Promoting interest in politics among youth

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 October, 2003, 12:00am

A political leader should be communicative, charismatic, persuasive, ambitious and have foresight - all of which Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa lacks, said former executive councillor Allen Lee Peng-fei.

'A political leader has to be able to communicate, this is first and foremost. If not, [you] should not be in politics,' Mr Lee said.

'Secondly, you should be able to make people listen, and know, what you are talking about. You have to be charismatic no matter what messages you want to get through.

'[Mr Tung] was never politically trained. [Political leaders] must have ambition and foresight, if [the leadership is] forced upon him, it's disastrous.'

Mr Lee's comments came on the eve of his lecture series 'Let's Talk Politics', organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG).

The 'course' is open to those aged between 16 and 25 'with leadership potential'. The 30 places on offer were filled within days.

The HKFYG is now considering inviting Mr Lee back for another series.

Kicking off tonight, the talks will run over the next three Fridays. The topics that Mr Lee will be lecturing on include political developments in Hong Kong, the relationship between the Legislative and Executive Councils, characteristics of political leaders and the development of political parties.

The 63-year-old political commentator said politics is about dealing with people and that 'people's behaviour is very unpredictable'. He added that it is people's perception of his or her ability that makes or breaks a political leader.

'In Hong Kong, it is unfortunate that in my generation, there was no framework to develop political leaders because it was under colonial rule,' Mr Lee explained. 'What happens in a democracy is that leadership will surface.'

However, the father of three added, the problem with Hong Kong is that nobody wants to be the third term chief executive and that everyone is waiting for China to come up with a name.

'This is not politics!' Mr Lee said.

Invited by Rosanna Wong Yick-ming, director of HKFYG, Mr Lee said he looked forward to his series of lectures because he likes to be with young people and has often visited secondary schools and universities. 'I want to share my experience [with the young audience] and share with them my observations. The future belongs to the younger generation and it is important, I think, that young people understand this. I [also want to] contribute to the community,' he said.

With two decades of experience in politics, does he want to become a political leader in the future?

'I've called it a day because I have served my term for 20 years,' Mr Lee said. '[The Chief Executive position] is for those who possess that sense of ambition.'

Look out for our in-depth interview with Mr Lee in next Tuesday's Young Post.