"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"The people have unlocked themselves and marked the occasion by inserting flares up their bottoms"
Oh boy, this is going to be interesting to watch. Boris Johnson is intent on relaxing England's Covid restrictions on 19 July. While around 68 per cent of the British adult population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and just over half are now fully vaccinated, the data on new cases is less encouraging. These surged with 221,000 people testing positive in the UK in the week to 11 July.
Am I comfortable with this approach? Not really, because the pandemic reminds us that we are all connected, and the unfolding crisis in one country can impact every country. That's especially so when Hong Kong and the UK have such close contacts.
Although sitting 6,000 miles away, at least we will have time to put the barriers up if it all goes awry. But, wait a minute, aren't direct flights from the UK already banned? Yes, but we still have rare cases arriving here by around-the-houses routes.
In fairness, Boris did ask that people take personal responsibility and wear masks when appropriate.
Then again, why bother with any restrictions? The footage this weekend of England fans running amok in London while the boys and girls in blue skulked away suggest it's all rather academic.
The people have unlocked themselves and marked the occasion by inserting flares up their bottoms. Forget all the talk of football as the beautiful game — there is nothing appealing in a lardy lad with a firework sticking out of his bum. Where do these people think they are, the PTU Officer's Mess?
When this particular practice came into favour, I'm not sure. What is the cultural significance? Although, it does appear popular given the number of pictures and video clips circulating. Also, getting your kit off, waving your man-bits about and throwing beer accompanied the Hershey highway action. No doubt, an anthropologist will secure a grant to study all this. Is it a right of passage to manhood or some form of fertility dance?
What also struck me was the absence of the police as the fans ran amok. Maybe the cops are adhering to Prof Clifford Stott's 'Elaborated Social Identity Model' and keeping their distance in fear of radicalising the fans. Stott is well-known in Hong Kong for advocating that the mere sight of police officers causes spasms of disorder and the breakdown of civilisation as we know it.
Better to let the mob run riot than taking enforcement action that may lead to people being upset. I suppose the saving grace is that the police's absence meant they didn't need to take the knee. Moreover, some yobs balls on fire are, rightly, a lower priority.
Meanwhile, with people sticking flares up their bottoms, personal responsibility for Covid-19 precautions feels like a stretch.
Once again, Johnathan Pie sums it up with eloquence.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.