Date
23 September 2017
Fitbit posted a picture of Carrie Lam wearing the smartwatch on its Facebook page but quickly took it down after it attracted negative comments. Photos: Facebook
Fitbit posted a picture of Carrie Lam wearing the smartwatch on its Facebook page but quickly took it down after it attracted negative comments. Photos: Facebook

Watching Carrie Lam

What Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor wears sometimes tells more than what she says.

While Hong Kong’s chief secretary was busy selling her second political reform consultation package, she bumped into student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung (not her favorite person to meet) at a television station.

Interestingly enough, what caught the attention of netizens who saw a video of the brief encounter was not the content of their exchange but the smartwatch she was seen wearing.

Her gray Fitbit watch sparked a lively discussion online as to how fashionable, health-conscious or pressurized the 59-year-old minister is.

Well, there is a legitimate political question relating to her health: how well has she been sleeping in the past three months?

An online post from Apple Daily was picked up by Fitbit’s marketing people, who reposted the item on the firm’s Facebook page and praised Lam as a new-generation fashion icon.

They quickly withdrew the post after it prompted a flood of negative comments attacking Lam for her stance on true universal suffrage and threatening to boycott the “undemocratic” product she was wearing.

Carrie Lam, after all, is not exactly a youth idol, despite being one of the most popular senior officials.

Sometimes she take advantage of her soft power to win fans, as when in the televised dialogue with leaders of the Hong Kong Federation of Students she addressed the HKFS secretary general as “Alex” — not Mr. Chow — or more affectionately as “Wing-hong”.

Lam also knows the art of dressing to convey a message.

Shortly after police bombed Occupy protesters with tear gas on Sept. 28, she dressed in yellow and black at a news conference.

Lately, she has worn more blue suits, clearly showing her affections have shifted away from protesters to promoters of Beijing-style electoral reform.

Fitbit Flex debuted on Oct. 28, a month after the Occupy movement began.

Priced at HK$900, the smart device is described as “a high-performance wristband that delivers all-day activity tracking, real-time fitness stats and caller ID right on the wrist for people who want to step up their everyday activities to improve their overall health”.

Known as a woman who always “steps up” to the occasion, Lam certainly merits the “high-performance” label.

Her staff can probably attest that she is a micro-manager who is good at “all-day activity tracking” (one of her subordinates once told me Lam often sent emails late in the evening, awaiting a reply after midnight).

But only during this consultation period shall we find out how flexible she is and attentive to comments from Admiralty and Mongkok, not Zhongnanhai.

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BK/MY/FL

EJ Insight writer

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