What future awaits a young, high-profile anti-government politician?
We are not talking about ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai, whose bid to run in the Nov. 25 by-election in Kowloon West to regain her Legislative Council seat has been rejected, but Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the secretary-general of the pro-democracy party Demosistō, who was seen over the weekend distributing flyers in Southern District.
What’s he up to this time? As it turns out, Wong is not campaigning for another political mass action but doing a favor for his father Roger Wong Wai-ming, who is running for a seat in the homeowners’ association of South Horizons, where he has been a resident for the past 14 years.
Joshua Wong is not a homeowner, but there is no chance he would be barred from what he is doing because he is not running himself.
He is, however, barred from traveling outside Hong Kong after he was released from jail in January pending the hearing of his contempt of court case for obstructing the execution of a court order to clear a protest site in Mong Kok during the 2014 Occupy Movement.
So while waiting for the hearing scheduled for April next year, Wong probably thought he might as well make good use of his time by campaigning for his dad, who has been supporting the young activist in his struggles even if doesn’t necessarily agree with his political beliefs.
One might think that campaigning for a seat in a homeowners’ committee is something that Wong, who was Time Person of the Year in 2014 and has been nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize, need not bother about.
But nothing is too small or too big for a son who wants to express his gratitude and dedication to his father.
Besides, winning a seat in the committee is not exactly a cinch as some might think. One of his dad’s rivals is Lo Kam-hung, a former district councilor.
Wong’s election platform includes following up on the building schedule of a nearby hotel run by utilities Hongkong Electric, opposing a plan to reduce the number of bus lines in the development, and using the proceeds from a recycling program to fund management expenses.
Those are the kinds of election promises that residents would like to hear, but the question is, will Joshua Wong’s presence help his dad’s campaign or work against it?
We’re hearing through the grapevine that some residents aren’t happy to see his involvement in community politics. In fact, an open letter is circulating in the neighborhood saying that most families in South Horizons don’t want Joshua Wong as a role model for their kids.
It is said that some residents even called the police when Wong was campaigning, complaining of the noise and disturbance. A pro-Beijing paper suggested that Wong would stay inside when police passed by.
But do they really think such tactics could deter a veteran activist, who has been through so many political struggles and faced worse situations and dangers, from campaigning for his dad?
There is talk that the 22-year-old is running in the District Council elections next year. If that is the case, the homeowners association’s election offers him a chance to see how much support he can get from his neighbors.
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