District elections – the tension mounts

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I peruse the exciting District Council election materials. If these guys were chasing the US Republican presidential nomination we would be freaking out over the anti-Christian red cups at Pacific Coffee, and at least one candidate would be claiming that the Great Wall of China was a granary. Instead, the choice in my neighbourhood is between the Democratic Party’s Ng Siu-hong and the incumbent Jackie Cheung, who styles himself an ‘independent’.

I have mislaid Jackie’s leaflet, but it essentially described his tireless efforts as our local council representative in sorting out traffic and planning issues. I hadn’t noticed, but district councils are mainly advisory bodies, so you don’t expect much.

SH Ng’s glossy brochure promotes himself as a native of the area and a family man. We get photos of him at demonstrations and community gatherings and at number-two kid’s baptism. The clincher, for me, is that he builds up his elder child’s character and self-reliance by forcing him to clean floors in bare feet…

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Wherever you go in the more prosperous and worldly parts of Hong Kong right now, you’ll see election banners for fresh-faced and friendly-looking ‘independent’ candidates. Dr Vienna (who is running in the adjacent ward) is an example. Some are genuinely non-aligned (some constituencies have more than one ‘independent’ candidate) but many are in fact part of the pro-Beijing camp. These are neighbourhoods where the educated and genteel residents would be repulsed by the sort of greasy-haired, middle-aged, grumpy brute with a DAB/FTU logo who attracts votes with free lunchboxes in public housing estates. So if you have a pro-democrat and an ‘independent’ on the ballot, and no overt pro-Beijing candidate to be seen, that’s the explanation.

The Communist Party’s United Front machine has been grooming a younger and more-presentable generation of patriotic election participant; DAB glamour-girl figurehead leader Starry Lee is an example. But it doesn’t follow that all the vaguely smart and trendy-looking ‘independent’ candidates are faithful and devout followers of the Communist creed who have been co-opted into running in elections. Some may first and foremost be ambitious about taking part in politics and dream of holding public office. They attach themselves to the pro-establishment camp as a means – indeed the only means – to that end. Real politicians, after all, lust after power, and the greasy pole is off-limits to members of Hong Kong’s many pro-democracy parties. The pan-dem groups are strictly for people who put principles first.

There’s another clincher for Ng Siu-hong – a personal attack on his opponent as a pro-establishment stooge…

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Of course it’s no secret that Jackie is pro-government, but I hadn’t heard that he had sued Ng (though it is clear from the way his posters are regularly defaced that someone doesn’t like the Democrat). This is the sort of caddish obnoxiousness that incurs the wrath of all right-thinking people, and I declare the weekend open with a resolution to vote for the plucky Ng on November 22.

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14 Responses to District elections – the tension mounts

  1. Cassowary says:

    My constituency has a choice between a pro-establishment “independent”, a moderate pan-democrat, and a hardcore “anti-royalist” umbrella soldier, also unaffiliated.

    I am unable to tell whether the latter is a plant whose purpose is to split the pro-democracy vote. The pan-dems have jointly issued a list of “approved” candidates, and they say to go for the card carrying ADPL milquetoast. Decisions, decisions.

    I think I’m leaning towards being a cynical voter and playing the numbers game.

  2. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Meanwhile on Jardines Lookout, in a desperate move, candidate Derek LAM (of the un-liberal Liberal Party) has got his pregnant wife standing at the road-side waving at passing traffic. At least we are spared the horrible visage of Pamela Pak, who is not running this time.

  3. The sole candidate (and therefore winner) in my rural constituency is the incumbent, an indigenous villager, albeit an educated and intelligent one. However, with so many non-villagers moving into the area, plus the expansion of luxury housing estates, I wonder how long the indigenous grip on such constituencies can be maintained. The more the natives sell off their land for development, the more outsiders come in. There may be electoral opportunities here that the pan-dems should be exploring before the DAB gets in on the act.

  4. Stephen says:

    Meanwhile on the Islands it’s a straight shootout between Amazing Amy, a one woman wrecking ball dedicated to exposing HKR evil and dastardly ways and a HKR stooge, who stupidly confirms he is by accepting a free pitch smack in the middle of the commercial area. As I detest Developers and Cartels and love seeing the Cha family covered in egg yolk it’s an easy choice. Oh hang on there is also a guy who wants free sporting facilities – ridiculous! Amy it is.

  5. reductio says:

    @outside influence

    Yes, I’ve noticed this. I don’t think the inhabitants of “La villa de loco” are going to be swayed by the promise of a lunchbox and an exciting minibus trip out to the polling booth by Uncle Fat’s minions. But how many of these newbies are actually HK residents, though, and how many are mainlanders stashing the cash?

  6. Red Dragon says:

    Here in the Lantau constituency of Islands District, we have four candidates, three of whom are, you guessed it, “Independents”, and the other “Non-Affiliated”. According to wikipedia, only one of the four, the temptingly named Randy Yu, is openly “pro-Beijing” with the others described as, well, “other candidates”. It seems that we don’t have a pro-Dem to vote for. What to do?

