On the menu: a breakfast briefing to make the chief executive's ears ring Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen would not have been pleased to hear the harsh words from some opinion leaders on their expectations for the policy address at a breakfast briefing on the SCMP/TNS survey. Among those in a particularly fiery mood was former deputy housing secretary Andrew Wells, who is now working for property giant Lai Sun Development. Citing an array of contentious issues, the former senior civil servant said the government had been 'intellectually very disappointing'. He went on to criticise the proposed goods and services tax [GST] as 'economically illiterate', the clean-air campaign and five-day week in the civil service as 'gimmicks' and 'nonsense' and wondered whether the forthcoming policy speech would contain any solid initiatives at all. The session was further spiced up by executive councillor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, who interchanged between playing a defending role and a critic. While he assured his audience that the Tsang administration was well aware of community aspirations on different issues, he criticised the recent economic summit chaired by Mr Tsang for being too exclusive. The cabinet member also rapped the Commission on Poverty for wasting time by trying to find out who the poor are. Swift intervention aims to calm waters Donald Tsang's public relations team moved swiftly to clear the air over their boss' off-the-cuff remarks on the sudden death of the principle of 'positive non-intervention'. Newspapers were alerted yesterday to Mr Tsang's formal reply to Civic Party legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, who wrote to him last week asking for a clarification of the economic philosophy initiated by former Hong Kong financial secretary Sir Philip Haddon-Cave in the 1970s. Mr Tsang caused a stir when he told reporters last week the policy no longer existed. In his reply to Ms Eu, which we publish today, he was long on stressing he had not deviated from his former boss, but short on explaining why he had kicked up the fuss in the first place. Dubious honour shared with Lion City Hong Kong and Singapore have scooped a not-so-glorious joint success in a global study on the nexus between democracy and human development. They are deemed as the only 'non-democracies' among the top 25 countries and cities in human development under a UN report cited by Stanford University scholar Larry Diamond in a Chinese University of Hong Kong talk yesterday. No wonder Mr Tsang paid a visit to the Lion City to learn from their experience.