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HK Magazine Archive

Animal Farm

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 May, 2015, 2:44pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:41pm

Have you noticed how many animal stories have cropped up in Hong Kong in the last week or so? There have been snakes eating baby goats, wild boars crashing through shopping malls, pig carcasses spilling on highways... it feels like there’s a reason behind it all. We’ve delved into the news to find the real meaning behind Hong Kong’s recent animal encounters.

The news: In Sai Kung, a Burmese python tried to feed on a baby goat. The goat’s mother fought the snake to protect her kid, but the snake killed the goat and ate the babe regardless. The snake was found lying docile in the road, with the kid’s horn poking out of its side. It was captured and taken away.

What it means: Obviously, this is an analogy about the electoral reform process. The kid represents the people of Hong Kong, naive and helpless. The goat is the pan-democrats, who fight against an unstoppable fate. The snake symbolizes the oncoming force which will swallow us up whole—but from now on there will always be an annoying pain in its side. The snake-catcher represents China who, if we’re not careful, will scoop the whole problem up and make it all disappear to God knows where.

The news: A wild boar in Chai Wan wandered into the Paradise Mall in Heng Fa Chuen, resulting in a four-hour standoff with police and animal control officers. The boar climbed into the ceiling space of a children’s clothes shop, before falling through it to the floor. It ultimately trapped itself in a changing room and was later tranquilized and taken away.

What it means: All too plainly, this is a corollary to the city’s property woes. The boar represents the hopes and dreams of the Hong Kong people to own their own homes. It wanders into “Paradise” in search of a home in a rapidly developing part of Hong Kong. It climbs and climbs in aspiration and thinks it has finally made it: but the ground underfoot is false, and the boar comes plunging back to reality with a thump. Trapped in the ironically named “changing” room (for, you see, nothing will ever change), the boar is tranquilized with promises and led away back into the wilderness.

The news: A delivery truck on Tai Po Road runs into the highway divider, overturning and spilling its payload of freshly slaughtered pig carcasses all over the road. Another truck comes to collect the carcasses and leaves. The driver is unharmed.

What it means: Naturally, this is a parable about Hong Kong’s troubles over the last 20 years. The truck is the mighty city of Hong Kong. The highway divider represents the 1997 Handover. The pigs are the people of Hong Kong, once ignored and kept in the dark (by Britain!): But now they are all over the place thanks to a bad driver (guess who!), bad wheels (that’s economic slowdown in the 2000s!), or possibly just a bad truck (maybe Hong Kong just sucks and we should all go to Singapore!). The second truck, which comes to pick up the mangled pieces, is plainly China.

Alternatively, the truck is a trendy new restaurant; the divider is a crying-face Openrice review; and the pigs are all the people who queue up day and night to eat there, left suddenly exposed by the glare of negative publicity. The second truck is the next big trendy restaurant, and the unharmed driver is the tycoon who leases out the restaurant space.

Whatever, really. We can do this all day. What else you got, Hong Kong?