women

Who will take over the “super seats”?

  • 2015-11-16
  • 2015-11-16

The Young Reporter team talks to “super seats” lawmakers about the future of the District Council (Second) functional constituency. By Phoebe Chau, Michelle Chan and Sharon Tang “District councillors should set examples for the people” The MTR’s by-laws leave a loophole allowing mainland parallel goods traders to transport their ware, while local students were caught bringing oversized musical instruments. On that debate, pan-democrats James To Kun-sun held a press conference to remind the MTR that there were similar issues seven years ago. “The MTR bully the good people and fear the evil ones. It is crucial to speak up for people, and feel what they feel. This is what district councillors should do.” “I have spent most of my time on improving the district, and this is my responsibility,” said Mr To. For both the District Council and Legislative Council elections, members have to contribute to their communities in order to gain support,said Mr To. The TYR team tried to contact Starry Lee Wai-king, the lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, but we failed to interview Kowloon City District councillor. While two seasoned “super seats” councillors attempt to step down to give younger members a chance, another two are still determined to win in the District Council election. They are pan-democrats Frederick Fung Kin-kee and James To Kun-sun. “There are no strategies to win the election but to be diligent. You would need to review what you have done if you cannot even get ten supporters -- the minimum requirement for nomination in the Legco election,” said Mr Fung, the former chairman of Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL), as well a member of the Sham Shui Po District Council. Having been a district councillor for nearly two decades, Mr Fung believes councillors …

Elected councillors have little say in district affairs

  • 2015-11-16
  • 2015-11-16

By Jonathan Chan Half an hour before six Banyan trees in Western District on Hong Kong Island were chopped down in August, Central and Western district councillor Wong Kin-shing received an email. Although he was fully aware of the opposition from the local community, there was nothing he could do to stop the trees from being removed. “This is notifying, not consulting,” Mr Wong said. “The government does not respect our district council.” Although they are directly elected by Hong Kong residents, district councillors have little say in government policies concerning local communities. The lack of power results in a low turnout rate in the council elections. Mr Wong said the Highways Department, which was in charge of the removal of the trees, held two meetings with the district council. Councillors proposed several solutions such as trimming the leaves, but none of them was taken in the end. “We are sad to see the District Council in this state,” said Mr Wong, who will not run in the upcoming elections. To enhance communication between the government and residents of Hong Kong, the former colonial government established the District Boards in 1982. In 2000, the Boards were renamed District Council. The Home Affairs Department says on its website that District Council function as advisory bodies, giving suggestions to the government on matters affecting “the well-being of the people in the district.” They also give advice on government programmes and the use of public funds as well as public facilities. If funds are allocated, the District Council should use them to improve the environment, spend on community activities or promote recreational and cultural activities within the district, the website says. But some councillors doubt if their suggestions are taken seriously by the government. “When it comes to government policies, the District Council is powerless as an advisory body,” says Kelvin …

Society & Politics

Hong Kong’s election age limit: ageist or practical?

  • 2015-11-12

By Christy Leung   William Lloyd, formerly a British Conservative member of parliament, was elected at the age of 18 in 2007, a year after the eligible age for candidacy was lowered from 21. “The simple fact of the matter is that no one has life experience completely, no one knows everything,” Mr Lloyd told BBC. In Hong Kong, the age limit for running in both the District Council or Legislative Council election is 21, though the age limit for voting is 18. Joshua Wong Chi-fung said the age limit ignores 18 to 20-year-olds’ right to stand for election. The 19-year-old Scholarism convenor filed a judicial review to challenge the age ceiling on his birthday this month in hope to run in the LegCo election next year. “It is quite ironic. For anyone running for the election of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the age limit is just 18 years old,” said Mr Wong. Responses are split, with critics arguing that young people below 21 lack life as well as political experience. Albert Ho Chun-yan of the Democratic Party said Mr Wong’s proposal lacks insight. “He could run for the election and criticise us, but legislators are elected. It’s the voters’ decisions,” he said. He said it is unfair to say older legislators in council elections constitute an ageing problem in Hong Kong politics. “Hillary Clinton is 68, Joe Biden is 72. Can you say there is an ageing problem in the US?” Mr Ho said. “Of course we lack experiences, because we are still young,” said 25-year-old Hsueh Cheng-yi, the youngest councillor in Taiwan. “But experiences can be accumulated when I am serving the community.” An environmental activist who is involved in several NGOs, Ms Hsueh said the Sunflower Student Movement -- a student-led protest against …

