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  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 9:13pm
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PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 11:28am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 11:00pm

Mystery of the deflated Rubber Duck: were cigarette butts to blame?

Now Chinese mainland tourists are blamed for the demise of Rubber Duck: rumours circulate that cigarette butts turned art installation into an omlette

The large inflatable duck that has been sitting in Tsim Sha Tsui’s promenade for weeks took its last breath of polluted harbour air on Tuesday - deflating from a 16.5-metre-tall piece of art to a flattened rubber carcass in a matter of hours. 

Rubber Duck, a creation of Dutch conceptual artist Florentijin Hofman, was for weeks the talk of the town, drawing throngs of visitors, local and mainland Chinese alike and tourists from around the world. The duck exhibition was supposed to end June 9.

Amid bird flu fears, a huge dock strike, miserable weather and the endless Legco filibuster, Rubber Duck was a happy sight for the city – and an even happier one for the media. This newspaper cheerfully suggested that Rubber Duck had helped unite the city and served as a “good reminder to reflect and appreciate things we often take for granted”.

So loved was this rubber duck, that its untimely “death” naturally led to conspiracy theories. Some pointed their finger at vandalism, others at duck haters anticipating a violent demise. Hong Wrong Blog joked the duck had succumbed to lung cancer from pollution.

Most bizarre, however, was the rumour that mainland tourists had “flicked lit cigarette butts at it”. The Southern Metropolis Daily reported this on Thursday.

The allegations were enough to draw the attention of state media. China Central Television (CCTV) even took to its official Sina Weibo account to clear up the rumours on Thursday.

“There have been rumours that Hong Kong’s big yellow duck was ‘burned to death’ by tourists from Shenyang, which had thrown 30 lit cigarette butts at it. Today Hong Kong has confirmed that damage was not man-made. Organisers are just doing a routine physical examination.”

“Fowl” play was quickly ruled out by Harbour City management, the duck’s host. Wind and strong waves had supposedly caused the duck to deflate and collapse. It was merely taking a duck nap as it conveyed in its tweet “sleepy time” on Tuesday.

Rubber Duck has since been plucked from the sea and folded up into a neat square next to the harbour.

As our friends at China blog Shanghaiist may be quick to point out soon, the Post will be continuing comprehensive and in-depth coverage of Hong Kong's mysterious duck deflation. So stay tuned.

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This article is now closed to comments

lucifer
What does it matter where our ancestors came from and how does that make us owe allegience to the CCP led Mainland? Hong Kong, its people, its culture, its government, its history etc. are all fundementally different than the mainland. I dare you to tell Singaporean or American Chinese that their ancestray somehow makes them somehow obligated to China. What about the people in Hong Kong and Taiwan who had their entire famil's wealth wiped out by the Communist PArty?
The People in Hong Kong who are of Chinese deescent came to Hong Kong to flee the chaos, calamity, and wars of China and the horros imposed by the OCmmunist Party in the past. They did not comne here on holiday and end up staying.
As for your SARS comment, well SARS was brought here from the mainland, the mainland covered up its spread and made it worse and them somehow by giving Minalnd residents more freedom of travel, it amounted "saving Hong Kong." Hong Kong was also on its so called "death bed" in 1997 and what did Chna do for its new colonly then? The peopole in HK have memories and can read...you are going to have a much harder time peddling that BS over here.
impala
I don't care if they are northerners, southerners, Chinese, Russians, martians, or cloned drones from the future. Just behave when you come and visit somewhere. That is all we ask.
maddmh
There are sentiments brewing against our neighbours from the north which are creating senseless rumours. We must not forget that many Hong Konger's are of northern descent and not to forget these roots. In addition, let's not forget that HK was on its deathbed in 2003 due to SARS, and due to the northern gates opening, HK had received a recession/depression free lifeline!
The northerners have had a closed society for a very long time. Give them time to acclimatise to our advanced society.
daily
Haven't we covered enough news on this stupid piece of yellow plastic?.........glad that it actually deflated........now let's move on.
Camel
Have you seen a smoker could through a cigarette butt more far than 2 meters? Why not blame the Mainlanders also for the bad weather and thunderstorm. Ridiculous.
ejmciii
He apparently does like Hong Kong but not the Mainland Masters whom you worship, Camel. Thankfully a great many Hong Kong people are re-discovering the unique qualities of being a person from and of Hong Kong as distinct from being appended to communist China.
 
 
 
 
 

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