Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Anson Chan, at the dinner hosted in her honour by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, on the occasion of her retirement from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region today (April 27):
C H and Betty, friends and colleagues,
Archie and I would like to thank you C H and Betty for this wonderful evening to round off my career.
I want to thank you particularly, C H, for giving me the opportunity to be the first Chief Secretary of the Special Administrative Region and thereby making it possible for me to continue to lead the Civil Service. This has been a unique experience and I think together we've been through a good deal in the past four years. A great deal has been made of the so-called discord between us. The truth is that we have always understood each other perfectly and we have accepted each other for what we are. We haven't allowed the rumour-mongering or the occasional differences of opinion which as you say is perfectly normal to affect our working relationship, or our friendship, and our deep affection for each other. You have, C H, the patience of Job and exceptional generosity of spirit and personal warmth. But above all I admire your single-mindedness and your selfless commitment to Hong Kong and its people. Working so closely with you these past four years, I think I have a better understanding than most of how lonely your job is and of the very heavy burden you carry and the constant tightrope you have to walk. I hope in some little way, I've been able to lighten your load. You have a very professional and committed Civil Service and I know that both Donald and Antony will do all they can to assist you in running Hong Kong.
I think you will agree C H that you and I are very fortunate in the sanity and balance of our spouses, Betty and Archie. They've stuck with us in fair weather and foul, and put up with us when things went wrong in the office. In my own case, I am reminded that, and these are not my words, but I'll quote that "Husbands are like fires. They go out if left unattended". Thank you C H for allowing me to step down so that I can tend to the fire in the Chan household.
C H and Betty, I hope there will be opportunities in the months and years ahead for us to get together. I wonder, though, with your reputation, C H, as "the seven-eleven man" whether you'll have a spare moment. On the other hand - and I don't want to make you too jealous - my time is my own!
Thank you once again, C H and Betty for this splendid evening. I shall remember it for a long time to come. I want to thank also all of the other guests present tonight for making this such a memorable occasion, particularly those who have come from overseas. You are some of the people who have walked with me, either the whole way or part of the way, these past thirty-nine years. And amongst you are my mentors from way back, almost to the day when I joined the Civil Service, fellow councillors, past and present, good and true friends, colleagues, and relatives. All of you have, in your own inimitable way, made a difference in my life and I thank you for that.
I want to say a special word of thanks to Betty for all the efforts and I know it is Betty's work for this programme tonight. I really appreciate. You featured in it people who are really, really very close to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Betty, I should say to you a few words about a happy marriage and again this is not my saying. Some people say that a marriage is successful when the wife can think like a man, act like a lady, look like a girl and work like a slave.
Now Betty, you and I should ask our husbands tonight whether that is true. Finally because I hold all of you in such deep affection, I want to conclude my remarks with my favourite Irish greeting and it goes like this:
"May the road rise to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
The sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand".
Thank you all very much.
End/Friday, April 27, 2001