NAPOLEON was probably the last chap to make such a big turnaround. He reached the gates of Moscow before starting back towards France. Fortune magazine has now made its bid to enter the history books with an astonishing, and rather peculiar, editorial signed by the managing editor, John Huey. 'As you can see from the 1935 picture of a Japanese silk factory Fortune has been covering Asia for a long time,' he begins, and we have to agree on this point. Asia was barely populated or civilised before then. 'With that in mind we are dispatching one of the smartest, most qualified Asia hands to open a Fortune bureau in Hong Kong,' he continues. Realising that this is going to cause the odd eye-brow to twitch after a recent article entitled The Death of Hong Kong, Mr Huey sets the record straight. 'We still expect dramatic change there,' he writes, 'But nothing in our story ever implied that Hong Kong will disappear as a key economic centre' But didn't the article comment: 'The naked truth is the future of Hong Kong can be summed up in two words: it's over'. That's three words, but never mind. The article went on to say that Hong Kong's 'role as a vibrant international commercial and financial hub' was 'indisputably dying'. And it suggested that the People's Liberation Army already had cut deals with the triads and representatives of the two would soon be strolling arm in arm through Central. And so it went on, for 4,224 words, even though almost all of the people quoted, both Hong Kong residents and expatriates, disagreed with the thesis. With the army facing the other way, Mr Huey turns to his new correspondent, Karl Schoenberger. 'Karl sets sail with a steamer trunk full of credentials,' he writes. Like a Stanford degree in Japanese language and literature, which is really going to be handy in those Lan Kwai Fong sushi bars. Mr Huey offers proof of Mr Schoenberger's reporting skills. 'He has so far managed only a brief house-hunting trip to Hong Kong, but he managed to file a small update on the outlook for the Japanese stock market,' Mr Huey writes. This shows reporting skills that have turned Business Post colleagues green with envy. No doubt the Fortune man in Moscow is filing an update on the London FTSE Index even as we write. Elsewhere, Mr Huey describes his correspondent's wife as a 'bonus' - she's got a job with Fortune now. It seems the magazine has already learned to love nepotism, which it warned about in its original article. And Mr Huey even puts a for sale advertisement in for Mr Schoenberger's house. Very odd. It can't be a solicitation for a bribe, so why is it there? Dog doesn't bite dog - except when dog is leung tau seh - Mr Schoenberger will explain it to you Mr H. Pain letter CRAIG Shergold, as every Lai See reader knows, is alive and well. In fact he is a strapping teenager who is no longer ill and no longer has any interest in receiving get well cards - and he never had any interest in receiving business cards. But that doesn't stop people like Anson Chan from circulating a stupid chain letter about him wanting business cards. Despite a largish news story to this effect, Anson's copy of the letter has continued to circulate in Hong Kong and has gone through the Health Department, lots of doctors and nurses, most of Swire, and a police chief superintendent - presumably not a detective. Phone bilks AS predicted (Lai See October 13), Hongkong Telecom wasted no time in firing off explanations for the fact that some of its bills bear as much relation to reality as an article in an American magazine. John Leonard and others received bills explaining that the call times were 'erroneously printed', but that the charges were correct. 'Sounds like classic doublespeak to me,' John Leonard, who has a suspicion what the company really means is that the much-vaunted Dragon computer works about as well as a chocolate wok. Mr Leonard also has been billed for calls made from the United States to here on his account. Strangely, every one lasted an exact number of minutes. We reckon Mr Leonard will be equally impressed with the notice that Hongkong Telecom's mobile division, Telecom CSL, is sending to customers. 'Please be informed that during the Guangzhou Autumn Trade Fairs the call charge for roaming services will be revised from $4 a minute to $6 a minute within Guangzhou.' 'They don't miss a trick do they?,' telecon - oops, we mean telecom - spotter Mike Saunders said. Hard to swallow PRIVATISATIONS are flavour of the month right now. Fountain Set has been forced to drop its plan, but straight into the breach comes East Asiatic Co and General Electronics. East Asiatic floated in 1987 at $1.65 and has been as high as $3 a share in the past couple of years. Of late, the shares have languished about the 80 cents mark and in the past financial year the ancient trading firm made a whopping loss. The speculation is that acquisition of a stake in Heidelberg printer distributor Modern Printing was less profitable than expected. Nevertheless, the buy-back price of $1.10 is not considered generous as the firm is felt to have reached the bottom of its cycle in major trading areas. General Electronics was floated in the same year as EAC at $1.38. The controlling Fang family trousered about half the cash raised. Now, a buy-back offer has been made at 47 cents a share. Considering it has been making steady profits, this seems a bit of a kick in the teeth to the people who filled the Fangs' pockets. It will be interesting to see how the advisers to the minority shareholders tell investors to act. We can expect some gnashing of teeth if they recommend acceptance.