The gulf in quality of leadership at the top administrations between Singapore and Hong Kong was again illustrated this week by comparing the annual budget speeches of Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Singapore and John Tsang in Hong Kong. Tharman is internationally respected for his strong intellectual grasp of financial and economic issues. Tsang is a run-of-the-mill, all-purpose Hong Kong bureaucrat with the vision to match. The former described the social and fiscal issues facing Singapore and made clearly defined efforts to address them. They may prove inadequate but at least they were a coherent attempt to address the issues of an aging population and the rise in inequality.