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Hong Kong’s ‘ant tribe’ rejects a life of slavery

Niall Ferguson

By Niall Ferguson (Original source The Times)

“Do you ever feel like you’re an ant? I often do. Especially at airports. “A soldier knows that the life of an individual ant doesn’t matter — what matters is the colony,” declares one of the soldier ants in the animated feature film Antz. “I’m supposed to do everything for the colony,” complains the depressed worker ant Z (voiced by Woody Allen, back when we were still allowed to find him funny). “And what about my needs? What about me? The whole system makes me feel insignificant.”

I was thinking a lot about ants last week because I was in China. Now, I used to avoid thinking about ants in China, because in the 20th century comparing east Asians to ants was a common western slur. During the Second World War, General William Slim — the hero of the war in Burma — was surely not the only allied commander who likened Japanese soldiers to ants.”

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