Sexism sells over border

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 1995, 12:00am

THE spirit of the entrepreneur is alive and well and living . . . sit down before you fall down . . . at that hive of initiative and gumption, the Government Information Service.

Remember those sexist safety-posters GIS produced for the Labour Department, with scantily clad girls swinging carelessly from scaffolding? The ones the Labour Department was banned from distributing after women's groups protested and the Legislative Council joined in the fuss? It seems the GIS boys may have found a way of recouping the money spent on the campaign. They have been approached by their chums from across the border to see if the posters are for sale. They may thus find a home for the 40,000 or so posters languishing in dusty store rooms.

Incidentally, when the posters were produced, various enlightened members of the Labour Department, including Chan Tat-king, the Chief Factory Inspector, and the Labour Department commissioner at the time, the well-known non-bimbo Katherine Fok, warned GIS there could be trouble. GIS apparently laughed patronisingly at their naivety. OTHER ways to get through to building workers are desperately being sought. One possibility was tried out last week on the roof of the Construction Industry Training Authority's new centre at Sheung Shui.

Director of Education Lam Woon-kwong joined 11 members of CITA's board shovelling concrete at a topping-out ceremony - and proved himself a bit of an office-worker. Despite the other dignitaries' broad construction experience, only one, Vocational Training Council Executive Director Horace Knight, wielded his shovel with the gusto of a true professional.

Odd, though, that the others should have been so dainty. The danger of getting their hands dirty was remote, to say the least. Three wheelbarrows had been specially gold-painted for the event. And each man had been given a pair of white gloves and a gold-painted shovel.

White gloves? Surely CITA is not training its pupils to work with triads? MORE revelations from that invaluable document Who's who in the Administrative Service of the Hong Kong Government, which has been causing such mirth among senior civil servants.

There are, as we reported last week, a fair few portraits bearing scant resemblance to their purported owners. But only one picture has actually been left blank: that of the now low-profile civil service Training Review Co-ordinator Michael Hanson. Interesting. He was Government Information Co-ordinator at the time the guide was compiled. Must have been preparing his own disappearance even then.

FAINTLY worrying news from London about Lord Wilson. Giving a rare interview to Ming Pao recently, the former Governor seems to have been having problems getting his bearings. Interviewer Man Yee-ching relates how they wandered around the House of Lords rather helplessly looking for the way to his office.

At one point he seems to have stood staring blankly at a frescoed wall, muttering: 'Strange, where's the door?' We shouldn't be too disturbed, however. Apparently the normal route to the office was closed that day, and as a three-days-a-month parliamentarian, he hadn't had much time to scout for alternative routes.

Lord Wilson agreed to the interview on condition Man stayed clear of politics. So we cannot bring you his views on Sino-British relations, the Preliminary Working Committee or Whisky and Soda's taste in human flesh. However, we can tell you that he still goes for walks in the hills, looks happy and more relaxed than he appeared in Hong Kong, still practises Putonghua by talking to his son and trots down to Chinatown occasionally to pick up Chinese newspapers.

He couldn't stay off politics entirely, though. Straying on to the subject of 'face', which Man thought was peculiar to the Chinese, he gently suggested every race had its own need for face.

European politicians, however, were the exception: 'There are a lot of politicians humiliating others in public and in the media.' Got that, Chris?