History repeats

2 07 2017

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Twenty years ago, at the ceremony to mark the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, it rained. Last night, once again, showers fell onto Hong Kong as fireworks flashed and fizzled above the harbour. I had hiked up through the forest to the Peak for the novel sensation of watching fireworks explode at eye-level, through the the silhouetted branches of the trees, while a cold rain fell, trickling down my back despite an umbrella. The ICC tower in Kowloon flashed messages in Chinese – “we are happy to return to the motherland!” and English – “Download the app” – while the post-fireworks smoke drifted across the water and grey clouds billowed across the upper atmosphere. As the smoke cleared, and the rain stopped, we walked back down through the damp, dark forest where strange lights appeared in the trees and large-sounding animals rustled in the shadows.

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