Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 December, 2008, 12:00am

The festive season offers an opportunity for reflection

Baubles, tinsel, snowmen and the sound of piped-in carols; wherever you are in the world there is almost no getting away from Christmas, whether you treat it as a holiday for parties, for an excuse to go shopping, or a personal celebration with God. To each his own way of looking at Christmas.

Emperor Watch & Jewellery managing director Cindy Yeung (left) says it is an important time for her company to boost sales volume. But there is more to it; since she was baptised in 2003, she has been inviting her staff to join her at church. Every Christmas, her family and the church celebrate by carolling on the streets, at homes for the aged or at orphanages.

'When you look into their eyes, you know what a blessing it is for us,' she said.

MTR Corp property director Thomas Ho Hang-kwong recalls how a recent incident once again showed him that God was looking over him.

One of his family members was going through a difficult phase and nobody thought she would overcome her problems. So the whole family sat down and prayed for her.

'Eventually, she did succeed,' he said.

Let's all pray for the markets now.

Test your knowledge

Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong is challenging Hong Kong people's knowledge of money at Christmas time. The authority has put out its 10th Christmas quiz and this year the theme of the questions is notes and coins of Hong Kong. So how challenging are they?

Try these: What is the term used by the HKMA to describe good-as-new notes that are ready for use in lai see (red packets)?

How many Hong Kong dollar banknotes were issued to commemorate the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Take the quiz at HKMA website

The first three correct entries will each receive a small prize made of Hong Kong banknotes.

Guarding the bottom line

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Everyone is eyeing the bottom line and coming up with innovative marketing techniques to keep sales flowing. Take McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant group, which admitted yesterday that about 1,000 customers at one of its Japanese outlets were actually paid to patronise its business when it added a new burger to its menu.

The restaurant in Osaka hit a daily sales record of about US$110,000 on Tuesday when it introduced the Quarter Pounder hamburger. The catch: about 1,000 of 15,000 customers on that day were hired by a market research company on behalf of McDonald's, which said it did not know that some of the people queuing for the new burger were paid to be there.

Right on target

Throwing a shoe at someone is considered the ultimate insult in Iraqi culture. But seeing its headline-grabbing potential after the recent incident involving United States President George W. Bush and an Iraqi reporter, Wenzhou-based shoemaker Aokang Group decided to use it in a marketing campaign.

The company has launched a shoe-throwing competition, in which customers are given shoes to hurl at a picture that resembles the outgoing president. Hitting the picture right earns discounts that range from 20 to 50 per cent, depending on which part of the picture the shoes strike.

No prizes for guessing where you have to hit to get the best discount.

A merry Christmas to you

A couple of meltdown jokes:

'The United States has developed a new weapon that destroys people but leaves buildings standing. It's called the stock market,' says talk show host Jay Leno.

Santa to Banta: 'What worries me most about the credit crunch is that if one of my cheques is returned stamped 'insufficient funds', I won't know whether that refers to me or the bank.'