Quite a few of us are lukewarm in the face of the white heat of new technology. Democratic Party leader Martin Lee Chu-ming appears to be a fellow sufferer. Legislators were presented with a new, state-of-the-art pager to help them in their legislative council duties at a Housing Committee meeting last week. Mr Lee examined his Dynamo 3 model and declared himself completely flummoxed by the gadget. In stepped Democratic Party member Sin Chung-kai from the New Territories geographical constituency who said he had cracked the system and would be glad to give Mr Lee a lesson. Seeing the puzzled looks on other legislators' faces, committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung decided to make the offer official. 'If anyone else can't understand the pager, Mr Sin is running a class on how to use them,' he announced. Although there has been no official confirmation, it will of course be the royal yacht, Britannia, which sails out of Victoria Harbour at midnight on the night of the handover, with the sinner for a thousand years on the deck, taking a last look at the former colony on which he has left such an indelible mark. It will also undoubtedly be Britannia's last state voyage. Costing around GBP37,000 (about HK$444,000) a day to run and used only rarely, the old girl is considered almost as big an extravagance as Fergie - certainly too much of a luxury for today's cost-conscious royals. Like her final state passenger, nobody is sure what fate lies in store for her. The boat is 42 years old now and has chalked up a million nautical miles in several round-the-globe trips. A refit would cost $204 million and a replacement would set the British taxpayer back $720 million. Several buyers have expressed an interest - one company says she could start a new career as the most exclusive cruiser on the seven seas, so it is already clear she is not going to be allowed to rot away unused. Nor will Hong Kong's last governor. In spite of the plethora of books being written on his turbulent years in the territory, the definitive account will be his own, and if he does not take on another big job when he returns home, he could probably spend the rest of his life globetrotting on lecture tours. Who knows, if the royal yacht is turned into a cruise liner, he might be its resident lecturer. To be fair, translating poems is not the kind of job that normally falls to a bureaucrat. Just as well, really, because according to local reaction the Chinese version of the Jack London 'poem' which Governor Chris Patten quoted in his Policy Address, was . . . well . . . definitely in the 'could do better' class. The Open Learning Institute's Chinese-language consultant Tung Kiu, a former chief at the Ming Pao newspaper, said translators had worked hard but the result lacked a pleasant tone. The essence of the original was missing, he said. Another language expert described the work as 'absolutely poor' and complained that no poetic mood had been preserved. Inside information suggests that the Jack London poem was translated by Treasury Secretary, Kwong Ki-chi, and Secretary for Financial Services, Rafael Hui Si-yan, as the best Chinese writers in the secretariat. Perhaps the solution would be for Mr Patten to choose his poetic references ready made in future. The American poet Ezra Pound devoted a lot of creative energy to translating the works of Chinese bards, including the celebrated Li Po, into lyrical English verse. Appropriate selections from his repertoire would save the backroom boys a tricky job. Always supposing Li Po wrote anything that fits in with what Mr Patten might say.