Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 12:00am

After a below-the-belt shot, US trade action gets to the art of the dispute

First, the United States Department of Commerce took aim at imports of cheap Chinese underwear. Struggling artists in the US can probably learn to get by without those. They are, after all, eccentric folks.

But the department's latest move paints a bleaker picture for would-be Warhols. Last week, it launched an anti-dumping investigation against artistic canvasses imported from the mainland. That's bound to bristle some brushes.

Macau keeps hacks flying high

Macau-concept stocks may not have been flying high in recent days, but don't tell that to Lai See. A colleague of ours took the ferry across the river yesterday, along with about 10 other reporters, for a press tour of the Galaxy casino and a walk through the company's Cotai strip construction site.

But the tour ran overtime and the hosts worried that the journos wouldn't make it back to Hong Kong by deadline time. So for the return trip, Galaxy gave the ferry a miss and splurged for helicopter tickets - usually about $1,800 a pop.

Battle threat ends in a beerbath

Dow Jones' top man in Asia, John Bussey, took his life in his hands when he dropped into the Foreign Correspondents' Club on Sunday evening. Gathered in the main dining room were scores of former journalists from the Far Eastern Economic Review, the legendary weekly magazine acquired, then closed down, by Dow Jones.

Scores of grizzled hacks had assembled from all over Asia, and beyond, to commemorate the old magazine over a weekend of drinks, lunches, drinks, dinners, drinks and more drinks. Emotions ran high as the former staffers swapped memories of the magazine's tangles with dictators, frontline scoops from wars long over and famously lubricated junk trips.

David Plott (pictured), the magazine's last editor, best summed up the feeling, when he stood up to excoriate Peter Kann and Karen House, the Pulitzer Prize-winning husband-and-wife team who run Dow Jones, in a withering speech aimed at his old bosses.

Closing the Review, he said, was a 'cynical abdication of leadership in the news business' and 'just another of a string of failures by the current leadership of Dow Jones'.

By the time he finished, the old journos were baying for blood. But, as proof that journalists' bark is worse than their bite, Mr Bussey escaped with experiencing nothing worse than having a few beers tipped down his throat.

'Environator' takes hands-on line

Speaking of aspiring artists, Lai See was glad to see former police commissioner Tsang Yam-pui, now a director of NWS Holdings, painting up a storm for a green cause on Friday. His previous experience no doubt bolsters his abilities as an enviro-enforcer.

At the launch of a citywide environmental education programme for kindergarten pupils, Mr Tsang (pictured third from left) joined more than 3,000 children in setting a Guinness record for the world's largest handprint painting: a 377-square-metre Van Gogh-inspired work titled Nature.

As the kiddies no doubt will learn, the deteriorating air quality in Hong Kong is due partly to sulphur dioxide emissions from polluting power plants across the border.

NWS has a sizable stake in two coal-fired power plants in Guangzhou and the authorities have recently targeted those facilities for refitting as part of a campaign to clean up the delta's crummy air. Installing air 'scrubbers', as they are called, is an expensive process - but Lai See takes comfort in knowing NWS has an in-house Environator on the job.

Now, if only those kids could paint the sky blue.