All eyes are on Xi Jinping’s ongoing Hong Kong visit. Observers are eager to interpret or fathom, even from some minuscule aspects like the president’s body language, what the supreme party chieftain thinks about Hong Kong and how that bodes for the territory’s future.
It’s believed that Xi will unveil more of his policies on the special administrative region in his keynote speech this Saturday morning at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in the same hall that hosted the historic handover ceremony exactly two decades ago.
But all eyes were glued on something else at the welcome ceremony Thursday noon when Xi touched down at Hong Kong airport: the bodice worn by the wife of outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
Regina, who is seen as somehow uncongenial in public functions, looked even grimmer and lethargic in her black jacket when she accompanied her husband to greet Xi.
Have her spin doctors or any protocol experts warned her that wearing a mannish, pure black coat for occasions other than a funeral or vigil is not polite, especially when welcoming the overlord from up north?
Her questionable taste sparked even more public derision when Regina, in a pink, pajama-like magua, welcomed Xi to a family dinner in the evening.
“Did she just buy the countrified outfit for HK$50 from a flea market in Mong Kok?” a netizen asked.
It appears that the 60-year-old Regina, now a social media shooting star, has some eidetic penchant for bright colors after her unique fashion sense spawned numerous internet memes when she was seen wrapped in a floppy dress of screaming red, from neck to ankle, at a public function.
That fashion gaffe didn’t leave Regina red-faced but “lobster” is what she has since been called.
We are not sure if Regina can give a lift to her taste on the many occasions that she will accompany Xi’s wife, Peng Liyuan, when China’s First Lady again awed Hong Kong with her charisma.
Perhaps Regina can be forgiven for her wardrobe choice compared with the fabulous Peng, who had already been a celebrated soprano in the mainland before becoming first lady.
Peng wore an elegant ensemble featuring a printed beige jacket and light camel skirt as she descended the state aircraft with her husband.
The statement jacket features subtle Chinese motifs, such as a mandarin collar and origami-looking front.
Peng changed to a prim and proper cheongsam with floral embroidery and a light shawl that came in handy for the dinner function at Government House, in a nice cohesion with incoming leader Carrie Lam, who also wore a brown mandarin gown.
A personification of grace and civility, the First Lady has been idolized by the global media for her charm while accompanying her husband since Xi took the reins of China.
Peng scored another positive spin on Beijing’s image when she visited an elderly care facility in Aberdeen Friday morning, an event closed to the media.
Photos dispatched by the government show that Peng, in a structured, short-sleeved jacket, toured the complex’s residential block and mingled with residents and took part in the making of pop-up cards.
The First Lady even chatted with residents in simple Cantonese as seen in a video clip.
She greeted people with “nei ho” and replied with “m goi sai (thank you)” when given a gift card.
Peng gave a hearty laugh when a resident said she saw the First Lady before on TV and found Peng looked even prettier in person.
Before she left, Peng presented a health-integrated weighing scale and a television set as gifts for the complex.
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Regina Leung (left) didn’t choose a ‘lobster’ floppy dress this time when welcoming the First Couple to a family dinner. Still, some wondered if she bought the pajama-like magua from a flea market. Photo: GovHK
Peng Liyuan chatted in simple Cantonese with residents when she toured a local elderly home Friday morning. Photo: GovHK
Regina Leung’s (third from right) black bodice is seen as very unflattering at the welcome ceremony for the First Couple. Photo: GovHK
Peng Liyuan kisses a girl during a trip to a Kowloon Tong kindergarten soon after arriving in Hong Kong Thursday afternoon. Photo: GovHK