My Take

Hits and misses along the PR trail

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 3:09am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 3:09am

I don't know why people have nicknamed Leung Chun-ying "the wolf" for his alleged cunning and deviousness, when these are precisely the qualities he doesn't seem to have. Our chief executive is rather the opposite, forever slow on the learning curve in a way that is just embarrassing at times. It's especially painful to watch him lunge from one political mishap to another while his public relations minders seem to be even more clueless than their master.

Take last weekend, when protesters threw eggs at Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah (hit) and Lufsig, the Ikea stuffed-toy wolf, at Leung (missed).

Tsang won kudos in the blogosphere for brushing off the mess, quite literally, and then quipped his doctor had advised him to stay off eggs and other dairy products.

Leung put on a stern face on the advice of a PR official heard within earshot of nearby reporters, and denounced the egg and doll throwers, who were from the League of Social Democrats. Police took their cue and arrested them. Lufsig was taken as evidence. Instantly, the doll, which looks like the wolf in the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, became the best-selling - and now sold-out - item in Ikea stores. One reason for its popularity, besides being an instrument of protest, has to do with Lufsig's Putonghua translation, which sounds a lot like a very rude phrase in Cantonese.

Now even Leung has a Lufsig, to be renamed by Ikea to avoid any more controversy, on his office desk. Having screwed up last time, his PR people have advised him to embrace the doll. Well, if you can't beat them, join them.

Who knows, may be people will stop throwing Lufsig at him. Some blogs and Facebook pages have even praised him for finally showing a sense of humour.

Nice try, but there are always new things that protesters will find to throw at him. If I were a constant target, life could be much worse than being hit by a fluffy little stuffed doll. But here's a question. If Lufsig has been sold out, how did Leung manage to get one so quickly?

Is this another case of government-business collusion, where senior executives at Ikea went out of their way to find a Lufsig for Leung to help reverse his PR disaster after agreeing to change its name?