Skip to main content

Legco Election Special: Part 3 - Kowloon West 立法會選舉特輯: 第三章 - 九龍西

The third instalment of my Legislative Council (Legco) election series covers Kowloon West. I put the same five questions to three choice candidates in the district and see how they stack up against each other.

My top picks in Kowloon West are League of Social Democrats’ Avery Ng Man-yuen 吳文遠(candidate #1), Civic Party’s Claudia Mo Man-ching毛孟靜(candidate #3) and Democracy Groundwork’s Lau Siu-lai 劉小麗(candidate #12).


Get out and vote!

Question 1: Beyond rhetoric and slogans, what concrete action or achievements can you point to that distinguish you from other candidates?

Avery: I have a track record of social activism and street campaigns. I’ve also been a longtime advocate for the working class fighting for their rights and economic equality.


Claudia: A while back, an anti-stalking bill was submitted to Legco that could have hampered press freedom by making it easier for reporters to be charged with stalking. The bill was eventually shelved, and I believe I had played an instrumental role in garnering support from the local press corps and eventually pressuring the bill’s sponsor to withdraw it.

I’ve also been an outspoken advocate for animal rights. I helped set up an animal rights subcommittee in Legco to review existing legislation.


Siu-lai: I’ve spent a lot of time on political activism and community involvement. For example, I organized the Kweilin Street Day Market in Mongkok to promote outdoor markets as an alternative to big shopping malls like the ones run by Link [a dominant retail property operator]. The campaign allowed citizens to experience what it’s like to be a street vendor and to appreciate the need for a proper outdoor market policy.

I’m also committed to civic education. In the current political climate, it’s more critical than ever to educate the public about local politics. We need people to understand, analyze and formulate opinions about complex political issues before we can do something about them. Civic participation – the legacy of the Umbrella Movement – must continue.

Avery fights for the working class and wants to
legislate standard working hours

Question 2: If you win, what issue(s) will you put at the top of your agenda and why?

Avery: My top priorities will be universal retirement protection, standard working hours and self-determination. The two first items have been on my party’s agenda for years and the third is something I intend to continue to fight for especially after the fallout of the pro-democracy movement in 2014.


Claudia: Every day, 150 new immigrants arrive in Hong Kong from mainland China. I intend to exercise our right under Article 22 of the Basic Law to review the newcomers’ entry qualifications. While family reunion is a reasonable ground for immigration, the current scheme is vulnerable to abuse and graft on the mainland [where local authorities approve the applications]. I even suspect some of the immigrants are being sent here to “dilute” our population. It is important that priority be given to those who come here for legitimate reasons. 

Another issue I care about is animal rights. We need to scrap Cap 139B [under the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal Traders) Regulations] that permits animal breeding on domestic premises. I share the view of many animal rights groups that CAP 139B encourages commercial breeding which is cruel and has to stop.


Siu-lai: My priorities are as follows: push back on “white elephant” infrastructure projects, implement a universal pension scheme, legislate standard working hours, reform housing policy, and restart electoral reform. These are all burning issues I hold near to my heart.


Claudia wants to vet mainland immigrants
and reform animal rights legislation

Question 3: Our legislative process is plagued with the stubborn existence of the functional seats and unfair rules such as the “separate vote count” mechanism. When the system is so heavily stacked against the opposition, what will you do differently and what are you prepared to do that your predecessors haven’t already tried?

Avery: Because of the unfair rules you mentioned, the only way for the opposition to push back bad legislation is the use of filibusters. The more lawmakers there are to filibuster, the greater the pressure we put on our government. 

But filibusters are only a defensive tactic. To bring about real changes to our political system, we need to take to the streets and wage a popular movement. I’ll continue to work both within and without the legislature to make that happen.


Claudia: I’m not sure if there’s much I‘ll do differently. Then again, if we don’t fight, we certainly won’t get anything. If we do fight, we might get something. So you bet I’ll be fighting my very best for the city.


Siu-lai: I won’t hesitate to filibuster or use other procedural tactics to oppose unjust bills in Legco. I’ll occupy the chairman’s seat if that’s what it takes.

