Monday, June 23, 2003
TV producer takes swipe at Team Clean drive

A veteran television producer has accused the government of being too conservative in its campaign to clean up Hong Kong after his proposal to promote hygiene was swept under the carpet.

When Robert Chua first heard of the government bid to promote cleanliness, he wanted to pitch in and help.

So Mr Chua, who has worked in television for 40 years, devised a game show where contestants would be tested on their knowledge of public hygiene.

The proposed show, called Spot the Dirt, was to involve one contestant from each of the 18 districts of Hong Kong.

"I thought an entertainment programme was the best way to learn, and it would be fun for everybody," Mr Chua said. But despite e-mailing the proposal to Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen - the man in charge of the Team Clean campaign - about two weeks ago, he has yet to get a reply.

"There's no response, no reply, and that is rudeness," he said. "I take offence to that. I'm not here for the money. I'm contributing here. The lack of a response has sent out the wrong signal that the government might be discouraging creativity, and that it is extremely conservative."

A spokesman for Team Clean said he could not find Mr Chua's proposal. "We don't have plans for any large scale quiz-type promotion," he added.

After the Sars outbreak, the government has focused on improving public hygiene. It has warned public housing residents and cracked down on food vendors who violate hygiene guidelines and increased the fine for litterbugs and spitters from $600 to $1,500. The new fines will come into effect on Thursday.

As for public education, the campaign has focused on advertisements, including posters and commercials on radio and television.

Last week, the government began airing a television advertisement announcing the new penalty for litterbugs. Another commercial warns of other infectious diseases and says the best way to defend against them is to keep the environment clean. It ends with a smiling girl saying: "You should do it, too."

"We just want to convey the facts and tell them that the only solution is to maintain good hygiene," said David Wong Ngai-sang, creative director, PMP Advertising International, which created the announcement.

Mr Chua said that since he had not received a response from Mr Tsang, he would pitch his idea to other Asian countries - or maybe even with the mainland authorities. is the premier information resource on Greater China. With a click, you will be able to access information on Business, Markets, Technology and Property in the territory. Bookmark for more insightful and timely updates on Hong Kong, China, Asia and the World. Voted the Best Online newspaper outside the US and brought to you by the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's premier English language news source.

Published in the South China Morning Post. Copyright (C) 2003. All rights reserved. Monday, June 23, 2003