Carrie Lam

Sleep deprived and under pressure: Carrie Lam discusses coping with life as Hong Kong’s leader

City’s chief executive says she suffers from high blood pressure and has little free time

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 December, 2017, 3:36am

Hong Kong’s leader has revealed that she has to take medicine to control high blood pressure and can only have three to five hours of sleep each night, in a radio interview broadcast on Wednesday.

In the pre-recorded interview on Commercial Radio, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said: “I am very careful about my health … For example, I have body check-ups regularly and take some medicines to control my blood pressure, because I have a little bit high blood pressure.”

Lam said she had been having a busy schedule since she took over in July.

The worst period was before the release of her maiden policy address in October, where for two weeks she only had three to four hours of sleep a day and spent the rest of the time working, she said.

“Now it’s getting a bit better,” she said. “I can still have five hours [of sleep per day].”

But Lam said Hong Kong’s growing economy had driven her to do more.

Looking at my calender, there isn’t any time slot to allow three to four hours at all in the near future
Carrie Lam

She said she was glad to see the projected economic growth this year would be at least 3.7 per cent, which she said was far higher than 2 per cent last year. She expected the economy to continue to strengthen in the new year.

“Now walking in the streets people seem to have become richer and more willing to consume,” she said. “It seems like everybody is ushering in a better future. This has given me great satisfaction and driven me to do more.”

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Lam added that her work had left her little time for exercise and that she had not been able to play badminton – one of her favourite sports – for half a year.

She jokingly said if her close friend Amy Chan Lim-chee, a former top Hong Kong badminton player, knew this, she would have scolded Lam.

She explained that playing badminton would take at least two hours, and she needed to change clothes before playing and have a shower after, which would mean another one or two hours.

“Looking at my calender, there isn’t any time slot to allow three to four hours at all in the near future,” she said.

She said she would walk around the government house and do some stretches in the morning as exercise.

During the interview, Lam also said she had been using Facebook more often since taking over, as a more relaxed way to communicate with Hong Kong people.

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“Facebook is actually very easy to use,” she said. “It’s not a difficult thing to me. I just write down a bit of my daily feelings.”

She added that she even suggested doing Facebook live after the policy address but her colleagues were not very keen on this idea.

Lam said she had learned how to maintain a “normal attitude” over angry comments directed at her on social media.