Date
17 August 2017
The salesman's analogy about brand choices for smartphones is apt for Hong Kong's political situation. But iPhone 6 and Nokia? Seriously? Photos: Internet
The salesman's analogy about brand choices for smartphones is apt for Hong Kong's political situation. But iPhone 6 and Nokia? Seriously? Photos: Internet

Why universal suffrage is more iPhone than Nokia

As it turns out, more Hong Kong people rooted for the protesters than cheered iPhone 6.

But that does not mean the much coveted device was out of sight or out of mind.

After all, iPhone traders may have been among the protesters who bedded down outside their own store in Central or camped out with students outside government headquarters.

We know the rest of the story, except perhaps this one that has been trending on social media, courtesy of a blogger.

It’s based on a conversation between a mainland shopper (cousin) and a Hong Kong salesman (sales) around the “golden week” holiday, traditionally a peak season for sales.

Cousin: I don’t get it. Hong Kong people under the British did not fight for democracy. But now they are fighting for it when Hong Kong has become more democratic.

Sales: Times have changed and they have changed for the better. You want an iPhone 6, and not Nokia, right?

Cousin: There must be some kind of foreign intervention.

Sales: Hong Kong is an international city, so it has many foreign products. Just like mobile phones — Apple from the United States, Samsung and LG from Korea, Sony from Japan, Xiaomi and Lenovo from the mainland. The most important thing is we have many choices here.

Cousin: You have choices, right. The National People’s Congress has decided you can have two to three candidates for chief executive who will be chosen by a 1,200-member nomination committee. What more do you want?

Sales: if I give you three handsets to choose from — Xiaomi, Lenovo or Nokia — what would you think? The nomination committee will be picked from the minority and the committee will pick a certain type of character to be a candidate. What consumers need is more choices, not a handful of brands.

Cousin: Come on, how can Hong Kong thrive without China’s support?

Sales: Look, the iPhone 6 was manufactured in China but it uses US technology. China provides many resources to Hong Kong but it is what it is because of the British.

Cousin: Hong Kong people are so arrogant. They look down on mainland people.

Sales: That’s may be when people saw them using their iPhone 6 smartphones and thought they were superior to your Nokia.

Cousin: Hong Kong people don’t want to call themselves Chinese and they forget where they came from.

Sales: That is why these smartphones are branded iPhone 6, not Foxconn in China.

I know where these guys are coming from but I’m not quite sure where the conversation is going.

Thankfully, it’s only a comic relief.

Imagine if the student representatives and government officials were to have this kind of exchange on Friday.

Then again, if they did, they might be more likely to agree than disagree.

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BK/JP/RA

EJ Insight writer

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