Real Hong Kong News
15th July, 2015
Why Hongkongers Resent “Dama” Dance?
Recent protests targeting Dama dancers have drawn significant media attention: even international media have reported on the protests – particularly on the scuffles between protesters and the authorities and pro-China groups supporting Dama dancers. The majority of the news reports focused on cultural differences and spun the story to hint, if not directly accuse, Hongkongers of discriminating against Chinese or being xenophobic.
Was it discrimination as the media have suggested? Was it simply cultural differences that caused the dispute between Hongkongers and Chinese on this matter? Why did Hongkongers have to protest against “dancing in public”? Was it about distasteful Communist songs being played with disco grade speakers at the loudest possible volume? To understand the reason for these protests, the first question one needs to ask is: what is the Dama Dance?
A little history of Dama Dance
Dama (大媽), a term that was added to Oxford Dictionary in 2014, means rich middle-aged women. Dama Dance is essentially a group of women, typically middle-aged, dancing to Communist music or dancing along to someone’s singing of old tunes. The music and dance resemble Cultural Revolution dances “Zhongzi Wu (忠字舞, Character Zhong Dance)”. “Zhong” (忠) means loyalty, often referring to blind and unquestioning loyalty to the authorities. One must also understand that during the Cultural Revolution, all cultural activities (which the Communist Party labelled as one of the “Four Olds”) were condemned and supposed to be eradicated.
Photo: The Stand News
Along with the rich and landowners, anyone who possessed skill of any sort, including dancers, opera singers, musicians and the like, had to face “struggle sessions” and torture, forcing them to admit that they were “anti-revolutionists”. All of those who refused to “admit their crimes” were tortured to death or simply executed, often by their nearest and dearest. In a cultural vacuum, Communist Party created their own “culture”, including the notorious “Red Song” and “Revolutionary Opera” which praised Chairman Mao Zedong and Communism. China’s communism came from the Soviet Union, a foreign concept that Mao saw fit to indoctrinate Chinese people with by manipulating the poor using their hard living situation and resulting anger at the rich. This “new culture” was created to replace the culture that many – especially Westerners – admire, and which originated in ancient China: Han Empire, Tang Empire, Song Empire, Yuen Empire and Ming Empire were culture was rich, especially in music, poetry, paintings, arts and crafts.
One thing many do not know is that China’s General Administration of Sports (GAS) has recently formalised the choreography of the Dama Dance, which means China’s Communist Party has endorsed Dama Dance. China’s GAS is also actively promoting Dama Dance. What does this mean? This means that China’s Communist Party is using this “new form of performing art”, under the banner of promoting sports, as a united-front propaganda across China as well as overseas.
How do others response to Dama Dance?
Dama Dance started in China many years ago. During the last couple of years, Dama Dance has been spotted in major cities around the world including New York and Paris (outside the Louvre). With the population of Chinese new immigrants (estimated at one million over the past 18 years), Hong Kong is not being spared the invincible Dama Dance, and “performances” are often, if not daily, spotted at public parks, cycling paths, streets and pedestrian areas, accompanied by extremely loud music. In New York, police arrested some of these Damas after numerous complaints were filed.
What about China, where Dama Dance was founded? Besides throwing night soil at Damas, Chinese also deploy anti-Dama Dance sound system (mega speakers as expensive as RMB260,000 per news reports) to counter the dancing Damas, Tibetan Mastiff was sent to attack Damas, even blank bullets were fired at parks where Damas dance every day.
Why do Hongkongers protest against Dama Dance?
The resentment across China and in the West is directed at the astounding volumes of noise Damas create at any given time of the day disregarding the disturbance their dance (or as some call it, “exercise”) causes the neighbourhood.
In Hong Kong, however, it is a very different story. Of course the “music” still pierces people’s eardrums, but the reasons Hongkongers protest and campaign against Dama Dance are: (1) prostitution; and (2) cultural invasion.
(Story of Dama prostitution)
Hongkongers are used to people exercising in public parks. Prior to the 1997 sovereignty handover, elders or mid-age people doing Tai Chi, Chi Kung (or Qi Gong) or stretching were often seen at public parks with Oriental classical music playing in the background. Footage used in the Urban Council’s 1996 advertisement shows that exercising in public parks is widely accepted in Hong Kong.
There have been number of cases of local performing artists, including portrait artists and musicians, being prosecuted for accepting money in public, which is regarded as illegal begging. Damas, as demonstrated by videos and news reports, have been receiving money from the public but are not being prosecuted by the police, instead police is often sighted protecting these Damas. In addition to the police, pro-China groups that are linked to and funded by the government of China support these Damas too. This once again highlights that Dama Dance is not only an innocent cultural activity, but a new version of “Zhongzi Wu” that China’s Communist Party forced upon others.
