27 February 2020
Henry Tang has no regrets about losing the 2012 chief executive election to C.Y. Leung. Photo: Bloomberg
Henry Tang has no regrets about losing the 2012 chief executive election to C.Y. Leung. Photo: Bloomberg

Why Henry Tang’s horse sense works for me

Everybody loves a good horse story, so let’s talk about No Regrets, the three-year-old New Zealand import owned by Henry Tang.

Remember him, the wealthy, dapper former Hong Kong chief secretary who lost the 2012 chief executive election to C.Y. Leung?

Tang seemed to take it literally from the name of his prized galloper when he was asked about how he had been since that fiercely contested election.

In Chinese, the horse’s name means “look back with a smile”, and its English moniker was probably inspired by his wife who famously said she had “no regrets” about her marriage after revelations of Tang’s past infidelities for which he said he had “lifelong regrets”.

Oh well.

Now, with hindsight, Tang is probably right. Who would want to be in Leung’s position?

But two years ago, who would have guessed that Hong Kong’s incumbent leader would be this unpopular? Or that Occupy Central would be such a deadly political animal? That some pan-democrats are a threat to China’s national security? That cross-border relations are at an all-time low?

Tang might even be relieved at not having been in a position to be politically linked to a fellow horse owner who is at the center of Hong Kong’s biggest corruption trial.

For those not in the know, Tang and former Hong Kong chief secretary Rafael Hui, who is facing graft charges before the High Court, were co-owners of a horse named Darmagi, who was last active in 2011.

Tang went on to take Hui’s place when the latter retired in 2007 and subsequently contested the top job in an election many thought was his to lose.

That is, until that infamous illegal basement scandal which he blamed on his wife.

But I digress.

The point of this little snippet is really to mention Henry Tang, his wife, C.Y. Leung and Rafael Hui in the same breadth, because it’s rather difficult to connect them in any meaningful and coherent way to horses.

But while we’re at it, and to go back to the premise of this piece, naming horses is really an act of random creativity, although some names are less brilliant and more obvious than others.

Here are our favorites: Air Force One, Dream Team and Fuji Sunrise. But Screaming Eagle takes the “insanely creative” prize.

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EJ Insight writer