with Luisa Tam
A forward-thinking leader who moves with the times
Lai See has a lot of admiration for people who are driven by a sense of mission and commitment. David YK Wong, the new president of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong (CMA), epitomises a new generation of industrialists and community leaders.
Wong is a no-nonsense person who believes that business groups should move with the times and avoid becoming too bogged down by traditional thinking. We can name a few stuffy ones out there.
Efficiency is Wong's motto. He probably needs a lot of it to get things done during his two-year term. His to-do list includes further revitalising the operation of CMA, promoting the Hong Kong brand, getting more involved in community work, raising awareness about the Shanghai World Expo and motivating young people to be more engaged with society. Whew!
CMA seems to be the place where people really walk the talk. It has set aside HK$250,000 to take at least 60 secondary school students to visit the expo in October to help young people broaden their horizons.
That's what we call forward thinking. Why didn't the government think of that?
Oldies to the fore
It's official now. The 'oldies' are taking back control of the world.
Our attention was drawn to a press release by Allianz Global Investors yesterday with a screaming headline, 'Demographic change reaches the labour market - It's down to the 'oldies' now'.
An Allianz study shows that for the first time this year the number of people aged between 60 and 65 will outstrip the number of new job seekers in the European Union. The EU is home to 28.6 million people aged between 15 and 20 while 28.8 million of its residents are between 60 and 65 years old. As the baby boomer generation moves into retirement, this gap is likely to widen to 8.3 million by 2030. And this is not just an EU phenomenon.
Similar trends are predicted for other G20 states, notably Russia, Canada, South Korea and China. It's a scary picture!
Government leaders must be scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to create the right environment to entice the old folks back to work to ease labour shortages.
Here is one suggestion: create more wheelchair parking spaces.
We occasionally hear foreign friends grumble about people in Hong Kong asking all sorts of personal questions in the most impersonal manner. Questions such as how much do you earn or how much rent do you pay often pop up from nowhere and sometimes from people you've just met.
But, we bet you've never been asked at a formal dinner about what size underwear you wear.
A friend told Lai See that embarrassing question sprung up at a spring dinner reception hosted by the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists earlier this month.
The modest American replied: 'Um, I am a large.'
The questioner was not convinced: 'No way, you must be an extra large.'
Apparently, that question was repeated at least 70 times. Every guest was given three pairs of underwear in a gift pack.
Lai See presumes the chosen colour must be red because it symbolises luck for the Chinese. And we hear more and more Chinese men are now wearing red outside and inside.
Let's hope that they stick with just horse-racing.
New site, sore eyes
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing launched its revamped website yesterday, boasting a facility with a new look and streamlined navigation.
The website (www.hkex.com.hk) is a channel for the exchange to communicate with its many stakeholders, including listed companies, investors, news media, other regulators and government bodies.
We hear the design is based on comments from both internal and external users, as well as focus groups. But less than 24 hours into its operation, we have already heard a few negative responses such as 'the old one is clumsy, but the new one is not any better'.
Hmm, sounds like we are talking about the chief executive.
Advice for investors
A reader sent Lai See a short poem titled 'Verse or Worse for Investors' which he wants to dedicate to those who get their fingers burned listening to bad advice. Thanks, Winston.
To stock market investments
There's no sensible logic,
Only hopeful ignorance,
Human greed, anxious panic.
Experts talk a lot of bull
To make losses that we bear.
They enjoy lives that are cool,
Our sufferings they don't care.
If you happen to have a buck
Better entrust it to blind luck.