PERKS AT PROPERTY AGENCIES SIGNAL GOOD TIMES FOR SECTOR Lai See is in the wrong business. To celebrate its 10th anniversary yesterday, Midland Realty announced a special five-month mid-year bonus for its back-end staff - or 11 months' pay for six months' work. Ricacorp quickly countered with a special five-month bonus of its own totalling $6 million, also extended to back-end staff. Some of the excited recipients said they would use the windfall to invest in - what else? - property. That should help the property market, and agency bonuses, in the second half. ******** Separately, top sellers of units at Cheung Kong (Holdings') luxury development, the Legend, have each been awarded a BMW 7-Series sedan valued at close to $1 million. Lai See, however, reckons an Accura Legend might be more appropriate. Yesterday, we were told that Midland and Centaline Property Agency's agent teams were tied, with one BMW safely parked away for each. To keep sales rolling, Cheung Kong will next be handing out keys to BMW 3-Series cars. Not a bad time to be a car salesman either, it seems. GAIN FROM SHELTER OF SHAME Bank of China (Hong Kong) has disposed of a 2,885 sq ft residential unit on the Peak that was once leased to its disgraced former chief executive, Liu Jinbao. It can now be said that something good has come out of the corruption scandal that claimed Liu's career. The bank sold the 30/F Mayfair unit for nearly $15,000 per square foot - $42.68 million. Having bought it for $11,790 per square foot back in 1998, BOCHK trousered a profit of $8.63 million. sonnet for a sinking ship If Cosco Group chairman Wei Jiafu's business career ever ends up on the rocks, there is always literature. He launched the good ship Cosco's initial public offering with a 16-character poem which Lai See endeavours to translate here: [Stock code] 1919 belongs to Cosco Creating shareholder value Forever and ever Then Cosco's stock proceeded to take on water, ending its first day trading down 10 per cent at $3.825. MAGNATE'S MYTH AND METAPHOR Speaking of literate business types, we were impressed by Li Ka-shing's command of myth and metaphor. Speaking on Tuesday to a group of Shantou University EMBA students, whose institution Mr Li has generously endowed, Superman spoke of Icarus and the art of management. Mr Li recalled that when he was a boy of just 14 growing up in Shantou, his grandmother would ask him: 'Ah-Shing, when will you be as rich as Mr So-and-so in [neighbouring] Chiuchow?' A wise-beyond-his-years Mr Li knew even then how to manage expectations. 'I didn't want to be like Icarus, flying too close to the sun on wax wings and falling into the sea,' he told the students, saying he only promised his grandmother he would do his best. Icarus, of course, flew with his father Daedalus, whose warnings he would not heed. A message for Mr Li's own two sons, perhaps? ALL THE BEST, CHIEF SECRETARY Hello, Chief Secretary. Goodbye, Hong Kong Jockey Club steward. Lai See hereby welcomes Rafael Hui Si-yan back to government as The Donald's right-hand man. Prior to the confirmation of his appointment as chief secretary, Mr Hui tendered his resignation as steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, of which he has been a member since 1978, and on whose board he has served since 2002. 'Rafael's extensive experience in the public and private sectors has been of immense value to us during a challenging period for the club,' chairman Ronald Arculli said in a farewell statement. Last season, the club's betting turnover for horse racing declined 3.6 per cent year on year to $62.66 billion. Betting duty paid to the government fell 4.9 per cent to $8.35 billion. We wish Mr Hui a better run of luck after he moves into the CGO.