Lai See

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 January, 2012, 12:00am


It's tongue in cheek but some do take the fung shui index seriously

It's that time of the year again when stockbroker CLSA rolls out its fung shui index and studies the stock market prospects for the year ahead in fung shui terms. For something that started as a jokey New Year greetings card, the product has done well and is now into its 18th year. It was stopped after 12 years but brought back due to popular demand from clients after a hiatus of four years, and is accompanied every year with presentation lunches for clients in Hong Kong. It is even celebrated in London, Sydney and New York.

You get the sense that CLSA is slightly concerned that some people are taking it more seriously than intended, as it stresses at several points in the report that it's a tongue-in-cheek exercise. Fung shui master for the day Paul Chow admits that since October he has had at least one call a week from clients wondering 'what the Year of the Dragon is looking like'. Others suggest maybe he could devise a property index based on fung shui.

He may be worried his day job as a transport analyst might be converted to something more esoteric. Last year he did the job solo but this year was flanked by two apprentices, one of whom was Emily Lam - the daughter of Lai Sun Development chairman Peter Lam Kin-ngok - who is a dead ringer for Angelina Jolie. She wowed us with her fung shui-based stock picks.

Former Cantor employees sued

To the Court of First Instance where finance firm Cantor Fitzgerald is suing four former senior employees - Jason Boyer for HK$12.4 million, Bradford Ainslie for HK$15.02 million, Brett McGonegal for HK$7.6 million and Uwe Henke Von Parpart for an unspecified amount. According to legal sources, the suit relates to the departure of the four from Cantor Fitzgerald's Hong Kong office to a firm called Mansion House that subsequently became known as Reorient. The trial before Mr Justice Anselmo Reyes is expected to last five days.

Let's hear justice being done

Gordon Hewart, in Rex vs Sussex Justices ex parte McCarthy (1924), coined the expression, 'it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance, that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done'. After Lai See's experience in the High Court yesterday we'd like to add that 'justice should also be heard being done'. It is extraordinary with all the hi-tech equipment available today that those in the public gallery should struggle to hear proceedings. Even one of 'm'learned friends' was moved to invite the witness to speak up. The lawyers involved get access to the simultaneous text presentation of what is being said on a tablet device. We are not asking for rock-band volume but just for the proceedings to be audible.

A poor disconnect on air quality

Edward Yau Tang-wah, our secretary for environment, is fond of saying when discussing air quality objectives that it's useful to have them as a standard but you must also have effective means for achieving them. You never feel that he really gets it. The thinking behind air quality objectives is that if they are exceeded, public health is damaged. Hong Kong's objectives are way below World Health Organisation guidelines so the danger to public health from roadside pollution is much greater than indicated by the Environmental Protection Department's index. But Yau's approach is to say that we should match the objectives to the measures we are prepared to take to improve the air. His actions indicate he thinks it's okay to keep the threat to public health at the current dangerously high levels because he and the government are not prepared to take radical measures to quickly improve air quality.

As everyone knows, the dirty engines in buses and trucks cause 80 to 90 per cent of roadside pollution. These old engines need to be taken off the streets - it's not difficult to achieve. As Civic Exchange pointed out in its report last week, one of the governmental problems is that many years ago the Secretary for Health had oversight over the Air Pollution Control Ordinance and air quality objectives, and could speak with a much stronger voice to the Legislative Council on the dangers to public health of bad air. This disconnect is poor government.

Uncertain and vulnerable

We are disappointed that we won't be able to listen to Hans Timmer, director of the Development Prospects Group at the World Bank, give his talk as scheduled at the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research, which is run by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. We are told he had some difficulties with his visa and was not able to come to Hong Kong. He was due to speak on 'Uncertainties and Vulnerabilities'.