Lai See

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2011, 12:00am


Drive on parting violators is just the ticket

Good to see the police have been cracking down on those who violate traffic regulations.

In a recent blitz they issued 484 fixed-penalty tickets and 71 summonses, which included 294 tickets for illegal parking and 190 for other traffic offences.

But despite this our tycoons, or rather their drivers in their chat yan che (7-seaters), are still able to loiter with impunity outside their favoured places of indulgence. The effect is to clog the streets as traffic is unable to pass and backs up. Black spots include Wellington Street, outside Prince's Building, and outside the old Bank of China Building, which houses the China Club.

The Fook Lam Moon - the tycoon's canteen - in Queens Road East is particularly bad: the 7-seater chariots are sometimes triple-parked at the weekend, and their bodyguards have the cheek to block the pavement while the 'special ones' get into their cars.

Sadly, it is not unusual to see policemen walk past apparently oblivious, or too afraid to give them a parking ticket (or at least move them on).

If the recent campaign marks a change in attitude, and not just a one-off publicity stunt, we may see an end to this obnoxious practice.

Mugabe to retire to HK?

We were pleased to see that Bona Mugabe's graduation day went off well under the eyes of proud parents Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, and his wife Grace.

There was apparently no need for a repeat of the unseemly fisticuffs between bodyguards and press which occurred some years ago.

So what is to become of Mugabe's HK$45 million house, where Bona has been staying while studying for an accountancy degree at City University? It could prove useful for Mugabe's two sons, who are approaching university age and could end up studying in Hong Kong, since much of the rest of the world has imposed sanctions on Mugabe on account of his human rights abuses. However, our national government, which looks after such matters for Hong Kong, is not so sensitive, and anyway China has mining and agricultural interest in Zimbabwe to consider.

The advantage is the degree of protection the house is afforded by the management of the development, the Emperor Group, the conglomerate controlled by Albert Yeung Sau Shing.

Indeed, given that it is so well-appointed, some have even speculated that when Mugabe is done with Zimbabwe, this may well serve as a suitable retirement home.

However, he may find Tai Po rather quiet compared with the thrills and spills of his homeland.

Mark his words

There was an interesting aside from Wilfried Luetkenhorst during a paper he gave at the China Overseas Investment Summit in Hong Kong. He is the managing director of the strategic research, quality assurance and advocacy division of the UN Industrial Development Organisation.

He observed that the label 'Made in Germany' is now recognised as a sign of quality and reliability throughout the world. But it certainly wasn't when it was originally introduced in England in 1887 by way of the Merchandise Marks Act.

The aim was to distinguish products so labelled as inferior to English goods and to encourage the population to buy domestically produced items. The rest as they say is history.

The point of Luetkenhorst's mini-history lesson was the 'Made in China' label. The question he posed for his audience is, will it go the way of the German label? It might very well, but its track record in some areas has been murky, with tainted milk, lead in toys, contaminated toothpaste and cooking oil, and all manner of fakes.

Searching for a silver lining

A press release from Sijia Group landed on our desk the other day describing how sorry the company was about the flooding in Thailand and how it was giving its full support to the Thai people.

Sijia makes raingear, waders, life jackets, lifeboats and so on. 'Now the best way we can help is to meet the huge requirement for lifeboats and raingear products ...'

For a moment we naively thought the company had been donating its products to the people in the affected areas. Not so. 'Since October, the Group has received numerous urgent orders, sharply driving up the export volume ...'

It goes on to say that '[d]uring this event, the brand awareness of Sijia's protective garments ... has been greatly enhanced,' adding 'Sijia sincerely hopes the Thai people can overcome the disaster smoothly and quickly.'

Yeah, right!