Henry Tang drops a clanger at Jockey Club Was it bad luck or what? New Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen stood helplessly in front of cameras at the Hong Kong Jockey Club at Sha Tin when the bottom of a trophy he was presenting to winner and lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan suddenly fell off. The lid of the trophy also dropped to the floor. Both men left the ceremony speechless. But it wasn't really their fault; one would have expected better product quality control from one of the city's most prestigious and wealthiest clubs. New minister finds himself in a hot spot Newly appointed ministers might have thought their jobs came with spacious offices with air conditioning. But home affairs secretary Tsang Tak-sing, who easily evaded sensitive questions on the July 1 march, at a painting exhibition yesterday, found himself braving the heat when he joined a patriotic parade in a district celebration in Kwun Tong for the 10th anniversary of the handover. 'I now realise that much of the work of the secretary for home affairs is carried out outside the office,' he said. Aspen, altitude and arias for Sarah Liao Leaving behind her heavy duties as environment chief, Sarah Liao Sau-tung is about to jump on a plane to the United States, where she will go hiking and take in the opera. Dr Liao said she was leaving this week for Aspen, Colorado, the mountain town famed for its extensive mix of arts programmes, cultural events and soaring property prices. As a nature lover and viola player, Dr Liao will visit the Aspen Highlands, a popular hiking venue at an altitude of 1,000 metres. She will also go to the opera with her family - her sister is a scriptwriter and her brother-in-law an operatic performer. But what of her long-term plans after the holiday? Dr Liao said she preferred focusing on volunteer work on the mainland. 'I will stay away from Hong Kong and let my successor do his job freely,' she said. This will no doubt be reassuring news for that man, Edward Yau Tang-wah. Pay, protocol and a place in the pecking order It's not easy to keep a man like Norman Chan Tak-lam happy when his previous, and no doubt highly paid, job was with Standard Chartered Bank. As a post, director of the chief executive's office is arguably more important than chief secretary in terms of politicking with lawmakers from across the political spectrum, but the pay does not really reflect this. This is why the government went to great lengths in recent months to successfully woo lawmakers' approval for a $400,000 pay rise a year for the job to put it on par with other ministers' salaries. Nevertheless, the government's official who's who list tells a different story. The newly revised Precedence List, which sets out the protocol ranking for official celebrations, shows the director still ranks among permanent secretaries and department heads - well behind ministers, executive councillors, top judges, lawmakers, consuls general, church leaders and university chiefs. Ministers who were not reappointed managed to stay on the list, albeit at a much lower ranking, thanks to the tradition of rewarding retiring officials with a medal of some sort.