The annual Hungry Ghosts Festival - southern China's closest approximation to America's Halloween - was celebrated yesterday with its usual array of offerings to the dearly departed. And Lai See suspects there may be more than a few investors around this morning who look as if they have seen a ghost. A number of Chinese H-share companies - seven at last count - were due to release profit results by last night, after what has been a pretty tough market run for their investors in recent months. The most notable of the H-share operators scheduled to come in with results yesterday was Shanghai Haixing Shipping. None too optimistic Haixing representatives already have warned the market the mainland's interest rate rises during last year would have 'an adverse effect on the company's results and cash flow from 1995 onwards'. The story from other H-share entities has not been much rosier. Unkind market observers with time on their hands have been speculating about what the 'H' in H-shares stands for, in the context of yesterday's after-death theme. Most of their suggestions have involved the word 'hell'. While on the subject of yesterday's festival, two interesting tidbits. A Post colleague was spotted frantically trying to call a removalist to change the delivery time for new furniture her husband had purchased. A Tuesday evening delivery originally had been teed up - but there was considerable concern the hungry spirits might feast their eyes on the newly delivered woodwork. The other yarn involves an advertisement for a mobile phone company featured prominently in last week's edition of a widely circulated glossy weekly magazine. Included in the full-page spread was a detachable cardboard version of a state-of-the-art mobile phone. Apparently, some locals hoarded copies of the advert because they felt they would be ideal for the Ghost Festival ritual of burning paper models of all manner of goods for the departed to use. No word yet on whether anyone has received calls from the other side. A rather cryptic poster is on display in Beijing at present. According to the display - spotted by Bill Stieg, an alert reader in the mainland capital - 'The 10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health' is about to start. Lai See is eagerly awaiting the next World Conference on Government or Efficiency. All manner of self-made experts have been putting in their two-bob's worth lately on how to improve the MTR. Such riveting subjects as slippery seats and ventilation systems have made headlines in the wake of recent difficulties - including breakdowns - plaguing the 16-year old system. One little issue which seems to have escaped the notice of most is the current procedure for escaping the train in a crisis. A colleague took a look at emergency exit directions while heading to Quarry Bay one morning, and noted down the six-step procedure for such a crisis. Complete with diagrams, it goes like this: 1, Pull; 2, Pull; 3, Push; 4, Lift; 5, Push; 6, Exit. Now try remembering that if there is a power failure and you can't actually see the directions. By these standards, even the old 'look, pull, punch, shout' routine for World War II paratroopers looks positively simple. Nury Vittachi is on holidays. On the lookout for ways to get rich quick? Look no further than your local Coca-Cola vending machine, if the experience of a thirsty punter is any guide. Our reader - who dons the cloak of anonymity - paid a visit to a Coke machine at Wan Chai Law Courts in search of refreshment. Unfortunately, he had what local franchise operator Swire Coca-Cola HK termed in its letter of apology as a 'no vend' experience. Being rather outdated when it comes to hip-speak, your correspondent has never come across this term before. Apparently, it means the machine swallowed our reader's coins without giving up any of its liquid gold. It is reassuring to know Swire Coca-Cola's vigilant technicians were deployed to 'inspect the vender' and that 'under normal conditions 'no-vend' occurrence is unusual'. Most heartening is the compensation payment our reader received. Alfred Sit and his team at Swire Coca-Cola's full service vending department clearly know how to handle customer complaints and generously repaid every last cent of the $3 our reader lost to the machine. Not only that, but the $2 and $1 coins were wrapped in a red, Lai See-type wrapper that accompanied the letter - just to drive home our reader's rare fortune.