On 25th March, Qatar secured their spot in the next round of the World Cup with a 2-0 victory against Hong Kong. Right after the match, Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin and Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, both made Facebook posts about the match in attempts to garner support from the public. The results were possibly even more predictable than the face-off between Batman and Superman.
Leung’s post praised the Hong Kong team for their amazing gameplay, and showed a photo of a football allegedly bought to support the team. The post recorded an astonishing 35,000 angry faces. Meanwhile, financial secretary John Tsang received 5,300 likes on his post.
As a citizen of Hong Kong, I hope our chief executive can at the very least stop angering more citizens online. There are very good reasons why Leung continues to lead the angry-face race among world leaders, even surpassing that of Donald Trump.
First off, the basics of dealing with people: please be genuine about what you are saying. If you are to truly praise the Hong Kong Team, do it sincerely. Saying that you only got to watch eight minutes of the match is already bad enough. Back in November 2015, after the Hong Kong vs China match when he was asked whether or not he supported the Hong Kong team he had offered no response. We all know he has only shown support for the Hong Kong team when it would get him publicity. Now it has obviously backfired on him.
Compared to John Tsang, who even showed up at Mong Kok Stadium in the last match, Leung’s testimony for supporting the team was already lacking.
The worst part came when he decided to use that out of focus, poorly taken photo of the football to “verify” his support for the Hong Kong team. It was soon discovered that the football was in fact completely unrelated to the team and was purchased for a completely different occasion.
Sure, he never said that he bought that football to support the Hong Kong team, but any sane person seeing a photo in the same post with the caption saying it was bought in an auction would assume that this was to prove that he had supported the Hong Kong team. So, when the facts were out that this football was simply unrelated to the issue it was easily assumed that this was another clever (though not so wise) trick to showcase his mastery of language arts. A manipulation of wordings and people’s perception.
Meanwhile, John Tsang’s two simple sentences – “Proud of the Hong Kong team! Amazing fighting spirits!” – got far better results.
In 2015, around the same time Leung refused to comment on the Hong Kong v China match, the government launched the “Appreciate Hong Kong” campaign. The bare minimum the Chief Executive could have done was to show some support for the team representing Hong Kong.
Later on, the government allowed hawkers, selling local Hong Kong food, to be beaten by Triad members.
They did not enforce the regulations on mud dumping in the Mai Po marshes, a Ramsar protected wetland. They initiated a handful of construction projects destroying the coastlines of Hong Kong. These hypocritical acts are precisely the ones that are making people in Hong Kong furious.
Perhaps if we hope to build a better image, setting up a Facebook page and babbling about how you stand for the citizens of Hong Kong will do us no good. This doesn’t only apply for Leung, but to the entire government. We need to be genuine about what we say – and prove it with action.