The Olympic torch relay in Hong Kong through the eyes of an Overseas Chinese

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Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

This is the photo of a crowd surrounding a reporter from TVB, Hong Kong’s top television channel, during the Wan Chai portion of the torch relay in Hong Kong.

A very happy crowd assembled along Hennessy Road, the main artery passing through the centrally-located district of Wan Chai, nearby which are several Hong Kong landmarks, like the Convention Centre. Flags of China were flying or drapped around bodies and umbrellas, among Samsung flags.

I was semi-expecting protesters, because of my exposure to Western press, but coming from a regular proudly-Chinese family, I should’ve known better, that it wasn’t in Hong Kong that you would see dissent.

There was a single occurrence of disruption, fifteen to thirty minutes before the torch’s passing, on Luard Street (perpendicular to Hennessy), at least 15 to 20 meters behind the crowd: a young blond-haired Caucasian male in a yellow t-shirt made a ruckus with the crowd. I never figured out what happened, and it was quickly suppressed by the crowd within a minute. Ten minutes after the torch passage, and after the crowd more or less dispersed, there was a police van barging in on Luard Street, with photographers snapping whatever they could through the van’s fenced windows.

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Ironically, of the 300 pictures snapped yesterday, this previous pic is the only of two good ones that I managed to get. The carrier looked like some big business person or local politician. Only 40-something percent (approx number from memory) of the runners in Hong Kong were sportsmen, lower than at relays in St Petersburg and San Francisco.

Other than that, there was nothing worth mentioning. The best is to look at this Flickr set of pictures of the event, or check at these chosen pics below.

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

“China Add Oil” = “Let’s go China”

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

China flags

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

Olympic torch in Hong Kong - May 2, 2008

I never thought that Hong Kong people liked the red-and-yellow flag so much – I always thought they were relatively torn about their love of nation/communist flag… maybe the others just stayed home?

2 thoughts on “The Olympic torch relay in Hong Kong through the eyes of an Overseas Chinese”

  1. I watched parts of the relay on the Chinese-Canadian news this morning and the “overseas version” of TVB news had THREE separate stories on the relay: one of the relay itself (where yes, most of the runners were singers/actors, politicians or businesspeople, but really the great Hong Kong athletes seem to be few and far in between), one of the Sha Tin portion of the relay (with the dragon boat) and one that focused more on protesters.

    No offence (to my own people, no less) but I always felt that people in Hong Kong are (to put it quite harshly) bandwagon jumpers. So they’re jumping on the Beijing Olympic bandwagon–no reason to not be waving the red-and-yellow there.

  2. Indeed, for the few days before the relay and on the day itself, the torch was the only thing they talked about in the local media (TVB, ATV, etc). The pro-democracy camp, cried foul at the disproportionate representation, but it seems to say a lot more about the HK culture wrt the game of interests.

    Despite being relatively proud of the “motherland”, I would’ve expected more Hong Kong bauhinia flags than the starred one. From my previous perception that HKers were suspicious of the PRC around the handover time, this certainly comes a long way, and a lot quicker than I thought. Mayhaps, you had to be brave _not_ to show your patriotism on that day.

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