    As far as I’m concerned, Randy’s out, not only because he’s pro-Peking, but also because, as the Standard points out, he’s “the general manager of Sino Group, which owns more than 200,000 square feet of land in Mui Wo and Cheung Sha”. I wonder what he plans to do with all that. I am thus left to winnow out the most independent of the remaining “Independents”; no mean feat, especially with Hemlock’s caveat in mind that most of these blighters are closet commies.

    Well there’s nothing for it, I’m just going to have to adopt some rather unscientific methods. Of the three remaining candidates, two are from Mui Wo and one from Tai O. The Tai O guy therefore gets the push. That leaves me with “Non-affiliated” candidate and self-styled “businessman”, Yuen Yuk Wah (ageing scion of a rather nice local family, but a chap with a bit of a past, by all accounts), and sole female contender and “community activist”, Clara Tam Sau Ngor.

    One other thing to consider is the fact that all three of the blokes parrot the usual shite about “balancing development” with sustainable, green, conservation blah blah. What, of course, is clear to anyone who has lived in Hong Kong for any length of time is that there is absolutely nobody in the entire bloody place who has either the foggiest idea how to achieve this or, for one reason or another, any particular desire to do so. I have the distinct impression that when it comes to striking this balance, all three of the male candidates will have their thumbs firmly on the development side of the scales.

    So that leaves me with the fragrant and winsome Clara Tam, a local girl whose facebook page presses all the right buttons (smiling photos with feral cattle, unsolicited endorsements from well-educated “foreigners”, apparently unequivocal antipathy to the despoilation of Lantau of the sort which the government and people who own 200,000 square feet of land have in mind etc., etc.), and who looks and sounds the most wholesome and, dare I say, “independent” of the lot.

    For all these reasons, therefore, it will be plucky underdog, Clara Tam, who gets my vote. It is, alas, for the very same reasons that she will lose.

  7. stinky foot says:

    I have four to choice from. No political affiliation from their platforms except two saying ‘Independent’. The two ‘Independents’ have special interests from their declared platform. I consulted my superannuated farmer grandma who knew what districts they were all from and pointed out our district’s local boy. No political commentary included. They will have a meet and greet and I will attend to suss out where they stand. One candidate’s platform said explicitly, ‘speak out for residents and monitor the government’. Sounds promising.
    We shall see.

  8. Probably says:

    Obviously Beijing is after the DOM (dirty old man) vote. In Wanchai there is suddenly a plethora of posters for Lillian Chong, very presentable but seemingly no affiliation, not even when googling her English or Chinese name.

  9. PCC says:

    “Plucky” is good enough for me.

  10. Mary Melville says:

    Here in TST East we have been separated from the waterfront and museums under the revised boundaries and 4,000 odd folk shifted to a new constituency. Luckily Signal Hill is north of Salisbury otherwise our district, TST Central, would be completely bereft of open space and culture.
    We got to keep Kowloon Cricket Club and PLA barracks, both exclusive enclaves, and, as far as we are aware, voter-less. They could be putting up coach loads of phantom voters.
    DAB candidate is running for her third term and we too have the ubiquitous ‘Independent’.
    Kissing babies and waving on street corners do not hack it here so we had to wait for the banners to find out what Terry looks like. His pamphlet has 6 words in English, which probably explains why he did not answer my email asking what his platform is, ‘Voice for you. Count on me’.
    A friend did a quick translate of his manifesto, wider pavements, dripping air-cons, fight rip off building management and push the MTR to get its finger out and finish constructing MTR exits, one is taking longer than XRL terminus. He also mentions building residential on Gun Hill Barracks but thats never going to happen and application to rezone was recently turned down at Town Planning Board.
    Of course his main attraction is that he is not DAB, unless they are cunning enough to run two candidates in one district, so its vote for No 1 in E18.

  11. Nimby says:

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

  12. Nimby says:

    HKSAR Govt issues Amber travel alert for France

    Incompetence everywhere. Someone should ask why the HKSAR Govt doesn’t issue an Amber travel alert for the USA 365/24. The normal average daily rate for deaths by guns in the USA is nearly triple the rate for what just happened on a very bad day for Europe.

  13. @Nimby – the travel alert system is a tool for playing politics, not a genuine impartial warning for travellers. The Manila bus shooting – clearly the one-off act of a deranged nutcase – got a heavier and longer-lasting alert than the still unexplained Bangkok bombing, which was obviously political and could have indicated the start of a bombing campaign, simply to punish the Philippines government for not kowtowing deeply enough in apology.

  14. JD says:

    Part of one of the 68 uncontested districts… stuck with the NPP again 🙁

    http://www.elections.gov.hk/dc2015/pdf/2015_DCE_Uncontested_E.html

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