Hong Kong localism and independence

Legco oaths mischief will see Yau and Leung counting the cost for years

Feng Chi-shun says public outrage over the oath-taking fiasco may well jeopardise future employment prospects for the young localist pair

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 November, 2016, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, 10:57am

There is an amusing side to the swearing-in saga involving the young would-be legislators Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang.

The duo have a goody-two-shoes appearance. Leung could be a clean-cut professional and Yau the pretty girl next door. But both have shown glimpses of a rough edge. After all, the political party they founded, Youngspiration, was the product of a brainstorming session in a karaoke bar.

The interior of their Legislative Council offices, aired on TV after their eviction, had empty bottles of wine and half-empty whisky bottles lining the shelves.

They don’t shy away from colourful language, either. The whole world heard their notorious pronunciation of China as “Cheena”, and calling the motherland the “Ref***king” of China.

What the people who voted for Hong Kong’s Youngspiration pair think now

Accused of disrespecting the Chinese race by saying “Cheena”, Leung said it was the fault of his Ap Lei Chau accent. That chicken came home to roost when, during a City Forum programme, someone in the audience called him “Lun Chung-hun” (“itching of private parts” in Cantonese), blaming the mispronunciation of his name on their Causeway Bay accent.

At a post-election forum hosted by Polytechnic University Campus Radio, Yau shocked listeners by using a vulgar Cantonese phrase for having sex to make her point about objections to migration by mainlanders, saying Hong Kong was already too crowded for young people to find room to “bock yeah” – equivalent to “bonking”.

I am as baffled as anyone else as to why they would want to risk a high-paid and well-respected job by acting like morons during the solemn oath-taking in a venerable institution such as Legco. Naturally, many believe in conspiracy theories.

Two schools of thought prevail. The first suggests Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying paid them to make a mess of things in Legco, so he could step in to smooth matters over and so win brownie points with the central government. The second is that the pair are double agents working for the liaison office, which needs some excuse to tighten controls over Hong Kong. Both theories are too far-fetched and full of holes to be credible.

The rise and fall of Hong Kong’s pro-independence lawmakers

To me, it was childish mischief, pure and simple. They have witnessed a lot of misbehaviour in Legco meetings in the past and thought they could get away with anything.

Entertaining as it might have been, the sad part of the saga is that not only have Leung and Yau lost their Legco seats, they have also provoked public outrage and may find it impossible to seek future employment.

I hope they have retrieved the leftover whisky from their old offices. They might need it to drown their sorrows.

Dr Feng Chi-shun is an author and a retired pathologist