Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 July, 2009, 12:00am
 

Music in the air in the AGM season

There has been music in the air throughout the annual general meeting season - from Alibaba.com bringing in a Philippine jazz band to liven things up to PCCW switching the venue of its gathering to the ArtisTree concert hall.

We have chosen three songs in memory of superstar Michael Jackson that seem to sum up the mood this year.

Beat It

They told him don't you ever come around here

Don't wanna see your face, you better disappear

The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear

So beat it, just beat it

PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai seems to have a phobia about attending AGMs - he has shown up only twice in the past nine years.

It was probably just as well this year, bearing in mind the mood of his minority shareholders following the privatisation debacle.

Nevertheless, it didn't stop many of them asking where he was, including a Putonghua-speaking shareholder who bluntly demanded that he be there 'to give us an answer'.

Many spoke up, asking, if not begging, the company not to spend any more money to appeal against the ruling by the Court of Appeal on the privatisation.

A couple of shareholders wore 'I love PCCW' T-shirts as a way of encouraging the management to show 'more affection' towards the embattled telecom company.

It's a sentiment Jacko would have approved of, but we're not sure what Mr Li thought of it.

One day in your life

One day in your life

When you find that you're always waiting

For a love we used to share

Just call my name, and I'll be there

You'll remember me somehow

For six years, a 73-year-old grandma has asked MTR Corp chairman Raymond Chien Kuo-fung when he was going to return her two dollars.

The 'two-dollar question' arose from a promotion that offered senior citizens a HK$2 fare, which Madam Chan hoped she could enjoy all year, not just every Wednesday and public holidays.

Mr Chien could not grant Madam Chan her wish, as it would have too negative an impact on the rail service, but he did try to sweet-talk the elderly shareholder.

'Madam Chan, I hope when I reach 70, I will still be sitting next to you at the MTR AGM,' said the 58-year-old chairman, who offered his best wishes for her good health.

No doubt she will be back to ask the same question again next year.

Off the wall

When the world is on your shoulder

Gotta straighten up your act and boogie down

If you can't hang with the feeling

Then there ain't no room for you this part of town

'Cause we're the party people night and day

Living crazy that's the only way

Depending on which way you look at it, HSBC Holdings shareholders could be either happy - because the shares have doubled from the trough of four months ago - or unhappy - because the bank is still the worst-performing blue-chip stock this year.

Whatever, the 'big elephant' came in for plenty of stick from shareholders, many of them pensioners who had banked their life savings on a steady and recurrent dividend.

There were many awkward questions about the financial giant becoming involved in the credit crisis following the acquisition of Household International in 2002 - a situation that was exacerbated by chairman Stephen Green's pronouncement that 'with the benefit of hindsight, this is an acquisition we wish we had not undertaken'.

Obviously, the shareholders found it hard to digest how a bank with a global reputation for prudence could make such a blunder, and it had some of them hankering after the golden days of former taipan Sir William Purves (above).

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