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Leung’s strong localist impulse is rooted in his attachment to Kwun Tong and his childhood home in Yue Man Square. His vivid memories of living in the local community, such as a local shop where he always buys homemade herbal tea, helped him to build up a sense of belonging.

Apart from these childhood memories, Leung thinks his sense of belonging to the city also comes from Cantonese, a language that can be appreciated in both high-brow and low-brow contexts. He is alarmed that the importance of Cantonese is waning in Hong Kong. “Parents forced their children to learn English before, and nowadays Putonghua. They do not pay respect to the status of Cantonese as our mother tongue and have ignored the language’s important history,” says Leung.

Illustrated by Andy Leung Ka-chun
Illustration by Andy Leung Ka-chun

The escalation in tension and conflicts between Mainlanders and Hongkongers has only strengthened his localist beliefs. “One time I was on the MTR, I saw two mainland children fighting for a seat next to an old man and making loud noises. There were already five people sitting there. Eventually the old man had to leave his seat,” says Leung, clearly irritated by the recollection.

To resolve the deadlock, Leung thinks resources in Hong Kong should only be allocated to locals and that Hong Kong should hold the approval rights for one-way permits. In addition, Leung suggests that Hongkongers should draft their own constitution.

Reducing the number of mainland visitors may help to alleviate tensions but Leung is also concerned about how to encourage Hong Kong people to be more vocal and critical in general. In his latest Kade Chan Origami Studio X Angryangry exhibition, his drinks box Hong Kong landscape was invaded by origami aliens. The message was that “the city is about to collapse under the threat challenging our core values”. Leung says the aliens symbolise the Hong Kong people whose silence is damaging the city.

“Hong Kongers have developed some kind of ‘mysophobia’. They are afraid of voicing out to protect our core values and fading city landmarks. I wish to dig deeper into these issues in my artwork and raise certain questions.”

Leung thinks protesters should be more radical in voicing their demands and he firmly believes that peaceful methods of protest and political negotiations are doomed to fail. “You should not negotiate and compromise with people who have vested interests; it means that you surrender once you negotiate,” says Leung. “I strongly support people who go on strike and boycott classes…Class boycotts can be radical, too. It can be frightening when secondary school students are also participating in a class boycott.”