Lessons from brilliant women politicians

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2012, 2:08am

So, Barack Obama duly won a second term as US president. But the electoral win that got me all hot under the collar belonged to someone else: Elizabeth Warren. The 62-year-old Harvard law professor has been elected senator in Massachusetts.

While she may not be a sex symbol, that rare combination of intellect and passion apparently makes her very attractive to many thinking men.

This is the grandmother whom Jon Stewart, the TV show host and comedian, confessed to wanting to make out with after she made an impassioned speech about how US Republican policy had emasculated the American middle class for three decades. So I am not the only one with a perverted taste in grannies. As one of her legions of fans says: "Wonder Woman wishes she could be Professor Warren."

Warren often reminds me of someone in Hong Kong. You can find the same decency and determination to fight for the underprivileged and the common person in Chan Yuen-han, the veteran unionist.

OK, I don't share Stewart's reaction, but I would have wanted to give Chan at least a peck on the cheek when she won one of the five so-called "super seats" in the Legislative Council election in September. More than any of the super-seat winners, Chan deserved her mandate.

A new poll has again confirmed the public support she enjoys by naming her the most popular lawmaker in the 70-strong legislature. In the first poll of the new Legco, the University of Hong Kong survey found Chan scored 56.9 points out of 100, followed by Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing at second and newly appointed Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee in third place.

Chan is often called pro-Beijing, but the label is a misnomer. Most Hong Kong people are smart and practical. They realise Hong Kong has its own legitimate interests and Beijing has its own, vis-à-vis ours.

Those like Chan who try to find common ground and seek mutual recognition will further the city's interests and guarantee our future much more than some of the more counterproductive, hate-China-first pan-democrats, inevitably the noisiest but also the most useless.

The world would be a better place with more politicians like Chan and Warren.