At the same time, I intend to continue my community outreach to galvanize public support on important political issues. We need greater civic awareness and participation to force the government to make compromise. 

A university lecture, Siu-lai understands the importance of
civic education and participation

Question 4: What is your stance on independence? Do you either condemn or support the movement?

Avery: I fully agree that Hong Kongers should have the right to determine their fate, including whether to separate from China. 

But the communist regime is also very powerful. For the independence movement to have any chance of success, I believe we need to join forces with the pro-democracy movement on the mainland instead of isolating ourselves. 


Claudia: On the subject of independence, we seem to know the “why,” but not the “how.” Look at it this way: the city gets some 80% of its drinking water and 30% of its power from Guangdong, China. It simply isn’t a practical choice at this point in time. 

That said, it doesn’t mean we should condemn the idea or suppress the discussion of it. I’m all for free speech and free will. The youth are talking about 2047 [when the one country, two systems policy expires], which is more than 30 years away. By then I’m probably not around any more. It’s their future, and they have every right to talk about it.


Siu-lai: I personally don’t support independence, because I don’t believe Hong Kong at the moment has what it takes to secede from mainland China. 

Still, I agree we need to start thinking collectively about our future, whether it is independence or continuing with the one country, new systems framework. Either alternative should be based on the notion of self-determination and will inevitably involve a struggle. I feel duty-bound to get the public involved in this discussion now.


Question 5: If you had to choose the next chief executive from the pro-Beijing camp, whom would you pick and why?

Avery: Any chief executive chosen by an undemocratic system will be no different from C.Y. Leung. It isn’t a matter of who is elected but rather how that person is elected. Unless and until we reform the electoral system, it doesn’t make much difference whether it’s Leung or someone else who takes the job.


Claudia: The names that have been floated so far aren’t much of a choice. These bureaucrats are all mere cardboard cut-outs and I won’t support or vote for any of them.


Siu-lai: This is a tough question. I can’t think of anyone in the pro-Beijing camp who’s qualified to lead Hong Kong. None of the so-called “frontrunners” is committed to democracy or solving our livelihood issues. Only a chief executive elected through genuine universal suffrage instead of a “small circle” election has the legitimacy and mandate to serve Hong Kong. 


Other top-of-the-ticket Legco candidates in the Kowloon West geographical constituency include Jonathan Ho Chi-kwong, Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Tam Kwok-kiu, Chu Siu-hung, Raymond Wong Yuk-man, Wong Pik-wan, Lam Yi-lai, Ann Chiang Lai-wan, Kwan San-wai, Yau Wai-ching, Augustine Lee Wing-hon, Tik Chi-yuen.
______________________________

This article appeared on Hong Kong Free Press as "Jason Y. Ng's Legco Election Picks Part 3: Kowloon West".

As posted on Hong Kong Free Press

Popular Posts

Book Review: "Generation HK" 書評:《香港世代》

Unpacking the young generation in Hong Kong is a tall order, not least because a singular, archetypical “Hong Kong youth” does not exist. The cohort is as diverse and divergent as it comes, from socioeconomic background and upbringing to education and exposure to the wider world, to values, ideals and aspirations. It defies stereotypes and generalisations.

Ben Bland, a British correspondent for The Financial Times, is in a unique position to take on that ambitious project. Whereas Bland’s extensive experience reporting in Asia—including stints in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar—has given him a broad field of view, his relatively short tenure in Hong Kong—just over two years—allows him to look at its people through a long-range lens.
It is that unadulterated objectivity and his unquenched curiosity that make Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow a discerning and refreshing read. Released last summer under Penguin Book’s inaugural “Hong Kong series” to mark the 20…

About the Author 關於作者

Born in Hong Kong, Jason Y. Ng is a globetrotter who spent his entire adult life in Italy, the United States and Canada before returning to his birthplace to rediscover his roots. He is a lawyer, published author, and contributor to The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong Free Press and EJInsight. His social commentary blog As I See It and restaurant/movie review site The Real Deal have attracted a cult following in Asia and beyond. Between 2014 and 2016, he was a music critic for Time Out (HK).

