Carrie Lam as chief executive would be the best choice for Hong Kong’s youth

Joseph Wan says Carrie Lam has shown vision in pledging to heed young voices in decision-making, and Hong Kong’s youth must seize the opportunity to work with the government

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 8:34pm

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s proposal to include young people in top-level decision-making, should she be elected as chief executive, is a bold statement that should be applauded. No candidate has ever been so open and forward-looking.

As director of social welfare, she put Hongkongers at the centre of social policies. In 2003, Lam helped to set up the We Care Education Fund, for young people whose families had been seriously affected by the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic. And, as chief secretary and West Kowloon Cultural District Authority chair, she launched the Hong Kong Palace Museum project late last year.

[Lam] is the type of person who can put the interests of young Hongkongers first

Granted, Lam has her shortcomings, but so do all officials in public administration. As a true leader, she has faced her criticism head on, and accepts her faults. She is not bitter, but optimistic. This is the type of person who can put the interests of young Hongkongers first.

But involving young people in decision-making should be done with caution. This should not be a platform for endless political bickering or rhetoric, but one for profound change and innovation. Hong Kong’s youth ought to seize this opportunity, and work openly with the government.

Watch: Carrie Lam speaks about her campaign for chief executive

Yes, within the youth, there are divisions. But, regardless of which camp one is in, it is important to hear other voices and understand their positions. Politics works efficiency only with meaningful discourse.

That means the government should involve pan-democratic factions – thoughtfully and with an open mind.

For young people who identify as being in the neutral or pro-government camps, this is their chance to participate in political discourse.

Lam’s campaign manifesto includes many substantive ideas focusing on young people and our future. She is the candidate for the younger generation.

Hong Kong leadership hopefuls lock horns at first debate, but John Tsang stays away

The Election Committee ought to listen to the people, and focus on each candidate’s experience. We have a pool of very strong candidates who care deeply about Hong Kong. But one must also consider that politics and governance are not about the ability to craft and repeat phrases that please individuals. They are about a strong work ethic, a change-oriented mindset and the ability to make decisions, however controversial, for the betterment of the city and its people.

Young people can certainly benefit from having Lam as the city’s next leader.

She understands the needs of the people, especially our youth. In this time of increasing divisions, we need a strong, yet level-headed, individual to lead the way.

Joseph Wan is founder and president of Support! International Foundation in Hong Kong