24 April 2019
Three cuddly marsupials will soon become new star attractions at Hong Kong's Ocean Park. Photo: Facebook
Three cuddly marsupials will soon become new star attractions at Hong Kong's Ocean Park. Photo: Facebook

Netizens mock ‘fake’ Ocean Park voting campaign for koala name

Hong Kong netizens have mocked a campaign launched by Ocean Park to pick a name for one of three koala bears that will feature in a new exhibit at the theme park next month.

Ocean Park said on Thursday that it is inviting the public to pick a name for a koala through an online vote. However, they can choose only between three names.

Following the announcement, people in online forums dubbed the exercise as “fake universal suffrage” and called on the Park to ensure genuine “public nomination”.

The comments were made against the backdrop of the political developments in the city recently.

Public nomination of candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive election has been one of the demands of pro-democracy activists, a call that has been rejected by Beijing. 

Ocean Park said people can vote for one of three names — Tindo, Makko or Yani — on the theme park’s Facebook page from now until Feb. 26. The three names were chosen by the South Australian government, Ocean Park and the Hong Kong Tourism Board among options proposed by 48 students.

Ocean Park has brought in one male and two female koala bears for its new exhibit that will open at the end of March. 

If Tindo gets the highest vote, the male Koala will be given the name. If Makko or Yani is chosen, one of the two female bears will get the name. The remaining two animals will be named by the park.

Netizens said the campaign is a perfect example of Beijing’s fake universal suffrage proposal for Hong Kong. They said Ocean Park should provide more choices to the public or allow public nomination.

Some netizens said they are unwilling to “pocket it first” on the naming campaign, making another reference to Beijing’s political reform proposal for Hong Kong.

New attractions

Ocean Park, the marine- and conservation-themed park, has brought in three koalas from South Australia, offering an exciting new attraction for animal lovers in Hong Kong.

The three animals, all of which are said to be 2-years-old, belong to the southern subspecies of the cuddly marsupials. Compared to their northern counterparts, southern koalas are larger in size and have thicker fur to keep them warm during the colder winters.

The exhibit will have an open-style design, and visitors can get as close as 1-1.5 meters to the koalas, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday. However, people will be barred from touching the animals, Howard Chuk, senior curator at Ocean Park, was quoted as saying.

Visitors will be urged not to use flash lights, make noise or try to feed the koalas in the new gallery, which can hold 109 visitors at most at a time.

To provide specialty food for the marsupials, Ocean Park has planted 9,000 Eucalyptus trees in the park and at Guangdong. Meanwhile, caretakers were sent to Australia for training.

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Netizens posted a picture of a funny-faced koala bear (L) to question the naming campaign while some joked that the organizer is an angry koala (R) that is asking people to ‘pocket it first’. Photo: Facebook

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