Eventually, Leung and others who agreed with her cause set up the Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group. They organised seven petitions and sent numerous letters to the government. They worked long and hard to protect the natural beauty of the area – and their efforts paid off. Some construction projects were called off and they even succeeded in getting some of the railings removed.
Leung’s persistence played a crucial part in the fight. Some of those who were involved in the petition campaign early on backed out because they were too busy, others did not think they would get anywhere fighting with the government. Some told her to give up, but for Leung, giving up was never an option.
“If I hadn’t insisted on the conservation of Lung Fu Shan, the place would have been spoiled completely,” she says.
Leung’s determination can be traced to her life experience. “My dad died when I was 14, so I left Guangdong to live with my mum who was in Hong Kong at the time,” says Leung.
The family was poor, so Leung did not go to school after she arrived in Hong Kong. Her relatives advised her to learn a trade. First, she followed a cousin into the rag trade to work as a seamstress in a factory. But Leung knew she wanted to study, so she found a job as a receptionist so she could attend night school.
“At the time, I thought the most important thing to do in Hong Kong was to learn English. Not knowing English would be like being illiterate. So that was the only thing I studied.”
For three and a half years, Leung worked by day and studied English in the evenings. She managed to get a Hong Kong Certificate of Education in English and got a promotion at work. She stayed with the company until she left for Canada in 1990 to accompany her husband while he studied for a post-graduate degree.
Although Leung’s situation did not allow her to receive a mainstream education, her forthright and open character has led her to be educated in different ways. Leung says she learned a great deal through being involved in different organisations and meeting people from various professional backgrounds.
In the Lung Fu Shan Environmental Concern Group, 90 per cent of the members speak English. One of the people who helped her in the campaign is a professor from the University of Hong Kong. This professor taught her how to deal with the government and helped her sort out her documents.
“My situation didn’t allow me to study, but learning opportunities are actually everywhere,” says Leung enthusiastically. “I often have to think about which group to spend more time on. I have too many interests.”