The Mavic Pro 2: latest rumors and news a few hours before the announcement

In a few hours, Dji is having its launch event for the Mavic Pro 2. In the meantime, their decidedly leaky marketing strategy seems to have seriously deflated the expectations with regards to the event.

DJI’s teaser

DJI was not discouraged and started sending out yesterday a sort of video teaser for the persons who are registered in their database.

https://live.dji.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=edm&utm_campaign=live&sc_src=email_2088123&sc_eh=96efbc40ca5e53581&sc_llid=89968&sc_lid=89986007&sc_uid=8Y0FdUV4eO
Dji’s teaser

To be honest, the teaser tells or shows nothing at all except some gorgeous imagery.

The latest leaks

The Mavic Pro 2 has definitely been heckled by the leaks of media campaigns released before the initial announcement foreseen in July 2018 was cancelled. Once again, a publicity was released in Germany, according to the website Dronedj. This came under the form of two zip files containing high-resolution pictures of the two Mavic Pro 2.

The original tweet with the pics of the Mavic Pro 2.

The interesting part is thus that we have a confirmation that one of the drones will be equipped with a Hasselblad camera and, adds the leak,

Housing a 1-inch CMOS sensor with a 10-bit color profile, the camera captures four times as many levels of color per channel compared to Mavic Pro to provide maximum flexibility for photo and video editing

This means, as previous alluded, that the camera and sensor should definitely have much more dynamic range.

The Mavic Zoom, instead will just offer a 2x zoom, with a smaller 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor.

Then again, another leak yesterday appeared to provide the full technical specs of the Mavic Pro 2. Given that this leak puts the camera on the Mavic Pro 2 at a maximum iso of 6400, it is fair to imagine that the imaging quality will be great at night (oh yeah, in most countries you are NOT allowed to fly at night!).

Other rumors

Well, we mentioned earlier about the omni-directional sensors, so that may save more than one pilot from crashing his drone. Seems the range and stability of signal will also be addressed. One of the issues with the Mavic Pro is that you often get signal lost warnings when the drone is at some distance (especially if you are hidden behind something, like trees which interfere with the signal).

The Mavic Pro 2 will standardize the low-noise propellers first introduced with the Mavic Pro Platinum. I had already adopted those propellers for my own Mavic as they provide lower noise and better energy efficiency.

Some of the photos leaked seemed to suggest that the Hasselblad camera might be detached to be used as a gimbal. How would that work with the Dji Osmo Mobile 2 already launched, is a good question. Ok, admittedly consumers needing a gimbal won’t always own a drone.

There is also talk of a Mavic Pro enterprise more geared towards professional application, such as rescue services, but specifications are still not so clear about that model.

Which drone?

It is obvious that the sweet spot for photographers is with the Mavic Pro 2 thanks to its larger dynamic range and color quality. What is yet unknown is the numbers of Megapixel in the camera, but it should be a fair bet that it would be close to the 20 MP of the Phantom 4 Pro.

Anyway, it is just a few hours away from the announcement, so stay tuned for the latest news when we get all the details about the latest Dji drone.

If you are thinking of buying a drone, you may get one from the affiliated link on this web site, and if you already own one, Dji made an interesting article for newbie pilots.

The Mavic Pro 2

In recent weeks, pursuant to a leak, we got some more details on the upcoming Mavic Pro 2, the replacement for the Mavic Pro. We will most likely get two Mavic aircrafts, one gifted with a Hasselblad camera, the other with a zoom function.

Upgrade of the camera

So far, while simply the change of angle gives already an interesting possibility for the Mavic Pro, the camera and the sensor are a bit short. Dynamic range and image quality suffer hugely when it gets a little bit dark or there is a contrasted scene.

Devil's Peak sunset
The lack of dynamic range of the Mavic Pro is cruelly evidence in this picture with huge contrasts.

The new Mavic Pro 2 would have now a 1 inch sensor, which would make it comparable to the Phantom 4 Pro, currently in Dji’s range. While this was not made very clear, it seems the Mavic Zoom would instead be stuck with the reduced size sensor.

