Jing has been saying this for some time. That the protesters seem to have an inflated view of the superiority of westerners. For her it is now better to speak English around town than Mandarin. As for the superiority complex vs the mainland, that has long been a Hong Kong thing, as many wouldn’t even bother to visit China. It is lately complicated by the fact of China’s obvious economic rise and mainlanders coming to Hong Kong and taking high paid jobs with better foreign degrees and better language skills. So it’s superiority complex mixed with envy complex.
For a long time, I thought protesters who waved the colonial, British and American flags and sang their national anthems during protests were doing so just to spite Beijing and Chinese nationalists.
There is surely a strong element of that. Now, though, I realise some of them actually mean it. I have seen too many videos showing protesters and rioters who immediately calmed down, reacted reasonably and/or even backed away when Western-looking people intervened in their actions.
Whether it was blocking road traffic, rallying at the airport, stopping MTR trains from running or in a new YouTube clip, arguing with an expatriate woman who was tearing down messages from a “Lennon Wall” – they amazingly showed awe, respect or deference.
If a mainlander or a local did it, they would beat them up.
Whether and to what extent they succeed in realising it, most Western societies at least have a strong cultural attachment to the ideal of equality. It’s rather different in Chinese societies. Perhaps if more Hongkongers admit their inferiority-superiority complex about mainlanders, we may all have an easier time coexisting.