Hong Kong’s Chief Executive: No More Free Gifts & No More Whistling!

Goodbye – and thanks for all the stuff!

The people of Hong Kong are relieved.

Since he was exposed having accepted gifts from billionaire businessmen, the Chief Executive of this nation hasn’t strayed. He said he learned his lesson. Donald Tsang says he’s stopped accepting favours and gifts.

“Since my previous trip to Macau, I have not visited Macau again with so-called tycoons,” said Donald Tsang in legislature yesterday. “I have also avoided riding on private yachts or flying in the jets of others.”

Can you hear the collective sigh of relief? Imagine. The nation’s top public official won’t take rides in private yachts, or accept free tickets on private jets. How does he get around?

Back in March this year Chief Executive Donald Tsang was exposed for accepting gifts from well-known business people in Hong Kong. (See my earlier post.) He’d been on private yachts, staid free in luxury hotels, flown on private planes and planned to retire in a luxury apartment rented at a fraction of the fair market value.

Could these gifts have influenced his legislation? Not at all said Donald.

Then in June a government audit found Tsang was staying in presidential suites when traveling on business – and charging the Hong Kong taxpayers. (Again an earlier post on the subject.) His overall travel budget was astronomical.

(Please note, that even the French President had “jet envy” and ordered a US$230 million jet to compete with Air Force One in the USA. It wasn’t that Sarkozy was short.  He just envied Obama’s big fuselage.)

Yesterday Donald Tsang gave his final address before LegCo (Legislative Council). In this he said he’d learned from his mistakes. He hadn’t taken more gifts. He would serve out his remaining 15 days in power traveling on public transportation (or just staying home until he was free to fly first class again).

He even addressed an age-old suspicion that he was…a whistler.

Seems before he stepped into the role, Mr Tsang paid the former Chief Executive a visit. He whistled on his walk there. Days later Tung Chee-hwa stepped down and Donald “The Whistler” Tsang assumed the role. Maybe he should have hummed “Ode to Joy” instead?

“I have never whistled again since then,” said Tsang yesterday. “So I think we learn from what has happened.”

Many have called for Tsang to step down. Instead he plans to serve out the remainder of this month working on the issues that matter to the people of Hong Kong. When pressed as to what those might be, he said income disparity and housing concerns.

My advice? Let Chief Executive Tsang continue for 15 days if he plans to tackle those two issues. If he has time he might also reduce air pollution and improve public transport. Hell – if he does any of those things he’s outlined for the next 15 days I’d even encourage him to whistle again.

Perhaps he can practice whistling as he walks to address the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). They are investigating his acceptance of gifts from “so-called tycoons,” as Tsang calls them.

Donald can join Goofy and “Whistle While You Work”! 

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