It's enough to give you indigestion
We hear reports of traffic management madness in Wan Chai. A reader writes of heavy police and traffic warden presence at the corner of Hennessy and Luard roads at 9.15am a few days ago. Three motor cycle police and eight traffic wardens were furiously directing traffic and stopping cars from unloading passengers. But things were back to normal by lunchtime in Johnston Road near the Fook Lam Moon restaurant- aka 'the tycoon's canteen'- where there was a long line of double-parked tycoon-mobiles. The splendid white Rolls-Royce in our picture was conveniently double-parked just past the Fenwick Street junction, making it difficult for buses and cars to turn into Johnston Road and forcing them to cross double white lines and block the trams. This led to a massive tailback into Hennessy Road. By this time the police and wardens had disappeared, leaving the tycoons to eat in peace.
Madness in their method
One of the dangers of writing to one of the government's more technically inclined departments is the high probability of an incomprehensible reply. A reader wrote to the Census and Statistics Department as she was puzzled as to why, every quarter, she was asked to fill in a Labour Questionnaire even though she is a sole proprietor, that is, a single-person business which, by definition, has no employees. Here is the department's reply: 'The sample selection of the Labour Earnings Survey is carried out in accordance with a scientific, probability-based method. It adopts a replicated rotational sampling design with an overlapping feature. Each establishment, regardless of employment size, has a non-zero chance of being selected. Large establishments have greater chance of being selected, and some of them are selected as certainty cases because of their significance to the estimation. Small establishments, including those with one person only, have a lower chance of being selected.'
Despite or because of this detailed response our reader remains unenlightened as to why, despite 'the non-zero chance' of being selected, she is still asked to fill out the form every quarter.
Stroke of good luck
The Daily Telegraph reports that a graffiti artist who decorated the walls of Facebook's headquarters seven years ago is set for a US$200 million windfall when it makes its IPO. David Choe, 35, reportedly thought the social network was 'ridiculous and pointless', but nonetheless accepted a few thousand dollars worth of shares as payment when he was commissioned by Sean Parker, Facebook's then president. The decision will make Choe one of at least 1,000 early employees and advisers who were rewarded in shares and are now set to cash in. Singer Bono, who invested US$120 million in Facebook through a special purpose vehicle, also stands to make squillions.
Good to see that the human touch is alive and well at Apple. Tony Hart, a photographer and Apple customer, e-mailed Apple CEO Tim Cook to express concern about his new hire, The Daily Telegraph reports. Apple recently appointed John Browett, the CEO of the UK electronics retailer Dixons, to run its portfolio of 300 hundred Apple stores worldwide. Hart wrote: 'Now, I don't know John or his career in the least, but as a UK customer, I am familiar with Dixons and the DSG group that owns them and similar other stores. They have a spectacularly bad reputation and are considered to be one of the worst retailers in the UK in any market.' Soon after comes a reply from Cook: 'I talked to many people and John was the best by far. I think you will be as pleased as I am. His role isn't to bring Dixons to Apple, it's to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction.'
Lay off poor Fred
There's been a mixed reaction to stripping former RBS boss Fred Goodwin of his knighthood. Michael Fowke of the blog Money is the Way writes: 'Let's strip all the bankers of everything they have. Let's take away their honours, their bonuses, their salaries, their houses, their cars, their nice suits, their watches, their wives, their husbands, their girlfriends, their boyfriends (whatever), and even their children. Then we can all live in North Korea and ... starve to death.' He thinks Goodwin received harsh treatment since, although he wrecked a 'perfectly good bank', he hasn't been charged with any offence, nor has the Financial Services Authority banned or fined him.
He suggests if Goodwin wants to redeem himself he should follow time-honoured tradition and go into exile and fight for Greek independence (from Germany).