LETTER TO SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Have our officials ever heard of the "Streisand effect"? Apparently not. That's when complaining about something gives it far more publicity. Publicity you do not want.
Just a few weeks ago our chief executive John Lee attacked an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that was critical of Hong Kong. That led to much more publicity for the points made in the Journal's article.
Now we have "anthem-gate", aka the "protest song blunder" at the Korea rugby sevens, where "Glory to Hong Kong" was played instead of the Chinese national anthem.
Korean officials insist it was a genuine mistake. Yet…
C-E John Lee has demanded police investigation into a "conspiracy"! Sports official Ronnie Wong has called for Korea to be banned from international rugby!
Result: more publicity to "Glory to Hong Kong". The story has been run in The Guardian, Bloomberg, Nikkei, Yahoo, among others, and generally in a mocking tone. That's the Streisand Effect.
These complaints make us look thin skinned, insecure and given to massive overreaction.
What a shabby mess the government and sports officials have made of what was likely a simple mistake. All so unnecessary. My advice to these folks: chill. Think of the Streisand effect.