Citibank in Hong Kong has written to all customers asking them for their mothers' maiden names, I heard yesterday. Of course, they are still using PIN numbers, but the bankers would like to know the old girl's original name as a bit of back-up security. This is primarily for customers using phone banking, especially those who forget their secret identification numbers. Special mother's maiden name forms have been sent out to customers in Hong Kong. The problem is that there are not a huge variety of family names in Hong Kong. One can imagine the conversation. Citibank: What is your mother's maiden name? Caller: Chan? Citibank: That is not correct. Caller: Wong? Citibank: Correct! You now have full access to the requested accounts. I wonder if Citibank in Korea is going to use the same system. Ms Kim of Citibank Korea: This is Ms Kim of Citibank Korea. What is your mother's maiden name, Mr Kim? Mr Kim: Kim. Ms Kim: Correct! The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong is publishing a directory called Who's Who in Hong Kong Communications. The chamber is writing to people in the media telling them that they should send money before the end of this week 'to buy a copy of the directory at $500 and be listed free'. Funny sort of directory that lists people who have paid to be in. What if an important media person (such as Jimmy Lai) declines to pay, but an utter nobody (such as the present writer) coughs up the half-grand required? Will they re-title it Who Thinks They Are Who in Hong Kong Communications? Peter Cabrey, of Hong Kong, made several attempts to contact a business associate in China via the 139 mobile phone network. He kept receiving the voice of a young woman saying: 'Sorry. This subscriber is bad.' 'I wonder whether this young lady knows my associate in a personal way and was commenting about his performance,' he said. 'Or perhaps it is a new service of the China mobile phone network, to warn callers about unscrupulous businessmen.' Dave Mawhinney, who is building a petrol station for aircraft at Chek Lap Kok, wrote to tell me about the latest winner of the Darwin Awards. This goes to the person who does the gene pool a big favour by killing himself in an extraordinarily stupid way. Last year's winner killed himself when he tried to steal a drink from a Coca-Cola machine and pulled it over on top of himself. This year's nominee was identified after the Arizona Highway Patrol found the signs of a plane crash. But investigators found it had no wings. The following facts were eventually uncovered. The driver of a 1967 Chevy Impala had obtained a jet engine used by military transport planes, and attached it to his car. He got up speed on a desert road and then switched the jet on. The car accelerated to 350 miles per hour within five seconds. The driver would have been hit with G-forces equivalent to those suffered by fighter pilots. The car stayed on the road for 2.5 miles - just 15 to 20 seconds. The motorist then applied and completely melted the brakes, leaving thick rubber on the road surface. He became airborne for 1.4 miles and hit a cliff face 125 feet up. Said Dave: 'I recall customising Minis as a teenager to make them bigger, and, of course, noisier. But Americans do everything bigger.' The salesmen of the world have long been finding ways to avoid using the word 'second-hand'. Brett Free told me yesterday that the Terry Sports Co in Sai Kung has a sign on the front window: 'Experienced Golf Balls: $6'. Ellie Burnaford, of Old Peak Road, received an invitation to a seminar in Kowloon in which a company called Fred Pryor Seminars would teach her 'How to Manage Multiple Projects, Meet Deadlines and Achieve Objectives'. By paying $795 and attending, she can 'learn to handle last-minute changes swiftly and effectively'. In the small print on page seven of the brochure is a little note for people who receive duplicate mailings: 'Please allow up to 27 weeks for our records to be updated.'