Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 March, 2008, 12:00am

Michael Tien ... the new 'King of Kowloon'?

Aspirants in local elections often trumpet their links to the community and this seems to be the case once more with Michael Tien Puk-sun. The former chairman of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, who is tipped to make his political debut in this year's Legislative Council election, has been staking his claim to a seat in the Kowloon West geographical constituency. Mr Tien, who is also chairman of the clothing company G2000 Group, told reporters: 'I grew up in Kowloon. I was born in Tsim Sha Tsui, then moved to Boundary Street, then to Somerset Road and later to Mong Kok.'

And for any journalists who were unconvinced, the newly-elected Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, continued: 'Now my biggest G2000 shops are on Sai Yeung Choi Street, Nathan Road and Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui.' Asked if he would canvas support from staff in his Kowloon shops, Mr Tien was quick to add that most of his staff lived in the New Territories.

Confidential papers leaked to test the water

First it was the budget. Then came the medical reform consultation paper. Political watchers were intrigued by the massive leak of details of documents normally stamped 'confidential'. And it wasn't just government-friendly newspapers that had a few scoops - certain other newspapers were also given titbits from the supposedly confidential documents. A source said that government officials saw the need for publicity on key issues such as health-care financing ahead of the formal announcements. 'The subject is so complicated. Sometimes, it makes sense to leak the key elements to help the public understand it,' he said.

Life's a balanced budget for finance chief

Even though polls show him as the government's most popular official, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has been modest in his self-appraisal of the month-long budgetary exercise. Writing in his blog, Mr Tsang says: 'I feel like I just finished an exam!' He is glad his maiden budget received a positive response, but says there is no time to relax and warns of the challenges ahead. Mr Tsang also expounds his philosophy - 'the art of balancing' - which helps him get things done. 'Bicycles cannot move forward without balance. Elderly people can only practise tai chi if they manage to maintain balance. Young people need a balance between study and entertainment, family and friends ...'

Cold discomfort for sneezing Democrat

Everyone who knows the history of the Sars outbreak will remember how a single sneeze caused ripples around the world. Yesterday, Democratic legislator James To Kun-sun described the damage that one of his own sneezes has caused. Mr To recounted how 10 days ago, while attending an environmental conference in Taiwan, he was checking out of the hotel and carrying his luggage when he let rip a shuddering sneeze. The force was apparently so great that he had since suffered damage to his lower back, and had to undergo six sessions of physiotherapy as well as take traditional Chinese remedies. And the cause of this spine-shattering sneeze? 'I have absolutely no idea. A few days ago I had a slight cold, which exacerbated the pain, but at the time I did not have a cold,' he said.