Make that 'yes' and get a no-no
It's heartening to know that Lai See memories follow readers around the globe.
One devotee informs us that his thoughts fly across the ocean to Lai See whenever he fills in a I-94W non-immigrant visa waiver arrival/departure form.
That old chat-up line.
But we concede this particular claim has a certain ring of truth.
I-94W is the form foreigners fill in before entering the United States. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service seems to work on the premise that so-called tourists are plotting to stay in the US forever, presumably because there just aren't enough guns and homeless people in their own countries.
All this means that flying across the border for a quick look around attracts a paper inquisition filled with suspicion and intrigue.
We're told a 'yes' to any of the questions can bring a speedy end to your holiday.
Our reader sent us a list of queries. Here's a brief sampling:
Are you seeking to engage in criminal or immoral activities?
This is where crooks write: 'Yes, I plan to set up a secret drug cartel and possibly a small prostitution racket on the side, brothel property prices permitting.'
Between 1933 and 1945, were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?
More to the point, should a person this old be flying?
Do you have a communicable disease, physical or mental disorder, or are you a drug abuser?
Good thing George W. Bush has American citizenship, since he'd never make it in as a tourist.
Touching Tung: Tung Chee-hwa Policy Speech Quote of the Day (on the subject of Hong Kong's poor): 'I know how they must feel.'
Tung's such a man of the people.
That must have been a reference to that dark day when the magnetic strip on his platinum card malfunctioned.
Brush strokes: Today Lai See brings you a mystery story, courtesy of the Hong Kong Government. We call it: 'The Case of the Pale Blue Stripes'.
Said stripes began appearing on various government buildings and quarters around Taihang Road. The pretty blue lines wound their way around the external wall of each floor.
But no sooner were all three properties thus decorated than workers re-materialised and began painting over them.
Why? Depends who you choose to believe.
Here's what a resident told us: 'When the job was done and the decorators and engineers in charge were happy . . . voila! Somebody remembered that light blue could be the colour of death in Chinese superstition.'
Could this be true? And if so, how many millions of tax dollars were squandered on the blue-boo?
None at all, the Architectural Services Department assures us.
That coat of blue was merely the base paint, while the top coat has yet to be applied.
And what colour will that be?
'The decision is not finalised yet.'
Lies, all lies, scoffed Deep Throat.
Why would these people finish striping three entire complexes pale blue before they've even decided what colour they're really planning to use?
And wouldn't they finish painting one entire building first, instead of leaving it half done and then wandering down the road to paint the other two?
Anyway, Deep Throat says, I've spoken to other residents, and they all cite the bad luck factor.
We're left wondering who to believe.
The two sides could argue till they're blue in the face . . . oops. Bad luck.