Sir Hamish perusing a never-ending story
PERHAPS those firms offering speed-reading classes should send some literature to Sir Hamish Macleod.
Because he seems to be taking an inordinately long time to plough his way through the most interesting report the stock exchange has seen for at least two years and possibly longer.
The report in question is on an inquiry into World Trade Centre Group, which during the period under investigation happened to have Stanley Ho Hung-sun as chairman.
There must be some interesting stuff in the report, because drafts available in December 1993 were enough to warrant 200 police raiding various places around town in December, including Stanley's house in Repulse Bay and the offices of Shun Tak Holdings, Tse Sui Luen Jewellery International, Far East Holdings International, and a couple of other firms.
Every two months since then we have phoned Tam Wing-pong, deputy secretary of financial services, and ask him when the report is to be released.
Usually he says something like ''soon'', or ''within three months'', adding that it won't be released until Sir Hamish has read it.
When another two months elapse and the report fails to appear, we generally ring him again.
On Friday we phoned Mr Tam for what must have been the umpteenth time. But on this occasion, he wasn't even able to offer a categorical assurance that the report would be published this year.
Over lunch, brokers are gossiping that there has been immense pressure on the Government to sit on the report indefinitely, but we don't believe any of this.
Instead, we prefer to believe that Sir Hamish is a slow reader. Let's hope he finishes soon.
Same old tune IF you go to the new La Placita restaurant in Times Square you may see a familiar, rather elegant figure dancing away apparently without a care in the world.
Your eyes will not be deceiving you. That tall, elegant dancer really is Stanley Ho.
Stanley is apparently a great fan of the restaurant's house band, which used to play in the Sheraton. A staff member told us that Stanley has been to La Placita quite a few times to cha-cha to the band's tunes in its new home.
Foot in mouth THE latest financial person to get on to TVB Jade's World Cup show is Chim Pui-chung who displayed an amazing knowledge of football on Saturday night.
He's financial services representative in the Legislative Council, but if there was a functional constituency for sports fans we reckon he'd probably switch in the next elections.
He finished with a classic Chimism: he proposed that betting on football be legalised.
After all, he said, it's legal in England.
Unfortunately for his campaign, football is even easier to rig than horse-racing. The only problem is that you've got to pay off 11 people instead of one.
Time warp HAS the management at Asia Securities International discovered the secret of time travel? There certainly seems to be some pretty strange wormholes in the space-time continuum around the company, which is a listed subsidiary of Lippo Group.
Example one: in Friday's paper, director Jesse Leung Nai-chau was talking about the stock exchange's demand that shares in the firm be sold into public hands.
Jesse said categorically that there was no chance that Lippo would sell a small part of its 50.96 per cent stake in the group as part of some ''eleventh hour deal''.
In Saturday's paper, Jesse was saying that Lippo was in negotiations to sell every single share it owned, the eleventh hour effectively arriving 24 hours later.
Another example: given that such a large sale would result in a general offer, which could be very beneficial to shareholders, it would be expected that the share price should rise strongly after the announcement.
In fact, the firm's share price started to rise the day before the announcement was made.
Surely, the only explanation could be something to do with warp drives, black holes or some such.
Staple diet THESE people who wander round offices with big rattan baskets selling sandwiches sometimes have minor quality control problems.
The other day, Lionel Krieger of Swire BFI Waste Management chomped into a chicken sandwich and discovered something more than a little fowl.
To be precise, he bit into a box of staples.
Apparently, the sandwich vendor offered him another sandwich as compensation. We thought for a moment she might have offered him a stapling gun. One his colleagues says Lionel used some rather colourful language, but when we rang him about this the other day, he refused to repeat it, saying only: ''My lips are sealed.''