Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 December, 2011, 12:00am


Purple prose observations roil rich into demands for respect

Things have not been going well lately. The government continues to take no notice of our railings against increasing levels of air pollution, and there has been little action against the seven-seater set who continue to double and triple park with apparent impunity regardless of the disruption to traffic they cause. On top of this we've received a rather upsetting response to our reflections on the purple prose press release that accompanied the launch of Bonnie Gokson's new cafe-bar brand C'est la B.

The e-mail comes from a group of Gokson's fans who write, 'We just think you have been too mean and insensitive as there are many out there like ourselves who really enjoy SEVVA and her cakery.' The writer then makes the general observation that since the original press release mentioned that the new cafe-bar was located near a millionaires' row, '... we think may have hyped up your own bitterness to the world drowning in your own sorrow. Why don't you take a breather and live life on a brighter side. We can all see how your resentment shows in your articles, so best to change jobs. HK needs a more positive edge!' As you can imagine we find this deeply hurtful and will endeavour to treat Hong Kong's rich and famous with more respect in future.

An oasis amid parking blitz

Our parking crusade continues with news yesterday that police swooped on Central and went on a ticketing blitz. However, it appears that Glenealy - a particular lunchtime black spot where vehicles are frequently triple parked - went unscathed. We reported earlier this week that the chief secretary's official car was seen double parked there one lunchtime. The next day a reader reported that another 'C' was illegally parked there. A number of readers have suggested we have a name and shame website where the photographs of offending vehicles can be posted - hopefully along with their owners. We are wrestling with the logistical implications of this.

Toasting a timely sale

Good to see that Susan Field has hit the jackpot with the sale of her public relations firm ImpactAsia, a company she started 21 years ago. New York-based Cohn & Wolfe, which is part of the WPP group, has taken over. ImpactAsia initially specialised in the hospitality industry, but has since diversified into such areas as property, art and vehicles. The company has doubled in size over the past two years. However, Field said she would not be riding off into the sunset just yet, as she was locked-in for a number of years. She was coy about how much the firm was sold for. But she said she was very happy with the terms, which took eight months to negotiate. 'Let's just say I can afford to buy a bottle of champagne.'

Russia's big bad bear lashes out

Hong Kong-listed Russian aluminium company Rusal is being accused by Australian journalist John Helmer of getting him barred from Russia where he has lived since 1989. He said Russian authorities revoked his visa in revenge for his 'aggressive reporting' on the company, particularly around the time of its Hong Kong listing, most of which was published on his website, Dances with Bears. The Moscow Times reported that Helmer said he was hounded by Rusal for two years 'because he rejected an offer for cash payments in exchange for favourable articles'. The paper quotes a company as saying, 'Rusal has nothing to do with this.' Helmer was forced to leave the country in September last year, when the Foreign Ministry rejected an application for his one-year correspondent's visa. But it has only recently become public when national media reported the story. Helmer said the only explanation he was given was that he had violated the rules for foreign correspondents although no details were given. His wife, who is Russian, was told by an official that her husband, 'writes bad about our country'.

Steeling oneself for the unkindest cut

All is apparently not well at ThyssenKrupp , Germany's largest steelmaker, which last night called a snap news conference following a meeting of the group's supervisory board, Reuters reported. Apparently, Steel Americas chief executive Hans Fischer is leaving the company after arriving in February from domestic rival Salzgitter. At issue are problems in the new Brazilian carbon steel slab mill, which have already cost the job of senior steel manager Karl-Ulrich K?hler. The crime in question? The slab plant, with an annual capacity of more than 5 million metric tonnes, chose the cheaper Chinese firm Citic over ThyssenKrupp's plant, which was engineered to build the steelmill's three coking plant batteries - a move that led to mistakes in the construction, German language business daily Handelsblatt said.