Angela Leong flies the flag in Jiangxi

The managing director of SJM Holdings Limited and fourth “wife” of Macau legend Stanley Ho, Angela Leong On Kei accompanied nearly 100 employees to the Jinggang Mountains in East China’s Jiangxi Province for a patriotic training excursion, according to the China News Service, the second largest state-owned news agency in China after Xinhua News Agency.
The mountain range – famous as the birthplace of the Chinese Red Army, predecessor to the People’s Liberation Army – is known as the Cradle of the Chinese Revolution. The three-day programme focuses on developing a sense of patriotism, with employees laying wreaths at a martyr’s cemetery and meeting the offspring of Red Army soldiers.
“It is my duty as managing director to boost the spirit of ‘Love Macau, Love the Homeland’,” she said at the training course opening ceremony.
Leong hopes staff will come to appreciate how China has developed into a prosperous world power by learning more about its history.
She is also a member of the standing committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference of Jiangxi Province, a political advisory body, and is vice chairwoman of the Jiangxi Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese.
Leong also donated 300,000 yuan (US$49,000) in total to three state-owned farms in the province to help improve its cultural, educational and health infrastructure.
Angela Leong’s trip to the patriotic centre coincides with Macau’s slumping gaming revenues. Macau’s casino gambling revenue fell 39 per cent in March, the second worst monthly decline on record, as high-rollers shunned the tables amid China’s anti-corruption crackdown.
Mixed reviews While many media outlets in Mainland China have focused on the ‘Love Country, Love Macau’ ideology and Angela Leong’s donations to the farms, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau netizens expressed varying opinions.
On Chinese social media Weibo, some comments praise her sensibility to the times and satiation, saying she is a good example of the Macau SAR returning to the motherland whilst tensions between Hong Kong and the Mainland heighten in bouts of protests against an excessive number of Mainland visitors, which eventually stimulated visa restrictions enacted earlier this month. Some expressed confusion, however, about her ‘fourth wife’ status as polygamy was banned in 1950 in Mainland China (although tolerated in Tibet), whilst the legal status of polygamous marriages in the SARs were still protected under law after the practice was ended with the passing of the Marriage Act of 1971.
Some netizens on social media platforms such as Facebook, or in commentary areas in reports from Hong Kong and Macau, are critical of Leong’s act, saying she has been brainwashed and consider the scenario ironic as back in the days of the Chinese revolution capitalists were deemed enemies, and gambling is illegal in Mainland China. Thus, her presence as a gaming operator at such a patriotic site is deemed highly inappropriate.
Some comments also read that as “the business is not as good as before, she’s there for promotion and advertising”, “she understands the real boss of the casinos”, and “she’s there to express her appreciation for Chinese government officials’ help in their revenues.”