hospitals. 
Something that didn't escape the attention of the number of people was that this Yuen Long incident occured two years and eleven months to the day of the horror that's known in shorthand among Hong Kongers as 721 (or, more lengthily, the 721 Yuen Long Attack).  Or, if you prefer to look ahead, consider that this disaster occurred just 10 days of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover by the British to China
And this comes one day after the occurrence of a way more high profile disaster -- one which many people have looked to as a metaphor for Hong Kong's future: namely, the sinking at sea of the Jumbo floating restaurant which was a fixture in Aberdeen's harbour/typhoon shelter for 46 tears until it was towed away just last week.  I mean, when even Funassyi Tweeted about it...! 
If truth be told, I've been shocked by the outpouring of grief at the news of Jumbo's sinking.  One particularly hysterical series of Tweets, to my minds, came courtesy of a Singaporean journalist usually based in Hong Kong and are so histrionic that I think they are worth quoting at length.  
In turn, I want to scream back: "Get a grip, woman!  I mean, how can you compare the sinking of a tourist trap with "blue" owners (that I don't think any local regularly ate at) to the arrest of 90-year-old Cardinal Zen?!"  Also why are people mourning the demise of a mere restaurant -- floating or not -- when Hong Kong has lost so much else in recent months and years?! 
Put another way: it seems that the mourning for Jumbo can be put in the same category as the mourning for culled hamsters and wild boarMourning as resistance as well as mourning for what once was but is no more and mourning of what's allowed in lieu of so much other mourning being disallowed in today's Hong Kong.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

John Lee's new cabinet is announced, and really does not inspire confidence!

It may have been some time since the riot police were out on
the streets of Hong Kong but this by no means means that 
the situation in Hong Kong doesn't resemble a police state's
There's close to two weeks to go before Carrie Lam steps down and John Lee officially takes her place as Hong Kong's Chief Executive but the Chief Executive-to-be couldn't wait any longer to announce his new cabinet (and, in fact, many of the appointments had been telegraphed weeks in advance already).  Suffice to say that John Lee's appointments (or are they actually Beijing's?) don't look great, with some of them being quite alarming.  We're talking, after all, of there being a sizeable number of former police officers among the appointees and four of the officials having been sanctioned by the American government.
For the record, former police officers and other uniformed officers (think immigration but also prison system folks) in John Lee's cabinet will include: designated Chief Secretary Eric Chan, who was immigration chief when the Hong Kong booksellers were abducted and has been secretary-general of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security since the national security law was imposed on Hong Kong on June 30th, 2020; former police inspector and now designated Vice Secretary for Administration, Cheuk Wing-hing; incumbent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs (and Eric Chan's successor as immigration chief) Erick Tsang; incumbent Secretary of Security (and former police chief) Chris "PK" Tang.  And Erick Tsang and Chris Tang are among the sanctioned officials in John Lee's cabinet; with John Lee himself also being in this group.
As if this all weren't bad enough consider the remarks on those selected for the health, justice and education posts by people in health, legal and education fields.  The virologist who goes by the moniker Jasnah Kholin on Twitter asserted back in early June that "hearing rumours Pikachu wants to appoint Lo Chung-mau as health secretary, if that's the case congratulations on finding one of the few people *worse* than Clownshoes Wordsalad for that job." (Pikachu is, of course, John Lee's nickname on account of his Chinese personal name being Ka-chiu; while Clownshoes Wordsalad is current health secretary Sophia Chan!)   
On a more serious note, consider lawyer Kevin Yam's damning Tweeted assessments of Justice Secretary-to-be Paul Lam (along with current legal sector legislative councillor Ambrose Lam: "With former Law Soc Prez Ambrose Lam (who quit after solicitors cast no confidence vote) as legal sector legislator, and Paul Lam (who got voted out as Bar Chair by barristers) as SJ, #HongKong lawyers now have legislative and executive reps who had been rejected by their peers."  And Eric Yan-ho Lai elaborates on why Paul Lam was voted out as Bar Chair: i.e., "Lam’s leadership made little effort to defend [Hong Kong]’s rule of law from Beijing"
Then there's the matter of "Choi also [having] pushed hard to replace Cantonese with Mandarin as the language of instruction in Hong Kong."  Talk about disturbing.  And speaking of Mandarin over Cantonese, journalist Kris Cheng has observed -- also on Twitter -- that "Among the new top official appointments in Hong Kong today, new IT minister Sun Dong... has always spoken Mandarin in public, although he says he knows Cantonese after 20 years in Hong Kong. New development in government, I suppose."  (Sun Dong appears unusual among Hong Kong officials in that he was raised in Beijing rather than Hong Kong, and has (more) degrees from a Mainland Chinese university (Tsinghua University) rather than a Hong Kong or Western institution of higher learning.)  
If all this is getting too dark, consider the ridiculousness of a 50 year old, Alice Mak, having been appointed head of the Youth and District Affairs Bureau.  This is also the Alice Mak who, in 2019, became known for her foul mouth after she lambasted Carrie Lam using choice expletives.  So notable was her foul language that it was actually the subject of a University of Pennsylvania "Language Log" piece!  And no, I'm not going to repeat what she said here as I do try to not be potty mouthed on this blog!

