SON OF SHAU KEI WAN I was born in Shau Kei Wan in 1956. At that time, it was a fishermen's area. There was a school for the children of the fishermen and a seafood market. It was quite a nice area to live in because it was lively.
When I was six, we moved to Chai Wan, where we lived in public housing. My family benefited from that. My mother didn't get along with my father. He was an alcoholic. When I was six, my father left the family.
My mother needed to support me, so she worked as an amah. I was the only child. My mother lived with the family where she worked, so I went to live with a big family back in Shau Kei Wan. These relatives weren't from Hong Kong, they were from [China]. They had seven children. I was the black sheep and got the blame for everything.
That's why I was fond of reading back then. And I listened to the radio as well. At that time, it was the only entertainment. Once a week my mother would pick me up (for a day out) and then take me home.
FAMILY VALUES My uncle was a member of the Communist Party in China. We visited him on the mainland, where he was in the government, so politically I was influenced by him and my mother, who also had a left-wing background. But my first real experience of politics was the riots in 1966-67. I was still a child so I didn't know exactly what the political idea was behind it then. But there was a lot of corruption, and the gap between rich and poor was significant. I come from a grassroots background, so I could feel for these people who took to the streets and tried to change the injustice in Hong Kong.
MARX AND ME I finished my education at 17. I then worked odd jobs for almost five years - I was a surveyor and a construction worker. I was a full-timer from 1981 to 1986 (and co-founder of the Hong Kong wing) of the Revolutionary Marxist League.
In 1986, my girlfriend told me to get a full-time paid job as she said I was too poor. So that's when I started cleaning KMB buses overnight, from 10pm to 4am. Around that time, my girlfriend gave me a radio with an earphones socket; Sony, very good quality. I listened to a lot of radio, especially the radio station for the British army (British Forces Broadcasting Services). I picked up English from that.
Actually that girlfriend, she became my wife. Then we had a divorce and she wasn't my wife any more.
POLITICS AND POVERTY I became a legislator in 2004. My constituency (as member and co-founder of the League of Social Democrats) is called New Territories East. It includes areas such as Tseung Kwan O, Sai Kung, along the railway line, and Ma On Shan.
Hong Kong has improved a lot over the years but its big problem is the distribution of wealth and resources - it is not fair. I, as a person who is nearly 60 years old, have seen the contributions of the ordinary people of Hong Kong. You can find old ladies picking up the garbage in order to earn a few pennies. It's unacceptable.
BAD HAIR DAY I've been imprisoned a few times. Prison is boring. It is a small society that reflects all kinds of behaviour, and human nature, outside the prison. Prison is a melting pot, a meeting point of those people involved in crimes.
I was quite young the first time. As a member of the Trotskyist Revolutionary Marxist League (in 1979) I was jailed for a month for unlawful assembly - a crime under colonial rule. (The authorities were) trying to [stop] the people exercising their right to freedom of assembly. Later I was found guilty of contempt of the Legislative Council. When (then chief executive) Tung Chee-hwa gave the policy address, I shouted slogans and showed a banner condemning the small-circle selection of the chief executive.
I demanded universal suffrage and said there should be a genuine social security system in Hong Kong. I demanded that Mr Tung step down. You need to make your voice heard.
Last year, in September, a lot of young people said, "Enough is enough, we need to change the whole thing." Maybe they are very young, very green, but it's their statement.
But this kind of statement is not powerful enough (to bring about true democracy), you need to be more organised. We need to learn from history and draw on experiences in other parts of the world, such as South Africa (and its anti-apartheid struggle).
HERE AND NOW I live in Kowloon Bay, on the Kai Yip Estate. Although my father and mother came from Guangdong, I can no longer apply [successfully] for a [Chinese] visa. The Chinese government didn't allow me to be the owner of a home return certificate, either. My mother passed away about 12 years ago. I was allowed to go to China around that time; I was granted a one-time home return document. I went back there and accompanied my ailing mother.
Today, I have good friends, and most of them are not in politics. They support me, they make me feel courageous. A lot of friends, comrades.