(From the archive) Writing on Hong Kong

Hong Kong is my paradise place: whenever I fall into that bad habit of low-key resentment that can offer a bland patina, whenever I indulge in reveries of how my life might have been; well, whenever this happens, I think to myself: Hong Kong is where I would be. 

This morning I read an article from TIME on protests in early February; triggered by attempts to ban unlicensed hawkers selling fish balls and tofu on sticks at Mong Kok and then further protests following the case of the 'missing' booksellers, who had published works critical of the Beijing regime (and were then located in detention on the mainland; two later made televised 'confessions' broadcast on State media).

Hong Kong is impressive, not only for the chaotic visuals that confront you whenever you walk out the door, alongside all those tiny details, but also for the rebellious spirit that is never far from the surface.    

Hong Kong’s Victoria Park separates the city’s busiest shopping district from North Point; a suburb of decaying apartment blocks, rapidly constructed to house refugees fleeing the mainland post-war. Here, open-air markets—illuminated by red lanterns—sell shoes alongside racks of seafood and pyramids of vegetables. On Sundays, the birdsong chatter of ‘domestic helpers’ fills the air. Women crouch on the ground, not unlike me, as I wait inside the park for this year’s pro-democracy march to begin.

According to The New York Times, Hong Kong is riding out a ‘politically turbulent summer’. Half a million people took to the streets on 1 July, demanding democracy in Hong Kong and, for the first time, on the mainland. Less than a month earlier, a record number commemorated the 15th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. More than 80,000 people, carrying black banners and a coffin, called on Beijing to ‘vindicate’ the memory of the students who died.

Continue reading this article that featured as a Eureka Street cover story; or this article that takes a close look at Hong Kong's economy and political structures following the handover.