clothing mountain levelled as hurricane whips up philanthropy Hurricane Katrina and its tragic aftermath have managed to do something that United States and Chinese trade negotiators could not: clear America's docks of excess textile stocks. Six out of 10 quota-controlled garment categories have been exceeded in the US, and the surplus impounded by customs agents. While nowhere near the scale of recent over-shipments to the European Union, it was another wrinkle for China and the US to iron out in their post Multi-Fibre Arrangement trading relationship. Then came Katrina and the Bush administration's bungled rescue effort. Thankfully some generous souls in the textile industry saw an opportunity to do some good and asked the Department of Commerce to release the excess clothing to Katrina's victims. 'Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, US apparel importers approached the Committee on the Implementation of Textile Agreements (Cita) asking if their embargoed goods could be donated to the relief effort,' Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced. 'When people want to help, government should find a way to help them do it. Today Cita took action to make this happen.' Amen to that. the curse of temasek Media organisations writing about Singapore's governing dynasty have an unfortunate tendency to fall foul of the Curse of Temasek, the Lion City's US$100 billion government investment corporation. These terrifying spells force its victims to grovel in abject humiliation and fork over large damages. First to succumb was American wire service Bloomberg, which in 2002 handed over $2.7 million. Then last year The Economist magazine forked out $1.8 million. Now Hong Kong-based trade magazine Finance Asia has been compelled to issue a suitably snivelling apology and pay out undisclosed damages. The hapless victim's crime? Finance Asia dared to suggest that the Pharaonic Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding father, his son and prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and Master Lee's wife, Temasek chief executive Ho Ching, may have kept Singapore's financial affairs, well, a little too closely within the family. The apology will run on Finance Asia's website for a fortnight. encouraging capital flight Lai See herewith presents another Postcard from Shanghai, care of our colleague in the dragon's head: The former Nanjing residence of Madame Soong Mei-ling, Chiang Kai-shek's beautiful wife, is a three-storey house boasting two fine terraces. On one of them, Chinese executives sipped cocktails, ate steak, discussed which Chinese stocks to buy and listened to a saxophone player. In an adjoining room, elegant ladies in 1930s dresses played mah-jong. On the upper floor was the Madame's bedroom and a prayer room with photographs of her, her husband and her two famous sisters which had been taken during the war with Japan and in later life. But my delight at the setting and the nostalgia was marred by a conversation with a senior manager from one of the hottest mainland stocks in Hong Kong. 'How well you are doing and look at all the share options you have,' I said. 'Congratulations!' 'Thank you very much but I need a foreign passport,' he replied. 'I have permanent residency in a foreign country but that is not enough. Who knows what is going to happen? The Chinese government is a dictatorship and does not represent private companies like us. What should I do?' My suggestion was for him to stay in his job, to earn as much as he possibly could and, when he has finally had enough, to sell his options and spend time abroad to get citizenship. If only Madame Soong's spirit had been on the terrace, she would have had better advice.