Company well-versed on looking on bright side
You've heard of creative book-keeping? Well, thanks to Gzitic Hualing Holdings, we've just seen our first creative annual reporting.
It seems someone decided to wax poetic on the document's table of contents.
The Hong Kong-listed arm of troubled Guangzhou International Trust and Investment Corp lost more than $92 million last year.
Nothing new there.
Their bottom line has been haemorrhaging for three years. But the latest batch of financial statements had auditors questioning the firm's ability to stay open.
Chairman Chen Xiaoshi is putting on a brave face and promising a return to the black.
We will rise from the bowels of the earth, he vows.
This theme is born out in the cover of the annual report, which shows a young tree rising from a field.
Then comes the table of contents. And with it, a poem. The rhyming couplets are set against an expanse of grass. Flowing script informs the reader: 'Yesterday, weeds got in our path, Made it difficult to pass.
Today, we see the wrongs, And correct them through reforms.
Tomorrow, shall our best remain, Grow strong and prospects sustain.' The rhyme's a bit patchy, but you get the gist.
Lai See salutes this refreshing annual report originality, but suggests the company poet consider a more realistic version.
Perhaps something like this: 'For three years we've been in the red, And issued these reports with dread, Today, we'll try and make you think, Hualing isn't going to sink, Tomorrow, if things go as they fear, Our future may not be so clear.' An intriguing piece of junk e-mail is doing the rounds.
Reader John Sanders received the www.naturalpush.
com ad, which pledges to help clients 'Increase your breast size!'.
But that's not the intriguing bit.
What grabbed our attention was the fact that the chest-swelling offer was directed at 'Dear Sirs/ Madams'.
We wonder how many of the 'Sirs' responded.
We note that superstar Michael Jackson sang at a charity concert in Seoul calling for an end to conflict on the Korean peninsula.
The semi-black, semi-male singer faces an uphill battle if he really hopes to incite peace.
These days North Korea seems to find America even more irritating than its southern neighbour.
Last week, the destitute nation's news service threatened to crush the US using mysterious 'ultra-modern weapons'.
'It is certain that the war will end in the destruction and death of the United States,' the North Korean Central News Service tells us.
'It goes without saying that the Korean people, who have nurtured towering hatred against America, will rise up like a mountain in a battle against the United States, once it ignites a war against the North.
'If Serbs were supposed to become 'human shields' in defence of their country, the people in the north would become tens of millions of 'human spears' and 'human bombs' not simply 'human shields'.' We're sure the citizens of North Korean thrill at the chance to explode for their country.
Meanwhile, the reclusive nation's army is 'a crack one whose soldiers from men to generals are armed thoroughly with the spirit of suicidal attack'.
Lai See finds all this a tad pessimistic.
But back to our show.
Friday's extravaganza featured music and movie stars including Mariah Carey, Status Quo and Hong Kong's own Andy Lau.
About US$1 million of the proceeds will go to needy youngsters. The other $4 million was somehow swallowed up by tax and production costs.
We were interested to hear that the concert was called 'Michael Jackson and Friends - what more can I give?'.
Given that the superstar spent an obscene amount of money on an indoor skating rink for his pet chimp, Lai See would have to answer: 'A couple of dollars from your own vast fortune.'