In Korea, they gave their gold bars to their government; in Thailand, they swapped their foreign currency to baht to support their currency; at Statue Square in Hong Kong last Sunday, thousands of Filipinas offered their prayers for the SAR. What about Hong Kong people? What have we contributed to help our community? Faith in the Government - this is what locals gave. We expressed confidence in our leaders and in their ability to steer us through the financial storms. And that is why, to date, there has been no panicky exchange from local currency to US greenback. Nor has there been any mass protest against the Government's failure to sort out the economic problems. Hong Kong people believe that we are still armed with strong assets - mammoth foreign reserves and a relatively clean Government - to see us through the turmoil. But that faith cannot be taken for granted. Despite people's trust in the Government, recent events have caused people to rethink whether the administration which has led us through storm after storm in the last two decades is as capable as they believed. The Government's insensitivity to public sentiment has generated more doubts than faith. And Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's appeal to the community for unity and solidarity to face up to the present challenge is hardly taken seriously. Why? People are distressed that when news about closure of companies and rising unemployment have become such a regular feature of life, the Government is still harping on the theme of importation of labour. Home-buyers are angry to hear Mr Tung's number one adviser, the Executive Council convenor Sir Sze-yuen Chung, mock those who bought property at peak prices as inviting the misfortune and deserving the pain. The community, which expected good news from the Chief Executive when he made an unconventional appearance at the provisional legislature last week, felt let down because neither broad direction nor concrete proposals were outlined by Mr Tung to address sagging economic confidence. All that we heard was the Chief Executive's declaration that he understands and sympathises with Hong Kong people's sufferings, but sorry, the Government has no magic formula to relieve our pain. In difficult times, people look for leadership. They want to know what ideas officials have and what advice the Executive Council has offered Mr Tung. But, leadership appears to be lacking at the moment. Hong Kong people are distressed, not because they are expecting any quick solution to stop the economic downturn, but because they believe that there are steps that the Government can take to avoid exacerbating the problem. For instance, an announcement today to reconsider the labour importation scheme proposed last month would help pacify the workforce amid growing unemployment. A review on the target to build 85,000 flats annually would facilitate the property market to stabilise. An indication of tax concessions, which under present circumstances seem to be inevitable, would offer some timely relief to corporate and salary-earners. These are only small steps to help drag people out of the mindset of gloom and doom. But these measures would show that the Government does care and is responsive to changing needs in Hong Kong. If Mr Tung wants to maintain people's faith in his Government and work hand in hand with the community to meet the challenges, rhetoric that Hong Kong will be all right is not going to instil confidence. Hong Kong people need action and it is time for the Government to act.