Henry Tang in baptism of fire on reform It was Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen's first visit to the Legislative Council's constitutional affairs panel since he took charge of the 'hot seat' on constitutional reform, and lawmakers spared no effort in grilling him. Even the usually measured tones of veteran Democrat Yeung Sum flashed with passion as he upbraided Mr Tang for failing to answer whether Beijing would deal with the possibility of introducing universal suffrage in 2017 when it considers the chief executive's recently submitted report on reform. Jabbing his finger at Mr Tang, Dr Yeung shouted: 'This is an issue of integrity. Answer me.' Mr Tang's smile did not waver as he rejoined: 'Isn't taking turns to speak the rule here?' Government-friendly lawmaker Lui Ming-wah, who chairs the panel, provoked another outburst from Dr Yeung when he intervened, saying Mr Tang had already answered. An infuriated Dr Yeung, almost leaping from his chair, said: 'How dare you make such a ruling? I will get to the bottom of this with you.' The matter, it turned out, was far from finished. The lawmakers passed a motion demanding that Mr Tang attend another meeting by the end of the week. Pan-democrats lukewarm to holiday protest Nobody knows who Mr Tang had in mind when he likened the constitutional reform report to a 'Christmas present'. Maybe he meant the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which will scrutinise it during the holiday season next week, or maybe he thought the pan-democrats should accept it with the season's customary goodwill. Goodwill or otherwise, the democrats are unlikely to put up a meaningful protest. There were suggestions of a demonstration on January 1, but the idea has lukewarm support among the camp because there is too little time to mobilise a sizeable crowd. 'Whether a protest can materialise would depend on how nasty the NPC decision on universal suffrage is,' one democrat said. 'But after fighting in two elections, most of us will be taking a break out of town during the Christmas holiday.' DAB dollars foot the bill for talent quest Being the self-proclaimed political party with prospects, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has once again demonstrated how much difference money can make when cultivating political talent is concerned. In a HK$1.8 million training package, 40 young second-tier members will be shuttled to Shanghai and Cambridge next week for an intensive three-month programme where they will be taught by Communist Party cadres and British politicians on how to become tomorrow's political stars. Members in the group, which include Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan and Starry Lee Wai-king, are hopefuls to fill the dozens of seats as political assistants the government will create next month. 'Every one of them has this potential,' party vice-chairman Ip Kwok-him said. Holiday time as Anson's aide winds down Some of newly elected legislator Anson Chan Fang On-sang's closest allies drafted out of retirement to back her election campaign are calling it a day after a turbulent campaign. Lily Yam Kwan Pui-ying, a member of Mrs Chan's core group of advisers since it was created last year, plans to take a Christmas holiday in Japan, as the election is over and the core group has stopped functioning. 'Mrs Chan has found another platform to make her voice heard. We at the core group are glad to be at leisure again,' she said.