Since a couple of weeks, and after the emergence of prohibitions of protests by the Hong Kong Police, the protesters have switched to another form of protests: flash mobs in malls, creating mall singalongs for their new “National Anthem”, “Glory to Hong Kong.
A mall as a place to live
Part of the reason for which malls are so popular in Asia and in Hong Kong is also because while you are there, you do not need to have aircon, and in a city where the least physical efforts garners you tons of sweat, a mall generally has everything you need.
Contrary to those confrontations with the police which take place regularly, the crowd at APM was pretty mixed, with a number of protesters forming the core organization, but also a mixed crowd of all walks of life.
This being a Friday evening, obviously, many office workers from the surroundings came to express their support for the protest movement. But also some retirees, belying the generational gap some people think affects HK.
And it starts.
The first attempt at singing the national anthem started with a lone trumpeter giving the first note of the tune and the people joining in with great enthusiasm.
I was upstairs to give an idea of the people present and the sonority of the place. After this first rendition, I went down to ground floor to get a better shot at the performers.
A full orchestra
True to form a flash mob starts in general with a lone player, joined by two, or more musicians, until a full orchestra is united. This happened also in APM.
There was a girl in helmet and mask holding the partition for the musicians to play from it. And everybody joined into the mall singalong.
And that was when a sweet detail was picked by Mitchy.
The anthem was played then for a second time.
Between each rendition of the anthem, the crowd yelled various slogans, the favourite of which was “Five demands, not one less”. You can see below people holding up their hands with five fingers out.
As time slipped towards 9.30 PM, people prepared for a last rendition of the anthem. This video was itself published by Newsflare agency, so I will link to one of the web site that published it.
As the anthem ended, the musicians left the mall, and simultaneously, the crowd erupted into chants such as “five demands, not one less”.
Nation building at its best
I mentioned several times that what was happening in Hong Kong was the cementing of a form of national identity.
While this identity was cemented in the weeks of fighting against the government and the refusal of China to give any ground, the emergence of a national anthem that is as much loved as the Chinese one is despised, took everything to the next level.
Arts and culture have always been at the forefront of pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong, but it is the first time that the movement gave birth to an element so clearly making part of a nation-building effort. The mall singalongs further help to keep this anthem at the heart of the population.