Saying that his constituents have demanded for some time that he raise this important and metaphysical question, Hong Kong legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man asked Chief Executive CY Leung when exactly was he going to die during a heated Q&A session at the Legislative Council last week.
“Beware of heartbreak with grievance overfull,” Leung responded, adding, “I wish you a long life.” The comeback was taken from “Reply to Mr. Liu Yazi,” a poem written in April 1949 by Mao Zedong.
In the poem, Mao speaks to a delegate who complained about a poorly planned CPPCC meeting, asking him to pay more attention to major issues at the heart of the nation and to stop his nagging.
Wong’s question came after he accused Leung of “badmouthing” and betraying” Hong Kong on recent visits to the mainland. SCMP reports that Leung was made to answer the bizarre question by LegCo president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, who said that “It is perfectly possible for the chief executive to respond.”
The way that Leung did respond has been met with some derision, especially online where netizens have helped him to look like his favorite poet.
Here’s the full poem in case anybody questions you about your own mortality:
“Reply to Mr Liu Yazi”
I still remember our drinking tea in Kwangchow
And your asking for verses in Chungking as the leaves yellowed.
Back in the old capital after thirty-one years,
At the season of falling flowers I read your polished lines.
Beware of heartbreak with grievance overfull,
Range far your eye over long vistas.
Do not say the waters of Kunming Lake are too shallow,
For watching fish they are better than Fuchun River.