Dolce and Gabbana in doofus and gabble

Monday 9 January 2012, 4.39am HKT


WHILE the OccupyWallStreet movement around the world is busy with important and meaningful issues of the day, our very own Oc[crap]y movement here in Hong Kong is concerned with even more fundamental humanitarian issues.

Dolce and Gabbana store at the Harbour Centre on Saturday, 7th Jan.
(via Cantonese Language/Facebook)

Dolce and Gabbana in Hong Kong has just banned the localese from picture-taking in front of its store, but allow tourists and customers from mainland China to take shots inside and outside of it.

The Italian national daily La Repubblica reported it like this:

“Si sono ritrovati in centinaia davanti allo store della griffe italiana di Hong Kong, armati di cartelloni, slogan di protesta e telefonini per farsi fotografie. Tutto è nato quando giorni prima un addetto alla sicurezza del negozio aveva vietato ad un ragazzo in strada di farsi una foto con alle spalle il gigantesco logo di Dolce e Gabbana. Per tutta risposta, la «vittima» ha raccontato la storia su Facebook, scatenando l’ira degli internauti. Di lì il passo a una manifestazione vera e propria è stato breve. «È una vergogna che ci venga vietato di scattare foto in un luogo pubblico», ha detto un manifestante. Da D&G per adesso nessun commento, ma un politico locale intima l’azienda «a chiedere scusa per il suo comportamento inammissibile.»” (via)

Translation:

  • “Hundreds gathered in front of the Italian label store in Hong Kong, armed with posters, protest slogans and mobile phones to take pictures. It all started when a security guard days before had banned a [boy? guy?] on the street in front of the store to get a picture of the giant Dolce and Gabbana logo. In response, the ‘victim’ recounted the story on Facebook, sparking the ire of Internet users. From then on, the actual event [protest] was short-lived. ‘It’s a shame that we are forbidden to take pictures in a public place,’ one protester said. For now, no comment from D&G, but a local politician intimated [to La Repubblica] that the company [has to] ‘apologise for the unacceptable behaviour’.”

Seems like we can be dissed by everyone else but not by haute couture luxury brands. Something’s definitely wrong with us.

Apparently, D&G commissionaires have standing instructions to stop local Hongkongers from taking pictures, but allowed everyone else who didn’t look like a local to take shots.

The one, Dolce&Gabbana

(via Wikipedia)

(By the way, commissionaires are not security guards: there is a difference. Learn the difference; it could save your life.)

Local tabloid Apple Daily (a cross between News of the World and The Daily Mail) picked up on the story yesterday and pretty soon hundreds of Hongkongers staged a kind of OccupyD&G protest, inundating the store outside.

Mind you, the protest had been peaceful throughout, rather like people queuing up for concert tickets more than anything else, only a bit noisier.

The protesters’ plugline was that D&G was being racist and prejudiced against Hongkongers, weedling in the idea that mainlanders were getting preferential treatment because they spend big bucks at the haute couturier as if Hongkongers didn’t do a heavy spend all along.

One article (badly written or badly edited) says:

“This is all kinds of wrong since the law in Hong Kong allows people to take photos of privated [sic] properties from public spaces. No one has the power to force people to stop to do so.” (via)

For those untrained in reading Chinglish, that should read:

  • This is all wrong because it is permissible under Hong Kong law for people to take photos of private property from public areas. No one has the power to stop people from doing this.

Not strictly accurate. The law is silent on the matter. In other words, the owner or tenant of the premises may unilaterally disallow photo-taking of the premises just as equally unilaterally any member of the public may take pictures of the same. It isn’t a grey area in the law: the law is silent on this score.

(A grey area is when two or more statutes contradict each other or when the law itself is self-contradictory. If the law is silent on an issue, the law is silent.)

The only law that could prevent people from taking pictures would now be our various public-order and traffic ordinances — which could now be brought into play. The authorities could now argue that hundreds of people packing into a major downtown thoroughfare, chanting slogans and protesting at something, constitute an issue of public order. (Ask your favourite lawyer for a second opinion.)

Apple Daily stayed with its coverage today, saying that D&G hasn’t or wasn’t retracting its ban on photo-taking by the localese.

To say the situation is worsening is a tad melodramatic, but some Hongkongers have now taken to using the venerable power of social media to protest and set up anti-D&G Facebook pages over the past several days (like this one and that one).

It’s highly unlikely the anti-D&G sentiment would go the next level — considering Hongkongers are mostly not ‘the next-level kind of people’ on Earth and show the kind of staying power that are usually seen in the OccupyWallStreet movement. The whole thing will just fizzle out in a few days, and people move on to some other brand-name luxury label.

* * *

NAME-CALLIN’ AND BITCHIN’

As it’s so typical with Cantonese people, one Facebook page has resorted to name-calling: renaming D&G as “Dog and Garbage.” (Very unsmart thing to do, if you ask me.)

‪中文(香港)‬: 中環歷山大廈 Alexandra House YSL & 杜嘉班納

(via Wikipedia)

Here are some comments (corrected for spelling and punctuation) on a number of Facebook pages — they’ll tell you everything you need to know about how facepalmingly lost Hongkongers can mostly be when it comes to protests.

