Councillors reject proposal to rename Tin Shui Wai

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 April, 2008, 12:00am

Rural leader scraps plan to give troubled town new name

The idea of renaming Tin Shui Wai in an effort to revive the troubled town's fortunes is receding into obscurity after district councillors gave it a cold reception.

Lawmaker and rural leader Lau Wong-fat, who first suggested that a more auspicious name could be the key to a better future, said yesterday he would abandon the proposal.

'I will not press for renaming the town,' he said, acknowledging the councillors' opposition.

'It is up to the district council and the residents of the town to decide. I had the idea because many Chinese would prefer something more auspicious.'

Making his suggestion in January, Mr Law said 'Shui Wai' suggested stagnant water, which under fung shui principles made it difficult for someone to prosper, and pointed to the word 'Wai', which means encircled.

But councillors from both the Beijing-friendly and pan-democratic camps opposed Mr Lau's suggestion on renaming.

Yuen Long District Council chairman Leung Che-cheung, an elected councillor from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it had no plans to discuss changing the name.

He noted the council had not received any proposals for new names from the government.

'Many of the district councillors do not agree with this,' Mr Leung said.

'It is not convincing to the residents [to say] that all problems can be solved by simply changing the name.'

Mr Leung said the main problem in the area was insufficient social facilities, which the government could work on in order to genuinely improve residents' fortunes.

Democratic Party district councillor Zachary Wong Wai-yin echoed the chairman's remarks, saying the troubled town needed better planning of government services to cope with its social problems.

'There is nothing wrong with the name itself,' he said. 'It is what happened in the town that upset people.'

Tin Shui Wai was named after a walled village that was demolished to make way for the new town more than a decade ago, Mr Wong said.

Last week, some 500 residents demonstrated against giving a new name to their town, holding placards carrying the slogan: 'I love Tin Shui Wai.' It has been dubbed the 'city of sadness' because of poverty, social problems, and a string of murders, suicides and domestic violence cases.

Mr Lau directed a question at Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen during a Legislative Council briefing in January, asking if the government would actively consider changing the name. He suggested holding an open competition to come up with a new name.

The rural affairs leader proposed Tim Shui Wai, meaning adding fortune, and Tin Shui Wai, using a different character for Shui that means heavenly fortune instead of the present name, heavenly water.