Freebooters, free enterprise and pirates

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 1995, 12:00am

AS talks which could avert a Sino-US trade war go into extra time today, many people will be digesting the words of Shen Rengan, deputy director general of the China National Copyright Administration.

Midway through the morning session, it started to become clear why Chris Patten-style open meetings aren't likely to catch on among the cadres - the old L-shaped shotgun problem is liable to strike.

It struck the deputy DG with a vengeance.

After saying that getting the lower-level authorities to take copyright piracy seriously had been hard because of an ingrained socialist fear that intellectual property rights were somehow bourgeois and decadent, Mr Shen spoke of how much progress could be made and how fast it could be made.

'You can't possibly eliminate the whole problem or the market economy will disappear,' he said.

Now that should really help negotiations.

Simple life MIRON Mushkat, regional economist at Lehman Brothers, has to make a similar speech every year around this time when Lehman Brothers' top bods in the territory are lined up and asked to show their tricks.

It is a pretty serious occasion, but Miron's speech was lively last year and he opted for the same tactic this year - movie references.

Last year, his economic overview for the region was cast in terms of the films Schindler's List and Philadelphia - two films with compassion as a central theme.

Unfortunately Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, didn't get the message and was feeling more like Freddy Kruger starring in 'Nightmare on Wall Street' last year.

This year, Miron has plumped for Forrest Gump , the tale of the idiot savant who becomes president and more or less everything else.

'Keep it simple,' said Miron. 'Learn from Jimmy Carter, who I consider a very simple man. He is going around the world apparently having successes in Bosnia, Korea and Haiti where Bill Clinton, who is more sophisticated, is not.' Forrest Gump is famous for the line: 'Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get'.

Earth shaking WANT to know where the smart Hong Kong money went to profit from the Kobe earthquake? It did not have to rush off to Japan to grab a slice of the construction contractors we mentioned the other day.

Varitronix, the locally listed maker of liquid crystal displays, rose three per cent yesterday as investors realised that Osaka and Kobe are a major manufacturing centre for LCDs.

Other clever investors were trading the stocks of notebook computer makers.

A shortage of screens is obviously going to have a big impact on the industry and may even lead to a shortage of computers. The ones to buy are those with A1 sources of LCD supply.

Sporting chance WE think the 2nd International Congress Asian-South Pacific Association of Sport Psychology did not get nearly the coverage it deserved last week.

With Governor Chris Patten as patron and letters of support from James So, secretary for recreation and culture; David Gledhill, chairman of the HK Sports Development Board; and major general Guy Watkins, chairman of HK Sports Institute management committee, the event was obviously blindingly high powered.

A taste of some of the research done in this field recently: The Gender Role character of Chinese female basketball and soccer player: a preliminary investigation.

This study discovered that Chinese women footballers and basketball players who had been involved in their sports for more than two years were more androgynous and masculine than the general population.

The preliminary study on the intelligence of Chinese table tennis players also had some interesting findings such as: really stupid people aren't that good at table-tennis.

People with average intelligence are better and the national team were smarter than the youth team. But playing table tennis doesn't make you any smarter.

Another study found that German and Japanese rugby players had different feelings about different fouls.

The Japanese, with their formality and love of conformity, are probably physically sick at the thought of a forward pass.

The best news to come out of the conference is that 'sports intelligence is becoming a reality'.

This doesn't mean spying on the opposition but grading sports-playing ability on an IQ scale just like proper intelligence.

This is brilliant news for all thickies and their parents. Now school report cards won't have to stress all the bad stuff but can instead home in on 'very high sports IQ' or being 'good at games' as it used to be called at the Lai See Institute for Research into the Blindingly Obvious and Trivial.