Sunday, 22 February 2015

strange behaviour

We were late arriving for the fireworks on Friday, reaching the Hung Hom rail terminus only 90 minutes before the show was due to begin, so we fully expected to have to make do with an inferior viewing position. We set off along the waterfront towards the action, intending to stop once the crowds had become too dense to allow an easy continuation. However, much to our surprise, we were able to reach the prime viewing area in front of the Intercontinental Hotel with little difficulty, even passing unchallenged through what appeared to be a police checkpoint.

The result was the best viewing position we’ve had for years, but with so much space to move around in, I couldn’t help but notice an unexpected phenomenon. I shouldn’t have been surprised though, given the nature of modern social trends. What I witnessed, out of the corner of my eye, was several people who were standing with their backs to the exploding fireworks. And what were they doing? Taking ‘selfies’, of course.

I must confess to breaking a longstanding rule myself by photographing the fireworks, but my excuse was that I was trying out a new camera—my old one is now more than ten years old and isn’t up to the job I want it to do. However, I took only half a dozen photos in the first minute of the display before putting my camera in my pocket and concentrating on watching one of the best free fireworks shows to be seen anywhere.

Effectively relegating such an incredible pyrotechnic display to background wallpaper is the clearest indicator of self-absorption I’ve ever seen. Why anyone would hang around for more than an hour of excruciating boredom waiting for the show to begin, then not watch it, is beyond my understanding. I thought that watching was why we were there in the first place.

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