Are we halfway through the Games yet? I am cautiously optimistic. So far, I have avoided seeing any televised event (apart from last Saturday morning, when the Foreign Correspondents Club wheeled out its giant screens to force innocent breakfast-eaters to witness an excitable man in a suit giving a speech in Portuguese – presumably the opening ceremony). I’ve swiftly flicked past no more than a dozen or so photos of dripping, doped-up oafs doing their biting-of-medals ritual. And I haven’t examined a single results table listing countries in order of Sporting Magnificence and Glory, except close-up extracts of those with the wrong flag or some other mistake likely to hurt some nation’s feelings.
Plus, I have been pleased to note a bright side to the Olympics.
Apparently TVB has been broadcasting Chinese rather than Hong Kong athletes’ performances. The station’s owners thus attempt to prove their patriotism to Beijing’s leaders. Of course, none of the black hair-dye brigade in Zhongnanhai could care less. But the kowtow does not go to waste: it increases support for localism and the phenomenon that goes by the still-jarring and other-worldly tag ‘pro-independence’.
According to the South China Morning Post, evil localist scum are planning a ‘provocative’ Olympics gathering (tonight, presumably). Displaying their customary wit and verve, the young radicals are choosing Mongkok – scene of last February’s Fishball Riot – as the location, prompting the SCMP to declare that the city is ‘bracing for another potential flare-up’. The kids will be relaying a Hong Kong vs China badminton game live from Rio. It is, of course, another opportunity to sow the seeds of disrespect and disdain for the glorious motherland. As if Soy Street and anti-China sentiment weren’t enough to panic the police, the kids will be breaking copyright laws. This is according to Ronny Tong, former Civic Party member, now a tragic non-person trying to ingratiate himself with the Communist regime.
Whatever happens, independence will get a boost.
Interestingly, the SCMP lists the grave threats in a different order: copyright infringement comes first, then violence, then cross-border animosity. They must have struggled to sort out their priorities here – I guess they got it about right.
I declare the weekend open with another little cutting from the SCMP, which could have come from the Forthcoming Mongkok Shuttlecock Riot story, but doesn’t (it comes from this one), and seems to sum up the mood of our times, this week at least…