Thursday, 29 January 2015

Publicity Stunt?

Leung Chai-yan is not shy about her conflicts with her parents
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's daughter was in the spotlight again -- this time all over the media in the past few weeks.

Leung Chai-yan, 23, looked much different from when her parents made an emergency trip to visit her in London last June when she hurt herself by apparently cutting her wrists.

She later admitted in an interview with East Week magazine that it was the first time she hurt herself and she was at "the lowest point" in her life and that she only wanted "to do something to attract my parents' attention".

In a pre-recorded seven-part television interview this evening on Cable TV's entertainment news program CEN, Leung was seen slumped in a chair as host Natalie Mitchell tried to interview her, as she seemed to be muttering in Chinese and English.

On a televised interview series called I Am Leung Chai Yan
Leung wore a black tank dress, her hair up and accessorized with lots of bracelets and rings. It almost seems surprising she didn't sport a tattoo or perhaps there's one (or more) we don't know about.

In the five-minute interview of the first installment of I Am Leung Chai Yan, she admitted having over 100 bad arguments with her parents, with whom she doesn't see eye-to-eye.

"They judge my friends. I would get very angry," Leung says. "[They] care much about the superficial factors, like who [my friends] do academically, their family backgrounds, how they do in exams, if they are going to enter Oxford or Cambridge [University]... what their parents do.

"I understand they want to protect me. But I apparently do not look at these things. I don't care what [subject] you have failed... so long as you are a good friend and a good person," she says.

What Leung describes are every other "tiger" parents who are anxious to make sure their kids are socializing with the right people and doing academically well in school.

But perhaps because Leung went overseas for her education since the age of 12, she has become much more westernized than her parents expected and may have felt they have lost control of her, as Leung describes her mother as "strict".

Leung with her parents in London after she harmed herself
In the latter interviews, the law student admits she suffered from depression, and was "pretty familiar with the insides of a London ambulance".

But despite the conflicts she has with her parents, Leung claims she is a "filial" child. "If I could have a heart-to-heart with my parents, I would say that I want to feel loved. Not just be loved, but feel loved. There's a difference," she said in an interview with HK magazine.

The barrage of publicity around Leung Chai-yan comes as almost half of Hong Kong people believe her father's policy address failed to boost the government's popularity, according to a Chinese University survey.

One has to wonder if her dad's PR machine put her up to this, or she went out on her own to bare all about her life in the Chief Executive's family.

Leung Chai-yan is definitely not like any other child in privileged circles in Hong Kong -- which is refreshing in a way, but probably horrifying for her parents to be exposed in this way.

Whether it will soften her father's image or make him more human will be interesting, but for now she has definitely set tongues wagging...

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