Twenty-one-year-old Jordan Pang Ka-ho is both a student and a District Councillor. He lives in a dormitory at Hong Kong University, just a short walk from the constituents he represents in Sai Wan.
Describing himself as politically aware, and a regular attendee of pro-democracy marches, Pang understands why he was elected.
“This victory is absolutely because of the anti-extradition bill movement. There is no reason to deny it,” he tells Young Post, as we join him on a walk around his new district. “Many voters only grudgingly voted for us because they don’t like the establishment. So it’s our job now to prove we can do a good job and we deserve their votes.”
He is not too worried about his relative inexperience. “Some things can be learned. If you are willing to put the time and effort into it, you can do the job,” he says, adding that being young can be an advantage.
As a staunch supporter of the pro-democracy movement, he believes the key to understanding social unrest is to look at the context and the ideas behind the movement.
“People aren’t smashing things to smash things. Peaceful means are being ignored and a lack of justice is the issue,” he says. “Unfairness and lack of police accountability is the problem. You can write a hundred condemnations [of violence], but it’s not solving the issue of a lack of democracy and the people’s voice not being heard. When it comes to violence, you need to ask – why?”
One of the big ticket items he plans to look at during his term as district councillor is the proposed traffic link into the Sai Wan and Kennedy Town area, which will connect to a proposed new district on Lantau island as part of the Lantau Tomorrow Vision plan, a massive land reclamation project proposed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam in 2018.
“It will have a massive human and vehicle traffic impact on the area, especially since this is an older district with a high population density and narrow roads,” he says.
Pointing at two new buildings standing among older housing, he said urban renewal is another issue. He believes building modern skyscrapers in established districts creates a “wall effect”, hindering the flow of air, blocking views, and breaking old community ties.
“These are things residents care about, not just the usual ‘traffic, hygiene, rubbish bins and rats’.”
Swatting at mosquitoes buzzing around in a park in the district, he jokes, “I will have to tell someone about this problem!”
He says he is not worried about being monitored by “pro-Beijing” parties. “It’s a good thing, a normal amount of oversight is healthy for competition. It can drive us to do our jobs better.”
Pang’s goal now is not only to represent the community, but to bring its members together to discuss pressing issues.
“The spirit of democracy is about people having the power to make decisions. The reason we have elections and use elected representatives of democracy is that everyone only has so much time in their day, so we need to have a division of labour,” he says.
To encourage voters to discuss local issues, Pang is planning to host regular public forums and consultations. “I don’t want people to go ‘OK, I voted for you. It’s your problem now’”.