Donald Tsang

Tsang finds little time to listen on his latest community call

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2008, 12:00am

With his popularity falling, the chief executive made his second effort at community outreach in 12 days yesterday, joining a keep-fit class at a community centre for the elderly.

But not everyone was pleased with the charm offensive. Two sisters who waited three hours to meet Donald Tsang Yam-kuen at Sha Kok Estate in Sha Tin complained he had snubbed them.

When Mr Tsang arrived at the community centre at 3pm, dozens of old people were waiting to welcome him. But he barely spoke to those in the crowd.

The Chan sisters said they had waited more than three hours to meet Mr Tsang. The elder sister, who is 62, has cancer and is wheelchair-bound. The younger sister said: 'Of course we are angry ... the chief executive did not shake hands with us or talk to us. We want more old-age assistance.'

Mr Tsang spent five minutes doing an 'Olympic exercise' routine with a dozen elderly people. Staff then told him about the centre's meal delivery service, after which Mr Tsang answered reporters' questions.

Sze Ching-tam, 62, who flexed his muscles alongside Mr Tsang, said he had been concentrating on doing the exercises and did not have the chance to talk to the chief executive.

'I wanted to tell Mr Tsang to pay more attention to the affairs of the elderly and to give more resources for our welfare ... but I could not express my opinion,' Mr Sze said.

Asked if he thought the chief executive's visit was a 'political show', he said: 'I don't think so.'

Meanwhile, both friend and foe are warning that any further blunders by Mr Tsang would see him following in the footsteps of his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa, who resigned midway through his second term.

Ng Hong-mun, a former deputy to the National People's Congress, said Mr Tsang must heed Vice-President Xi Jinping's order to personally ensure the smooth running of Olympics events in the city.

'If he messes up the Olympics and allows people to create chaos, he must resign and be held accountable to the Chinese people because he would have made China lose face.'

Legislator Anson Chan Fang On-sang said Mr Tsang must start listening to the public and stop snubbing those who disagreed with him if he wanted to be more popular.

'The people will know sooner or later whether somebody is just putting on a show,' Mrs Chan said.