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Lunar New Year

As the rooster crows, a new dawn for Hong Kong

Hope is in the air as city prepares to elect a new leader and celebrate the 20th anniversary of its reunification with China; even the gods of fortune say so

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 January, 2017, 2:59am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 January, 2017, 2:59am

As we usher in the Year of the Rooster, hopes are high that the election of a new leader and the 20th anniversary celebration of Hong Kong’s reunification with mainland China will bring about reconciliation in a city that has for too long been wracked by political, economic and social division. The rooster may not be seen as witty or resourceful as its predecessor, the monkey, in the Chinese zodiac.

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To many in Hong Kong, the rooster’s image may even be tarnished by the repeated outbreaks of bird flu over the past two decades. But the animal remains one of the most popular among Chinese people, not least because chicken is a favourite dish during festivals, the Lunar New Year included. It also has strong social and cultural references, as reflected by the rich variety of Cantonese phrases that use the word “chicken”.

If the tradition of drawing a fortune stick at the Che Kung Temple in Sha Tin is a guide, the year ahead will be a good one. While the message accompanying stick number 61 – as drawn by Kenneth Lau Ip-keung of the powerful rural body the Heung Yee Kuk – suggests a turn for the better, it will still take commitment and all-out effort to drive the city forward. Overall, the stick signifies “all things auspicious”.

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This could fit what the city is about to experience. With Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying not seeking re-election, change is in the air. So far four aspirants have emerged, all with long records in public service. The leadership change offers the opportunity for a new start, which hopefully can heal the deepening political divide and foster new development under the principle of “one country, two systems”.

We trust the chief executive hopefuls will reach out to all sectors in society in the coming weeks and map out policies and directions that they believe will serve Hong Kong’s best interest. Likewise, the public must find common cause in the quest for unity. As the fortune stick suggests, the promised improvement shall come from determination and hard work. Only through commitment and the concerted efforts of the community can Hong Kong change for the better.