If you can’t join them, threaten them: Interview with Lunyeah

Our next social media influencer is the popular blogger known as Lunyeah, whose real name is Wong Ho Lun. “Lunyeah”, which is a phonetic representation of 倫爺, literally translates into Master Lun.

Photo: Lunyeah’s Facebook page


 

Lunyeah is followed by nearly 6,000 people on Facebook, and is published on almost all major online media outlets, but mostly on VJMedia.  He can also be heard with fellow social media influencer Kay Lam on the online radio channel D100. When he’s not commenting on current affairs, Lunyeah runs his own private tutoring business and has had years of experience in the industry.

The opinion leader began building his online presence through writing on Xanga (a now defunct online blogging site), which was technically a diary. A group of these writers on Xanga, who considered themselves some of the more “cultured” bloggers, formed a blogger circle. They all wrote on politics and shared their thoughts on current events. This circle would form the basis of what would become” Hong Kong originals”, which includes a number current social media influencers.

When facebook came around these bloggers continued to post their blogs and interact on social media. By 2011, VJ Media was founded by Rocky Yung and invited a lot of them as columnists to contribute to his media website. That’s when he became a semi-professional writer.

 

Why did you pick ‘Lunyeah’ as your pseudonym?

It’s nothing special. It’s a nickname based on my real name that was given to me in highschool and I’ve been using it ever since.

After having gathered a bit of a following already, I thought it was too much of a hassle and quite unnecessary to come up with a new name or set up an account under a pseudonym.

 

How would you explain your fame on the Internet?

To me I’ve always considered myself to be a nobody. I slowly accumulated my followers but I never deliberately promote myself or anything.

In my early days I did write about politics, but mostly I would write on the historical context behind local TV dramas. That built my first audience base.

Gradually I would write on politics more and more. One of my better known blogs was a parody of a classic Chinese text which I made Chan Mo-por (current Secretary for Development) the main character and described his antics using classical Chinese. It went viral and even got reported on Apple Daily. That’s about the time I began writing on politics a lot more.

The tension in Hong Kong has been growing in the past few years. The fear of cultural invasion from China, the influx of Chinese immigrants, have all been infuriating. So on some level it feels like the traditional left wing political activists haven’t been able to represent us. That’s what has given birth to what we call localists, and as a result I wrote more and more through localist lens.

Later on I began collaborating with Kay Lam hosting a radio show on current events. So I was forced to reflect on and analyse current issues week in week out, which in the end led me to write more on political issues. From then on, I gradually became one of many so-called influencers among localists. I don’t consider myself an opinion leader. I’m just a normal nobody who happens to have a bit of a following. But to be frank my political influence isn’t really that great.

 

What is your political stance?

I am first and foremost a localist, and then I’m anti-CCP. In terms of economics, I’m a leftist. Within localists, there are those who advocate returning to British rule, those who support Wan Chin’s city state theory, etc. I don’t think these differences are that important at the moment. It hasn’t come to a point where we need to decide what form Hong Kong’s autonomy should take. In terms of international politics, there are so many factors that need to fall into place. I am quite pragmatic and I don’t think we need to really limit ourselves to one particular idea. As long as it can reach the minimum requirement, which is a clear distinction between China and Hong Kong, I don’t mind any of the options.

 

How do you use your influence to promote that stance?

I promote localist ideas when I can. One of Hong Kong’s most fundamental problems is the lack of an established identity, So in my writings and on the radio show with Kay Lam, I really emphasize on the building of that identity, and the inherent rights and core values that Hong Kong people should have.

Leftards like to mention these core values as well, but they never talk about the unique identity it belongs to. This is something we feel the needs to be addressed. Such as the Universal Pension Scheme. It is necessary to first draw a line (between those who should be covered by the scheme and those who should not). In terms of economics, I would say I am quite leftist.

 

In the ongoing flame war between localists and what they call ‘leftards’ (traditional left-wing social activists in Hong Kong)

It depends. I try not to get myself involved in personal attacks (which happen quite often). When I do attack leftards, it is mostly on important public issues. Such as the one way permit, Universal Pension Scheme, etc. Nonetheless, I don’t see a need to stop them [the personal attacks] either.

 

Do you think it is important for localists and the traditional activists to collaborate in their protest and fight for democracy?

Alliances are necessary, but they always require a foundation to build on. For starters, the other side must agree to it. Secondly, it depends on whether it can be mutually beneficial. Since the traditional left wing activists already have their own platform and resources, they don’t have the incentive to talk to localists. Therefore, the heart of the problem lies with them not willing to extend an olive branch to the localist. Of course, it’s also a vicious cycle. Ss a result, localists will criticise the leftists, harming any chance for cooperation. But in order to form an alliance, each side must have some leverage, something to bring to the table. In the past, localists did not had such, and so the leftards would expect them to just listen to orders.

If the localists want to form a partnership with the left-wing. You’ll first need to become a threat to them. So in the meantime, localism must grow in strength to make it happen.

What is your vision of an ideal Hong Kong?

A Hong Kong that belongs to Hongkongers, not “new hongkongers”. But simply a Hong Kong that prioritise a Hong Kong identity and the core values that come with it, so that we can maintain our way of life with dignity.

We need to fight against the invasion of mainland culture. One important factor is immigration policy. We see the media and our education gradually being invaded, and these are all slowly eating into our next generation’s identity.