• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 4:23pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 8:23am

Tycoons' court cases are a bit rich

Our entertainment industry may be in the dog house, but our city is providing real-life amusement to the rest of the world, thanks to some of the wealthiest people in town. We have, it seems, become a reality show - you just can't make this stuff up - with the main actors being our tycoons, their children and grandchildren. You'd think with the money they have, they could buy the best education to make themselves smarter, or at least have more common sense.

Alas life is not so easy.

As shown in a lawsuit filed in a US District Court in Boston, Gerald Chow King-sing, the executive director of giant jewellery chain Chow Sang Sang Holdings, and his wife Lily are seeking the refund of US$2.2 million from former Harvard visiting assistant professor Mark Zimny, now an education consultant. The money was apparently handed to the consultant to grease "the admission wheels" of a prestigious US university, preferably Harvard, for their two sons.

Why not just donate the money directly to Harvard? Well, Zimny, according to an Associated Press report, allegedly claimed there was "embedded racism" against Asian donors at many top universities and it was more effective to work through a middleman like himself.

You will be glad to learn that for his business smarts and intellect, Chow was an adviser to the Central Policy Unit, the government's influential think tank.

Meanwhile, wealthy businessman David Chor Ki-kwong has filed a writ in the High Court in a bid to have Life of a Hong Kong Tai Tai, a short documentary featuring his wife and family, removed from YouTube. He has asked for an injunction against its distribution, claiming CCTV journalist Lorea Solabarrieta had breached confidentiality. The 12-minute clip shows his wife showing off their Ferrari, having a pedicure and manicure, exercising in a gym and shopping at brand-name stores. It had few viewers for months until the media reported on the case. It has now been viewed more than 50,000 times.

Unfortunately, Sacha Baron Cohen, of hit comedy Borat, won't be able to play Chow or Chor. He is already due to make a movie based on Cecil Chao Sze-tsung's offer of half a billion Hong Kong dollars to any man who can win the heart of his lesbian daughter, Gigi Chao.


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This article is now closed to comments

Sad to see that not only did Chow hire Zimny to do his boys' work, he hired his company to do his as well. According to invoices filed as part of the court case, when Gerald Chow did his MPA at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government someone from Zimny's company attended class and did the readings and summarized them for Chow, as well as writing all his papers for him. I wouldn't be surprised if Harvard rescinds his degree.
Posting on behalf of a reader by email request:
"I take notice of the failing in acceptance at Harvard of two Hong Kong students because it happened to me too in 1975. Shortly after I sent out my portfolio and application forms, I received a letter from Harvard's admission office written in a chasten tone that I shouldn't have omitted my signature at the end of my letter. Later on instead of an acceptance letter as I hoped to get, I was informed regretfully that my application for a Master Degree in Architecture was being turned down.
I thought it was pretty straight forward conclusion that I was rejected by Harvard. Harvard is always looking out for business minded acumen in whatever field may be. It is clear to the admission committee that I was too sloppy to be qualified (I still am) as one.
Nevertheless, I was at the same time got acceptance from Yale and Columbia which were the only remaining schools I had applied. I thought it was a bit odd that Harvard ranking behind Yale for its architectural program that Harvard didn't take me in like Yale did.
My analysis of the situation came down to reveal something more than business acumen component. I came to aware I might have picked a wrong color for my portfolio's sectional pages: I did it in royal blue color. I only came to know later that many US universities are color coded perhaps by tradition. So while I missed Harvard's crimson I accidentally got my royal blue right for Yale. (to be continued)
If it is truly what important factor of my being ignorance in the culture including the rivery between Harvard and Yale. My unintended mockery might also be so sensitively interpreted by Harvard's admission committee. I was ignorant and Harvard was mean.
Still I must think Harvard's rejection was on the mark.. After all, I failed several times in the course to set up my own practice. I lack business sense just as Harvard saw through my problematic letter it had received. Maybe Harvard is half mean to me.
My personal experience apart, do US colleges discriminate Asian donors to name building after their name just as a rule for other donors? What could be true only because a case that had turned sour. The Hong Kong tycoon Gordon Wu retracted his donation to Princeton University, his alma mater of a new Engineering Building naming after him. It happened in the 1980s which I hadn't followed to know how the case had ended.
Gordon Wu's many adventures including in mainland's highway investment, Thailand's urban railway and Hong Kong's Wanchai property development all met difficulties. I don't think Harvard would accept Gordon Wu if he apply with or without promise of a future donation.
A Reader


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