National education in Hong Kong

Election notebook: Wednesday September 5

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

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 September, 2012, 3:42am

Former Law Society president enlists avatar

What do Jake Sully, a character in the film Avatar, and Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, an independent candidate running in New Territories West, have in common? The former Law Society president has "invited" Sully - or rather Sully's blue avatar alter ego - to be part of his electioneering on Sunday. Ho said both of them were "indigenous inhabitants" in their communities and that they both attempted to solve conflicts between urban and rural communities. It remains to be seen whether New Territories villagers will agree with Ho's comparisons. Opinion polls conducted by the University of Hong Kong suggest Ho is still a long-shot when it comes to reaching the votes required to be elected on September 9. Peter So

Does publicity really pay?

Candidates running in some functional constituencies have been criticised as reluctant to face the public, but such "low-profile" contestants are not limited to trade-based seats. In the New Territories West constituency, Chan Keung, representing Third Force, was said to have disappeared. He did not show up in televised forums, and declined to record promotional videos for television stations. It was also unclear whether he canvassed on the streets.

Even if this is true, it does not mean Chan is being unwise, because, according to the University of Hong Kong's tracking polls on candidates' popularity, more media exposure does not necessarily translate into more support: eight other candidates running for directly elected seats have just the same - negligible - level of popularity as Chan, at less than 0.5 per cent. Ten other candidates only scored 1 per cent in the popularity polls.

If these contestants fail to improve and do not get more than 3 per cent of the ballot on Sunday, the government will be happy, as the Electoral Affairs Commission will take their HK$50,000 deposit - just like the 16 candidates who lost their campaigns, as well as their money, four years ago. Tony Cheung

The national-education minefield

The continuing anti-national-education protest hogged the media limelight this week, and was an opportunity for Legco election candidates to gain publicity. But after Michael Tien Puk-sun, New People's Party candidate in New Territories West, was booed by the activists on Saturday after he failed to explain why he did not include an anti-national-education stance in his manifesto, some candidates preferred to show their care for the students on hunger strike quietly rather than making high-profile visits. Chow Chun-fai, an independent candidate for the sports, performing arts, culture and publication functional constituency, said he had attended the protest, but did not approach the students. "I don't want to make my visit to the students part of electioneering," Chow said. Peter So

C.Y. Leung gets a scripture lesson

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has repeatedly said he would

be willing to hear grass-roots opinions as long as there is a folding stool for him to sit on, but this week an independent candidate in New Territories West, Reverend Chan Yut-wah, took out a

full-page advertisement in a Chinese newspaper suggesting

Leung bring a cloth for wiping feet instead. Taking his inspiration from a Bible story, where Jesus washed his disciples' feet before the Passover feast, the advert implied that a leader should be humble in serving the public. Chan pledged in the advertisement that everyone elected to Legco should be prepared to metaphorically wash the public's feet. Peter So