Fortunately, watching the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ unfold from the Netherlands is a snap. In fact, I probably see and know just as much from my bike-cluttered, Dutch townhouse, as I would have from my mildew-spotted house in jungly, rural Hong Kong.
Last night, while eavesdropping on my neighbor’s outstanding piano skills, I gaped at the HK Apple Daily’s live video feed and this is what I saw:
- In the safest big city in the world, the government deploy militarized, riot police carrying guns to face-off with docile protestors.
- Hongkongers, who nearly jammed my eyes out with their umbrellas on the city’s crowded sidewalks every rainy day of the year, were now using those same umbrellas as feeble protection against exploding gas canisters and jets of pepper spray.
- Showing similar resourcefulness, instead of wearing surgical masks as a knee-jerk reaction to every sniffle, Hongkongers now used those masks — paired with cling film — to shield their lungs and eyes from tear gas.
- Thousands upon thousands more people from all walks of life took to the streets because they were so damn mad about the police force’s heavy-handed intervention.
Eventually I tore myself away and went to bed, but in the wee hours of the morning I peered under the covers at Twitter and sighed with relief that the riot-gear-clad police force had been sanely replaced with every-day, street-beat-clothed Hong Kong police officers.
Rising to start the day, I smiled as I flicked through pictures of Hong Kong’s tens of thousands of amazing protestors:
- Clearing up trash
- Creating impromptu recycling stations
- Posting ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ notices
- Distributing free bananas, buns and water
- Even obeying the city’s ‘keep off the grass’ signs
In a place that can seem to run on greed and luxury shopping, everyday people are peacefully working together with the shared goal of securing a brighter, more democratic future.
I love you Hong Kong. My heart is with you and I am following your every step.