One helluva place to make your money

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 October, 1997, 12:00am

What would be the ultimate photographic vision of hell? Something out of Chungking Mansions? Apparently not. Some arty types have put together an exhibition in London to depict the world's 'no zones'.

The centrepiece of the art-fest is - wait for it - a huge photograph of the floor of the Hong Kong stock exchange, by renowned German photographer Andreas Gursky.

Hundreds of brokers are shown in customary pose, lined up at their terminals and no doubt making megabucks for their clients - a comforting image for many.

But the organisers of the exhibition at a hip gallery owned by the advertising gurus, the Saatchi brothers, see the vision in a rather different light.

They view it as a comment on 'global uniformity'.

Tom Bonham Carter may be local head of one of the world's biggest funds management operations, but that doesn't mean he is immune to some down-to-earth problems.

The head of Barclays Global Investors in Hong Kong heard his brother had torn an achilles tendon after dancing a jig at an Irish wedding.

Then he returned from a holiday with his wife to encounter an unusual situation.

A helper had varnished all of the furniture in the couple's home.

Unfortunately, in Tom's words, 'not all of the furniture needed varnishing'.

At least the Bonham Carter siblings seem to be doing well for themselves.

Edward is high up in the Jupiter Asset Management group in the UK, while the other sibling is the famous film actress Helena Bonham Carter, who starred in A Room with a View, among other prominent roles.

The smog blanketing Southeast Asia has cast a similar pall over people's spirits.

But not everybody has been a loser out of the murk.

Pizza-makers in Singapore offering home delivery have been big beneficiaries as an indoor culture has sprung up amid the wheezes.

Sales are reportedly up more than 20 per cent on levels before the smog arrived.

The savvy marketing people at Pizza Hut have taken matters a step further, launching a 'Haze Busters' offer that includes a drink cooler and soft-drink tokens. They say ham and pineapple, as well as pepperoni, are the most popular toppings in the island state.

Pizza purveyors have not been the only ones to have a topping time of it.

Retailers of face masks and eye drops are also doing a roaring trade.

Still on Singapore, maybe the city's newly legalised buskers will belt out yet another interpretation of Elton John's Candle in the Wind lamenting the haze: Goodbye clear blue sky, though we never see you anymore, We hope you've not forgotten to return to Singapore.

The fires won't stop burning and no matter how hard we try, It seems we're edging closer to one thousand PSI.

And it seems to me you've lived your life like a candle in the wind, Never staying a moment longer when the haze set in, And your memory will always haunt us when the CD sirens wail.

Your candle burned out long before our lungs completely fail.

Scribes around town are sporting the odd hole in the tooth after attending a press briefing by Four Seas Mercantile Holdings.

The eager-to-please snack food group - the distributor of Cadbury's chocolate and Calbee crisps in Hong Kong - sent reporters home with bags of goodies brimming with all manner of tooth-rotting material.

We hear one hack from a Chinese-language daily got a bit carried away, asking to be locked up in the company's showroom for three days.

US-based Fortune magazine has found out the hard way that hell hath no fury like a scorned CEO.

The Time Inc-owned magazine recently published an article about IBM boss Louis Gerstner, in which he was described as arrogant and brusque.

On the bright side, it also complemented him as having done 'better than anyone expected' with the computer monolith.

Well, it seems Mr Gerstner had his share of problems with the piece.

The subsequent rumblings saw IBM pull from the magazine all of its advertising, worth an estimated US$6 million a year.

The computer giant has so far shown no signs of returning its business to Fortune despite some conciliatory words from Time Inc chief Don Logan.