Lai See

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2012, 12:00am

Earth to Stanchart: Who are you kidding?

We were delighted to receive 'a warm invitation' to Standard Chartered's second annual Earth's Resources Conference.

The programme seemed interesting.

'The world's population has just surpassed seven billion. How can emerging economies sustain growth in a resource-constrained world? With growing pressures from urbanisation, ageing farmers, changing weather patterns, depleting mines and inflationary pressures, we bring together producers, consumers, industry experts and investors to debate these key issues.'

The invitation was insistent: 'Don't miss the opportunity to gain exclusive insights from Standard Chartered's award-winning research team at the Standard Chartered Earth's Resources.' Thus persuaded, we registered, giving our name, company and job.

Back came an e-mail, 'Thank you. Your registration was successful,' together with personal logon details.

Imagine our chagrin when two days later we received an e-mail from the bank saying: 'As the Earth's Resources Conference in June is closed to all media, please note that your registration as a general participant will be cancelled.'

Yesterday there was more disappointment, with the arrival of yet another e-mail headed: 'Unable to attend - Registration cancelled,' with a note that said: 'Sorry you are unable to join us on this occasion, however we look forward to seeing you at our future events.'

Hmmm - not if we have to go through this rigmarole again.

You can't bank on subtlety

We wrote yesterday about Justin Lin Yifu, the first Chinese to become chief economist at the World Bank. This story was of interest because rather than holding on to this super-cosy job like grim death for the rest of his life - like many of his predecessors - he left after one four-year term.

We understand this was something of a disappointment to Beijing, which wants to develop a network of highly placed individuals in global institutions to present the China perspective in a low-key, authoritative manner.

By all accounts, Lin was supposed to operate in this manner but was apparently way too over the top in promoting the China view, so instead of informing his colleagues, he irked them.

Beijing apparently has high hopes for Zhu Min, who is deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund. He has been there for almost a year but so far appears to be creating the right kind of waves.

Blown away by HSBC

With the summer typhoon season looming, the 'Occupy Central' movement currently ensconced under HSBC's headquarters in Central had better consider its options. We see that most of its encampment comprises lightweight one-piece igloo-like tents. We are told that during high winds such as those that can occur during a typhoon, high-speed winds are generated by the wind-tunnel effect.

We are reminded that in New Zealand some years ago, a woman in such a tent was swept up by high winds and carried for 40 metres and subsequently died from her injuries.

HSBC tells us that it has a portcullis that it lowers when the No 3 warning signal is raised and completely shuts when the No 8 is raised. This poses the possibility that the Occupy movement could literally be blown away or locked into the atrium.

In any case, we hear HSBC is tiring of its presence. The area under the bank is regarded as private property - i.e., the bank's, though it is also designated a public right of way, but not a public camping area. We understand if strong winds don't blow the occupiers away, the law courts will.

Did you hear the one about ...

We hear from Prudential Assurance the gloomy news that only 30 per cent of Hong Kong workers are happy with their job. The survey entitled 'Job Satisfaction and Good Job' found that 80 per cent of those surveyed expected a good job to come with an attractive salary, good promotion opportunities and the potential to become a lifelong career.

However, it just so happens that a parallel survey run as part of a package showed that financial planners rank highest on job satisfaction among all professionals and higher than the general public, with 75 per cent saying they are satisfied with their jobs.

Apparently 60 per cent of the public treat financial planners as 'their reliable friends and financial family doctors who provide good counselling on wealth management issues'.

This sounds to Lai See as just too good to be true.