In fast paced Hong Kong it sometimes seems there’s no time even to catch your breath.

For three months from April to June our new Chief Executive C Y Leung dominated the headlines even before taking up office.

And when he did, the verdict was decidedly mixed. His announcement of a zero quota for Mainland mothers to give birth in our city in 2013 caught everyone by surprise. The legality may have been questionable but the effectiveness – and the popularity of the decision among local mothers to be who felt squeezed out of access to our maternity services -- were not.

But what really caught the eye was the revelation of unauthorised building works at his Peak home. Mr Leung had made much of the illegality of the enormous basement under the home of rival candidate Henry Tang during the election campaign, and at one point invited the media to tour his home to see for themselves that all was in order.

Altogether six minor discrepancies were later identified including a void under the carpark (which the media inevitably were quick to label a “basement” even though technically it was not). Clearly then he was either being incredibly brazen – knowing of the irregularities but confident the media would not be able to spot them – or he genuinely believed everything was in order.

The former seems unlikely, but the latter showed a lack of professional judgement. Small wonder Mr Leung felt obliged to apologise on three consecutive days. He let himself, and his supporters, down badly by this oversight.

And even before he took up the post of Chief Executive, there were calls for him to resign. That’s quite a record, even by Hong Kong standards.


 
Mike Rowse
email: mike@rowse.com.hk