Who would think of Next Media boss Jimmy Lai Chee-ying as a budding philosopher? His weekly column in Next Magazine has become a record of his engagement with Deep Thoughts. It is the most incongruous feature of the tabloid magazine. After the mandatory shots of half-naked Japanese AV girls (LoDown's favourite), which are usually preceded by an expose on the latest prostitution services, the reader is confronted with Mr Lai's musings about such subjects as quantum mechanics and the nature of reality, Friedrich von Hayek, Joseph Schumpeter and the Austrian school of economics. He outdoes himself this week. In a rambling 1,000-word column against mother-tongue education, he manages to drop the names of Jacob Bronowski, Karl Popper, Francis Bacon, Owen Barfield, Plato, Copernicus, Descartes, Laplace, Kant and Newton. Mr Lai then gives a short history of how informal, everyday language evolves into the formal language of science in European history, and how this evolution shapes subjective perceptions into objective measurements. He explains why only scientific propositions in a formal language are 'falsifiable' - 'a la Karl Popper', as he puts it - while deep-sounding philosophical statements are just so much metaphysical humbug. He also gives the longest English quotation in a Chinese publication I have ever seen, one taken from Bacon's Novum Organum. George Soros once said he made billions by applying the philosophical teachings of Popper, but Mr Lai does better - he actually reads Popper for the philosophy. Not bad for an autodidact who never graduated from secondary school!