March 2020

The two months of January/February have been remarkable by any measure, and for the whole world not just Hong Kong. The outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, in Wuhan in December became a global issue in the opening months of the new year, spreading first to elsewhere in China, and then everywhere. Hong Kong has handled the outbreak pretty well so far with a limited number of infection cases (not much over 100 at time of writing) and just three deaths. The enhanced hygiene efforts have probably offset this loss by preventing a greater number of deaths from seasonal flu. It’s an ill wind… For a time the whole city went mad, clearing out supermarkets of rice, tissues and toilet paper just like the bad old days. Fortunately things calmed after a while. I earned a certain amount of notoriety by announcing in my newspaper column in SCMP and repeating on air on RTHK that I would not be wearing a mask, unlike most (but not all) of the local population. I refuse on principle to subscribe to hysteria..

For yours truly the main talking point was a hike on 12 February on the Little Hawaii Trail, where I slipped on a wet rock and landed quite violently on my posterior. Took the wind right out of me and shook me up quite badly. Took two people to help me stand. I thought I had sprained an ankle (which turned out to be true) but it turned out I had also broken my fibula. Not knowing this at the time, I even went to Macao (on Valentine’s Day) for the birthday party of my goddaughter Hedwig Brockman (aged 2). Had to go by shuttle bus on the new bridge as all ferry services cancelled. Quite an experience.