Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 February, 2005, 12:00am

central's shampoo brokerage lacks a head for trademarks

In a world dominated by ever fewer mega-brokerages, Hong Kong's minnow brokers and penny-stock kings at least provide some light relief.

At a recent luncheon for local brokers, Lai See met a dealer representative from 'Head & Shoulders Securities', a 10-man outfit based in Central.

We don't know if they stand head and shoulders above the crowd, or are just a bit flaky, but why do we reckon P&G lawyers might be knocking on their door soon?

'e' is for economist

'A' is for Apple, 'B' for Boy, 'C' for Cat ... That's the way most people learn their alphabet. But not, apparently, the children of Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong.

In his column on the 'A to Z of Money and Banking', Mr Yam teaches us that 'A' is for Aggregate Balance, 'B' for Basel II and 'C' for Convertibility Undertaking.

Is it any wonder that Mr Yam's daughter, Denise, is an economist with Morgan Stanley?

the low down on jargon

Speaking of financial jargon, Lai See liked the following online help-wanted ad placed by FinanceAsia:

'Do you know your EV [enterprise value] from your Ebitda [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation]? Can you talk about liquidity and spreads without thinking smutty thoughts?'

Which reminds us: the South China Morning Post is still looking for a Beijing business correspondent.

But unlike our trade-press colleagues, we don't discriminate against the smuttily thoughtful.

denway transformed by brush with PR

When investors shaved 35 per cent off the value of Denway Motors shares last year, making it one of the worst-performing blue chips, the company had little to say.

Rather than turn on the charm at press conferences in exchange for the benefit of the doubt, Denway's aloof executives could hardly manage a shrug.

Enter Annie To Siu-mui, former executive director and public relations deity at China Rare Earth, who joined Denway late last year as senior deputy general manager.

Suddenly, Denway chairman Zhang Fongyou is an affable, open fellow.

After the company's extraordinary general meeting yesterday, he cut loose from his entourage to share a drink of water with waiting journalists.

Lai See is certain to refrain from gratuitous, unsubstantiated pessimism the next time he writes about Denway. A human touch sure goes a long way.

found in translation

A contributor to our weekly Property Post supplement reports that he recently went to CSL's 1010 shop in Mongkok for help updating some software on his mobile phone.

But what should have been a relatively simple matter sparked a flurry of panic, and for 20 minutes confused customer service managers fumbled with his phone and peppered him with a host of superfluous questions.

Thirty minutes on and technicians were called in, only to be stumped themselves.

Finally they cut to the crux of the matter. The phone settings were in English - did the customer mind if they temporarily switched the settings to Chinese? Of course not.

Thirty seconds later, the problem was fixed.

something to crow about

Lai See is happy to report a brisk uptake from readers on his earlier offer to pass along Virgin Atlantic Airline's colourful, square-shaped lai see envelopes.

That wraps up Lai See for this waning Year of the Monkey.

We're off for the holiday and will see you again in the Year of the Rooster!