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We are creating the future. Creation requires destruction and space. The bigger the creation, the bigger the destruction must be and the longer it will take. There must necessarily be a space between getting rid of the old and creating the new. In this space we may not even know what the new is. It feels very uncomfortable because it is unknown and we do not know what to do.

I am enjoying watching the changes on some of the things that need to go, the changes that are overdue and need to happen. Here’s what I’ve been noticing over the past few months.

  • Hong Kong street sceneFewer tourists on the streets

We can once again see each other, our neighbours, other Hong Kong people. Although we are diverse, there’s a familiarity and similarity of values. I feel more connected, more belonging, more appreciation.

  • Closing luxury shops or shops aimed at mainland tourists

We have more space for more essential goods such as simple food, restaurants, clothing and supplies for the daily needs of residents. Already I see a fish ball shop has opened on Haiphong Road, a perfect place for such an establishment, that had been crowded out in the past few years by tourist-oriented shops.

  • Less over-production and promotion of unneeded goods

As we focus on providing goods and services to each other instead of to visitors, we have an opportunity to stop the waste of resources from producing unneeded goods, and to stop the weakening of the human spirit that comes from generating consumer neediness.

  • Pedestrian controls are dismantled

If our usual MTR exit is closed, we need to walk on a different street, and we are a little more awake during our commute. With the railings gone, we find new and better ways to walk, interacting with other street users. With traffic lights out of order, we pay attention for ourselves and others.

  • Broken habits create openings for new behaviours

When our daily patterns are changed by sudden inconveniences, we find new ways to work and play. Since our events have been cancelled, we might decide to do something different. We have more time to notice what is needed, and to help someone or even to help ourselves. We find the joy in being helpful and considerate.

  • Work disruptions demonstrate the limits to its importance

When we can’t get to work on time, or when our work is cancelled for a day, we have a chance to notice the daily value of our work. What is most crucial about our work? Would less work create more value through more rest, more care for others and more healthy and creative activities?

  • Obsession with online information

It seems to me that the disruptions are making people more awake. Although we have unending news to read, people seem more aware that the news happens all the time in real time around them as they see out of our own eyes. Are we less enthralled with our phones now?

Hong Kong, let’s keep flexing our resilience. Let’s be awake to what is changing and what we most want. Let’s be grateful for the peace, security and freedom that we have, while still wanting more.

What are you grateful for as Hong Kong changes?