I arrived at work yesterday to find 30 police buses outside my office. “I guess they found out about my imitation rat meat business,” I sighed and prepared to be arrested. Selling fake rat meat made from cows isn’t easy; some say it’s completely nonsensical—and to those people I say, fnord wilkie# noodle dong. I put my hands behind my back for the handcuffs, like I was auditioning to be a “Downtown Abbey” butler. Strangely, nothing happened. I dropped my period English accent and decided to investigate. Around the corner, instead, police had gathered en masse and were in the process of dismantling the remains of Occupy Central. Well, actually a bunch of guys in hard hats who had wandered off a Village People tribute telethon were doing the heavy lifting while police supervised and office workers and throngs of people with neon high-vis “Media” vests took pictures. I looked and wondered, “Where are the protestors?” then “I’m hungry. I want a bagel.” Then I got a bagel. While eating my bagel and looking out the window, I watched as the police formed a tight line and advanced forward, dismantling foreign objects along Connaught Road. “Needs butter,” I thought. The whole ordeal was surreal—the protests, not my butterless bagel—and I watched transfixed as the long march slowly advanced, unbuilding the makeshift architecture. “I guess this is what it’s like at the end of Burning Man,” I thought, “minus the drugs and the desert.” Down the road out of my sight things intensified, with 247 people being arrested. Were these people noble citizens, standing up for their beliefs and expressing themselves through civil disobedience? Or were they fools who had made their point a month ago when they closed down a major highway and took the arrest as some sort of unnecessary martyrdom? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that it’s absurd. This column is absurd and the whole situation is absurd. Police have been getting a bad rap but I’m impressed by the Hong Kong Police for showing good judgment and restraint, with a few outliers. The beatings and early aggression was horrific and should not be denied, but in the US the police would have gone medieval within a week. I am impressed by the protestors who were for the large part nonviolent, well-organized, polite and compelling. I am impressed by the Beijing government: not for its political stance, but for its tactics. I’m not siding with Beijing, but the way it handled Occupy was masterful. Waiting for the local and global public, who are used to the fast-paced social-media driven issue of the week, to tire of the news, and then acting when it was a cold turkey. I am less impressed with the Hong Kong government’s inflammatory exclamations but, hey, you can’t win ‘em all. In the end, though, the individual or group I’m least impressed with is myself. I walked in the protests the first night, feeling the air of excitement, the fear of authority and the understanding that this was for something larger, the right of representation. Weeks two through four I walked the streets, assuming I absorbed the spirit of protest by osmosis and really just enjoying the clean air and quiet roads. After the first month my feeling was one of annoyance—I can’t taxi all the way to my office, the MTR is too crowded, why didn’t I rent out my apartment and stay in a tent to make money earlier? It eventually became, like everything, about me and my small hopes and dreams. I wonder today if that makes me a bit sad or a bit human. If I had kids, I would say that my life was about them and their livelihood, and at least expand my selfishness to a familial level. But with irony as the dominant form of humor and increasingly personalized technology, the cult of self grows. I envy the protestors (and police) who believe in something greater than themselves. Or more accurately, I watch them with a mixture of envy, curiosity and disdain. And maybe for us with easy lives, that’s the most basic message we can take. A few minutes outside of the day-to-day to wonder what the good life is, if it’s not about me. Yalun Tu is a columnist for HK Magazine. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @yaluntu on Twitter.