Yes, everything is about something else

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 5 Jul 2019

"Don't go," my wife pleaded. I replied: "Don't worry. It'll be fine," and slipped out of the door.

But actually I was nervous. This Standard columnist was heading to Central to take part in a live debate with Evan Fowler, co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press.

That web publication tends to adhere to the current Western media narrative about Hong Kong, which can be summed up as: "Hero Teens Battle Evil Empire".

In contrast, your columnist thinks Hong Kong's situation is more complicated, an unpopular stance that gets me labeled "Communist puppet".

The debate started.

Evan was darkly pessimistic about Hong Kong's future and said citizens were already being snatched across the border in significant numbers.

Some members of the young, mixed audience nodded at the doom and gloom - but I was thrilled to find many others preferred this writer's assertion that in this corner of the world, "everything is about something else".

At the end, I felt quite cheered. There's hope!

* * *

People who use the English idiom "You can't polish a poop" may be interested in the official announcement yesterday that the government has made good progress on building an "Effluent Polishing Plant" (whatever that is) in Yuen Long.

* * *

Funny to see business-friendly newspapers like Britain's The Times idolizing Hong Kong's Joshua Wong this week.

Their writers probably don't know that young Mr Wong's party is dedicated to releasing society "from capitalist hegemony".

Someone should tell them.

* * *

TV reporters stopped an older white male outside the damaged Legco building on Tuesday, probably expecting him to be a tourist. But it was Peter Bentley, a much-respected Hongkonger who has been operating in this city and the mainland for almost 40 years.

His response to questions was so passionate that the clip went viral.

When he saw how the Legco building had been treated "I just cried," he said. "I love Hong Kong and I love China. But I know these things have set back the progress of peaceful evolution of democracy in Hong Kong by at least two or three generations."

* * *

My favorite puzzling signposts are the ones which have philosophical implications, like the one in the picture, sent in by reader Jamie Lo.

* * *

It's fascinating that people on both sides of the present debate are dismayed by the way the Hong Kong protest movement has merged with Western politicians, Western media, English slogans and even Western flags.

"I want to scream at the students to stop involving Westerners, because it's our affair, not theirs," a senior protester said to me. "But I'm scared I'll sound like a Beijing official."

* * *

B1GR1CE and PORKCHOP are two car number plates going on the auction block tomorrow at the convention center in Wan Chai. It looks like Hong Kong is returning to its traditional obsessions, such as food, thank God.

* * *

Asia now has more Internet users than all other regions put together, web statisticians said: we now make up 50.1 percent of all web-users worldwide.

On the downside, a large proportion of this vast group of people seem to have only a couple of dozen brain cells between them.

Many of the people I encounter online have vocabularies of six words, three of which are OMG, LOL and ROFL (which sound like the noises my dog makes when she is being sick).

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