New name reflects on old basics

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2000, 12:00am

What's in a name? No, seriously. What? If you actually want to know the answer, Lai See has this advice for you: Don't ask China Strategic Holdings.

The people there are a tad lost on the whole name front.

Try as they might, they just can't seem to decide what they're called.

Yesterday, Singaporean businessman Oei Hong Leong's firm announced a name change.

That was quick. We were only just getting used to the latest one.

In July, it was announced that henceforth, the company formerly known as China Strategic Holdings would be called . . . Ciga.

That stands for China Internet Global Alliance.

This, proclaimed the firm, would better reflect its future business strategy expanding information and e-commerce related services in Greater China.

But in reality, nothing much actually changed.

So yesterday, to better reflect the fact that nothing much actually changed, Ciga announced that it would henceforth be known as . . . China Strategic Holdings.

The reason: 'Subsequent to the change of controlling shareholder . . . the new board had reviewed the business of the company and believes that the proposed new name will better reflect its existing business nature which embraces significant investments in mainland China and the Pacific Rim ranging from manufacturing industries relating to food and rubber tyres, property as well as infrastructure projects, e-commerce and high-technology related businesses.'

Translation: 'We're abandoning the sinking tech ship and running back to the safe old economy.'

French move: The French must get sick to death of strikes. Their labour movement is so strong that there often isn't any. Any movement, that is.

Labourers in France seem to spend a lot of time on strike.

Yesterday, one of their protests spilled all the way across the globe to Hong Kong. When negotiations broke down in Paris, teachers at the French International School in Happy Valley took a day off in protest.

A mother with a child there told us about it.

'I know that striking is a legal right in France,' the French woman said. 'But is it acceptable in an international school where people are paying a lot of money?'

Oh dear. Here the poor woman thinks she's getting away from all those labour problems by moving to Hong Kong, and what happens?

The French strike again.

Suits me fine: We've just been speaking to Sam the Tailor man.

He's in a fine mood these days. Apparently it's been a VIP-laden month.

Both Ricky Martin and the Duke of Kent have been in to see him.

Lai See resisted the urge to pepper the tailor with indiscreet questions about Ricky's measurements.

But we did ask what colours he picked. A charcoal grey suit with white shirt.

And his, um, highness? He chose khaki.

Strange to think of two such different characters passing through the same shop. Lai See can't picture them getting along.

But Sammy insists that the two men are extremely well suited.

Bogged down: Hong Kong's customs are going down the toilet.

It's true. If you don't believe us, drop by the Furama and see for yourself.

The hotel is host to World Customs Organisation's Regional Contact Points Meeting.

But the name's a little long. So the sign directing guests to the Coral Room shortened it.

To 'WC Organisations'.

Graphic: whee25gbz