Michael Tien is a candidate from the New People’s party to some municipal elections in Hong Kong. I met Michael on the street, he talked to me in English (how did he find out?) and told me that I should vote for him.
He looked exactly the same as in his business card and the pamphlets, and his team shared his same general appearance. Same naturally loose tie, good looks, confident smile and same attitude of “Yes, we can”.
As superficial as I am, I got a good feeling from him and I immediately decided to vote for his party. After all, if they have rolled up their sleeves and loosen up their ties that means they are ready to start working to make things better!
But hey, then I realized of two important things: First of all, I don´t think I am allowed to vote in Hong Kong. And the second thing is, what would Michael and his team do for this town??
Then I started thinking about how his life would be as candidate. How he and his team would have spent hours brainstorming on how to do things better for the people in Hong Kong. And I imagined some fresh ideas that I would have if I was a candidate at New People’s party…
I PROMISE …:
- We will bring creative thinking back to Hong Kong. We will think, and then act. No more trial and error behaviour, that´s for mainlanders (last part added on purpose to easily get some lazy voters that won´t read through my whole electoral promises).
- We will roll out programs to convince the people in Hong Kong that quality of work is better than quantity, that working long hours only make them tired and less productive.
- Some of these programs will include free education to parents so they realize that children’s education is not only a question of money. They will learn that they should educate them themselves in core values, so they become good citizens.
- We will convince people of the benefits of treating their neighbours better: People will say hi to the people around them, they will smile at each other and they will help people in the street. We will convince people to do things without expecting anything in return.
- As a municipal ordinance, taxi drivers will greet and smile at their customers, will provide a clean smell and will drive smoothly. To finance these small changes, taxi fares will increase. Otherwise, taxi drivers will be allowed to pick more customers on the way if they are going in the same direction.
- We will organize pedestrian traffic in the street, with a special lane for people walking faster than the average.
- We will encourage more flexible schedules for working people, so citizens don’t squeeze up in public transport at 9am and 7pm, or collapse the restaurants at 1pm.
- Everyone will be treated equally in their basic rights. If domestic helpers remain in the country for seven years, they will have citizenship, just like everybody else.
- We will work to increase work conditions and safety. We will provide the 12h cubicle toilet cleaner some flexible schedule so he doesn’t have to be in a small smelly place all day. We will provide the courier company operator a chair and a desk so he doesn’t have to be squatting all day in a corner of the corridor. We will dismantle all bed-sized cubicles next to kitchens where domestic helpers live and we will make their bosses provide them with a decent room.
- We will increase taxes on high income citizens, and use the money to create pensions and social security, so people like Shu Fang are not forced to work at an advanced age.
- We will provide more public housing opportunities and will tackle speculation in the real estate market.
- We will provide special areas to smoke. Smokers will not be allowed to burn their lives in public, or to leave their cigarettes to consume completely on top of the rubbish bins and contaminate their fellow citizens.
- We will dramatically increase air quality. You and your children don’t deserve air quality in your area to range between very poor and very dangerous. (thanks Tasha!)
- We will regulate air conditioning in shopping malls and theatres to save energy and prevent our citizens from being frozen.
- Careless citizens who loudly belch or shout at their mobile phone in public spaces will be fined instantly according to the volume of their offence.
As I was daydreaming on the changes that the New People’s party may bring, I met Ho Kwon Yiu Junius, another candidate. He greeted me in the street as well and gave me a pamphlet. Unlike Michael, he was wearing no tie and he was rising his left arm instead of the right one, and appeared to have more followers. In his pamphlet he was shown among a crowd, voicing some of the points for his campaign, which probably were the changes that I had in mind to increase quality of life in HK. And he made me re-think about the best candidate to give my vote to.
Next time Michael and Junius come to greet me on the street, I will ask them what do they plan to do about Shu Fang or the 12h cubicle toilet cleaner. Then I will try to vote for whoever convinces me more, not just by the looks.