Does Preparatory Committee member David Chu Yu-lin still harbour secret hopes of becoming the first chief executive? Unlikely, perhaps, given the present odds on Tung Chee-hwa and Lo Tak-shing. Did someone mention the chief secretary? Who? Anson Chan Fang On-sang? Tee hee hee. Still, maybe Mr Chu knows something we don't. Otherwise why should he suddenly choose the weekend of Lu Ping's visit to out-Patten Chris Patten? Already writing with the importance of a chief executive designate, Mr Chu sent us a news release referring to himself in the third person. Mr Chu, it said, grandly, would visit the territory's 18 districts before June 1997. We're keeping our fingers crossed Mr Lu does not feel upstaged. First district to be honoured with Mr Chu's presence would be Wong Tai Sin, where he would come down among the people this very Saturday to listen to their grievances and fight for improvements. A listening ear would be lent at a restaurant, the management office of a private building and a meeting of local kai fong associations. The drug and squatter problems would be looked into, as would Kai Tak nullah. It is difficult to get used to the idea of his putative excellency (if that is the correct style for something as businesslike as a chief executive) abandoning the Harley-Davidson to dispense gracious greetings from the back of a black limousine. Especially if some outraged temporary housing area resident hands him a caged rat - or a three-headed fish with body odour, dredged from the nullah. According to Mr Chu, this is in fulfilment of the promise he made on joining the legislature to serve the people of Hong Kong. What has he been doing in the meantime? Meanwhile, those nice people from the Better Hong Kong Foundation have been spreading the word in the United States about what a jolly place the territory will be after 1997 and how everyone is just brimming with confidence. In a commentary distributed to newspapers by the American financial news service Knight-Ridder yesterday, the foundation's Henry Cheng Kar-shun, the managing director of New World Development, writes glowingly of how everyone is just rushing to secure a place right here in the sun. 'The world press' he writes dismissively, 'is filled with reports of Hong Kong residents standing in long lines to apply for British overseas passports as if this were a resounding vote of no 'confidence' in the future of Hong Kong. 'It isn't. More people are entering Hong Kong every year than leaving. In 1995 there was a net population inflow of 120,000.' True. But what Mr Cheng's audiences round the North American continent do not know - because they are not told - is that most of that inflow was made up of very lucky people on one-way permits out of China. Most of us wouldn't know anyone was putting piles into the ground without that tell-tale crashing of the pile-driver. But From the Corridors can now reveal a daring attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records with the world's deepest pile - and all this without the help of a jackhammer. Foundation work specialists Terratest Hong Kong inform us they have started boring a 1.8-metre diameter pile 106 metres into the Kowloon reclamation as part of the work on the new West Kowloon station. That's how we are in Hong Kong. No hole in the ground is too deep for us.