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Karmic justice for vaccine queue jumpers

Hong Kong has now vaccinated half a million people, after rolling its vaccine out to all comers last month. There have been a few hiccups – the discovery of packaging defects caused a temporary halt to the AstraZeneca jab — but most people have now had the first of their required two shots.

I went to get my own jab this week, joining a huge queue at the plush CUHK Medical Centre in Sha Tin. I had a brief feeling of pride at us humans, often a pretty horrible bunch but occasionally able to band together for the common good.

That feeling didn’t last long. Two Australian women, exchanging looks and whispering, tried to cut in front of several hundred people by jumping in a lift that led us up to a small waiting area. They were collared by a woman stewarding the crowds – but five minutes later, I saw them upstairs, waiting to be called for their injections.

They had not banked on how smooth the system was designed to be. Each seat was numbered, each number assigned to a specific person when they entered that floor. When an imperious local turned up to find an Aussie in her seat, all hell broke loose.

She screamed that she saw them cut the queue. They made up a flimsy excuse about a friend holding their place, a friend who had left the building just a moment ago. A befuddled employee of CUHK just watched as the woman let rip, quickly sending her two enemies downstairs with shamed faces.

Perhaps, then, my confidence in humanity did not last long. But my faith in karma got a boost when, after my injection, I went downstairs to get a taxi. The queue was even bigger than before, perhaps 400-strong. And who did I see right at the back? None other than our embarrassed queue jumpers.