Appearances matter, and so do aesthetics

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 3:44am

By nature, political animals love publicity. But there's at least one exception in Hong Kong's legislative zoo - and for an unlikely reason. Tony Tse Wai-chuen, who represents the architectural, surveying and planning sector, has for the past year rejected the idea of self-promotion by attaching banners to railings, as many of his colleagues do. The banners - typically featuring an enormous headshot of a lawmaker, their name in huge Chinese characters, and a list of their "achievements" - have emerged as an easy way for politicians to put their names about. But not for Tse. "I just feel the idea of banners on the streets lack a sense of aesthetics," said the surveyor-turned-legislator, who claimed his functional constituency seat last year. Tse, who does not belong to any political party, said he is comfortable with his lack of affiliation, saying, "I do not feel I can pick the right party to join at the moment." Joshua But


Protesters and police look after number one

Is it 66,000, or is it 430,000? Here's a numbers game with no winner. Over the past decade, it has become common knowledge that the organisers of the July 1 rally have tended to overestimate the number of people who turn out for it, and that the police predictably do just the opposite. But Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok yesterday leapt to the defence of the coppers. "The accusation against the police is absolutely unreasonable and absurd," he declared. "Before the universities adjusted their figures [to include those who join midway], their figures were very close to our estimation, at 66,000." Legislator "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, who raised the question in Legco, was understandably dissatisfied, asking: "How many police were deployed on that day if your internal assessment showed such a low turnout?" Insurance-sector lawmaker Chan Kin-por offered an olive branch to both sides, asking: "Would the police consider counting the turnout with the rally organisers, to come up with a more credible figure?" But both lawmakers were left disappointed, and the debate will - as sure as night follows day - be back next year. Joshua But


Holidaymaker Hui stays out of the rough

Summer is holiday season for politicians and officials, and many high-tail it abroad to take a break from the grind of their daily lives. This summer, Undersecretary for Home Affairs Florence Hui Hiu-fai has fled the city with her husband and two daughters for a two-week cruise in the Baltic Sea. Hui and her family set sail from Copenhagen yesterday. The cruise includes visits to Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Berlin, Tallinn and St Petersburg. Most of the sightseeing and recreation will be devoted to visiting tourist attractions and monuments. Happily for Hui, no golfing is included in the itinerary, so the undersecretary won't be reminded of the recent golf course controversy back home, which Hui's boss, Home Affairs Minister Tsang Tak-sing, waded into to fend off criticisms of the government. Tony Cheung