Saturday, January 7, 2023

Hong Kong's not (back to) "normal", and the reopening of the Hong Kong-Mainland China tomorrow is not going to help matters!

A popular photography spot at the East Coast Park Precinct
I went to the East Coast Park Precinct after dinner last night.  The night air was pleasantly cool, supplemented by breezes blowing in from Victoria Harbour.  Strolling about in the space, I caught sight of the first full moon of the year in the night sky.  Another pleasant sight as far as I was concerned: the space not being all that crowded; something that has been the case the last couple or so times that I've visited.  I wonder though whether I will find this to be the case when I next go there.

People who have been separated for three years now from loved ones welcome the border reopening.  Owners of businesses that are dependent on Mainland Chinese consumers (such as luxury watch shops) also are happy about this development.  But many other Hong Kongers are looking at what might ensue from Sunday with some trepidation, if not outright fear and hostility.  As the syndicated AFP piece by Xinqi Su and Lily Kuo reported: "Some worry about a potential surge of patients for Hong Kong's already stretched hospitals and competition for medical supplies in one of the world's most densely populated cities.  Others are reluctant to bid farewell to a less crowded life."
The fact of the matter is that prior to the pandemic, Hong Kong attracted too many tourists for the liking of many residents.  In 2018, some 51 Mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong -- nearly 7 times the population of the territory which is home to some of the more densely populated urban areas in the world.  Remember the famous photo featuring the message written out in Chinese which translates into English as "We can't go back to normal because the normal we had was precisely the problem"?  To be sure, it referred to Hong Kong's misgovernance by Carrie Lam -- and, truly, that includes its tourism policies along with other, more obviously political ones.
In a Tweet yesterday that arose from the piece she co-authored that I referred to above, Xinqi Su asked: "Is there a “normalcy” for everyone to “return” to? What is it?"  My sense is that she reckons that there isn't one for Hong Kong -- and if so, I agree with her.
My own two cents is as follows: Hong Kong has not been "normal" for years. It's not just the pandemic and the govt's unscientific response to it. It's not even the mass protests against the extradition bill and for democracy that the National Security Law stifles.  Rather, it's that China never intended "One country, two systems" to last; and it's been effectively dead for a while now. So, as we see more and more, the Hong Kong Special Adminstrative Region was built on a lie.


peppylady (Dora) said...

I watch full moon peaking though the clouds. it sort of given a mysterious look.
Coffee is on and stay safe

YTSL said...

Hi peppylady --

I caught clear, unobscured sights of the January full moon. Very cool (too)!

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

Strange. I found it not that crowded in the streets yesterday. I was in Shatin and Sai Kung. Just about normal weekend crowds. At some locations like inside alleys of Sai Kung village, there were actually less crowded than a normal Sunday. I was there around 1700 hrs though.

Also checked out the Bottle Shop. The $$$ of the Abiss by Deschutes Brewery (an extremely delicious stout) had dropped to $290 for the 2016 vintage.


YTSL said...

Hi T --

Yes, the streets in the areas I've been in yesterday and today have not been as crowded as I feared would be the case. But, then, as a friend pointed out this evening, it's not only early days yet into the border re-opening but the High Speed Train has not resumed services yet!

Still, fingers crossed re Hong Kong getting flooded by Mainland Chinese tourists. That really would not be a return to "normal" that many of us look forward to!