The “cockroach” epithet, unsurprisingly derogatory, has been used widely in politics, primarily to dehumanise. Photo: Shutterstock
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

Hong Kong’s protesters are often called ‘cockroaches’, but where does the term come from?

  • During the protests, the much-reviled insect’s name has been co-opted by pro-Beijing elements, intended as an insult
  • The Cantonese slang for cockroach is also a term of admiration for resilience in the face of adversity
The “cockroach” epithet, unsurprisingly derogatory, has been used widely in politics, primarily to dehumanise. Photo: Shutterstock
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