Voter's choice

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 September, 2004, 12:00am

Joyce Choi Ying-ying, 19, is a first-time voter. She is a Form Seven student at Diocesan Girls' School and also hosts youth programmes on RTHK

I missed the voter registration deadline when I turned 18 last summer because of a trip to France. I made sure I registered this time to show my support for Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, an independent candidate competing for a seat on Hong Kong Island.

I prefer independent candidates to political party members as I always feel that the fight between the parties can be a bit shady. Very often, party members campaign for things for their collective group rather than things they believe in. I think that is a big problem.

I favour female candidates because they seem to have higher emotional quotients, and are more calm and sensible than their male counterparts. Male politicians are usually hot-headed and tend to inject too much emotion into debates.

Mrs Fan and Audrey Yu Yuet-mee are my favourite candidates. I admired Mrs Fan's ability to control the flow of meetings in her former role as Legco president. She is smart and pragmatic, and dresses modestly. Ms Yu came to our school some time ago to talk about Article 23, and she was great. The only problem is that she can be too fashion-conscious at times. I prefer legislators who focus more on their work than their appearance.

We visited Legco as part of the school's liberal studies curriculum. I remember sitting through a meeting on the development of the West Kowloon cultural hub. I could not believe it when I saw a number of legislators come into the room, bow to the chairwoman, and leave after only five minutes. I also noticed that many dozed off during the meeting. It was in stark contrast to their alert and authoritative look on television. It was not much different from a classroom scene. I was a bit disappointed with the legislators.

While Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen defended the cultural project skilfully, I found that some legislators - especially the male members - wasted time arguing about the most trivial matters.

At this moment, I am still questioning whether Legco is fighting for the public's interests or its own. I found the recent spate of arguments between political parties and Beijing very annoying. Everything in Hong Kong seems to have been politicised.

I care about the development surrounding universal suffrage and the various big demonstrations and marches. However, I prefer to maintain a role of neutral observer. I always feel that there will be good and bad consequences, whoever wins.

Although many people find faults with the education system, I am - fortunately - in a very good school and have not been affected by the changes and uncertainties. That said, I am optimistic about the education reforms. Students here are restricted by an exam-oriented education; you are destined to fail in life if you fail your exams. Our path, as with many things in Hong Kong, lacks diversity. I hope that the government and legislators will soon deal with the problem.

I also hope that the new Legco will give more thought to the elderly. The common perception is that the largest chunk of resources should be reserved for young people because they are society's future pillars. Our aged citizens, on the other hand, should stand back and keep quiet. But that does not have to be the case. The elderly can also contribute to society with their rich experience.

My friends and I like to compare the election campaign posters. I think Andrew Wong Wang-fat's poster, which reads 'Go Hong Kong, go' is a bit over the top. Campaign posters that show party members tightly gripping each other's hands or hugging are over-dramatised, and can be a big turn-off.