Lai See

Stint in prison just the ticket for taipan's next chapter

A flyer came across our desk yesterday inviting us to a book-signing event featuring John Hung's book Master of None, How a Hong Kong High-Flyer Overcame the Devastating Experience of Imprisonment. Hung, it will be recalled, not so long ago stepped out of Stanley Prison after a 16-month sojourn for 'assisting' someone to attain membership in the hallowed portals of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, apparently for a fee. The 73-year-old former managing director of Wheelock Marden has made a virtue out of necessity and used his enforced leisure time to produce an autobiography. As the publisher's blurb says, 'Does a man need a stint in jail to complete his life experiences? ... The story tracks the richness of his mixed-race heritage and upbringing, his steady rise and precipitous fall from the pinnacles of corporate Hong Kong to the life-destroying court case and heartbreaking incarceration.' One of our more cynical readers has responded that it was a pity this did not appear a month ago and we would then have had the perfect answer to the age-old question, 'What do you get for Christmas for the man who had everything?' Answer, a stint in Stanley Prison.

Garbage in, garbage out

A letter in today's paper pooh poohs plasma arc technology as a means of disposing of municipal solid waste saying: 'To demand that the Environmental Protection Department should consider this technology, which is unproven at any commercial scale, for Hong Kong, is about as ludicrous as suggesting to shoot all of our garbage by space rocket into the sun!' Strong words from Alexander Luedi, who is the general manager of Explosion Power Hong Kong.

A little context of interest here, which Luedi doesn't mention in his letter, is that his company, according to its website, specialises in cleaning furnaces, boilers, ash hoppers, silos and other vessels. 'We provide online boiler cleaning equipment and services to thermal power plants, waste-to-energy plants, ... to improve thermal efficiencies, reduce downtime, and improve the safety of maintenance workers.'

So it's not unreasonable to think Luedi's eyes lit up at the prospect of business opportunities from a monster incinerator that processes some 3,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day which, in turn, generates 1,200 tonnes of fly ash.

In his letter, Luedi says plasma arc technology, 'is neither needed, nor feasible for the disposal of 3,000 tonnes per day of municipal waste.'

His views don't appear to be shared by authorities in Japan, the UK, Mexico, India and China, which are all using plasma arc technology to process municipal solid waste and to convert it into energy instead of the conventional moving grate technology proposed for Hong Kong. The new technology produces little in the way of emissions of toxic dioxins and less mess for the likes of Luedi and his company to clean up.

Sing your way to a longer life

Here we continue our Business Insiders list of ways to help you live longer.

Regularly flossing reduces the risk of heart disease, according to doctors from the department of periodontics at Case Western Reserve University. Flossing prevents gum disease, which can lead to infections and inflammation that allow harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and increase the risk of heart disease.

Singing is also good for you, so says a study by George Washington University and the National Endowment for the Arts. It found that singers in a choir group felt physically healthier, had fewer doctors' visits and were less depressed than a control group. Furthermore, a study from the University of London also showed that singing reduces stress by producing endorphins and offers physical benefits by exercising the heart, lungs, abdominal and back muscles. Despite what people like to think, getting angry and showing it is also healthy. Researchers at Stockholm University say males who vent their anger are 50 per cent less likely to experience a heart attack or die from serious heart disease.

Terry fumes over cigarette 'face'

England soccer captain John Terry is reportedly fuming after his image was apparently used on a warning printed on cigarrette packets in India, Agence France-Presse reports. It quoted the Indian Express as saying the blurry image featuring the head and shoulders of a man resembling Terry above a warning that 'Smoking Kills' was created by the government's Directorate of Visual Publicity. The newspaper quoted Keith Cousins of Elite Management, Terry's representatives, as saying: 'We have reviewed this matter with our client and have today instructed solicitors to take appropriate action.'