Time to be counted

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2008, 12:00am

One of the responsibilities that comes with being a young adult is being a voter, and this Sunday is a big day for those who care about Hong Kong.

September 7 is the day of the Legislative Council election. Many young people will be voting for the first time, and some have even become involved in the campaigns. But others remain untouched by the excitement.

'I didn't register to vote. I've never thought of voting as I have no idea about elections and no interest in them,' said 18-year-old Lam Lai-ka.

Fortunately, not all teenagers are indifferent.

'I registered as soon as I got my adult identity card and I think I can voice my opinion through Legco,' said 18-year-old Au Yeung Chun -yu, who supports the Pan Democrats.

'I think their ideas are aimed at the middle class and since I'm from a middle class family, I feel they can stand up for our rights.'

Meanwhile, some teenagers have thrown themselves into the election spirit so enthusiastically they have signed up as election campaign volunteers, and the four big political parties in Hong Kong have recruited many young volunteers during the summer holidays.

'Some of our volunteers are students. They made use of the summer to gain some experience in this big event which takes place once every four years,' said Au Yeung Chi-fei, chief project officer of the Civic Party.

'Although some of them do not have any experience with elections, we still welcome and trust them,' said Mr Au Yeung. 'They have been organising and holding election campaign activities. The young volunteers have also given us a lot of inspiration. The MSN emoticon on our website was their idea.'

Both the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Liberal Party said youngsters in Hong Kong were active in volunteering and that they comprised a large proportion of their election campaign squads.

With voters under the age of 30 making up 16 per cent of the vote, political parties have been paying more attention to young people.

The parties have been trying to establish youthful and vigorous images. They have used all available channels to get young people to vote, such as promoting their candidates through Facebook, YouTube and even on MSN.

The competition in Kowloon West district will be the most heated as there are 13 lists of candidates fighting for five seats.

Those who are voting should have received their polling cards. Visit www.elections.gov.hk for more details.