Uncivilised way of making yourself heard

Uncivilised way of making yourself heard

By Noami Ng, Diocesan Girls' School

Shoe-throwing has become the new way of self-expression. It all started when an Iraqi reporter threw his shoe at former US president George Bush at a news conference in 2008.

Another shoe was thrown at Premier Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University last year while he was giving a speech.

A year later, Hong Kong has jumped on the bandwagon, when a man sent a pair of sports shoes sailing past Acting Chief Executive Henry Tang Ying-yen, Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing and Commission of Youth chairman Bunny Chan Chung-bun who were opening the Youth Summit held in Chai Wan on March 6.

The Hong Kong shoe-thrower, whose name was not revealed, was another one of the Post-80 generation protesters, who saw fit to chuck a shoe to express his anger towards the government. He blamed the government's lack of action in helping today's youths find jobs, especially those of his generation. It is ironic that we live in a world with so many channels to voice our opinions, yet people choose to turn to shoe-throwing.

Shoe-throwers of today may have developed the idea from back when criminals were paraded in cages around the streets in ancient China and peasants were encouraged to pelt them with rotten vegetables or spit at them to show public condemnation. Or similarly when the audience threw rotten tomatoes and eggs at bad actors who failed to entertain in medieval times. The purpose of such uncivilised acts were to humiliate and insult people in an degrading manner.

Criminals to a certain extent may have deserved public humiliation for their despicable acts, but civil servants? The Hong Kong-shoe thrower may have thought he was being civilised in throwing a shoe at Henry Tang, instead of using foul language which would be inappropriate. Some even may see him as a hero for being able to make a statement.

One would think a mature person would be able to respect and accept different opinions, not to throw a shoe at people like a child throwing a tantrum. Is there really no other alternative to make a statement in a civilised manner? But what is done is done, and like Bush said: 'So what if a guy threw his shoe at me?'.

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