Obviously, a larger sensor would probably give more dynamic range and probably also a better image quality in low light (one of the weak points of the Mavic Pro).

Direction sensors: multi-sided obstacle avoidance

One of the big subjects for most users was the inclusion of multi-sided obstacle avoidance on the Mavic Pro 2. This would mean that the drone would avoid obstacles even flying backwards (one of the most popular drone cinematic moves). Right now, the Mavic Pro only sports forward obstacle avoidance sensors and this was a great complaint among chiefly amateur users. Personally, I try to avoid flying into danger zones or relying blindly on automatic modes (I actually think I used only once an automatic mode).

Some issues with the product line

I initially wanted to talk about the product lineup, but in fact, the original announcement by Dji for the Mavic Pro 2 was scheduled somewhere in July. They pushed back the announcement, apparently because their production lines were not able to satisfy the demand yet. So, yeah, there is an issue with the product(ion) line too.

But similarly, the Mavic Pro 2 and its 1 inch sensor bring into question the existence of the Phantom 4 Pro and its 1 inch sensor and 20 MP camera. If performances are similar, I expect most users to ditch the Phantom for the reduced size of the Mavic (which is very convenient for any photographer).

It could be that Dji may also announce a new Phantom 5 with upgraded capabilities for professional drone pilots now. While bulky, the Phantom line probably provides a top class flying experience for pilots. Nevertheless, if you are a photographer, you will have to make a choice between bringing a camera or a drone. With the mavic pro, you can bring both!

Time to upgrade?

To be honest, I will sit on the fence on this one. My drone is less than one year old, and while I flew quite a lot this year, I still feel it has some life in it. Not to mention that while I am flying it, I am still “amortizing” its cost.

The cost of replacing a drone is quite high. So, just like I advised for the Nikon D850, never mind the great capacity of the cameras, if you are not making money out of them, you don’t really need to upgrade until your camera is really obsolete.

In the meantime, as the Mavic Pro will be phased out, you may watch out for special offers by Dji via this (affiliate) link. And if you want some special discounts on Dji products, just go here.

The death of “Karaoke Street”?

It was announced and it finally came: it seems all but certain now that the Sai Yeung Choi south street in Mongkok will be closed to entertainers. In fact, in a previous post, we mentioned that the decibels were causing a lot of complaints. In a recent vote, the District Council of Yau Tsim Tong passed a motion to close the pedestrian area of the famous Mongkok “Karaoke Street”.

Performer on Sai Yeung Choi south street
A singer performs for her mainly mature audience at Sai Yeung Choi South street on Saturday 2 June

A predictable outcome

In fact, complaints about the noise and disturbance in “Karaoke street” are not new. Local businesses have been complaining about the impossibility of carrying out business with increasingly louder karaoke installations.

The complaints reached a new threshold as the performers kept bringing out louder speakers and more professional material, such as TV’s, generators and mixing tables.

The “professionalization” of the peforrmers and their competition meant that you had people placed at just ten meters of each other, competing to be heard by passersbys witih increasingly louder volumes of sound.

Despite this, the vibe of “Karaoke street” was absolutely contagious, as can be reflected in this video and several periscopes I made at the same place over the years.

 

 

Political consequences

Sai Yeung Choi South street in Mongkok, is known as a hotbed of local popular culture, but also the last refuge of localists. In fact, among the performers, the last remnants of the “Umbrella Movement” found a refuge on that street. The famous Mongkok riots of 2015 also took place in that area. As of today, the area has become one of the last places to observe the typical Hong Kong culture and mostly older residents who enjoy their free time on week-ends.

Suppressing this area might thus trigger other political consequences. That is probably the reason why the HK government was not in a great hurry to offer a timetable for the eviction of the pedestrian zone.

In fact, the district council has no power to edict legislation, and it can only offer recommendations to the HK government. The said government promised it would act “as soon as possible” on the recommendations.