Photos and videos of flamboyant Damas dancing hyper-energetically in public parks near residential areas in the New Territories (multiple videos on YouTube) with loud Chinese Communist music have raised many eyebrows amongst the locals. News reports and eye witnesses have shown that these Damas are offering not just dance and songs to the public, but targeting old widowers and pensioners who pay a few bucks in exchange for “touching and kissing” Damas. These Damas are labelled as “god daughters” (契女) by these elderlies, a coded-term used in Hong Kong to describe young mistresses. The “leaders” of Dama dances, who charge Dama dancers for each “tour”, also admitted that these Damas are new immigrants from China married to old Hongkongers with young children.
Recently, after congregating in public housing playgrounds, these Damas have danced their way into Mong Kok’s pedestrian zones in the evening, right in the centre of one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods, but the nature of their dancing remains the same.
As mentioned above, Damas are foot-soldiers in the vanguard of China’s Communist Party. Their participation in political events has also been spotted in Hong Kong in recent years. For example, Damas occupied Apple Daily’s headquarters (Next Media Building) to prevent the newspaper’s publication during the Umbrella Revolution. Although some may claim that these Chinese middle-aged women are uneducated paid pawns of the CCP, it is undeniable that the same type of women can be easily mobilised by the CCP regardless of what the mission is. By following the bread-crumb trail, one will find that these Damas are not innocent disadvantaged women, but in fact no different from the paid thugs who appear violent and ferocious. It is also worth noting that CCP have been using women and children to fight in the frontline to win battles – taking advantage of their enemies’ moral and decency.
Perhaps many will be disgusted by this theory, yet it is important for us to acknowledge that sometimes the old tricks are the best tricks. China’s strategy of “virginal united-front troops”: As the name suggests, China has been using women as their frontline united-front spies, and there are reports about military secrets or classified information being compromised.
China Production Party (CPP, 中華生產黨) in Taiwan is a registered political party that worships Mao Zedong, with the majority of its members being the spouses (mostly female) of Taiwanese. The Party’s key manifestos are the unification of Taiwan and China, to spread the founder’s beliefs and that “Chairman Lu Yeuxiang (founder of CPP) is our savour”. Leaders and affiliates of CPP openly said that they will colonise Taiwan, for example funding overseas Taiwanese to travel back to Taiwan for an election to secure the party’s (Kuomintang’s) victory. Besides hosting Dama dances in Taiwan’s parks, CPP also violently confront Falun Gong practitioners.
As news reports in Taiwan show, Taiwanese worry about Taiwan’s political Hongkong-isation. This article explains how the sudden increase of political parties and organisations in Taiwan has raised concerns, and compares the newly-formed parties with the pro-China parties in Hong Kong (the majority of these new parties in Taiwan advocate the unification of Taiwan and China). Many have demanded an investigation into these parties’ sources of funding.
Taiwan SETN: 116 new parties formed in 6 years. Blue flag is CPP’s flag, very similar to China’s (full story)
SETN: Hong Kong’s pro-China organisations’ operation model is being replicated in Taiwan (full story)
CPP’s founder Lu Yuexiang who is now a Taiwan citizen (her name in Taiwanese Romanisation is Lo Yud-Heng) has done and said many things that are loud and clear warning messages: That she knelt down in front of Mao Zedong’s preserved body and kowtowed to him three times together with her CPP followers, is only one example. In an interview, Lu said that, “in the future, all Taiwan generals and officials should be doing the same thing.” She also explained that “members of CPP learn and practice to dance (Dama Dance)… and perform after they master the dance moves. Every time the members finish their performance, they will declare to the audience that ‘we are the CPP’s dance troupe’.” Lu also admitted in the interview that when she first founded CPP, members sought help and approval from the CCP Internal Affairs Department.
Besides Dama Dance, CPP’s members are often wives of Taiwanese men who are much older. Astonishingly similar to the situation in Hong Kong: old Hongkonger men marrying young Chinese women.
Another remarkable similarity between the Damas in Taiwan and Hong Kong is clearly explained in a speech delivered by a Taiwanese Kuomintang businesswoman, “we must focus on collaboration between Kuomintang and China’s Communist Party for the stability of both lands. It is not about two or three million people (in Taiwan)… over 350,000 Taiwanese businessmen/women are married to Chinese. Assuming that each of these Taiwanese and Chinese couples have two children each in Taiwan and that these children will apply for their Chinese parents to move to Taiwan. This means that there will be one million more voters in Taiwan for us to target. If we manage to lure them to vote for Kuomintang, it is impossible for us to lose.” This resembles the pan-democrats in Hong Kong who have been working on luring the Chinese new immigrants to vote for them. After all, politicians do not necessarily work for the betterment of the society but quite possibly just for a permanent job in the legislature.
Perhaps the Damas in Hong Kong are being used by China with or without their knowing. Regardless, Dama Dance is not merely a “new cultural activity” or “an exercise” that Hongkongers should “respect”. The complexity of the background, agenda and political motives behind are much more that it seems on the surface.