Worst part of rap against Hong Kong police is that it's offensive to the ear
Maybe it's because my taste in music inclines towards hard rock and heavy metal. Loud music doesn't bother me as it does apparently many locals who belong to the same age group as me. And while I am not big on rap music, I am not adverse to it, and you know how rude and abusive American gangsta rap can get.
Still, there are standards. Swearing does not equate to real rapping. So, my first reaction to watching a YouTube clip of an alleged Cantonese rap full of expletives played by a four-person band at a Lingnan University student concert was: Boy, this kind of sucks!
"Drop dead police/ Fxxk your mother."
The shock value of lines like this only works the first time you shout it. If you keep repeating them over and over for more than three minutes - the length of the "rap" song against the police - it gets tiresome and tedious. I have heard much better rap, including rapping in Cantonese and Putonghua.
The performance in "the Concert of Resistance in Dark Times" has sent many conservative and pro-government critics into a paroxysm of indignation. A former Law Society chairman wants the band members arrested and the student union disbanded. Bernard Chan, a former Lingnan University council chairman, has offered a public apology on behalf of the tertiary institution.
Others have joined the chorus of condemnation, including a fellow Post columnist. (Interest declaration: I am an advisory board member of the university's philosophy department, so I tend to cut the students some slack.)
Student protesters the world over have always been mad at the police. Sometimes, like those in the US now, they may even be right. Causing offence is one thing; causing offence to the ear is much more serious and unforgivable. What is troubling about this local band is its complete artlessness and seeming unawareness and lack of embarrassment about it. Their "rapping" is no different than anyone swearing in the street in a burst of anger against cops. Maybe it is therapeutic, who knows?
Watch the clip on YouTube and judge for yourself. I am glad, though, the band was not from Lingnan. As one of their elders, I fully expect Lingnan students to rap better than that.