• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:09am
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 1:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 1:07am

Should Judy Tsui step down from CLP?

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.
 

Should Judy Tsui step down from CLP?

What to make of the sacking of prominent academic Judy Tsui Lam Sin-lai by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University?

Tsui was a professor of accounting and vice-president (international and executive education) at the university. She was dismissed, the university says, after an internal audit found she had neglected to declare HK$1.85 million she had received as an independent non-executive director of CLP Holdings and Shenzhen-listed China Vanke.

The university has strict guidelines on declarations of outside earnings and requires employees to pay some of the money to the university.

We were unable to contact Tsui, but it has been reported that she disputes the university's findings and says she has paid what she owes. The university evidently disagrees, given its action.

So what now for Tsui, who has been a keen corporate governance advocate, as indeed has CLP?

If she has indeed fallen foul of the university's corporate governance standards, how then can she remain as an independent non-executive director?

CLP says: "Professor Judy Tsui has been an independent non-executive director since 2005. Over the years she has made valuable contribution to the board. Currently, she is still a director at CLP."

Then again it is not unprecedented in Hong Kong for someone who has fallen foul of corporate governance standards to hold on to their company directorships and a good deal more. Unlike other Hong Kong worthies, Tsui does not hold many public positions. She is a member of the HKSAR Election Committee and the Committee on the Review of Public Broadcasting. She has served on the Financial Reporting Council and the Hospital Authority.

 

Mental obesity

Obesity, we know, is an affliction mainly of the developed world. But what about mental obesity?

The Financial Times' Lucy Kellaway reports that David Polgar, a US commentator and lawyer, says we are getting mentally obese: "We binge on information, with the result that our brain becomes so sluggish they are good for nothing except more bingeing." This, she says, is the result of too much "cyberloafing".

Even those that supposedly work from dawn until well past dusk, including investment bankers, spend less than half their time on work when in the office. This was from two headhunters at top investment banks.

Furthermore, a study by Kansas State University shows that the average US worker spends 60 to 80 per cent of their time online at work doing things totally unrelated to their jobs.

However, this trend has not gone undetected and there are now software applications to help limit time looking at pictures of people on Facebook or Twitter carrying dogs in baby slings and so on. Most of these apps get a dim review, except one called Focus Booster.

 

Goldman Sex

We are indebted to HereisTheCity for the headline above, and its link to a Bloomberg report about online start-ups that introduce consumers to new products.

These so-called discovery commerce companies have apparently alighted on a new market: sex toys.

Such toys have been available on the internet for years for those that know what they are looking for, but what these discovery companies specialise in, according to Bloomberg, is in attracting the shy but curious. This involves not only content but also coaching.

One such company, AHAlife, was set up in 2010 by a former Goldman Sachs analyst from mainland China, Shauna Mei, who has attracted US$21 million in funding. "We want to focus on sexual enlightenment," she told Bloomberg. "Too many people shy away from learning about a critically important part of their lives."

 

Name game

Those racking their brains on what to call their next Chinese restaurant or noodle shop, or even yacht, should perhaps take a look at www.waiyeehong.com/takeaway-name-generator Click on a button and it will generate a random name while adhering to the formula for Chinese names. So we gave it a whirl and it came up with Beijing Lotus, Golden Chef, Shanghai Fountain. We were not so keen on Asia Orient.

 

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

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