24 October 2016
Eunice Yung insists she is not responsible for the mistakes in her profile; Wilson Or (inset) leaves blank the space for his academic qualifications. Photos: HKEJ, Legco
Eunice Yung insists she is not responsible for the mistakes in her profile; Wilson Or (inset) leaves blank the space for his academic qualifications. Photos: HKEJ, Legco

Lapses and omissions: what a way to start our new Legco

What the new members of the Legislative Council will do in the next four years is anything but predictable.

But what seems certain is they need to brush up their English.

Just go through the profiles of our new lawmakers on the Legco website, and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

There’s one on Eunice Yung Hoi-yan, winner of a seat in the New Territories East constituency and a practicing barrister from the New People’s Party.

Next to her name “FD” is written. What, pray tell, does that stand for? Oh, she probably meant “JD”.

Not only that, she also puts the Chinese translation of “Doctor of Judicial Science” (JSD), instead of her actual academic qualification, which is “Juris Doctor” (JD) from the City University of Hong Kong.

Yung insists that she did not fill in the form, so the mistakes were made either by her assistant or the Legco staff.

The errors have been corrected, but people are now wondering how serious she is about her new job – she couldn’t even get her CV right.

Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) appear to have taken to heart the journalism doctrine that states “when in doubt, leave it out”.

That may explain why Wilson Or Chong-shing, a representative of the Kowloon East constituency, did not state his academic and professional qualifications in the Legco filing.

Media had earlier raised questions about his educational qualifications, particularly his claim that he earned an MBA from non-accredited Nottingham Trent University.

Likewise, his fellow DAB member Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan, who earlier claimed to have obtained a PhD from non-accredited Greenwich University, did not mention her academic qualifications.

Officials from the pro-establishment party are notorious for their entanglements with the Queen’s English.

When interviewed by English media after being appointed member of the Executive Council, senior DAB official Ip Kwok-him famously said: “I have seldom answered in English. I am sorry.”

Chairwoman Starry Lee once told RTHK about “yin fa struck cheung”, by which she meant “infrastructure”.

Another DAB stalwart, Christopher Chung Shu-kun – whom we will miss in the new Legco – once lashed out at an MTR official: “Shame! Shame on you! You are dreaming on your office or you are not attended at your office. Answer me.”

There’s also the young Gary Chan Hak-kan, who is known for his immortal words: “I will try my breast”, by which of course he meant he would do his utmost in performing his duties.

He has not been heard speaking the language ever since.

If the pro-establishment legislators’ command of English leaves much to be desired, some pro-democracy legislators are no better.

A case in point is Dr. Cheng Chung-tai, a 32-year-old member of Civic Passion and a teaching fellow at the Department of Applied Science at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The New Territories West representative wrote his academic discipline as “Sociolosy”, instead of Sociology, and said he lived in “Tuen Mum” instead of “Tuen Mun”.

Aside from his spelling lapses, Dr. Cheng also did not disclose that he obtained his doctorate from Peking University.

Oh well, that figures.

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EJ Insight writer

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