Nearly always the first true-to-form Hong Kong response is this:

“I must have missed something — what did D&G do?”

*Sigh* Try to keep up, man. Stop texting your overimaginative but under-promiscuous girlfriend for a minute.

The ‘philosophers’ usually follow next:

“Shallow people think this D&G can make them less shallow…”

Oh, very profound, dear. Shallow people think making cutsie remarks — never mind. We go on.

The requisite lone Chinese-language comment in an English-language thread:

“好多香港人好唔團結,話班示威人士唔理智, 香港 IS DYING 因為有班人懶眾人皆醉唯佢地獨醒,俾人踩到上心口都可以當被蓋,真係冇眼睇”

Free translation:

  • Lots of Hong Kong people are very disunited, and say the protesters are being irrational. Hong Kong IS DYING because there is a group of people who are lazy [untranslatable], letting others tread all over them. Truly unbearable to witness.

So, what do you want? An all-out revolution? Burning car tyres and brick-throwing? Over haute couture? Pfft!

But, mostly, the comments are hard to make out:

“Dogshit DoG told [Hongkongers] who took pictures of HK DOG go to hell and only Mainland tourist can do it. HKer is too poor from [sic] so it is so sensible that they should just get the f@#k out from HK.”

And despite 20 or 30 prior comments in a thread, still you get a lost soul:

“Yeah what D&G have done? I love D&G :D”

Name-calling is de rigeur in times of high emotion, it seems:

“Doggie & Gatekeeper.”

With a penchant for invented quotations:

“The guard told HKer 過主 [gor jü: ‘get off’] when HKer took picture of DOG from the outside. I don’t give a shit to DOG but I am mad at this.”

(Remark: It would be better if you DIDN’T invent what the commissionaire said.)

The apologists now wade in and try to have the last word:

“Minor racism has been tolerated in HK for a long time, I hope more people will become more sensitive to the issue following this.”

Complaining about racism while making tame references to race:

“HKer is racially Chinese. However, is HKer Chinese economically and politically? Ask D&G.”

Or not-so-veiled ones:

“I don’t believe a Chinese should treat other Chinese like this. We should be better than the gweilos.”

Umm, the company that runs the D&G label (among other labels) is a Hong Kong company owned and run by Hongkongers, and is treating Hongkongers differently. You need to keep up with the real world, buddy.

And making references to reprisals on the mainland side:

“Mainlander is mad at HKer for today action and they ask to stop water supply to HK which [sic] HK has paid for it.”
(referring to a mainland Chinese story on Weibo)

Some bozo had to pitch in with a bland remark that plays on the worn-out colonial card:

“Mainland Chinese thought the British Hong Kong stripped off their deserved wealth and suppressed them while HK businessmen opening blood-sweat factory in Guangdong. Therefore, they feel right to revenge [sic] HKer after the 1997. While we HKer weren’t rich even in colonial era, all we got was just public housing and health care. This shit is created by Britain and I think know there will be such kind of hidden racial hate that runs deep inside each other.”

That bozo clearly knows nothing about colonial-era Hong Kong, not from direct experience anyway, I don’t think. That commenter also wrote the below in a thread:

It just won’t end well and this is quite a start.”

Umm, would all-out genocide please you? Perhaps you find causing grievous bodily harm to the next available mainlander or Italian or couture designer more to your taste? Are you some sort of f@#king psychopath?!

No wonder the Cantonese had to emigrate to China several thousands of years ago from their prehistoric tromping ground in the Thai-Khmer borderlands…

Now the expat community wades in:

> I don’t believe Chinese should treat other Chinese like this. We should be better than the gweilos.

“What a nasty and ignorant thing to say on a post about anti-racism. Only the worst kind of people like to stir up these kind of senseless rivalries. The problem isn’t solved by simply saying ‘all Chinese should be united together through their hate of everybody else!’ — we all have to coexist with each other. Race, religion, colour or country of birth should NEVER dictate how people are treated. EVERYONE deserves to be judged on their own merits, as an individual, not as a stereotype. That’s all.”

Some expats try to cool down the ‘heat,’ which would have been useful, but then buggers it:

“I don’t think it is fair to say ‘Britain’ created this. It is unfair to place blame on a whole country for a few leaders ideas and mistakes. Not all British thinks like that, and I for one adore HK and don’t believe gweilo to be any better than HKer, in fact many HKer is better than a British ;)”

English: Epic Win title card.

(via Wikipedia)

Only the final comment in a certain thread got it right in tone and scope:

“Thank you for letting me know what the problem is. I am concerned as my daughter lives in Tung Chung HK, she is a Westerner and she would NEVER treat any nationality this way ever. It is ridiculous really, so D&G will not be a favourite brand anymore. I hope they apologise.”

If you ask me, only a Londoner could make such a direct, neutral, directly neutral and neutrally direct remark like that. It really is a show-stopper.

Hongkongers, learn to protest properly, or starve.

