Dock in the bay was not just for . . . sittin'

A PIECE of history was towed out of the territory's waters this week, along with one of Hong Kong's most amazing toilets.

Yesterday's Shipping Post reported the departure of the floating dockyard Tsing Yi, which was towed for 'scrapping' in China.

It is rusty, old and huge - 260 metres long and 52 metres wide - and it was built during World War II and remained in operation until last week.

It is left to Lai See to report that this means goodbye to a spectacular toilet.

Some time in the past 20 years, workers modified a box jutting over the edge, high above water level, which was meant to cover lights.

A hole was cut in the floor, and voila - the toilet with the best views in the territory, offering a welcome break from fixing ships.


Much better than the toilets at Felix at the Peninsula Hotel. No need to tip the attendant either.

It's 23 metres above harbour level, about the height of a five-storey building, and the, errr, products reached speeds of about 80 kilometres per hour before they exploded on the water, two seconds after release.

This remarkable vessel is owned by Hongkong United Dockyards, a joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa and Swire.

Of course, as an alteration, this extra toilet would have been checked by Lloyd's Register and the Hong Kong Marine Department, wouldn't it? One of the rules is that an inspector is supposed to personally inspect any alterations under operational conditions, and somehow we can't imagine any inspectors wanting to do this.


Failure bonus IT'S been nearly a week since any company reported a huge pay increase for directors .

The quiet period is over, though. Firstone Holdings, an electronics firm, managed to have a pretty terrible year last year, despite the big economic recovery in the United States, and profits fell about 40 per cent. Despite the poor results in 1994, the unnamed, highest-paid director got between $3.5 million and $4 million - at least triple the previous year's payout of between $1 and $1.5 million.


Shareholders will be hoping their now highly motivated board might manage to get the business turned round this year.

Fore-play VISITORS to the Mai Po marshes report that wardens from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department have a set of golf clubs and have been seen practising near the warden post.

This won't delight the campaigners who have been trying to stop property developers grabbing large slabs of nearby land - the developers also have been offering to build a golf course in the same scheme. Looks as though the wardens are getting ready for the day when many of those birds are cleared away to make way for birdies.


We've often thought that golf courses are the golden key which unlocks planning approval. The development of 15 13-storey eyesores near Sai Kung approved last month also had golfing facilities attached.

But most obvious of all was the Sheung Wan development by China Merchants.

No room for a golf course at Sheung Wan so to get a golf angle they put a strange, four-storey spherical structure on the top which looks like a golf ball.


As we reported last week, they've changed it now so that it looks like a rugby ball, by which we guess they discovered the official who had to approve the development was a New Zealand expat rather than a local.

Getting around THANKS to his pledge to become more accountable, Commissioner Against Corruption (CAC) Bertrand de Speville is going to a lot more cocktail parties and other functions these days.

Given that no-one would dare make fun of him, he makes fun of himself.

At one function he noted that his in-tray contained a docket marked 'CAC TALKS HK ROT'.

'I was not sure whether it was somebody's frank appraisal of my opinions,' he said. 'Or a headline in the press, or a considered judgment on my communication skills.' Actually, it was none of these. It was a draft of a talk he was giving to the Hong Kong Rotary Club.