There were also unexpected risks. So Ling recalls a particularly scary experience at the “Gangnam Style” event at Langham Place, Mong Kok, in October last year. “When we were doing our dance, the security staff rushed out, told us to turn off our boom box and shooed us away. After we finished the dance, the staff chased us down with sticks in their hands!”
Apart from her own passion for participating in flash mobs, So Ling is driven to organise events because she wants to do something for the community. She would like to bring happiness to the city through flash mobs, and to jolt people out of the single-minded pursuit of wealth and fortune.
“I saw many foreigners organising interesting events in Hong Kong, yet Hong Kong people never noticed or cared,” she says. “I don’t want the city to be so boring, and everyone concentrating only on making money. There are a lot of people, a lot of things that are worth our appreciation in Hong Kong… Hong Kong can be a diversified place.”
For people with specific goals in mind, flash mobs are a wonderful medium to spread messages. Around the world, flash mobs have been held to raise awareness on issues ranging from bullying to shark-fin consumption.
Lisa Pearl, a health coach, co-organised a dance flash mob on Valentine’s Day this year with Jennifer Carven McLennan in response to One Billion Rising, a global campaign to raise awareness of violence against women and girls. She believes flash mobs are a highly visible and contagious way to engage people in important issues.
“We wanted to come together in solidarity with the purpose and the energy to shape the world and consciousness,” Pearl says. “Dancing insists that you take up space. It is something you can do together. The dancing is fun and lively and energetic but it’s also purposeful.”
A flash mob is not just about a specific act or dance. Rey Asis, who also organised a One Billion Rising dance mob for Hong Kong migrants in February, regards it as a whole package – a combination of the dance, the outfits, the songs, the movements and most importantly the message.