Young new faces plan to shake up Legco chamber

New faces promise a few surprises as they connect with young supporters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 4:08am


Tactics such as throwing bananas or letting off balloons in the Legislative Council chamber have lost their appeal for newly elected radical legislators, who are planning more creative ideas to raise eyebrows.

When Legco resumes on October 10, the chamber will have some new young faces, whose imaginative internet campaigns aimed at younger voters helped them to victory in last month's election.

Among the newcomers is People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, best known by his nickname "Slow Beat" from his days as a radio programme host. Chan says he is prepared to surprise Legco with some mischievous ways of protesting during his four-year term.

"It is important that we avoid clichéd ideas and old-fashioned tactics", said the television and radio host, who spent more than a decade reporting entertainment news before moving into politics. "As a media person myself, I think I know how to catch the public's attention. I am studying Legco rules to find out what I can do."

He hinted that he might shave his hair off during a Legco meeting, or bring in a box of bugs and release them to protest against a particular government policy.

His first surprise for a lot of people happened on the day he won the New Territories East constituency, when he announced he was gay - although he said becoming the first politician in the city to be openly gay was not part of his surprise plans.

Chan was not the only newcomer to notice that the battle to win votes is relying increasingly on creativity.

NeoDemocrats new face Gary Fan Kwok-wai, who snatched the last of nine seats in New Territories East with 28,621 votes, said he should be grateful for the support he got from Golden Forum - a popular internet forum that is well-known for its roguish culture and which spawns a lot of Cantonese slang.

Golden Forum's backing began in May, when Fan's campaign against popular clothing chain Giordano for using simplified, rather than traditional, Chinese characters on promotional materials in many of its stores won support from forum users.

During Fan's election campaign, the forum helped spread its message of support over the internet with the slogan: "One people, one vote to support Curry Rice". They chose the nickname for Fan as it had a similar pronunciation to his name.

After the election Fan posted an e-poster showing his gratitude, saying "Curry Rice thanks Golden brothers and sisters for their support".

Fan said he would continue to make use of the internet and other new media to help bolster support for his party and keep in touch with young supporters.

"When there are important livelihood and political issues being discussed, I will communicate with internet surfers through all forms of new media, to interact with them or ask them for their views," Fan said.

Chan and Fan have something else in common. Although they are from different pan-democrat camps, they both consider each other as possible close allies.

They are also happy to co-operate with League of Social Democrats' lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and the Labour Party.

Fan said he hoped that the new faces in the pan-democratic camp, like himself and Chan, could act as mediators among the pan-democratic parties, especially between the Democratic Party and People Power.