Today is election day. But you may not have noticed. In fact, there seems to be more sign of Mothers’ Day (UK style) around town. Just a few banners around the temple area for the DAB pro-establishment candidate supported by all the other Beijing united front parties that dominate politics in the district. Oh, there are few posters for Christine Fong, our doughty local independent district councillor, but that seems to be all.
Strange, as there are six candidates standing in the New Territories East geographical constituency for the Legislative Council (Legco) by-election, and the future of what happens to Hong Kong over the next few years depends on the results of this, and the three others taking place elsewhere today. If the pan-democrats get there four seats back, after being thrown out of Legco, then the balance of power will shift slightly back to where it was before the disqualifications. Were the other two seats coming up for by-election later this year also won by the pan-dems then we would be back to where we started many, many months ago. Of course, in the meantime the pro-establishment camp have used their temporary majority to change as many rules of procedure that they could, so it won’t be exactly the same even if all six seats are won by the pan-dems.
So, why is it all so quiet? I have not received one mailed election brochure from any candidate. I have not seen any street side banners other than in the town centre. And just three of the six candidates have even bothered to send me an email, and they were in Chinese. The only information that I knew an election was happening was inserted into the envelope from Registration and Electoral Office with the mailed polling card.
What’s going on? Well, we know that non-Chinese readers are the lowest of the low priority for election material if previous elections are to go by. It seems as though we don’t exist – so nothing new there. But to not even receive any material in any language is a new low. Asking around the village and the only person with any name recognition was Christine. When asked their opinions on the others the general rely was “Who?”
BUZZ tried to ameliorate the situation by sending a list of questions, mainly about local matters, to all candidates. We got no acknowledgement, let alone any replies. Even approaches on social media produced no answers. Maybe Sai Kung is too small, too different from the big housing estates in Tsueng Kwan O, Tai Po etc to even bother about. And the newspapers don’t seem to be helping.
The only candidate that seems to be getting a lot of press coverage, at least in the Chinese media, is Paul Zimmerman, standing in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape Functional Constituency, and that is mainly negative, especially from the communist media, because of his foolish laxity in removing illegal structures from his Clearwater Bay house, and the occupation of government land by a small platform. For this, very common if illegal, problem he has been castigated relentlessly. Maybe his immigrant status may also have added to the witch-hunt – who knows. And the only street banners around Clearwater Bay are attacking his candidature.
So, who to vote for? Well, the main contest is clearly between the pan-dem parties’ primary contest winner Gary Fan Kwok Wai #6, and the Beijing united front parties’ Bill Tang Ka Piu #4. District Councillor, Christine Fong Kwok Shan #2, a perennial Legco candidate is a long shot (Disclaimer: Christine is a member of BUZZ Editorial Board). The other three candidates are either pro-government, leaning towards Beijing independent or an old pro trying to make a come-back. But what their aims in standing are is difficult to tell as they have limited information in English available. They are Nelson Wong Sing Chi #1, the one trying to make a political come-back, Estella (Jenny) Chan Yuk Ngor #3 and Joyce Chui Pui Yuk #5.
Voting will take place between 7:30 am to 10:30 pm. Please make sure you take your HKID with you if you vote.