Of frogs and flamethrowers

One of Hong Kong democrats’ most over-used metaphors is the frog in the pan of water. The frog = Hong Kong, and the person who (for reasons that are not explained) has put the frog in the pan = China. If the water is put straight to boil, the frog panics and jumps out. But if the temperature is increased slowly, the frog gets drowsy and doesn’t realize that it’s going to die. The message is that the Communist Party and its surrogates will squeeze and suffocate Hong Kong gradually – so we must be forever on our guard.

The South China Morning Post on the day following the July 1 handover anniversary seems to have other ideas. One stridently patriotic-toned headline and story comes after another, as if to frizzle the frog with a flamethrower…


Yet Hong Kong’s English-language current-affairs media scene is alive and well – online. We have the Nanfang (with particularly good Taiwan commentary), the specifically local Real Hong Kong News, Coconuts and Harbour Times, and the regional Asia Sentinel, all with their own writing, photography or video content of interest, and there are other blogs, translated material, bilingual sites and aggregators. And now, as you have probably noticed from the fanfare, Hong Kong Free Press has just joined the field.

Tw-HKHermSo today’s offering can be found here. (Executive summary: judging from experience so far, the evil would-be amphibian-boiler is ill-equipped and inept, and the alert frog has a chance.)

On the subject of offerings, the manufacturer of my favourite kumquat-flavoured candy is going public. To my dismay, they are ditching their old logo of a depressed middle-aged bald comb-over guy with what we may imagine to be his irrepressibly cheerful (possibly dancing) aunty…


I entirely understand and would definitely do the same – but I will miss him.


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11 Responses to Of frogs and flamethrowers

  1. PD says:

    Thanks for all the useful links, including one to your uniquely insightful summary of how HK got here and where it might be going: http://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/07/01/special-feature-hong-kong-sar-at-18-one-country-incompatible-systems/

  2. Housewive's choice says:

    Comb-over bloke and dancing aunty look a bit similar. Maybe he’s done a Bruce Jenner, and had the downstairs plumbing re-tooled and splashed out on a wig.

  3. gweiloeye says:

    Thanks Hemlock. You can’t say it more straight than that.

    And in other illogical Sino news: “Mainland cuts stock transaction fees after market dive”
    Yes that will fix it. Nothing to do with the economy or shit stocks in a shit market. Move along nothing to see here.

  4. Scotty Dotty says:

    Kudos to Hemmers for that article in HKFP. Excellent.

    Reading it leaves a strange sense of… mmmm… how do you say this, unwarranted optimism.

    Go Hong Kong.

  5. Cassowary says:

    So our plan is to outlast the pan, is that it? Considering the average length of a Chinese dynasty was around 200 years, we’ll probably be waiting a while.

  6. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    If we donate to hongkongfp.com, Hemlock, can you promise to stop Tom Grundy throwing his shoes at Tony Blair?

  7. Real Lack Of Flavour says:

    Tom Grundy? Nuri Vitachi? I’m out…

  8. Joe Blow says:

    I support HKFP. They are trying to make a difference. It’s hard work: give them a break.

  9. Real Lack Of Flavour says:

    Fair play, I’ll give Nuri a free pass because at least he’s honest, Grundy on the other hand, I’m sorry but someone has to say it, is a shameless self-promoter, masquerading as an activist/journalist. The overwhelming impression he’s radiated over the years is one of relentless exhibitionism where the social justice issues and the reinvention as some kind of serious journalist always seem to take a back seat to his compulsion to be the story, to be in front of the cameras just one more time. I get HKFP is just a platform with good people supporting it, but everything I’ve seen from him calls his entire motivation into question. Apologies gents, just IMO and I could be wrong.

  10. Laguna Lurker says:

    Mr. Grundy’s other site, HongWrong.com, regularly hosts articles featuring a group of anarchistic HK “urban explorers”, whose passion is to trespass into long-unoccupied properties and photographically document their exploits.

    By pure chance, the latest such article concerned the old Shaw Studios, in Clear Water Bay. It was just a few days later that the same location was raided in connection with an alleged bomb plot.


    I wonder if Inspector Knacker has had a word with these young fellows. As potential witnesses, perhaps they might have “seen something”.

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