Rarely, dear readers, do we have so strange a five days as we did this Christmas season. That’s probably got a lot to do with all these holiday-themed ghosts, if we’re really being honest.
First came the ghost of our old business partner, Ma Li, stirring up an awful din with these great big chains cuffed ’round his ankles as he walked right through the closed door and right into our bedroom on Christmas Eve. We suspect those were the ones authorities clamped on him after we sold him out in a corruption investigation–like the one being conducted on a certain top aide this week–in exchange for leniency. He was supposed to only get five years, like Thomas Kwok just did in Hong Kong, but we heard there was a clerical error and he never got released. Probably should’ve looked into that some time before he kicked the bucket in the clink, but we heard the government posthumously exonerated him, so we figure it’s a wash.
Anywho, Ma Li makes an otherworldly racket about three ghosts coming by later that night before popping off to heaven knows where. Sure enough not five minutes had passed before another spectral visitor showed up claiming to be the Ghost of Christmas Past. Sure enough she starts throwing all of our recent failures back in our face like so many humiliating Youku videos: Our buying Dalian Wanda shares first thing in the morning on their first day only to end it in the red; that Nicaraguan land deal we cinched for a plot right in the path of the new canal the government has hired a Chinese billionaire to build; that money we burnt buying up shares of Kaisa right before they tanked this week; that bit of trickery we pulled with the stocks of a few companies, which shall remain nameless, that are now getting the third degree from the authorities; even the piles of Pataca we blew gambling in Macau–nothing was too embarrassing for this ethereal woman to throw in our faces.
After that rigmarole we were ready for the Ghost of Christmas Present to come by and impart some current-day revelations that might help us avert such disasters henceforth, as one expects in these Dickensian scenarios. But his intel was all terribly dated: “China has half a billion smartphone users… China says it’s willing to help Russia deal with the ruble problem… steel production data may mask a greater overcapacity…” and so forth did he drone, clearly unaware we’d run news briefs on all those topics earlier in the week. We told him he might consider swapping titles with the previous ghost if he couldn’t provide info a bit more up-to-date, and he promptly shuffled off through a closed window looking mortified.
Christmas Future, now there was a winner of a ghost, make no mistake. It told us authorities would ease restrictions on outbound investors, that the central bank would relax bank deposit regulations and that the province of Ningxia was planning to offer bonds abroad. We were about to call up one of our writers to type it all up and scoop the competition when the apparition’s bony hand tapped us on the shoulder, then pointed to our ancient and stately grandfather clock ticking over by the fireplace. Quick and sudden came twelve strikes to the bell, proclaiming the stroke of midnight to all within earshot. Christmas day was already upon us!
“You’d have to pay your writers overtime if you want them working on a holiday,” the spectre said in its quiet, rasping voice. “State regulations, you know.”
We fretted over the matter for a few milliseconds before rejecting its preposterous proposition. We can barely be convinced to pay our hacks anything at all for the scribblings they produce, much less give them thrice that! We bade the ghost a curt good night and returned to bed, warm and cozy in our blankets and the sure knowledge of our sound business acumen. Overtime? Bah, humbug!