GEM fever is sweeping Hong Kong, and the new market's pioneer profiteers can hardly contain themselves. On Thursday, Timeless Software shares launched and soared. And chairman Cheng Kin-kwan's heart soared with them. Vibrating with the excitement of sudden wealth, a beaming Mr Cheng said that he smelled success the moment he won the GEM Lucky Dip. He told us that until then, he'd never won anything in a draw, 'not even a film ticket'. When he plucked out his GEM stock code for his company, he found himself holding the 'lucky number'. Mr Cheng had been praying for the digits two and eight, because together they sound like Cantonese for 'easy to get rich'. So when his company was encoded as '8028', the chairman was delighted. But not as delighted as ING Barings' managing director Chester Kwok. Timeless is paying his firm an estimated $45 million - 10 per cent of overall proceeds from the initial public offering. A bank spokesman defended the fat fee as 'in line with other GEM companies and comparable with the mainboard.' Perhaps. But when Pine Technology Holdings launched on the GEM a day later, sponsor Core Pacific-Yamaichi Capital took away just 7 per cent. Anyway, we're guessing that ING Barings drew up their bill soon after learning of Mr Cheng's GEM code. That eight and zero at the beginning together sound like 'Barings'. So the Timeless code is Cantonese for 'Barings can easily get rich'. Guess which book this advert describes: 'You've heard the names. Maybe you've seen them speak or even bumped into them at a meeting or convention. But do you know the real stories behind the success of the industry's top celebrities?' Was it: A) Inside Hollywood: An Actor's Guide to the Greats; B) Rags to Riches: An Inside Look at the World's Top Fashion Designers; C) The Greatest Insurance Stories Ever Told. Yep, it's that last one. The tome-on-offer is handsomely bound and crammed with thrilling tales from the James Bond-ian world of insurance salesmen. 'The Greatest Insurance Stories Ever Told is an easy-to-read compilation of the most intriguing stories from the industry's best-known producers,' the ad enthuses. 'You will witness first hand how these innovative and extraordinary agents began and developed their careers. 'You will read about their trials and tribulations as well as their successes. Be inspired and entertained as you read about the incredible lives of . . .' There follows a list of such erotically-charged names as 'Burt Meisel and Alfred Granum'. Fascinating, but Lai See isn't buying. We're saving up for a copy of Into the Mouth of Hell: Great Dental Hygenists of the Twentieth Century. A local reporter called up the Agriculture and Fisheries Department and asked to speak with someone from public relations. The request produced confused noises and a general sense of question marks flowing through the line. 'To deal with the press,' the journo explained. 'Ah,' the civil servant responded. 'You mean Pest Control.' Nice to know our Government officers call it as they see it. More Philosophical Questions to ponder during the week: If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular? Why are they called buildings, when they're already finished? Shouldn't they be called builts? If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is around to hear it, do the other trees make fun of it? Whose cruel idea was it for the word 'lisp' to have an 's' in it? Where do forest rangers go to 'get away from it all'? Why do they sterilise the needles for lethal injections? If 7-Eleven shops are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors? If police arrest a mime, do they still tell him he has the right to remain silent? If all is not lost, where is it? If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?