Broker gets a chance to shine

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 1994, 12:00am

THE territory's financial community are busy scuffing their shoes in anticipation of a special day for one of their number.

Alan Hodson, managing director of posh stockbrokers Warburg's, will abandon his pinstripes for the less-than-pristine garb of a shoeshine boy in the next few weeks.

At the Reuters charity dinner at the JW Marriott hotel, which raised $1 million for the Playright and Hong Kong Down's Syndrome charities, Hodson found himself at the end of some unwelcome attention from Warburg's diligence department director Colin Hall.

Hodson watched bemused as his colleague talked up the bidding for an item allowing the winner to nominate someone to act as a shoeshine boy at a pitch in Central for an hour. When Hall's winning $18,000 bid was accepted, Hodson discovered he had been nominated.

The word around Exchange Square is that rival brokers are walking through all manner of unpleasant substances to give Hodson the chance to exercise his shoe-shining skills. LEVITY is a rare commodity in courtrooms and after hearing of an attempt at judicial humour last week, it is hardly surprising.

Writer Nury Vittachi (picture) and his wife Mary appeared in front of Judge De Souza in the Family Court in Wan Chai Tower to finalise the arrangements for the adoption of their baby son, Jem.

Vittachi, who made his name as the writer of the South China Morning Post 's Lai See column, had clearly disappointed some fans after he decided to join the Far Eastern Economic Review last year.

'I have decided to disallow the adoption . . . until you start writing funny articles in the Post again,' the judge said as Vittachi stood before him, rooted in horror to the floor, until he realised he was the butt of M'Lud's stab at humour and tittered in nervous relief.

THE Chinese have long been styled as the Italians of Asia: noisy, gregarious, devoted to fresh ingredients in their cuisine, and to eating large amounts of noodles.

Barrister Alan Hoo, Tino Kwan and Benjamin Lung, the trio behind the Va Bene Italian restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong, have taken the concept further.

Mindful of the Sino-Italian link, the trio and maitre d' Pino Piano last week went to the Man Mo Temple in Hollywood Road, where the quartet carried out a bai sun ceremony to give thanks for the success of the restaurant.

Incidentally, anyone up in court on a charge of 'taking without consent' should think of hiring Hoo to defend them. On one leg of a railway tour of Italy to scout out chefs to guest in Va Bene, the three were terribly late arriving at one town. The reception committee had long departed and the station was deserted. Spying the lights of their destination three kilometres distant, Hoo snuck into a shed and took a bicycle from it to rouse their host.

Their relieved restaurateur-host hopped into his car within a minute of Hoo reaching him to pick up the other two - leaving the Queen's Counsel to slog his way back to the station to return the bicycle.

HONG KONG Nuclear Investment announced last week that the Daya Bay nuclear power plant had won the 1994 International Power Plant Award by US publication Electric Power International.

The magazine said 'this accomplishment by a nation new to the nuclear energy community reflects a remarkable ability to overcome major communications difficulties and cultural differences encountered with working with foreign participants'.

If the unthinkable ever happens and Daya Bay nuclear power station spews its contents over the territory and southern China, this will be something for us to recall with pride as a second head begins to sprout on our shoulders.