Hong Kong rugby team’s national anthem saga

November 16, 2022 12:12
Image: Asia Rugby/Youtube

Stop the nonsense, Hong Kong people!

There is no need to dissolve the Hong Kong rugby team, which lost all its games in home field but won a championship in Korea.

Nor is it necessary to stop eating the famous kimchi or spicy noodle from South Korea in protest of not playing the right national anthem of China Hong Kong.

That is because it is an honest mistake.

The national anthem saga of the Hong Kong rugby team in South Korea made an unwanted headline in Hong Kong, Korea and other countries on Monday after a Youtube video clip went viral that showed the “Glory to Hong Kong” was played after Hong Kong beat South Korea during the Asia Rugby Sevens Series in Incheon.

Knowing the mistake, Korea Rugby Union immediately announced the mistakes in the stadium and delivered an official apology to the Chinese and Hong Kong teams.

However, the video clip stunned locals who knew the song was banned under the National Security Law because it contains politically incorrect lyrics such as “Liberate our Hong Kong”.

The HKSAR was quick to issue a statement that strongly deplored and opposed to a song strongly linked with violent protests in 2019 was played, while also demanded a probe into the matter.

According to Korea Times, Korea Rugby Union said a staff saved “the Hong Kong national anthem” listed on the top of a search engine in the file folder under “Hong Kong”, noting that it has asked each country to submit national anthems to play, but failed to get one from the Hong Kong team.

Apparently, the Hong Kong Rugby Union passed the national anthem to Asia Rugby, but Asia Rugby did not send the Korea Rugby Union an audio file, according to Asia Rugby’s interim chief executive Benjamin van Rooyen, noting that Korea Rugby Union should already have a copy of the audio file of China's national anthem, March of the Volunteers, as the Hong Kong team played in South Korea in July.

To its credit, no one can blame a Korean who might not know Chinese play the wrong song because the staff – whether he or she is an intern or senior person – at least performed a Google search based on search engine optimisation would show Hong Kong’s national anthem was indeed “Glory to Hong Kong”, not the official one.

It is a serious, yet an honest, mistake really. Media veterans could tell almost all newspapers had printing mistakes of all kinds on every page every day but no one would be fired because of an honest mistake.

Misplaying a national anthem, or for that matter, carrying a national flag upside down, is not uncommon in sports. For example, Chinese Olympic gold medalist on 110-meter hurdle Liu Xiang won a gold medal in 2008 in Spain where the national song of Chile was wrongly played.

As such, forgive the nonsense of dispelling the Hong Kong Rugby team or boycotting Korea. They are good, not evil. Evils are those who blindly supported nationalism and those who are overly sensitive and misinterpreted the National Security Law.

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EJ Insight writer