Date
23 September 2017
John Tsang lost the election but won the hearts and minds of Hong Kong people who want more democracy and less Beijing interference in local politics. Photo: Facebook/John Tsang
John Tsang lost the election but won the hearts and minds of Hong Kong people who want more democracy and less Beijing interference in local politics. Photo: Facebook/John Tsang

What should John Tsang consider for his next career?

Former financial secretary John Tsang is not a poet or playwright, but he can be a good actor or writer.

In his final WhatsApp message to reporters, Tsang said: “Before the election curtain comes down, I would like to say this: “To hea or not to hea, that is not really a question.”

“Hea”, which describes people aimlessly strolling around, was a word used by former chief executive contender Regina Ip on Tsang because she thought he was pretty relaxed during his nine-year tenure as Hong Kong’s most senior financial officer.

That also tied in with his opening salvo when he threw William Shakespeare’s famous line “To run or not to run, that is the question” in response to whether he would press ahead despite not securing the green light from Beijing.

As it turned out, Tsang lost the election but won the hearts and minds of Hong Kong people who want more democracy and less Beijing interference in local politics.

After garnering such a wide range of support from all walks of life, Tsang is widely expected to continue his campaign in some form using his enormous political capital now that he is as popular as actor Chow Yun-fat with positive image.

But what he ends up doing is anybody’s guess.

While there is still plenty of mileage left in this 65-year-old man, there are not a lot of options available for him.

Any public posts like deputy chairman of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank that Beijing is said to have offered him once to persuade him not to run, or any government posts such as member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference or Exco chairman are out of the question.

The two Legco vacancies left open by the two young and disqualified legislators would have been an easy grab for Tsang, but he made clear that he did not want to be Regina 2.0, whom he poked fun at.

But yesterday, Tsang left the door open, saying he would seriously consider public service and urge netizens to stay tuned for any updates.

Although he is unlikely to set up a think tank — just as Regina Ip and Jasper Tsang did — he can be the most sought-after political commentator who would go to any cha chaan teng without a bodyguard and pre-arranged restaurant owner and customers – just as Carrie Lam did yesterday.

The main difference is he knows how to use Facebook and please the Hong Kong public because he is a perfect ambassador who understands what the Hong Kong government and Beijing want.

He just did that in his Facebook message in which he said he would spend a few days with his family and try to watch the morning screening of La La Land (which we can only find in The Grand Cinema, but no morning show).

The man nicknamed Mr. Pringles for his resemblance to the potato chips mascot, said some people suggested to him that he could sell potato chips or coffee, or try to become a key opinion leader, or even look up his old colleagues in the Labor Department to see if there is a job vacancy for him.

The truth is he needs to take a year to cool off before he can formally take up any jobs.

That also means he could really enjoy his life — hea or not — just as he did in the past nine years.

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BK/AC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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