Election notebook

With the Legislative Council election campaignin full swing,South China Morning Postreporters provide insights into, and anecdotes about, city politics every Thursday between now and polling day

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 August, 2012, 2:46am


Stephen Lam oversaw elections for 9 years, but he'll miss polling day

Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Raymond Tam Chi-yuen may be busy preparing for the Legislative Council election, but Stephen Lam Sui-lung, his predecessor and former chief secretary, is enjoying a leisurely life as he prepares for his upcoming year at Oxford University. Lam saw voter turnout increase during his nine years as bureau chief, but he won't be in Hong Kong for the vote on September 9. He leaves this month for Britain to commence his theology studies. This week he was spotted collecting his student's visa at the British consulate in Admiralty. Lam had traded his business suit for a polo shirt and trousers to queue with others outside the consulate in the afternoon heat. Is life as a theology student better than toiling in the heat of the political kitchen, Mr Lam?  Staff Reporter

The councillor who helped Man U sign Van Persie? Pull the other one

Politicians often claim credit for things that bring happiness to their constituents, even when they have little to do with them. But it was still startling to see photos circulating online of a banner that appears to show a district councillor claiming credit for drawing Dutch striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United. That's because the banner is fake, says the district councillor, Ngan Man-yu, who's running on the ticket of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong for one of five "super seats" elected citywide. Ngan says someone appears to have altered a picture of an old banner of his in an effort to poke fun at his party. "It was [originally] a banner on the Choi Wan Estate, but in fact I stopped using that banner design more than a year and a half ago when I was elected councillor." Tony Cheung

Government courts the silver-haired brigade with magnifying glasses

Every election year, the government hands out souvenirs to publicise the vote and boost participation. Usually, such swags are limited to pens and highlighters. But this year's promotional material seems especially useful for a greying voter population with deteriorating eyesight: magnifying glasses. The souvenir eyesight aids may come in handy, since the number of voters in the 61 to 65 age group has risen by 50 per cent. This year, election instructions and poll cards are more complicated than ever, thanks to the establishment of the new district council functional constituency. Maybe the city's optically challenged residents can save on reading glasses and still put their ticks in the right spots. Tanna Chong

Democrat James To faults rivals for orchestrating blog's shutdown

In most cases of unfair campaign attacks, candidates can appeal to the Electoral Affairs Commission. But James To Kun-sun, a Democratic Party member who is running for one of the five super seats, feels helpless after what he believes was a malicious hacker attack that led his election blog to be shut down yesterday. To's assistant says the candidate suspected that his rivals made false complaints about the blog's contents - consisting only of election materials - and triggered the server to block it. To filed an inquiry with his service provider, but received only an automatic reply, saying that it would take at least two days to investigate. Anyone interested in To's campaign video, which features Tse Chi-kin, the elder brother of Masa Tse Ting-chunn, the tour guide killed in the Manila hostage crisis two years ago, can still find it on his Facebook election page. Peter So