Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam’s victorious vote count of 777 in Hong Kong’s small-circle leadership election on Sunday has inspired obscene Cantonese puns.
The Cantonese word for “seven” is phonetically similar to an obscene word meaning “penis.” Thus “penis penis penis” began trending online shortly after the results were announced. As a verb or an adjective, the word also refers to “stupidity” or a “blunder.”
Carrie Lam get 777 votes to clinch Hong Kong chief executive post. Cue the NSFW Canto puns? https://t.co/Am6pqWFLHD
— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) March 26, 2017
Cantonese-speaking reporters at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre – where the election was held – were heard laughing as the figure was read by Electoral Commission officials.
Reporters at scene laughed at Carrie Lam's 777 votes
"God's Will," one said.
— Kris Cheng (@krislc) March 26, 2017
Lam appeared hesitant as her number of votes was announced. Questioned by reporters later, she said: “You reporters always exaggerate my facial expression.”
Rita Fan, the staunchly pro-Beijing former president of the Legislative Council, however, said that 777 was a “lucky number.”
— Yuen Chan (@xinwenxiaojie) March 26, 2017
Defeated rival John Tsang, who received 365 votes, also bore the brunt of memes. “He is lazy 365 days a year, and that’s why he got 365 votes,” read a message circulating on Whatsapp.
In 2012, the number of votes received by Lam’s predecessor, incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, stuck with him as a nickname for his entire team. He received 689 votes.
The other candidate, Woo Kwok-hing, received 21 votes.