Mooncakes, hymns and post-it notes: The colour of Hong Kong's protests

Mooncakes, hymns and post-it notes: The colour of Hong Kong's protests

People hold up a black flag during a protest outside police headquarters to demand Hong Kong’s lead
People hold up a black flag during a protest outside police headquarters to demand Hong Kong’s leaders step down and withdraw an extradition bill, in Hong Kong on Jun 21, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's protests have drawn millions of people to the city's streets in recent months and thrown the former British colony into its biggest political crisis since it was returned to China in 1997.

The activism has also powered a wave of colourful cultural expressions of diverse origins, from protest mooncakes to Christian hymns, that have filled the city's streets.

READ: Hong Kong's 'grey hairs' march to support youth protesters

Here are some of them:

HALLELUJAH

The five-word Christian hymn Sing Hallelujah To The Lord, originally penned in the United States in 1974, emerged as an unlikely anthem of the protests and was heard almost non-stop at the main demonstration site in front of the city's Legislative Council.

A woman sings religious songs outside the Legislative Council building during a protest against an
A woman sings religious songs outside the Legislative Council building during a protest against an extradition bill in Hong Kong, China, Jun 11, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter)

As religious gatherings can be held without a permit in Hong Kong, the song provided a cover of legitimacy for protesters and was first used by a group of Christian students.

Its simple melody and words helped spread its use and it was seen at times as defusing tension with the police.

HAND SIGNALS

To coordinate amid the crowd chaos, protesters rapidly formed human chains that passed supplies as needed. A system of hand signals helped protesters communicate where supplies or aid were needed and to assist with constructing barriers.

UMBRELLAS

Umbrellas, particularly yellow ones, have become a symbol of Hong Kong's democracy movement. Coming to prominence during the "Occupy" movement in 2014, protesters used umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas fired by the police. An open umbrella also helps to keep the protester out of reach of police batons on the frontlines of violent clashes.

Umbrellas blocking security cameras are seen outside a police headquarters, during a demonstration
Umbrellas blocking security cameras are seen outside a police headquarters, during a demonstration to demand Hong Kong's leaders step down and withdraw an extradition bill, in Hong Kong, China, Jun 21, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

UNION JACKS, BLACK FLAGS

The Union Jack and Hong Kong's colonial-era flag appeared prominently during protests, designed to rile authorities in Beijing. The Union Jack was unfurled when protesters stormed the legislature on Jul 1, the 22nd anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China rule.

A protester waves the Union Jack as legal professionals stage a silent protest to demand authoritie
A protester waves the Union Jack as legal professionals wearing black stage a silent protest at the Central Government Offices to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill, in Hong Kong, China Jun 6, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

"I miss colonial times. The British colonial time was so good for us. I saw the future," Alexandra Wong, 63, a protester known affectionately as "Grandma Wong", who is usually seen waving a large British flag during the demonstrations, told Reuters.

An altered version of Hong Kong's post-handover flag, with a black background instead of red, has been brandished by protesters, with the tips of the territory's emblem flower, the bauhinia, on it dipped in red.

People walk past notes and placards with messages of support for the protest against the extraditio
People walk past notes and placards with messages of support for the protest against the extradition Bill, put on walls along a road near the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong, China Jun 18, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Jorge Silva)

READ: Hong Kong tourism, hotel occupancy falls as protests drag on

"BE WATER", AS BRUCE LEE SAID

"You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend," Hong Kong's martial arts legend Bruce Lee said during a 1971 interview in regards to his character on the TV series Longstreet.

A sign that reads "Be water" is seen as anti-extradition bill protesters march to West Ko
A sign that reads "Be water" is seen as anti-extradition bill protesters march to West Kowloon Express Rail Link Station at Hong Kong's tourist Tsim Sha Tsui district, China, Jul 7, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

References to that quote have appeared on signs and chants during the protests, as a call for activists to mobilise and disperse quickly.

That fluid and nimble approach marks a shift in strategy from the 2014 Occupy protests, when activists spent months encamped in the same places.

READ: Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam says extradition Bill is 'dead'

POST-IT "LENNON WALLS"

Mosaics of sticky notes containing messages of support for protesters have popped up across the territory from the Central financial district to Lantau island.

A worker walks past Post-it notes bearing messages left behind on the walls of the Legislative Coun
A worker walks past Post-it notes bearing messages left behind on the walls of the Legislative Council, a day after protesters broke into the building, in Hong Kong, China, Jul 2, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Jorge Silva)

Part art, part politics, supporters have dubbed them "Lennon Walls" after the original John Lennon Wall in communist-controlled Prague in the 1980s, which was covered with graffiti, Beatles lyrics and messages of political protest.

READ: Imagine all the Post-its: Hong Kong protesters come together with 'Lennon Walls'

MOONCAKES

Wah Yee Tang, a family-owned bakery in Sai Ying Pun district, started printing messages of support for the protesters such as "Hong Kong People" and "Let's Fight Together" on mooncakes.

Mooncakes with the Chinese words "Support each other" are seen at Wah Yee Tang Bakery in
Mooncakes with the Chinese words "Support each other" on them are seen at Wah Yee Tang Bakery in Hong Kong, China, Jul 12, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

READ: Customers over the moon with messages on Hong Kong cakes

Some mooncakes are inscribed with the text "Report Your Mother", a humorous take on an obscene insult hurled at journalists by police at a recent protest.

Source: Reuters/zl

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