|Nathan RD, Mongkok last night. Building a stone wall|
barricade from bricks torn up from the footpath
And a few weeks ago I went to the front lines in Kowloon, until violence and destruction broke out, which I watched for a bit, then went home.
Now I watch the demos via Live Feed, NOW TV Channel 331. It casts its eyes unblinkingly on areas where demos are going on. You get to see what’s happening in real time, with no voice over and no editing. Hour after hour.
And it struck me that it’s a bit like the difference between going along to watch a cricket match at the Oval and watching it on TV. Different experiences, but you’re watching the same thing. If you want a fuller, clearer picture, you’re actually better off with the TV view. And so too with Live Stream because you can watch all the places at once. Last night it was Mongkok, Yuen Long, Sheung Shui, Hung Hom and the Harbour Tunnel. Above is Nathan Road, the main tourist street in Hong Kong. [ADDED: why do they keep the streets brightly lit, when they’re under attack? Why not turn off the lights? Wouldn’t that dent some of the fun of vandalising? It’s greener, too].
It’s strangely addictive, this Live Stream. The soundtrack s the mutters and hums of the young crowd, (students, mostly), the occasional shout, the odd chant, but mostly it’s muttering and sputtering, punctuated with the rhythmic crash crash crash of metal bars on shuttered shopfronts and gated MTR stations. Which they then fire bomb as they did last night.
Just before the screenshot above they had a human chain passing bricks along, bricks that they’d torn from the footpath. Some, like ke Michael Chugani, would burble brightly about how wonderful, how peaceful, how communitarian they all are, these brave students. Right. Production lines to destroy our city. Breaking the law to fight for the Rule of Law. Ok Zoomers!
And we’re wondering: When will this stop? How will this stop? The passage of time alone? Or giving in to the Five Demands? Or will it take government crack down? With or without PLA involvement?
Quick prediction: Hard government crackdown. Possibly with PLA involvement. Because…
Time won’t solve it. Protests have only got more frequent and violent with time. Giving in to the Five Demands (五大诉求) won’t do it because (a) they would press new demands and (b) at least one of the demands is impossible and another is illegal. (One, and arguably two, have already been granted).
So it seems inevitable, to me at least, that a tough crackdown is only a matter of time. But what do I know? I’ve a terrible record of prediction. And I’m recalling that back in June not a single person would have predicted where we are today. It would have been — it was — unthinkable.