All hail, Ronald of Tonga, a man of some conviction
DEAR Mr Sherwood, I AM pleased to hear our former stock exchange chairman, Ronald Li Fook-shiu, one of the world's wealthiest men, is soon to be released from prison.
It says much about world-renowned Asian business acumen that Mr Li can make - as has been so conservatively estimated - HK$4.7 million a day while incarcerated.
Imagine how well he would have done had he not been so luckless and misunderstood.
Not even America's famous Michael Milken achieved such excellent results during his confinement. Mr Milken, I hear, seems extraordinarily content with the US$600 million (HK$4.6 billion) or US$700 million he accumulated.
The man is reported to be considering a lowly lecturing appointment at some Californian university, a position, I am assured by my American friends, which pays a pittance and accords him virtually no status whatsoever.
Some people, I know, have called the oriental commitment to making a little money obsessive. Our dedication to assuring the financial security of our families into the 27th century has even been likened to a frenzy. Others have pointed to rampant Southeast Asian corruption, human deprivation and disdain for the environment as symptomatic of a mindless stampede for gratuitous and ostentatious wealth.
In terms of conservation and the environment it could be that cities like Bangkok and Jakarta, most holiday resorts in the region, all of Taiwan, three-quarters of China and our own Hongkong are environmentally imperfect.
And, yes, there does indeed seem to be a few million young children each year sold into prostitution in Thailand and the Philippines alone.
Much of the region may be rotten with corruption and is a world drugs centre, but there is inevitably a price to pay for being the economic envy of the world.
Making a lot of money is not a crime, and Mr Li, I am sure, gives more than he takes. It is to Ronald the giver (and Tonga passport holder) I dedicate my verse today.
An Ode To Ronald Of Tonga As a lad of six years of age There was no box to watch, So little Ron spent all his days Picking winning stocks.
While other kids played in the park And puffed their favourite brand, Our hot shot Ron just soldiered on With stocks like Hongkong Land.
Chorus: Ronald Li, Ronald Li, He's a real go-getter, A little bit of greed is good But avarice is better.
It's nice to see that though Ron's rich He does not waste his dough, He bought a Tongan passport - They're cheap down there you know! As the richest man in Tonga, Ron, Your life could be a dream, You can buy the island's football side And captain their Sevens team.
Chorus: Ronald Li, Ronald Li, To Canada you go.
You can buy Vancouver From K. S. Li and Co.
Now a citizen of the South Seas For just 23 grand US, Not even in Bolivia Is citizenship worth less.
You could have tried Australia, Just say g'day - and grin, Although now you're not a convict They might not let you in.
Chorus: Ronald Li, Ronald Li Brown skin native man, Grass skirt and palm thatched cottage - And an offshore pension plan.
So off you go Mr Ronald Li, And as you leave ''that'' institution, You will be remembered fondly - For your generous contribution.
(Repeat choruses one, two and three).
Again, Mr Sherwood, thank you kindly for agreeing to publish my missive in your respected column.
Sincerely, Mai Kit Soon (Mr).
P.S. I will contact you soon regarding my company's new foreign currency trading fund which guarantees investors an annual 1971/2 per cent return.