This summer has been a bit … Exciting, I guess you could say. Overall, Hong Kong is a peaceful place. The people are kind for the most part. This place is a melting pot of all nationalities. Hong Kong has its problems (as does any place), but it has been a wonderful home for my children and me for the past 3 years. At the start of the summer is when it all began though. An extradition bill with China went up for debate in the Legislative Council. Given the events of the Umbrella Movement that happened a couple years before we got here, people were (rightfully) upset.
This set off a string of protests. Most were overall peaceful. The one that took place on National Day (the anniversary of the handover from UK to China) was 2 million people in the streets. Of those 2 million, there were only a handful of issues that occurred. Still, that hasn’t stopped the use of riot police, tear gas, and other measures against not only the protesters, but just passersby and journalists as well.
The issue though, as time has gone on, both sides have upped the ante. We now have protesters starting fires outside the police. They are tearing up the streets. The police are pushing back and have injured protesters and civilians.
Yesterday, there were marches in multiple districts of Hong Kong. One of those being where we used to live in Tseung Kwan O. This is outside the Tseung Kwan O Police Station. This march happened within view of our windows.
There is so much anger right now. One reason stems from the (alleged) use of the Triads to intimidate locals in Yuen Long a couple of weeks ago. TKO protesters stood outside the TKO police station chanting “Triads”.
These protests have been happening every weekend since the first Anti Extradition Bill Protest. It has now morphed into outrage against the behavior of the Hong Kong Police. I personally have not been involved in any of the protests and see issues on both sides. I understand the reasoning behind the marches, and I also acknowledge that, no matter what, it would come to this. You have a place (a gorgeous place I might add) where the people don’t feel that their voices are being heard. They have attempted recourse in the only ways they could. That didn’t work, so now it has become this.
Now, the point of all of this background and a glimpse into that is going on In Hong Kong right now is personal. We live in Ma On Shan now. A week or so, it came to us.
Riot police and protesters in Ma On Shan. I didn’t think it would happen. Naive, I know, but up here, we are pretty out of the way. Knowing now it can and will happen here has set off my mama bear instincts.
My children are currently in the US with my parents. They have actually ended up staying there a week longer than originally planned. They are due back in Hong Kong on Thursday this week (8th August).
Today, there is a strike. The airport and several of the train lines are shut down. Many of the tunnels across the harbor are being blocked by protesters. Tensions continue to mount here.
I am concerned. As everyone should be, obviously. Selfishly, I am concerned for my children. B and I discussed this morning. He is stuck at home because there was no way for him to get to work today.
Hopefully, things calm, but I think there is going to be chaos before that happens. We will decide tomorrow whether the kids will return when they are meant to or if their trip will be extended again. It may not be a choice if flights are still canceled, but I don’t think that will happen by Thursday.
It is hard because this is their home with us. This is where they go to school and have their friends. This is where we have built our lives. I love Hong Kong. I love being here. I honestly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I won’t run because of the unrest, but my children are my priority.
I guess we will see what happens in the next couple of days.