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Showing posts from February, 2016

Citizen Kwan 大市民

If you speak Cantonese, by now you have must have watched it at least once or possibly more times. You must have shared the link with your family and friends and urged them to watch it too. If asked, you can probably quote a few zingers from it verbatim. 
I am referring to the anti-government tirade by Kwan Wing-yi (關穎怡), a self-described “concerned citizen,” at a special Legco meeting to discuss retirement protection earlier this week. The video went viral on social media, receiving 300,000 views on YouTube in just 48 hours. Netizens have added English subtitles, turned her words into a rap song, and even called on her to run for Legco in the September general election.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of viewing – or understanding – the Cantonese-only clip, here’s a recap of Kwan’s three-minute rant. 
On the government’s proposed pension scheme, she said:

Your so-called ‘universal’ retirement plan puts an $80,000 asset limit on applicants but only offers them a paltry payment …

Yeung versus Leung 楊梁戰

This Sunday, residents in the New Territories East (NTE) district – which includes Sha Tin, Tai Po, Sai Kung and surrounding areas – will get to decide the political future of the entire city. That's when a by-election to fill the Legco seat vacated by former Civic Party member Ronny Tong (湯家驊) will be held. A social media war over how NTE residents should vote has reached a fever pitch. Not since the five-constituency de facto referendum (五區公投) in 2012 has a by-election drawn so much public attention and polarized the city into such diametrically opposed extremes. 

Why the election matters
We begin with a refresher on local politics.
Legco is a 70-seat legislative body comprising of two houses – the Functional Constituencies (FC) and Geographic Constituencies (GC) – each having 35 seats. The FC is stacked with Beijing loyalists handpicked by big business and special interest groups. Because it marches in lockstep with our equally unelected chief executive, the FC is a lost cause …

Year of the Fire Monkey 火猴年

Mo was a street vendor. He sold food out of a pushcart in one of the busiest areas in the city. Because hawking without a permit was against the law, Mo spent much of the day running from the authorities who pursued him with more vigor and less mercy than they did armed robbers. Each time Mo got arrested, the police would confiscate not just his goods but also his only means to a livelihood: his cart and the scale he used to weigh food. Mo didn’t understand why the government would go after little people like him when it had far bigger political and social issues to deal with.

If you think Mo was one of the dozens of food hawkers in Mongkok who were at the front and center of the so-called Chinese New Year’s Riot that rattled Hong Kong just 30 hours ago, you would be wrong and not even close. Mo’s full name was Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian vegetable seller who doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire in 201o. His public suicide had fueled so much public outrage toward t…