Donald Tsang

Small path to big kudos

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2005, 12:00am

Compared with big issues such as political reform and the Tamar site redevelopment, the safety of hikers is small stuff that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen can afford to ignore.

A story published in Chinese-language newspapers that largely went unnoticed last week, however, shows Mr Tsang has learned the wisdom of sweating the small stuff before allowing it to do damage to his administration.

A report said Mr Tsang had ordered the Agriculture and Fisheries Department to step up safety measures at the city's country parks and trails in the wake of the death of a young hiker in Sai Kung. A police officer was reported missing while hiking in the area last month.

'It's a smart move,' said Democrat legislator Cheung Man-kwong. 'You can be sure hikers will talk about it and will thank the well-intentioned move. This is small stuff. That he has acted swiftly will win the hearts and minds of the people.

'Certainly he needs to find solutions to some big issues in the policy address. But sometimes it's small stuff that can change people's perceptions. Getting little things done helps him win political mileage points on a day-to-day basis.

'The good thing is that he responds quickly to public opinion. The downside is that he may be dancing to the tune of the media. [Being] media-led is not necessarily a good thing.'