Young candidates ready for the race

  • 2015-11-06
  • 2015-11-06

Faced with competition from veteran politicians, candidates in their 20s are determined to win in the election. By Choco Chan, Jonathan Chan CY. One year after the student-led Occupy Movement, some young democrats are bringing their political passion to the district council election. With the help of supporting groups, they are trying to challenge the established political parties and win over Hong Kong voters. At the age of 21, Kelvin Sin Cheuk-nam is the youngest candidate the Democratic Party is fielding in the upcomingdistrict council election. Mr Sin said a challenge he faces is the general perception that young people are inexperienced and incapable in politics. “In my district, being young is definitely not an advantage,” said Mr Sin. Mr Sin is running for a seat in the Central and Western District’s constituency of Kennedy Town and Mount Davis. Some of his opponents are much older then him. One of them, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong candidate Chan Hok-fung, is 38 years old and has been working as a district councillor since 2008. Mr Sin believes voters are likely to suppport experienced politicians. Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions vice-chairperson, Chan Yuen-han believes the pro-democracy young candidates will not pose a threat to the pro-establishment camp. “Young people have a passion for politics,” said the 68-year-old legislator. “But they lack the ability to think and analyse the situation comprehensively like expereienced polticians like us.” Despite the obstacles, many young candidates are determined to run. Baggio Leung Chung-heng, convenor of a new political group Youngspiration, said running for district councillor was not only about gaining seats, but to change people’s perception. Youngspiration, which aims to become a voice for young people, are sending nine candidates aged from 23 to 29 to run in the election. The …

Letter from the Editor

  • 2015-11-02
  • 2015-11-02

The Young Reporter editorial team was gathered in the 24-hour computer lab (more like a lounge) one day last week putting together this issue. I was researching the Electoral Affairs Committee statistics on voter turnout and watching one of my editors scrolling on his laptop on the sofa. I looked at the group and spontaneously asked, “Who in this room has actually voted?” Among the dozen 21 and 22-year-old journalists-to-be, only one person --Joey, our copy editor--had voted in a by-election at South Horizons, Southern District West last year. All the rest will be first time voters this November. Writing an election issue with no voting experience is a double-edged sword. Having never experienced voting procedures, timelines and reporting regulations has to be compensated for with massive amounts of research and planning. But as university students, it is easier for us to relate to young candidates and young voters. And, as a female-dominated group on a female-dominated campus, we are sensitive to gender issues in politics and workplace. The system of appointed members is to be abolished starting from this election, making the District Council the only generally elected and most democratic part of the government in Hong Kong. The council itself though possesses very limited power, even on community policies and transparency in the way taxpayers’ money is spent. The people in Hong Kong are increasingly aware of their rights in politics, partly credited to the Umbrella Movement, and further reform in the District Council shall soon be appealed. Back in the lab (or lounge) one editor made the confession that she is not a registered voter and the guy on the sofa moved his stare away from the computer screen to her and let out a sigh. Crystal Tse Editor

Public education is key to rooting out workplace sexual harassment

  • 2013-10-14
  • 2013-10-14

   A lot of cases of sexual harassment in the workplace have gone unreported mainly due to inadequate public awareness, say experts.

Society & Politics

Working mothers’ struggle: Lack of support in the workplace hampers breastfeeding

  • 2013-10-14

  As government tries to promote breastfeeding by banning advertising for formula milk, practical problems faced by working mothers trying to breastfeed their babies go unresolved.