The lesser lights of the chief executive race emerged yesterday, the first day of registration for the post-handover leadership. While most of the leading candidates have preached the need to better understand grassroots issues, some of Hong Kong's 'grassroots' decided to take a more direct approach . . . apply to do the job themselves. Eight people, including several unemployed, showed up at the Preparatory Committee office in Central to declare their interest in the job and pick up the application form. In the event, only four managed to get a form. Of those turned away, two were rejected because their letters to Preparatory Committee chiefs were either too simple or too long, another was under the minimum age of 40 while the last was rejected for behaving 'strangely'. Preparatory Committee spokesman Fei Fih declined to say whether the first day of registration had been successful, but added: 'I believe there is room for improvement.' The first applicant was Yu Hon-biu, 55, who was waiting outside the Preparatory Committee's China Building office when it opened. He said his inspiration was Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Lu Ping , who once said the handover leader would be a 'dark horse'. 'I am very much motivated by Mr Lu. I believe the prominent figures such as Peter Woo Kwong-ching or Sir Ti Liang Yang won't be able to win the post,' he said. Mr Yu was a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong before resigning two years ago to prepare for the race. He received a form . . . and was confident of success. Lai King-tim, 43, was a Liberal Party member but said he would quit to enter the contest. Unemployed since the start of the year, Mr Lai said he was younger than the favourites for the job - Mr Woo, Sir Ti Liang, Lo Tak-shing and Tung Chee-hwa - and would be better able to handle the extreme workload. None of the 'big guns' turned up to get their forms yesterday. They have until October 28 to submit their applications. Hopefuls are required to reveal any foreign passports they have held and when they were renounced. They have to give their addresses for the past 20 years, whether in Hong Kong or overseas, as well as any political affiliation and criminal records. Incumbent or ex-civil servants have to detail postings and when they left public service.