Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2007, 12:00am

When Martin Lee took a tilt at the top

At last it can be revealed: Martin Lee Chu-ming, the veteran democrat reviled by leftists for 'bad-mouthing' Hong Kong overseas, once put himself forward as a potential chief executive. And to those who would respond to such an outrageous suggestion by remarking, 'He must have been joking', you're right, he was. The revelation came in a talk by Mr Lee at the Book Fair about Hong Kong's democratisation. He said that during a meeting between Hong Kong professionals and Li Hou, the then deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, in August 1982, he told the top Beijing official that he could be chief if the city became independent after 1997. 'I told him we wouldn't need somebody as bright as Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew. A person like Martin Lee could do it,' Mr Lee said. 'Of course, I would be too old for that now.' He's 69.

Former taipan lags in investment stakes

One would have thought that as a former taipan of a leading bank in Hong Kong, Norman Chan Tak-lam, who joined the cabinet as the head of the Chief Executive's Office last month, would at least lead his fellow cabinet members on investments. Not so, according to his declaration of interests yesterday. It reveals that Mr Chan owns one property in Southern District for his own use, three flats in Discovery Bay for rent and a villa in Shenzhen. Three companies owned by him are for the purpose of holding the flats or holding membership of mainland golf clubs. Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the labour and welfare chief, remains the biggest landlord among the ministers - with nine flats, shops and offices.

John Tsang turns to demolition philosophy

Criticism over demolition of the Star Ferry pier and that proposed for Queen's Pier has prompted the financial secretary to turn to an American psychologist for an explanation. The furore was a reflection, says John Tsang Chun-wah, of the 'hierarchy of needs' expounded by Abraham Maslow, regarded as the father of humanism in psychology. The theory holds that people will pursue other goals once their basic needs are satisfied. Addressing international guests at a cultural forum, Mr Tsang said that 'with a full stomach, you don't want an empty head; with a comfortable roof over your head, you don't want a sterile heart'. Whether he meant it as a veiled suggestion that the pier activists, as citizens of a stable and prosperous community, are protesting for want of anything better to do is not clear.

Shelling out on 'public engagement'

A government catch-phrase seems to be taking root in the private sector. As officials scurry to do the chief executive's bidding and engage in 'public engagement', Shell Hong Kong has dug deeper into its pockets to seek public views on its annual sustainability report. In a message to stakeholders, director Andy Ku wrote: 'In recognition of the value we place upon your thoughts, we will donate HK$50 up to a maximum of HK$100,000 to the charity group Heep Hong Society on behalf of every person who provides feedback by September 30, 2007. Readers wishing to make a point on sustainable development and contribute to charity can visit its website at www.shell.com.hk/eng/sd2006.