Monday 16 September 2019

Just as we thought things were calming down

Today’s front page 

Clashes in Admiralty, Wanchai, Fortress Hill and Causeway Bay.
All places that people head to of a Sunday. And the hardest hit will be the small businesses. The Dai Pai Dong eateries that operate on fine margins and can't afford a fall of 5% of revenue, let alone the 50% they're facing now. Mass bankruptcies of small and medium businesses are starting. 
We used to run a business in Hong Kong with some 300 staff we know how critical it is to keep that cash flow going to meet the monthly payroll and rent. Something like what's going on now would have been devastating for us. So we can imagine just tough it is for businesses in these areas. 
Meantime the airport has seen 815,000 fewer travellers in August alone. At spending of at least $us1,000 a head that's a USD $815 Million loss to Hong Kong right there. 
The protesters now say that universal suffrage is their main aim. But in 2015 their democracy representatives in LegCo voted down a package that would have been a step forward. Because it wasn't everything. "Perfection is the enemy of action" again. 
There is no way that ongoing violence is going to progress universal suffrage. What will is return of peace and taking it up again in LegCo. There's a process. It's in the Basic Law. We're a Rule of Law place. At least as long as the protesters haven't trashed it. 
And as Ales Lo says, about the calls to have America weigh in (a big mistake in our view):
No thanks, America. Hong Kong has more freedom than you do. It’s safer than all your major cities. Our people live longer, and have better access to public health care, social welfare and education. Our childbirth survival rate is way higher – but then yours is among the lowest of any industrialised country.
LATER: Channel News Asia is reporting that there were injuries yesterday and that at least one of them was someone believed to be a mainlander beaten up by the protesters.
LATERER: The SCMP reports the same, with sub-head: “Black-clad protesters inflict savage beating on unarmed man in Wan Chai, while gangs wearing white also unleash violence, with journalists targeted”. [here]
LATER STILL: Context: the “chaos and violence” is still limited. You watch out for it only to avoid hassles and delays not because you fear for safety. As one John Hwang, a Korean-Australian living in Hong Kong says: “I do feel that for those at home, the somewhat shocking scenes on the news make them think this is happening on a large scale”. It’s not and it’s still safe. Especially in our eyrie here in DB …