Anson Chan

Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2007, 12:00am


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Regina's mega-busy mini-break

Defeated by-election candidate Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee may be planning a much-deserved break after the hotly contested election, but her mind is nevertheless still fixed on election and democracy issues.

Mrs Ip took a mini-break in Macau at the weekend, walking around the city, enjoying the food and catching up on reading, while also popping in to have a look at the newest casinos. But her reading material was hardly lightweight. She took with her a copy of Oxford University professor Stein Ringen's latest book: What Democracy is For: On Freedom and Moral Government. She also kept a keen eye on the strategies of another election underdog, US Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Also always on her mind were the results from her best to worst-performing polling stations, even though she claimed she has not yet conducted a detailed analysis of her supporter base.

Meanwhile, she says her daughter, Cynthia Ip Wing-yan, who helped out during the recent campaign, has caught election-fever and is likely to return to volunteer in her campaign for the 2008 legislative council.

'Especially during the rally, and the outdoor election debate, she was shouting and screaming, just like everyone else,' Mrs Ip said.

The hidden cost of electoral victory

Anson Chan Fang On-sang might be seen by some as a natural leader who can unite the fragmented pan-democratic camp, especially after the defeat of democrats in the district council election. But a veteran Democratic Party legislator said that although there were obvious advantages if the party could merge with the Civic Party, Mrs Chan's victory in the Legco by-election actually reduced the chances of any possible merger. Here comes the logic.

'When there was a threat to the pro-democracy movement after the Tiananmen crackdown in the early 1990s, it acted as an incentive for the United Democrats to merge with Meeting Point. Now that Anson has been swept to victory with 170,000 votes, people will start thinking that despite the district council defeat, the threat to both parties is actually not that big. Had Anson lost, a merger would quite likely have come,' he said.

Putting people before places

From the Central Police Station compound to the Blue House in Wan Chai, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor impressed audiences with her grasp of heritage issues in an unscripted speech yesterday. But tackling the topic 'Conserving Hong Kong's Heritage' at a lunch hosted by the Hong Kong Democratic Foundation, Mrs Lam made no secret it was an old posting as head of the Social Welfare Department that was closer to her heart. She has lamented that issues like the rich-poor gap, women and family violence - which she highlighted in her address on the same occasion six years ago - remained unresolved, and she called on everyone to give a helping hand whenever they could.

Democratic take on Santa

Capitalising on the onset of Christmas, the Civic Party is serving up a thought-provoking session on whether 'Santa is/was a democrat' plus festive refreshment at its headquarters in Wan Chai next Monday. It will feature Stuart Wolfendale, who is described as a 'wit, raconteur and scurrilous columnist', speaking for the statement, versus Andy Chworowsky, 'sage, occasional thespian and restaurateur to the discerning', on the against side.