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Goofy ‘Go Shopping Every Day’ Video Makes Serious Social Commentary About Hong Kong

Ah Wah believes humor can help people to understand the society better. Photo from inmediahk.net. Permission to use.

Ah Wah believes humor can help people understand society better. Photo from inmediahk.net. Use with Permission.

“Gau Wu Every Day” or “Go Shopping Every Day” is a song and music video styled after a pop song performed by Andy Lau in 1990s. The new lyrics were written by netizens from Hong Kong Golden Forum, a popular online forum, as a theme song for the “Shopping Revolution” that took place after the clearance of the Mong Kok pro-democracy sit-in protest site. The Occupy Central Movement, which took place between September and December 2014, demanded genuine democratic election of the city's top leader.

Production team Mocking Jer and netizen Ah Wah later turned the revamped song into a music video and uploaded it to YouTube. The video went viral overnight, with more than 670,000 views thus far. The original catchy chorus “Go cheating alone, I reject your [girlfriend's] monitoring” is rewritten as “Gau wu every day, I reject your [police] monitoring” in the new version, and has been popping up in all corners of major social media platforms.

Contributing reporter Yeung Zikang of citizen media platform inmediahk.net interviewed Mocking Jer and Ah Wah. The article was first published in Chinese on January 26 and translated into English by Cheung Choi Wan. The trimmed English version is published on Global Voices under a content-sharing agreement.

Ah Wah has skyrocketed to fame following his appearance in “Go Shopping Every Day”, in which he spoofs actor Andy Lau in his 1990s film role as heroic gangster Wah Dee.

There's a whole production team behind him on and off camera: Mocking Jer. In addition to Ah Wah, Mocking Jer is now composed of Ah Tin and Ah Sau, both graduates of the Hong Kong Academy of Performance Art (HKAPA) and founders of Mocking Jer.

“Go Shopping Every Day” is not the team's first production. Their first video, “Chan Ho Nam, the Teacher”, makes use of a popular movie to ridicule Hong Kong police for their abusive use of force.

Screen capture from Youtube video "Chan Hoi Nam the teacher".

Screen capture from YouTube video “Chan Hoi Nam, the Teacher”.

The idea for that short film came from a conversation during a shopping protest in Mong Kok, Ah Tin explained:

One day we went to Mong Kok together to go shopping. We chatted about a scene in the movie “Young and Dangerous'”, in which the main character Chan Ho Nam [who is a heroic gangster] acts as teacher in a school. It dawned on us that we could adapt the story and change gangster Cha Ho Nam into a police officer. So we recruited people and made our first film.

Netizens and HKAPA students took part in making the teacher film. Ah Sau introduced Ah Wah, who is an APA graduate, to the team, and Ah Wah became one of the actors. The three of them have been working together since then, and each has his own role. Ah Tin is responsible for behind the scenes planning. Ah Wah acts and Ah Sau covers everything else on and off camera.

“Go Shopping Every Day” captures the Hong Kong public's resentment towards police's excessive use of force, and it quickly became a big hit, with nearly 700,000 views to date. The music video is actually a by-product of the first video as netizens spotted Ah Wah singing the catchy line of the chorus of the Shopping Revolution theme song written by netizens from Hong Kong Golden Forum and urged him to perform the whole piece. They never expected the retro music video to become so popular. Ah Wah saw this as fate:

Since we are into it already, we hope we can continue to make films and to employ black humor to record what’s happening in our time.

Mocking Jer has started producing its third video, which will also challenge police brutality. Ah Wah believes a humorous approach can help people understand better what's happening in society.

Even though Mocking Jer's videos are amusing and funny, they clearly criticize the police authority and spread the idea of gau wu — a form of protest in which participants “go shopping”, which police view as “unlawful assembly”. Did Mocking Jer feel any political pressure? Ah Wah said they were anticipating political persecution, but would continue to press their luck and keep on with what they are doing. He admitted that he was a bit nervous when they performed on the streets of Mong Kok for the first time during the video shoot because there were many police and police cars around them. Ah Wah stressed:

We do not want to impose anything on the audience. We only want to show what’s happening in our society and to help Hong Kong people understand what’s happening. I remember reading a post which left me with a deep impression. It says: The most terrible people are those who live in a parallel universe [without sharing a common understanding of the reality of society].

All three of Mocking Jer's videos are about the Umbrella Movement. When asked if they only make films on politics, Ah Wah said that ideas about their films come from what is happening in Hong Kong society:

Since September 28 [when the police fired tear gas on peaceful protesters] the whole society of Hong Kong has changed. There are political messages everywhere. You see the yellow colour on every street. If you do not touch on the subject, it would look as though you are running away from it. If there would ever be genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong, there would probably be no need to talk about it!

Most people find it hard to choose between ideals and reality. However, like it or not, a choice must be made. Mocking Jer have been funding its own films and have remained independent, both in terms of human power and other resources. Apart from making films, they have to make a living. Ah Wah shrugged and smiled:

We have to earn a living too. The audience wants us to produce short films that are marvelous, but that means production cost. We have been doing it out of our own pockets. If in the future we have the opportunity to produce films for advertisers, we would let the audience know. We also hope they would understand. No matter what, we would do our best in every production.

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