Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's challenge to Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee to engage in a one-to-one television debate is the talk of the town.
While the invitation appears to have come out of the blue, political observers say the tell- tale signs were there.
They are referring to an interview Tsang gave to Metro Radio host Heung Shu-fai the day after the Legislative Council by-election. Asked whether he would consider agreeing to a televised debate, Tsang didn't give a direct reply, but responded with a smile.
The keen observer would have noticed a glint in Tsang's eye when he heard the question. Pundits said it was either because the question hit the bulls- eye, or because it gave the chief executive a light- bulb moment.
Heung is well-known for his extensive network of financial and political contacts, so it wasn't surprising that he asked a perceptive question.
Tsang's first major media appearance following the by-election was naturally the focus of public attention, and he chose Metro Radio as the platform to fire the opening salvo in the final push to gain support for the constitutional reform proposals.
On subsequent days, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen went to the Belilios Public School.
This was followed by visits of other policy secretaries to various districts, before the debate challenge was issued.
There appears to have been careful planning behind the choice of Metro Radio as the platform for the opening salvo.
Tsang usually rotates media platforms for his appearances, but sometimes he considers special factors. As the Metro Radio program has no phone-in segment, exchanges between the host and chief executive were able to proceed without interruptions.
The program's format also ensured that the subsequent media coverage concentrated on Tsang's delivery, which is much more effective in conveying messages than community visits by top officials that are often victim to unexpected developments.Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily