The middle finger, Carrie Lam, and Eunice Yung Hoi-yan

March 25, 2021 08:11

The middle finger is the least functional of all five fingers. That’s what I have concluded. Some people use their forefinger to pick their nose. Others use their little finger. The middle finger is too big unless you have large nostrils. The same goes for picking earwax.

People use their thumb and forefinger to hold a pen. Married or engaged people use the ring finger for their rings. The middle finger comes in handy only to snap at inattentive restaurant waiters.

To do that you must use your thumb and middle finger although snapping at waiters is now considered rude. You must wave your hand until they see you. But make sure you don’t do it with just your middle finger.

I would like to thank Legislative Councillor Eunice Yung Hoi-yan for reminding us of another, more colorful way, to use the middle finger. Before I discuss her views about the middle finger, let me remind everyone about her views on domestic helpers and protesters.

In 2018 she deemed large gatherings of domestic helpers were a hygiene hazard to locals. She called for segregating them in activity centers. Maybe she had in mind Xinjiang’s Uighur re-education camps.

Last month, she claimed anti-extradition bill protesters were high on drugs. Yung is obviously clueless about drug users. They are either in a hallucinated or sedated state depending on the drug type, not like the alert “be water” tactics black-clad protesters used in 2019.

But being clueless is a trait for Yung. Last week she showed how clueless she is about arts and culture by condemning an artworks collection planned for the M+ Museum. She took particular issue with a photograph by artist Ai Weiwei that showed a middle finger pointed towards Tiananmen Square.

The culturally clueless Yung clearly can’t understand or appreciate art. In her simplistic mind, she considered the photograph a violation of the national security law. I have said before Hong Kong is slipping into authoritarianism. But I never thought even an artistic photograph can be deemed a national security threat.

If Yung believes a photograph showing one middle finger pointing at Tiananmen Square is a security threat, she must surely fear the imminent collapse of the mighty Communist Party of China if a painting showed ten middle fingers pointing at Tiananmen Square.

I do hope Beijing, which I have said before has a right to protect national security, is self-confident enough to dismiss Yung’s folly in her brown-nosing attempt to prove her patriotism.

For the record, Ai Weiwei had a series of finger-pointing photographs, including one with a middle finger pointed at the White House. Americans, having lived through September 11 and other terrorist attacks, would laugh if told the photograph posed a national security risk.

When Yung asked Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor if the M+ Museum’s art collection violated the national security law, she replied Hong Kong protects free artistic expression but officials must also safeguard national security. That’s double-talk. Does an artistic photograph threaten national security? Yes or no?

But don’t expect straight answers from Lam who has said she served two masters – Hongkongers and the central government. I forget which she said came first – Hongkongers or the central government. But we now know she serves only one master. She no longer runs Hong Kong. Beijing does through the liaison office and mainland mouthpiece media.

Just recently she admitted she had already given Beijing her views about the election overhaul but refused to tell Hongkongers what she said. We, the people, pay her over HK$400,000 a month. But she doesn’t feel she has a moral duty to tell us what she told Beijing. Now you understand why so many consider her a puppet leader.

Hong Kong is not only slipping into authoritarianism. We are entering a Red Guards era. Before Yung’s puerile attack, a pro-Beijing group had filed to police a complaint against what it called illegal artworks at the museum and demanded the firing of the museum’s director Suhanya Raffel after she said she had no problem with the arts collection.

State-owned Ta Kung Pao slammed the Arts Development Council for partly financing filmmakers it considered anti-government, singling out the award-winning documentary Inside the Red Brick Wall about the 2019 siege of the Polytechnic University. Theaters, fearful of the security law, have pulled the documentary.

The paper even condemned the M+ collection for having photos with nudity. My advice to the paper’s editors is never to visit the Louvre. They will likely have a heart attack from all the nude paintings by famous artists.

My advice to Raffel is to face down these modern-day Red Guards. Loyalists like Yung are tripping over each other trying to prove their patriotism. To me they are not patriots but parrots repeating what they are told. But the word now is the museum will not display Ai’s works when it opens end of this year.

Fake patriots have already destroyed the Hong Kong I grew up in. If Ai’s work will really be banned, these fakes will have turned Hong Kong into a cultural joke as well. My middle finger is ready but I am not sure who to point to first. There are too many fake patriots with families who have foreign passports.

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A Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London.