Lee customises support for KMT

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 December, 1998, 12:00am

TAIWAN'S President Lee Teng-hui has taken to democratic politics in ways his predecessors would never have imagined.

Campaigning in support of Kuomintang city mayors ahead of yesterday's elections, he had been popping in and out of costumes like a quick-change artist.

In central Taiwan, he appeared in aboriginal costume to win the tribal vote.

Elsewhere, he wore a medieval helmet and sported a sword - to represent a knight at King Arthur's court. And to capture the Trekkie vote, he emerged as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the science fiction series Star Trek.

A pity he did not appear as an alien from The X-Files. By the time you read this, we will know if the truth was out there, or not.

Macau may seem to be heading for a better year than last on the crime front (only 22 murders in the first 10 months, compared with 25 in the same period of 1997), but you can prove anything with statistics.

The tourists are still staying away in droves and the economy is struggling.

Keen to make a sale in tough times, one storekeeper turned on the patter for a customer interested in a large, attractive cabinet.

'And look,' he said, 'this top will fit your 24-inch colour TV and these drawers have been crafted perfectly to fit your video player and your CD player.' Amazing. The tag described the cabinet as 'genuine Tang craftsmanship'.

David Bellamy, the popular British TV naturalist, was giving a speech to the Hong Kong branch of the Royal Geographical Society.

Illustrating a point, he showed a slide of a large, but very dead, giant tortoise. It was unfortunately suffering from a severe absence of head, having been savagely attacked - apparently posthumously - by some carrion eater.

At the end of the evening, it fell to former Airport Authority public relations boss Clinton Leeks to present the vote of thanks.

Mr Leeks had been unemployed since Tuesday, despite his tireless efforts to explain away the Chek Lap Kok disaster.

Looking thoughtful, he took the microphone. 'I feel a bit like that headless tortoise,' he began.

Our thanks to the Government Information Service for news that at a ceremony held at Discovery Park, Yu Tat-leung was awarded the Good Citizen of the Year Award and presented with cash and a 'plague'.

He probably felt a bit like that tortoise, too.

The last Governor of Hong Kong, on the other hand - although two of his staff were popularly known as Little Turtle and Big Turtle - was known neither for feeling like a headless tortoise, nor for retreating into his shell.

It came as some surprise, therefore, to see the final episode of the TV version of his book East And West. Explaining to viewers how foreign dignitaries once had to bow to Chinese emperors, he knelt down and did a full kowtow to the camera to demonstrate.

Up in Beijing, we imagine Chris Patten's nemesis, Lu Ping, playing the video over and over again to entertain himself in his retirement.

The former director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office is saying: 'Ha! Got you at last, Sinner for a Thousand Years! Now you're bowing down to me.'