Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Nationalist tools

In the recent event a group of 14 Chinese activists from Hong Kong sailed on the fishing boat, the Kai Fung No 2 to the disputed Diaoyu Island. They were arrested by the Japanese soon after they've successfully landed and planted the PRC and ROC on the Island. This activity called Baodiao (Short for protecting the Diao Yu Islands) happens almost yearly always strain the relationship between the two countries. Both sides have been making claim on the territory, a dispute with history that stretch back to the late Qing dynasty. The activists were swiftly released by Japan to ease off any further tension. When the activists returned to Hong Kong they were greeted as heroes. But the irony is that these patriots who flew the PRC flags were also the same people who were previously seen burning the same 'five star flag' when protesting against the Chinese Communist Party.

Anti-Japanese protests by broke out in the cities around China, thousands marched down the streets with the PRC flags and carrying banners with anti-Japanese slogans such as "Japan get out of the Diaoyu Islands" to the more xenophobic "Kill all the Japanese dead". Generally it was relatively peaceful however there are a number of angry mobs that went around smashing up windows of Japanese stores and turning over Japanese made cars on the streets. They didn't seem to care that almost all of the stores/businesses are likely to be owned by Chinese and cars are most probably 'made in China'. Of course rioters are only venting their anger and hatred at Japanese objects as a symbolic mean. But sadly not only did their actons do little harm to their 'enemy' it is actually counter productive as it caused some damage to the local economy. Another irony. When patriotism goes out of control and emotions take over all rationality just goes out of the window.

That's why educators in Hong Kong need to be cautious with the implementation of National education (or brain washing). Likely this will only breed a whole generation of raging fenqings 愤青 (angry youths) who blindly follow nationalistic tendencies without any sense of rationality or logic. Just as what Henry David Thoreau an American poet once wrote 'Patriotism is a maggot in their heads'. These fenqings must have maggots for brains then. You may also refer to my post about Chinese pride. Nationalism is often exploited by government or politicians to unite the nation against the enemy as this will direct attention away from internal problems thus securing their power. With the current strain between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese, by having a common enemy this seems to be the perfect opportunity to bring unity of both groups. The constant reminder of  budding threat of foreign invaders will undermine the concern for issues that are much more closer to home. The only hope is that morality will prevail and keep people in check.