Class of ’97: As HKU student union president, Wong Ching-tak has to be careful tackling political issues

Wong says he wants to stay in the city and has never thought of leaving as he likes the general vibe of Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:00am

Meet the class of ’97, born the year of the handover. Their childhoods tell the stories of Hong Kong’s first two decades after the return to China. Some remember Sars, others took part in Occupy. Now, they’re trying to work out what their future holds – and how Hong Kong’s own uncertain future fits into their plans.

Wong Ching-tak

“As president of the student union at the University of Hong Kong, I have had to focus on teaching and learning, as well as the maintenance of campus facilities and meetings with university authorities.

“Externally, we organise lots of activities to help students get a better understanding of current affairs and the society they are living in. However, there is certain degree of isolation between those from the mainland and others.

“The different languages, lifestyles and cultures between the two groups do make it more difficult for [mainland] Chinese students to blend in. Having said that, some still work at organisations affiliated to the union – we welcome anyone without a hidden political agenda or mission to join us.

“Sometimes the union is in a rather ambiguous position. On the one hand, we are not a political party and, on the other, some people do expect us to be a political group that tackles current issues, which is why we have to be careful when selecting members.

“I have suspended my studies for a year to better fulfil my union duties. My parents respect my decision and are quite supportive. Looking ahead, I will stay in this city. I have never thought of leaving, as I like the general vibe here.”