Students irk chief executive in exchange of views on policy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12:00am

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen displayed irritation at questions put to him by schoolchildren yesterday, accusing one of targeting him.

'Attacking Tsang Yam-kuen first ... this is very unique to Hong Kong people,' Mr Tsang said in response to one of the questions put to him by a secondary student from the floor.

Mr Tsang was attending a session with about 400 students from four secondary schools to exchange views in preparation for his policy address next month. Each school took turns to act out sketches expressing grievances with various policies.

In one sketch, a student acting out a role as an elderly resident complained: 'The cost of everything is increasing. The only thing that is not increasing is my fruit money.'

In another, a student questioned whether the mother tongue policy was partly to blame for her poor English standards since she had no opportunity to practise it.

Throughout the session, Mr Tsang emphasised that 'no policy is perfect' and that individuals also had to bear responsibility if they wanted to better their lives, such as changing living habits to improve the environment.

But when asked to describe how he had changed his habits, he said that was a 'targeting' question.

He said all his light bulbs were environmentally friendly, that his air conditioners were turned down to 24.5 or 25 degrees Celsius, and that he owned two hybrid vehicles which used considerably less fuel than normal cars.

Regarding falling English standards, Mr Tsang reminded students that they should reflect on whether they had been studious enough.

Paul Mok Chit-yan from the Chinese Foundation Secondary School, said he took his English lessons seriously 'but it would be even better if government policies could complement our efforts'.

Mr Tsang told the students: 'If only lawmakers could present their opinions on so many issues in such a short time, then we would have made a significant improvement.'