Giving is nice but tell us how to get rich first What message has former junk bond king Michael Milken brought to Hong Kong investors? The concept of human capital, cancer research financing and an insight into the subprime crisis. The financier-turned-philanthropist wasted no time in front of a packed audience of 1,000 to articulate his views on what he thought was the most powerful financial technology - human capital, which is abundant in the city. Mr Milken cited former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who visited Jamaica in the 1960s because the two former British colonies had similar GDP per capita. The Lion City focused on developing human capital while Jamaica built to its strengths in natural resources and tourism. By this year, Singapore had increased its per capital GDP to US$32,000, eight times that of Jamaica, and now 'the two countries had nothing similar except the weather', chuckled Mr Milken. Much of the rest of his speech was devoted to his big idea of reducing carbon dioxide pollution and the need to support medical research (such as his own prostate cancer foundation), much as you would expect to hear from the likes of Bill Gates in a 90-minute speech. But what made Mr Milken so special was that he was so focused on philanthropy (assuming many in his audience were millionaires, if not billionaires) that he forgot to answer a floor question asking his view on fund management (because many of them wanted to get rich first before practising full-time charity, like Mr Milken). He offere no investment advice, but observed that after studying a 130-year credit history, there seemed to be a pattern of crises emerging every 20 years. 'The real issue now is not the subprime market but the prime mortgage market,' he said. 'If there is a 10 per cent drop in US housing prices, it would result in a loss of US$4 trillion in net worth and, in turn, substantially reduced consumption growth.' Walker sees unhealthy future If Mr Milken is a bear, CLSA economist Jim Walker (below) is his twin brother. Fresh from his most bearish call a month ago, Mr Walker reiterated that this year would be a once-in-a-decade catastrophe on the equity market. 'Just like Black Monday and the baht devaluation, market players will have many chances to get out with a small loss or even ahead in the next few months. 'They should take them. The coming credit contraction will be a wonder to behold,' Mr Walker wrote yesterday. Prince Richard's bargain buy It is not easy to guess what is the new idea in the mind of Richard Li Tzar-kai after Cyberport. A year after he cashed out handsomely from his prime office site in Tokyo, he returned to Japan to buy ski resorts in Hokkaido. His property company, Pacific Century Premium Developments, yesterday confirmed the purchase of Nihon Harmony Resorts, which developed the Hanazono ski resort in the Niseko area on Japan's northern island. The project is about 4.5 times the size of Cyberport, although the Hokkaido resorts may not need any hi-tech innovations, but rather a golf course and luxury hotels. It is understood that Mr Li's firm got a bargain for the deal, with a person involved describing the price as no more than would be paid for a house on the Peak. Mr Li wants to turn PCPD into an Asian resort play, with plans to acquire similar projects in Phuket and other parts of Asia. Mixing business with pleasure, we hope Prince Richard enjoys his new business model as much as he enjoys skiing and diving. Code-breaker wanted Who says buying a blue-chip company could not be an easy job? Nelson Wong Kam-fu has posted details of his plan to buy PCCW on his website http://123456abc.com . Although his website address looks like something out of the Da Vinci Code, Lai See can try to make his best guess. The set of numbers could indicate the number of contracting parties involved (including Mr Wong's financial advisers Societe Generale and Macquarie, business consultant Spectrum, legal adviser K&L Gates or maybe two unknown investors), while ABC would probably be a code name for the mission. It is just too bad that not many people, including Richard Li, are excited about this bid.