Could a bout of flu suffered by Tung Chee-hwa three weeks ago have dealt the final blow to his reign? Unlikely as it might seem, that is the view of some prominent leftists and friends of the chief executive. They say eight years of having to take the blame for every problem affecting Hong Kong and his 7am to 11pm schedule have finally taken their toll on the 67-year-old. Since rumours of Mr Tung's impending resignation snowballed, with no one trying to deny it, leftists have emerged one after the other to offer their opinions on his health. 'He really looks older, his hair has turned grey, as well as his eyebrows. His eyelids are puffy,' said Tsang Hin-chi, a member of the NPC's Standing Committee. 'I think he is really tired. He has to see to so many things in Hong Kong and has always been criticised by so many people. I think these really hurt him.' Mr Tsang said when he asked Mr Tung whether he would resign, the chief executive told him that he occasionally felt pain in his legs and his back and sometimes felt tired when making speeches. NPC deputy Cheng Yiu-tong, a member of Mr Tung's cabinet, said Mr Tung had been working too hard. 'In the past he didn't have flu that often, but now when he has it, it stays for a long time. This reflects the state of his health.' When Mr Tung caught flu during the Lunar New Year holiday and missed two spring receptions, his office dismissed it as trivial and said it would not affect his daily routine. 'It is just a small matter,' his spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post on February 14, saying Mr Tung was in perfect good health and would, of course, not resign. But last week CPPCC members Chan Wing-kee and Lau Siu-kai, head of the Central Policy Unit, confirmed Mr Tung had again caught flu in Beijing. NPC deputy Allen Lee Peng-fei said Mr Tung may be suffering back problems. 'I've heard he had osteophytes, but it's not a very big deal really.'