Nevertheless, the conflict of interests and the complaints of local businesses have given rise to an interesting situation in Hong Kong. How to reconcile the desire for entertainment and the needs of local businesses?

Karaoke street performer
A performer pushes up the decibels to get the attention of passerbys

A middle way solution?

As always, the solution might be in the middle. Why not enforce a tougher regulation of sound levels among performers? Why not continue allowing this lovely entertainment area and participate in giving this extra vibe to Hong Kong?

Performers must be reined in, but it is certain that if Sai Yeung Choi South is closed as a pedestrian area, a lot less people will be circulating there. Some editorials have tried suggesting such a compromise, but given how high tensions can rise in that area, it is not sure what approach the HK government will retain, but more than ever, Mongkok promises to be a tricky area to administer. So, as long as they are still there,  I will keep documenting the performers of Sai Yeung Choi South… Hoping to see them still for a long time.

Cantopop singer
A singer performs on Sai Yeung Choi South street receiving banknotes as thanks for her performance.

 

Recreational drones and the regulatory crackdown

A recent trip to Canada and the USA was the occasion of discovering that the explosion of the number of drones has triggered increasingly stringent regulation.

After very mediatized incidents of drones being flown near to airports and other unsafe conduct from recreational drone pilots, the calls were general for more regulation. This, while drones continue being a hot market item (easily bought at Best Buy in Canada, or even on the web site of DJI).

It is true that the explosion of recreational drones has had as consequence a lot of irresponsible behavior by unprepared pilots who do not take enough precautions a). to avoid disrupting major aviation activities; b). to avoid endangering others while learning to master their machine.

It is also true that there are not enough schools to learn how to fly safely a drone, short of taking piloting courses. So, most novice pilots are left to their own devices, and if they lack some obvious common sense, they can become dangerous for others.

From one excess to another

 

Nevertheless the regulatory answer to these excesses and this mass market explosion of drones (most coming from China, by the way) has been marked by another excess.

Taking the example of Canada, for example, no flight can take place within less than 9 kms from any airport (in Hong Kong, it is just 5 kms). And given some areas of Canada are literally littered with airports or seaports, this makes it almost impossible to fly legally. Let’s not even mention the natural parks where flying drones is also restricted. You cannot fly above 90 m, you cannot fly within 75 m of a house, a person or an animal. So, to find a place to fly a drone, you should just go to the middle of a forest far from any civilization. Oh, and your name, address and phone number must be present on the drone.

That’s not nearly as bad as the USA, where, if you are not registered with the FAA, you cannot legally fly a drone at all. The consequence was that I carefully avoided taking out my drone while in the US. In France, no flight is allowed above cities and areas you can fly a drone into are very reduced.

Consequences of over-regulation

The fines, in Canada are pretty hefty, reaching up to 25,000 CAD if Air Canada finds you in violation of its regulations. “No drone” signs are now found even on some bridges, and flying in a city is basically impossible. I did however see a Chinese guy taking his Mavic Pro up in the airs at English Bay, for a very short while. The picture that was basically the same as he could have taken with a DSLR. Still, he was in violation of the Canadian laws.

While the sale of drones has not been regulated, the profusion of these prohibitions has as practical effect: it clips the wings of anyone wishing to try these gadgets. Drones are lovely tools to take spectacular photos, but they must be used responsibly and with care. The problem is that everything has been focused on prohibition and banning whereas the real answer would be education. On the other hand, drone pilots are always looking for the most spectacular footage, sometimes taking absolutely stupid risks. This footage being an example in point.

In the USA, “education” has been answered under the form of obliging every drone pilot to register themselves after following extensive courses and to pass an examination to become a drone pilot. The positive side of this is that basically you are taught a job and can get one after this course. The negative side is that such courses are very expensive.

A middle ground?

