My Take

Canto-pop king Leon Lai Ming shows that he is a class act

The singer’s response to the disastrous last-minute cancellation of the first of his concerts should be a teachable moment for many Hong Kong public figures

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 10:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 May, 2016, 8:36pm

You don’t have to be a fan of Canto-pop “heavenly king” Leon Lai Ming to notice that over the decades, the man has grown in stature, both as an entertainer and public figure.

His latest response to the disastrous last-minute cancellation of the first in a series of concerts because of fire safety concerns should be a teachable moment for many a public figure in Hong Kong.

Just hours before the concert, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department refused to issue a temporary permit because event ­organisers had failed to meet fire safety standards.

It’s on: Canto-pop king Leon Lai announces in Facebook video that he will go ahead with Friday show

Department inspectors noticed problems with the marquee on stage a month ago, warning it could catch fire under strong stage lights, but organisers failed to rectify the problem despite several attempts.

Lai took to social media like Facebook to explain the cancellation. He then went to the Central Harbourfront where the concert was to have been held and apologised to fans. He spoke freely with reporters, took full personal responsibility for the debacle and reassured fans that every effort would be made to satisfy them.

“This is our responsibility. Please don’t blame the government,” he said.

I am sure he was not directly responsible for the fire dangers. Clearly he paid good money to stage management companies and technicians to take care of such things.

But he is the frontman and public face of the whole enterprise. As a public relations exercise, he has offered a lesson in damage control.

He publicly acknowledged the problem, took responsibility and promised to rectify the problem as soon as possible. He not only used social media, but personally went to the arena to engage his fans and the media.

Will show go on? Anxious fans await 4pm update from Canto-pop king Leon Lai

People paid up to HK$2,980 for a ticket. Lai understood from the start he needed to personally reassure them that their money is safe instead of relying on his record company or a PR firm.

But all that aside, what he did took character. In Hong Kong today, officials refuse to take responsibility whenever something goes wrong and politicians play the blame game.

The whole point of politics seems to be to accuse and discredit your opponents and to drag out a problem or crisis for as long as possible. If only more of us learn to act like Lai.