Merlene Toh-Emerson calls for the British Chinese community in London to vote in today’s GLA elections. Recently she’s been busy reaching out and encouraging people from the British Chinese community to get more involved in politics. She is the only candidate of Chinese descent representing on the London wide list for the Liberal Democrats. Local elections and mayoral referendums are taking place across the UK. In London, Boris Johnson will battle against Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick for the honour of being the capital’s lord mayor.
Merlene was born in Singapore and came to London in 1979 as a law student. Both her parents are overseas born Chinese, therefore she has inherited a strong sense of colonial history and identity. To that extent she feels a kindred bond with immigrants from other ex-colonies now in the Commonwealth.
After graduation from King’s College London she obtained a Master of Laws degree at Cambridge University. She qualified as a Solicitor and worked at a leading City law firm in the high adrenaline-fueled world of corporate finance and banking. She returned briefly to work in Singapore and was made partner at a medium sized firm specialising in the areas of joint ventures and cross-border finance. In 1990 she became a CEDR accredited commercial mediator in the UK .
Merlene and her husband Mark have three sons, who have contributed to her deep desire to see that they grow up in a fair, tolerant and progressive society. She is currently a Director of the Chinese Welfare Trust and the registered social landlord, Richmond Housing Partnership (serving in the New Developments and Finance Committee). She is also an active member of her local Save the Children branch.
GLA (Greater London Authority) elections are to vote for a mayor as well as the 25 Assembly members who oversee the mayor’s work. There are 4 votes (2 for a mayor – 1st and 2nd Preference) and 2 for Assembly members (1 for your own Constituency and 1 for London wide). I am standing on the London wide list on my party ticket so my name won’t appear on the orange ballot paper.