Exchanging insults in realm of fantasy
The war of words between Japan and China has resumed as tensions in the East and South China Seas heat up again.
Tokyo yesterday compared China to Mordor in the Lord of the Rings. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the way President Xi Jinping looked at people certainly reminded him of the great evil eye of Sauron. He also points out the resemblance between the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee with the Nazgul or the ringwraith - the powerful servants of Sauron.
"Even their slogans are same: One ring [party] to rule them all," Abe told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview.
Meanwhile, not content with sitting on the sideline while his neighbours insulted each other with references from fantasy books, Philippines President Benigno Aquino joined the fray, saying Chinese leaders behaved like the House of Lannister in the HBO hit series Game of Thrones.
"They are filthy rich but they still want more," he said. "Beijing's motto is exactly the same as the House of Lannister: Hear Me Roar!" Xi has called China an "awakened lion".
The Philippines has filed a case in the UN arbitration tribunal challenging Beijing's claim to most of the South China Sea after a dramatic stand-off with China's coastguard. This was despite Chinese warnings of a fallout in bilateral relations.
Beijing hit back last night, comparing Aquino with the house slave master Stephen in Django Unchained. "He is a good head of the servants, but a slave nevertheless," a foreign ministry spokesman said. He also likened Abe to Loki in the movie Thor. "If Loki wants war, we will give him war. Chinese people are like Hulk, the angrier we get, the stronger we are," he said.
Professor Joe Blowater, a specialist in Asia studies at the University of Hong Kong, urged Asian leaders to act like adults and read fewer fantasy books.
"They should stop reading comics and watching bootlegged Hollywood DVDs," he said, adding that quality reading was important to statesmanship.
"A better knowledge of the classics would not be amiss.
"Say Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Fifty Shades of Grey. It's all about domination, right?"
Alex Lo will return after April Fools' Day