Hongkonger told Jeff Bezos: nice idea

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 31 Oct 2018

Local screenwriter Lawrence Grey was looking wryly at a report saying that Amazon.com boss Jeff Bezos is now "the richest man in history."

Lawrence was contacted by Bezos in 1994.

The entrepreneur was contacting writing groups around the world to see if people would buy books through the internet.

Lawrence, who ran the Hong Kong Writers' Circle, encouraged him, saying that it was a good idea.

"I asked if he had a bookshop," Lawrence said. "He said he didn't. He was working from his garage."

That was odd. How could you make money as a bookshop boss without a bookshop? At the time, most Hong Kong writers were slow on technology. "They were still writing in long hand and sending faxes," Lawrence said.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Lawrence eventually retired to Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Most Hong Kong writers disappeared without trace.

Jeff Bezos became the richest man ever.

I like to think the Amazon boss has, framed on his office wall, an encouraging e-mail he received from Hong Kong way back in 1994, when he was a struggling young man in a garage.

But let's not be sentimental dorks. I'm sure he doesn't.

* * *

This column heard yesterday that official plans for controlling Hong Kong's population of wild boars "through use of contraceptives and GPS trackers" is "going rather slowly."

This conjures up an image of the boars forgetting to take birth-control pills and leaving their Fitbit watches in their caves or wherever they live.

I hate to be crass, but why don't we just eat them?

This is Hong Kong, right?

* * *

Hong Kong customs officers reported that people arriving in the city in a 10-week period brought an astonishing HK$42 billion in cash. And that was just Li Ka-shing's pocket change.

* * *

Reader Sanjiva Wijesinha saw a large billboard-type advertisement outside a primary school in Melbourne recently: "Wanted: Three-year-old kindergarten teacher." They start them young in Australia.

* * *

Reader Coco Wong was horrified to hear from a friend who just had a baby in a private hospital in Hong Kong that there was a HK$2,000 surcharge for Daddy to go into the delivery room and an extra HK$170 a day for him to help feed the newborn and change diapers. "It's like a petting zoo," she lamented.

When I was young, women had to deliver their own babies while cooking with one hand and fighting off tigers with their feet.

* * *

Helen Keller glasses are spreading around Asia. Reader Katherine Gudgin forwarded this picture, taken by her friend Bradley Wadsworth in Taiwan. The glasses, launched by a firm named Xiamen Jinzhi, take their name from deaf and blind activist Helen Keller. The staff seem blind to the irony of what they're doing.

* * *

A lawyer was quoted in the UK Spectator last week talking about someone who "shot himself in the foot with a boobytrap of his own making".

Ouch! People who mix metaphors are like dead horses barking up the wrong bush.

* * *

Tomorrow: Wicked people are sneaking cheeky humor past the eyes of a certain government department.

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