Hong Kong refugees end up in food riot

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 9 Sep 2019

This columnist spent the weekend in Singapore. I could tell because there was a Food Panda advertising poster outside my hotel saying: "Everything also can."

I don't know what it means.

Singaporeans speak a special language in which all sentences are three words or less, such as "So how?" "Where got?" and "Can-or-not?"

Instead of saying: "If you'll excuse me, I would like to visit the rest room," a Singaporean will run off with one finger in the air saying: "Toilet-toilet."

* * *

I was in the Lion City with a group of exhausted refugees from "war-torn" Hong Kong. Loads of our hometown's conferences, including one I was booked to speak at, have been moved to Singapore.

The organizer told me: "We couldn't ask people to fly in to Hong Kong airport and walk into possible chaos."

So instead, many of us ended up in the hotel buffet scrums in Singapore, which even Hong Kong's most violent protesters would definitely define as "riots."

* * *

I noticed yesterday that a conference on "airport security" is due to take place in London this month.

They should move that one to Hong Kong.

The opening session could be a "practical exercise" at the arrival hall.

"Welcome to Hong Kong International Airport. Please have your passports ready and your safety gear on. If you speak Putonghua, you may prefer to keep your mouth shut. Thank you."

* * *

Reader AG Lam wrote to me about a man who said a few words in Putonghua at the site of a protest in Hong Kong - and was immediately surrounded by angry protesters. He managed to escape a beating by rapidly finding identification showing that he was from Taiwan.

* * *

Former Hongkonger Paul Lowndes is now in Cyprus, where the signs (one is pictured) are as baffling as those in Asia. What is "lopping" and why is there a place to reject it?

* * *

Hong Kong transport minister Frank Chan Fan is flying off to meet his UK counterpart Grant Shapps this week.

Shapps recently rejected an offer by Hong Kong MTR chiefs to run part of a controversial project known as HS2.

Big mistake. The UK minister would have been wise to employ a rail operator with experience at dealing with protesters.

* * *

On September 23 hundreds of tech people will be flying into Singapore for a meeting with the theme "the coming cashless society."

Actually, I believe the "cashless society" has been around for some years.

Members are known as "parents."

* * *

In Hong Kong, protester numbers continue to fall sharply. At Tung Chung's gathering on Saturday there were fewer black shirts than police. "Riot officers will have to start hitting each other for something to do," one resident said.

* * *

One group of US travelers had been warned that protesters were planning to block Hong Kong's airport transport systems this weekend and were dreading the "long walk to our hotel on Hong Kong island."

I told them that it was "about 35 kilometers and would involve a fair bit of swimming."

They were so relieved to emerge at the arrival hall to find the attack had flopped that they started swapping democracy jokes. Such as:

Q: What are the two best arguments against democracy?

A: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

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