Fine functions not for family album

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 January, 1994, 12:00am

WHY, oh why do Chris and Lavender Patten, having made the magnanimous and unprecedented gesture of opening up Government House to charity balls and banquets, then put a dampener on things by forbidding guests from taking photographs of their undoubted thrill and enjoyment when within the bounds of the colonial pile.

For heaven's sake, what state secrets could possibly be waiting to be exposed from within the expensively refurbished walls of this grace and favour pad? As arrangements stand at the moment, the ordinary folk now privileged to attend functions at Government House decked in their finery must subject themselves to be flashed at exclusively by official photographers from the Government Information Service, who are known only for their ability to take pictures of government worthies getting in and out of official limousines or standing alongside banks of microphones displaying the handiwork of their dentists.

One guest who attended a function at Government House last week, where tickets cost a tiny packet, told us: ''It was a wonderful experience. But somehow or other the fact that we were not allowed to take pictures at our table spoilt the occasion for us.'' Quite. Not until the Pattens show the becoming flexibility of the Windsors on this matter and allow their guests to bring out their Instamatics as they strike a regal pose in the Drawing Room (or even cuddle the delightfully mischievous canine residents,Whisky and Soda) can we claim that Government House is truly open to Hong Kongers.