• Thu
  • Jul 10, 2014
  • Updated: 8:30pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 7:52am

It's easy to complain in Hong Kong

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've been alerted to a government complaints service that we have never previously heard of. This is the 1823 call centre, which is open around the clock.

Obviously it's not suitable for all complaints. Illegal parking, for example, would not work since people generally park for only a few hours. But we are reliably informed by someone who uses the service extensively that it works. He gets a response and something is done.

The public have a choice as to whether they phone or e-mail. But the downside with phoning is that you are asked which government department you want, and not everyone might know that when complaining about weeds in the pavement they need the Highways Department, or that complaints about rubbish are dealt with by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department .

On the other hand, if you e-mail your complaint to the call centre at Tellme@1823.gov.hk, the complaint is forwarded by the call centre to the correct department. So get cracking - delay no more.

 

Equities and all that jazz

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival kicked off yesterday. It comprises 10 days of readings and events, details of which can be found at www.festival.org.hk/uploads/Image/Programme HKILF12 W2_PO L.pdf.

Hong Kong-based Matthew Ruddick conducted one of the first sessions last night to talk about his 828-page Funny Valentine - The Story of Chet Baker. It's a biography of the legendary jazz trumpeter and singer .

It's Ruddick's first book and took eight years to research and write, partly because he has a day job in finance. He specialises in Japanese equity sales for BTIG, an execution-only broker, which, unusually, in an industry laying off thousands of people, is still hiring.

The book was published by Melrose Books in July and from a swift scan of Amazon and other websites has received universally good reviews. The website all-about-jazz described it as "Grippingly written and meticulously researched", and hailed it as "the definitive biography" of Baker.

As part of his research, Ruddick conducted some 200 interviews with surviving musicians and associates of Baker who died in 1988 at the age of 59.

Ruddick, a jazz lover, told Lai See he fell in love with Baker's music years ago and then became interested in the story of Baker's extraordinary life. He decided to write the book as he felt that other biographies did not do Baker justice in that they depicted his life as one of continual decline from the '50s onwards after he become hooked on drugs. Ruddick says this is unfair and that in the '70s and '80s he produced some of his finest music, "at least as good as, if not better than, the music Miles Davis was playing in these years".

 

The wrong Sany

Sany Heavy Industry, one of China's biggest construction machinery makers, is miffed at being dragged into the row over US President Barack Obama and the wind farms by some media. Obama, perhaps concerned that some voters might think him "soft" on China, has stiffened his China credentials by ordering a mainland-owned company - Ralls Corp - to sell off four planned wind farms to be built close to a naval training camp due to national security risks. Ralls has sued the president for allegedly exceeding his authority and not treating the firm equally as required by law. Sany Heavy Industry says that some media reported that Ralls was a subsidiary. But Shanghai-listed Sany Heavy Industry says this is not the case. Ralls is a related company of Sany Group, which is the parent of Sany Heavy Industry.

 

Valuing Asian brands

Five of the top 10 most valuable Asian corporate brands are from mainland China, according to a recent survey by the European Brand Institute. There are three from Japan and one each from South Korea and India.

China Mobile is the most valuable Asian corporate brand at €43.98 billion (HK$442 billion), followed by ICBC (€24.08 billion), Samsung (€23.04 billion), Toyota (€22.21 billion), NTT (€19.3 billion), China Construction Bank (€18.81 billion), Tata (€16.15 billion), Mitsubishi (€14.72 billion), Agricultural Bank of China (€14.31 billion) and PetroChina (€13.5 billion).
 

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

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