How to make a fool of yourself by waving a flag

South China Morning Post 發布於 2019年08月22日16:08 • Alex
  • There’s one group in Hong Kong waving the American ensign and singing the Star-Spangled Banner, while in Canada there’s an opposing bloc that shows its patriotism by driving high-end sports cars draped in the Chinese flag
A Ferrari draped in Chinese flags drives past Hong Kong protesters and pro-China counter-protesters in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Kevin Huang Yi Shuen

They are as different as two groups of people can be, but in their own small-minded and tone-deaf ways, they are exactly alike. The mindless display of anti-China defiance of one group and that of Chinese nationalism of the other simply make people think they are silly at best; and at worst, they damage their own cause.

Earlier this month, a group of masked protesters clad in black were seen waving American flags and singing the Star-Spangled Banner in unison during a night of violent protests in Tsim Sha Tsui. On Tuesday, Chinese patriots drove high-end sports cars draped in Chinese flags in two major Canadian cities.

The Chinese-Canadian multimillionaires drove their Ferraris, McLarens, Porsches and Aston Martins in downtown Toronto and Vancouver in a conspicuous display of wealth while waving Chinese national flags. Thankfully, a common Canadian attribute is a fine sense of humour along with a high tolerance of craziness. What might otherwise have been a highly offensive nationalistic exercise was looked upon amusingly by onlookers.

Convoys of Ferrari-driving pro-China patriots rev up Canada protests

Many admired the cars, if not the behaviours, of their owners. Over the years, I have found that Canadians generally have a much healthier attitude towards money and wealth than Chinese. Most don't think they define a person. If anything, they think they make a person slightly more suspicious.

The display of wealth and horsepower in support of the Chinese motherland was predictably mocked. Those drivers didn't realise they fed right into two current narratives against China and Chinese migrants.

The vast majority of Canadians are outraged by China's detention of two Canadian nationals, widely seen as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei's No 2 Sabrina Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver for possible extradition to the United States.

And, rich Chinese migrants have been blamed for driving property prices in Toronto and Vancouver to levels unaffordable to most locals.

Back in Hong Kong, a few of our young rebels waved American national flags and sang the Star-Spangled Banner. Perhaps they really love America and its democratic ideals. But it's pretty clear what they want: destabilise the Hong Kong government and society, reject Chinese rule and invite American interference. But destabilising countries and societies has pretty much been the common result of American intervention around the world.

That may not be agreeable to most Hong Kong people.

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.