The U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong Is Friendly to the People

Chinese congee in a plastic cup.

When the U.S. Consul General posted two photos on Facebook of a diplomat eating congee at a street restaurant in Causeway Bay, netizens responded warmly. (Image: James Andrews via Dreamstime)

The US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau posted two photos on Facebook of Consul General Gregory May eating congee at a street restaurant and netizens praised him for being friendly to the people.

On January 6th, 2023, a photo of the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau eating congee in Causeway Bay was posted on the Consulate’s Facebook page. In the post, May said: “Against the cold weather, a bowl of hot and spicy beef congee in Causeway Bay is a great choice! If you have any other recommendations for authentic local food, please let me know!”

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U.S. Consul General Gregory May arrived in Hong Kong in September 2022.
U.S. Consul General Gregory May arrived in Hong Kong in September 2022. (Image: Public Domain via U.S. Consulate General)

The U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong is close to the people

The post received nearly 5,000 likes and more than 360 comments within 7 hours. Most netizens praised May for being close to the people. Netizen Timothy Wun commented that he was surprised that there were no bodyguards around May. He recalled his meeting with the then Consul General Clifford Hart at the Hong Kong Book Fair a few years ago. Hart had no bodyguards either. Hart even asked Wun: “Why do I need protection?”

Timothy Wun teased that everyone knows that when the leader of a country visits the people, the whole area is sealed off and the only ones allowed inside are actors. “Maybe this is the difference between democracy and dictatorship.”

There are also comments offering praise such as: “Mr. American Consul interacts with Hong Kongers, talking and laughing, he is so close to the people!” “He appreciates Hong Kong culture, and he really tells Hong Kong stories!”

Since May asked that netizens suggest other local foods, someone wrote telling him to try preserved meat with glutinous rice, clay pot rice, and mutton pot. “Congee must be served with deep-fried dough sticks. You have to try eating hot pot on a cold day. The chicken pot is delicious!”

Poon Siu To, a Hong Kong veteran journalist, also commented: “American diplomats are close to the people. They don’t mind experiencing the lives of ordinary people in Hong Kong, and Hong Kongers are moved. In contrast, those Hong Kong officials seem quite distant. These officials who don’t pay attention to public opinion don’t care at all, and won’t learn from (American diplomats).”

Pedestrians on the streets in the Causeway Bay shopping area of Hong Kong.
Hong Kongers are moved by American diplomats who want to experience the lives of ordinary Hong Kong people. (Image: Hanohiki via Dreamstime)

May arrived in Hong Kong last September to serve as the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau. Since his arrival in Hong Kong, he has often shown his friendly side. He doesn’t mind making a fool of himself. In a video, he said in very blunt Cantonese that he is trying to practice Cantonese, but his pronunciation is still not accurate. He hopes everyone can provide some tips to make his Cantonese progress faster!

May expressed his desire to learn how to play mahjong during his vacation last December. So he went to Jordan to find a master from whom to buy a hand-carved mahjong set. Last November, May waited in line to buy affordable dishes such as “two items with rice,” which is something typical for everyday people to order, and it became a story on everybody’s lips.

Translated by Patty Zhang

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