While flying my drone, I am often approached by amateurs who wish to purchase a drone too. I do notice that there is some surprise when I advise them that I must take some precautions when flying, check wind speed etc. So, education is definitely a must for drone pilots, even if many rules are simple common sense. For instance, asking bystanders to stand clear of the landing area, checking for electric wires, etc, having an idea of where you are going to fly your drone. I also see some drone pilots flying dangerously (out of line of sight, near electric masts, etc). At the same time, not every recreational drone pilot needs to be versed into UAV piloting rules.

A simple obligatory course in elementary flight safety rules, piloting course and emergency procedures would be sufficient for the vast majority of recreational drone pilots. The problem is that with every stunt pulled by an irresponsible drone pilot, we end up closer to extreme regulation and prohibition.

The Saewol tragedy : still a scar in the heart of parents

During my visit in Korea, in December 2017, one of the most moving moments was when I came across a protest / shrine about the victims of the Saewol tragedy. It as a moment where I truly grasped what a scar this tragedy left in the heart of the parents and of many Koreans.

The sinking of the Saewol

The MV Saewol was  a ferry ensuring the liaison between Incheon (near Seoul) and Jeju, a very famous holiday island in Korea. On 16 July 2014, the Saewol sank while carrying 476 passengers, of which a large part were secondary school students from Danwon High School.

The ship had multiple issues with its cargo capacities and its weighting. As a consequence, when it took a series of turns too quickly, it began listing to port, eventually taking in water and sinking in two and a half hours.

The tragedy was compounded by reports that the ship’s crew called passengers to stay put, even as the ship was taking water into the passenger compartments. Trained to be listening to authority, many of the young students obeyed the instructions, despite the desperate situation. The captain of the ship and her crew eventually abandoned the ship, while keeping on instructing passengers to stay put. Obviously, many of the students who followed the instructions went down with the ship.

A tragedy turns into a criticism of the whole society

This shocked the whole country and after the bodies of many of the students were recovered, their smartphones were also found. Some desperate and heart-rendering accounts of last farewells came through. For the families, a further degree of grief was reached when learning that the students died in atrocious conditions, drowning with a terrible agony. One can only imagine how the heart of loving parents was affected.

The incorrect instructions given by the crew of the Saewol, and the obedience of the kids to these absurd orders, further led the Korean society to question its own organization and respect for authority. Similarly, the lack of regulations and the fact that the coast guard were not even aware of restrictions placed on the ship by its inspection authorities only helped fuel the anger.

Grieving parents

Many parents, inflamed by remarks by journalists and/or politicians that they should not criticize the government or that the deaths were of little importance compared to car accidents, took to the streets to protest. More largely, the movement was still visible on Saejong-daro, the main avenue facing directly the Gyeongbokgung, the ancient royal palace. It is where I had probably my most moving encounter, with a lone father, holding a stand at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the tragedy.

Stand of Saewol victims in Seoul
The lone stand of the Saewol victims parents in Seoul

This father asked me to sign a petition whereby, they wished to ask the Korean government to enhance safety rules for ships. He told me how much he missed his son. When I signed his petition, he gave me what has become the symbol of the movement in Korea: a little yellow and orange ribbon which you can see on the picture below.

Memorial to victims of Saewol
A makeshift memorial to the victims of the Saewol tragedy

The parents of these kids have suffered an unexplained and painful loss. But some of them took the pain from this loss and transformed it in energy to try and change the situation in a country where established authority and practices are difficult to question.

A moving encounter

Most of my posts on this blog are about travel and the experience of visiting new places in Asia and in other countries. However, what I enjoy most in these travels is encountering people and understanding their lives. And although painfully moving, this encounter has been also one of the most emotional in my trip. Meeting a grieving father and sharing a few moments with him, while he tried to avoid other parents suffering the same fate brings a renewed faith in humanity.

These Korean parents deserve our support from wherever we may stand. 4 million signatures were collected by the parents, but the South Korean parliament still has to legislate on stronger rules. The strength of vested interests still preempts the grief of families. If you wish to learn more or support these families in their fight to change this situation, you can sign the petition or get more information here. And if you are in Seoul, do not hesitate to take some time to go and visit the memorial for the victims.

