Beeb pursues own news

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 July, 1997, 12:00am

There were so many BBC journalists and technicians in Hong Kong over the handover that at times it seemed they were the Big British Contingent rather than a load of broadcasters.

But despite having a larger contingent - 180 journalists were brought out to this last corner of empire - at the handover than the British forces, it seemed the Beeb needed a couple more bag carriers or just people who read newspapers.

The BBC called the South China Morning Post last week begging for cuttings of anything written about their little invasion, which included filming in our office and following one of our hacks for a day (perhaps to discover what a reporter does).

Sorry, we had to tell them. Too busy videotaping our appearances on TV to write anything about them.

Legal lump With the Government spending millions on face-lifts for colonial emblems territory-wide, Backbites has decided to award a prize to the most petty example.

The first goes to the legal clerk who prompted a High Court judge to roar: 'I've a lump in my bundle.' Although loaded with infinite possible interpretations, the judge was in fact referring to a stack of legal papers on his desk. A bright spark had decided to white-out every reference to the Queen in the papers, rendering the bundle well and truly stacked to the heavens.

Good to see government staff using their time on meaningful tasks.

Officially red Over at the magistrates' court, staff are seeing red. Literally.

A Judiciary memo was sent to staff reminding them that as of July 1, the official stamps had been revamped. Previously a shade of black or blue, the stamps would now be bright red.

Consistent with the national colour perhaps, but is the rule of law really going to grind to a halt if official stamps do not follow suit? Foreign fare While the rest of Hong Kong sits back and counts the money fleeced from the handover, the chiefs of one worldwide restaurant chain must be wondering what in the world its marketing gurus were thinking of.

Asked what festivities the Hard Rock Cafe had planned for the grand event, they admitted they had not really gone to any bother.

'This is an American restaurant,' they said, adding that locals might not want to celebrate a Chinese event in the eatery.

Why did the chain bother to set up in a foreign land then? Gospel truth Sai Kung residents are used to the harmonic singing ringing out each Sunday from the church up the hill.

Hundreds of Filipino helpers gather there to belt out the gospel and offer their thanks to the Lord.

But while prayer and worship can take many different forms, we recommend they stick to the classics rather than tuning up for the song blaring from a ghetto blaster last week: 'Don't want no, don't want no, don't want no short dick man.' Patten moles We hear Chris Patten has swapped his battles with Beijing for an all-out war on another tenacious adversary - the moles wreaking havoc in his garden.

But his daughters have vetoed a scheme to bayonet the creatures in their holes with a knife. A neighbour's folk remedy - placing a lock of Lavender's hair in one of the tunnels - has also been ruled out.

So Fei Pang is enlisting the help of his terriers Whisky and Soda to tackle the menace which has left the lawn at his French home looking like a battlefield in his absence.

The tennis mad ex-governor says he will also be laying out gardens around his new court, 'the most expensive project in the world after Chek Lap Kok'.

Diana's bed But the Pattens must be sorry to leave the lush grounds of Government House where, we gather, one of the flowerbeds was inspired by Princess Diana.

Head gardener Kennie Law Yuk-kin was so struck by the pink and purple number the princess wore on her visit she promptly laid out a floral arrangement in the same colours.

Other additions during the Pattens' residency include a rose garden by the swimming pool: Lavender liked to smell the fragrance as she ploughed up and down.