Ousted legislators find own ways to adjust to life on the outside

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 12:00am

One carries on almost as if nothing had changed, another relishes having more time to talk to people, a third is consumed with just making a living. For legislators ousted by the voters in September, life is a study in contrasts.

Wong Sing-chi of the Democratic Party was a surprise loser, ranking fourth on the list of candidates for the 7.1 United Front - an alliance of seven pro-democracy members - in the New Territories East geographical constituency.

With the loss of his $54,000 monthly salary as a legislator, the 47-year-old has had to return to his field of expertise - social work. He has thrown himself into educating students and is being paid out of a government fund. On top of this, Mr Wong is still working in the community and preparing for his next tilt at the Legco elections.

'I have to feed my 76-year-old father, my wife and my son, who is studying Form One. I have a $30,000 mortgage repayment every month, so I have to earn $40,000 to $50,000 just to make ends meet,' said Mr Wong, who has been forced to live on his savings.

Mr Wong, who runs his own social service centre, works on projects with primary and secondary schools which apply to the government's Quality Education Fund for finance. He said his centre was working with seven schools.

Mr Wong denied he had decided to stand for election as vice-chairman of the Democratic Party.

'I am still considering it,' he told the Sunday Morning Post.

Lo Wing-lok, who represented the medical sector for four years, is planning to launch a 'people's group' in January to reflect the public's views on health and hygiene to the government.

Dr Lo, 50, lost to Kwok Ka-ki in the September election. An infectious diseases specialist, he sees patients in the morning and in the afternoons listens to the complaints of doctors, dentists and members of the public.

'This kind of work is meaningful. You cannot stop doing this because you lost your seat in Legco,' he said.

Dr Lo, who has no plans to contest the next election, said he hoped his new group would lead to more thoughtful discussions on health and hygiene. 'Take the recent outbreak of an unknown disease in the Caritas Medical Centre. It is easy to blame the centre for a lack of communication. But the public should know how hospital communications work and the difficulty in identifying a virus,' he said.

Cyd Ho Sau-lan, a Kennedy Town district councillor, said it was too early to say whether she would contest the next election. She lost her seat in the Hong Kong Island constituency.

She meets residents regularly and hosts an internet radio programme every Wednesday.

'Being outside Legco gives me more time to talk to university and secondary students and to write to newspapers, because I do not have to attend the various Legco meetings,' she said.