Active participant in and board member of the New Macau Association (ANM) for the last few years, Sulu Sou became known to the public when he rose as one of the most highlighted faces of the political demonstration of May 2014. During the demonstration, thousands of people surrounded the Legislative Assembly (AL) to protest the approval of a retirement package bill seeking to grant lavish pensions and compensation to the Chief Executive and outgoing major officials.
In the second installment of a series of interviews with the newly elected lawmakers, the Times spoke to the 26-year- old Sulu Sou, who is set to become the youngest lawmaker in AL history when the parliament resumes on Monday.
According to the official results from the September 17 election, Sulu Sou received the 12th highest number of votes, amounting to a total of 9,212.
Macau Daily Times (MDT) – What will be your first priority when the Legislative Assembly resumes its works?
Sulu Sou (SS) – Our first concern will be about the problems caused by Typhoon Hato. We want to represent the people’s concerns [on this topic] and to investigate the responsibilities of the government’s main officials. We want to make a debate proposal on this topic – and we know we have the support of other lawmakers on this, as the typhoon happened after the last session [of the previous legislature] and so the lawmakers didn’t have time to address the topic and the responsibility of the officials.
MDT – Do you know yet where are you going to sit? What would be your preference in this matter?
SS – Actually we received [recently] a letter from the Legislative Assembly on this matter, in which they said they have new rules for this legislature. In the letter, they say the seat assignment will be random (as in a lucky draw system). We actually contacted the AL to learn more about this new rule as I think many of the old members of the AL will not accept it because they have become used to sitting for many years in a particular place. As for our team, we are in fact discussing the possibility of sitting together with some lawmakers who share the same ideas or beliefs as us. To have a pro-democratic wing or as close as possible would be the best for us.
MDT – What do you think will be your biggest challenge at the Legislative Assembly?
SS – I am the youngest lawmaker in the assembly, so I think I have to train my skills, to gain experience and an ability to read [and understand the details] of the law and how to make a proposal among other policies. This will be a big challenge for me and as a young lawmaker I perceive that both the government and some of the older lawmakers will “monitor” all my actions seriously, especially during the first year.
So I do have a lot of homework and preparation to do in order to [fulfill my duties] at the Assembly.
MDT – Being the youngest, do you think you are also more aware of the expectations and problems of the younger generation? Is one of your focuses going to be to address those problems and concerns?
SS – Our voters and supporters are not only young people but also middle aged people, and even some elderly people. But I think we do represent through New Macau Association the younger people, so I can say that we understand their demands and their voice more [than other groups]. We do want to bring the voice – or maybe even the noise – of the young people to the AL especially in regard to housing or professional career options. We want to show their voice there, definitely!
MDT – Regarding those career options for the young generation, what do you think can be done at the AL to tackle that issue?
SS – This is in fact the difficult problem which the young generation has already faced for many years, especially since the high-speed economic development from 2003 or 2004. I think the solution is to push for diversification, as young people can only choose between working in casinos or government. We want the government to create some real opportunities for young people, or provide a developing space that allows young people to develop other careers in line with their potential and abilities.
As examples, I would say in the cultural industries and in other areas such as sport, music and other [technical] careers. It is our opinion that the government should provide the space only, and some basis resources. From there, the responsibility to develop is on the young people. I think they don’t want to have everything [given] from the government, [instead they look] only for basic assistance to allow them to start, that’s what they are seeking in order to be able to develop by themselves.
New Macau still to decide on new leader
Scott Chiang previously postponed his departure from the leadership of the New Macau Association until after the conclusion of the elections. With the deadline given by Chiang looming on October 15 and lack of candidates who have publicly put their names forward to take his position, it is now almost certain that the association will be left in a period of interim leadership “until the General Assembly find a solution,” according to Chiang. On the subject, newly elected lawmaker Sulu Sou told the Times that such a decision had not yet been made and that it is necessary to further consider the issue. “It’s a difficult topic that we should think more and discuss more [about],” Sou said, adding that a resolution will be passed so that someone will be “elected by all the directors in New Macau Association.” Claiming that there is “no deadline” for such a decision, Sou said that he supported young people taking Chiang’s place.