Pink Fire Pointer Tattoo Bias and Economies of Thought

Tattoo Bias and Economies of Thought!/image/1035298519.jpg
                "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King Jr. The term 'triad' is said to have been coined by the British after assuming control of the colony. The name was derived from the traditional Chinese triangle iconography used by the gangs signifying the unity between heaven, earth and man. And even most Hong Kong triad groups still have their roots strongly in Mainland China. Throughout the 19th and 20th century the triads' presence in Hong Kong grew alongside the territory's reputation as an international business and shipping hub. Like any industry, the triad groups were separated by area of specialty and geographical location. There are still many active groups throughout both Mainland China and Hong Kong. It was just in 1993 that the notorious 6 acre 'Walled City', boasting a population of 33,000 under triad rule, was demolished. Today the number of active members in each of the top groups is estimated to range between 20,000 and 100,000+. The two most recognizable forms in triad tattoos are the dragon and the phoenix. These generally aggressive images work in tandem within the mythology. The dragon image is held to signify the 'yang' or dark side of the 'yin-yang' balance. Far from a beast to be feared or hunted as in Western mythology, the Chinese dragon traditionally symbolized good luck, power and control over various elements. Of these traits power is the most common reason behind the acquisition of dragon tattoos. On the other side is the 'light' or 'yin' element represented by the phoenix. A fire bird consistently reborn from the ashes, the phoenix symbolizes regeneration. And to that extent the phoenix also stands for a kind of power over the mortal coil. Again, the dragon and phoenix are the most recognizable pairing in triad tattoos. The other combination is the dragon and tiger. The reason for this second grouping derives from a variety of cultural sources including particular etymology of local dialects, myths behind famous Chinese leaders as well as the perceived internal struggle between the inclination towards good or bad (with each animal representing a distinct proclivity). The use of these images and mythology by triad members is not in question. Many triad members will have such tattoos. However, the mistaken belief is that these tattoos are used by the triad organizations themselves. Any broad categorizations of those who wear these tattoos automatically being a triad member of any repute are deeply inaccurate. The subtle differentiation being that those who publicly display these tattoos are either a separate class of triad members or simply tattooed individuals. Generally speaking there are two types of triads. The first is locally referred to as a 'troublemaker', the 'young and dangerous' type. These 'troublemakers' are generally concerned with street squabbles over territory, drugs, petty crime and intimidation. Due to their public profile and propensity for display, this type receives the most attention. The second type is colloquially referred to as the 'black-band' society. Much like any major crime organization their ranks are controlled with militarily precision and its members can be professionals from a variety of fields. Throughout the largest groups lawyers, bankers, business owners, politicians and policeman can be included in this second category. There are two rules governing the second type, to never cause trouble and to never be identified as a member. The gang's income and business structures require the preservation of a status-quo. To upset this through any petty crime, unauthorized intimidation or showboating would be short sighted and absolutely detrimental to operations. The first type has allowed for the current negative stereotyping of the tattooed in Hong Kong. They have a propensity for very large tattoos yet, due to limited financial means, will usually only complete the outline of the piece. The second type, should they have any tattoos, would not display them in the same way. At an organizational level, leaders of various fractions will not allow followers to be tattooed. Such tattoos would draw too much attention whilst allowing for immediate identification. In a business where anonymity and discrete operations are of primary importance it would be wrong to assume that there is some displayed, physical method of membership categorization.