Tuesday, September 30, 2014

_a diatribe: Hong Kong vs. the Mainland _

May I present, a lengthy diatribe on the perils of ignorance, as it pertains to HK vs. The PRC.

A couple years ago, Anita and I were in the Seoul Tower as tourists, photographing the city skyline from above, when we overheard an ignorant mainland Chinese tourist run his mouth off to the customer service staff. He was giving the staff member shit for displaying a magnetic world map in which a Taiwanese flag magnet was shown over Taiwan. He asserted that Taiwan was not a country, but rather territory owned by the People's Republic of China. This statement belied not only the ignorance of his place in the world (Taiwan is most definitely NOT part of the PRC, as they have their own completely independent democratically elected government, laws, currency, economy, and most importantly, CULTURE), but was also completely irrelevant, given that he was lecturing a KOREAN customer service clerk about a Chinese territorial dispute, while at a tourist site in KOREA. The fool may as well have gone to Ikea to complain about his cell phone bill - the idea of relevance was COMPLETELY LOST on him.

And so you're thinking, why am I bringing this up now? Let me bring you back to the present, where mass civil protests are occurring and escalating in Hong Kong, calling on Beijing to grant full election freedoms to the citizens of HK, as they had been promised. China, being a communist country, does not afford political freedoms to their mainland citizens. Democracy is a foreign concept that is met with guns, tanks, and labour camp sentences. Hong Kong, on the other hand, is a special administrative region that enjoys far greater freedoms than the Mainland, leading to a discrepancy in expectations.

The issue in and of itself is very complex and delicate (as politically charged issues tend to be). But yet, so many North American armchair commenters, after reading a single article on CBC and/or other news websites, are suddenly running their mouths off about how China owns Hong Kong, so they can do whatever they want, suck it up Hong Kong, blah blah blah. You know what that sounds like? An ignorant fool spouting off PRC territorial claims to a clerk who gives NOT ONE SHIT about your issues, in Korea. Don't do it. By opening your mouth, you confirm that you are ignorant of the facts, and even worse, ignorant of your own ignorance - you lack any understanding of the issue on even a surface level, let alone the tense and complex nature of the underlying relationship between Hong Kongers and 'mainlanders'. Shut your mouth and go back to commenting on Stephen Harper, or whatever issue du jour you're having that you can at least passably qualify as having some knowledge of. /End Rant.

Quick side note: after the mainland tourist in Korea faacked off to go be a douche somewhere else, I went to the display and removed the mainland Chinese flag altogether, and hid it in a separate display. So now, according to that map in Korea, the ONLY Chinese republic that exists is Taiwan. HA!

Seoul from Above-1
Seoul, as seen from the top of Seoul Tower.


  1. This is an interesting read. I also don't know the story behind the HK protests, but this somehow gave me the gist. Also, what a beautiful and stunning photo!

  2. A bit hostile for my tastes, but thanks for the lesson.

  3. Yeah, in retrospect, I wrote this while in a very hostile mood. But the ignorance exhibited by the numerous commenters (hundreds) providing their ill informed opinions on various news articles was rather infuriating.