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.