Tributes all in worst possible taste

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 June, 1997, 12:00am

After Uncle Tung has received his presents from the provinces of China, the presents will continue to come.

Various large companies have been devising plans to make patriotic, expensive gifts or donations to celebrate the handover.

Hongkong Telecom is going to present him with a nice big painting of the Hong Kong skyline. Some of the banks are thinking of giving him something to do with banknotes (no, not a suitcase full of crisp $500 bills.) Meanwhile, Jardine Matheson is giving him nothing.

The problem is that some companies didn't realise they were supposed to give gifts. They thought that they had celebrated enough by putting a few Bauhinia flowers on the outside of the corporate HQ and ripping off their customers with 'limited edition 1997' products.

At least one is desperately casting around for a suitable tribute.

The underling given the unenviable job of finding it was told: 'It has to be large and in poor taste.' Flag daze: The great minds in charge of the handover ceremony have managed to solve one of the Unsolved Mysteries of Physics.

That is: how to make a flag flutter in a nice, photogenic fashion when it's inside a glassed-in Convention Centre during a flag up, flag down ceremony.

They have a solution. But they're refusing to say what it is to add extra drama on the night.

Better than Britannia: The folks from Xinhua (the New China News Agency) may have cheap suits, but they're going to have the sexiest boat in the harbour during the fireworks display.

Afai Ships, a firm that makes boats that look as though they belong in the new Batman movie, is lending them an Aquan One.

The 25 metre-long vessel can reach 33 knots under waterjet power, and the brochure states its design inspiration is the Japanese Bullet Train.

Retail price is US$2 million (nearly HK$16 million). But the Xinhua people are getting it free for about a week.

Fare's fair: Sir David Ford is so keen to come back for the handover he's paying his own airfare.

It's a rather strange business: the former chief secretary was installed as the Hong Kong Government's chap in London specifically to serve until June 30.

But he's such a party animal he's leaving the office a few days early and heading over. Not only does this mean he's got to pay for his ticket, there's speculation about whether, as he's not here officially, he's on the guest list.

Refugee concern: A real asylum-seeking pigeon has appeared in Clear Water Bay.

Yvonne Woo of Clear Water Bay discovered one under her daughter's car three days ago wearing the leg bands used for racing pigeons, and probably one of the 1,997 released a few weeks ago as a handover event in Sha Tin.

It didn't appear sick, but it certainly wasn't coming out from under the car.

After reading yesterday's article on the risk of pigeons seeking asylum in Hong Kong, she decided to start making some calls to the Regional Services Department to ask what to do with it, whether it could be repatriated, and so on.

The next thing she knew, the pigeon had flown off. Maybe it heard her on the phone.