The boredom behind C Y Leung

Lam Hoi-man - Reporter, Ming Pao

[中文] [Jul 2012 - The Journalist] It all began after all the collective decisions had been violated.

The chief executive election was coming into focus in September last year. But it had already become almost routine for me to be covering Leung Chun-ying over the past three years.

Leung who had sworn he would never ever participate in the chief executive election had been criticizing government policies and decisions since 2008.

But he had become more evasive about running for the post as September approached. And he was no longer referred to as “Convenor of the Executive Council” but as “suspected chief executive candidate and commentator.”

He attended every single interview and forum to which he was invited. And he always arrived early.

Some media obviously became players in the CE election instead
of a remaining on the sidelines. (AP Photo)
Journalists always followed him, asking questions about housing, education, finance, population. But whenever someone asked if he would run for the election he would become evasive, always avoiding a direct answer.

On the other hand, day after day, Henry Tang threw out inexplicable phrases which were very entertaining.

But Leung was careful to the point of being boring. A fellow journalist opened up a discussion on “The sayings of CY” on the Internet. Lots of people joined in. “Wish the university students can drive taxi if they have a choice of it”, “the GDP of Hong Kong had 34% growth within 10 years, however the income of the grassroots which is 30% of the population has dropped.”... These recycled quotes always included jargon and complicated statistics, all easy to remember. We can always guess what he wanted to say next and then we make a forced smile.

People say the chief executive election is full of black material, and the platforms have been ignored. Even though two camps were engaged in a struggle, I believe that media has a role to play.

From the beginning of the election, we knew that it was just a ‘game’ played by the central government, but we never expected things to become this messed up. The dark side of politics was revealed for all to see in the final two weeks – just when we were focusing on how pro-Beijing voters changed their minds after the central government had had made its pick of the two candidates. The silence that followed was terrifying.

While people worry if Leung has the determination to defend freedom of Hong Kong, there is one thing I would like to share from my reporting of the election: when Leung was involved in the conflict of interest over the West Kowloon Cultural District project, I and a reporter from a pro-Leung newspaper met a core member of Leung’s camp who told us, “You are the only ones who knew how to report news. The other reporters should be educated again.” I was shocked and this so-called compliment was the biggest humiliation to our profession. When we see that Leung still doesn’t want to talk about Li Wangyang, I believe that the next five years will not be easy. I sincerely hope that we journalists can work hard together, to monitor Leung, and to defend press freedom.