December 18th, 2008
Have you ever heard of Sepak Takraw? No, nor had we until the Leicester Mercury recently interviewed Tom Watkinson, MD of client Raynsway Group, for the Company Car Man feature in Tuesday’s Business section…
“ It took guts to eat”
“Monkey was okay, but Tom did not fall for the ostrich”
This week’s Company Car Man is Tom Watkinson, 44, managing director of commercial property developer Raynsway Group, in Watermead Business Park. He drives a Nissan Navarra.
Here are his views on some of the week’s hot topics.
Q. A farmer in Lebanon has grown a whopping 11kg potato. What’s the weirdest thing you have eaten?
A. The year was 1989 and I was with the British Sepak takraw team, in Malaysia, for the world championships – Sepak takraw is a southeast Asian sport resembling volleyball. We ate monkey intestines at a market stall. It was a bit bland, but okay. Not long after, most of the team went down with food poisoning. Oddly, I survived unscathed.
Q. The Bishop of Leicester has launched a campaign to help people rediscover the magic of Christmas. It will include adverts on the sides of buses. What is your view?
A. That’s fantastic – the adverts should relate to a wider and younger audience. I have met the bishop and he struck me as open-minded and progressive.
Q. Ministers are looking at how benefits claimants can do more to “earn” their welfare payments. Is this overdue?
A. Everyone should have the opportunity to earn their keep. If changing the system leads to genuine employment, that must be a good thing.
Q. Has your view of how the Government is handling the economic crisis changed in the weeks since the pre-Budget report?
A. The worry is that, under pressure to react, bad and rushed policies result. The appalling decision to end relief from empty business property rates is an example. The bailing out of the banks is the equivalent cost of a major war. We are likely to be paying for it for generations to come.
Q. How do you feel about Sky’s decision to broadcast a controversial documentary which showed a British man with motor neurone disease committing assisted suicide at a Swiss clinic?
A. Such matters are deeply personal and sad. I support the right of any adult to choose most things, but these things are best kept private.
Q. Users of social networking website Facebook have been targeted by a virus which tries to steal credit card details. What is the worst scam you have encountered?
A. Remember the ostrich farming scams, where con artists exploited fears about beef during the mad cow disease crisis? They tried to promote investing in ostrich meat as a viable alternative but many people were ripped off. I looked at, but luckily avoided, that one – although the idea of a mature bird costing £17,000 and laying 70 eggs a year worth £1,000 each did sound fantastic.