Saturday 7 September 2019

White is the new Black

A visiting friend, A, found themself* last Sunday at the Tung Chung MTR (subway) station, in the middle of a protesters mob, who proceeded to cut off all transport, and to trash the MTR station. They smashed ATM machines, smashed plate glass windows on local shops, smashed digital timetables, smashed turnstiles.  The station closed.
The memes below were passed around the crowd by AirDrop.  Initially they were on the local social media, especially the local version of Reddit, called LIHKG.  
The protesters are getting all their info from social media. These messages are being lapped up, but are distorted, as I'll show. 
The tag line at the bottom of each is 香港还有自由吗? Does Hong Kong still have freedom? In the captions I’ll translate the bit at the top.  Surely I don’t need to point out how deluded they are? Do I?

(1) “Wearing black will get you arrested..."
(2) “Expressing your opinion will get you fired"
(3) “The MTR will close down"
(4) “You can get arrested for buying laser pointers"
(5) “Protests will be prohibited"
Ok, Ok, so I do need to point out how deluded they are.  Here goes:
(1) Wearing Black won’t get you arrested. Unless you happen to be smashing up an ATM machine, smashing shop windows, smashing MTR stations; or bashing a mainland journalist
(2)  Expressing your opinion won’t get you fired, unless you’re a Cathay Pilot and you say, over the loudspeaker, as you’re coming in to land, “Hong Kong people, Jia You”, which is the call sign of the protesters (加油), meaning, literally, “add oil”, figuratively “get on with it”, but highly political and when we heard that a pilot had said it, we both thought, J and I, “eh, inappropriate”, and it seemed close to a sackable offence, which it turned out to be in the end.  What next, pilots denouncing Trump as they descend into Newark?  Flight directors beefing about Brexit, as we land in Gatwick?
The young lady is looking at a screen with “Hong Kong, add oil! Be careful.”
(3) The MTR will only close down when the protesters have trashed it.  And repeatedly kept the train door from closing by sticking their umbrellas in the doors. Minding the gap....This we have seen with out own eyes. So it’s a bit rich to blame that on the MTR management.
(4) Strong laser pointers (700 mW, iirc) were being used as weapons to try to blind the police. The were made illegal, as they are, I believe, in most other countries. One young fellow was arrested for having a dozen of these in his bag, as well as smoke bombs and the makings of a molotov cocktail.
(5) All protests have been permitted except on one day when it was clear that there was going to be violence. Again, it’s rich to complain about this, when it’s you, the protesters, who have instigated the violence.  You can have your protests if you keep them peaceful.
So there you have it.  Fake News right in front of us. But it’s such memes that are making their rounds and inflaming the youth.  For them it’s all true. They bear no responsibility, nothing is their fault.
If there are any freedoms being eroded, it’s by them.  The freedom of movement, for example.  By our friend A, for one, who was unable to make it to our place.
*This is my deliberate use of the “they/them” structure in the singular, to replace the “his or hers” structure, and I rest easy in the knowledge that Shakespeare used the singular “they” as well....