Hong Kong’s social media users have started writing posts in phonetically-spelled Cantonese words as a means to shut out mainland internet trolls who were targeting supporters of the anti-extradition movement with messages and even some threats.
It’s believed that by using the Cantonese romanisation, people who are not Cantonese speakers will be baffled by the messages, which are likely to confuse even automatic translation machines.
The change of tone came after the social media war of words shifted from Chinese to English as internet users argued about the continuing protests in Hong Kong.
Some of the recent posts that called on people to take part in a mass rally at the Victoria Park on Sunday were in neither English or Chinese.
For example, one post read: “Ng dai sou kau, kyut yat bat hor. Ha ng leung dim, wai dor lei ah gung yun”, which translates into “Each and every one of the five demands has to be met. See you in Victoria Park at 2pm.”
The idea sprang from a thread on the LIHKG forum, which suggested using phonetic Cantonese to identify whether a person involved in an internet discussion was a “spy”.
Some organisations, including some media, also posted their messages in a similar way.
The Amnesty International Hong Kong wrote on its Facebook page: “Wo ping jaap wui, ngo yau kuen. V Park no space gum dim sin”. It means “I have the right for a peaceful assembly. What are we supposed to do if there’s no room in Victoria Park?”
RTHK’s This Week television programme also posted a message in a similar fashion on its Facebook page.