25 October 2016
Singer G.E.M. (left) has angered mainlanders with an "insensitive" reference to China's stock market woes. Photo credits: Xinhua, Weibo
Singer G.E.M. (left) has angered mainlanders with an "insensitive" reference to China's stock market woes. Photo credits: Xinhua, Weibo

Why G.E.M. can’t afford to talk about China ‘bubbles’

Pop singer Gloria Tang Tsz-kei, better known by her stage name G.E.M. — which stands for “Get Everybody Moving”, often makes news for her controversial online posts.

This time, she provoked many of her mainland fans by using “Bubbles”, one of her song titles, to describe the latest situation in the A-share market.

“Didn’t I sing that? They are all just bubbles and sparks,” she wrote on her microblog Monday.

“Don’t be sad. Stock markets are bubbles. If you can take it easy, there is nothing to be upset,” she added.

The last sentence comes from the lyrics of the Bubbles song, which says romance between lovers is always illusive.

G.E.M. performed the song in one of the episodes of China’s top music reality TV show “I Am A Singer” last year, which helped her become popular in the country.

But now the use of the word bubbles in reference to the stock market crash has angered many mainlanders, who are already feeling down in the dumps after soured bets on A-shares.

“Kick out this woman from China! She belongs to Japan,” one person said on a social media platform.

Others said G.E.M. should mind her tongue and not pass insensitive remarks at a time when many investors are suffering huge losses on their investments.

“Is your brain filled with water?” one person asked. 

Some Hong Kong netizens, meanwhile, pointed out that G.E.M. doesn’t seem to have learnt a lesson from the reactions to some of her previous improper online posts.

On Sept. 27 last year, a day before the launch of the 79-day Umbrella Movement, G.E.M. asked on Facebook how people will spend their “happy weekend”.

The message drew a furious response, with netizens slamming the singer for trying to divert people’s focus away from the pro-democracy protests.

G.E.M. subsequently changed her tone and said that she will pray for Hong Kong.

But two months later, as rumors were swirling that she might be banned from performing in China, G.E.M. declared that she loves both China and Hong Kong, and that she never said anything to support the Umbrella Movement.

Given the intense anti-mainland mood in the city at that time, her utterances cost her many Hong Kong fans.

Now, with her latest ‘bubbles’ comment, the singer has also managed to annoy many of her mainland devotees.

Given her tendency to say the wrong things at the wrong time, perhaps it is time now for G.E.M. to hire a specialist to manage her social network accounts, especially her Weibo page.

Having lost considerable support in Hong Kong, the singer should realize that she needs to preserve her mainland fan base.

Otherwise, she may discover that singing career could turn out to be, well, a bubble.

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EJ Insight writer

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