Another hiker dies in Hong Kong

It has become a sad litany this past month, with this being the third time a hiker dies in Hong Kong in under a month. This time, however, tragedy hits closer to home, as I had met the deceased hiker on Suicide cliff during a previous hike.

 

Presuming of one’s strength

Apparently, Albert Poon, the hiker, had been hiking in the geopark of Sai Kung. He then tried to swim to an island and was overcome when returning from that island, according to records in the media.

Local water temperature must have been around 15°, which would be easily conducive to hypothermia. Furthermore, starting a swim in cold water after the stress of a hike, must have taken an additional toll.

Albert was not hiking alone. He was with a group of hikers, but he presumed of his own strength. Hiking groups are often flaunted as a solution to reduce the danger of hiking… But if someone presumes of his strength and/or is pushed beyond his limits, they offer no security. However, the friends of Albert were able to call for help to get him evacuated.

 

Why does it hit close to home?

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I met Albert during one of my hikes up on suicide cliff. At the time, he had even asked me why I was hiking alone. I took a picture for him, and we exchanged our phone numbers. Albert came across as a friendly and cheerful guy and from the looks of it, he was extremely fit.

In a way, when we lose someone we knew personally, it is always a reminder that we are mortal. And since we are both hikers, it is an additional reminder to be careful when hiking. Hiking is a stressful experience for the body. So, when you do that, you should always be taking care of not pushing your body too far.

So rest in peace, Albert, and thanks for that brief encounter on suicide cliff.

 

Tragedy strikes: a hiker died while climbing on Suicide Cliff

Given the number of helicopter rescues witnessed, it was only a matter of time before tragedy struck: today, a hiker died while climbing on Suicide cliff.

A tragedy waiting to happen

It should however be emphasized, that while too many people come to suicide cliff, the hiker who died today was with a group of 12 and was attempting the very challenging climb from the Jat’s Incline side. Very steep, and often described as the most difficult side of the climb, Jat’s incline side is also the location of several helicopter rescues in the past few months.

The jat’s incline route is described as extremely steep and it seems hikers do lose their way around this place.

Helicopter rescue in August 2017
You can see a rope dangling from the helicopter as they pull hikers to safety.

This location is exactly where the night rescue happened a few months thereafter.

Helicopter rescue on Kowloon peak
On 26 November 2017, at almost midnight the GFS rescues hikers stranded on Kowloon Peak.

Overconfidence ?

For some reason, Suicide cliff has gained a lot of notoriety with people posting their spectacular pictures on social media. Nevertheless, hikers should never forget that suicide cliff and Kowloon Peak, more generally, is still a mountain. As such, hikers should always show respect. Another part of the problem is the general overconfidence of hikers. When taking such technical paths, speed should never be a priority. Safety should be, instead.

 

Are hiking groups a false security?

A classic recommendation for hikers is to hike in a group. I can second that, in the sense that I once lost my way in Thailand, and ended on the wrong side of a cliff… I had then to go down the whole mountain  by myself. I survived the experience, but collected some cactus thorns for that.

Nevertheless, in Hong Kong, except for those beginner hikes, people take a hike just as they take life: as something to be completed at 100 kph! In that respect, a hiking group adopting a driven attitude may often take away the benefits of hiking in group. The peer pressure might induce weaker hikers to advance too fast and compromise footing or balance.

In short, we must respect the mountain, take our time, and accept that there is an element of risk in this process.

Of death, ghosts and haunted houses in Hong Kong

Obviously, supernatural is never very far from hongkongese, even if most profess they don’t believe in anything… Hence topics such as death, ghosts, death or haunted houses are quite taboo in Hong Kong.

Why talking about this subject? Over the week-end, a crime took place in Hong Kong, at a luxury condominium called the “Coronation”. From the first facts shared by the investigators, a husband stabbed his wife, threw her from the apartment and then jumped in turn, committing suicide.