Jason is the bestselling author of Umbrellas in Bloom (2016), No City for Slow Men (2013) and HONG KONG State of Mind (2010). Together, the three books form a Hong Kong trilogy that tracks the city's post-colonial development. His short stories have appeared in various anthologies. In 2017, Jason co-edited and contributed to Hong Kong 20/20, an anthology that marks the 20th anniversary of the handover. In July 2017, he was appointed Advising Editor for the Los Angeles Revie…

From Street to Chic, Hong Kong’s many-colored food scene 由大排檔到高檔: 香港的多元飲食文化

Known around the world as a foodie’s paradise, Hong Kong has a bounty of restaurants to satisfy every craving. Whether you are hungry for a lobster roll, Tandoori chicken or Spanish tapas, the Fragrant Harbour is certain to spoil you for choice.
The numbers are staggering. Openrice, the city’s leading food directory, has more than 25,000 listings—that’s one eatery for every 300 people and one of the highest restaurants-per-capita in the world. The number of Michelin-starred restaurants reached a high of 64 in 2015, a remarkable feat for a city that’s only a little over half the size of London. Amber and Otto e Mezzo occupied two of the five top spots in Asia according to The World’s Best Restaurants, serving up exquisite French and Italian fares that tantalise even the pickiest of taste buds.

While world class international cuisine is there for the taking, it is the local food scene in Hong Kong that steals the hearts of residents and visitors alike. Whatever your budget and palate…

Media Attention + Upcoming Events 媒體關注 + 最新動向

Upcoming events and speaking engagements in 2018

Launch of new website: jasonyng.com
Date: late September

Speaker at Wimler Foundation legal workshop
Topic: Know Your Rights
Venue: Philippine Consulate General, Admiralty
Date: November

Book launch of Hong Kong Noir published by Akashic Books
Venue: TBD
Date: November

Release of 2018 anthology by Hong Kong Writers Circle
Contribution: short story (title TBD)
Date: December


2018

Speaker for Enrich HK's “Ask the Experts” series
Topic: Understanding Hong Kong Culture
Date: 11 June

Speaker at Movies that Matter Film Festival 2018
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
Topics: TBD
Dates: 23 - 31 March

Speaker at Wimler Foundation legal workshop
Topic: Understanding Hong Kong Culture
Venue: Philippine Consulate General, Admiralty
Date: 18 March

Book launch of 《香港二十: 反思回歸廿載》, Chinese translation of PEN Hong Kong anthology Hong Kong 20/20: Reflections on a Borrowed Place
Venue: Kubrick, Yau Ma Tei
Date: 4 March

Moderator at screening of documentary “T…

Past Events: 2017年活動

Media coverage and speaking engagements in 2017


Interview with Apple Daily 蘋果日報
Title: "下月8日提訊 料親身上庭 [Patrick Ho] to be arraigned on 8 January, expected to appear in person"
Publication date: 22 December

Interview with Ming Pao Daily 明報
Title: "依法限提訊後70日開審 律師指變數仍多 [Patrick Ho to be tried within 70 days of indictment, but timing is subject to change" Publication date: 21 December

Interview with Ming Pao Daily 明報 Title: "何志平案1月8日提訊 或3月中開審 料獄中過農曆年 Patrick Ho to be arraigned on 8 January pending trial in March, expected to spend Chinese New Year in prison" Publication date: 21 December

Interview with Apple Daily 蘋果日報 Title: "起訴書:何志平倘罪成須充公財產 Indictment says Patrick Ho's assets to be seized upon conviction" Publication date: 20 December
Radio Interview with BBC Radio Title: "Censorship and freedom of expression in China and Hong Kong" Show: The Cultural Frontline Presenter: Tina Daheley Broadcast date: 11 December
Moderator at Enrich HK panel …

Join the Club 入會須知

You have reached a midlife plateau. You have everything you thought you wanted: a happy family, a well-located apartment and a cushy management job. The only thing missing from that bourgeois utopia is a bit of oomph, a bit of recognition that you have played by the rules and done all right. A Porsche 911? Too clichéd. A rose gold Rolex? Got that last Christmas. An extramarital affair that ends in a costly divorce or a boiled bunny? No thanks. How about a membership at one of the city’s country clubs where accomplished individuals like yourself hang out in plaid pants and flat caps? Sounds great, but you’d better get in line.

