Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Hong Kong WTO meeting
(To enlarge: click image)
Yesterday, a police spokesperson was on the radio to assure all and sundry that (a) public order will be maintained; (b) water cannons will not be used, but the tear-gas canisters are primed; (c) there's room for 1,800 ne'er-do-wells and other riff-raff in lock-ups around the territory; (d) Hong Kong's 'finest' -- the best that money can b[u]y -- will have a third of the force on active duty in the district. Disappointingly, nobody on the radio had the imagination to ask the spokesperson if the boys in blue have any ground-to-air missiles...
Anyway, media scare stories to the contrary, the view from a little island in the South China Sea is as follows: there will be nothing resembling the Battle of Seattle, nor a police riot like they had in Genoa, Italy. Oh, but the latter was for a G8, or was it G7 meeting.
What can be confidently predicted for next week? Extended periods of traffic gridlock throughout Wanchai and Causeway Bay and Central caused by WTO Ministerial motorcades with all their attendant motorcycle outriders -- the job lot racing from one meeting to another. And the DIY shops in nearby Lockhart Road complaining they haven't seen any customers and been able to do any business because of the 'security blanket'. Likewise, the same road's girlie bars and pubs, phone-order business excepted, of course. Regular stressed-out Christmas shoppers? Excluding the hardiest, many others will forsake Hong Kong's numerous temples of conspicuous consumption (aka the shopping malls) to instead embrace on-line shopping.