+
Democracy

Hong Kong asked the leading PR firms to spin pro-democracy protests. They all said no.

Hong Kong asked the leading PR firms to spin pro-democracy protests. They all said no.

After over a hundred days protests and demonstrations over basic freedoms in Hong Kong, the city has been ground down both emotionally and economically. So, the government there is looking for leading PR firms to rehabilitate its somewhat authoritarian image with the rest of the world. Only one problem, they're all saying no.


Hong Kong protester

It started in June when Hong Kong's legislature, a government that is an ostensibly independent and democratic institution, tried to introduce the now infamous 'extradition bill' that would allow the Chinese government to arrest anyone they wanted, including foreign visitors and journalists, and process them through the judicial system on the mainland. A system infamous for existing mainly to silence political opposition to the Central Committee.



Well, Hong Kong's citizens weren't having it, they took to the streets to make it known that they were not going to be stripped of their essential freedoms and rights without a fight. After almost four months protests where airports, business, mass transport, and many streets were shut down the government took the law off the table. It marked a huge victory not just for Hong Kong but for democratic peoples all over the world.

The protracted ordeal brought a lot of attention to Hong Kong. and a lot of unsurprisingly bad press for the government, some of it given on Upworthy. So, they tried to hire a marketing firm to put a positive spin on the story in the rest of the world.

In a revealing investigative report, The Guardian obtained a 75-page document outlining Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's project to get celebrated public relations firms to take on the project of image rehabilitation, and it reads like a George Orwell novel came to life and after going to Law School got a job as a marketing executive.

Now they're scrambling to let "people living outside Hong Kong aged 25-45, business persons, investors, entrepreneurs, professionals, opinion leaders, think tanks, government officials, politicians, high-income leisure and business travelers," know that the "one country, two systems" thing is working great and there's absolutely nothing to worry about so please spend and invest your money here!

They even listed the key markets, which include places like Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, Japan, and Europe, where the campaign needs to happen. The reason for this is because Hong Kong has always been and remains an interesting nexus between the Chinese communist authorities and the West's democratic, free-market institutions. And the influx of money and business is essential.

But they're having some issue getting anyone to take on the toxic account. In a press conference, reported on by Reuters, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's administrator, said that of the eight firms were approached four said no right off the bat.



One of the companies, Ogilvy, simply gave the excuse that they didn't have enough resources for the project. That had to have hurt. Ogilvy is a huge marketing firm with offices all over the world.

There was also an ad taken out in the Australian Financial Times that tells investors that whatever they're seeing or hearing isn't the whole story, and that no one knows anything really, and basically, Fake News.

They're struggling and it's karma if nothing else. One agency source in a Holmes Report article "If you want an absolutely living, breathing example of why they've got problems, it's to put out a multifaceted RFP while the streets are on fire…It was completely misjudged."

On top of that demonstrations persist in Hong Kong, this time against the myriad of other authoritarianesque laws that have been passed over the last twenty years. So if anything Hong Kong's government has not in any way improved its position with its people or with the rest of the world. We're all still watching and waiting for them to do the right thing.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less

Surrendered mama dog reunited with puppies after she refused to leave the corner.

People surrender animals to Humane Societies for all kinds of reasons, but many do it because they don't feel like they can properly care for their animals anymore. It could be that they have to move to a home that doesn't allow pets or they lost a job, making caring for an animal difficult.

Two small dogs were surrendered to Marin Humane Society in Novato, California and the female had recently given birth to puppies. It's not clear if the previous owners felt like they couldn't care for both the older dogs and the puppies so they just kept the puppies, or if something else prompted the drop-off.

Either way, this mama dog was in distress after being left at the shelter without her babies. She refused to leave the corner of the large kennel and just looked so sad. The employees felt for the sweet mama dog and decided to do some detective work to see if they could figure out where the puppies were located.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less