IT takes a special kind of government to launch a US$1 million campaign to attract foreign investment, then follow it a week later by sacking the finance minister who has proved the country's biggest attraction to foreign investors. Well, in Cambodia, anything is possible. The aforementioned sacked minister, Sam Rainsy, was in Hong Kong last week talking about what it was like to be finance minister in a country still embroiled in a civil war - where even the United Nations peacekeeping forces get their vehicles stolen. 'I was given so many lucky amulets by Buddhist priests that I was weighed down,' was one of his jokes. His salary provides an interesting comparison with that of the typical regional economist, who will pass casual judgment on the state of the Cambodian economy whenever required. Regional economist's salary: perhaps $15,000 a month. Cambodian finance minister's salary: about $30 a month. But then regional economists don't get driven around in heavy trucks with armed motorcycle escorts. He told the Post's reporter a few months ago that he was worth far more dead than alive. He'd heard one of the warlords had put a $400,000 price on his head for threatening some operation or other. 'Err, is that US dollars?' was the necessary but somewhat hard-hearted response. Time is money THE news that Po Sang Bank is to become the first bank in the world to sell a watch, supposedly, came with a bundle of fascinating statistics. Po Sang has always been big on gold, so no one should be surprised that the watch is the Pamp Pure Gold Watch, and its price fluctuates with the price of gold. Surprisingly, Po Sang will be quoting two-way prices. Even more surprising is the word from Jonie Lai, the local boss for the World Gold Council, that in the last seven years Hong Kong has imported 2,000 tonnes of gold - a statistic she tossed out at the launch event for the watch. Of course, much is shipped straight out again. Still, that works out at almost a pound of gold each. Out spoken BOB Out of PBI Securities has never been a short-term thinker. He's the chap who last year predicted the Hang Seng Index would reach 250,000 by 2012. Well, this time he and a colleague have turned the same vision towards Gordon Wu Ying-sheung's Hopewell Holdings, which closed at $7.85 on Friday, in a report that says: 'We estimate Hopewell could be trading at $36.90 per share in the year 2003.' Certainly, PBI's customers reckon the prospect of a compound annual return of 19 per cent excluding dividends is just what the doctor ordered (PBI was a big buyer of Hopewell stock on Friday afternoon). The report focuses on Hopewell's rights to develop the Guangzhou superhighway interchanges. PBI reckons these interchanges are to Hong Kong what Wan Chai was to Central when Gordon built the Hopewell Centre way back in 1979. It labels itself 'a concept discussion' - quite a rebuff to those plodders working as analysts in other firms, who worry about trivial details like whether Hopewell will be able to afford the next instalment on its CEPA shares on December 6, a sum of $2 billion. In November 1985 - when the index, incidentally - was about 1,700, Hopewell was at $2.40-ish. So in the last nine years the stock has risen by a factor of three and rather underperformed the rest of the market. PBI's customers must be hoping the next nine years will be different. Tools down THERE will perhaps have been many tears among dried bean-stick workers last December 6. This is because To Sau-hong, the registrar of trade unions, records in his 1993 report, issued last week, that the Dried Bean-stick Trade Workers Union was dissolved on that historic date. Also disappearing forever were the Chinese-style Catering Trade Workers Union and the Union of Alitalia Airlines Employees, Hong Kong. And flicking through, we got rather worried about the Hong Kong Podiatrists Association, whose membership has dropped to seven, in contrast to the nine members it boasted last year. The dried bean-stick workers threw in the towel even though in the 1992 annual report, their happy band numbered 30. And there are dozens of unions smaller than that. The Government Association of Music Workers also has seven, but it had seven last year, too, so it appears pretty stable. On the way up is the Blind Masseurs and Masseuses Trade Union, only registered in 1992, which lifted its membership from 20 to 23. And the indomitable Wellcome Company Ltd Employees Union surged from seven to 71 in eight months. As an interesting contrast between the relative power of labour and capital, the entire trade union movement in Hong Kong combined couldn't get listed on the stock exchange. The most frequent breach of the Trade Union Ordinance is 'failure to transmit annual accounts within three months after termination of the union's financial year', which 36 unions have contravened. Well, the Registrar of Trade Unions should know all about this. After all, his annual report was issued last week and covers the period ending December 31, 1993.