Ernest Kao at the SCMP brings our attention to a bizarre rumour surrounding the deflation/popping/death of the Hong Kong duck this week.
The rumour, that “mainland tourists” had caused the duck to deflate by flicking lit cigarette butts at it, originated with Hong Kong netizens but became so widespread that both the Southern Metro Daily and CCTV felt the need to explicitly deny it.
CCTV’s official Weibo account posted the following message (translation by Ernest Kao):
There have been rumours that Hong Kong’s big yellow duck was ‘burned to death’ by tourists from Shenyang, which had thrown 30 lit cigarette butts at it. Today Hong Kong has confirmed that damage was not man-made. Organisers are just doing a routine physical examination.
While there is a pervasive and at times racist strand of anti-mainlander sentiment in Hong Kong, it’s surprising that such an obviously false rumour could spread so far. The Rubber Duck is made out of PVC and weighs over 600kg, it’s not like, a balloon.
As we reported yesterday, the duck is undergoing routine maintenance and organisers say it will be back to its full yellow, floating glory soon.