Sterling effort as canny Alison sheds pounds in days

ALISON Dewar, newly arrived in Hongkong from Scotland, decided to move a chunk of her savings to the territory.

So she went to that popular Scottish-run finance house, Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, with GBP500 (about HK$5,500) in cash.

Ms Dewar, of Discovery Bay, asked to open a sterling account at the bank's HQ.

The teller looked at the five GBP100 banknotes, which were Scottish pound notes, and refused to accept them. ''We only take English ones,'' she said.

''But these are sterling notes, and I want to put them in a sterling account,'' said Alison.

The foreign currency accounts department flatly refused to accept the notes, and said she should get them changed.


So she went to the currency changing desk. They changed them into Hongkong dollars, which were then used to buy English pounds to put into her sterling account.

Result: her sterling deposit had lost one to two per cent in the first minutes of its existence.

Unbenownst to Alison, the marauding foreign exchange dealers of the world were at that moment leaping in to crucify sterling, and it promptly lost another five per cent in the following few days.

At the present rate of shrinkage, her savings should self-destruct completely by next month.


Ad lib THE 3A Advertising Agency of Willy Commercial Building, Wing Kut Street, Central, has some interesting slogans, we hear from Richard Milnes-James of Promo Golf Ltd.

The ad firm offers: ''RELIBILITY (sic) - The advertisment (sic) will apper (sic) on the RIGHT ON SCHEDULE.'' If this is an example of their ''relibility'', we wish their clients luck.


Little account PEOPLE in Hongkong who have accounts at Leader Federal Bank in the US are getting a letter, we hear from Fred Fredricks.

It is about a class action lawsuit called Gary And Deborah Utes And All Others Similarly Situated vs Leader Federal Bank For Savings.

The bank lost the fight, and account holders will get the winnings.


But don't embark on a Kevin Egan-style $10,000 victory binge.

The letter says: ''The settlement in this lawsuit became effective in August 1992. As a result of the settlement, Leader Federal has transferred US$00.30 to your escrow account, representing your portion of the settlement proceeds.'' Binges may be on the short side.

Chosen race JENNY Crisp of Island School heard this from a Qantas stewardess friend in Hongkong: A flight was in progress when the flight attendant noticed a disturbance in economy class.


She found that a deeply racist South African had found himself seated next to a black woman and her child.

The horrified man demanded the stewardess find him another seat. He complained that his ''blick'' neighbours smelled bad.

The stewardess told him that all the other seats in economy were full.

At this news, the furious racist demanded she check business class, and the poor black woman burst into tears.

''I'll go and see, sir,'' said the stewardess.

She came back with a smile. ''I've found some space in business class,'' she said.

He grinned and started to unbuckle his seat-belt.

''Please follow me, madam,'' she said to the black woman and her child, and upgraded them.

Canned music KATE Stott of Mid-Levels delivered another amazing Spam factoid: ''The five billionth tin of Spam is to hit the shelves in 1993. Who will the lucky Spam eater be?'' Is ''lucky'' the right word, Kate? Meanwhile, Chris Hutchins of Jersey General International (Hongkong) was on holiday in Davao, the Philippines, when he visited the Apo View Hotel.

There he found a disco revelling in the name Spam's.

Somehow it doesn't quite have the cachet of calling a nightclub ''Caviar'' or ''Bubbly''.

Watering hole THE new regiment in town, the Black Watch, have discovered Stanley and its numerous watering-holes.

They see Stanley Beach with nary a bather on it and immediately strip off to jump into the murky soup. They even chuck each other's wives in.

No one has told them that the water is too polluted to even merit classification.

Needless to say, spectators line up along the seafront to watch these death-defying feats in fascination.

''The word 'black' in their title is no doubt a reference to the hue of their lily-white bods when they emerge,'' a bystander told us.

Canada dry JUSTIN Wu of Winner Co Garments, Granville Road, bought a T-shirt in Canada.

This was designed for Canadians to wear when heading for the United States.

On the front it says: Welcome to the USA. We have Bill Clinton, Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Stevie Wonder.

On the back: Goodbye Canada. We have Brian Mulroney, no cash, no hope and no wonder.