The Hong Kong protests explained through ‘Mr. Men and Little Miss’ characters

Ip’s drawings featuring the “invisible” police,  CY Leung or “689” as the infamous Lufsig wolf, and of course, Hong Kong people all in yellow, the colour of the protests, and wielding umbrellas. 

“Mr. Men and Little Miss HK People” is a Facebook page that’s popped up only today but that has already racked up over 6,000 likes and counting. 

Created by local designer Maxwell Ip, the page features his adorable drawings of characters done in the style of the famous “Mr. Men and Little Miss” children’s books, but all relating to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement and often cleverly referencing local slang and jokes about the protests. 

In his latest status update, he assured people that he was “not a foreign force interfering” in the Hong Kong protests, a sly wink at CY Leung’s comments about how the Occupy movement was affected by “external forces”. 

We chatted with the creator of these drawings on Facebok this morning to learn more about his work and what inspires him. 

occupy central, art, umbrella, hong kong, protest

The city’s ubiquitous rubbish bins, cartoon character-style. It’s a reference to this photo, which shows a banner with the face of Ray Lau, the undersecretary of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, visible through the hole of a rubbish bin.

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Maxwell Ip, I live in Hong Kong, and I’m a designer at social@Ogilvy.

What inspired you to create these images?

I think parents should tell their children about what is happening right now. So I use the style of Mr. Men & Little Miss, which is a children’s storybook, to create a series of illustration to help parents to do that. And this is what I hope they will do.

occupy central, art, umbrella, hong kong, protest

This character pokes fun at TVB, which has recently been accused as being a government mouthpiece.

Why did you decide to use the Mr. Men and Little Miss children’s book series as the inspiration for your work?

Because in the Mr. Men and Little Miss series, each book is for one character. I just wanted to use the same style. And parents always buy those books for their children, so I hope they know [how to read these books to their kids] when they see it. And of course, I wanted to do it as a tribute to Roger Hargreaves, the creator of the books.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip holding a broom, a reference to how some Hongkongers (rather unkindly) described an old haircut of hers. One of the characters in Ip’s Chinese name sounds like the Cantonese word for “tumour”, hence “cancer”. 

Are you surprised by the response? You just launched the page today and you already have 6,000 likes.

Yes, I’m really surprised. I just simply posted it on my personal account today, and I got almost 40 friend requests and 3000 shares this morning…  That’s why I made a page to make it easier to manage, and to let others to follow my work easily.

occupy central, art, umbrella, hong kong, protest

Chief secretary Carrie Lam, pink and grumpy-looking.

Did you read the books as a kid?

Haha no, because my parents don’t know English, so I never read any English storybooks. But I read them sometimes when I go to the bookstore now.

occupy central, art, umbrella, hong kong, protest

Mr. 4PM refers to”Hui Sir”, the police officer who appears on TV everyday at 4pm to give a report on the protests.

What do you like about the book series? 

The books are excellent for children. Not only can parents just tell the story, but they can also describe each character. Children can learn about shapes, colours, clothing and emotions through the characters.

Also, the books are full of positive energy; this is what Hong Kong people need now.

“Tree Gun” is the nickname given to Christopher Chung, a pro-Beijing member of LegCo. It’s a play off of his Chinese name, which sounds like the Chinese word for “tree” and the English word “gun”. 

Related stories:

The Art of Democracy: The fight to save Hong Kong’s protest art

Hong Kong police: Stop bringing your kids to the protests, or you may be breaking the law

Hong Kong man, 23, arrested for inciting people to join Mong Kok protests online

20 injured in overnight violence at Mong Kok protests

Multiple arrests as thousands of Hong Kong protesters retake camp

Mong Kok Remobilised: How Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters retook territory in 24 hours

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