Hong Kong district council elections 2015

Young Hongkonger gives up architecture in favour of a career in politics

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 December, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 December, 2015, 12:01am

David Ng Ka-chiu, 27

Political Affiliation: New People's Party (since 2013)

Education: Degree in architecture from University of Hong Kong (2010); Master in public policy and management from City University (2014)

Three years ago, David Ng Ka-chiu was on his way to becoming an architect. Then he quit his job and started to work at the community office of New People's Party lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun.

For the 24-year-old University of Hong Kong graduate, that meant not only giving up a relatively well-paid job, but also having to persuade his worried parents to support him.

"I used to quarrel with them because of the long working hours ... and the uncertain career prospects in the new job," Ng said. "But I felt that an architectural career was not suitable for me, as it is often about helping the wealthy with issues [in their homes], while many people in society struggle even with basic needs such as housing and food."

Ng chose not to study for a two-year master's programme in architecture, instead taking up an offer to work as a community officer in Shek Lei in 2013.

"I used to live in Long Ping, Yuen Long, and I have been living in Tin Shui Wai since I was seven. Shek Lei is old. It is similar to Long Ping, and I want to serve the people here."

After two years, Ng's efforts paid off when he unseated the Democratic Party's Leung Kwok-wah by 3,141 to 2,974 votes last month to become a Kwai Tsing district councillor.

Ng said his campaign and eventual victory helped his parents to be more supportive of his work, but he felt he had a much bigger task ahead.

"More new candidates have won this year because of the Occupy movement ... which encouraged them to care about current affairs," Ng said.

"But district councils were regarded by people as 'councils of old men' that organise banquets and entertainment activities for the elderly. I think maybe we need more activities [for the young], and when there is a group of young people who are enthusiastic about current affairs, they can influence each other to make Hong Kong a better place."

Citing Tsuen Wan District Council's HK$100 million proposal to build a podium over Sai Lau Kok garden to improve pedestrian flow, Ng said Tsuen Wan residents had questioned how much the proposal would help them. Such controversies could be avoided if councillors were more receptive to public opinion, Ng suggested.