Friday, June 17, 2022

Remembering and sharing memories in order to fight against those in power who seek to rewrite history

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the largest single protest event that Hong Kong has ever seen: one that involved an estimated 2 million (and one) Hong Kongers taking part in a protest march that actually often involved a lot of standing and taking baby steps because the designated march route and neighboring streets that the protest ended up spilling onto were so choc a block with protestors dressed in mourning black.  And okay, yes, the Hong Kong police have sought to lowball that number.  But those of us who were there can, at the very least, attest that "Whatever the number was, the whole area, plus all transport connections, were crammed – there was literally no room for more."
Expectedly, many people shared their memories of the protest march on social media.  And while there are some who fear that participation in that legal event will, one day, be considered a national security law offence, there are many more who wish to do their part (e.g., see here, here, here and here) to make sure that this historic protest will be remembered and not wiped from people's memories.
As many of us know full well: "Who controls the past controls the future" -- and yes, that is indeed a quote from George Orwell's 1984.  In addition, that quote continues, "who controls the present controls the past".  And like those in power over in Beijing, those currently in power in Hong Kong are trying to rewrite history too.
This "development" has prompted Bloomberg's Matthew Brooker to pen a piece entitled "Hong Kong Was Never a Colony.  Who Knew?" which contains a number of choice points and sections that I reckon is worth repeating below:-
Hong Kong was never a British colony, schoolchildren in the city will soon be taught. That may come as a surprise to the many parents who remember British governors, the Queen’s head on coins and stamps, and numerous other relics of a 150-year colonial presence. Behind the apparent absurdity is a deadly serious program to inculcate youth with the Communist Party’s view of history...
China successfully lobbied to have Hong Kong and Macau removed from the United Nations’ list of colonies in 1972, after taking over the UN seat formerly held by Taiwan. Beijing’s concern was that colonial status might pave the way for Hong Kong to become independent. Under the UN’s Declaration on Decolonization, passed in 1960, colonized peoples were entitled to the right to self-determination via referendum over whether they would become an independent state, join with another country, or stay with the colonial motherland, as Ho-fung Hung, a political economy professor at Johns Hopkins University, recounts in City on the Edge: Hong Kong under Chinese Rule, published in April.
It’s a semantic distinction then, but a significant one... China’s post-Qing governments may have been morally right to reject the 19th century treaties as unequal. It is nevertheless a historical fact that the 1842 Treaty of Nanking ceded Hong Kong in perpetuity to Britain, and that the then-Chinese government continued to recognize and accept the treaty as valid for seven decades. Will pupils be given the full picture?

...At root here is a clash of world views, between the philosophical approaches of the open society and the Leninist system. Is truth an objective quality to be discovered through inquiry and rational discourse, or a political decision, a fact to be created by action and force of will? The reality that Hong Kong was a de facto British colony for 150 years is less important than making the city’s young people believe they have never left (and therefore never can) the Chinese family. (My emphasis)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Still remembering Marco Leung three years on

An image that brings to mind a man who died
three years ago today for many Hong Kongers
The mind is a funny thing that can play all sorts of tricks on a person.  E.g., sometimes it can make it feel like time flies while at other times, it can seem to freeze time.  It also can cause one person to immediately make a certain association when beholding an image that means nothing to another individual.

