Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am


An official glimpse of Hong Kong ... through rose-tinted glasses

It's always interesting to see how governments like to project themselves and the territory for which they are responsible in speeches and publications.

There is often a temptation to gild the lily, and the Hong Kong government's This Is Hong Kong, an online e-book, is no exception.

The publication is one of a number associated with the Brand Hong Kong exercise.

This is the project which tries to insinuate 'Hong Kong: Asia's World City' into every minister's speech.

The book starts with an explanation of the dragon logo that is the mark of the brand.

'The blue and green ribbons that extend from the dragon symbolise blue sky and a sustainable environment.'

So we have blue skies all the year round and live in a sustainable environment.

It's a nice thought but wide of the reality. Hong Kong is presented as a thriving hub of all good things - it is free, green, entrepreneurial, international and cultural, with a vibrant night life and a dynamic business environment.

Looking a little closer the section on international schools says that: 'With 48 international schools Hong Kong has more than any other Asian city...' That may be true, but why is the shortage of international school places near the top of every Chamber of Commerce's list of demands for government action?

Under 'Freedom of Expression' we read that we are free to demonstrate and protest, though it forgets to say except when the target is a mainland official.

The section on the trendily titled 'Emissions Caps' talks of 'stringent vehicle emission and fuel standards', which despite being so stringent fall well below the World Health Organisation guidelines for when these emissions endanger public health.

The government clearly feels these issues are important, which is why it tries to convey the impression that Hong Kong is ahead of the curve on matters like roadside pollution.

This, as we all know, is somewhat adjacent to the reality.

Rogue trader is on a roll

The resurgence of interest in rogue traders appears to be paying off big time for Nick Leeson.

A few weeks ago we noted Insurance Times signed him up to speak at its Global Leaders Forum.

More recently The Daily Telegraph reports that Square Mile, the 'luxury lifestyle guide for business executives', is offering 'a one night only' live appearance by the man billed as the 'original rogue trader' at HK$600 a head.

Adoboli's a smart cookie

Alleged UBS rogue trader Kweku Adoboli appears to have won himself a few fans if the voting so far in the annual London's Best Dressed Banker awards is anything to go by.

He is currently in second place, level-pegging with Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England. The winner earns the title and a prize of a ?,500 suit.

His nominee says: 'Adoboli looked classy throughout the investigation ... his fashion taste never once took a downturn.'

Apple chief's bitter streak

Steve Jobs may be gone, but his legacy lives on, and was marked yesterday with the publication of his biography.

While most of us will recall the cool persona that presided over Apple presentations, according to the book he had a wilder side.

The Independent reports that he told his biographer after the launch of an HTC handset he was 'going to destroy Android because it is a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this,' adding he would spend 'every penny of Apple's $40billion ... to right this wrong'.

A BlackBerry life-saver

Anyone who suspects the BlackBerry may be a health hazard could now feel vindicated.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the outage at Research in Motion, maker of the ubiquitous devices, may have saved lives.

It said the number of traffic accidents on the streets of Abu Dhabi fell dramatically during last week's BlackBerry blackout.

In Dubai, the number of crashes fell 20 per cent on the days BlackBerry users were unable to use its service. In nearby Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, the fall was even more dramatic, with the number of accidents plummeting 40 per cent with no fatal crashes at all, the newspaper reported.

Usually there is a traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai, while in Abu Dhabi someone is killed in a crash every two days.

Gadgets a pain in the neck

We are always being told that technology leads the march of progress. However, The British Chiropractic Association says our love of gadgets has also caused many of us to suffer back, neck and shoulder pain, The Times reports.

In a recent survey, the association says that almost a quarter of these ailments occur as a result of gadgets such as smartphones, which lead to people being hunched in unnatural positions. Not surprisingly, there is no mention of the ailments arising from visits to chiropractors.