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Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 10:19

Barrister enthusiastic about becoming a LegCo member

By Shadow Li

LegCo election candidate Eunice Yung says a lawmaker should be a bridge between the government and public. She makes her points to Shadow Li.

Barrister enthusiastic about becoming a LegCo member
Barrister Eunice Yung Hoi-yan, who will compete in the New Territories East constituency in September’s legislative election, said if elected, the first thing she will do is to find ways to stop filibustering in the Legislative Council. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Barrister Eunice Yung Hoi-yan has many roles — a lawyer, a volunteer, and a founding member of the Hong Kong Professionals and Senior Executives Association. Now she aspires to become something she never expected she would be 10 years ago, a legislator.

The 39-year-old programmer-turned-barrister is dubbed the legal sector’s “Gwei Lun-mei”, a Taiwan actress often seen in clean-cut short hairstyles. Yung will compete with 21 other candidates for nine seats in the New Territories East constituency in the legislative election on Sept 4.

As a rookie politician who recently joined the New People’s Party as one of its three candidates, Yung has her own understanding of the role a lawmaker should play in the legislature.

“The government is like a wall and a lawmaker is like a bridge, through which the public’s voice can be brought into the wall and vice versa,” explained Yung.

If elected, Yung said, the first thing she will do is to find ways to stop filibustering in the Legislative Council. The 2012-16 LegCo term saw a record number of filibusters by the opposition camp — especially last year.

Lawmakers who oppose things regardless of bills’ merits actually take away the voices of the minority of people in society. This results in failure to pass important bills so that everyone loses. “I hope to bring a more rational voice to LegCo,” added Yung.

As a legal professional, Yung said she was shocked that many lawyers, during the 79-day illegal “Occupy Central” protest in 2014 and the Mong Kok riot in February, encouraged young people to break the law.

Yung said young people, often impressionable and easily incited by others, will have to bear the consequences of illegal acts. In some cases, this means carrying a criminal record with them for the rest of their lives.

Yung maintains a low profile, despite having been engaged in community work for eight years providing pro-bono legal services to the grassroots and helping young people with advice about family and career matters.

She founded the Hong Kong Youth and Professional Network to assist startups established by young people in the city. In between her busy life, Yung enjoys playing the trumpet in order to relax. She even founded her own band — Galaxy Wind Ensemble — and sometimes does public performances.

She considers herself a versatile young professional who wants to devote her time and expertise in the legal and IT sectors to helping young people and the middle class.

Hong Kong lacks space and support for young people to participate in extracurricular activities and have different development paths, Yung said. She said those choosing sports, arts, culture and music will suffer from more difficulties in pursuing their careers.

The high achiever wants to push the government to further promote the innovation and technology industry in the city as she believes this will greatly benefit young people.

Innovation requires outside-the-box thinking. Outdated regulations will hinder the city in moving forward and catching up with its competitors such as Singapore, she said.

The city has the advantage of being part of China and should make the most of this, Yung stressed.

In the process, the political rising star believes the city will benefit when communication yields consensus and understanding on controversial issues, such as the government’s development plan for the northeast New Territories, which met fierce objections from local residents.

Yung believes a balance between the ever-increasing housing needs and the interests of indigenous villagers should be struck. This is important as inevitably land supply has to increase from areas with little development.

Also contending in the New Territories East constituency are: Lam Cheuk-ting, Mak Ka-chun, Fong Kwok-shan, Lee Tsz-king, Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan, Cheung Chiu-hung, Fan Kwok-wai, Chan Hak-kan, Hau Chi-keung, Tang Ka-piu, Yeung Ngok-kiu, Leung Kwok-hung, Chan Chi-chuen, Lee See-yin, Liu Tin-shing, Chan Wan-kan, Chan Yuk-ngor, Leung Chung-hang, Leung Kam-shing, Cheng Kar-foo and Wong Sum-yu.

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