Swire Group

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 January, 2012, 12:00am

Scared Donald may have bigger agenda in Davos

Good to see our chief executive Donald Tsang making it onto a world stage and sharing it with the likes of IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, Britain's finance minister George Osborne and Canada's central bank governor Mark Carney. And what did Donald tell the world? 'I've never been as scared as I am about the world.' They must have been wowed by that at Davos.

What was Donald doing there? Maybe he was using it to showcase his talents in the hope that some new job prospect will emerge, since his present job ends on June 30. He will be out of work, though, as one of the world's highest-paid leaders, not out of pocket. But what's next for him? Will he settle into genteel retirement in Hong Kong or join his brother on the board of New World or some other property company? Unlikely. We think Donald may have his eye on a directorship or two in a part of the world he may find more congenial, where people won't be taking unkind potshots at him. So we would not be surprised to see him hot-tailing it to London as fast he can once he's done here and dusting off that knighthood that's been lying around unused for so long.

Cathay's storm in a coffee pot

We are still feeling the irritation from Cathay Pacific's handling of the recent celebrity chef incident. Cathay agreed to pay out an astonishing HK$40,000 to Wong Wing-chee and his five travelling companions in addition to an upgrade for the chef. Cathay's initial offer of HK$10,000 was dismissed after Wong threatened to go to Apple Daily. A number of readers have expressed their annoyance at what they feel was a less than satisfactory response from Cathay when dealing with their complaints compared with the airline's meek handling of the celebrity chef's threats. A reader, who is a diamond Marco Polo club member and was travelling in business class, writes that during a flight from London to Hong Kong, a male flight attendant hit his son on the head with a coffee pot. 'When I e-mailed the incident to CX, they first ignored it. Then they offered my seven-year-old son air miles!' As many people have observed since the chef incident, he writes: 'We should have contacted Apple Daily.'

Wee New Year greetings

We have received an unusual New Year greetings card. It's a magnified image of the world's smallest Lunar New Year card, produced 'to celebrate Scotland and China's continued partnership in innovation'.

The card is made possible, it tells us, by ground-breaking nanotechnology and was produced by Professor David Cumming and Dr Qin Chen at the University of Glasgow. The card cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is so small that 21,600 of them could fit on an area the size of China Post's 36mm-by-36mm 2012 Chinese New Year commemorative stamp. The card comes with a message: 'Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2012. Happy New Year from Scottish Development International, Introducing the World's Smallest Chinese New Year Card'

The sender, demonstrating that famous Scottish wit, observes: 'Another fine example of Scottish innovation, this time in nanotechnology, and an appropriately thrifty size of lunar greetings for the sender, the Scottish Government!'

Fuel for thought

A reader suggests a market-based solution to our story last week about illegal fuel outlets in the New Territories, which despite the long queues of trucks have mysteriously escaped the attention of the authorities. He suggests that going after the buyer can be more effective than trying to find the seller. Impound every vehicle that fills up with illegal fuel - 30 days for the first offence, and 60 days for the second. This he feels will lead to a rapid decline in demand. True - but only if someone gets off their backside and starts prosecuting.

To be perfectly franc...

The Sunday Times man in Davos reports that not every delegate to the Swiss talkfest is a master of the universe, as demonstrated by an incident surrounding the packed check-in desk at the posh Belvedere Hotel as delegates were arriving. There was a minor panic among a group of Americans, the paper reports, with one of them exclaiming: 'Jesus, this euro situation is way worse than we thought. They won't even take them here.' There was a pause as his neighbour explained that Davos was in Switzerland, which has its own currency, the franc. 'I knew that,' the delegate said to guffaws from the crowd.