20 October 2016
Democratic Party’s Roy Kwong Chun-yu (third from left) found a way to secure his party's endorsement and went on to win a seat in the District Council (Second) constituency. Photo: HKEJ
Democratic Party’s Roy Kwong Chun-yu (third from left) found a way to secure his party's endorsement and went on to win a seat in the District Council (Second) constituency. Photo: HKEJ

Young generation must be bold enough to win the game

The pro-democracy camp has managed to retain its seats in the latest Legislative Council election.

Many have observed that there were too many candidates in the pro-democracy camp, thereby diluting the votes.

However, the seven new faces in the incoming Legco might not have won had there been internal coordination among candidates in the bloc.

Hong Kong’s political world has become quite mature like its economy, and many of the senior politicians are not expected to just give up their positions.

As such, the young generation may never have the chance if they just politely wait in line.

Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who won more than 84,000 votes in New Territories West, was a big surprise given his low public recognition and lack of party support.

Chu, 39, only got a support rate of 2 percent in New Territories West, according to a poll by University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme.

If Chu had agreed to the “coordination” system, he might never have been able to pull off his “miracle”.

That’s one flaw of these polls: The public usually have a limited knowledge about new candidates, and are more familiar with mainstream parties.

New candidates have little time to promote their political views and capabilities through public forums and debates.

Chu managed to quickly accumulate support within two months before the election, thanks to his outstanding performance in various forums and public appearances.

He has been a leading activist of preservation issues since 2006.

He was actively involved in protests against the Hong Kong section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, and the demolition of the old Star Ferry Pier.

Occupy student leader Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Polytechnic University lecturer Lau Siu-lai are also newbies.

They could have been forced out of the game if they had agreed to coordinate with other pro-democracy parties.

But they managed to be in the spotlight by being bold enough to run outside of the mainstream parties.

If not, they might have to wait for years to get the endorsement of veteran party leaders.

We’ve seen a host of Democratic Party members who were aged 30 plus in the late 1990s.

These young members had been told to wait a while election after election, and most of them are still in the back stage up to this day.

Democratic Party’s Roy Kwong Chun-yu is a lucky exception. He won the last “super seat” with 492,000 votes.

Kwong has found a new way to get his party’s endorsement.

He joined the Democratic Party at 21, and is much better known for his romance novels.

His Facebook page has more than 170,000 fans, far exceeding the 33,000 under his party’s.

So he persuaded party leaders to support him as a new rising star.

Generally speaking, Hong Kong’s political world is becoming more developed like the economy, and those who hold key positions are reluctant to give up their seats to the younger generation.

The young ones either have to go their own way or think out of the box as these newly elected Legco members have shown.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 7.

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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