Donald Tsang
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Put up your hand if you support Tsang on Tamar

Donald Tsang

I was surprised to read that our leader has established that 70per cent of the public support his plan for the Tamar site ('Tamar HQ is people's project, says Tsang', May 26) - so surprised, in fact, that I decided to conduct a straw poll at lunchtime at my favourite Central watering hole.

Granted, it was not a sophisticated poll. About 40 fellow drinkers and diners, both local and expatriate, were interrupted in their various discussions and asked to put up their hands if they agreed with the plan. Response: nil. They were then asked to put up their hands if they thought the site should be turned into a park. Response: everyone.

If the response was representative of the lunchtime drinking fraternity, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen would not find his 70 per cent support there. And some of them were government servants. Perhaps my small poll was not truly representative of public opinion. Perhaps we should have a referendum. However, if our leader must have his vainglorious monument at Tamar and there is no plan to sell the site of the Central Government Offices to developers, as his underlings assert, surely a compromise can be reached. Let Mr Tsang have his new offices and let's bulldoze the old ones to make way for a park. Or is there something planned there that we haven't been told about? My drinking mates smelled a rat.

B.J. CARROLL, Ap Lei Chau

It is a shame that the government's director of administration, Elizabeth Tse Man-yee, refers to the Avenue of Stars as an example of what can be done with Tamar and the harbourfront ('For the public or public servants?', May 27). That avenue is as arid a display of unimaginative, ugly urban architecture as can be found anywhere.

It would be better if she had acknowledged that the government rarely gets the aesthetics right and declared that an international jury of top urban planners and architects would filter the broad design of Tamar, with a final winner to be decided by public competition.

Look to the great cities of the world. Executive leadership is not the key; inspiration and dedication is. Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann destroyed 1860s Paris to build the new one, but he replaced narrow old streets with wide, tree-lined boulevards and beautiful gardens, with monuments in great sight lines. There can be no compromise: either one wants enduring beauty or one wants a cost-effective solution. Municipal government's instinct is for beauty on the cheap. So, while Paris endures and has successfully absorbed the Pompidou Centre, we have the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, which few regard with affection. The government itself says this is not a matter to be rushed. Quite right. Given the history of abuse of Hong Kong's beauty, only an independent, competitive design process will reassure people that this time it may be different.


Hong Kong owes much of its success to a small government that has stayed out of the way of our entrepreneurs. How ironic that one of our most prominent sites will soon host a monument to an administration that increasingly appears to be deaf, bloated and interventionist.

CHRIS DILLON, Wong Chuk Hang

The government's model of the Tamar site looks very nice, with its green spaces and access to the harbourfront. But it appears to be unfinished. Where is the Central-Wan Chai bypass?