Season of e-wishes on the cards
The usual array of Christmas cards has landed on desks this year but e-cards have saved many from the hassle of putting pen to paper.
Lai See has received a few e-cards. They are a great distraction from work. Especially ones headed 'Merry and God Blessed Christmas' (that one comes from AdSociety based in Singapore).
Investec Asset Management (Asia), however, has outdone itself on the e-Christmas card front.
The reader clicks on several coloured boxes to reveal first a bauble entitled Wired Index Fund (correlation?), then another, which is a lollipop thing that represents its New Economy fund and so on.
The baubles and sweets decorate a tree, which is then transferred to a real-life living room, fireplace and all. The funds are strung across the tree, as funds are of course. Either way, Investec deserves an award for its imaginative bringing together of Christmas and the wonderful world of asset management.
Waxing lyrical: On the subject of greeting cards, the old-fashioned printed ones still warrant a mention.
We got a bit excited when opening a stiff purple card that featured Li Ka-shing at the centre. Lai See thought Mr Li was writing a special note.
Then we noticed Pavarotti, Liz Taylor and Bruce Lee were also on the card. Considering one of them is dead and Liz is probably recovering from a nasty slip after cocktail hour, the realisation hit that it was not that personal after all.
But why all the stars? Inside, they pop up to say Merry Christmas, with Jackie Chan holding two fake eyeballs and Jiang Zemin smiling broadly over some poor woman's head.
Arnie and Pierce Brosnan also feature, scowling and looking devilish. Thing is, they're not pictures of the real stars. The colourful card is from Madame Tussaud's. Fancy that.
Festive doggerel: Lai See is intrigued by the fascination for snow in Hong Kong, where the only snowflakes to be found are at EuroChristmas - and even that's been debatable. One budding poet has butchered Jingle Bells to give us an insight into Christmas in places where the only cold thing is the beer and most traditional carols bear no relevance to the atmosphere (ie White Christmas ).
'Dashing through the bush,
In a rusty Holden ute,
Kicking up the dust,
Esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side,
singing Christmas songs,
It's summer time and I am in my singlet and my thongs.
Oh! Jingle Bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden ute.'
Sheer poetry. Questions anyone? A kelpie is a dog, an esky is a drink and food cooler, a ute is a utility vehicle with a flat-bed, and thongs are something you wear on your feet. There's more but it may get confusing.
Christmas crush: If you're on a crowded bus, aeroplane, train or in a cheek-to-cheek lift during this holiday season, spare a thought for some illegal immigrants who tried to sneak into Malaysia.
According to a report from Reuters, five men were being smuggled into the country after overstaying their visas for Singapore, or having entered Singapore illegally in the first place. There is nothing unusual about this except that the five were packed into the bus loo. Words such as 'huddle' or 'crouched', even 'packed' probably cannot clearly convey the discomfort the five visa-jumpers must have felt.
'Normally, they will be hiding in vehicles, in the car boot or in compartments that are specially built,' an immigration official said. Not only that, they paid M$500 each for the pleasure.
Charlotte Parsons is in holiday