Posted in China on November 24, 2008 |
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A friend posed the question to me a while back. Why does Chinatown stink so bad? Is it something inherant to Chinese (not to care about hygiene)? Is it bad habit? Is it selfishness? Do they have higher tolerance?
Being Chinese myself, the question bothered me a little. And I probably won’t ever come to a good conclusion. But my intuition is that it is a combination of habit and selfishness. Habit because if you grew up in a less hygeinic environment, you will adapt to it. The same way you adapt to foul smell after being immersed for a few minutes. And selfishness because if no one else is keeping the street clean, why should I? It is more convenient to litter.
I recall the “Keep Hong Kong Clean campaign”, which spanned acrossed multiple decades. There was the “don’t litter campaign”, the “don’t spit” campaign, the “don’t buy hawker food campaign”, and then “clean up Hong Kong campaign”. They were succesful. So no, I don’t believe this is anything genetic or culturally related. Just a matter of the environment one grew up in.
Here are some posters from the HK campaign:
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Posted in Business, Hong Kong on November 24, 2008 |
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Parallel to the downturn of hedge funds in the US, Hong Kong’s most weathly and not-so-wealthy have been hit hard by a couple of structured products: the “accumulator” and the “mini-bonds”.
The accumulators are sold to wealthy individuals and are defined here by an earlier article in the WSJ:
Called an “accumulator,” it is essentially a contract that obliges investors to purchase a security, currency or commodity at a fixed price — often set at a discount to prevailing market rates — at regular intervals. When the market price is above the fixed purchase price, the investor makes money. When it falls below the fixed price, the investor loses, sometimes quite a lot. Contract terms typically last a year.
It is a structured derivative product that was originally conceived in the UK for corporate use (so companies can acquire shares in another without moving stock price up significantly). Similarly to the Hedge Funds, these accumulators ar losely regulated by the HK SEC-equivalent as long as they are sold to people with HKD8mn+ in assets, which is equivalent to US$1mn. Approximately $25bn have been poured into these risky products, according to various sources. Investors can reap up to 31% ROI, but risking losses of more than 100%.
The mini-bonds, on the other hand, were sold to the masses. The Economist has a nice summary here with the definition:
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