Jimmy Lai Chee-ying has recently announced he is selling his Taiwanese television enterprise, Next TV, and apologised to employees for “failure” in running it. Lai, who was smuggled to Hong Kong when he was 12 in the bottom of a boat, worked his way up from child labourer in a garment factory to founder of clothing chain Giordano (named after a favourite New York restaurant). He claims to have come up with the name of his Apple Daily newspaper while browsing the Bible. He told his wife that “news” would not exist if a certain apple had not been plucked from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by Adam and Eve … One shudders to think how much blood has been spilt defending a story that states the first man was fashioned from dust before having “life” blown up his nose by an all-powerful creator type. The couple got on famously until Eve was persuaded by a snake to sneak a taste of that apple – and the downfall of mankind was sealed. The story is enduring, and perhaps the most famous retelling is the epic 17th-century poem Paradise Lost by John Milton … Published in 1667, the poem contains more than 10,000 lines of verse, each composed in the blind author’s head by night and dictated to aides the next morning. Milton died famous but impoverished, and the British writer’s influence has had a lasting effect. For instance, scholars argue that the “flaming swords” described in Paradise Lost were the basis for the lightsabres in the Star Wars series, made by filmmaker George Lucas … Born into a Methodist family, Lucas developed a fascination with Eastern religious philosophies, declaring himself a “Buddhist- Methodist”. In the 1990s, a touring stage show based on his career proved so huge, funding could only be found in Japan. George Lucas’ Super Live Adventure took up more than a quarter of an acre, with a lighting system that required four computer systems and more than 1,000 lasers. Organisers hired the illusion specialists who worked the sets of, according to Forbes, the world’s most successful magician, David Copperfield … Born David Seth Kotkin, Copperfield took his stage name from the title character of the Charles Dickens book and has performed feats such as walking “through” the Great Wall of China and making the Statue of Liberty “vanish”. Although Copperfield describes himself as an “illusionist”, many insist he uses powers of a supernatural nature. One such believer is Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi … Li has many other unorthodox ideas, such as that he is an alien, can walk through walls and, more useful, can make himself invisible. He was once praised for treating 100 policemen who were injured on duty. But his treatments proved so effective Beijing, which was concerned his followers would eschew modern medicine, declared him the leader of an “evil cult”. In 2001, Asiaweek magazine named him the “most powerful communicator” in Asia. Further down that list was another who causes Beijing offence, Jimmy Lai.