Donald Tsang

Lord Patten will be coming for tea

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 July, 2006, 12:00am

On Monday, Hong Kong's last governor will have his first opportunity in nearly a decade to enjoy a cup of tea back in Government House.

But Lord Patten, who arrives in Hong Kong today on a five-day visit, might find the colonial mansion much different under the new tenant, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, when they meet for afternoon tea.

Not only has the flag at the entrance changed from the Union Flag to China's, but Lord Patten will also get to see how Mr Tsang's fish pond blends in.

When he visited Hong Kong last November to promote his book Not Quite the Diplomat, the European Union's former external relations chief was treated to a hairy crab feast with former colleagues at Mr Tsang's former residence in Barker Road.

But unlike last year, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, whom Lord Patten has praised as a competent civil servant and is considered the toughest potential challenger in next year's election, will not be at Mr Tsang's table.

Old friends Lord Patten will also miss include his former priests in the Catholic Cathedral in Caine Road, who have since been posted to other parishes, but his usual parking space will be reserved.

Other than a series of book-signings and media interviews, on Sunday Lord Patten will ride on a West Rail train with KCRC chief executive James Blake.

But will the new master of Government House treat its old one with his favourite snack for tea on Monday?

'Hasn't he had enough egg tarts already?' asked one official.