It appears investment-banking tipsters have feelings too. Michael Taylor, the chief economist of W.I. Carr Securities, was none too happy with Lai See's suggestion that he back his prophecies of peg doom with some cash of his own. Last Wednesday, Mr Taylor predicted that the Hong Kong dollar peg would go within three months. Yesterday we ran a challenge from a 'Long-Time Hong Kong Resident' who is willing to bet Mr Taylor $10,000 that the link will still be in place on December 4. He said three of his friends were willing to throw down similarly priced gauntlets. The reader said he and his betting partners felt the tipster had 'no sense of responsibility towards the community'. Mr Taylor is wounded. 'I take great exception to the charge of not being socially responsible,' he said. 'If someone is going to make such an accusation, they should be willing to put their name to it.' But would he take on his adversaries and throw his money behind his beliefs? Not a chance. 'I have absolutely no interest in taking the bet whatsoever,' he snapped. 'Besides which, as anyone will tell you, I don't have any Hong Kong money.' Picture it: You're in a vehicle that's low on petrol. The driver asks to have the tank filled, only to discover that he doesn't have enough cash to pay for it. So he sheepishly asks his passengers to pass around the hat and settle the bill. Fine if you're a teenager in the back seat of a Honda. Disconcerting if you're a passenger on board a Cathay Pacific 747. Flight 250 from London to Hong Kong was trapped in Moscow airport last week after an emergency landing left its fuel tanks empty. One nervous flyer was awakened by the cry of 'is there a doctor on board?', followed by an announcement that the plane was making an emergency landing in Moscow to save a stricken passenger. In keeping with safety procedures, the fuel was dumped before landing. To the fearful flyer's horror, Russian trucks then towed the plane off and left it lying sideways - across a runway. There the passengers sat, surrounded by the rusting hulks of Soviet aircraft. Then came the announcement of a new problem. The Russians wouldn't let Cathay refuel on company credit. According to a passenger's account, the pilot said: 'They [the Russians] want cash.' Passengers were warned that they might be asked to dig into their wallets, or face the prospect of becoming intimately acquainted with the layout of the Moscow airport. Fortunately, grumbling ground staff finally relented, allowing Cathay to put the petrol on company credit. A spokesman for the carrier denied the Russians had exploited the plane's plight in a bid to gain hard currency. 'It was late at night, and the staff who knew how to settle the bills had gone home,' she said. 'I think they were just worried they wouldn't be paid for it.' Things have come to a sorry pass at Hong Kong PR firm Gavin Anderson and Co, where hostility towards Hong Kong's most influential character, Hello Kitty, has developed into open warfare. An employee at the firm received flowers for her birthday, an enormous bunch topped with an equally imposing stuffed version of the famous feline. Some of her mean-spirited colleagues kidnapped the Japanese cat and proceeded to throw it around the office, subjecting it to a variety of indignities. But allegations of abuse soon reached the boss. Shocked by the brutality of the charges, he hauled the perpetrators over the coals and lectured them on respecting 'cultural differences' in the workplace. As part of their punishment, the guilty were made to have their photo taken with their victim. One of the ringleaders, whose name bears a strong resemblance to Kitty's, is now occasionally addressed by that epithet to remind her of her shame. No word yet on how the incident will affect diplomatic relations with Japan. Some pearls of wisdom from America: Dr Wayne Eisenhart, president of the Entrepreneurial Development Group, has unveiled the secret of improved staff performance. Fear. 'Fear is what can lead to increased worker productivity and business competetiveness,' the modern-day Machiavelli told Chief Executive Asia magazine. He dismissed as useless his past efforts to motivate minions through reward. 'Only when the lay-offs, plant closings and bankruptcies began did workers and managers 'get it'!' he said. The American guru is also an avid fan of acting on instinct. One of his favourite sayings, he boasts, is 'ready, fire, aim!' Certainly an argument for gun control in the United States. He also urges the dangerously contemplative to leap before they look and 'beware paralysis by excessive analysis'. Just as well Dr Eisenhart never took up a career as a school crossing guard.