One man, one vote for Miss Hong Kong

July 03, 2015 14:49
Louisa Mak (inset, left) and Ada Pong (inset, right) are among the candidates vying for this year's Miss Hong Kong crown. The winners will be chosen by the public without pre-screening by a small-circle committee. Photos: YouTube, TVB

Feeling down because you won't be able to vote for the next chief executive? Fret not.

"One man, one vote" may be out of the question in the 2017 election. But definitely you can take part in the next Miss Hong Kong pageant where genuine universal suffrage will be implemented.

Television Broadcasts Ltd., the organizer of the annual beauty pageant, has decided to drop the usual panel of celebrity judges to pre-select and determine who will be the Miss Hong Kong winners, according to Wen Wei Po.

Instead, the winners will be chosen by the TV viewers themselves. That's democracy in action in a city where democracy is elusive.

TVB, the city’s No. 1 broadcaster, first adopted public voting in 2012. It would have been a great move, except that the network was forced to cancel the call-in voting system because of a computer breakdown.

Last year, more than 200,000 viewers cast their ballots to determine the winners before the panel, acting much like a nominating committee, screened out seven of the 10 finalists.

Popularity is what matters most in public voting. This year, two Diocesan girls – Louisa Mak Ming-sze and Ada Pong Cheuk-yan who were once classmates – have been dominating the media coverage of the 12 candidates.

Louisa graduated from Cambridge Law School after getting 10 straight As in DSE. Ada, with an articulate tongue and a bewitching character, is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music.

While both are gorgeous and gregarious, they probably differ in political leanings. Louisa, who considers former legislators Audrey Yu and Margaret Ng as her idols, once said she wanted to be chief executive of Hong Kong SAR.

On the other hand, Ada has for aunt Scarlett Pong Oi-lan, a Sha Tin district councilor belonging to Civil Force, a pro-establishment party.

Her father, fund manager Paul Pong Po-lam, said he once dreamed of becoming a politician. That was back in 1998, but he decided against it because he thought Legco at the time was making more noise than genuine contribution to Hong Kong.

Because of the two candidates' diverging politics, the viewing public may vote on partisan grounds. Oh well, whoever said it's just a contest of beauty and brains?

In an interview on Thursday, Louisa said she's a bookworm but likes to try new things.

While thankful that she's a favorite among the candidates, she said she's had her share of bad press but is adjusting well.

Asked if she still wants to be chief executive, she said, “If I could, I would, but I am not seriously thinking about it for now."

She said she's focusing on the pageant, and as the coronation night approaches, pressure is building. She admits she's worried about committing a major hiccup.

Meanwhile, Ada had quit her job at US lifestyle brand Hollister to better prepare for the grand event.

She said she's very grateful to her supportive father, who, immersed in the world of equities, describes her daughter as a "quality stock with a potential to outperform".

So with that, we shall settle for the second best exercise of universal suffrage, which is guaranteed to be a lot more fun than voting for a few Beijing loyalists to lead Hong Kong.

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EJ Insight writer