Bank's soap opera warrants a look, but what are they trying to tell us?

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2007, 12:00am

You know how tobacco companies, out of the goodness of their hearts, have run community programmes to discourage people, especially youngsters, from smoking. Well, Dutch bank ABN Amro, one of Hong Kong's most active issuers of stock warrants, has now produced an 18-week soap opera that offers cautionary tales from the land of options, warrants and other high-risk instruments.

Warrants, played in the present volatile market, are gambling tools. Who needs a casino when you have the stock market? I am half-expecting gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun to complain about all the business the exchange has stolen from him.

Anyway, the new series - The Weekly Diary of a Warrant Punter, shown on ATV and the financial channels of NOW TV and Metro Radio - features comic actress Sandra Ng Kwan-yu (pictured) as the long-suffering girlfriend of a warrants addict, played by fellow comedian Tin Kai-man (top), who likes to bet the house with his life savings, including the money he has saved to marry Ng's character.

Veteran director Lee Lik-chee's character (bottom left) is the owner of a local cha chan teng restaurant, who used the money he made from warrants to open his business. At the risk of spoiling the dramatic twist, since most of you probably won't watch it anyway, here's what happens. Ng turns out to be the real investment guru, very much like those martial arts movies and novels where the ones you least expect are the supreme fighters.

We are not sure what the moral of the series is supposed to be. Possibly, Lee's character is the example warrants punters should follow, as in saving up for a rainy day. Or rather, should we train to be a supreme warrants punter like Ng's character?