On Monday, letters arrived at the Discovery Bay home of two Hong Kong journalists, Chris Foley and his wife Cathy Daltry. They were from the management of the Eastern Express, the newspaper which employed them until its final working day, on Friday last week. The couple had both applied recently for pay rises. The letter to Chris said that regretfully, it had been decided that his applied-for pay rise would not be granted. The letter to Cathy congratulated her on her $1,000 pay rise. Well, it's the thought that counts. The fact that absurd letters such as these were sent to staff suggests that the rug was pulled from under the feet of chairman Ma Ching-kwan rather unexpectedly. Chris knew something was up on Friday night last week when the front page was altered at the last minute, with blank spaces left for a secret announcement. (This ploy had been used before to inform the world about staff matters without the courtesy of telling staff.) Suspecting the worst, Chris confronted editor Chip Tsao. Tsao came clean. Yes, the paper was folding. The editor then warned him not to tell anyone, and indicated that if he did, Chris could lose his job. Er, what job was that? A few weeks before its closure, the Eastern Express' electronic data processing department had to re-program the computer with a new password. At least one disgruntled former hack was dialling up, logging on and uploading uncomplimentary stories about the erstwhile chairman into the editorial computers. 'It was great fun while it lasted,' a former employee said. Yamaichi Securities in Tokyo has put a sweetener on the new 10 million yen (about HK$706,300) bond issue for Sapporo Beer, I heard yesterday from Robert Kemp of International Insider. As well as 2 per cent interest a year, investors get eight coupons for cans of actual beer over the life of the bond. I hope the idea catches on. You could get shoes from Le Saunda, jeans from Bossini and so on. What could property firm Cheung Kong give out? A brick each? It's a dog's life being a designer pooch. On Monday, Mitzi, a pug-nosed little mutt, was stuffed into a carrier bag and hauled into a bus on The Peak by her expensively clad mistress. The dog poked its cute face out of the top of the bag, and another designer-clad female human, sitting on the other side of the aisle, started oohing and ahhing. 'Would you like to give him a cuddle?' Peak miss number one said. The other woman nodded and the first one handed the dog over as the bus wound its way down towards Central. Mitzi, clearly annoyed at being manhandled, decided to make her irritation felt. A thin yellow stream decorated the second woman's trousers, shoes and handbag. Other passengers expressed their sympathy for the victim by laughing long and loud. Hilton Shone went to Remy Fine Wines at Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing yesterday. He picked up a couple of bottles of German wine. Hilton: 'Is this dry or sweet?' Staff member: 'Dry or sweet?' Hilton: 'Yes, fruity like a Reisling, or dry like a Chenin Blanc?' Staff member: 'The more the price, the more the sweet.' So there you have it. All the mysteries of oenology boiled down to simple easy-to-remember adage. Wang Jinlu, a friend in Beijing, was looking at his mail. It was addressed to 'PO Box xxx, Beijing, Taiwan.' This is his address, according to a weekly newspaper called The Chronicle of Higher Education. Needless to say, it is from the United States, world capital of non-geographers. The paper arrives, on average, six weeks late, suggesting that it may actually go to the country to which it is addressed en route. 'Perhaps the folks at The Chronicle of Higher Education ought to check their bearings with the folks at The Chronicle of Third Grade Geography,' Mr Wang said. The other piece of mail in the box was an ad urging him to buy The American Export Register. This 'authoritative' two-volume set, 'the leading business source-book', has addressed its pitch to: 'PRC, People's Taiwan'. George Ho, of Stanley, switched on the information channel in Widder Hotel in Zurich and found that it advised him to go 'chopping'. He said: 'I thought this was the exclusive province of Hong Kong public housing residents running amok.' Mary Lou Noonan went shopping (or, as the Swiss say, chopping) in Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, and found a villain had done some chopping himself, slashing open her back-pack with a razor. Fortunately, nothing had been removed. Two days later, she opened her umbrella. It had a perfect, hand-carved frilly trim.