Who was behind Metro Radio's ill-fated attempt to slash its news coverage? Station managers admitted only a handful of people were involved in the decision, and Chinese-language gossip columns were quick to finger the station's agony aunt, Pamela Pak Wan-kam, as its inspiration. Pak, who hosts the late night chat show about love and sex that attracts more adverts than any other show, and who would have greatly benefited from the proposed cut in the length of the 11pm bulletin, denied being involved. But she was quick to defend the decision in her column in Apple Daily last Monday, saying it had nothing to do with press freedom. The journalists who protested against it were accused of trying to politicise the issue to save their jobs. Pak even accused the media of biased and unfair coverage of the affair. But within hours of her column appearing, station managers admitted the decision was a mistake, and reversed it. The Governor sometimes gets so carried away with his prose that he inadvertently lets slip the odd secret. So some significance can be attached to a curious passage in his most recent radio address. Out of the blue, the Governor laid great stress on the need 'to retain the integrity of our public service'. He dropped a hint about who he was thinking of: referring to 'those parts of public administration which have a direct bearing on our autonomy and how the world sees us'. No names were mentioned. But very few government departments fit that description, the main ones being immigration and trade. Mr Patten even mentioned the administration's willingness to weather 'unhelpful headlines' for the sake of ensuring 'the highest standards of commercial probity are set and maintained' by the civil service. Whoever can he have been referring to? Perhaps the Governor would like to enlighten Hong Kong, upon his return from his holidays next month? Meanwhile mainland official Lu Ping seems to have learnt a lesson from having said too much during his tea party with the press a few months ago. In his first meeting with the Hong Kong media since then, Mr Lu was quick to get the ground rules straight. 'Let's make it clear beforehand,' he warned at the start of a recent session with a delegation from the News Executives Association. The journalists opted to remain on the record, even though they realised that might prompt Mr Lu to say less than if they agreed to keep the contents of the discussion confidential. In the event, the Mr Lu still lashed out at those who believe they will be allowed to advocate two Chinas after the handover. But he stopped short of going to the extremes that characterised April's tea party, when Mr Lu set off a storm of protests, by suggesting senior civil servants would have to declare their support for the provisional legislature. One reason that controversy erupted was due to the confusion at the end of the tea party, when mainland officials failed to make it clear whether his remarks were off the record. The next morning, Hong Kong papers carried reports attributed to 'senior Chinese sources'. Shortly afterwards, several gossip columns blew Mr Lu's cover and identified him as the source, so setting off a political row which only ended when Beijing publicly declared it had no intention of imposing any such requirement. But the silvery-haired Shanghainese, who retires next year, seems content to let bygones be bygones. Asked if he was still mad with reporters over that incident, Mr Lu just laughed.