While the US this week is convulsed in travel frivolity, Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive, the top office in the territory, is going to a woman: Carrie Lam.
(I will only link to 2 posts on the United legging thing: Matthew doing careful reporting with United Legging Incident: What Really Happened and Tiffany bravely taking a stand with United’s Leggings Fiasco: The False Narrative Needs To Stop. I admire both for their sense and class.)
Back to things that should matter. Ms. Lam is the latest top female leader of a country/territory in East Asia. Taiwan’s current president is Tsai Ing-Wen. South Korean recently impeached their female president, Park Geun-Hye.
Each woman has vastly different background. I am not expert in any of their biographies, only knowing the broad brush. I can’t help but have sympathy for Ms. Park, whatever her crimes real or otherwise, to think what it must have been to see both her parents assassinated, her mother in 1974, her father in 1979.
That these women have risen to the respective highest political offices in these patriarchal societies speaks to their capability.
Ms. Lam is a longtime civil servant who was the anointed choice of the Chinese government. There is no popular vote for Hong Kong Chief Executive. Rather, a 1,200-member Election Committee cast votes. The electors are selected locally by various constituencies, and the Chief Executive is formally ‘appointed’ by the Chinese government, with the legla power to overrule the vote of the Election Committee (corrected from the original, see discussion in the comments.)
Polling in Hong Kong had the majority of the population favoring Ms. Lam’s rival. She enters office on July 1 without a democratic mandate or majority popular support. See detailed coverage at the local South China Morning Post.
Ms. Lam will need to win the hearts and mind of the people she governs in balance with the increasingly assertive Chinese government.
Let’s take this moment, whatever our political views, to applaud Ms. Lam for her achievement.