I have never met the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, but I know the villages in the New Territories of Hong Kong where her parents come from and I know Guilin in south China where she was a volunteer teacher for a year.
I am also familiar with that amazing ability, typified by Hazel, which enables a remarkable number of people of Chinese descent to move quickly from hardship to financial stability and social service.
Her parents came separately to Ireland and first met while working in the same restaurant in Dublin. They opened a restaurant themselves and Hazel worked there when she was young, washing dishes and cooking. Today her mother runs four restaurants.
Hazel graduated from UCD in history and politics and went on become a barrister. Over the next few years she worked for a number of ngos and companies to repay the cost of her studies.
In 2009 she took time off to go to Guilin to teach is a poor county school.
In 2016 she joined the Green Party and became the first Green Party councillor in Dublin (Pembroke district) in 2019. She was elected chair of the party.
In June of this year she was elected mayor of Dublin, the ninth women to hold that post.
Unfortunately she has also been a victim of racism, being attacked aggressively on social media. A proud Dubliner, she says she can cope with the abuse and will continue her contribution to the city with the same energy and social concern that got her this far.