Sir Hamish bids adieu, proud of his prudence

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 September, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 September, 1995, 12:00am

FORMER financial secretary Sir Hamish Macleod stuck to his established air of prudence, although he tried to share a few light moments with the press as he bade farewell.

He stayed clear of sensitive political and economic issues and refused to give any hints on how he managed his personal finance.

Nor did he want to be drawn on the lessons he has learned taking care of the territory's savings since 1990.

'I have no regrets,' he said, concerning his curbs against price surges in the property market.

In a 'great' mood on his first post-retirement day, he had some nice words for the media - and a few qualms.

'I think I liked 95 per cent of the cartoons and nicknames about me in the media . . . Sir Generous, Sir Prudent, or Super Surplus. They are good and all right.

'In a funny way, I'll miss the media. But what I won't miss is the late night and early morning calls from reporters.

'Some called just I was shaving in the morning on overseas trips,' he explained.

In his farewell toast, Sir Hamish, 55, said he hoped that the media would continue to keep the administration alert and play its role in the territory's development.

'I will follow with interest the development of Hong Kong and come back . . . There's no doubt that there will be ups and downs. But it will go on [being] a great success,' he said.

Having spent 29 years in the administration, Sir Hamish said he would visit the enclave around the handover on July 1, 1997, for five days.

He has accepted an invitation from some businessmen to a party on June 30, 1997.

Sir Hamish is to leave for a two-week trip to China beginning on Monday.

He and his wife will visit Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Guilin - taking their video camera with them.

He was '90 per cent' sure that he would not write a memoir. 'I did not write a diary,' he said.

Perhaps, the truth, as he said, was that he was bound by the Official Secrets Act not to divulge the more important, and interesting, parts of his career.