Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
Is all the turmoil and trouble on Hong Kong streets the result of Joshua Wong’s inability to get laid? Freudian theory suggests that possibility. Freud has sex as everyone's prime motivator. Plus, there are aspects of young Joshua’s background that lend support to the idea. Let's for the sake of discussion weigh what we know.
Joshua Wong has lived a lot for a 20-year-old. He’s currently a resident of Pik Uk Prison juvenile wing. In October, when he turns 21, he will transfer to serve the rest of his six-month sentence with the adult prisoners. Wong stands convicted of organising an unlawful assembly that led to 10 security guards injured and damage to property.
Wong is already the star of a Netflix documentary. He’s appeared on the front of Time Magazine, before US Senate Committees and is the face of youth protest for the past decade. He is the bête noire of the government and its supporters. A hate figure who produces bile from many. At times the Police have had to protect him from crowds intent on roughing him up or worse. By the same token, Wong organised and led protests that saw the Police on the receiving end of violence.
Wong started his career as a professional protester at the age of 14. He led demonstrations against so-called ‘national education’. These caused the government to withdraw the proposal. The previous year, he’d whetted his appetite by joining anti high-speed link rallies that turned violent. These protests aimed to stop a modern rail link giving greater integration with the Mainland. At the core of that event, and later actions by Wong is an all consuming hatred of the Mainland.
Wong’s jailing has produced an outcry. Much of the comment has been irrational, unjustified, ill-informed and simply ridiculous. See my earlier post. One gets the impression that some are hoping young Joshua is on the trajectory of Mandela. The reality is more prosaic.
Joshua is a middle-class kid, a single child with alleged learning difficulties. He is the product of a strict Catholic household. His parents are members of a devout sect. The father is a staunch campaigner against gay rights, who founded and leads a bigoted group. This unapologetic extremist invokes the scriptures to bring hell and damnation to those who cross him. He has the aggressive intolerance of a zealot. Nice man. One can only speculate how living in such a household affected young Joshua.
Let's face it, Joshua is not the most handsome specimen. Geeky in appearance and slight of frame. He is unlikely to attract the ladies with his physical attributes. His critics have seized upon this with entertaining memes. Many have played amateur psychologist to pontificate his motivations, raising the Freudian theory. He's trying to impress the ladies.
Don't forget that Mark Zuckerberg built the first iteration of Facebook in a fit of pique after a college romance went sour. And just about every male rock band in history has built a canon of work on their sexual frustrations.
Certainly, his domineering and bigoted father has some hang ups about sex. Then the whole Catholic guilt thing is thrown into the mix. A single child also. What’s a boy to do? Brought up in a doctrine-loaded home, without looks and struggling to learn. Taking to the streets is empowering … thrilling. Plus, it gets you attention. All conjecture I suppose?
The other theory is that Joshua is not the self-starter of the Netflix narrative. The story goes like this. His mother worked for the Apple Daily. This is an anti-China newspaper with strong links to US neoconservatives. The paper's founder, Jimmy Lai, is close to Paul Wolfowitz. That's interesting. Wolfowitz is the former Deputy Secretary of Defence under Bush II. A hawk with strong neoconservative tendencies, he was one of the authors of the ill-fated Iraq war. That saw millions displaced, hundreds of thousands killed. And for what? At one time touted as a possible CIA head, Wolfowitz fell out of favour because of his sexual indiscretions.
It doesn't stop there. Jimmy Lai’s right-hand man is American Mark Simon. His antecedents are intriguing. Simon served for four years in the CIA. His father had a 36-year CIA career. It's easy for the conspiracy crowd to join the dots. What is certain is that the Apple supports Joshua. Simon’s is very open about his stance, including his links to right-wing US politicians.
Some have suggested that the emergence of Joshua as a champion of democracy must be seen in this context. They infer he's not the self-starter - but a stooge and a cypher. It's an easy allegation to make given the attendant tacit evidence, and yet difficult to prove. By the same, token it's easy to reject because the motivation for those making the suggestion is to damage. So we get no nearer the truth.
None of this, the Freudian theory or the US neocon allegations, takes away from his resilience and fortitude. He’s stood up to some robust criticism, plus a fair amount of intimidation. In that respect, he earns grudging respect. On the other hand, he miscalculated with Occupy. It failed to achieve anything. In the finals stages, he was caught cheating on a hunger strike. The act of a charlatan.
And yes the government has miscalculated also. It's inadvertently given Wong a boost - affirmed his status in the eyes of some - the scrawny David against Goliath. The skinny kid, standing firm against a bully. That's the simple false narrative that plays well in the West.
Joshua has failed to convey a coherent argument beyond uttering cliches that trip rote of his tongue. He's learned a few 'catch phrases' that he deploys to effect. Sounds familiar - another recent successful newbie politician does the same. Beyond that facade, Joshua had little of substance. In fairness, like many young people, his position is unrefined and simplistic. He may yet mature into a more sophisticated operator.
Joshua now has plenty of time to reflect on the past few years. The ups and downs. Mandela was able to shape his opinions and tactics whilst in prison for 27 years. Hitler wrote his manifesto ‘Mein Kampf’ whilst languishing in Landsberg jail for five years. It will interesting to see how this short spell in prison influences Joshua Wong.
In all this, it's arguable that Wong’s actions have put in danger the very system he seeks to protect. This is very bad, because, he’s started a process that has pushed our legal system to its limits. The trouble is even the most purblind apologists for Wong are now in a bind. The courts have passed judgment on his reckless actions, deciding his conduct was criminal. That judgment, well founded on common law principles, taken in an independent manner. Beyond repeating strident opinions, the detractors have no evidence to support allegations of interference in the court decision. So much for them embracing the ‘rule of law’.
One thing appears certain, protesters henceforth know the law will be enforced. It’s a slow process, but people can expect justice. This will cause the rational to pause. They will think about their actions and understand the consequences. Having said that, the radicals will no doubt continue to be unheeding. Thus, they must accept their fate.
On a positive note, it's reported that Joshua has a girlfriend. Let's see if he mellows as a result.
Walter De Havilland is one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Hong Kong Police.