Emojis battle in leader's Facebook response

Top News | Cindy Wan 18 Oct 2019

Carrie Lam reached out to young people as she held her first Facebook live session to respond to questions on her much-criticized policy address.

But contrary to public expectations, she was not responding to instant questions posted during her live session. Instead, there was a time lag as the questions were collected beforehand based on online comments late on Wednesday.

The first Facebook session by a chief executive drew 150,000 views - 12,000 checked like, love or angry emojis. Some 49,000 left comments during the hourlong session as angry emojis battled with those chanting support.

Few of them asked questions on Lam's third annual address, saying they wish to know whether she would respond to protesters' political demands, while others said they supported the police and the Hong Kong government.

Lam was shown a graphic made by netizens by host Kenneth Ng King- chun, political assistant to the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, stating that one has to earn HK$72,000 and spend HK$28,000 a month to buy a flat even with the new mortgage policy.

"Is it what the government wants us to do? Earn HK$72,000?" the graphic mocked.

Ng quoted an online comment on Lihkg forum, saying it is a tactic for the government to bind youngsters to a mortgage so they will have to pay a bigger price for activism.

Lam said the government did not think like that, and asked people to pay attention to their affordability. Lam also said she will request the police force to make officers identifiable.

"I have asked police senior management to understand ways to recognize the officers. These include showing badge, warrant and having numbers on their helmets," she said.

"But of course during the many conflicts, it could be possible that the police can't show their warrant when requested."

As for the widespread dissatisfaction against the force, Lam asked the public not to be prejudiced against police and for officers not to be judgmental of protesters.

Lam skipped the traditional radio phone-in program, instead sending Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung.

A caller who said he is a civil servant named Lee said: "Our government is facing a serious political crisis. We lost our credibility in governing."

But Lam's policy speech did not address the problem and has no plan to "conduct a comprehensive review of our governance."

In response, Cheung said Lam had made it clear that the focus is on deep-seated livelihood problems, such land, housing and the wealth gap.

But he agreed the government should take a more humble attitude to regain citizens' trust.

cindymt.wan@singtaonewscorp.com

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