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Cats and dogs in #HongKong protest art: a thread

Sep 23, 2019

Away from superheroes, we've seen cats and dogs pop up in protest art, showing a different aspect of how HKers view themselves. PS this should be light and fun? 1/7

For @HongKongHermit, still in Twitter jail, who likes cats and HK

Early Aug, HKPF started firing teargas with wild abandon around resi. areas - our pets were being affected by the gas. It's one thing for masked protesters to eat TG, another for our fur babies to suffer. These cute posters were for a rally against police actions in mid Aug. 2/7

First of four illustrated posters depicting a chubby cartoon tuxedo (black and white) cat stretching. The captions in Chinese read, top to bottom: I am a Lucky Cat, not a crying cat. Protect our furbabies, stop police violence. At the very bottom is an advertisement for the Aug 18 rally against police actions. Second of four illustrated posters depicting a chubby cream coloured cat lying down. Caption is the same as the first image. Third of four illustrated posters depicting a striped ginger cat standing up. Caption is the same as the first image. Fourth of four illustrated posters depicting a grey cat playing with a blue ball of yarn. Caption is the same as the first image. The captions in Chinese read, top to bottom: I am a Lucky Cat, not a crying cat. Protect our furbabies, stop police violence. At the very bottom is an advertisement for the Aug 18 rally against police actions.

As these show, our cats stay indoors, don't give a fig about politics and still got whacked by indiscriminate policing. If there're HKers who still believed they can look away, these kitties are saying - no, there is no escape from politics, it'll impact you sooner or later 3/7

A photoshopped picture of a tabby cat wearing a respirator and tearing up, sitting on a rumpled grey sheet. A withered bauhinia logo is in the top right, with the protest slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times" underneath. A caption in Chinese underneath the image of the cat reads: "(Even if) you don't seek out politics, politics will seek out you." Chinese caption: "(Even if) you don't seek out politics, politics will seek out you." A picture of a tabby black flat-faced shorthair cat sitting on a bookshelf perch amidst a cloud of smoke. The Chinese caption reads, ""Mr. Policeman says it's scary to go out on the streets, but my master is scared even without going out."" "Mr. Policeman says it's scary to go out on the streets, but my master is scared even without going out." A photoshopped image of a tabby cat wearing a dust mask, on a navy blue background. There is a little CS gas canister on the left emitting a cloud of smoke. The caption in transliterated Cantonese reads: "Hong Kongers, see you at Victoria Garden on Aug 18! Five Demands, Not One Less!" Transliterated Cantonese reads: "Hong Kongers, see you at Victoria Garden on Aug 18! Five Demands, Not One Less!" A photoshopped image of four cats - a tabby with a half-face respirator, a ginger cat with shatterproof goggles, a black cat with a half face respirator (without cartridges), and a white cat with a bloodied gauze patch over the right eye - standing against a backdrop of thick smoke. The captions read: "Stop harming Hong Kong citizens! Stop harming our underlings! Hong Kongers, add oil!" "Stop harming Hong Kong citizens! Stop harming our underlings! Hong Kongers, add oil!"

The HKers as cats metaphor works nicely because the police are so hated they are referred to as dogs. They're presented as sometimes yapping and annoying, sometimes vicious and rabid. What's always implicit is that they have a master, and it's not the HK people. 4/7

A heavily stylized poster in the style of the MTR. The central graphic shows a dog with a cop's head yapping at a person. The caption, in English and Chinese, reads, "Please mind the gap between you and Popo". t2-p10 t2-p11 t2-p12

Fighting back is…the feline frontline? 😸 (Bet those of you who followed me hoping to see more badass art of 'braves' in teargas weren't expecting cosplaying cats!) HKers - as cats! - don hardhats and goggles to fight tyranny and bring about the revolution, as cats do. 5/7

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Cats are tough but they're also just just vulnerable furballs. The 'peaceful' cats shown here look happier playing with laser pens than our geared up cats. Our kittens cry singing the new anthem. And in that last one, the tabby reminds HKers we cannot afford to lose anyone. 6/7

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The 'best' art out of HK will likely paint pictures of fire and glory, 'cos those look good. But cats and dogs can be just as insightful abt what and who we fight for beyond '5 demands' - they say HK's fight is as much for the suppressed and voiceless as it is for ourselves. 7/7

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Update, Nov 21, 2019

UPDATE: Heavy use of teargas means we’ve been seeing unusually high number of dead critters, other than cats & dogs. Recent art from TG protests against HKPF hurting these innocent, defenceless creatures. We may be fearless on the streets, but HKers are just big softies inside 😭

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