Fans return fire in defence of frontline reporter Raymond Wong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 12:00am

Fan mail has started to trickle in for TVB's man on the frontline, Raymond R. Wong, and his idiosyncratic on-the-spot reporting from Kuwait City on the looming Iraq war.

Three letters of support for the station's assistant general manager have been sent in by viewers who disagree with a Post report on Saturday in which a viewer complained about Mr Wong's reports for the Pearl channel. Media experts also had labelled as 'absurd' his change of outfits to show off gas masks and anti-chemical warfare suits in last Wednesday's report.

Tai Hang resident Glen Norris wrote: 'Contrary to your critical story on Raymond R. Wong's reporting on the Middle East crisis, I find this veteran newsman a breath of fresh air in the 'ever so serious' world of television journalism.'

A second letter-writer, Bill Heywood, said he could not believe anyone would criticise Wong.

'He is the best thing on television by a country mile and brings some much needed gravitas to the proceedings. I tune in every evening just to see his report and in particular to see what he is wearing. I thought the only sartorial mistake was the salmon-pink shirt tucked into his jeans,' he said.

Another fan found Mr Wong's style 'refreshing and appropriate'. 'He showed empathy with the situation and was not afraid to show the practicalities of the life in Kuwait,' the unnamed letter-writer said, requesting that the Post publish an article extolling Mr Wong's journalistic values.

However, the veteran journalist appeared to have beaten the Postto it by promoting himself in his report on Sunday night. One astute viewer pointed out that he was wearing a silver medal, which may have been the Silver Bauhinia Star awarded to Mr Wong in 1998 for his contribution to journalism. Mr Wong's innovative use of visual aids - such as Sunday night's backdrop of a poster depicting the type of aircraft to be used in a possible air strike - and large maps have also received favourable reviews.

'How many people knew where Baghdad was before the map was shown as a backdrop to the newscast?' questioned one of his fans.

Mr Wong's assistant in Hong Kong said she was unable to contact him and a TVB spokesman approached for comment did not return calls yesterday.