Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Rohan Chung’s ‘coil thick like dumpling’ - Marginal candidate sparks wonder with prime-time ads, leaving Bunting, Crawford in shadows

Published:Wednesday | September 2, 2020 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Rohan Chung

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Independent candidate for Manchester Central, Rohan Chung, is hoping to translate the noise generated from his ad campaign into votes against outsize challengers, incumbent Peter Bunting of the People’s National Party and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) standard-bearer Rhoda Crawford.

Chung is targeting the lofty heights of 8,000 votes – but no independent has won a seat in a general election in more than half a century.

While Bunting drew interest with the dancehall dubplate from artiste Stylo G, Chung’s aggressive campaign proves that, like the investment banker, his “coil thick like dumpling”. Money talks!

Constituents of Manchester Central have had mixed responses to Chung’s foray into representational politics. The spectrum of reactions ranges from wonder to derision.

“It’s good to be confident, and yes, we want more young people in politics, but his message and his strategy is just wrong. The ads are just a turn-off,” said a resident who requested anonymity.

“… I honestly don’t believe he stands a chance … . If he was well known in different circles and familiar with the persons of influence, maybe he would stand a chance … .”

Chung, who operates the marketing firm Smartphone Over Worldwide Connection Marketing Limited, told The Gleaner that he has wanted to enter representational politics since age nine and felt compelled to contest this year to rescue the constituency from stagnation.

DELIBERATE MOVE

He said his campaign photo, sporting a T-shirt, long hair and earphones, is a deliberate move to seem relatable and genuine to the masses.

The 29-year-old candidate said that his track record of coaching chess in schools and running a firm that provides marketing solutions to businesses speaks for itself.

But with ads running during prime time on television and radio, which have created a stir, viewers continue to question Chung’s motive and source of funding for this expansive marketing outlay.

“… Me really want to know if him serious and where him get all that money. His business must really be doing well or him have some people with serious money around him,” another resident, who requested anonymity, told The Gleaner.

Chung disclosed that he is part-funding his campaign out of pocket but has also received money from close associates.

But the social marketer said that his advertising costs pale in comparison to those of his contenders.

“These other persons have been advertising for weeks and months and they have the money to be doing all these ads, magazine ads,” Chung told The Gleaner.

“I have focused my marketing strategy in a timely manner and it is not even a week since I have been running my ad … .”

Candidates must declare their campaign expenditure to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.

Chung not only received much attention from his ad campaign but has also been trending on Twitter after coming under attack by a young woman and her family. Former Manchester Custos Sally Porteous has also tweeted that she does not support his run for office.

Chung, however, denied having ever declared that Porteous was a backer.

The member of parliament aspirant is aiming to provide approximately 100,000 jobs and to push for universal access to water for all households in the constituency.

Name: Rohan Chung

Age: 29

Occupation: Entrepreneur - owner of SOWC Marketing Ltd since 2011

Education: Denbigh High, private institution in Mandeville, The University of the West Indies

Hails from: Manchester and Clarendon