Double standards at double yellow lines still apply
Readers will be aware that we have written extensively about illegal car parking and the 'light touch' regulatory approach which appears to encourage seven-seaters in particular to park along double yellow lines. Favourite spots include outside Prince's Building, Glenealy, the Fook Lam Moon restaurant, among many others. The reluctance to ticket these vehicles has been widely viewed as a reluctance by traffic wardens and the police to ticket those tycoons and their entourages who choose to behave in this way. One of our 'spotters' approached a traffic warden who waved on a seven-seater instead of issuing a ticket and was told by the warden that it was official policy not to ticket drivers but to ask them to move on.'
We put this to the police's public relations bureau and asked when this policy was introduced. This elicited the following reply: 'Road safety is one of the Commissioners' Operational Priorities in 2012. Police take enforcement action against illegal parking in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and road safety. Officers are given a certain degree of discretion in parking enforcement such that, depending on circumstances, the driver of an illegally parked vehicle may be directed to move on and/or given a verbal warning if he is present at the vehicle.'
This may be the official policy but as everyone can see, it is clearly not enforced in this manner. Lai See and many others think the police overdo their discretion. The only vehicles that you see getting ticketed with any regularity are the delivery vans and trucks. For the tycoon-mobiles, traffic wardens and police appear to adopt the 'digression is the better part of valour' approach. If only our police commissioner was as keen on this issue as he is on pepper spray.
Jerry Huang, deputy head of Reuters' Chinese-language news team in Beijing, resigned yesterday to go over to the 'dark' side, as we like to say. He appears to have landed a plum job in that his new post will be director of investor relations at Tencent, the mainland's biggest web firm and the operator of popular messaging service QQ, among many other online services. Tencent is listed in Hong Kong and has a market capitalisation of almost HK$430 billion, compared with Thomson Reuters' HK$188.4 billion. Huang, who has covered the technology beat including Tencent.com for many years, was named Best Special Report Writer of the Year for Reuters in China in 2011. We gather that he earned less than 1 million yuan (HK$1.23 million) at Reuters but understand he will get several multiples of this at Tencent, along with stock options. We have encountered darker situations.
We see there's a new addition to Hong Kong's political lexicon - 'Polly Day'. This appears in an e-mail from Marcus Yu, chief executive of Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee's New People's Party. 'The coming Legislative Council election will be held on September 9 (Sunday),' he writes in a letter to voters. 'I encourage all friends who are registered voters to exercise their civil rights and vote on the Polly Day.' Why not go all the way and call it Pollyanna Day?
Sukuk and see
It's not just Germany that's sucking in cash. Dubai is experiencing a spectacular rally in Islamic bonds, pushing yields to record lows, Reuters reports. Dubai's US$1.25 billion sovereign sukuk, issued at a profit rate of 6.396 per cent in November 2009 and maturing in 2014, was yielding just 3.2 per cent on Wednesday, for example. That is a yield plunge of about 2.35 percentage points since early February - an impressive gain for any credit and especially for Dubai, which until recently was seen as the ugly duckling of the Gulf because of its 2009 corporate debt crisis. Analysts said Dubai of all places was starting to look like a safe haven, given the ugly drama playing out in the euro zone.
What do you get for the geek who has everything? You get them Noisy Typer, a free app that plays typewriter sounds as you type, including carriage returns. Key sounds include letter keys, spacebar, backspace and scroll up and down, according to Vimeo.com. Unfortunately, it's available only for Mac OS X, but it might be just the job for those twenty-somethings in the office who've never heard the castanet roar of dozens of typewriters running in the typing pool. And it's also good for those over 45 who can remember the pesky mechanical writing devices. Download it from fffff.at/noisy-typer-a-typewriter-for-your-laptop