MOANING Minnies of an environmental bent are raising screeches of protest about the simple process of demolishing Green Island and building a causeway to a new public dump on the previously uninhabited isle. Don't these people know that if Hong Kong doesn't keep filling in the harbour the original island will simply disappear? If you don't believe us, Lai See directs readers attention to Hong Kong Rocks, a fascinating book published by the Urban Council. This little tome costs only $25 and has nothing whatever to do with the stadium and problems with noisy Rolling Stones gigs. Like most non-geologists, Lai See has long been of the opinion that granite is pretty hard and unyielding stuff, hence the expression 'as hard as granite'. True enough, up to a point. The problem is that granite undergoes 'chemical weathering'. That's not what happened to Keef Richards but a geological term whereby all the minerals in granite get leached out by our humid climate. What remains is some flaky, platey material called 'gruss' which subsequently weathers into the reddish coloured sandy clay so common in Hong Kong. And we wouldn't raise the spectre of the sudden disappearance of Hong Kong Island lightly. Ignoring certain other factors (like all of them), the territory's granite has anywhere between 100,000 and a few million years left. This in geological terms is the blink of an eye, and good enough to justify the immediate covering of any remaining green parts of the island with a nice protective layer of concrete in the form of roads and apartments, and the joining of Hong Kong to Kowloon. Branching out THERE are other great Urban Council books. We were especially drawn to the lavishly illustrated Plant Diseases of Hong Kong, while a colleague has been rhapsodising over his copy of Hong Kong Lichens. The latest book is something different again. It is a real coffee table book of impressive thickness on the subject of Hong Kong's 250 finest trees. As a major arborophile, Lai See would be the last to object to anything done in praise of our woody chums. But we'd be interested to know exactly how many of our leaf-bearing friends had to die to print the tome. Im-Pao-sonators ONE of our pictures today shows Judge Pao, legendary legal person and more recently a star of films and television shows; the other shows Anthony Neoh, legendary legal person and more recently chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission, disguised as Judge Pao at the First Harvard Club of Hong Kong Foundation Ball. As part of the fun on Saturday, every table had to use what was to hand to build a costume of a character decided by the organisers. The top table, where Anthony was sitting with the other worthies including Anson Chan, was assigned Judge Pao. They didn't win because a very poor imitation of Chris Patten as Superman got first prize - something of a swizz in view of the fact the winning team used pre-prepared materials. Anthony's team used just what was lying around - programmes, feathers from masks and party hats, crepe paper - and did a remarkable job. It has to be more than the skill with the scissors, we reckon. There must be something of Judge Pao inside Anthony which made the costume work so well. Charged up IAN Marsh of American Express International reckons Lai See was really unfair when we ravaged his charge cards. We mistakenly called Amex cards credit cards when we meant charge cards, but we still don't really see the difference between a charge card and a credit card. 'Amex does not charge any interest on accounts which are kept current,' he wrote to us. That is, you have only 30 days' credit. With many credit cards available in Hong Kong, the interest-free credit period is as much as 60 days, so long as the whole amount is paid off. Then Ian says that the 3.9 per cent a month figure is not an interest rate but a 'late payment charge designed to discourage any late settlement of accounts'. He also says it is 'completely inaccurate and misleading' to compare late payment charges with on-going interest rates. Then he attacks other companies for the rates they charge. He says other credit cards have special penalty rates of up to five per cent per month on the minimum payment amount. The minimum payment amount can be five per cent of the total outstanding bill, so for equal sums outstanding Amex is still going to be a rather more expensive proposition. We'd like to take a leaf out of his book and point out that other columnists are even more inaccurate and misleading than us - but he hasn't complained about them. Why, some we know would have used this as an excuse to have another bash at Amex for charging 58.25 per cent a year 'late payment charges'.