Carrie Lam's seemingly condescending and apathetic response to the demands and actions of demonstrators in Hong Kong might not be deliberate. Instead, Lam's attitude might be the sum of a persona she created or was given that expects her to assume a tough act after years of surviving in the male-dominated world of politics and power in Asia.
My comments are not criticisms of Lam for she must be congratulated for rising from humble beginnings, to the British civil service in Hong Kong, to become Secretary of Development from 2007-12, to Chief Secretary for Administration from 2012-17 before ascending to become Hong Kong's first female Chief Executive in 2017.
However, Lam's interactions with the people of Hong Kong throughout the recent extradition bill demonstrations have been anything but stellar. Too often her addresses on the issue appear to resemble an absolute monarch condescending to peasants. Her obligation and loyalty to Beijing appear to outweigh her allegiance to the electorate of Hong Kong.
Moreover, knowingly or not, the sheer size of opposition to the extradition bill might have forced Lam into the persona of "tough fighter", a nickname given her back in 2007 for her controversial role in the demolition of Queen's Pier.
Whichever, "tough fighter" or humble servant of the people, Lam is in a dicey position in Hong Kong - a predicament, which casts her, and not the people of Hong Kong, as a challenge to China's "one country, two systems" rule in the former British colony.