Looking back over the years, at nearly every Pop/Rock concert held in Hong Kong, especially at the Coliseum, over-zealous, and usually ageing security guards would make sure that no one stood up and maybe tried to dance to the music, or, quelle horreurs, tried to get close to the stage.
Security guards would come over, shine their torches at “weekend offenders “, and so a night of fun would turn into something like a school dance or one of those afternoon tea dances that were popular in Hong Kong during the Sixties.
One could call this over-the-top way of “managing” things being “for the good of all patrons” though this type of “keeping order” has been allowed to grow and multiply and where today in Hong Kong, it’s all about power versus fear.
Hell, there’s fear almost everywhere- a fear of going to the bank to open a new account, the fear of talking to any official anywhere over the phone, fear of anyone in an uniform and, of course now, the absolute frozen fear of entering Hong Kong knowing that any wrong move or uttering one wrong word could see you at the back of the queue- or worse.
You know what they say about a little power, and some of us have seen it raise its ugly head when Hong Kong was a colony and taipans in their noble houses and pukka private clubs ruled the land and Darkie toothpaste was for sale.
More recently, that same type of suffocating approach to “security” seen at a pop concert by someone like Herman’s Hermits is seen at race courses, when attending exhibitions, when attending the opening of an envelope etc.
Today, this little bit of authority has been allowed to run rampant, and which is why most of what is now an ageing and dwindling population in Hong Kong is living in fear of being quarantined or just plain scared of the unknown.
The kicker is that no one is helping to make things better.
If anything, it’s become part of an ongoing pandemic of FEAR that has taken hold of the Hong Kong psyche for especially the past 3-4 years.
This is at the very heart of what is now a meek, weak, subservient, divisive and suspicious Hong Kong where few trust anything or anyone.
Surviving in an environment of fear is hardly going to be the impetus to create a vibrant city full of fun and creativity and kumbaya moments.
This fear has morphed into becoming the ugly new Face of Hong Kong.
It’s not a good ‘look’ to the outside world and it’s terrible for the business at hand of getting Hong Kong back on its feet.
Maybe everyone simply being nice and understanding to each other is a good starting point.
That’s easy enough to say, but history has shown that despite all the jive about Hong Kong’s supposed “Can Do” spirit, it’s always been about self-serving agendas and very little community spirit and genuinely trustworthy leadership.
As for Hong Kong being “resilient”, let’s cut through the crap.
This “resilience” was always about surviving financial disasters like stock market crashes, and, sure, typhoons etc, but ensuring that one came out of all this able to hang on to one’s wealth and finding new ways make it grow.
And now, who are we Hong Kong Belongers going to blame for today’s Fear Factor- fear built around a petty and jealous divisive society?
Who are we to blame other than ourselves for seeing this happen for decades and always turning the other cheek?
No one is saying that we become misguided “freedom fighters” armed with hashtags and allowed to cripple an entire city.
We can, however, look at what to do as a community to calm ourselves down and believe that it’s really up to us to know and believe that everything is going to be okay.
This is a very different kind of resilience and which has to do with showing more empathy for everyone.
Cowering in the face of rampant elitism hasn’t got us very far, chaps and chapettes.
If anything, pandering to elitism is what’s tripped up this once great city.