* * *

SHOULD’VE DONE THESE INSTEAD

1. No name-calling. It’s called defamation, you idiot.

HK SOHO Mail Box 318

(via Wikipedia)

2. Hundreds of protesters. Let’s see: if every one of them coughed up or pledged (say) 10 dollars each for a lawsuit, I’m pretty sure some up-and-coming law firm desperate for some media exposure would take on the case. No? Idea never occurred to you? Dead slow children, you are.

3. The piles of protestors should have just banded together and shot away non-stop regardless. Safety in numbers. And then be done with it. Chanting slogans is pointless, and can get you arrested for making a public nuisance. No kidding, boys and girls.

4. If you’re really that emotional and moved to make a point to D&G, then all you several hundreds of protesters snail-mail your pictures in to D&G. Add a cover letter saying the decision to disallow picture-taking from outside areas by allegedly profiling against local Hongkongers is prejudiced and potentially actionable. Do not send by email. Flood their mailbox instead. Not suggesting you do it, but just sayin’.

5. If you can’t manage to compose a cover letter yourself, use this as a template:

“I disagree with your decision to disallow picture-taking of your shop, especially from public areas outside of the shop, by way of profiling the picture-takers as local Hong Kong people vs. non-locals. You are being prejudiced and should stop it at once, as your actions are potentially actionable. Your employees carrying out your instructions would likely be liable for vicarious liability as well.”

6. Just don’t buy their stuff. Simple as cake, easy as pie.

Hongkongers, learn to protest properly, or starve.

* * *

You wanna play the colonial card? Play with this:

English: Liberation of Hong Kong in 1945 after...

Liberation Day in Hong Kong, 1945 (via Wikipedia)

Tell me, where you born before or after 1945?

* * *

See? I told you the Year of the Destructive Dragon on Autopilot won’t be a happy one. Will you now listen?

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

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8 Responses to “Dolce and Gabbana in doofus and gabble”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    Different cultures; different expectations. Here in the US, satire on the name would be expected, and utterly legal. You’d also expect to see big burly guys daring the doormen to say anything when they make a show of violating such a silly rule. We love our violence here, and it’s not likely anything would make it to court, except suing the company with such a policy.

    Like

  2. That’s true. Hong Kong, though, is only 300 square miles small, and we still have colonial-era laws that can really wreck lives, so it’s not very smart for us to imagine we can take a leaf from the Occupy movements elsewhere. It’s a shame some protest organisers don’t seem to realise this.

    Like

  3. Tina said

    My parents are from H.K but I was born and brought up in the U.K. The stereotyping of the HKers made me giggle. Anyways besides that, I feel when I go over to H.K I do get treated differently. Some situations to my advantage and disadvantage. Such as whenever I get a taxi , the taxi men do tend to rip me off as I can speak fluent English and i wear clothes that don’t have a cartoon character printed on me somewhere, and plus I am not a ‘local’ So they think it’s acceptable to charge me extra? Money grabbing (censored)…

    When I shop in H.K , my sisters and I generally speak English to eachother and the service we receive from each shopkeeper is embarrassing and highly annoying! Their attempted English is endearing however ,’You like? You buy?
    You hair today is vewy nice
    Two colours better in jumper’
    You get the gist
    Absolute licks as they think we are wealthier as we speak fluent English and dress differently, sigh!

    Like

    • How well I know the Hongky-Konk Foxtrot routine, charging (shall we say) differential rates of exchange for different kinds of English/foreign-speaking yellow faces. It’s much, much worse if the local happens to be speak English in non-local fashion (as yours truly here).

      And then we have those Singaporeans on first-time trips to Hong Kong. For some strange reason, these S’pore noobies nearly always respond in Mandarin (Putonghua), which causes them to receive the oh-so-subtle but proverbial anti-mainlander stink-eye from the locals and get the “For Mainlanders Only” treatment and prices – and wonder why the heck they get it.

      Anyway, thank you and your presence is always appreciated here. I’m very pleased that you realise my stereotyping of my fellow Hongkongers has been a lark more than anything else.

      Like

  4. The “should have done this instead” section is priceless. I never would have thought of any of those things, but I can certainly see how they might be effective. I’m really intrigued with getting a lawyer’s perspective on a protest. I’ve never been clear on the ins and outs of legal vs. illegal protesting. It seems like a lot of detail with some dicey bits thrown in just to keep it interesting.

    Like

    • But the dicey bits are the best part!

      Srsly, the trouble (legally speaking) about protests in general is that they’re invariably classified as criminal by the authorities regardless of any permission obtained beforehand. The reason is that protests come under the general heading of public order (or ‘ordre public’ in frenchified legalese: it covers more than just straightforward maintenance of public law and order). The authorities have long list of statutes to ‘restructure’ the status of a protest and allow the police to deal with it any which way they wish.

      Hmm, maybe I should write a post about the necessary legal procedures that a protester-in-the-street should take before trundling off to a demo.

      Like

  5. Pingback from […] acoperire detaliata a subiectului aici si aici | din perspectiva unui social media specialist a scris si Alex Negrea […] at http://www.alomoda.ro/proteste-impotriva-dolce-gabbana-in-hong-kong.html

    Like

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