Who is that underground crusader? August 30
Friday evening on Shanghai’s metro line 1: Once the doors were closed and the train started moving, a man launched into a prepared speech. In a pleasantly jovial but firm tone, he introduced himself as “Teacher Fat” (pang laoshi) and urged all aboard to search for his name on Baidu and join him in his fight against corruption at Baosteel.
Once he was done (closing his remarks with a cheery “yea!” and flashing the V for victory), he repeated his speech in English, stressing this time that fighting corruption was a human-rights issue.
“We need to show everyone that there is no difference between foreign and Chinese. No difference between ladies and gentlemen. No difference between rich and poor. We need a peaceful, harmonious society, and fight corruption.” He urged everyone on board to tell their friends, family, the media “about the fat man they saw in the subway.”
Is the gravy train heading East? September 17
Got talking to a stock trader recently arrived from the US. He was a casualty of the Bear Stearns meltdown and had decided to look for a job in Asia. The premise seems logical enough: If funds are flowing into Asia for lack of investment opportunities in the West, surely investment professionals will follow?
Now that Lehman Brothers has collapsed, as many as 25,000 people will join the job market. A fair number of these may follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned trader and end up in Hong Kong. Assuming Hong Kong’s financial community is able to accommodate the new arrivals, I have two questions:
1) What does it mean for the property market? Apparently the primary market is weakening, which may in part be due to mainland investors who have now backtracked in response to weakness in mainland markets. However, recent reports have been more positive – and they might become even more positive if hordes of investment bankers show up.
2) How long before we see “Lehman exiles now in Asia”-style groups on Facebook?