Delay what?! SCMP readers blast paper for headline innuendo

Online readers of the South China Morning Post were treated to a rather interesting headline on the newspaper’s website today.

An article about CY Leung’s comments on the missing bookseller case was titled “Delay no more: Hong Kong leader murky on today’s deadline for mainland to respond on fate of missing bookseller Lee Bo”. We guess they don’t believe in things being short and to the point, then.

As most Hongkongers know, “delay no more” is a homophone for “diu lei lo mo”, which means “f*ck your mum”. The common and irreverent phrase has inspired a range of products and even a short-lived lifestyle shopping centre from Hong Kong retailer G.O.D., dubbed the Delay No Mall.

Despite the phrase’s popularity in everyday speech, SCMP readers commented that it was inappropriate in tone for a newspaper, especially considering the politically sensitive context of the bookseller cases.

The gaffe has been shared by members of the Hong Kong media, including former SCMP editor, George Chen, and HKFP founder Tom Grundy. 

Professor of Economics at Peking University, Christopher Balding, tweeted “I love the [SCMP] but lately it swerves drunkenly between [Xinhua News] branch office and anti-China firebrand.”

The offending headline was amended at approximately 5.05pm today to simply read “Hong Kong leader murky on today’s deadline for mainland to respond on fate of missing bookseller Lee Bo”. 

All social media posts that displayed the former title were pulled from SCMP’s respective pages and reuploaded after the title change, but comments questioning the paper’s integrity were still visible.

One commenter said “I am sure the editors know what is meant by ‘delay no more’ otherwise they wouldn’t put it there. The journalism ethic of this paper is really appalling. Will someday they use some f-words in the headlines?” 

Coconuts HK has reached out to the South China Morning Post for comment.


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