Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2007, 12:00am

Engineers dine out on campaign trail but lose appetite for winning

They may have been 'running' for election but we doubt the 12 members of the Engineering Team lost much weight during the Election Committee polls last year. The group, co-ordinated by the sector's legislator Raymond Ho Chung-tai, spent $19,729 on 16 'election meetings' at restaurants, according to filed expenses.

They splurged $4,450 on a meal at the Serenade Chinese Restaurant at the Cultural Centre but also had a $42 snack from a Hainan restaurant. Only four of the 12 were elected, so they might have done better spending more on hunting votes than on eating.

Cartoon with an identity problem

With Donald Tsang Yam-kuen still shying away from announcing his re-election bid, Alan Leong Kah-kit is drawing support from caricaturist Zun Zi to keep his one-man show going. One of five cartoons to be used in souvenirs for Mr Leong's fund-raising walkathon this Sunday shows the chief executive challenger pinching a balloon with words 'uncontested victory with high votes'. But Political Animal wonders why the character looks a little like former finance chief Antony Leung Kam-chung.

The test of character

Lee Cheuk-yan has had years of practice drawing up slogans in protest against social injustices, but yesterday shook his head as elderly residents from the New Territories put his brush strokes to shame drawing red-painted characters.

The banner called for the financial secretary to keep his promise of a travel allowance for low-paid New Territories workers.

'Perhaps I should give this as a gift to the Sing Pao management, since their employees need payment of their travel expenses too,' said Mr Lee, referring to the beleaguered newspaper under fire for holding back wages and expenses. The banner, after having been splashed with red paint mimicking debt collectors' intimidation tactics, was hung on the gates of the Central Government Offices. But security guards were not impressed and took it down before Mr Lee and the protesters reached the end of the path.

Getting away from it all in Central

Our belated New Year greetings to Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen who took a deserved break ahead of publication of the budget on February 28. It seems he had some leisure viewing lined up for the holiday, with a reader saying Mr Tang was seen in HMV, Central, on New Year's Day with an armful of DVDs. They included several boxed sets of Survivor and collections of The Simpsons. It is anybody's guess about whether Mr Tang was seeking political survival kits, economic ideas, or just some moments of escape from the real world.