Saturday, 30 June 2012

Celebrating in the Style of One Country, Two Systems

President Hu Jintao reviewing the PLA soldiers in Hong Kong
President Hu Jintao is in town and his visit started off with a bang -- visiting the 3,000 People's Liberation Army troops and their military hardware in Shek Kong yesterday.

We were more than a little surprised to see him in an open-top car and the rows of missiles, helicopters, armoured cars and infantry vehicles as well as tanks and mobile launchers.

Did we have all these weapons and military gear in Hong Kong and never knew about it?

His driven inspection was eerily similar to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, dressed in his sombre dark Mandarin jacket and microphones lined up as he greeted the soldiers.

Then today things got interesting when Hu visited the cruise ship terminal being built at Kai Tak.

As the Chinese president walked by, an Apple Daily reporter shouted, "President Hu, the people of Hong Kong want the truth behind June 4 to be revealed, do you know this?"

Hu heard the question and turned to the journalist but continued walking away.

So much for his personal pledge when he arrived of "... I hope to walk more, see more and personally feel the development of Hong Kong, and to understand the life and expectations of Hong Kong people".

The reporter was immediately detained and questioned for 15 minutes.

"He told me that my yelling was breaking the rules," the reporter said.

Journalists shout questions at American President Barack Obama and other heads of state all the time.

Obviously Hu is in another class of his own.

And then tonight there was a big musical bash held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, just steps away from his room at the Grand Hyatt.

Practically all the big stars were there including pianist Lang Lang, opera singer Warren Mok, Cantopop stars Kelly Chan Wai-lam, Jacky Cheung Hok-yau and oldie stars like Sally Yeh Yip Sin-man and Kenny Bee who even brought his young and lively daughter Chung Yi to sing with him on stage. She looks gorgeous and didn't seem to have any stage fright at all.

However most notably absent was Jackie Chan, a perennial at these events, and it was interesting to see CoCo Lee singing her heart out as she's better known in Taiwan than Hong Kong even though she was born here. Perhaps she's keen on conquering the mainland market?

Nevertheless, there were six hosts of the show, two from the mainland and it was so obvious from their appearance and presentation that they were from China. They had no clue what the Cantonese hosts were saying and smiled politely.

What was also interesting about the many acts, particularly the ones involving young people, was that it was pretty much inclusive. There were people of all shapes and sizes on stage -- something that would have been unheard of in China where a performance in front of state leaders would ensure everyone looked uniformly good.

Instead there were overweight people mingled with others, singing and dancing. That was pretty cool to see.

At the very end, perhaps at his request? Hu was invited on stage to shake hands with every performer standing in the front row. He made sure he had a few words with Cheung and Chan, and put his hand on the cheek of Kenny Bee's daughter.

Organizers made sure this celebration would not be ruined and for the most part it was picture perfect.

As for tomorrow with a massive protest rally planned barring adverse weather, things may not look as rosy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. Many people here aren't happy, so there is going to be a protest march (now an annual event) today. Should be in the news later today.