The new life of Chan Chi-chuen
Radio DJ-turned-legislator Chan talks about his new identity and how he intends to take it from there
When he was a DJ at Commercial Radio, Mr Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, popularly known as "Slow Beat", did not know he would become a legislator, let alone getting more votes than Democratic Party heavyweight Ms Emily Lau Wai-hing.
In his first foray into the Legislative Council, Mr Chan won a seat in the New Territories East Constituency in September's election with 38,042 votes, some 1,000 votes more than that of Ms Lau, acting chairman of the Democratic Party, whose forceful character, he said, intimidated him when they first met in 2010.
"I was invited by Green Radio (an internet radio station) to interview her and I really wanted to scold her for betraying Hong Kong people," he said. "But I did not dare to do so at that time."
Mr Chan was referring to the Democratic Party's decision to put forward a compromise proposal on constitutional reform.
Instead of continuing to push for direct elections of the chief executive and all legislators immediately, the party supported the proposal to create five new seats that represented district council functional constituencies from this year.
While these seats are basically returned by direct elections, with everyone who is not already a voter in other trade-based functional constituencies getting a vote, the new arrangement is seen by champions of democracy as a backward move for "entrenching" functional constituencies.
With the support of the Democratic Party in the LegCo, the reform proposals were passed, to the dismay of other members of the pro-democracy camp and the accolade of those who felt the move would be a step forward for democracy.
Looking back, Mr Chan is still angry with the incident, which he regards as a betrayal of the cause of democracy by the Democratic Party.
"Look at the votes. Ms Lau (who took part in the direct negotiations between the Democratic Party and the liaison office officials) lost to a newcomer. Maybe it is time for her to repent her sins," he said. "The people no longer trust her because of her past actions."
Outraged by the 2010 incident, Mr Chan established Power Voters, which would later become part of People Power, with other social activists such as Ms Erica Yuen Mi-ming and Mr Jeff Au Yeung Ying-kit.
Although many thinks he is a radical, he prefers to be called an "aggressive democrat", which he defines as a democracy seeker who walks a slightly more confrontational path.
But what drove Mr Chan to decide to plunge into electoral politics was another incident.
In 2010, Commercial Radio received sponsorship from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong to produce a series of programmes that promoted the party's work in the districts, said Mr Chan.
"Commercial Radio has always been anti-communist, but $600,000 was enough to change that. I was speechless," he said.
When he first announced that he would run for People Power, many people did not take him seriously and continued to take him as the DJ who gossiped about celebrities on radio every day, said Mr Chan.
But he has since been regarded as having taken a new persona by speaking out and targeting Ms Lau in the election.
Mr Chan rejects the notion that People Power had divided the pro-democracy camp. "We are only using our own methods to protect the democratic progression of Hong Kong," he said.
Speaking of the aggressive behaviour of his People Power peers in the past, Mr Chan said he respected their strive for righteousness and he might soon follow in their footsteps.
"At the moment I will not be too aggressive. But I can't be too sure if something that really irks me happens, such as the Democratic Party's decision two years ago," he said.
Mr Chan is the first homosexual to have become a legislator and has taken some flak recently for not revealing his sexual orientation during the election.
But he said his close friends knew he was a homosexual, and he had told a journalist about his sexual orientation three days before he was elected. Unfortunately for him, the story was published only after the election.
"I could not control when the news story would be published," Mr Chan said. "I have nothing to hide and everyone knows it."
Reported by Lawrence Mak
Edited by Remus Wei
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