Killing off Costner's concrete keepsake

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 September, 1996, 12:00am

At the new China Club in Beijing on Friday night, a small party of celebrities arrived for a sneak preview.

Film star Kevin Costner was invited to leave his mark there in true Hollywood style. He pressed his hands into a newly-mixed concrete slab, and scratched the date next to the handprints.

He washed the cement off his hands, the party oohed and aaahed at the beautiful premises (managed by the Hong Kong-based Peninsula Group) and they went back to their hotels.

Next on the scene was a fastidious and house-proud Beijing workman. Aiyeeaah! He was horrified to see that some messy lao wai had vandalised the concrete before it had dried.

He got his cement brush and painstakingly obliterated the traces.

This vignette seems a fitting analogy of the challenges facing those who wish to unite East and West.

Mr Costner, fortunately, had not left Beijing and David Tang managed to persuade him to do a repeat performance. Joanne Bunker, of Institutional Investor group, attended the charity premiere of Phenomenon , the new John Travolta movie at UA Queensway. Each movie-goer was handed a jar of instant coffee attached to a card with the phone number of the Samaritans. The movie was depressingly bad, but not that bad. It's a good thing the Privacy Commissioner is looking at ID cards. The whole issue is a mess.

The things were dreamt up to ease communication between the Government (primarily the Immigration Department) and citizens. You can be fined $5,000 for not telling your number to a police officer.

But remember, no private businesses or organisations have the right to see or record your ID card number.

At the Ming Pao annual general meeting at the Furama Hotel on Wednesday, company representatives demanded that shareholders show their ID cards before they were allowed in.

Or are they suggesting that illegal immigrants are in the habit of hanging out at their board meetings? A cosmopolitan group of friends on Cheung Chau was discussing musical instruments on Saturday: First Cantonese speaker: How you do you say it? Saxphone? English speaker: It's more like this: Sax-y-phone. Sax-y-phone.

Second Cantonese speaker: Yes, I know about that. It's a dollar a minute. There's even more irony in the ING Barings slogan 'Unmatched in Asia', I heard from a broker yesterday. If you are 'long' on one investment and 'short' on another, and your holdings become dangerously out of balance, the financial jargon is to say you are 'unmatched' - precisely what Nick Leeson was when he caused the collapse of Barings. On Saturday morning, Mr Man of Western concluded two commercial transactions.

He went to the doctor, who discovered he had bronchitis and gave him enough drugs for three days, more than 40 tablets.

Total cost (consultation and drugs): $180.

His girlfriend Elizabeth stayed at home while a technician from Shun Hing Electric came and looked at their fax machine. He discovered it had a broken elastic band, and put a new elastic band in. Total cost (consultation and elastic band): $520.

'According to these figures, a fax machine is 2.9 times as difficult to fix as human lungs,' he said. The Straits Times tells us that several messages posted in a website called soc.culture.singapore suggested that there was ungracious behaviour in the island community. The newspaper reported that one 'surfer' said: 'She had seen bus commuters who did not offer their seat to pregnant women.' Yes, it's really hot, this Internet stuff.

Robert Sherriff was given Lu Shen Wan cough pills when he caught a sore throat in Shenzhen last month. He was surprised to see the ingredients list included 'Margarita', which sounded rather alluring, if unusual.

But even more curious was a warning on the packet: 'Avoid using for corruption.' It does not specify whether the pills make you corrupt, cure you of corruption, or can be slipped to your nearest customs officer with a nod and a wink. An Israeli inventor has designed a working gun which is hidden inside a brassiere.

'Talk about a 38 special,' said US commentator Jay Leno. 'You thought guys were under pressure trying to get that bra off before? And how about the cops? 'Miss, drop the bra and come out with your hands up! Thank you very much, Miss.' '


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