EVER since its inception the Sydney Opera House has wallowed in isolated - and thoroughly well-deserved, we might add - aesthetic glory. But now, Hong Kong's waterfront is out for a bit of the action. Walking past the reclamation site at Wan Chai, where work on the extension to the Hong Kong Convention Centre is coming on at a furious pace, we noticed high on a billboard an architectural drawing of the new building. And, yes, you've guessed right - it does look like a replica of the Sydney Opera House. Not the 'pack of nuns playing football' (as it has been described) version, but more like a couple of penguins out on a leisurely stroll. Dan Saunders, the jovial American at the helm of the Convention Centre, did admit as much. 'That's an excellent observation,' said Saunders when we put it to him. He added: 'Actually the new building will be as much a signature piece for Victoria Harbour as the Opera House is for Sydney Harbour.' We feel everything is in order. After all we've given the Aussies copy watches. So copying their opera house is fair exchange. Right, cobbers? DESPITE having lived in exile from his Gaelic roots for so long James Smith, the Hilton chieftain, has lost none of his Scottishness - especially when it comes to matters of a pecuniary nature. Smith was spotted the other day in the early hours of the morning dashing from one exit to another of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station clutching his stored-value ticket and trying to find a way in. Only when it was pointed out that at that ungodly hour the MTR staff were snoring in their beds was he able to bring himself to delve into his pocket and reach for notes of the realm for a taxi to get home across the harbour. Incidentally, Smith hasn't been seen in his splendid kilt of late. And his explanation is that someone put it in the washing machine and it has shrunk. James Smith going around town wearing a micro skirt - perish the thought! THERE is little doubt that Hong Kong is the Mecca for those on the quest of all that is best in gentlemen's tailoring. Why, it used to be said that tourists were stopped at Kai Tak if they were caught attempting to leave the territory without being able to prove that they'd bought at least one suit during their stay here. Not that these bespoke gentleman believe in things like conventional marketing, as PR guru Ted Thomas pointed out to us. He has just received the 'updated' business card of a tailor shop called Baroman that has been in business for more than 50 years and whom he first visited 30 years ago. Said Thomas: 'The scene depicted on the front is of Chater Road when Swire House was still called Union House. 'And the map on the back of the card shows the waters of Hong Kong harbour lapping the walls of the Hong Kong Club. The only amendment is that the old telephone number has been crossed out and the new number added with a cheap rubber stamp.' We are at one in sympathy with Baroman. After all, everything happens so fast in Hong Kong it's hard to keep up. A PHOTOGRAPH is to hand of Geoff Garside, general manager of the Marriott presiding over the traditional pig-cutting rites to bless the arrival of his hotel's new fleet of Mercedes-Benz limousines. Looking at the line-up of gleaming cars one thing is instantly noticeable - all the cars appear to have licence plates bearing the initials 'GG'. Which begs the question: Is Garside starting a cult of personality? Or is it merely coincidence? In keeping with the spirit of the Lunar season we will give him the benefit of the doubt.