Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has maintained that democracy could damage good governance in some extreme cases. In an interview with ATV Newsline shown last night, Mr Tsang said democracy and good governance were not mutually exclusive. But he had seen examples of democracy developed at the expense of good governance at the 'extreme level'. 'I have seen manifestations elsewhere,' he said, without elaborating. He cited Hong Kong's recent past as an example. 'We seemed to be mired down on frivolous issues over the past years. We have not been focusing on what will lead Hong Kong into greater stability and harmony.' On Saturday, Mr Tsang apologised and retracted remarks in which he likened democracy at the extreme to the Cultural Revolution. In the ATV interview, he stressed people should not just talk about the pace of democracy, but also how to turn the vision into reality. He also played down suggestions the by-election between Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee was a referendum on democracy. 'It is very difficult to portray it as something bigger than a contest in a by-election by two persons of similar background,' he said. On heritage conservation, Mr Tsang said while the public had a high level of awareness, they did not make good use of some buildings that had been preserved. 'They themselves don't often go there to enjoy. I feel very sad indeed,' referring to people's response to converted buildings like the Western Market and Kam Tong Hall, which houses the Sun Yat-sen museum. He conceded that some of his colleagues were also sceptical about the conservation proposal for the Central Police Station. But like the Sydney Opera House or Eiffel Tower, what used to be controversial constructions had become iconic structures and part of people's culture, he said.