Clubs are an age-old concept that traces back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The introduction of coffee beans to England in the mid-17th Century spurred the proliferation of coffeehouses for like-minded gentlemen to trade gossip about the monarchy over a hot beverage. In the centuries since, these semi-secret hideouts evolved into main street establishments t…

Let the Tanhua Bloom 曇花再現

When I moderated Kevin Kwan’s book talk for China Rich Girlfriend at a Hong Kong literary event in 2015, the Singaporean-American author was in the process of casting for the Hollywood adaptation of his first book.
Three years later, Crazy Rich Asians the movie—a cross between Cinderella, Pride and Prejudice and The Bachelor—is a runaway hit in North America. The romantic comedy topped the U.S. weekend box office in its opening week and proved to Hollywood studios that a film featuring an all-Asian cast can be just as bankable. 

For Asian audiences everywhere, CRA is more than a feel-good summer blockbuster. It is the coming out party a long time coming. If the people we see on the big screen look cool and sassy, we feel we all do. But god forbid if they come off as dorky or lame, we all do too.
It’s not just the moviegoers who get the jitters. The same is true for actors, directors, screenwriters, and novelists of Asian descent. Whether CRA is a hit or a flop may jumpstart or cut sh…

Who is Agnes Chow? 誰是周庭?

It was roughly six months ago when Nathan Law, chairman of Demosisto, lost his job. He and five other pro-democracy lawmakers had strayed from the prescribed oath during the swearing-in ceremony, and were ousted from the Legislative Council (LegCo) after Beijing issued a reinterpretation of the oath-taking provisions in the Basic Law. Many saw the unseating of six democratically-elected lawmakers, dubbed “Oathgate” in the local press, as a calculated political move to purge the legislature of the opposition.

The time to fill some of these vacated seats is finally upon us. Four by-elections will be held simultaneously on March 11, in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West, New Territories East and for the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector.
Barely old enough to run, 21-year-old Agnes Chow (周庭) of pro-democracy party Demosisto has thrown her hat into the ring hoping to win back Law’s Hong Kong Island seat. Her decision to run has not come without a price: she has deferred …

Seeing Joshua 探之鋒

“We are here to visit a friend,” I said to the guard at the entrance. 
Tiffany, Joshua Wong Chi-fung’s long-time girlfriend, trailed behind me. It was our first time visiting Joshua at Pik Uk Correctional Institution and neither of us quite knew what to expect.

“Has your friend been convicted?” asked the guard. We nodded in unison. There are different visiting hours and rules for suspects and convicts. Each month, convicts may receive up to two half-hour visits from friends and family, plus two additional visits from immediate family upon request.
The guard pointed to the left and told us to register at the reception office. “I saw your taxi pass by earlier,” he said while eyeing a pair of camera-wielding paparazzi on the prowl. “Next time you can tell the driver to pull up here to spare you the walk.”
At the reception counter, Officer Wong took our identity cards and checked them against the “List.” Each inmate is allowed to grant visitation rights to no more than 10 friends and fam…

The Joshua I Know 我認識的之鋒

When I shook his hand for the first time, I thought he was the strangest seventeen-year-old I’d ever met.
It was 2014, and considering how much Hong Kong has changed in the last three year, it felt like a lifetime ago.
Joshua sat across from me at a table in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, with his iPhone in one hand and an iPad in the other. I ordered him a lemon iced tea with extra syrup.
He was eager to begin our conversation, not because he was excited about being interviewed for my article, but because he wanted to get it over with and get on with the rest of his jam-packed day.
During our 45-minute chat, he spoke in rapid-fire Cantonese, blinking every few seconds in the way robots are programmed to blink like humans. He was quick, precise and focused.

He was also curt.
When I asked him if he had a Twitter account, he snapped, “Nobody uses Twitter in Hong Kong. Next question.”
I wasn’t the least offended by his bluntness—I chalked it up to gumption and precocity. For a te…