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Tea Leaves

Hong Kong's Tai O village offers political lessons

Over the centuries, locals have dealt with government changes

A view of Tai O village at night: Governments have come and gone over the centuries, but the quiet Hong Kong village has stuck to its fishing roots throughout it all. 

Passing through Indonesia back in 2019, I asked a longtime friend why Southeast Asians were so quiet when it came to supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Once an anti-Suharto activist, now a businessman, he rolled his eyes at my naivete. "Hong Kong has had it too good for too long," he said. "The rest of us in Asia put up with jackboot stuff every day. We learn to work around it."

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