Two absorbing months in September and October have resulted in some life-changing decisions. It gradually became apparent that the main opposition parties would either not be allowed to (because of their pro-independence slant), or would choose not to, field candidates in the upcoming Legislative Council election due on 19 December. This situation encouraged me to pursue my own enquiries on the subject further and I eventually decided to take the plunge.
The first key question that needed to be addressed was whether or not to run in a geographical constituency. I thought direct election via such a route would give me additional credibility when responding to future questions from the international media. However, the potential competition in my home district Hong Kong Island West would be intense, including from another expat Paul Zimmerman who had a support base having been a very popular district councillor in the pokfulam area. So one source of possible support would likely lean towards him. The ‘independent’ space would be an obvious target for the Path of Democracy, a think tank which I joined during this period as I found its views on a variety of issues similar to my own. In the event, neither Paul nor Maxine Yao (the aspiring PoD candidate) were able to secure the number of signatures from Election Committee members to enable them to run, but I was not to know that at the time.
So I opted instead to challenge for one of the 40 seats to be elected by the EC constituency itself. In the event, with the support of friends, I was able to secure the necessary nominations before the 12 November deadline. The decision meant giving up my twin roles as columnist for the SCMP and radio show co-host on RTHK at least for the duration of the campaign.
Meanwhile I began to suffer from “empty nest” syndrome as the last home-based child, son Alex, flew out to UK to finish his education at Coventry University.
Big changes indeed.