The moment the lights came back on in Hong Kong

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Picture: Hong Kong Tourism Board

You could almost feel the symbolism etched across the Tsim Sha Tsui skyline. The countdown event to the ringing in of the New Year – hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board – culminated not with a fireworks display as in (pre-pandemic) years gone by but in a spectacular pyrotechnic and multi-media light show that illuminated Victoria Harbour and the scores of boats bobbing in the waters as if they were dancing to the music.

Out of almost three years of darkness suddenly there was light. Glorious, brilliant, celebratory light. Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers came out to watch the scene, their mobile phones in camera mode almost raised in unison to capture the moment.

I watched the unfolding scenes neither from the Kowloon nor Hong Kong Island waterfronts but on the television at our Discovery Bay apartment 33 kilometres away. But they felt no less moving nor powerful for my not being in situ.

With the scrapping of its quarantine restrictions and other COVID-related constraints, which ranked among the world’s toughest, Hong Kong – beautiful, vibrant, multi-cultural Hong Kong – is alive again. It has emerged from the age of darkness, a horrid and prolonged period and there will be – despite some bumps along the way – no going back.