Japan, a favorite traveling destination for Hongkongers, has suffered two major earthquakes recently.
The natural disaster that hit Kumamoto Prefecture killed at least 48 people and injured about 3,000 others. More than 44,000 people had to flee their homes.
Hong Kong media wouldn’t let go of such a golden opportunity to report on the scene of the tragedy, praising the Japanese people for being calm and disciplined in the face of such a terrible situation.
A pathetic joke happened when one of the Hong Kong TV stations dispatched a team to Kumamoto.
The crew apparently did not prepare for the coverage and had to receive assistance from the victims themselves, who generously gave rice balls to the TV presenter.
Hong Kong netizens lambasted the TV crew for days.
I have read news reports about the calamity, and I noticed some discrepancies between the Japanese and Hong Kong reports.
First, Hong Kong reports said the social order was excellent, but the local reports cited the Kumamoto victims’ complaints such as robbery incidents and frequent police patrols at nighttime.
Second, Hong Kong media reported that the earthquake victims went to the safety shelters in an orderly fashion.
But the truth is, many residents got injured because they had listened to the government’s advice that they could go back to their homes following the aftershocks.
Some of the victims in Kumamoto and Oita had to built their own safety shelters, reflecting their distrust in their government.
Third, Hong Kong reports highlighted Japan’s exemplary national character and how united the people are.
As a matter of fact, netizens voiced contempt for local celebrities who sought to gain publicity at the expense of the victims.
What the earthquake victims need most at this hour is emergency humanitarian aid, not glowing reports about their strong will and courage against adversity.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 22.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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