Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 February, 2011, 12:00am

For most Hongkongers, an easy commute is a dream

Strolling down from Mid-Levels on the escalator in the morning hardly counts as commuting. But a large proportion of Hong Kong's workforce do commute and do not find it an altogether pleasant experience, a recent survey by Regus, a so-called workplace solutions provider, shows.

According to the survey, 84 per cent of commuters rated traffic congestion or crowded trains/buses as their greatest sources of annoyance, followed by: delays and service interruptions; pollution and overheating; loud mobile phone conversations; rude behaviour from other passengers; dangerous drivers; and bad smells from other commuters, that is, body odour, bad breath or smelly food.

The average commuting time for Hongkongers, according to the survey, is 29.2 minutes for one leg of the journey, which is just over the global average of 29 minutes.

However, only 13 per cent of Hong Kong commuters have to spend more than 45 minutes travelling to work, which is only exceeded by Canada and Spain with 11 per cent. Hans Leijten, Regus' regional vice-president for East Asia, comments: 'Travelling to a work location closer to home, especially outside peak hours, is often the best way to avoid sources of stress for a happier, calmer and ultimately more fruitful day's work.' Unfortunately, just a dream for most Hong Kong commuters.

Bridge over troubled waters

In addition to being the recently appointed chief of the Ministry of Railways, Sheng Guangzu's other claim to fame is that he is a former chairman of the Jiangsu Bridge Association. He achieved this position during the years he spent working for the ministry in Nanjing where he would often spend weekends playing the game.

Bridge has a not inconsiderable following on the mainland, thanks to its most famous bridge player, Deng Xiaoping.

Sheng's predecessor at the ministry, Liu Zhijun (pictured), is being investigated for corruption and, since he is likely to have some time on his hands, could do worse than take up the game himself.

Smoke signals

Macau gaming operators have sent a fax to the Legislative Assembly requesting a meeting with the standing committee discussing the government's proposal on a ban on smoking.

Needless to say they are not offering their unconditional support. The law has already been approved with its first reading, though enactment requires a second reading.

In the fax, the gaming operators note that the new bill could have 'a dramatic impact' on their business - by which they presumably mean dramatically bad. Casino operators also say, according to, that they are 'deeply concerned' with the 'contradictory' statements made by the government after the second draft of the law was released.

An initial version of the second draft said smoking would be banned from casinos in three years' time but it also said that casinos would be allowed to set up non-smoking areas.

In response the government has said that the smoking ban will not cover casinos. Instead, they will be able to create smoking areas in up to 50 per cent of total public areas. Such areas must be created within one year of the law being enacted, a deadline casino operators feel to be too short. This of course is a massive cop-out. Smoking areas on such a large scale is like having a urinating area in a swimming pool.

Gamblers should go outside and smoke like everyone else and perhaps in the cold light of day they might reflect on whether there isn't something better they could do with their time rather than blowing their money at the tables. A situation operators are no doubt keen to avoid.

Good job offer

Those working in the world of finance and perhaps undergoing a touch of ennui in the current banker-bashing environment might like to reinvigorate themselves by doing something slightly different.

The Church of England is looking for someone from the financial world to chair its Ethical Investment Advisory Group. The organisation offers advice and support on ethical investment to the church's three national investing bodies: the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England Funds. These three bodies have combined assets of an eye-watering GBP8 billion (HK$101 billion).

'Applications from women and from a minority ethnic background are particularly welcome as they are currently under-represented on the group,' says the job ad. Those thinking of applying should be aware that only practising Christians will be considered.