Young and old, Hong Kong’s would-be politicians come out of the woodwork

The people of this city used to shun politics; now, at the slightest hint of fame, they’re clambering to get into the Legislative Council

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 12:56am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 12:56am

It wasn’t too long ago that people shunned politics. The business of Hong Kong was business. Now it’s the other way around.

It seems everyone wants to be in the Legislative Council these days. As soon as someone becomes high profile for whatever reason, they want to be a lawmaker.

Ricky Wong Wai-kay invested HK$900 million – and probably lost as much – in his ill-fated HKTV, which failed to secure a free-to-air licence in 2013. But the government’s rejection made him a hero of the pan-democrats. He is now thinking of running in the September Legco elections on a platform solely against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Until the Occupy protests, Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, a social worker, was an obscure member of the Civic Party. But after being allegedly beaten up by a group of policemen, he became the most famous figure of the “yellow umbrella movement”. He is planning to compete in Legco’s social welfare constituency.

Joshua Wong Chi-fung was just 16 in 2012 when he became a household name after successfully mobilising a mass movement against the national education programme. Now upset that you need to be 21 to run in Legco, he has launched a judicial review to lower the age to 18. The traditional route to an electoral career has been through the more grass-roots elections in the district councils. But Wong is a young man in a hurry.

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Following in their footsteps, the leaders of every localist and secessionist group that has managed to register as a political party will be trying to get their names on the September ballots.

Though she hasn’t expressed an interest, I would not be surprised if Canto-pop singer Denise Ho Wan-sze will do the same at some point. She is practically world famous, thanks to the massive protests she inspired against cosmetics giant Lancome for dumping her as a promoter, allegedly because of mainland political pressure. Her true talents clearly lie in political agitations.

On a related note, a group of students at the CCC Ming Yin College in Shek Kip Mei launched a street protest after school authorities changed the starting time for classes from 8.30am to 8.15am.

The students said they were not consulted in the decision and demanded a meeting with the school principal and a say in future decisions.

These future Joshua Wongs are clearly Legco stars in the making.