Hong Kong Sevens

Black Watch muscles into crowd control during great Sevens security cover-up

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 March, 1997, 12:00am

An interesting little sideshow emerged at the weekend's Rugby World Cup Sevens, as Fiji blazed its trail to victory.

The little charade involved 400 members of the crack Black Watch squad of the British Garrison, who were crowd custodians over the three days of the tournament in place of the traditional security men of the Hong Kong Sevens, the Gurkhas.

On Friday, the first day of the tournament, the Black Watch personnel turned up in their green combats, soldier boots and white T-shirts with muscles rippling. In bold letters on their backs was the word 'security'.

By the time the weekend festivities began, there was an interesting change to their uniforms.

The word 'security' had been taped over. Word has it that the change came after a directive from above.

Because the Black Watch division wasn't meant to be acting in a security capacity - although members were apparently making a bit of pocket money for their troubles - the powers-that-be deemed its representatives were 'stewards' rather than security personnel.

Chris Patten has been making comments comparing Hong Kong to a Rolls Royce motor car, stating that he doesn't see the point of lifting the bonnet to tinker with the engine.

While Lai See appreciates the Governor's references to a British industrial icon, maybe some rival British upmarket goods manufacturers may have something to say about his apparent favouritism towards the Rolls.

Take, for instance, Jaguar - which would claim to make cars every bit as upmarket as the Rolls.

And who said Mr Patten should be restricting his analogies to the motoring arena? A Saville Row suit, a Fortnum & Mason's hamper and a Burberry's scarf would be right up there in the prestige stakes with their motoring counterparts.

Also on Mr Patten's comments on Hong Kong, it might be worth noting the remark of a Rolls-Royce agent when asked if a Roller ever broke down. 'A Rolls-Royce never breaks down. It may on a very rare occasion fail to proceed.' Passports for the Marshall Islands have for years been a magnet for Hong Kongers looking for a bit of protection beyond the handover.

Much of the popularity of the Central Pacific island group in Hong Kong lies in its status as a US protectorate - bestowing some of the benefits of US nationality on those lucky enough to win right of abode there.

But a new pamphlet put out by South Pacific Consultants - a company that apparently specialises as a 'go between' in teeing up passports for tropical islands - is doing the hard-sell on actually living in the central Pacific island group.

The pamphlet states that Marshall Islanders are 'friendly' and 'honest' - adding that you don't even have to lock up your house when you go to bed.

The flyer also seems to suggest that most Marshall Islanders are running around school playgrounds. The average age of residents is 15, it states.

Given Hong Kong's reputation for ridiculously high levels of mobile phone use, new information contained in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine is a bit of a dampener.

The research shows that the making of calls on cellular telephones quadruples the risk of a car crash during the period of a call.

When a call was placed five minutes before a collision, the chance of having a wreck was 4.8 times the level when the phone was not in use.

Interestingly, hands-free units gave no safety benefit over hand-held units, according to the study.

Technology Post colleague Yvonne Chan landed in Hong Kong from Singapore on Saturday, where the airline played a typically sanitised video explanation of landing and transport procedures at Kai Tak.

Among an array of descriptions, the video informed passengers - 'Kai Tak airport is on the mainland in Kowloon.' Yvonne double-checked the date to make sure she hadn't overstayed her business trip by three months.

Are they in some way related? - Lai See noticed a picture of ageing American rocker Phil Spector in the London-based Independent newspaper last week, after he won back the copyright to his first hit, To Know Him is to Love Him - and immediately spotted his resemblance to a Hong Kong funds management guru. Yes folks, we reveal for the first time that Mr Spector and former Jardine Fleming chief Alan Smith are twin brothers. It all becomes patently obvious when you consider Mr Smith's musical credentials.

Mr Smith is close mates with Mick Jagger - they were classmates at Dartford Grammar School - and has frequently been sent blocks of free tickets to Rolling Stones concerts. He is also an avid fan of country music and has been known to attend concerts in a Stetson and cowboy boots. Mr Spector has dined out for many years on the proceeds of his biggest hit - which is a standard feature of the Hong Kong karaoke set.