WITH so many social issues mentioned in the Budget, the police and press were out in force at the front door of Legco after lunch yesterday. But just one tiny group of protesters turned up. ''They say they are the Hongkong Flu,'' a radio reporter told us. We approached them and found that they were indeed the Hongkong Flu, which was short for Federation of Labour Unions. Meanwhile, nearby, two passers-by were commenting on the nobility of our Financial Secretary. He selflessly gave up his car with the ''2'' number plate, realising that personalised plates were a worthless and contemptible vanity. Just as this conversation ended, the Financial Secretary drove up - in a glossy Jaguar with the personalised registration plate ''FS'' on it. He was handed a leaflet by the Hongkong Flu on the way in. During his speech, he started coughing several times, but we hope this was just coincidence. There was much consternation when law-and-order overlord Peggy Lam strode into Legco to hear the Budget. From a distance, it looked as if this powerful woman had apparently grown a small, grey, toothbrush moustache, like Hitler's. When she got closer, we realised it was a sticking plaster. Had she pronged herself while testing new weapons for the police? ''Just carelessness,'' she said and trotted out of range of the cameras. A few minutes later, the Reverend Fung Chi-wood arrived - with what looked like a blood blister under his right eye. Had there been some scuffling between these pro-weapons legislators and pro-peace campaigners? If so, our money's on Mrs ''Rambo'' Lambo. Grave matters PROBABLY the most exciting announcement which came out of the Budget was a fax from the Regional Council at 5 pm yesterday. ''The Regional Council's Environmental Hygiene Select Committee will at its meeting tomorrow [Thursday] review fees for the disposal of the dead,'' said the text. We are sure the dead, many of whom are regular Legco attendees, are thrilled. Smells fishy THE Government abolished the cosmetics tax yesterday and perfume traders smiled. But it was only skin deep. In private last night, many were scratching their fragrant heads and wondering which prices to cut. It all started when bosses of the Cosmetics and Perfumery Association of Hongkong had a confidential meeting with the Government on January 14. Official Stephen Selby told them the Governor would only drop cosmetics tax if perfume traders promised to drop their prices to the public, and thus trim inflation. So cosmetics traders asked all their members to write down their ''proposed price reductions''. The trouble was, the Hongkong branches of most of the big perfume supply houses then put their prices up, some with a 15 per cent climb. Some raised prices on March 1. So perfume in future will be cheaper than last Monday, but not necessarily less than Sunday. It smells a bit funny to us. Photo finish WHAT a cosy crowd they are at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. The accountants organised a ''Budget Stakes'' race in which their top tax experts stuck their necks out and wrote out their Budget predictions on a score card. They divided them into ''front runner'' guesses and ''long shot'' guesses. Then they watched the Financial Secretary's speech live on television together at a function room in the Marriott Hotel. Afterwards, we asked Deloitte's tax department head man, Peter Tosi, who had won. Had any of his juniors dared to make more accurate predictions than he had? Amazingly enough, ''it was a dead heat'', Mr Tosi said. None of his staff had beaten him. And if he believes that . . . Copy writers HAMISH Macleod looked out over the sea of newshounds at his post-Budget press conference. He realised that each of these fresh young faces was going to try to rewrite his masterpiece and it must have been a frightening thought. ''Look,'' he said, desperately. ''This is the new leaflet. Please offend against copyright as much as you like.'' Call to account THE Financial Secretary learned the truth of the Hongkong journalistic adage that the toughest question is always asked by a Singaporean reporter. (After all, they can't do the same at home.) Catherine Ong of Business Times wanted to know why the estimates were always wrong. ''Is there a deliberate attempt at conservatism, or are you guys just BAD at forecasting?'' she asked with tone approaching brazenness. Jessie Wong of the Asian Wall Street Journal piled into the fight: ''Are you going to buy more computers, calculators, or sack a few people?'' Mr Macleod replied: ''If you look at property revenue - I defy any of you to get it right next year. If you look at Stamp Duty - I defy any of you to get it right next year.'' For several nanoseconds, there were no hands raised at the press conference.