In April of 2018, Elsa and I visited Hong Kong for the first time. It now seems likely that this will be the last time we will have visited Hong Kong. It’s certainly true that if we ever return, we will be entering a very different place.
Visiting the Hong Kong Museum of History was an important experience. I better understood the brutal conditions of colonialism in Hong Kong and the complexity of reunification with China. But I remember even then having the sense that the political situation in Hong Kong was untenable– how can individuals invest so massively in a place whose future, in a thirty year timeframe, was so uncertain? Why wasn’t there more demand for democracy or for a longer term resolution on Hong Kong sovereignty? Are people really just going to wait it out?
I recognize that these were privileged, WEIRD thoughts, and I did feel the subtle complexities that challenged my more simple confusion.
I don’t feel prescient that things have escalated to the violent, authoritarian extreme that it has in Hong Kong so rapidly from then. I feel sad.