It’s Monday morning in Hong Kong and the sun still rises. I check the MTR schedule to make sure the trains are still running before I join the other morning commuters on the way to their jobs and responsibilities.
People look tired and often sleep as the Tsuen Wan line needles its way throughout Kowloon and into the New Territories. There is some light chatter here and there and a few young kids in their school uniform scroll through their favorite apps and message their friends.
Except for maybe the noticeably less number people on the trains these days, to the outsider this would look like any other work day in almost any modern metropolis in the world, one could hardly tell that last night parts of Hong Kong were burning and people lay on the streets bleeding as protesters clashed against police and Chinese-sympathizers again for the 17th week in a row.
Like a slow boiling frog, over the span of these 17 weeks, we’ve seen escalations rise. Police shooting & beating people, Chinese sympathizers joining in with police support, protesters pushing back, fires, Molotov cocktails, smashing windows and vandalizing train stations. Followed by police tear gassing, shooting blue-dyed water canons, and going from beanbag guns to real bullets to protesters swarming & beating up people with Chinese flags.
You hear the yells & chants nightly, followed by sirens, and finally a gun shot and people flee. Streets are shut down, train stations close, and a sort of unspoken marshal law curfew kicks in as the night takes over. We talk to our loved ones in bed wondering what the endgame will be here…
Morning comes, the sun rises again, we all wake up, see the news and wonder if this was from last night or the night before and we feel like we are living in a Groundhog’s Day movie.
We check twitter and reddit, try to glean where protests will be today. We check the MTR to make sure the trains are running and wearily go underground.
It’s almost creepy how the city is always cleaned and ready the next day, but evidence of the night before still remains, an eery reminder of last night, last week, and the seventeen weeks before that.
The train goes above ground and beyond the fog, pollution, and mountains, the sun rises again in Hong Kong.