Hongkong Electric

Plastic novelties at Kowloon show

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 12:00am

50 years ago Kowloon (December 16): Hongkong yesterday had an opportunity to 'blow its own horn' regarding home-manufactured goods. It was the first day of the Annual Exhibition of Chinese Products, held in Kowloon on ground opposite the Peninsula hotel.

The event has already become one of Hongkong's 'dates', and it was not surprising, therefore, when a large number of Government officials and civilian 'important persons' turned up to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.

Early in the day rain was falling copiously, but the promoters were not to be deterred. 'Shui wai choy' they said, which being interpreted reads: 'Water means prosperity.' The sky cleared shortly before the official opening and only a slight drizzle interfered with subsequent arrangements.

The Governor and Lady Grantham made a tour of the 'nine streets' of stalls and they must have been impressed by the progress made by local manufacturers.

A local businessman, who attended last year's exhibition, commented: 'There has been a great improvement in the layout this year. Exhibitors are more alive to the importance of an attractive appearance of their stalls.' Plastic ware is still a novelty and visitors gaze with surprise at such articles as green chop-sticks.

Parents will find the impulse to buy toys for their children hard to resist on account of their cheapness. At one stall one could buy a battleship, bristling with guns, for ten cents or a roulette wheel for $2 - indications perhaps of the modern trend of infantile desires.

The Tien Chu Ve Tsin Manufacturing Company has again its elaborate lay-out of the Kowloon City factory on display, but this time with real smoke belching from the tall chimneys.

The Keen Sang Brickworks have a display that invokes the attention of every passer-by. It is an effective lay-out of the various tiles produced by the factory as well as replicas of the brick kilns.

On the whole the exhibitors have shown a keen appreciation of public interest in the methods of production, and working models have been used to advantage to stimulate the attention of visitors.

25 years ago Nuclear power easy as tape recorders Hongkong (December 13): Jardine Matheson and Co are keenly interested in acting as agents for a plan to provide Hongkong with a nuclear power plant involving US$500 million by early in the next decade.

A spokesman for the company told Business News last night that 'our own money will not be at risk', but they would accept the role as middle-men for the giant Westinghouse Corporation of America if such a scheme can be implemented.

Obviously Government approval would be an absolute must with the ticklish problem of uranium involved.

Equally clearly, the companies that might be identified with such a project are China Light and Power and Hongkong Electric (already linked as a merger proposition by market speculators).

The Jardines' man told me that the use of nuclear power was as simple as 'replacing a cassette in a tape recorder'. He did concede that there was rather more to the possible project than that.

However, Westinghouse executives have visited the Colony and held early, and highly technical talks about the possibility of such a venture. The US company, granted its size and track record in nuclear plants, would not be without competitors.

It would be a brilliant man indeed who could predict the cost effectiveness of oil against nuclear power by the early 1980s - not to mention solar energy or anything else that might spring up in the meantime.