Some new diet tips are too much to stomach

A VERY, very fat stomach was staring at us when we got our copy of one of the regional business magazines this month.

Not our own. It was an advertisement for tablets for executives who eat too much at lunch.

''A busy schedule of meetings, business lunches and hectic travel arrangements means that most businessmen and women do not get a chance to follow a diet,'' said a Hong Kong outfit called Health and Beauty Direct.

''The result is rapid weight and that unsightly businessman's 'pot belly' as shown in the photograph above.'' The idea is that you take some pills before you go to sleep which work on something called ornithene and arginine and painlessly burn away the stuff you'd guzzled at Bentley's or the Hong Kong Club.

Unfortunately, they don't burn away the credit card bill as well.

Before anyone gets too excited, it should be noted that the promoters said the tables were developed after research into obesity in Britain.


It's like getting anti-smoking tablets from China or anti-golf tablets from Japan.

The British white-coat wearers ''recently concluded a two-year study of overweight businessmen and women''.

If we'd been on the study, we'd have used it as an excuse and spent the two years trying to sell them Mercedes on commission.

Floored THE stock exchange has been sticking a wet finger in the air to see whether members still want a trading floor, now rendered redundant by its new AMS computer system.


Although the questionnaire it sent out a few weeks ago is really aimed at finding out about other trading matters, one person who has seen the replies says only a ''small minority'' seem hostile to the idea that the trading floor may disappear.

If it was turned into office space, we reckon it would be worth $5 million to $10 million a month, although the exchange has not even talked to Hongkong Land, owner of Exchange Square, about this.


There would be issues such as electricity supply and air-conditioning, and there are also no windows. Pity.

There is also the question of who would get the space. When Hongkong Land built Exchange Square, putting a trading floor in the basement was part of the deal with the Government, and it is the Government, rather than the exchange, which really controls it.

The present site was opened in 1986 and has never been a good place for getting market feel. Part of the reason, according to one senior broker, is that when they opened the new floor they banned smoking.


Stoned age TRADING is not the only function of the exchange floor to be rendered redundant by computers. The floor's other use is for publicity, and the technology used in Jurassic Park can be brought into play here.

For instance, when the index goes through 5,000 points, computers can now create pictures of anguished clerks with the big data board showing the correct figures behind, based on the film taken when Chris Patten gazetted his reform proposals.

Similarly, when a new company lists it will be possible to create footage of the directors toasting each other on the trading floor based on that taken when Shanghai Petrochemical was floated last year.


We hope the floor is not turned entirely into offices, and are still lobbying for a section to be turned into a karaoke bar - hopefully named either Ronnie's or Headmaster's after former chairman Ronald Li Fook-shiu.

Take cover ONE of the most common after-dinner rumours at the moment is about a barrage of investigations by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

Rather than list the names of the companies supposedly being probed, flip to the pages where we print all Hong Kong share prices. You get the idea.

The theory is that lots of people who were naughty last year never got properly investigated because the SFC was stretched out just reviewing the daily deluge of transactions.

Now that things have cooled off, the SFC detectives can, in theory, start working their way down their list.

A couple of SFC people we spoke to last week offered some support for this theory, so any tycoons out there may want to consider making pointless asset swaps to get the SFC busy again.

If Lai See was doing dubious business we'd name the company Zucchini Worldwide (Holdings) to make sure that we were always last to be called in for an interview.

What a dump CHEW Keng Hooi of North Point was intrigued by this restaurant, winner of a prize in last year's restaurant hygiene competition: In Australia, a ''garbo'' is a garbage collector.