Date
20 July 2018
Carrie Lam poses for a photo op during a hike in Tai Tam (left). John Tsang (right) enjoys tofu rice with roast pork in Wong Tai Sin. Photos: Facebook/Bernard Chan, John Tsang
Carrie Lam poses for a photo op during a hike in Tai Tam (left). John Tsang (right) enjoys tofu rice with roast pork in Wong Tai Sin. Photos: Facebook/Bernard Chan, John Tsang

John Tsang is back for two-horse race

The race is on. Beijing is expected to approve the resignation of Carrie Lam and John Tsang, paving the way for their respective candidacies in the chief executive election.

The race seems skewed in favour of Chief Secretary Carrie “Nanny” Lam against John “Pringles” Tsang, who has been in the cold for a month awaiting the go-ahead from Beijing.

Now that the two are expected to be at the starting line, the real race begins.

Even if Tsang loses — or is not allowed to run — he has already shown that he can be a really good stand-up comedian who knows how to cheer up Hong Kong.

Yesterday, he uploaded a picture of himself having a HK$50 tofu rice with roast pork in Wong Tai Sin estate.

The famous dish is apparently the favorite of men who want to rekindle their romantic peak, according to an online article a few years ago.

Last week, Tsang was interviewed by unwire.hk in response to his former boss, Carrie, who said she decided to run after receiving a message from God.

“Well, I haven’t called God yet,” Tsang quipped.

Meanwhile, Lam went hiking with Exco member Bernard Chan, who said she was super-famous and got a lot of support from locals.

But Lam has yet to have any presence on social media.

Other than being on Facebook and being humorous, Tsang’s biggest advantage is the mere fact that he is a male.

With the notable exception of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, male leaders are generally regarded as more predictable in politics.

Whether Carrie Lam would become Angela Merkel, or Hillary Clinton, or Park Geun-hye is anybody’s guess — if she gets the top post.

The issue lies in whether President Xi Jinping would feel comfortable giving his blessing to Lam rather than Tsang.

Beijing put Tsang on hold for a month in a sign many people interpreted as discouraging him from joining the race, so President Xi has only Lam to endorse.

I am not sure if Xi would prefer a man — especially a man who was educated at MIT and who was the most senior financial official for 11 years — in the newly emerged Trump era where turbulence at work is expected.

Tsang might be too relaxed at work, as rival and former boss Regina Ip noted, but he might be the man who can lead the next generation.

People will start to miss Tsang as financial secretary when his successor, the unpopular Paul Chan, takes over.

Lam is CY Leung 2.0 while Tsang is Donald Tsang’s protege. Lam has the backing of the establishment while Tsang has the support of the pan-democracy camp and the commercial sector.

Watch this space.

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BK/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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