Figures of fun raise a smile

Figures of fun raise a smile

A designer looks at the humorous side of politics using his miniature models

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Kif Hong Tin-yuen and his "talking" figures of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (left) and Henry Tang.
Kif Hong Tin-yuen and his "talking" figures of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (left) and Henry Tang.
Photos:Edward Wong/SCMP
Design graduate Kif Hong Tin-yuen, 23, has been taking a closer eye than normal on politics.

He didn't major in politics at university, or closely follow Hong Kong's recent pressing political concerns - the implementation of national education in the school curriculum and inauguration of Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin.

Instead Hong figured out a new political ideology - he wants everyone to have a big laugh at a time of political chaos.

To help people laugh, Hong designed two politically inspired talking figures - Leung and Henry Tang Ying-yen, his rival for the post of chief executive. He had 1,000 produced on the mainland and they were snapped up for HK$350 each at this year's animation and comic convention, Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong.

"I just want to cheer people up, and let them know politics is something very simple, and you can get some fun out of it," he says, referring to his figures.

The Tang figure holds a little red bottle, showing the "real" Tang's refined taste for exquisite red wines.

The Leung figure carries a fold-up chair, one of Hong Kong's iconic pieces of furniture.

One of the most amusing features of the figures is the ability to play recordings of seven notable quotes from each man, as voted for by internet users on Hong's website. When you push the legs together of Tang's figure, it says, "You're lying" - which he famously called out during a televised election debate; Leung's figure says: "No Leung's party, no Tang's party ... there is only one party called Hong Kong."

Kong's creations started as an attempt to establish his own toy design company, thinKrazy, with his two friends. Its slogan is "Dream Wild, Think Crazy".

However, his plan evolved into something more meaningful when a person, who claimed to have connections with people in government, approached him at the ani-com.

"I told him I wanted to give one of the figures to C.Y. Leung, and he said he could probably help," Hong says. "I didn't know who he was back then."

Hong passed one of his Leung figures to the man, who said he would try to give it to the chief executive. Just as a back-up, Hong is writing a letter to Leung. He says he has been told it's more effective than trying to e-mail him.

Hong hopes the chief executive will see the funny side and choose to be part of the project. He hopes Leung will agree to record some of the promises he makes to the public, which can then be put on to two special dolls.

"He can keep one as a reminder to himself," Hong says.

So far, there's no word from the chief.

Hong used to consider himself apolitical. After gaining a bachelor's degree in psychology and design at Seattle University in the US, he moved back to Hong Kong last year. Now he hears people often talking about politics - even his younger sister.

"I have many cynical friends and they whine about everything," says Hong.

"They always say they want to vote for their own leaders. But it's already been said that it'll happen in the next election."

The young designer plans to continue putting his light-hearted spin on Hong Kong's shaky political landscape in future.

Already he has come up with the idea for his next figure - Leung Kok-hung, the rebel politician popularly also known as "Long Hair".

"I want to do something that the big companies won't dare attempt," says Hong, who says his motto is to "keep everything positive".

For more details, go to thinkrazy.wix.com/3kz

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