IT may be that Princess Diana (definitely) and Camilla Parker Bowles (supposedly) are out of his life. But Prince Charles has no plans to spend his evenings pottering around his St James Palace apartment talking to the plants. Cosy dinner parties with carefully selected guests at his London home are very much in order and at one such recent affair sitting alongside the prince was one of Hong Kong's most glamorous (and eligible) young women. Over the well-balanced meal the conversation dwelt on such enthralling dinner-table topics as 'alternative medicine' and 'the meaning of life', with everyone participating enthusiastically - or so we were told. The Hong Kong guest said: 'Prince Charles is a deep-rooted person and I can now understand why he couldn't get along with Princess Di who is only interested in discos'. Quite - Your Highness! WHEN Pope John Paul arrives in Manila today he will carry the message of hope that has been the cornerstone of his papacy. The visit has attracted thousands of Catholics from the region - including a 300-strong Hong Kong delegation led by the Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung. However, in the Philippines 'hope' has a much different commercial connotation. It is the brand name of the largest-selling cigarette in the archipelago. To add to the confusion, the pontiff will be flying from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea in a private jet sponsored by Fortune Tobacco, the makers of Hope cigarettes. The deal came about because Fortune Tobacco belongs to Filipino-Chinese tycoon Lucio Tan who also happens to own Philippine Airlines. And Tan, whose extensive business interests in Hong Kong include a hotel and a bank, cleverly saw the mileage to be had in having his tobacco company sponsor the Pope's transfer from Manila to Port Moresby rather than his airline. Already there is talk that the aircraft will be festooned with the message 'With the Pope there is Hope'. The Pope's minders could perhaps rescue the situation by taking on board copies of his internationally best-selling book Crossing The Threshold Of Hope so he could hold a book-signing session on the flight. IT'S just over a month since TV mogul Robert Chua started treading - with the help of larger-than-life entertainer Fei-Fei - all over Asia with his China Entertainment Television (CETV) satellite station. The CETV footprint, if Chua's bulging postbag is anything to go by, reaches 42 cities in China and eight other Asian countries stretching from Thailand to Japan. Word is the Mandarin-language station will be officially launched on March 11 with the station 'adopting' the first 50 babies born soon after midnight on the day in each of the 30 provinces of China and 20 other cities in the region including our own cosmopolitan hamlet. The novel idea apparently was, er . . . conceived by Chua, although he will neither confirm or deny it. NOW that a Hong Kong interest has been declared in the purchase of a 13,000-hectare Yorkshire grouse moor there is said to be much speculation both in the pubs of North Yorkshire and the drawing rooms of the Peak as to what changes might be wrought by the new owner. The cocktail circuit has been agog with talk that a gamekeeper from Hong Kong will soon be appointed. And that he will be the first gamekeeper in a country house anywhere in England to sport a bow-tie. FOR most of last year socialite Cristal Li was absent from our shores, although there had been reported sightings of her bejewelled presence in Paris, Rome and Nairobi. But now, barely a month after the social chronicle Tatler published 'The List' on which the most notable omission was Cristal, guess who has re-surfaced? This could only mean one thing. Cristal is back in town to re-claim her rightful place in the social order of things.