One police car enough to make tycoons park elsewhere
We see that the long arm of the law swooped into action following our item last week about traffic tailbacks along Hennessy Road due to double parking outside the Fuk Lam Moon restaurant, the 'tycoon's canteen' in Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Our man on the spot at Monday lunchtime reports that there were no tycoon-mobiles parked in the vicinity of the Fuk Lam Moon. There was just one small police car parked outside with not a policeman in sight. One car that attempted to park near the restaurant was immediately pounced on by not just one traffic warden but two, and the car was moved on. The whereabouts of the driver of the police car were unknown - maybe dining inside. Just goes to show a small police presence goes a long way.
Not giving a damn about Dickens
It was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens yesterday and this event was celebrated around the world - notably, but not exclusively, in England. There were various memorial services and celebrity readings of his works.
The British Council organised a 24-hour Global Dickens Read-a-Thon, which took place in 24 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe beginning in Australia with a reading from Dombey and Son. Hong Kong, however, seems to be taking the event pretty lightly, no doubt saving its best for when the arts hub eventually opens in West Kowloon. We inquired if The Excelsior was having a celebration, since the Dickens Bar in its basement is named after the writer. The bar, we understand, is undergoing renovations in preparation for the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.
First as tragedy, then as farce?
The Greek tragedy currently baffling audiences around the world should by now have reached its high point. But the show goes on. The Guardian turned to Theodore Pelagidis, professor of economics at Piraeus University for some enlightenment.
'This is not about not accepting the bailout, but about politicians wanting to convince Greeks that they have not just submitted to the demands of foreign lenders but done their utmost to get the best deal. Yes, there are a lot of painful details that have to be discussed but all these delays are actually part of a show.'
The paper also quoted a Greek finance ministry official on the consequences of a bankruptcy for the country: 'It will make Argentina look like a picnic.'
One curiosity: the Athens stock market is up 25 per cent this year.
Historian gives straight-talk on EU
There is more analysis on Europe from Harvard historian Professor Niall Ferguson, who was interviewed on Britain's Channel 4 TV.
'Anyone who is in any doubt at all about German dominance of the EU has stopped reading newspapers. The decision-making process is dominated by Germany. Remember Nicholas Ridley [the British trade and industry secretary] who was fired in 1990 for saying that economic and monetary union was a German racket to take over Europe? Someone should apologise.' But he agreed it wasn't really a German plot. 'It would be more historically accurate to say it was a French plot to circumscribe Germany which was bound to go wrong.'
Goldman Sachs seeks girl power
Goldman Sachs is going out of its way to attract teenage girls. The firm, according to efinancialcareers.com, is approaching girls who are taking their A-levels in Britain and inviting them for interviews. The reason is that banking is not that popular a career with women, who make up only 20 per cent of the bank's graduate trainees. Indeed, only 22 per cent of those registered with the financial services regulator in Britain are women. Maybe Goldman thinks that employing more women will enhance its appeal.
Get a free ride with Garuda
Indonesia's national flag carrier Garuda is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Hong Kong with an unusually generous scheme. It is offering return tickets to 11 of the airline's destinations from Hong Kong: Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Yogyakarta, Lombok, Sydney and Melbourne. To enter go to www.facebook.com/GarudaIndonesiaHK, click on 'like' Garuda, fill in a participation form, then guess a blurred 4-digit flight code. The airline says: 'Prizes are being given away daily to the first five entrants who enter the code correctly until February 12.' Somewhat ominously, the airline says in its accompanying blurb that it was recognised as 'Most Improved Airline 2010' by the influential Skytrax rating agency in the 2010 World Airline Awards. Improved from what and to what? Lai See wants to know.