Express rail link activists branch out to make their own luck

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 February, 2010, 12:00am

Activists from a group opposed to the HK$66.9 billion Hong Kong-Guangzhou express rail link drew three fortune sticks on behalf of the city to urge people to fight for their own destiny.

Lee Yu-mung drew a stick numbered 74, classified as 'unlucky', for families such as those in Tsoi Yuen Tsuen, where homes will be pulled down to make way for the link.

Rather than relying on fortune tellers at the Che Kung Temple in Sha Tin, the twenty-something activists from the XRL Alliance used the internet and came up with their own interpretations, as an analogy for not relying on the government to make decisions for them.

Lee said the number 74 meant luck had yet to reach the city.

Fung shui consultant Li Yuen-chin said the unlucky stick was merely a warning. She said grass-roots families needed to abandon some dreams - because they were unattainable - and focus on other goals.

When interpreted specifically for Tsoi Yuen Tsuen, Li said the drawing of the stick meant the villagers had different worries but hoped that they could negotiate a way out.

A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said two households affected by the rail project had collected an ex-gratia cash allowance last week.

Of the 140 households registered for rehousing packages, the government has approved nearly 30 applications. The registration deadline has been extended to February 28.

Au Wah-yan drew a stick numbered 89 classified as 'average' and covering the finances of grass-roots workers. 'If the government can be conscientious and do things fairly, it can redistribute wealth,' she said.

Cheng Ka-kui drew the third fortune stick for lost property - referring to Hong Kong's lost ideals. The number 24 stick is classified as 'average', and the group said it pointed to greed as the cause of many problems.