Good taste given the full Nelson
This weekend, the Hong Kong Club celebrated a political victory.
It was a black tie affair, peopled by the important and the affluent.
Important and affluent MEN, that is.
Female attendance was strictly forbidden.
Emotions ran high, reaching a nationalistic crescendo when the guests rose as one, to shake the room with patriotic singing.
See if you can guess what they were celebrating:
A) Kim Dae-jung's Nobel Peace Prize and the end of the cold war on the Korean peninsula;
B) American presidential candidate George W. Bush making it through an entire week without mispronouncing any words, appearing dyslexic or addressing members of the press by rude names;
C) Nelson defeating the French at Trafalgar;
D) Tung Chee-hwa's triumphant policy speech.
Well it certainly wasn't that last one.
We'll give you a hint - the crowd was almost entirely British.
Yep, it was indeed a belated victory party for Lord Nelson - complete with speeches dedicated to the great leader and readings of accounts from the battlefield.
Brigadier Christopher Hammerbeck, the chief executive of the British Chamber of Commerce, spoke on the great leader's behalf.
And Swire's very own Christopher Raper (of the group finance department) led the crowd through Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Brittannia.
Yes, the empire is alive and well, or at least exhumed, and staggering zombie-style around the Hong Kong Club.
Due to the dearth of women, it was left to solicitor Gilbert Collins to speak on behalf of Lady Emma Hamilton.
You might recall that she was Lord Nelson's lover.
Impressive, thought Lai See, when a bemused non-English guest told us about it. Not to mention daunting.
It must require great sensitivity for a man to share his thoughts on one woman's unsung role in an otherwise male-dominated chapter of history.
How did he handle it?
'It was basically a string of blue jokes about Lord Nelson's sexual prowess,' our informant said.
Multi-dimensional men: A strange trend is emerging in Hong Kong theatre.
Lately, the performance list has been steeped in oestrogen.
If you fancied seeing a play, here were last week's options: The Vagina Monologues (about vaginas and how women feel about them), Making Boobs (about breasts and how women feel about them), Topless (about life and love and how one woman feels about them) and The Woman (about the modern world and how women feel about it).
To balance things out, local theatres begin showing a series of plays exploring the male psyche and the many complex issues that the modern man contemplates.
There's the Male Sex Organ Monologues (about sex, cars and sport), Making Pectorals (about sex, cars and sport) and The Man (about sex, cars and sport).
Family baggage: Lai See is a tad puzzled by one of the warning posters in the MTR.
It's the one that says 'Always take bulky items in the lift'.
To illustrate this point, there's a picture of a mother encumbered by some suitcases and a child-laden stroller.
But that's not the puzzling part.
What we find odd is that she's also brought an elderly woman with her.
Even if you think she's an old bag, it still seems a bit harsh to categorise grandma as a 'bulky item'.