This is a tragic event, per se, but a twitter commentator pointed out that the only thing some local medias focused upon, was the fall in property prices resulting from the murder-suicide.

Haunted houses

It has been reported for a number of years now, “haunted houses” sell at a discount on the overheated real estate market of Hong Kong. By “haunted houses”, it is referred to those flats or houses where a crime happened or a death took place. Some real estate companies found an interesting niche by providing a search engine dedicated uniquely to finding those “haunted houses”.

Westerners might wonder what’s wrong with owning a house where someone has died. In fact, death is an event of life in Europe, where old houses have probably seen countless births and deaths. For Chinese, the word of “death”, or anything approaching death like cemeteries, etc, are all extremely taboo. This article is quite informative on the subject if you wish to understand more about it: Unexpected Chinese Customs.

From ancestors to ghosts

Because Chinese believe in the cult of ancestors and, as in many parts in Asia (think Thailand!), believe in bridges between death and living, the fear of ghosts is pretty common. Hence they shun anything even remotely linked to it like the number “4”. In Chinese, it sounds a lot like the word “death”.

But modern society brought a twist to that belief. Nowadays, housing has become less disposable than it was before the industrial area. Before, just as in Japan nowadays, it was easy to get rid of the “spirits”: just destroy the house and build a new one instead. See this comment on the article “why are Japanese homes disposable”:

Some Japanese talk about “memory of the walls”…

As destroying condominiums is not possible anymore, most of the people tend to shun those places where someone died (even if it is not obliged to reveal that someone died in the house, as in Japan).

In the case of the murder/suicide at hand, some tenants who lived on the same floor where the murder took place wished to leave anticipatively (Chinese). The landlords only consented to lower the rent as they are probably aware it will near to impossible to rent the units in the future, without a heavy discount.

Paradox of an advanced and superstitious society

This shows us that Hong Kong, while being an extremely advanced society, still kept elements of old Chinese beliefs firmly anchored. Somehow, ghosts and their beliefs are prevalent in the history of Hong Kong, with a high number of these occurrences linked to tragic accidents or to the Japanese occupation during WW II.

A list of the most famous “haunted” places has been compiled by this web site, but there are many more. A very famous one even is on Lugard road, called the “Dragon’s Lodge”. Here also, a history of deaths and executions by Japanese during WW II.

The fact is that belief in ghosts is so prevalent in Hong Kong that it can also influence the interpretation of normal health issues, such as sleep paralysis. It does also influence the way you want to conceive a “haunted manor”.  In fact, for Chinese, “haunted” is not a concept to be trifled with. Hence, when building its attraction park in Hong Kong, Disney had to tweak a bit the haunted into “mystic” (not scary at all).

To a degree, superstition replaces the lack of religious belief, and even in an “officially” atheist society, human soul cannot function in void. It needs some belief to cling to.

A selfish society?

The twitter commentator lamented the lack of compassion or concern for mental health of the victim/perpetrator in the story related initially. It is true that the other facet of superstition is often extreme materialism, and that is a plague affecting Hong Kong at an extreme degree.

Some Hongkongese justified that “lack of compassion” with impatience of the public towards people who are seen as the “have” vs the have nots. The “Coronation” condominium is one of the high-end condominiums built in Yau Ma Tei, one of the poorest areas of Kowloon. For locals, struggling to survive in “coffin houses”, someone killing his wife and committing suicide and driving down property prices by his act must have been truly selfish to the extreme. It may appear callous, but those people struggle through much worse in their daily lives.

At any rate, in the meantime, about 1,300 people showed up to participate in a lottery to award the right to purchase 4 units at a housing project…. So ghosts or no ghosts, real estate in Hong Kong does not give any sign of cooling down.

Going further…

I would invite you to take a look at the various articles I linked to in this post.

If you are further interested about some aspects of death in the Chinese culture, you can watch my periscope on the Aberdeen Chinese cemetery below.

 

Sunsets over Hong Kong: loss of hope

When there is no clouds, haze or fog, Hong Kong can provide some spectacular sunsets, just like the one featured in this post.

