“Hi I am Fergus Leung, please take a leaflet and know more about my program.” -Fergus Leung
It is not an unusual sight to see the 22-year-old young man distributing leaflets outside exit B of Kennedy Town MTR station. Despite the hot weather in Mid-October, this young man dressed in a long-sleeved suit is still handing out each leaflet with sincerity, making sure that every passer is well-informed about their rights as voters and the differences they could make.
“The district councillor representing Kwun Lung has been monopolized by DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong) for years. I just want to remind this neighbourhood of the choices they are supposed to have.”
1. “Why do you want to run for the district councillor of Kwun Lung district? Is the on-going revolution inspired by the anti-extradition bill a reason for your participation?
- There are two reasons for my participation. First of all, Kwun Lung district is a ‘white district’ (白區) which means that the current district councillor usually wins by default. Other candidates have little or no competition because they are often disqualified and forfeited. As a local resident, I am running for the election in conformity with the anti-walkover campaign. I want to offer this neighbourhood the chance to vote for a candidate that truly represents them.
- Moreover, the on-going revolution does have an effect on me. It reminds me of how rapidly the political prospect of Hong Kong has deteriorated. I am hoping to use the district council as a platform for us to fight back and seize the opportunity to let our voices be heard.
2. As an elite Biomedical HKU student, you could have to remain uninvolved with politics and pursue a stable future ahead of you. Why would you choose the more difficult path of running for the district councillor of Kwun Lung district?
- There is one simple reason – Our time is running out. Ever since the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, the political prospect has been deteriorating and our civil rights have been exploited rapidly. It is just 28 years away from the reunification of Hong Kong with China. If I choose to engage in politics only after I have achieved success in my career, what would I be able to do at that time? What rights and freedom would still be left for us? I hope that by standing out and running for the post, I could make a difference for the future of Hong Kong.
3. In your opinion, what is your advantage compared to other candidates in the Kwun Lung? If you are elected, what will you do for the neighbourhood of Kwun Lung and the society of Hong Kong?
- I am quite outspoken compared to other candidates, who usually belong to conservative political parties and only make speeches that aligned with the government’s interest in public occasions or during council meetings. I can’t help but questioning who do these DAB parties represent – the voters or the government? If I am elected, I will fight for the interests and rights of all residents of Kwun Lung.
- I also consider myself as a devoted person. When dealing with political affairs, I am fully devoted and willing to express my stance. I believe that this is what most residents want – a truly representative district councillor that has his own stance and performs actual deeds.
4. If you are elected as the district councillor of Kwun Lung, what will you do?
- Rent adjustment of Kwun Lung Lau
- The rent adjustment system of Kwun Lung Lau under Hong Kong Housing Society should be made transparent.
- The magnitude of rental increase should be set lower than the inflation rate
- Improvement in transport policy
- More bus and minibus routes should be opened so that residents can have more transport options beside MTR
- A public consultation session should be set up before the Transport Department make any adjustment on transport routes and schedules
- In view of the high flow of people in this district
- Adjustment in the district council meeting
- The meeting should be broadcasted in live so that voters can monitor the process of meeting and assess the performance of the councillor they have voted for
- Authorization vote should be abolished to achieve fairness – all votes will be made based on discussions in the meeting but not preconceptions
- Pedestrian roads should be expanded
- The combined schedule of traffic lights should be adjusted
- More parking meters and public parking lots should be opened
- A public consultation session for Lantau Tomorrow Vision should be set up so that residents can voice out their worries in regard to the high flow of visitors that are expected by the project
- The extended ceiling cover of Kennedy Town MTR exit C should be enlarged to prevent the backflow of people into the staircase on rainy days
- More culture and history conservation work for the Central and Western District should be done to raise residents’ sense of belonging and sense of identity
5. What is the most memorable moment in the past few months?
- Knowing that my eligibility to run for the election is still unconfirmed by the district officer, many residents showed up and cheered for me for the past few days. They would also ask for any updates from the district officer. On one hand, I am touched and grateful for their support; on the other hand, I am worried about failing their expectations if the district officer denies my application. If the unfortunate case happens – I am assessed to be ineligible, I am concerned about whether the elected district councillor could truly represent them and fight for their interest. All I could say to my supporters is thank you.
6. As a current University Student, you will have to take up the responsibilities of being both a student and a district councillor, are you worried that the voters may question your ability? How would you clear their worries?
- I think that there are two main worries associated with my identity as a student. Firstly, there are concerns about my age and experience. However, I believe that one’s work performance instead of one’s age is a more accurate measurement of the ability as a district councillor. I believe that as long as I perform actual deeds, I will gain their trust and clear their worries eventually.
- Secondly, there are concerns about my time management as well. Nevertheless, the time I have spent on visiting the neighbourhood and chatting with local residents in the past few months, have proven that being a student would not deprive me of the time that I can spend in the neighbourhood. The fact that I – a full-time university student, could have spent more time in the neighbourhood than a full-time district councillor, has already proven that time management is not a concern. Instead, one’s willingness and desire to contact with residents and listen to their demands is way more important.
7. You mentioned that the district officer of the Central and Western District has questioned your respect and loyalty towards ‘Basic Law’ and ‘One Country, Two System’. What are your thoughts on that?
- According to the ‘Basic Law’, Hong Kong citizens enjoy the civil rights to run for the election of district councillors and to be elected. Such right should not be deprived purely due to one’s political stance because Hong Kongers are entitled to the freedom of having our own political opinions. If the fact that having a different political stance with the government could cause one to lose his civil rights – we should reflect on the society that we are living in as well as what has Hong Kong become
- This also serves as a reminder for the society – Despite the illusory sights of victory – full withdrawal of the anti-extradition bill, increase in non-DAB candidates running for district councillor…etc., we have already lost a lot – the death and injuries, as well as the political leaders whose right to be elected, would be expropriated forever. After the revolution has died down, does it mean that citizens could go back to work or to school as if nothing has ever happened?
- To clarify on the district officer’s doubt, given that there is no ordinance in the ‘Basic Law’ 2017-2018 regarding a chief executive election system that enables civic nomination, I have made the speeches based on my belief to fight for such system. Hence, I am not encouraging Hong Kong independence nor destroying ‘One Country, Two System’. I am just fighting for a transparent and fair election system that is desired by most Hong Kong citizens and local political parties.
8. Given that it is just a month away from the election day and your eligibility to run for the election is still unconfirmed by the district officer, what are your thoughts on that?
- This has certainly created a disadvantage for me. Without knowing whether my application would be accepted in the end, it is difficult for me to estimate and hence, prepare the number of resources to be devoted to this election. Nevertheless, before the district officer has officially denied my application, I will continue to fully devote myself to this election
- Moreover, what happened to me also happened to some candidates in other districts. Hence, to ensure that voters still have choices besides pro-establishment candidates even if we are disqualified, we are left with no choice but to encourage other non-pro-establishment-party to enter the election. That means if we are qualified in the end, a chaotic situation of two non-pro-establishment candidates fighting over each other would be seen – which in my opinion, could be a reason for the district officer’s deliberate delay on our confirmation.
Video – Interviewing with Fergus Leung
To end this article with hope and aspiration, there is no better way than inserting a direct quote from Leung, “Despite the illusory victory ahead of us, we must not be deceived and settle down. We must remain sceptical and critical, reflecting on how to make Hong Kong a better place and voice out in all possible ways. We must continue to fight in every way until we are awarded a society that guarantees our rights and freedoms.”