Keeping track of one's progress and accomplishments at work is a good practice. This is particularly relevant for Hong Kong's chief executive, whose performance is subject to close scrutiny by a free press and an assertive legislature. Sometimes the picture portrayed to the public can be so distorted that he may feel it does not do him justice.
The work report compiled by Leung Chun-ying in the run-up to his second anniversary in office is a timely one. While critics branded it as nothing more than a self-congratulating report card, it enables the people to judge for themselves how much has, or has not, been done.
The report looks impressive in terms of length and numbers. There is no shortage of examples to show that Leung is making efforts on various fronts, such as setting an official poverty line to help the poor and taking on the problem of an ageing population. The 41-page report lists 160-odd achievements in housing, transport, health care, labour and governance.
Whether they amount to what Leung describes as "significant progress" is open to debate, though. To many, they are merely the first of many more necessary steps to deal with deep-seated problems. A case in point is the long-term housing goal. Without sufficient land supply, the target of building 470,000 flats over a decade remains a pipe dream.
Politicians often boast of what they claim to have achieved for the people. There is nothing wrong with Leung putting across his version of events. However, a fair account goes beyond painting a rosy picture. If the report appears to be short of substance, it is because it reads like a work calendar. Many items were left over by his predecessor. Some are far-fetched, such as athletes winning 83 medals in various games.
Identifying inadequacies is part and parcel of good governance. There is a perception that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government to get things done. Some major projects are still languishing in Legco with no sign of a breakthrough. The prospect of implementing universal suffrage in 2017 is not promising, and relations with the mainland need to improve. The top leader needs to double his efforts in these areas.
The clock for Leung to prove his worthiness will tick faster in the rest of his term, even more so if he is eyeing a second term. The public needs more than work reports to be impressed.