Scaling The Peak: John Tsang conservative, rebel

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John Tsang speaks to The Peak, on newsstands now.

As the LegCo election looms and the CE election is set to heat up, Hong Kong’s arguably most international experienced civil servant turned top politician is scaling a new peak, as the big interview for this month’s edition of The Peak, hitting newsstands today.

(Credit: The Peak)
(Credit: The Peak)

The article covers familiar ground in some instances, but reveals more dimensions of the complex Financial Secretary. While many know he has a degree in architecture, they may not know of his entrepreneurial ventures as a scrappy start-up architect, rebelling against being pigeonholed as ‘the bathroom guy’ in a larger firm. His DIY chops are are detailed and impressive.

So is his fondness for his student days and architecture. From the story, “It’s a mix of science and art, and I thought that was the ultimate thing.” While neither he nor the article draw the conclusion, the same could be said for being the Financial Secretary – or Chief Executive. Finance may be a numbers game, but selling it politically is an art the FS has been at for almost a decade now.

It is not without attracting brickbats. While the story, title Looking at Swans, goes into great detail about the FS’s concerns about Naseem’s black swans as a justification for building hoarding surpluses, there is a rebelliousness in this as he takes hits for his conservative stance. A lesser rebel might be tempted to loosen the pursestrings, but Tsang’s concern for Hong Kong’s future drives his resolve.

Photographic evidence of that rebelliousness is on display in a priceless photo of the early iteration of the famous Tsang moustache (c. 1976) that you’ll have to see (and buy the magazine) to believe. He also gets into the Hong Kong-China relationship and new financial bodies to help Hong Kong financial firms capitalise on One Belt, One Road projects – and how Hongkongers need to work together to move forward.

“We need to come together to some kind of consensus and understanding on the way forward.”

The September edition of The Peak with the full interview is on newsstands now.