Villagers face dark after quick rise to power

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 12:00am

Villagers in Sau Mau Ping, Kwun Tong, may be cursing electricity provider CLP Holdings over the next five years as the home of one resident could yet prove to be a major draw on the area's power grid.

The home of Ngai Lam-shing will be lit up like a Christmas tree for the next 1,825 days, in contrast to his neighbours' possibly flickering lights and intermittent power failures.

That is because Mr Ngai has been named CLP's two millionth customer and has been rewarded with HK$48,888 to spend on electrical appliances.

About HK$200 buys a kettle from electrical retailer Fortress.

Mr Ngai will also receive 38,000 units of free electricity over the next five years.

The electricity - valued at HK$34,825 - will probably come in handy when his small apartment starts to resemble the inside of an Hitachi factory.

Mr Ngai, who was notified of his luck last week, has been on a shopping spree with his wife and daughters and has already bought a water heater, air conditioners, washer, dryer, mini hi-fi and personal computer.

Better to give: Is the security guard in your building looking surly?

Has he stopped saying hello and holding the lift door open for you?

Then you've forgotten his Lai See packet.

Tradition dictates that the Lunar New Year sees hundreds of dollars change hands between residents and those that guard their building.

The precursor is smiles and waves, but for those that forget the aftermath can be frowns and brusque manners.

A resident on Robinson Road said the guards at her block are leaving nothing to chance.

She said that last year they had knocked on doors checking off who had and had not made a contribution.

This year, they have already distributed empty packets to every flat in the block and the good deeds have begun.

'Last night, they were almost fighting among themselves over who should open the taxi door,' she said.

Funny money: One of the great things about travelling to foreign countries as a child was the money.

All those different notes and coins. Your standing in the school playground hierarchy was always raised on your return when you pointed out the similarity between your foreign coins and those of your home country.

This would precipitate a small army of schoolboys visiting every vending machine in the area pumping worthless foreign coins into the slots in return for bars of chocolate, cans of cola and bags of crisps.

Now European tourists returning home from trips to Thailand have found that Thai 10-baht coins, worth 26 euro cents, are about the same size and weight as the newly minted two-euro coins, which are worth more than 77 baht, and can be used in many vending machines.

'The fact that our 10-baht coin is similar to the two-euro coin is the problem of the European Union, not Thailand,' the Bangkok Post quoted Treasury Department deputy director-general Thevan Vichitakul as saying. He said the department had no plans to change its coin design and it was up to the Europeans to solve the problem.

The 559 million Thai 10-baht coins currently in circulation each weigh 8.5 grams, the same as the two-euro coin, and the Thai coin is 26mm in width, slightly larger than the 25.75mm euro coin.

It reminds us of the fraudster who was caught with a bag of forged British 10 pence pieces.

He had filed all the corners off the pentagonal 50-pence pieces.

Rising prospects: The chief executive office of a pharmaceutical company was giving his outlook on the erectile dysfunction (ED) market on CNBC's squawk box programme yesterday morning.

His company offers an alternative product to Viagra.

'The ED market is young and growing,' he said.

Graphic: whee29gbz