All work and no play makes Carrie a dull official

February 17, 2021 11:41
Chief Executive Carrie Lam took no holidays between 2019 and 2020. Photo: RTHK

One of the golden rules in the workplace that has dominated for more than 300 years is: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".

Although we do not have a government official named Jack, we have a bunch of dull workaholics.

A local online media found that Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her 16 core team members altogether took only about 25 days of annual leave last year, down 90 per cent from 260 in 2019. Nine of Carrie Lam’s core team comprising of three secretaries and 13 directors, chose not to take any holidays last year.

They must be busy doing their job during the pandemic. But the no leave pattern seems to be starting with Lam, notoriously known as a workaholic.

Since taking over her present job in July 2017, Lam has only taken 19 days off according to the report, easily beating her predecessors Tung Chee-hwa, Donald Tsang and Leung Chun-ying as the most hardworking chief executive.

In fact, Lam has not taken any holidays over past two years, a period most notably marked by the social movement in 2019, the onset of Covid-19 in January 2020 and the implementation of National Security Law in June 2020.

If she chose not to take holidays, how would her team members dare to apply for any?

So it is understandably why Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, Financial Secretary Paul Chan and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, among others, did not take any of their entitled annual leave last year.

Despite their willingness to go extra miles, it does not help their popularity at all.

In a Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute survey announced yesterday, Lam obtained a popularity rating of 31. Her net approval rating was minus 52, measured by a 70 per cent of respondents who gave a no confidence vote against an 18 per cent of support.

The rating reflected the ambush lockdown her administration initiated two weeks before the Lunar New Year in a desperate move to push down the city’s inflection rate.

Apparently many residents were unhappy about the sudden blockade, especially knowing the government only managed to catch a handful of virus carriers after performing mandatory testing for thousands.

It does make people wonder if the administration should keep working hard, or rather take it easy in one of the most difficult periods in Hong Kong.

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EJ Insight writer