Chanting For Canto

If I told you I’d been to a demonstration in the mainland with thousands of people but all the police did was put up some barriers and stand around holding hands, would you believe me?

No? I wouldn’t have believed it either. but that’s what happened today in Guangzhou, in a joyous, raucous salute to Cantonese language and culture, screamed out by thousands and thousands of young, (I’d say average age 23, and would have been 20 if I and my two friends hadn’t been there) iPhone waving groovers sick and tired of being dictated to by Beijing.

If I’d been two or three meters tall, I would have been able to capture this scene, unheard of since June 4th, 1989, of young people in peaceful protest against, or rather peaceful fight for, that wondrous entity that is Cantonese. As it was, and despite standing on tiptoe and holding the camera high over my head, I only got other people doing the same. But downtown Guangzhou outside Gong Lam Sai metro station, was just a sea of people. And more and more came pouring in every minute.

The police just didn’t know what to do, but in the end resorted to just saying “This way, please” and stuff. Some of them smiled and laughed. Is this the beginning of something new? But as I said to the journalist: Cantonese makes people more lively. It’s its nature.

Being Canto speakers, we of course joined in the chorus of: Support Cantonese! and: Guangzhou people should speak Guangzhou language! Being the only foreigners there, we were immediately mobbed

swamped, photographed and filmed. And interviewed.

A historic moment and a triumph. I’m telling you now: You haven’t heard the last from the youthful Cantonese movement! It will spread to Hong Kong. Fast.

This entry was posted in Beauty, Cantonese, Cantonese, China, Government, Hong Kong, Injustice, language, Media, Newspaper, politics, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Chanting For Canto

  1. Kendall says:

    Wow, this makes me really happy. Especially after reading reports of Cantonese people using Mandarin in the workplace, and apparently preferring to speak Mandarin because it is more “convenient” (who are these idiots?). The article is here: http://www.lifeofguangzhou.com/node_10/node_37/node_85/2009/12/21/126136120872593.shtml.

    My Cantonese friends are so polite that if even one person in a large group is from the north they will all speak Mandarin (which doesn’t help me!). I live only a ten minute walk from here on 寶崗大道 and I wish I could have been here for this, instead of in Canada. You’re so lucky to have been!

  2. TFC2004 says:

    This was…wow a really uplifting story. A goose bump moment. Please post, if available, a video report (with the original sound intact, would be great). I wish I was there…

    PS. Hoppas att du har det riktigt bra Cecilie! Det var ett tag sen jag skickade ett “reply”. Ska Ã¥ka till HK nu i höst. Hoppas att inget kommer i vägen för min dröm denna gÃ¥ng… Ha det :)

  3. cecilie says:

    Yep, I’ve got it all on video. And it’s on YouTube too. Will post link here when I find it.

    See you in the autumn.

  4. Pete says:

    Cecilie, it was a great trip and I finally made it back to HK after unexpected detours through the province.

    Not sure if you are aware, but a follow-up solidarity demo is to be held in Wan Chai this Sunday. Some Guangzhou people may also travel down for it. It seems that this event has struck a nerve.

  5. cecilie says:

    Oh, I’m aware! Wish I could be there, but I’m in Inner Qinghai now, finally online after two days in a kind of Tibetan … but real all about it on my blog. Yes it was a fantastic trip.

  6. Pete says:

    Ah yes, just thought you might have been cut off from HK news while in the north.

    Did you see the even larger police presence on the second demo in GZ? Heavy handed stuff. But at least the Asian Games will be harmonic!

  7. cecilie says:

    My GZ friends said the police had arrested people and fired shots into the air. There’s a curious silence about that in the SCMP …
    Yes, vibrant games, harmonious Asia! What a snappy slogan. Rolls off the tongue so much better than for example “this time it’s personal.”

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