TAM Wing-pong has a really important new job since leaving the Financial Services Branch. He is now Deputy Director General of Trade. Yesterday, he called a press conference to make an important APEC related announcement. APEC, he said, had decided to adopt Hong Kong's proposals for a matrix to implement the APEC Action Agenda. 'Wah,' said the assembled scribes with but a single voice, 'And if it isn't rude, what does that mean?' 'The Action Agenda is a plan to introduce free trade by 2020 leading . . .' 'No, no,' cried the scribes, 'we know about that, it is all APEC ever talks about, even though it is utterly non-binding and Malaysia hates it.' 'The matrix is a triumph for Hong Kong, and Singapore which simultaneously came up with exactly the same thing,' said Mr Tam, or words to that effect. 'But what actually is it?,' pleaded the hacks. Then the answer came: it is a year planner chart, but covering decades instead of a single year. Hurrah for Hong Kong's Trade Department. Unfriendly A colleague has been faxed by the US-Asia Environmental Partnership. 'We are faxing you the following announcement as part of our continuing efforts to support HK's environmental initiatives,' it says on the cover sheet. Okay, so why didn't they e-mail the message? How about yat! THE International Standards Organisation has finally settled one of the really big questions facing the world: What day does the week start on? The answer is Monday, although they could have saved time in deliberation by asking any speakers of Chinese. In Cantonese, it's axiomatic. Go a-wei HONGKONG Telecom CSL has really got some twisted priorities. The company has actually announced that from now on, mobile phone users will not be free even on the beaches of Bali, Phuket, Penang and Cebu. This is not only bad news for phone owners who will now get hassled by their bosses while lying on the beach, but also for other beach users who came away from Hong Kong to escape the constant chorus of 'brrrnng brrrnng, Wei'. What, no socks ANOTHER great product from The Nikkei Weekly: the foot fan. This neat little device fits snugly around the ankles and feet and blows a warm draught of air at cold toes from almost 360 degrees at the same time. Trunk-ated A FOOL-PROOF method for carving an elephant: first get a huge block of marble, then chip away everything that doesn't look like and elephant. Major worry ON Nathan Rd at the junction of Ning Po Street there is a huge great hole in the ground. For months now, Yaqub Khan has been ringing us to point out that there is never any work being done down it. He reckons the hole has been there for three years, a statement hotly denied by the Government. Mr Khan has invited John Major over for a curry ('It'll be the best in the empire,' says Mr Khan) and we reckon he should take it up with him. After all, there's not much point in taking up any of the more pressing issues facing Hong Kong (passports, right of abode for non-Chinese, etc, etc, etc) with the man. Card sharps BORED with collecting phonecards? Hacked off with gathering MTR tickets? Why not collect credit cards? The latest organisation to take the plunge and link up with a bank to issue its own credit card is the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries. The HKICS has linked up a bank to issue cards which will contribute funds to the Institute every time a purchase is made with the bit of plastic. The Society of Accountants has gone one better: it has had a bus decorated in HKSA colours. Any day now we can expect to see an Institute of Bankers plane taking off from Kai Tak. It's Nury time! AS our colleague Nury Vittachi already has announced, there has been a change of control at Lai See and the current incumbent is retiring (although not in a figurative sense). Obviously, it is in all our interests to ensure a smooth transition. With that in mind, we'll be phasing in Nury gradually, starting today with these great Country N Western song titles. Enjoy. Do You Love As Good As You Look? Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure Here's A Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away? Been Roped And Thrown By Jesus In The Holy Ghost Corral. And thanks Lai See would like to thank a few of the people who have helped with ideas and encouragement and by never saying 'Lai See was better when Nury did it.' Shouts go out to: Tim, the Tai Hang Rocketeer - big up, mate and leave the Rec Club alone; Sai Kung Intelligence Service - out in the jungle; David Webb - top tales; Big John from EDI Shop, James who we cannot name, the Lamaratti for inspiration - you know who you are. This is Radio Free Lai See signing off.