Zeman sheepish as wolf whistle fizzles

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 November, 1994, 12:00am

THE shame of Allan Zeman. Sitting next to the Duchess of Kent at the glittering Academy for Performing Arts Guys & Dolls gala dinner, the garment and property tycoon was overheard entering into a pact with the jolly royal during the high-spirited evening.

The popular duchess (who is involved in so many worthy local causes that she must be the nearest thing that Hong Kong has to a patron saint) had agreed with Zeman that when their host, chairman of the academy council Dr Helmut Sohmen, delivered his after-dinner eulogy they would greet him with wolf whistles.

As we all well know, this practice is normally employed on the terraces of football grounds by spectators trying to draw the attention of the referee to his shortcomings.

And the duchess even put her fingers in her mouth in the time-honoured fashion to ensure Zeman knew exactly what she meant.

We're afraid there are a few gaps in Zeman's education - and wolf whistling happens to be one of them. And not even a misspent youth on the terraces of his favourite ice hockey team in his native Montreal had quite prepared him for this royal command performance.

But his anxiety to please overcame all good sense and he agreed.

Came the moment and at a given signal the duchess and Zeman both inserted fingers in their mouths and let rip.

What emerged from the duchess was a commanding shrill that would have brought rush-hour traffic in Connaught Road to an immediate standstill.

Alas Zeman? His huffs and puffs sounded more like the heavy panting one usually associates with nuisance telephone calls that normally transpire late at night.

As heads discreetly swivelled towards the head table, the duchess was heard gently admonishing Zeman: 'You let me down.'