THEY'RE sweet. They're crunchy. And they've got lots of legs.
We are talking about candy-coated locusts, a yummy snack which may soon be heading this way from Australia.
The idea came from Peter McFarlane, an Aussie fruit-farmer, who is rather embarrassed about it.
Mr McFarlane heard that his government had money to give away for ''value-added enterprises'', a business school concept defined as Taking a Cheap Commodity and Slapping a Huge Price On It.
He decided to stick in a joke application.
Locusts were threatening the livelihood of fruit farmers in Riverland, southern Australia, said Mr McFarlane, secretary of the Murray Citrus Growers Co-operative. Why not cover the locusts with sugar and sell them to China? The Department of Primary Industry took the application seriously and investigated. Apparently there has been some genuine interest from parts of China where locusts are eaten.
Locust-catchers were out in force last week in Australia to catch the raw material for their country's great new foreign exchange earner.
We somehow suspect that this one may join the list of other great Australian export products which failed to set the world on fire: The plasticised wombat dropping key ring; Chocolate covered ants; The kangaroo scrotum change purse.
Word factory WE were musing on the words of Reuters east Asia chief David Brocklehurst that his firm's output of 300,000 words a day, if formed into books, would be ''three medium-sized novels''.
Does that mean it is all fiction? Video nasty VIV, a negotiator who works for Associated Surveyors and Auctioneers in Central, was on her way to an appointment at 4.30 pm on Friday.
She waited at the corner of Pedder Street and Queen's Road Central, opposite Watson's, when she felt something bumping against her legs. Viv, who is tall and was wearing a short skirt, looked down to see a video camera filming her legs from inside a brown paper bag.
The furtive filmer grabbed his bag and scuttled off. Viv considered hitting him with her handbag, but decided that it was more important to get to her potentially important business meeting (she's a true Hongkonger).
A contact in the film business advised: ''Women could 'accidentally' step backwards. With a bit of luck you'll smash the lens or damage the camera.'' If you know how to use a camcorder, you could grab it, film the pervert, and hand the tape to Central Police Station, Hollywood Road.
Cheque mate OUR pal Frank Anthony got a polite letter from Hongkong Bank recently, informing him that his current account was overdrawn by a few hundred dollars.
It asked him to deposit sufficient funds to cover the overdraft. Fair enough.
He went to the ETC machine near his office intending to transfer $1,000 from his savings account.
On doing a preliminary check of his balance, the machine confirmed that there was more than enough to take care of it.
However, the available balance was less than the ledger balance by - you've guessed it - exactly the amount overdrawn from his current account.
He tried to make a transfer from savings to current but the machine would not let him do so.
''So, the bank has put a 'hold' on my savings account to cover the overdraft, but won't let me transfer from one account to the other,'' he said.
He pondered how to get out of the Catch-22. Then he received another letter from Hongkong Bank, reminding him that he had to sort out the situation.
Hun sung hero SOME people could not work out what John Hodgkiss's rhyme Le tille bop Ypres alors ce chips was meant to be.
Want to know the answer? Not telling you: nyah-nyah. Instead, here is a different version of the same nursery rhyme. Jeremy Simpson of Scenic Villa, Pokfulam, claims to have found this in an ancient German manuscript: Liesel Bopp hieb es Schloss der Schieb An Dutzend Noor, wer zu Feind dem, Lief dem Aal ohn an Tee willkomm Ohm; Brenken der Teil Spee ein dem.
Making waves PHOTOGRAPHER Roy Cuthbert of Seymour Road told us he had noticed a ship tied up at Tamar. In large letters on the side of the ship were the words ''US COAST GUARD'', suggesting that it was a long way from its normal area of patrol.
''Has the UK sold Hongkong to the US?'' asked Roy.
Americans often have a rather broad understanding of their nation's sphere of influence, Roy.