A case in point with regarding to the latter: One evening in November 2019, I was walking in Tsim Sha Tsui with a woman who had called herself a Hong Konger but actually had not lived in Hong Kong for several years and, I discovered, hadn't been really keeping tabs on what had been happening in the city that she had newly returned for a visit (in order, among other things, to renew her permanent residency).  Suddenly, I spotted something on a wall we were passing by that made me let out a little gasp as well as come to a halt.  
The person I was with asked what had caught my attention.  I pointed to the illustration that I took out my camera to snap a shot of (and which I've posted at the top of this blog entry).  Seeing her blank expression, I explained to her that it was an illustrated tribute to Marco Leung Ling-kit.  And upon her continuing to look befuddled, I outlined to her that he is known, and remembered, as the first anti-extradition bill protestor to die -- back on June 15th of that year -- after he fell from scaffolding at the Pacific Place mall that he had mounted to hang up a protest banner after a one million-strong protest march on June 9th had failed to convince Carrie Lam to withdraw the much-opposed bill and the police had attacked protestors who had assembled at Admiralty on June 12th.  
Even though that interchange -- and sighting of that illustration of a yellow raincoat surrounded by black/darkness-- took place close to two and half years ago, I still remember it like had happened yesterday.  And I also vividly remember when and where I was when I got the news about the death of the then unindentified protestor initially known as "Raincoat Man".  
Very specifically: I was having after dinner drinks with a friend at a then favorite sake bar (which no longer exists; having shuttered late last year).  At one point in the evening, he looked down at the screen of his smart phone and conveyed the news to me.  I remember us trying to figure out of Marco Leung had accidentally fallen to his death or committed suicide.  At the time, the information was inconclusive; and it wasn't until May 2021 that a jury at an inquest ruled that he had "died of misadventure".  

In any case, news of Marco Leung's death soon spread quickly throughout Hong Kong.  And the next day, for what turned out to be a protest march officially described as having involved 2 million protestors plus one (with the one being Marco Leung in spirit), many of the participants brought and carried white flowers that they then placed outside Pacific Place in tribute to their fallen comrade.

Three years on, Marco Leung has not been forgotten.  And there are people who continue to mourn him -- privately, on social media and, also, outside Pacific Place.  With regards to the last venue: doing so involved being harassed by the police -- as part of their bid to turn Hong Kong into part of the People's Republic of Amnesia -- and yet a number of people felt a need to go and mourn Marco Leung there.  For yes, he and his death are now part of many Hong Kongers' collective memory -- one which is full of sad moments, far more than happy at this point in time, but one which we somehow could be said to cherish because it binds us together and gets us realizing that there are Hong Kongers out there willing to make great sacrifices for the sake of others.  RIP, Mr Leung -- and I mean in power as well as peace.  

Monday, June 13, 2022

A spiritually rejuvenating hike on the Peak and in Pok Fu Lam Country Park the day after a sad anniversary (Photo-essay)

Yesterday was one of those June days when memories came flooding back, much of it sad.  Unlike June 4th though, I harked back to events that took place not 33 years ago but just 3 years ago, and in Hong Kong rather than over in Mainland China.  Like the Tiananmen Square Massacre though, what happened on June 12th, 2019, isn't so much history as the start of certain developments (specifically, repressions) that continue to this day.  And I'm grateful to people like Samuel Bickett and the woman who goes by Goose Lee over on Twitter for sharing their accounts of what transpired over in Admiralty on June 12th, 2019, to help counter attempts by the powers that be to gaslight us.     
With the weather gods obliging by granting Hong Kong a rare rainless day today (breaking a streak of rainy days that's lasted so long that I can't remember when was the last day before this one that I didn't see rain falling), I decided to go for a mental and spiritual cleanse by way of a hike that started at Victoria Gap and involved going along the full Peak Circuit before scooting down along Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road to Pok Fu Lam Road.  
Although I've gone on these trails before, today's hike offered up some experiences that were different from the norm in that the conditions were on the foggy side and with the winds adding to an interesting soundscape that also took in such as that made by those birds that have stayed around for the summer and seasonal cicadas.  There also was a sense that I was walking in the clouds (something which made conditions very humid).  All in all, it often felt like I wasn't in Hong Kong proper!  Incidentally, something that was uncommon with regards to Hong Kong today: the amount of water gushing down the hill streams that made for a number of pretty cool waterfall spottings along the way (as you'll see lower down this post)! :)
Just one of the many interesting critters spotted on today's hike
(I'm guessing that this is a caterpillar!)
A considerably larger and hairier caterpillar -- and more 
common (since I spotted three of these on today's hike!)
Definitely not the clearest version of the famous 
"View from the Peak" that I've been treated to over the years!
A butterfly with the kind of eyes that I guess gave
meaning to the term "bug eyed"! :D
In better weather, it'd not be dark (and the lights on)
at the time of the day that I went on this hike!

Much of Hong Kong was literally under a big 
dark cloud (or more!)
One benefit of hiking after a rainy spell: I've never seen 
this waterfall on Harlech Road look so full before!
Ditto re this waterfall on Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road!