Could the SAR's esteemed Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa, have been Tung-in-cheek when he gave some bizarre advice to investors to stay out of the market this week? We thought we must have been mistaken when we first heard the remarks: 'I very much hope Hong Kong people who don't know the market well will not invest in the market in such chaotic times. It isn't a good thing.' This seems to be a direct contradiction to what Mr Tung's Financial Secretary, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, said about the Government's Hang Seng Index share purchases: 'These are the blue chips, the finest products which HK can give to the rest of the world and I've acquired them when the HSI was below 8,000, when the P/E ratio was in single digits. This is a good investment.' The stock market: a place to avoid, or a 'good investment'? Sounds like a widening spread in the market positions of leading officials. Fascinating to see the farewell press notice of the owners of China Motor Bus to the Hong Kong travelling public. One sentence must have put a scare up anyone who has suffered a ride in a rickety CMB blue-and-white rattler: 'CMB expresses the hope that the new operators of its routes will continue in the same tradition and take the same pride in giving the travelling public the transport services it deserves.' Help! Remember the London-based bookmaking firm, City Index, that was offering odds about that peg thingummy going by the end of the year? The firm was offering odds of 3-1 for an official devaluation of the Hong Kong dollar by December 31. Well, it seems the volatility of market events in recent days could be about to lead to a shortening of the odds. When we called the firm yesterday afternoon to check on the status of the bet, we were informed by a spokesman that betting had been temporarily suspended. 'It may well be that the price has to be cut - possibly, to 5-2,' he said. At this stage, the firm was waiting just for markets to 'calm down a little bit'. We turned to some market experts - and most were inclined to think that whether the odds were 3-1 or 5-2, the best advice to punters was to avoid a flutter. CS First Boston's Asia-Pacific vice-chairman, Alan Smith, summed the reaction up: 'The odds they're offering are good for them - but I'll save my betting money for a Hong Kong dollar deposit with a local bank.' It seems the bookie firm feels the same way. They continue to allow no bets on the peg staying - suggesting they think it will do exactly that. As a lifelong Luddite, Lai See wasn't too put out to see a new study that found the more hours people spent on the Internet, the more stressed and lonely they felt. In the wake of the sudden global economic downturn, this tendency to develop on-line blues has probably extended from individuals to include the plugged-in wizards of high finance. Many of our hedge-fund traders must feel decidedly off-colour as, every time they call up a graph to find out how an index is faring, they see a line which plunges downwards at an ever-sharpening angle. It's difficult to make light of serious acts of aggression, but there was unexpected amusement for Hong Kongers in North Korea's launch of a missile that passed over Japan on Monday. The name of the North Korean rocket launched was a Daepodong 1. Even gweilos will recognise that this name bears a striking similarity to that veritable fixture of Hong Kong dining life, the dai pai dong . What are the North Koreans playing at? Are they firing cheap, hygiene-challenged Hong Kong open-air cookeries in the direction of sushi-loving Japan? Maybe the meaning of 'germ warfare' is about to be redefined internationally. Never mind vats full of anthrax-raising culture. The biggest threat to humanity could be cauldrons of congee, steamers stuffed with squishy pig's colon and woks awash with chickens' feet. Quote of the week has to go to tennis star Monica Seles who rang the opening bell for Wall Street on Monday, when the Dow Jones recorded its second-largest points loss in history. 'It's not my fault. I did my part. When I left it was up 43 points,' she said. Ah yes - but a moment after she left, someone hit a drop shot.