I have always hated the Hong Kong umbrella - on sunny days, its spokes have poked at my eyes on busy streets; during downpours the cheap brollies of passers-by have whacked me without remorse. The poor umbrella etiquette in Hong Kong had dented my faith in my fellow citizens. But last Sunday on Connaught Road, as protesters held back tear gas with nothing but those same umbrellas, faith in my fellow man was restored. When the police resorted to riot-control tactics to disperse peaceful protesters, Hongkongers rose with what little defence they had: the HK$40 7-Eleven umbrella. On the frontlines, protesters interlinked their colourful brollies to take shelter against the authorities. And the so-called "umbrella revolution" unfurled. Fanned out over the ramparts in their many splendoured glory, the umbrellas reminded me of a loved one who was for ages infuriating but who, in time, has become a loyal confidant As the umbrellas strived, against all realistic possibility, to hold back the hissing, fizzing streams of tear gas darting at them like fireworks, they transformed in my eyes. The umbrellas outshone their humble utility and, collectively, became a phalanx to shield Hong Kong's democratic rights. What lasting significance Occupy Central will have, no one knows. But perhaps, as tank man is remembered holding his plastic bags, Hongkongers' umbrellas, too, will become an iconic image of resistance against a hopelessly superior force. The egg to the high wall. For me, those umbrellas will never again be a source of irritation.