Spare a thought for the ever-colourful Cecil Chao Sze-tsung and his jolly team at Cheuk Nang Properties (Holdings). While everyone else has been getting into the holiday season mood, the Cheuk Nang folks have been struggling to come to grips with the riveting subject of accounting treatments. The company published a small announcement in yesterday's newspapers regarding the sale of all the issued shares in Resource, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cheuk Nang, to none other than one Cecil Chao Esq. Last month, it was revealed the sale would generate a profit of $77.6 million for Cheuk Nang. It would now appear this figure was too good to be true. Yesterday's announcement revealed the profit had been overstated by some $26.6 million - or more than 34 per cent - and the correct figure should be $51 million. The reason for the slight miscalculation: '. . . inappropriate adoption of accounting treatments by the company.' Whoops! Still, it appears to take more than an 'inappropriate' accounting treatment to stop the wheels of commerce turning. The company is continuing to seek shareholder approval to press ahead with the deal, despite the rather less imposing profit figure it will now reap. A Post colleague has given us a vivid illustration of the effect of the Asian currency turmoil on hip pockets. Before he left on a recent two-day business trip, he picked up a load of Korean won locally at the rate of 140 won to the HK dollar. It seemed like a good deal at the time - but when he arrived in Seoul hours later, a different rate was posted. By now, the figure was 170 won to the HK dollar. A line of four or five employees at exchange counters - waving wildly and even yelling in Cantonese - vied desperately to pick up anything but Korean won for their own bank. Our colleague had no need to buy any currency, but a couple of acquaintances opted to stock up on won. They happily completed their transactions - then watched, crestfallen, as the buying rate immediately changed to 175 to one. It's no secret that airlines have been getting into heavy discounting as tourist numbers on Asian routes have crumbled recently - but even hardened observers have been surprised by the size of some of the price cuts apparently on offer. In the latest instalment in ongoing price cutting, several travel agents around town yesterday were offering a $650 fare on no less than British Airways for its thrice weekly service from Hong Kong to Taipei - way below standard fares. A British Airways spokesman seemed a touch sensitive to suggestions the carrier was getting into significant price cutting - but confirmed that, yes, the carrier was now selling group tickets to Taipei at a rate that would allow such a fare. Why did a huge international aviation conglomerate like BA feel the need to resort to discounting to such a degree? 'When you operate some Asian routes, and everyone else is selling at a certain rate, you move into line with what the market's doing,' the spokesman said. As we breathlessly await the results of the Government's attempt to sell its flats with rather aromatic amenities in Kowloon Bay, reader Yvonne Ng has a suggestion for the Government in case it has any problems offloading them. Surely there'd be plenty of money to be made simply by bottling the air in the flats, and marketing it as the real perfume of Hong Kong. We thought of patenting this idea - but, alas, there is a precedent. Remember the cans of 'colonial air' for sale before the handover, which were marketed as containing '100 per cent pure pomposity'? We're not sure how the air from the fragrant flats would be marketed - but it would no doubt contain much more than pomposity. Hong Kong Shipowners Association executive director Arthur Bowring told us recently he'd heard anecdotally that cruising numbers out of the United States had suffered from the phenomenal success of the movie Titanic. With plenty of shots of people meeting terrible fates in icy water in the movie, the prevailing attitude is apparently that sinking ships are definitely not hip right now. It's all enough to make you wonder what's driving the plans announced a day or two back to build a US$500 million replica of the doomed super-ship. The president of this project's Swiss development company, Walter Navratil is apparently unfazed by any thought of jinxes. He even said the group is planning to call the vessel R.M.S. Titanic: the very same name as its doomed predecessor. We have to confess to being a touch concerned by one boast he reportedly made about the replica, due to be completed in 2002. 'It cannot sink,' he said. Now, where have we heard that before?