Yesterday we (myself, baby and young son) went to one of the protest sites in Hong Kong, near Legco, where the government meets. To get there we had to cross a six lane highway which has been closed due to the protests. And that's the first takeaway - how fantastic a car free city is with the freedom to walk as the crow flies. No noise, no pollution, healthier! Wish they would keep it this way. Anyway, we were helped over the median barriers by the first set of super kind students who were manning an improvised stile - not to encourage you to cross over, just to ensure you were safe doing so.
Then we arrived at where the people (perhaps 3,000-5,000) were mingling and, as you can see, had put up signs and protest notes (no graffiti, literally post-it notes) calling on the government to give them true democracy in 2017.
There was a first aid tent and several stations that had donated food and water for people to help themselves. Again we were faced with climbing a high barrier to get on to a second motor way. Again students were manning points where we could step up and over.
Everyone we spoke to was, first of all, very young, then calm, composed, kind, courteous and caring - to a fault.
My son walked off to take a photo and one of the students saw the flicker of concern on my face and went to stand by him and then lead him back. It was as if instead of everyone being infused with violence and aggression, there was an outpouring of courteousness, kindness and understanding.
I asked if they had any spare yellow ribbons (their symbol) and they said they did but suggested I didn't wear one as there had been reports of people being harassed for wearing them. They said they were just grateful people came to visit the site.
I won't go on but, as someone who is normally more into supporting animal issues than human ones, the courage and composure of the students nearly moved me to tears. Both because just when you realise how educated, sensible and promising they are you simultaneously can't see how they will win or even be heard under China. They are under intense pressure from all sides and a lot of it I'm sure is fabricated. Closing the schools? Why? I can only hope my own children end up as decent as them.