One thing Mallorca has over Hong Kong is that demonstrations here are much more comfortable.
Hong Kong's demonstrations typically attract(ed) hundreds of thousands if not more than a million people, whereas the demonstration I went to on Monday, Spain's Constitution Day, had only a few hundred. Until the fateful year 2019 when Hong Kong people's reaction to the constant overreach by their communist masters turned into riots and violence, (conveniently quelled by Covid), big demonstrations in Hong Kong normally took place on July 1st.
July 1st 1997 was the day of the "handover" of Hong Kong from Britain to China, which China calls 回歸 The Return, and it was made a bank holiday in Hong Kong. The Chinese government probably thought Hong Kong people would use this day to celebrate the glorious return to the motherland with dancing in the street, throwing petals, perhaps with some singing. You know, like the other minorities do.
But Hong Kong people are an ungrateful lot. Instead of dressing up in their most colourful business suits, dancing their funny folk dances while singing the praises of their communist benefactors, they demonstrated against what they mistakenly see as loss of freedom. Every 1st of July, the hottest day of the year, out they came in an endless stream of people of all ages, calling for freedom, democracy and what not.
So I got into the habit of demonstrating too, although it was hugely inconvenient what with the teeming millions crowding the ferry and every public transport, not to mention the 100% humidity and the procession getting stuck between trams and buses while participants darted in and out of air conditioned shops to cool down.
But the demonstration on Monday! Not only could I walk to the starting point, a leisurely 40 minutes' stroll from my house; the march itself was so un-stressed and not at all sweaty, no one fainted and there was ample space for each marcher. Instead of being pressed up against howling traffic on the bottom of a canyon of 80 floor buildings, we had the winding medieval streets to ourselves, not counting the people waving and filming from balconies and bystanders clapping, maybe smiling behind their face nappies to guard against the dangers of sun induced vitamin D.
Yes you guessed it - it was yet another call for freedom by an ungrateful people - this time the Mallorcans who don't agree with the idea that a waiter has the right to check your medical history. I know, right? And what else, oh yes, something about "Don't touch our children" - apparently they have this morbid fascination with their children's health and not using them for some experimental drug. Something like that.
"Libertad, libertad," yes, I joined in of course! When in Rome, right, and it was a good chance to practise the one word I know in Spanish. Libertad. So you can see, I joined the demonstration because I like demonstrations and they are good exercise.
But I have to say, when I notice with which complacency and glee some of my fellow humans are willing to give up other people's freedom, I think I will stay on the side of libertad for everyone. Yes, even those who want to choose what substances are injected into them and their children.
Marching for miles and miles, year after year, sweating through my eyeballs in Hong Kong had zero effect, it turns out. But it was also good exercise, and great for the skin.
Nowadays, no one can demonstrate against anything in Hong Kong - not even for something. But if you want to start a little, un-sweaty demonstration in your brain while sticking it to the Man, you should take Cantonese lessons from me. After only a few weeks you will be able to have quite sophisticated conversations (Cantonese has no grammar) and there will be one more of us, one fewer of them.
Today's Cantonese: 自由. Tsi yau. Freedom. Again!