17 October 2018
"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence" (Desiderata), this old man at the flooded Starbucks in Chai Wan seems to be telling us. Photo: Facebook/Kristy Chan
"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence" (Desiderata), this old man at the flooded Starbucks in Chai Wan seems to be telling us. Photo: Facebook/Kristy Chan

Bad weather, worse political climate

It seldom rains in Hong Kong in October, much less do we have a storm at this time of the year –and definitely not twice in the same week.

But then we have not seen the pro-establishment lawmakers finally getting their act together, which they did on Wednesday.

They walked out of the chamber in protest against two young legislators-elect for insulting China, and were able to prevent them from retaking their oaths and becoming full-fledged members of the legislature.

Some pro-Beijing lawmakers also did a walkout last year, but that only resulted in the defeat of the government’s election reform bill.

This time around, the pro-government camp tried the enemies’ trick of filibustering on the first day of the Legco meeting presided by Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, and it worked.

Still, Youngspiration leaders Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung would not bow.

What would happen in the next three years and 50 weeks is anybody’s guess.

Things could be worse, you know.

But perhaps there is something we can learn from an old man at Starbucks.

The photo of the man sitting contentedly while reading the newspaper at the flooded New Jade Shopping Arcade in Chai Wan, where some 20 shops have turned into something like the floating market in Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, went viral on Wednesday.

Many netizens wondered why he was so calm amid the unpleasant situation.

On the other hand, what does he need to worry about? For all we know, he didn’t even realize that the rainstorm signal changed from yellow to red to black in just three hours.

His nonchalance reminds us of the wisdom of the Zhongnanhai leaders in the face of really nasty political developments.

Remember the verse that Chinese leaders such as former president Jiang Zemin and former premier Wen Jiabao often cited when they were quizzed about a difficult situation?

It goes like this: “While on cliffs of the Yangtze Gorges, gibbons ceaselessly cry. Ten thousand folds of mountains, my skiff has slipped them by!” (兩岸猿聲啼不住 輕舟已過萬重山)

Just like this time: The rain stopped after three hours – and the sun came out this morning.

But of course there will be more dark moments: Hong Kong may have another storm – this time a superstorm, possibly Signal No. 10 – tomorrow.

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, Hong Kong is bracing for Tropical Cyclone Haima, which will bring even more downpour and gale-force winds than Typhoon Sarika.

That probably means more raging rivers in Sha Tin, Tsueng Kwan O, Kwun Tong, Tai Po and other parts of the New Territories.

No one can say if the next salvo from the pro-establishment camp would bring more furious winds to the already stormy political climate.  

There is, for instance, the unprecedented court case from the Chief Executive and his Secretary for Justice seeking a judicial review of the oath re-taking of the two localists in an obvious move to please Beijing.

An apology from the Youngspiration duo might just calm down the storm – and they will most probably be forgiven because everyone knows they’re young and passionate and didn’t know any better – but it is unlikely they will do so.

That is because it is politics – and it tends to turn a rather simple matter into very complicated one.

We do not know how bad it can go tomorrow, weather and politics-wise, but we are fairly confident that the sun will come out – if not this Sunday, then the next day, or the next … 

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe