Timing is everything.
On the day tycoon Li Ka-shing held his annual talk show, political rising star Starry Lee quit the Executive Council.
But second-string actors Stephy Tang and Alex Fong stole their thunder, judging by the feverish online discussion around their unexpected break-up.
Okay, they’re no Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Hollywood’s longest-running platonic lovers, but Stephy and Alex are more exciting.
The two have dated for 10 years and fans have been holding their breath to see them move toward marriage.
But even when there was no sign of it, they were kept up to date with the duo’s online exchanges and social media posts — the usual syrupy stuff and sometimes the melodramatic and cryptic.
Like this: “Your expectation on us and your blessings to us… for now, we can only say sorry, we have let you down”.
That doesn’t look like a break-up message, but that was Stephy’s way of breaking the news to her fans on Weibo.
In case they were sorry for her, Stephy was quick to add she has “experienced only true love”.
She said they dated for 10 years “because we liked each other” and are breaking up “because we understand each other”.
Make of it what you will but we think that’s like Cheung Kong trying to sell you a flat because “this is the worst time in 20 years” and in the same breath saying homebuyers lost money last year but made a profit if they had bought their flat in the past 20 years.
All that longwindedness comes to one word: confusing.
But that’s alright in a relationship.
Otherwise, Facebook would not have bothered helping us with the perfect excuse.
Heaven knows how many blushes have been saved — and how many of our friends have stopped badgering us — since they saw “it’s complicated” in our Facebook profile about our loveless love life.
But it’s not that simple if you ask the fans of Stephy and Alex.
Stephy fans are accusing Alex of wasting 10 years of her life — roughly a third of it.
Alex fans are pushing back with questions like “how do you know Alex did not ask her back?”
The gossip magazines have the answers (they always do).
Stephy apparently asked for marriage and Alex refused, despite wanting to cheer up his ailing father with some good news.
Alex, who is in his mid-thirties, thinks time has passed them by.
Chinese culture favors early marriage and encourages couples to take the plunge by 30.
An unmarried female with no marriage plans by age 30 is considered “leftover woman” if she is not married by the time she is 40.
She will be, to borrow an accounting jargon, subject to accelerated depreciation before becoming obsolete.
But never say die.
Fans should wait for their fifth movie together — there is no show date yet — and decide for themselves if the spark is still there, if true love endures or if it’s now all make-believe.
After all, who knows what will happen in another 10 years?
Starry Lee might be Hong Kong chief executive, Li Ka-shing might be working past his first centenary and I might be writing about a certain Stephy and Alex.
Time will tell.
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