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Martine, the new yoga teacher, was at the counter ordering something. Great, I thought. Here’s my chance to chat with her. How’re you liking it here, I asked.

“Love it,” she said. Her Aussie voice brimmed with energy. “The yoga scene is really huge in Hong Kong, somany people taking their practice seriously.” She flashed a brief, dazzling smile, then frowned. “But the marches and the demonstrations, they take some getting used to.”

I nodded. “That’s part of life here. Hong Kong’s the city of demonstrations.”

“But why? Do they really think they can make China change its mind?”

I mentally wound myself up for a long discussion. “Actually it’s a story that goes back a long way, to the British.” Then I realized she may not be up for the big picture of Hong Kong’s culture of protest. So I took a different tact. …

Edward Irons

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