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Rant: says who?

Kenny Hodgart

 

What happens when you disobey someone in uniform in Hong Kong? Cops are treated with respect, due or otherwise. But what of the other sort of uniformed Hongkonger - the security lackey, the anonymous yellow-jacketed steward, all of whom reckon themselves to have authority over us. What happens when you disobey their ilk?

From my limited experience, I should think not much: it's the uniform, rather than any power invested in it that cows people. (And they are cowed: Hong Kong is not the mainland but quiescence seems almost a given.)

The other day I was waiting for a friend outside a mall in Central and had found a spot on which to lean my hindquarters when I was approached by an airline pilot, or at least a chap in epaulettes and a headset. "Cannot sit," he announced. Only when he'd cleared off did it occur to me to wonder why.

Probably at play here is the misguided notion, post-9/11, that "security" staff simply must be obeyed, or else there will be chaos. But also the piecemeal privatisation of public space means we know not where we stand vis a vis men with walkie talkies, or even who and what they represent. We are not quick enough to tell them to "eff off". We lie down.

Try as I might, I could never work out what the Occupy Hong Kong mob wanted. But staying put for so long in their tents under the noses of so many jobsworths merits a little respect.

 

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