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  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 3:10pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 September, 2012, 7:13am

Campaign against illegal parking is anything but fine

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

We have been flagging in our campaign against illegal car parking. The police may say the number of tickets they have issued for illegal parking have increased, but the overwhelming anecdotal evidence is that there is very little prospect of getting fined.

A reader tells of an annoying experience he underwent when attempting to drop off elderly relatives at the drop-off bay for Hong Kong Park at the end of Justice Drive - the only access to the park for the not very mobile.

He writes: "Despite the fierce signs threatening immediate prosecution/removal without warning, inevitably I could not get anywhere close, because the bay was full of chauffeurs sleeping in their vehicles, with other waiting cars effectively double-parked - causing, of course, a long, slow-moving queue of traffic. Given that it takes some time to unload the elderly, I could not just stop and block the remaining road space - and it would have been unsafe. When I asked the driver of one of the parked cars to move along so I could unload, I was of course looked at as if I was completely mad."

We would like to reiterate our suggestion that since the police and traffic wardens cannot be bothered or have more important things to do than to issue parking tickets, Hong Kong should outsource this business.

Wine whine re-evaluated

Some months ago, we wrote somewhat mockingly about English sparkling wine and expressed incredulity that such wines had been rated higher than some champagne in blind tastings. Subsequently, we were given a bottle of Ridgeview Cavendish 2008. Drinking this was a hugely enjoyable experience and has banished forever the wry amusement that has met suggestions that we should consider drinking English sparkling wine.

We understand that Nyetimber, the sparkling wine that was served on the royal barge - the Spirit of Chartwell - during Queen Elizabeth's recent diamond jubilee celebrations is now also available in Hong Kong. Like Ridgeview, it has won prizes and is regarded as superior to some champagnes.

Running from the truth?

We see that Paul Ryan has given new meaning to "running mate". US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney chose Ryan last month to be his running mate in the upcoming November presidential election.

But it is running of a different kind that got Ryan into a spot of bother recently. In a radio interview, it transpired he used to run marathons, and he said his best time was "under three, high two. I've had a two hour and fifty-something."

However, it transpires this was untrue and that he actually took just over four hours. This has raised a ruckus over whether he was lying or misremembered himself. The New Yorker asks: "Is the potential vice-president the sort of person who lies congenitally?"

This is embarrassing for Ryan, since he is the Republican Party's poster boy for honesty. It reminds us slightly of matters closer to home and the confusion that overcome political figures when asked about whether their dwellings have any unauthorised structures. Does it matter? Well, yes, in a way.

If pigs could fly

We nearly fell off our chair when a press release landed on our desk announcing the winner of the 10th Yahoo Emotive Brand Award, airline category, for 2011-2012. The winner, we are told, "has been dedicated in providing the best quality service and superior travel experience to every passenger".

The winner was Hong Kong Airlines. A lot of people wonder how this airline even stays in business. We have received complaints from disgruntled passengers about its practice of abruptly cancelling flights. There was considerable disenchantment with the way it organised its flights after Typhoon Vicente. It owes money to the Airport Authority, which has stopped it from using the airport's air bridges, which means passengers have to be bussed to the terminal. The Civil Aviation Department has refused it permission to increase the number of flights it operates.

The press release, it has to be said, comes from Hong Kong Airlines. How did it win the award? "All awarded brands were selected by netizens with their online votes." This, the airline says, makes "the award results highly representative and credible".

Alas, it does not.

 

Contact Us Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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