We had been in Hong Kong for five days, marvelling at their mild December. Through osmosis, I'd learnt even more about the culture than I already knew. But there were still parts of my history that I hadn't really considered until I was here, having dinner with long lost everyones and watching everyday life play out for the people who shared my DNA.
Beijing has written a bill which, if passed, will allow Hong Kongers to vote for their own leader in 2017 - as long as the Communist party approves of the three candidates put forward. Hong Kong, gloriously and rightfully autonomous since it's release from Britain in the late nineties, was promised 50 years of making their own choices and rules. This bill undermines that promise.
When the Huffington Post asked me, a 37-year-old married father of two, if I wanted to enter a cooking competition to win a trip to Hong Kong with a 25-year-old girl I'd never met, it was a real no-brainer. I'm confident that in no way would my wife go ballistic if I jogged off to the other side of the world leaving her with two pre-school kids to look after, so I signed up on the spot.
Police dismantled the final umbrella movement protest encampment in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong on Tuesday morning. Traffic was restored around lunchtime as police made 20 arrests. After 79 days of protest, pro-democracy demonstrators were given 30 minutes to pack up and leave. Most left the area, but around 17 people remained at a sit-in awaiting arrest.
A day after one of Hong Kong's three pro-democracy protest camps was cleared by police and bailiffs, hundreds of pro-democracy activists returned to Mong Kok's main shopping thoroughfare on Thursday evening. Instead of erecting tents, activists convened to collectively watch movie trailers and adverts on a cinema billboard.