It seems Edward Snowden didn't do his homework on where in the world to apply for asylum. His choice of Ecuador as a safe haven stands in stark contrast to President Rafael Correa's war on the free press and refusal to endure dissent of any kind.
Beset on all sides by great powers, sophisticated operators, and clashing agendas, Snowden, like his perhaps new Wikileaks patron Julian Assange before him, seems like a character in a cyberpunk novel.
While the myth of the "Old Shanghai" is more a narrative cultivated by a few foreigners than a living point of reference for the Shanghaiers, Shanghai has an instinctive passion for the newness and the promise of each day.
Snowden's revelations have dramatically undercut Washington's effort to corner Beijing on the issue. They allow Xi to counter Obama's complaints by saying that the rest of the world, including China, is a potential victim of this massive and formerly secret American cyber-surveillance program.
The gathering and miniature Goddess of Democracy are the small, but not so subtle signs of freedom that are to be cherished and coveted while still here. They are also reminders of what is not possible across the border in Mainland China.
As I started to learn more about the PUFF Festival and Gina Wong, I realized that her insistence upon the appearance of an artist from the other side of the globe for the world premier of a low budget indie rock opera art film should not come as a surprise.
The lesson we are quickly learning in the 21st century is that no one owns culture. Some in Hong Kong may gripe about how cherished Southern Chinese fighting secrets are now literally an open book, but they may be surprised to find that Chinese kung fu itself not purely Chinese.
Hong Kong has surpassed New York City in several ways, including number of high-rises, population density, and modern, highly-efficient mass transit. Yet there is one area in which Hong Kong is lagging far behind -- cutting the energy use and carbon emissions from buildings.