Parallel crimes, different reactions

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 16 Sep 2019

In Hong Kong, protesters plotted to take drones to the airport at Chek Lap Kok.

In London, protesters plotted to take drones to the airport at Heathrow.

In Hong Kong, someone tipped off the authorities. In London, someone tipped off the authorities.

In both places, the authorities sprang into action.

The ones in Hong Kong issued a gentle reminder on the government website saying: "Aviation safety is crucial to the public and passengers." (Translation: "Let's not crash planes and kill everyone.")

The ones in London sent out a squad of police officers, three police vans and a helicopter, and "pre-emptively" arrested nine people for simply thinking about committing such a crime. That's the difference.

* * *

When US box office results were released this weekend, Chinese movie buffs gasped. The Chinese animation movie Ne Zha made exactly US$888,868 (about HK$7 million). The number means "prosper-prosper-prosper-prosper-happiness-prosper".

* * *

Reader Jimmy Crain found an unappetizing-sounding "Beef and Harm Sandwich" at the Demon Cafe in Shanghai. It reminded me of the "Bread and Germs" menu item that puzzled a tourist visiting Hong Kong. The Chinese text solved the mystery: "Bread and Jam".

* * *

Thanks, Hong Kong taxpayer. You paid for 20 young local designers to enjoy a junket to a London fashion convention this weekend.

Just before the presentation on Saturday, designer Yeung Chin got ready to bite the hand that fed him.

He put his models in a single platform shoe to give them a limp, gave them clothes with gory images of body parts on them, played Do You Hear the People Sing? and set off a smoke machine.

The presentation would send an unmistakable message to the world about all the murdering taking place in Hong Kong.

But just before the show began, Chin's smoke machine set off the fire alarm--and designers, models and the entire audience had to evacuate the building.

The God of Karma was watching.

* * *

My Republican friends were delighted with the shiny new banner that Hong Kong protesters were carrying yesterday: "Trump 2020". The funny thing was that all the Westerners I know who support the protests are extremely left-liberal--and surely had to keep well away from it.

* * *

Outside Sogo yesterday, the crowd was chanting "Five demands, not one less." The English version annoyed reader Peter Kan. "If students' attended their classes they would know the correct English is: 'Five demands, not one fewer.'"

* * *

We now all need two phones, a Hong Kong-Shanghainese businesswoman told me: one to use at home and a "clean" one for inspection as you enter the mainland. "On my spare phone, I have pro-China memes and an internet history showing that I read Xinhua news stories. They are surprisingly interesting."

* * *

After yet another infuriating junk phone call, Hong Kong photographer David McIntyre had a suggestion: "I wonder if we can get the violent protesters to go destroy the spam calling centers?"

* * *

On Saturday, long-term Hong Kong resident Peter Bentley stepped off a ferry to see three sweet local schoolgirls collecting for UNICEF. "It was a sudden return to the real Hong Kong, one of the freest, least violent cities in the world," he said.

It was a deeply touching moment for Peter--but may have been a disconcerting one for the girls: he looked at them and burst into tears.

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