Happy belated Canada Day! Man, this young country is getting old. July 1st marked the 147th birthday of Canada, so naturally my Facebook feed was buzzing with pictures of the beautiful Vancouver waterfront. When I was in Canada for Canada Day, I never used to actually do much on this day. I do remember going to the local parks for some salmon and random celebrations for a few years, but it’s not like I had a tradition of doing something every year.
Now that I’m away from home, I always want to find a piece of home, and so I went down to Lan Kwai Fong on Monday night to look for a party. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything all that appealing, so I ended up camping in a bar with a friend, just catching up on all the months that we haven’t seen each other. At least the bar was kind of Canada-decorated?
July 1st is also a public holiday in Hong Kong, held to celebrate the return of this area to the Chinese government, but it’s a bit depressing because nobody really ‘celebrates’ this occasion (like how we celebrate Canada’s birthday in Canada). Instead, people line up on the streets to protest every single year, as the political issues in this city continue to upscale. I don’t know if I can generalize this in this way, but I’m going to say it anyway: as a Canadian, I’m not a very political person. It’s where us Canadians get our stereotype from anyway. Liberal, Conservative, NDP… they’re all fine with me. I mean sure, of course this is something that affects your lifestyle, and each party has their own way of doing things. But in the end, you never feel like your life might be drastically affected if a certain party takes power. I know that they all want this country to improve; it’s just the have different ideas about which aspect of the country to focus on first.
In Hong Kong, it’s a different story. I don’t feel like the government has the people’s best interests at heart. If they did, this place would be a democracy already! Instead, they focus on how to maintain control over the people. I understand that it’s a handful to keep 1.3 billion people under control, but at the same time, they really can’t just put walls up on Hong Kong after the English did so much to develop this country. I like the way my friend said it, because it really sums it up in a nutshell. You can’t hand this city over to a party that’s more backwards than the city itself. There’s no example of this in history, and it’s not about to work now.
I know there are people that will argue, “who are you to say that democracy is more ‘forwards’ than communism or a monarchy?’. It’s what I would bring up too, if I were to play devil’s advocate. But instead of looking at it as a ‘developed vs undeveloped’ problem, look at it as ‘known vs unknown’; ‘experienced vs inexperienced’. The people of Hong Kong have had their eyes opened to ideas spread from all over the world, while people in China are still living under censorship. If you never heard about the concept of freedom of speech, you wouldn’t really think about it. But if someone tells you that you have the right to freedom of thought and speech, and then says “oh never mind, I take that back”, you’re going to ask why. Just like in Inception, that seed of thought has been planted. It’s not a comparison, but rather a timeline, and you just can’t go back in time.
See, I’m not against a monarchy – I actually agree that an absolute monarchy can be an effective form of power. Take Napoleon, for example. His absolute dictatorship over France is a big part of what made him such a good leader. But you can’t do that on a group of people that have already had a taste of freedom.
Anyway, despite being born here and quite directly related to this city, I still treat all this with a ‘meeh’ mentality. I definitely do not like what China is trying to do, but at the same time, I can just leave whenever I want if I feel like this city gets too ugly. Instead of lingering on politics, I avoided the entire rally and went off to Macau for the day!
I’ve already talked about Macau before, and despite this only being my third visit to Macau, I already feel like I’ve seen everything there is to see there. As usual, a trip to Macau basically just means a day of non-stop eating, and that’s exactly what we did. We literally made a stop every hour for either a meal or a snack. It was nuts.
We received another day of beautiful weather as we walked through the streets for pictures and endless snacks. Our adventure was a tiny bit different from when I went in December. This time, we actually walked around some parts of Taipa that weren’t occupied by crazy casino hotels. Just normal food and restaurants, with a touch of Portuguese to the buildings. These are the parts of Macau that actually look like a normal city rather than Las Vegas!
Across from the big meadow, you can see all the crazy casinos. (The City of Dreams is directly across from this view).
Before we left to catch the ferry, I got this shot with the Galaxy in the background.
So that was how I spent my last public holiday before I leave Hong Kong behind. It’s pretty sad that there are no more holidays until the Mid-Autumn Festival in September, so I understand the pain of my coworkers. Meanwhile, I’ll be done with my job halfway into this month, so I just have to get through two more weeks!