Time for the Age of Suspicion to finish

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 13 Sep 2019

Hong Kong may be down but we are not out. Charles Li Xiaojia, boss of this city's share market, made a dramatic bid to buy the London Stock Exchange Group for US$36.6 billion (HK$285.48 billion) on Wednesday.

The reaction? Most Western countries would have said: "But. But. But they're Chinese!" and leapt backwards, like a cat seeing a cucumber, or Trump seeing a Huawei phone. (Not that they're racist or anything.)

Happily, the British have a more nuanced understanding of Hong Kong and China, and are at least considering it.

"Two of the world's most important financial institutions joining hands, one Western, one Eastern, would be a stunning message of global unity," said my source. The whole world needs this sort of positive partnership. The Age of Suspicion has gone on too long.

* * *

Hong Kong's finance chief Paul Chan Mo-po told the audience at an international conference on Wednesday to "shop till you drop, and eat till you pop." Yup, he's all finance minister, zero percent health minister.

* * *

Reader Glenn Henricksen wanted a canopy to shade his picnic table and found a perfect free-standing garden umbrella on the Taobao website.

But they refused to sell it to him.

No one with a Hong Kong address is allowed to buy any form of umbrella, he learned. Too right. Umbrellas are dangerous things. Poke you in the eye. Help you overthrow your government. Keep you dry. Can't have that.

* * *

On RTHK Radio III's Backchat program yesterday, the protesters' top cheerleader Claudia Mo Man-ching said radical elements only vandalized inanimate objects.

This writer, also on the show, pointed out that I had seen them throwing a petrol bomb at policemen "and a police officer is not an inanimate object."

She responded that the protester attacking the police officer could actually have been a police officer in disguise.

I wonder how she imagines conversations at police stations go?

Officer Chan: "How about I throw a petrol bomb at you, giving you first degree burns and possibly killing you?"

Officer Wong: "Good idea!"

Officer Chan: "Yes. That will teach them!"

* * *

As flag-waving and flag-destroying have become popular during the protests, a retailer in Stanley Street, Central, has put a display of popular ones for sale at the front of her shop, as pictured. Now that's the Hong Kong spirit.

* * *

A Hong Kong delegation visiting Finland this week was taken to a library called Oodi, a school called Toolon, and a city called Oulu. "We love vowels," a Finnish person in Hong Kong told me. Girls' names include Aamu, Eeva, Heleena, Kiira, Saara and Veera, while boys are called Aaro, Eero, Eetu, Kaarlo and Leevi.

This seems unfair to East Asia, where there's a chronic vowel shortage and many people have to make do with vowel-free names such as Chng, Ng and Sng.

* * *

Reader Christopher Gallaga summed up the conversations that people are having about the mysterious "deaths" in Prince Edward MTR station.

Protester: "How many people died on August 31?"

Every Credible Source: "None."

Protester: "No, but how many really?"

Every Credible Source: "Errr "

* * *

It's lantern time. "Normally I love Mid-Autumn Festival," said a neighbor. "But this just seems to be the wrong time for a celebration which consists of young people running around with live flames."

Stay safe, people.

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