25 September 2023

HONG KONG: Firefighters unveil scary mascot

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The Hong Kong Fire Service Department has scored a coup with its latest mascot, a slightly sinister figure in a full-body spandex suit.

The mascot was introduced in an online video with a spooky plotline to coincide with the traditional Chinese calendar’s Ghost Month.

After a slow start, the mascot came to the attention of Honk Kong’s social media community a week ago when it demonstrated life-saving techniques at a press conference.

In just a few hours, the video became the most watched the Department has ever posted on its YouTube channel.

Searches in Hong Kong for the mascot topped Google’s daily trending chart, beating even those for Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who had just opened a major trade fair in Shanghai.

To capitalise on its success, the Department created a spin-off Facebook account for the mascot, named “Anyone”, which emphasises the fact that anyone can help in times of emergency.

News reports referred to the campaign as the birth of a cult.

One local media commentator called it “the most successful Government mascot” in recent memory.

While all Government Departments exist to provide public services, some are more likeable than others.

Even before the latest publicity stunt, the Fire Services Department had the highest satisfaction rating of all disciplinary forces, at 84.1 out of 100, according to recent polls conducted by the University of Hong Kong.

In contrast, the Hong Kong Police Force had the lowest rating among them, at 63.7.

Public confidence in Hong Kong Police was shattered after the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests in 2014, during which the police were criticised for their response.

Hong Kong, 9 November 2018

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