Hong Kong lawmakers’ rugby team can help heal the political rifts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 May, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 May, 2017, 11:21pm

Rugby fans from all over the world flocked to Hong Kong last month to enjoy the remarkable rugby sevens weekend.

While watching the matches and enjoying the carnival-like atmosphere, people could forget the splits in our society caused by political disputes. After all, sport should be able to bring people with differing views together.

Thanks to the sevens, rugby is now becoming more popular in Hong Kong. But compared to countries where it is regarded as a major sport, such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand, in Hong Kong it does not get much in the way of resources and participation is still not widespread. If we want that to change, we need more pitches. I remember when I started to learn rugby, at a boarding school in the UK, there were so many pitches. However, with the supply of sports grounds and pitches being scarce in Hong Kong, it is difficult to promote rugby.

As a legislator, as well as a district councillor in Tung Chung, I have been urging the local authorities to identify new locations for multipurpose pitches.

Rugby is about team spirit, as opposed to individualism. Although a try is scored by one player, it is only possible through the collective effort of the team. In fact, I have never seen a try scored which was due only to one player. With youngsters concentrating on rugby, including developing physical fitness and teamwork, this could be another way to address concerns about teenagers becoming addicted to smartphones and internet entertainment.

Rugby can connect people with conflicting views, inspired by the Hong Kong Sevens. I have suggested that legislative councillors form a sevens team and some of my fellow lawmakers, from across the political spectrum, have expressed an interest in joining.

The team, if successfully formed, would be another effective tool to heal the rift between the two political camps in Legco. As a rugby fan, I want to see the game being further promoted to Hong Kong youngsters.

Holden Chow, legislator, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong