Unlike in previous Legislative Council elections, the contest for the seat representing the functional constituency of sports, performing arts, culture and publication has become the center of public attention.
In this election, Adrian Chow Bo-yan (周博賢), a seasoned and liberal musician who has been dubbed the “Long Hair of the music industry”, is the only challenger to the incumbent Ma Fung-kwok (馬逢國), a pro-establishment lawmaker who is also a member of the National People’s Congress.
For years there have been calls for the introduction of more individual votes, as opposed to company votes, into the constituency in order to make it more representative, and Adrian Chow has vowed to answer those calls once he gets elected.
Meanwhile, Ma has continued to argue that members of the constituency have yet to reach a consensus on the issue, and therefore he’d rather defer discussions about the subject during his campaign.
It really boggles the mind that an incumbent lawmaker like Ma, who is supposed to represent the city’s cultural sector, won’t even make a stand on a critical issue that concerns everyone in the industry.
Isn’t it his basic responsibility to boost the representativeness of the functional constituency he represents? How could my fellow constituents wait for another four years for change?
Ma also dodged my question to him during a recent election forum on how he is going to promote the revitalization of old industrial buildings in order to provide more space, resources and freedom for our cultural industry.
In contrast, Chow has pledged to push for the establishment of a permanent consultation mechanism on this issue to make sure our voices are heard by the government.
He has also proposed to help ease the cost burden on users of industrial building units by introducing rent control.
And unlike Ma, Chow has also stressed the importance of enhancing creative freedom in the cultural industry and spelled out his stance clearly on the democratization process of Hong Kong.
Though Ma stands a pretty good chance of getting re-elected, it is still important for those among the 3,000 voters in our constituency who are looking forward to change to note that they can still use their votes to make a difference.
Let’s not forget that the lawmaker representing the sports, performing arts, culture and publication constituency has a special role to fulfill.
He is obliged to promote both oversight and discussion from a cultural perspective in our economic-growth-leaning legislature.
Therefore, the vote you are going to cast doesn’t only concern the industry, but society as a whole as well.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 30
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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