Leung Chai-yan, the second daughter of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, said her controversial Facebook post, in which she thanked taxpayers for giving her the money to buy expensive items, was meant as a sarcastic comment, but netizens took it literally and subjected her to a barrage of criticisms.
“Whenever I post a picture about my dinner, some netizens will say I am using taxpayers’ money to have good food. That’s why I made a joke about it and said ‘thank you to taxpayers for supporting my expenses on shoes’. It’s only sarcastic but people don’t have a sense of humor,” she told Metro Daily in an exclusive interview published Monday.
She revealed that throughout her six-year stay at a boarding school in London, she only received 50 pounds (HK$606) for each three-month term.
“My father always tells me to know about the real world, instead of staying in the comfort zone,” she said, adding that a luxurious lifestyle should not be encouraged, especially when she has not yet started making a living.
“My friends and I grew up in a protected environment… After I entered the university, I realized that not everyone must have a driver or domestic helper or could afford skiing and summer trips.”
At the height of the anti-government sentiment fueled by the pro-democracy Occupy campaign in late September, she posted the controversial comment on Facebook, which went viral on the internet and global media.
“Yes — funded by all you HK taxpayers!! So are all my beautiful shoes and dresses and clutches!! Thank you so much!!” she wrote. “I have left the Government House secretly with a mask, and I passed Central. Hit me if you can recognize me and have the guts to do so.”
She also mocked netizens who blasted her remarks, saying most of them were “laid off” and “their English is not good enough to challenge me”.
The post, which earned the ire of many netizens, was later removed.
Her controversial posts have turned the 23-year-old youngster into a local celebrity. Yahoo! Hong Kong ranked her no. 4 among the top ten figures in the city for 2014, three notches higher than her father.
Leung admitted that in the family, she is the one causing the most worries and troubles to her parents.
But, contrary to what many think, she said she has never felt any burden or pressure from having Hong Kong’s leader for a father.
In June, the young Leung caused shockwaves across the city when she posted on her Facebook page a series of gory pictures that implied a suicide attempt. One showed a wrist with two cuts; it said: “Will I bleed to death?” The other was a photo of a bloodied hand with the caption saying “I love blood.”
Asked what really happened when she posted those pictures, she said that she was just under too much personal pressure and her father made her nervous.
As for recent media reports that she wanted to become a fashion model, she said the actual story was that she was just replying to a modeling agency that approached her previously.
“I did not tell the agency that I am extremely interested and the whole story was exaggerated by others,” she said.
She admitted that some of the photos that circulated online came from her, but the others must have come from hackers.
She also blamed the agency for leaking her personal information and said she reserves the right to pursue the matter through legal channels.
Leung has just completed her course in the Department of Law of the London School of Economics. She is now preparing for her exams scheduled to be given after the Christmas holidays, which if she passed would allow her to graduate.
She said she has not yet decided whether to become a lawyer, although she is also fond of philosophy and fine arts. She said she hopes to get married at 26 and have kids at 30.
“I am just Chai-yan,” she said, adding that she is an ordinary youngster like many others born in Hong Kong.
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