CATHAY has really put the sherbert in the swimming pool now. After Henry Fan's outburst in Wednesday's Post, top Cathay gweilo Rod Eddington decided something simply had to be done. Cathay's image was falling fast. Falling faster than that plane loaded with tourists on the Bali run last month that hit some turbulence. Not only was the British-backed airline facing competition from an official arm of the future sovereign of Hong Kong, but 'partner', Citic, had suddenly started disagreeing publicly with Rod over the future of the airline industry here. It would not have taken a genius to figure out something needed to be done. Yesterday, Rod had a try. His PR called Henry up and suggested the best thing for everyone's share price was for the two of them to put out some form of joint statement. Readers will be familiar with the type of thing - best of pals . . . excellent airline . . . no danger of unfair competition . . . committed to Hong Kong and to each other and so on and so on. Henry was in no mood to play. 'If you put out a statement, then we might put out one of our own. We have the right of reply,' we understand his officials said. It is all terribly unfortunate for Rod. It isn't Cathay's fault that Citic has rather riled certain parties in Beijing with talk about strong Hong Kong governments standing up to the cadres. And it isn't Rod's fault that Henry Fan is in no mood to be caught siding with a gweilo organisation like Cathay during the inevitable shouting matches with his political masters. But it is Rod's fault that he keeps shooting his mouth off and saying there's only room for one airline in HK and it is Cathay. Why doesn't Cathay make a New Year's resolution: Stop claiming that you are anything like 'The Heart of Asia' and stop pretending you aren't terrified of what the future holds. Trees are snobs SOME environmentalist types are seeking to save their tree-friends this Christmas by not sending out cards. All very laudable. But not so smart if they decide to take out quarter-page adverts in a newspaper or send faxes instead. A quarter of a million papers times a quarter of a page, let's see that comes to . . . a lot of paper. Lai See is on-the-record sceptical about all this environmental nonsense. When was the last time anyone saw a tree going out of its way to help anyone? Never, is the answer. It doesn't matter how much time you spend hugging a tree, it will remain completely cold and indifferent to you. Suisse miss CREDIT Suisse, how's the China aircraft deal going? You are freaked out about us knowing, aren't you? In that case you should take better care of your faxes because at the moment loads of them are being sent to Greg Paull of Bates Advertising at his home. In a follow-up to our tale of Citibank and its 'confidential' faxes, he contacted us. 'Nine months into my new apartment and telephone number, I am still getting confidential faxes meant for Credit Suisse,' he said. 'This is despite me re-faxing them, telling them the numbers have changed etcetera and so on. 'I'm in advertising, not banking, but I've probably got enough information on putting aircraft deals together in China to change industries.' He used to get two or three faxes a day. It is now down to two to three a week. Right now, Greg is keeping details to himself. But if you don't wake up he's going to take out a full-page advert and publish your little secrets. Leeson Lager BANK-BREAKING Nick Leeson is in the slammer but his name lives on. A few of his former colleagues clubbed together and ordered 100 cases of Leeson Lager - actually the very fine Crooked Island Ale brewed up by South China Brewery. The Leeson labels feature Slippery Nick at Frankfurt Airport, his days on the run ended. 'Probably the most expensive beer in the world,' the label says, adding '88888 Reserve' to commemorate the secret account in which Nick hid his losses. We'd like to give the people behind it a name check as all-around good eggs but we can't. It seems their employer isn't seeing the funny side of the thing at all and is putting some heavy pressure on the ale architects. The pressure is despite the fact that the label does not mention the company and has been arranged completely privately among friends for friends. Talk about sense of humour failure. Leave 'em alone you bullies, or Lai See will scrag the firm unmercifully for the whole of 1996, which we would hate to do. Winter tip WEIRD things happen in Hong Kong all the time. But it cannot be true that Consolidated Electric Power Asia is sending Christmas cards which feature a power station in the background and 'Santa swanning in with a string of coal cars in tow', as a Cepa client reader claimed to us. 'Considering the situation at Pagbilao [completed but no coal] this may be the only hope they have of getting coal,' he said. Or perhaps managing director Stewart Elliot planned all year on getting coal in his stocking, he said. Lai See suggests Cepa forgets about coal and just burns Hopewell warrants. This week Nomura issued 80 million Hopewell warrants with an exercise price of $3.8475. There are already six issues out there and the only one which isn't underwater is the Credit Lyonnais '97 warrant with a strike of $3.90. The stokers can start with WI Carr's issue, which will explode on January 30 next year: exercise price $6.50. Those were the days.