Postcard #2

Dear Hong Kong, February 2020 (#2)
I have been scrolling through photos of you my friends have posted on social media. For the past month, an eerie silence has engulfed you, suffocating your usual boisterous ways. Your lonely sidewalks, deserted public spaces, and shuttered storefronts are stark reminders of the COVID-19 virus. Your skyline is as magnificent as ever, but I can’t help but notice the absence of smog–a run on the Central Promenade would be pleasant.
When I left you, I thought I was done with you. I never thought I’d feel the tightening of my chest seeing you on social media. I mourn the city of my memories, your seedy streets where I have lost and found myself. You’re a shell of your former self, quiet and still. I hope you’re simply hiding under the abandoned masks and will come out to play soon. I miss you. Love, Kayo

Dear Hong Kong #1

Dear Hong Kong, February 2020
Surgical masks, toilet papers, and hand sanitizers are flying off the shelves as you hoard everything in sight. I know that the coronavirus is scary and uncertain, but this panic buying makes you seem hysterical and rapacious. Now that I’ve been away from you and don’t have to queue for hours to buy toilet papers, I can assess the situation in a more detached way. Instead of closing the crossings to the Mainland, the government is keeping them open to appease the Central government. The Central government, meanwhile, has been more interested in maintaining its reputation than to informing and protecting its citizens–as if it has not learned from the 2002/03 SARS epidemic. After nearly a year of lies and deception, you witness another failing of the government and betrayal from Beijing at the start of 2020. I understand that your avariciousness for daily supplies is not just a sign of selfishness or greed, but a symptom of trauma. I hear you, Hong Kong.
Love, Kayo