Some might call them the enemy within. At midnight, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa assumed overall control of 182,000 civil servants, many of whom distrust his style of management, and some of whom are already showing signs of rebelling against it. However much he and Administrative Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang have tried to paper over the cracks during the past few weeks, there is no denying the difficulties that lie ahead. Even before the handover, there were problems. Mr Tung reportedly ignored civil service warnings, when he eschewed Government House in favour of continuing to live in his Mid-Levels flat and working out of the Government Secretariat, despite the security headaches involved. In private, some senior officials have taken to describing their new boss as 'stubborn'. Mrs Chan puts it more diplomatically. 'He doesn't have a really deep understanding of how government machinery works,' she said in a recent interview. What Mrs Chan, and her blunter colleagues, mean is that once Mr Tung has made up his mind it is almost impossible to change it. That should not come as a surprise. After all, it is how he always ran his shipping company, Orient Overseas International Limited. Nor is this unusual: decision-making by committee has no place in the highly patriarchal structure of Chinese-run family companies. But it is not how Hong Kong's civil service expects to be ruled - and, rather than adapting to Mr Tung's traditional style, they clearly harbour hopes he will instead conform to their more collective mode of decision-making. Senior civil servants were spoiled by former governor Chris Patten who, with his British ministerial background, knew how to accommodate powerful civil servants. They are accustomed to taking the lead in formulating policies and to being involved in every stage of the decision-making process, as Mrs Chan has tacitly acknowledged. 'Myself and senior colleagues need to have certain powers,' she said. 'The way the civil service works and the way we've been brought up, you're not there just to implement decisions, you're there to give your frank and honest views without bias.' During the past five years, provided they could come up with convincing reasons, officials were even able to implement policies which went against Mr Patten's wishes. That is why it has come as such a shock for civil servants to find that Mr Tung will not respond to reasoned argument in the same way. Worse still, having been shut out of the decision-making process, by being unable to attend any meetings of Mr Tung's Executive Council before the transfer of sovereignty, they are faced with implementing policies they have played no role in drawing up. The clearest instance of this was the way Secretary for Housing Dominic Wong Shing-wah was kept out of the loop by Exco member Leung Chun-ying as he formulated his task-force's proposals to cool the property market. That suspicion exists between the British-trained civil servants and Mr Tung's China-approved Executive Councillors is widely recognised. But the civil servants should not expect to receive much sympathy. Mr Tung may not have been elected, but at least his selection involved some element of public participation. By contrast, no one ever selected senior officials to speak on behalf of Hong Kong. Even Mr Tung's political opponents have little time for civil service whingeing about the erosion of their powers. The best advice for disgruntled officials is to stop complaining and learn to live with the new reality, rather than be perceived as enemies by the incoming administration.