Some people like to talk cryptically. Not everyone knows how to do that. Leaders in China often talk cryptically. Western leaders seldom talk cryptically. They prefer to talk bluntly. US President Donald Trump sometimes uses Twitter to send cryptic messages. But mostly he uses Twitter to send blunt messages. Last week, Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-shing, put full-page advertisements in some newspapers about the protests caused by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's extradition bill, which has now been suspended. Li Ka-shing called himself an ordinary Hong Kong citizen in the advertisements. One advertisement used words that were so cryptic that many people didn't know what he really meant. Social media was abuzz with people guessing what he really meant.
If something is cryptic, it means it is mysterious, ambiguous, and difficult to understand. The word "blunt" has several meanings but used this way it means saying what you want to say in simple and clear language. The word "abuzz" used this way means a lot of excited talk. The cryptic advertisement Li Ka-shing put in some newspapers had a large stop sign with Chinese words in the middle, on top, bottom, left, and right. The words can be either blunt or cryptic, depending on how you interpret them. The words in the middle of the stop sign said "violence". So Li Ka-shing's message was to stop violent protests.But the other words were more cryptic.
On the top of the advertisement he said a good cause can turn into the worst result. Did he mean protesters fighting for a good cause or Beijing fighting for a good cause in preserving Hong Kong? On the left he said love freedom, love inclusiveness, love the rule of law. The protesters are fighting for freedom but the government said there must be rule of law. On the right he said love China, love Hong Kong, love yourself. This is cryptic because protesters love Hong Kong and themselves. That's why they are protesting. The bottom part said use love to stop anger. Is he supporting the protesters or Beijing? It's cryptic.
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Michael Chugani 褚簡寧