Donald Tsang

Tsang opens up about frustration of being the chief

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 October, 2011, 12:00am

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen yesterday gave a candid assessment of his imperfections, saying he was not good at conveying how he felt and hiding negative emotions.

'I am bad at expressing my feelings and emotions,' the chief executive admitted yesterday. 'My smile looks a bit embarrassing and stiff, and I sometimes look stern.'

Tsang provided fresh evidence of his weakness on Thursday, when he accused People Power lawmaker Wong Yuk-man of 'thug-like' behaviour and said the Legislative Council was 'not a place for triad societies' in response to Wong's provocative questioning.

After 44 years of public service he has barely eight months left as chief executive. And Tsang told RTHK's Hong Kong Letter his tenure had not always been easy.

'I felt frustrated sometimes,' he said, referring to the numerous crises the city experienced since he took office in 2005. These included the global financial meltdown and paranoia sparked by mutation of the influenza virus in 2009.

'I faced heavy criticism for expanding the political appointment system [in 2007] and social sentiment piled up when property prices soared,' he said.

Tsang said his seven years at the helm had been a great challenge.

'The chief executive's job is to work with the interests of different strata and different political stances, striking a balance between various demands,' he said.

'You need patience, endurance and confidence to get the job done.'

The heated exchange on Thursday prompted Legco president Tsang Yok-sing to expel not only Wong, but also League of Social Democrats lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung when Leung tried to raise a question under Legco's rules. The president admitted yesterday there had been a misunderstanding.

He confessed: 'I thought the one yelling 'shameless' was Leung Kwok-hung, but then it turned out to be Albert Chan Wai-yip when I checked the recording.'