IT'S the same scenario at cocktail parties around the world. You greet, circulate and finally settle in a corner with a glass of something or other and strike up an inane conversation with the person nearest to you.
But occasionally these chats do progress from the mundane to the meaningful - as happened at a reception in Canberra.
If you don't mind we'll fast forward on how the discourse between two of the guests progressed towards their respective children. But talking of their progeny the man and the woman realised that they had a child - he a son and she a daughter - living in Hong Kong.
Since the territory has a reputation of being crowded and unfriendly, they both agreed that they would write to their children and suggest they got in touch.
Which is how Julie Meldrum, popular consul at the Australian Consulate got a note from her mum asking her to get in touch with a certain Jackie Chan and providing his telephone number. Mum helpfully added: 'I believe he has something to do with kung fu.' Action movie king Jackie, too, got a note from his dad about Julie. Wrote dad: 'I'm told she is in the diplomatic service.' Being obedient children, Julie and Jackie did as their parents told them and connected, having a good laugh over dinner at how their meeting came about.
Julie, who has been posted in Hong Kong for four years, will be leaving next month for Tokyo where she will be a counsellor at the embassy there.
Departing with her is television producer husband Murray Millsom who works for Asia Business News and their two children Sam, three, and Lucinda, five.
Says peripatetic career woman Julie: 'Sam was made in Hong Kong and Lucinda was made in Indonesia. But we have no plans to make one in Japan.' Wait till she sees the quality of programming on Japanese TV!