The Financial Times Has Chosen Bruce Lee and Hong Kong Protests as Word of the Year
“Empty your mind. Become amorphous, shapeless like water. When water is poured into a cup, it becomes a cup. When water is poured into a kettle, it becomes a kettle. When water is poured into a bottle, it becomes a bottle. Water can flow, or it can destroy. Be water, my friend”, the actor says, setting forth the central idea of his “water philosophy” in kung fu.
In the spring of 2019, protesters in Hong Kong, where Bruce Lee lived and died, adopted the same motto. In their confrontation with law enforcement, protesters imitate water in its various forms. At the beginning of the action, they “condense” in various places, like dew, to block the road or surround a building, when the security forces appear, they are ready to disperse like fog or leak through the streets like water, but if necessary they can resist, becoming hard as ice.
FT notes that participants in other protests, from Spain to Chile and Lebanon, began to apply the “be water” tactic developed in Hong Kong in 2019.