The verbal personal attack on newly-elected Anson Chan by Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing in yesterday's Legislative Council meeting was not only gratuitously ill-mannered, but also revealing of Tsang's political ignorance.
In describing Mrs Chan as a "sudden supporter for livelihood" who had not displayed such concern during her past service as Chief Secretary under British rule, Tsang appeared not to understand the difference between Chan's past and present roles. As a legislator, she now has a responsibility to speak out on policy matters; as a senior civil servant before, she was expected to implement whatever policy the government decided, not to express her own views on it. Neither we nor Tsang have the right to assume that Chan did not care about these matters before, but it would have been unprofessional of her then to say what she thought personally - and Mrs Chan has never been less than professional in her work.
If Tsang, once praised for his "profound and sensitive grasp of Hong Kong and mainland affairs", does not understand such simple distinctions, is he really qualified to hold a top government post?