Lunar fair fun comes to the aid of the parties

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 February, 2008, 12:00am

Political parties are carrying on their tradition of having a presence at the Lunar New Year fair in Victoria Park this year.

But with the upcoming Legislative Council elections, competition for attention could be fiercer than ever.

The Hong Kong Island constituency is likely to have several high-profile candidates and yesterday probable candidates Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Liberal Party lawmaker Miriam Lau Kin-yee and Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee - all dressed in red - spent time in Victoria Park meeting voters.

By coincidence, Mrs Ip's stall, managed by her think-tank the Savantas Policy Institute, is right next to the Liberal Party's.

The Liberals stole the show yesterday morning with an official ceremony at which Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai officiated. But in the afternoon, Mrs Ip's calligraphy demonstration also attracted a crowd.

And while Liberal Party's inflatable mallets featuring a rat seemed popular with the children, Mrs Ip's sale of her personal goods for charity also proved a hit.

Man Wing-kei, who works in the taxi service industry, bought one of Mrs Ip's brooches in the shape of a dragonfly for a bargain HK$50 for his wife, as well as having the opportunity to have a picture taken with Mrs Ip.

The opening ceremony for the Savantas stall tomorrow is also expected to attract attention as Mrs Ip auctions off luxury items, including three Bally handbags.

Mrs Fan, who holds a Hong Kong Island seat, has announced she will not run in the next election and it is still unclear whether she will formally endorse a candidate.

Mrs Fan will also be the officiating guest for the Savantas opening.

Ms Lau, Mrs Ip and Ms Eu are all expected to spend time at their stalls every day.

Veteran democracy activist Szeto Wah will also be at his usual stall, writing spring couplets.

His stall has an Olympics theme and calls on the mainland authorities to live up to the promise, made when China won the Games bid, to improve human rights on the mainland.

The Civic Party, which has said it has financial difficulties, hopes the money it earns will cover the cost of renting its stall.

With rain expected in the next few days, '2012' umbrellas left over from a march for universal suffrage in Octoer are likely to come in handy.

Savantas and the Liberal Party are less concerned about their finances - all their revenue will go to charities.