HSBC boss wistfully recalls his youth and a different sort of float Finally. A corporate social responsibility campaign that could really make a difference. Yesterday, some of the powers that be in this town launched the Harbour Business Forum to protect Hong Kong's raison d'etre from further reclamation. Forum spokesman and new HSBC chairman Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen borrowed a page from Mark Twain, as he waxed rhapsodic about the waters of his youth. 'I vividly remember seeing pieces of bamboo tied together into makeshift rafts and anchored along the shore of Shamshuipo,' Mr Cheng (below) said, recalling his 1950s childhood. Like a latter-day Huckleberry Finn, young Vincent and his mates would steal aboard these rafts at night. 'I also remember - and I hope I don't end up in some sort of trouble for saying this - my friends and I would often borrow these rafts,' Mr Cheng said. 'We would venture at night, with our home-made fishing rods in hand, and we would spend hours catching fish.' Surviving Shamshuipo fishermen who lost a bamboo raft or two 50 years ago are encouraged to contact Mr Cheng's office for compensation. But considering his prominent role in this good cause, we trust all will be forgiven. ******** The Harbour Business Forum's patron members, by the way, include BNP Paribas, Citic Pacific, HSBC, Jardine Matheson, Kadoorie Group, Kerry Holdings, Lai Sun Group, Standard Chartered Bank, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Swire and Wharf (Holdings), backed up by a supporting cast of 26 corporate members. Prominent among the missing are Li Ka-shing flagships Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong, neither of which returned our calls yesterday. (Cheung Kong's name, lest anyone forget, means 'Yangtze River' in Cantonese). An oversight, surely, that will soon be set right. biscuit barrel derails dissent Elderly investor Catherine Tan may have caught MTR Corp chairman Raymond Ch'ien Kuo-fung slightly off-guard yesterday on the sidelines of his company's AGM, where she hectored him about fare discounts for the elderly. But she couldn't accuse the rail firm of scrimping in other areas. For the first time since listing, the MTR invested some of its profits in biscuits, tea and coffee for its hundreds of attending shareholders. That appeared to appease, with no shareholders piping up during the formal Q&A. bad memories worth bottling Boutique investment bank Anglo Chinese displays two beer bottles in its offices. Both are sobering. The first displays the logo of SAB Miller and the words 'first ever hostile bid in China'. Anglo advised SAB Miller on its ultimately unsuccessful bid last year to take over Harbin Brewery, which instead was snapped up by Anheuser-Busch. The second is a bottle of 'Leeson Lager', with the warning that it is 'probably the world's most expensive beer' and 'US$1.4 billion proof'. The reference, of course, is to rogue trader-turned-Galway United commercial manager Nick Leeson (right), whose derivatives dealing famously broke Barings Bank in 1995. According to Anglo Chinese managing director Christopher Howe, the Leeson Lager bottle reminds him never to dabble in futures or derivatives trading. agencies keen to share profits On Wednesday, Centaline subsidiary Ricacorp offered administrative staff five-month bonuses to celebrate $100 million in profit over the last 16 months. How far the company has come! Four years ago, Ricacorp was down and out before being rescued by white knight Shih Wing-ching. Not to be outmatched, Midland Realty yesterday said they would raise back-end staff salaries by an average 6 per cent, and up to 30 per cent for some.