Leung Chun-ying is deeply unpopular — no question about that — but how big a problem is it to be associated with him?
How about being shown singing with him and posing in a selfie with him, complete with a smiling face?
And how would social media react if all this involved former Beyond frontman Wong Ka-keung?
Wong, younger brother of the popular duo behind the influential 1980s rock band, was forced to come out and explain after Leung posted images from a party in which he performed.
The pictures quickly went viral on Facebook with a decidedly negative impression of Wong from his legions of fans.
In his defense, Wong told Apple Daily that he is a professional musician, that he was invited to the private party and that he did his best as a performer.
He was hoping to put out the fire before it engulfed his solo performer image built on a defunct but respected brand.
There’s no sign it’s doing that but the embers will burn for a while, judging by the public comments that have taken social media by storm.
“I am very disappointed with you, Ka-keung,” a commenter wrote.
“You betrayed rock-n-roll,” wrote another.
Someone was less cutting, saying only the sight of Wong with Leung made him “uncomfortable” but warned the singer should be “more careful” next time he is invited to perform in an event.
To be fair, Wong was not a willing participant, according to sources close to him.
He happened to be at the party to celebrate the third anniversary of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, a pro-Beijing political party, because he had been invited by his boss, entertainment magnate Peter Lam.
“He did not know Leung was going to take selfies with him, much less post them on Facebook,” they said. “Even his smile was forced.”
Still, some people might say all this was Wong’s own doing.
He helped raise expectations when Beyond came to be associated with last year’s democracy movement.
The band’s hit ballad, Under A Vast Sky, became its anthem, a symbol as powerful as the yellow umbrella from which the movement would take its name.
But years before that, Beyond had stood for political and social causes with such numbers as Amani, a song about poor children in Africa, and Da Di, which became a hit in the aftermath of the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown.
When a fan accused Wong of betraying rock and roll, he might have been reacting to Wong’s duet with Leung. The two sang Like You and Glorious Years, two of the band’s best loved songs.
Unlike fellow artists Denise Ho and Anthony Wong, who were key players in last year’s protests, Wong Ka-keung had a business obligation, in this instance to Lam, his business manager.
Ho and Anthony Wong don’t appear to have been curtailed by their bosses the whole time they were helping drive the movement with star power.
But fans say Wong could have simply begged off. Others say Beyond’s political views and associations should not be confused with Wong’s business and professional dealings.
For instance, Rubberband and Mister were invited to perform at a government-sponsored event held to counter the July 1 protest march in 2013.
Rubberband performed at the event and joined the protest later that day, winning praise from its young fans.
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