Barking mad: A shaggy dog story of canines and locusts
I don't know why it is that many mainlanders keep calling us Hongkongers dogs. Well, to be fair, we call mainlanders locusts, which I suppose is worse. But as a dog lover, I take exception to that particular characterisation, which is really insulting to our canine friends. Dogs, I find, have many attractive attributes that a lot of humans I know simply don't have.
As a matter of fact, Hong Kong's very own Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun once took to calling me a dog for my numerous nasty comments about him in this space. So maybe the use of canine insults is not exclusive to mainlanders. Or maybe it's because Zen himself was originally from the mainland, so as much as he hates all things from over the border, some old habits die hard.
The latest dog insult came courtesy of mainland football team captain Zheng Zhi who allegedly called Hong Kong's goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai that during last week's World Cup qualifier in Shenzhen. Zheng has denied making the insult, and at the weekend, Yapp tried to make light of the incident. Perhaps it was down to the fact that in the heat of the game, one spoke Cantonese and the other Putonghua, so there might have been a something of a miscommunication.
Boy, things were pretty tense during the 0-0 game at the 40,000-seat stadium. An army of riot police were deployed, lest the dogs and locusts got into a brawl. The qualifiers have become the latest flashpoint between mainlanders and Hongkongers. During two early ones held in Hong Kong, local fans jeered and booed when the national anthem was played. That led to some mainland bloggers calling for "the Hong Kong dogs to be beaten up".
It's certainly unbecoming to jeer at your own country's anthem. I make it a point to show respect whenever someone's national anthem is played, not just China's. First it's good manners; second, it's good sense because you don't want to be beaten up. Mainland security fears about unruly Hong Kong fans were overblown. They don't understand Hongkongers.
We only show true courage when protesting in our own streets, hurling insults at mainlanders and our leaders in Hong Kong, knowing full well nothing much could be done to us.
On the mainland, we all behave like poodles.