For the past few years, I’ve returned to my home town in the UK to escape the summer heat in Hong Kong. However, this summer has been different, and for a very simple reason: I started a blog last year.
I got rid of my television after the 9/11 attacks and don’t miss it. News coverage on the BBC’s Radio 4 is superior to that on the corporation’s television channels, and the pictures are better too. I haven’t had an internet connection back home since 2005, because service providers insist on lengthy minimum contracts and offer no flexibility. This was also something that I’d been able to accept, until this year.
I’ve never worried about not being ‘in touch’; in fact, I’ve always rather liked the idea of being ‘out of touch’. However, having started this blog last autumn, I wanted to be able to continue and thought that I’d be able to work around this difficulty. Unfortunately, relying on a slow connection in my local library (costing £2 per hour) turned out to be impractical, because most of my posts require at least some online research, and also because without instant access it is impossible to comment usefully on current events.
The other factor militating against my blogging efforts has been the change in lifestyle that inevitably takes place every time I go back home. Most of my friends are quite heavy drinkers, and I would also place myself in this category, although no dependency is involved — I drink very little while in Hong Kong. In the end, I spent most of the summer either cycling, enjoying local delicacies or joining my friends in the pub, although I have also been working sporadically on four essays that I now expect to post before Christmas: (1) An analysis of democracy as a social concept, which is likely to be much longer than I’d originally envisaged; (2) a comparison of the prospects of India and China in the twenty-first century, which I’ve almost completed; (3) a (hostile) critique of drug control laws in the West; and (4) an analysis of the prevalence of child pornography and paedophilia, which is likely to make disturbing reading but which I believe to be important.
Finally, I’ve also been trawling through the thousands of photographs that I’ve taken in Hong Kong over the years to select one that most appropriately sums up the spirit of Hong Kong (a phrase that you might struggle to understand if you’ve never lived here). The selected photo, together with a justification for its selection, will follow this post almost immediately.