Somehow, a previous post of mine with the same title garnered some attention, but I believe it was more because of an understanding about the title referring to the political and economic situation. So, let us try to do the perilous exercise of combining a photographic post with some political and economic analysis and look at what announces sunsets over Hong Kong.

The 2014 turnaround

The consensus in 2014 was that, while Hong Kong grew more dependent of the mainland capital inflows, its economy fared pretty good for the situation.

Some special tax statuses such as the offshore status did a lot to attract capitals, not to mention the general view of the city as the doorway to mainland China.

But the influx of mainland capitals had as side effect of making everything more expensive for the locals, in particular cost of housing. As mainlanders grabbed everything for sale in HK, hongkongers were left with no option but to pay increasingly higher rent. For some categories, like the cardboard ladies, this precipitated the fall into poverty.

An increasing part of the populatino is impoverished

A constriction of the future

At the same time, wages and perspectives for future did not follow for the locals. The increasingly self-centered education system of HK, became more and more a hindrance, as its products came out of school with maybe a good academic training, but severely lacking in language mastery, both in English and in Mandarin. Only Cantonese survived, but was increasingly relegated to a useless role, as mandarin or putonghua is becoming the business language, and obviously, foreigners expected English in a former English colony.

The accumulation of these factors resulted in a constriction of the foreseeable future for the local HongKongese. While costs increased, wages did not follow suit and neither did the perspectives for future. Once able to move easily from country to country in the English-speaking world, the Hongkongese are increasingly locked down in their city. T

hey are part of China, but China imposes upon Hongkongese the same restrictions that they impose on foreigners. At the same time, Hongkongese are not terribly excited to go and live in what is for them (and many foreigners) a lawless and arbitrary land.

Umbrella movement: an economic as well as political protest

The issue of democracy was not the only one worrying the 2014 protesters. They wanted also to have the guarantee that the city would look out for their economic interests and invest into its population, not only facilitate the Chinese takeover of the economy. This side was pretty much occulted both by Western medias and by China.

People feel increasingly left over on the rails of progress

Similarly to Thailand, as long as the economy would have been handled in a fair manner, and they would have felt being protected and invested into, I believe the population would not care much about democracy. The Legislative Council was always a game among few leaders. The powerful conjunction of political and economic unsatisfaction gave rise to the umbrella movement… Before it fell again into oblivion thanks to its leaders.

Nevertheless, China’s reaction to the movement was blunt and to some extent dumb. They have an opportunity with Carrie Lam to regain hearts and minds, but only to the extent a real social politics is implemented in HK.

The real sunset: becoming part of China

Hongkongese might have been able to accept becoming part of China if they were guaranteed their freedom and their unique character would be preserved. Unfortunately, the Chinese reaction went right to the opposite of protecting the unique nature of Hong Kong. Beijing is going to tear away its last embers of independence and focus innovation and investments on other cities, like Shanghai.

From that point of view, the increasing opening of the Chinese economy to foreign capitals may finally be the last blow to Hong Kong. With no foreign capitals, a housing market out of control and no hopes for social mobility or evolution, hongkongese might resort to the last possible exit strategy: immigrating before they become fully Chinese.

The last protest in HK

Typhoon Pakhar blasts Hong Kong

After typhoon Hato, earlier this week, it was up to typhoon Pakhar to blast Hong Kong. One life was lost when a truck driver got ejected from his cabin in a road accident near Shenzhen, but except that, the city did not report heavy damage beyond the habitual fallen trees or branches.

A couple of hikers had the luminous idea of getting stranded on Kowloon Peak on Saturday evening, obliging 150 firemen to rescue them over the night from Saturday to Sunday. As a reminder, it is this tricky route here.

The aftermath

Cleaning the streets started as soon as the alert level dropped to 3, with street cleaners taking to tidy up the damage, despite the ongoing rain.

However the elements claimed another victim: a little bird seems to have been killed when a branch fell.

A bird killed by the typhoon