• Mon
  • Apr 21, 2014
  • Updated: 8:36am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 4:39am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 7:06am

Bigotry is bigotry as some Hongkongers tell mainland tourists to go home

When my father went to London in the 1960s for several months to prepare and take a qualifying law exam, he was told at least a few times by total strangers in the street to "go home". When my wife went to England and Wales as a foreign student in the 1980s, she was likewise told to "go home". In time, they did what they were told. So, at a gut level, I feel a bitter irony that Chinese are now being told to go home by fellow Chinese waving British colonial flags in what is Chinese territory - Hong Kong.

Look, I get it; there are two narratives here, one legitimate, the other not. The first one is that Hong Kong has finite space and resources, and cannot cope with such a large influx of mainland visitors. That has caused serious tensions and problems in our society and economy. So instead of opening the floodgates, the right response ought to be: you are welcome here like any other visitors but unlike before, there is now a regulated queue for you to join. I believe mainland officials and would-be visitors would understand and accept that.

There is another message sent by people such as those who rallied against mainlanders in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was printed on some of their banners, which said: "Locusts, die going home". The people who demand that the "locusts" get lost say they were driven to it by mainlanders' bad behaviour and other negative effects on the city. Their apologists say while their behaviour may not be commendable, it's justified given the adverse socio-economic effects of the mainland horde. But if you are rational and decent, you would send the first but not the second message. The self-styled anti-locust crowds look more like they are projecting their own hate and resentment, anxieties, fears and prejudices at a highly visible and easily identifiable group. Some otherwise intelligent and educated people use what is clearly a reasonable concern to justify and whitewash such repugnant chauvinism and bigotry.

I take it as a moral axiom that it is never right to target a particular group with labels that demonise or dehumanise them such as likening them to insects. You know this is happening when you won't get away with applying such labels to any other groups than the one targeted. Societies that allow that to happen rarely end well.

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hk.sistercat
Let me add a comment that will infuriate Chinese. In Japan, the Japanese can tell Hong Kongers, Taiwanese and Chinese apart. When the local tour guide take my friends in a local tour, they will say Japan is a safe country with very few robberies - EXCEPT at districts where many mainland Chinese are living there. The Japanese looked down on Chinese because there is robbery in those Chinese communities - a Chinese would rob another Chinese, and no Chinese will help to chase the thief. Those Chinese never dared to rob local Japanese.
michael.michael.1447342
One of the RARE articles that I have to agree with Alex Lo on ....
meoii
What bothers me (and i hope SCMP can research more upon) is people knowingly shout out at innocent tourists Shina and l.o.c.u.s.t.s with a derogatory demeanour. It's not called racist because Chinese are degrading Chinese! Rubbish!!
That means it's OKAY for a person of Chinese ethinic origin to call Hong Kong people names such as "g.o.o.k, ching chong china man, dim sum, rice cake, moon face, c.h.i.n.k.y, rice eating ****, Chineeesee, Chang-ke" (lot's more if your google " derogatory term for Asians"). THIS IS NONSENSE HONG KONG!!! WAKE UP!!!
meoii
Else where in the world, students caught calling others such names would be sent to detention right away. But it's okay in Hong Kong to do it, Hong Kong is just letting racism breed. I've already heard high school students joking with those words on the mtr, it's not long till younger kids catch on too.
Disgusting Racism
You know it's funny. In Hong Kong, there are some morons who think they're not Chinese, so it's fine to shout anti-Chinese racial slurs. If they actually go and live overseas, they will see that people from Taiwan/HK/Mainland are all treated/seen as Chinese by the host country.
ssslmcs01
@ disgusting
I'm guessing you are from the land down under for the simple reason that the only people I've ever heard say anything like that before were from Australia. I'm refering to your comment about Hong Kong and Taiwan people being considered/seen as Chinese while abroad.
In the U.S. or Canada the majority of cultured city folk would easily be able to differentiate between Hong Kong people and Chinese people. I have friends from China who complained about that. They said they found it upsetting that Hong Kong and Taiwan people were referred to as Hong Kong people and Taiwan people rather than as Chinese while they were visiting Toronto Canada and New York U.S.A. That is the observation of a Chinese, from China, not Hong Kong people.
In addition to that, your comment reflects that the treatment of, can we say, minority people is different where you come from than in say, The United States or Canada.
andao
"So, at a gut level, I feel a bitter irony that Chinese are now being told to go home by fellow Chinese waving British colonial flags in what is Chinese territory - Hong Kong"
Your misunderstanding is the crux of the issue. No one asked Hong Kong if they wanted to become British or Chinese or independent. China just said "mine mine" and the UK said "OK sure". You can talk all you want about history and ethnicity and who rightfully owns which piece of land, but the fact of the matter is that HK is different, and the interests of the HK people were never truly consulted.
CY won't change the quota because he doesn't have the authority to. Chinese officials could stop the mad dash to Hong Kong by improving their own schools, lowering the insane taxes on luxury goods and cosmetics, and giving a damn about food safety. Beijing could let HK rightfully choose its own government. There are a ton of steps to reduce animosity, and Beijing has done nothing but whine about ungrateful Hong Kong.
It's wrong to compare people to insects. But the government is completely unresponsive to the people. The upcoming rigged elections in 2017 will only further this unresponsiveness. Media outlets critical of Beijing are being swept away. How can HK people express their displeasure? No media or politician will tell their story. So people resort to these extreme outbursts. They will only get worse until Beijing gets its grubby hands off Hong Kong.
alexloscmp
HK was not asked because sovereignty was not a choice for it to make. The lack of consultation that you complain about had to do with the pace of democratic development rather than the choice of sovereignty. We do have a choice to make now about our system of government but not sovereignty. That's 2 different matters and should not be conflated.
Alex Lo
anthonygmail
If everyone accepts that China has sovereignty over HK, then let's enact Article 23 and then Beijing will give us more autonomy. Right now, Beijing cannot fully trust us.
chuchu59
What makes you think that even with the enaction of Article 23 Beijing will trust HK people and give them more autonomy? I believe they will use the Article to further curb freedom in HK.

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