Pan Shiyi and wife wax philosophical this New Year The New Year greetings card from Soho China chairman Pan Shiyi (below) and his wife and chief executive Zhang Xin may have arrived a bit late this year, but it was well worth the wait. While most people usually run out of things to say after four or five words (by the way, the most popular phrase this year has been 'Wishing you a better 2009'), Mr Pan and his wife managed more than 1,000 words on their reflections of 2008 and hopes for the future. The philosophical message begins with a mention of the death of Mr Pan's mother last year, then goes on to comment on the catastrophic Sichuan earthquake and the Wall Street meltdown before taking a more upbeat note on the Beijing Olympics, followed by the high hopes that accompany Barack Obama's election as president of the United States. The couple said we should 'not be alarmed by the collapse of the time-worn institutions of the old world', which they described as 'a rampant cancer undermining the fabric of human society and the very substance of our planet'. Rather we should embrace the new world where the purpose of business is to create both wealth and spiritual wealth. 'In the New Year, we look set to experience deep societal transformation which is both unprecedented and fundamental,' the message continues. 'Our greatest challenge at this time comes not from financial depression or diminishing material wealth, for as long as we are neither wasteful nor greedy a depressed economy cannot ruin us. 'The true challenge is to realise that we have been too prejudiced, our loyalties too narrow, and our truthfulness, unity and justice far too lacking.' Hear, hear! Let's not get too carried away by the good start to the year made by the Hang Seng Index. Working for a better new world would seem more appropriate, while Lai See is more than happy to receive such inspiring New Year messages, no matter how late. March of time How time flies! Senior bankers and reporters in town enjoyed a chuckle yesterday after seeing their old friend David Carse back in Legco defending Hong Kong Monetary Authority's deposit protection scheme. The former HKMA deputy chief executive, who left in 2003 and is now a consultant, was sporting a beard, which used to be his trademark when he first came to Hong Kong in the early 1990s. The difference is this time it is grey. How we miss the good old days when Mr Carse and his former boss, the silver fox himself, Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, were still in the black! Backlash against the rich Bankers worldwide are suffering, but they could soon be suffering even more in Britain if the results of a recent survey are acted upon. The Fabian Society poll shows 76 per cent of the country supports a plan to introduce a 45 per cent tax rate for those earning more than #150,000 (HK$1.68 million) a year. Going further, 69 per cent of the respondents thought it was fair to impose a 50 per cent tax rate for those who made #250,000 and above. It is the result of the credit crunch provoking a backlash against the rich, with the public seeking retribution for alleged mistakes made by the City fat cats. British bankers are now seen as the second most overpaid profession after English Premier League footballers. Cast ye the first stone If you are trying to find skeletons in somebody's closet, it's best to check whose closet it is first. Or at least, don't try to find them in David Webb's. Last week lawmaker Abraham Shek Lai-him asked rhetorically in the Legco chamber whether the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing head of listings Richard Williams was working for Mr Webb in defending the proposed extended blackout for directors' dealings. Mr Webb's response has been to publish details of Mr Shek's numerous directorships and how much he is paid. He also found a 'skeleton' in a Legco filing Mr Shek made two months ago about an overseas visit, when he said he had 'attended Boeing plant and maiden return voyage flight from Toulouse'. 'A Boeing made in Toulouse?' Mr Webb asked. 'Airbus will be impressed.'