bachelor No1 linked to bank bond bombshell on v-DAY So is love in the air for Hong Kong's most eligible bachelor, Richard Li Tzar-kai? The snapparazi over at Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Sudden Weekly were fast on the heels of the PCCW chief on Valentine's Day and managed to catch up with his alleged love interest, Barclay Capital bond analyst Rachel Lloyd. Alas, no pictures of the pair canoodling, or even together for that matter. But we hear the story fast became a top item inside the Barclays corridors yesterday with some bankers - being in such an altruistic profession - keen to see the corporate relationship move up a level. Barclays Bank was among four lenders in a syndicate bridging loan of US$12 billion that helped Mr Li's PCCW take over Cable & Wireless HKT. The loan was fully paid but Barclays got burnt on a US$1.5 billion loan to PCCW's undersea cable company Reach and had to take a steep haircut. Then again, the course of true love never runs smoothly. learning curve zeroes in on english What's in a word? A lot, if it's English ... that was the message the 'Workplace English' campaign was trying to get across, courtesy of Richard Li Tzar-kai and Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, who stressed the importance of good English in Hong Kong. But what about on the mainland? Since many executives of H-share companies struggle to cope in an English interview, they are trying to master the universal language of business by taking classes. Lenovo chairman Yang Yuanqing has been quick to get staff noses into books and has told them brush up their English skills. Meanwhile, at Lenovo sister company Digital China Holdings chief executive Guo Wei is ahead of the game. He's been meeting an English tutor every week since 2001. Nothing like sibling rivalry to bring out the best but perhaps a Workplace English campaign in Beijing is in order. sports race not entirely open Hong Kong Amateur Athletics Association has copped plenty of flak for what was seen as inadequate medical supervision for the marathon runners but now Lai See is upset that it seems to have come up short on professionalism in corporate governance. It is an open secret among athletes and sponsors that chairman William Ko Wai-lam, who has been in office for 27 years, owns Sports Promotions International, the company which mostly handled last week's marathon. Even the automatic timers were provided by Champion Chip Hong Kong, also Mr Ko's company. A few insiders complained to Lai See that the organisation, like many local sports clubs, is elected by a 'small circle'. According to them, there are 3,225 paid-up members but only 17 sitting officers and 34 representatives can vote. We fired a couple of questions to Mr Ko and his director but we have yet to get a reply. They were curious to know why a financial columnist was so curious about them. tycoon trades up ... in Cheung kong The moment many had been waiting for ... Asia's richest tycoon Li Ka-shing has made his first stock purchase this year. According to his disclosure to the stock exchange, he bought a total of 6.62 million shares of Cheung Kong (Holdings) worth $516.8 million in four transactions. This was his first purchase in four months. His stake in Cheung Kong was raised to 38.49 per cent after spending some $2.6 billion in the past 13 months. wang women rich in credentials So who are the richest women in Asia? The top honour goes to Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum (left) who is the only woman among the Forbes Asia rich list for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Mrs Wang, who has inherited her husband's $27 billion Chinachem empire, was ranked No9 with net worth of US$4.2 billion. The next richest woman is Cher Wang, daughter of Formosa Petrochemical's chairman, with US$2.2 billion.