Having breathtaking “superpower” to turn stone into gold, the government is well versed in the tactics of marketing and making shops and youths “rise to stardom”, even more formidable than ViuTV and Ahfa Wong.
Soon after a shop of AbouThai was ransacked by officers from the Customs and Excise Department, people stood in long queues outside its branch shops; shortly after criticized for taking a bubble bath at the music fountain in Kwun Tong and threatened with a penality for it by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Wong Kar-wai, aka Dong Fong Sing, ranked number three in April by “Cloudbreakr Asian influencers marketing platform”, following Keung To and Liz리즈 from South Korea who ranked number two and one respectively (Cloudbreakr did the ranking with reference to data from Facebook and Instagram), and the stock price of TVMost also benefited from it, soaring by a sesquialter!
The latest “beneficiary” is Chickeeduck. One of its shops was cordoned off and rummaged by about fifty police officers, and even customers in the shop had to leave their personal information before leaving. In the end, neither a person nor a thing was carried off. Herbert Chow Siu-lung, the proprietor, has made clear he would not fear such white terror. As a result, the shop was crowded with customers the following day with a long queue outside.
Admittedly, there are proprietors who have “risen to stardom” by putting forward only one line. Maxim’s and U-Banquet are perfect examples.
Why did that happen? Firstly, not spending money there is the cheapest and safest way to define one’s position. Secondly, Hong Kong people are still holding fast to “fairness”, which is the value most Hong Kong people have been educated about since childhood. A lot of people still presume the people in power must ensure fairness to all parties. The operation directed against a chain store legally run is a perfect example of an “unfair play”. AbouThai was the only one raided by the police among all the shops that sell mislabelled products, which was not fair. If you are not fair, we come forward to right the wrong and make it fair by going on a shopping spree in those shops being levelled at!
Comparatively fairer in the past, the government used to stay closer to what the populace thought and felt, and was more considerate towards the masses. With a very different set of criteria for proceedings, the government officials now uphold the principle of patriotism, especially when dealing with citizens’ resistance and protest. As the majority of Hong Kong people have not yet adapted to the change, they are convinced the people in power or law enforcers are not fair. Not convicted and still held in detention, Wu Chi-wai was denied a bereavement leave upon the death of his father, which was not only unreasonable and inhumane, but also unfair. After all, in a lot of previous cases on the mainland, China also gave the imprisoned a way out. Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo was allowed to show up at his father’s funeral when he was in jail; Ji Shengde, Ji Pengfei’s son arrested for corruption (former Deputy Director of the Intelligence Bureau at the PLA General Staff Headquarters responsible for procuring an aircraft carrier from Ukraine and refitting it as the Liaoning), was allowed to see his father off at the funeral where he shook hands with Hu Jintao, then Secretary General.
The government having made so many people and shops “rise to stardom” overnight can be ascribed to the clash between the new values upheld by the government officials and the old values the people still hold dear.
(Poon Siu-to, veteran journalist)
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