Welfare groups yesterday used the festive occasion to remind Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen that it was time to give more attention to the underprivileged as the government's coffers fill up with a multibillion-dollar surplus.
About 100 families and representatives of the Society for Community Organisation marched from the Hongkong Bank headquarters in Central to Government House to protest against inadequate childcare support for working mothers.
More than 1.3 million people were living below the poverty line, including 800,000 who were not on the dole. But the government provided only about 5,000 childcare places, said Sze Lai-shan, the society's community organiser.
'We believe we need 10 times the number of childcare places we now have,' she said. 'The focus of the Policy Address last year was on the well-off. We want to remind Mr Tsang whom he has forgotten about.'
Separately, the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood took a pot of paper mandarins to the chief executive's residence.
The group had written 10 suggested policies about tackling poverty on the 'wishing mandarins', including doubling 'fruit money' for the elderly to HK$1,000 and a two-month 'bonus' for social-welfare recipients, said the association's community organiser, Cheung Ming-tim.