Enough with the Che Guevara fixation, 'Long Hair'

Alice Wu says unless 'Long Hair' plans on starting a revolution of 'gunpowder and blood', it's time to give his Che fixation a rest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 April, 2014, 3:11am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 April, 2014, 3:42am

I loved this paper's photograph of "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung that accompanied a recent interview - published last Wednesday. It features Leung in his Che Guevara "uniform", talking on his iPhone. Guevara and the archetypal modern-day bourgeoise status symbol, less than an arm's length apart, may just be enough to make Leung's hero turn in his grave.

The caption attributing "a heart of gold" to Guevara further boggles the mind; one wouldn't usually associate "a heart of gold" with someone who has been quoted as saying: "A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate." The "Butcher of La Cabaña", who freely sent his enemies to the firing squad, believed "judicial proof is unnecessary"; an "archaic bourgeois detail". Connecting Guevara with wholesome goodness is so mind-boggling it's almost psychedelic.

But that cerebral trip ends quickly when our eyes fall on the headline, "The man who'll do anything to wake up Hongkongers". These nine words should wake anyone up from la-la land, with alarms blaring and lights flashing. Guevara, too, considered the need to wake up the sleeping masses.

The question for Leung is: with what would he wake up the masses? Would he resort to "anything"? Excuse me for being scared, but "anything" for Guevara wasn't just getting kicked out of the chamber or flinging bananas at people. For Leung's favourite nice guy, "anything" included staining his "rifle red while slaughtering any enemy", openly declaring that his "nostrils dilate while savouring the acrid odour of gunpowder and blood", and fantasising about squashing Christ "like a worm". Guevara was pure terror.

Incorporating Guevara into his wardrobe is one thing; to take "killing the bull" as his cause is another. Signalling his disappointment with moderate pan-democrat legislators, Leung had said: "Just like in the arena, you are not there to do business; you are there to kill the bull." Defining politics as a blood sport should be a cause for worry.

Now, Leung is erudite, more so than most of his colleagues. There is no way he doesn't know of Guevara's scary ways.

While Leung slammed moderate pan-democrats for being moderate, what he did in Shanghai was by no means "revolutionary", although he likes to be called one. He had to show he had the guts to confront the "bull", to borrow his words. But he sacrificed nothing.

This Che Guevara image did not, does not and will never work. Leung should ponder his very serious crisis of imagination. As an aspiring revolutionary, he needs to consider "reinvention" - think Madonna (there are plenty of Madonna T-shirts).

On this Easter Monday, let the revolutionary of all revolutionaries - Jesus of Nazareth - inspire you, Mr Leung. And let a new statue of that revolutionary extraordinaire shed light. The statue, depicting Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench, in an affluent community in North Carolina, got some people to call the police on Jesus. Now that's revolutionary - with meaning and purpose.

Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA