Nobody seems to know how long Hang Seng Bank's acting chief executive Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen will be at the helm of the company - least of all the man himself. There was a lot of speculation late last week at the bank's annual general meeting as to whether Mr Cheng's temporary posting was going to be made permanent. But after the meeting, Mr Cheng could shed no light on the subject other than offer a fairy-tale analogy. 'I don't know when I will be turned back into a pumpkin again. Now, there's no plan as to when it will be midnight.' It seems Mr Cheng sees himself as Cinderella, putting in the long hours while his company casts around for a new boss. Just one small pointer concerning the fairy tale, Vincent: it was the waiting golden coach, and not Cinders herself, that was turned into a pumpkin at midnight after the ball. Still on Hang Seng, Mr Cheng was not trusting the bank's luck in the prevailing economic climate - particularly given all the bad fortune that has been going round Hong Kong recently. He was more than a little superstitious about Hong Kong's fortunes, citing many of the phenomena that have plagued Hong Kong this year: the chicken flu, the red tide, rising unemployment and generally worrisome economic developments. Given this spate of bad luck, Hang Seng was taking no chances. The company would be watching credit quality very carefully, he said. Even bank bosses, it seems, are watching the broader portents very closely at the moment. The new Netherlands consul-general Jochum Haakma was seeing red at a function to introduce himself to members of the Hong Kong scene at the Foreign Correspondents Club last week. Red, he confided to the assembled throng, seemed to have been the colour of his recent past: both in Hong Kong, where he has been for four months, and previously in his posting to Indonesia. 'When I was in Indonesia, I had to report back on the red tape - but after coming to Hong Kong, I now find that I have to report on the red tide.' He may well have seen some more of the same colour before the night was out. We're told several hacks at the function had such a good time that they emerged red-eyed from the festivities. We thought the Chief Secretary for Administration, Anson Chan Fang On-sang, was staying well and truly out of the public eye for the next few weeks at least, given that she is on a prolonged period of leave. But it can be hard for high-fliers to stay out of the limelight - even when they're thousands of miles away. A colleague in London turned on daytime television in Britain on Thursday just in time to see the presentation ceremony for a horse race at one of the homes of racing, Newmarket. A petite, familiar-looking Chinese lady was about to hand over a cheque for GBP15,768 (about HK$205,800) to the winner of the City Index Craven Stakes, French horse Xaar. It all fell into place for our colleague when a loudspeaker announcement boomed that the presentation was to be made by one Anson Chan, the Chief Administrative Secretary of Hong Kong. She apparently took time out from a European odyssey to fly the flag for the SAR among the thoroughbreds and jockeys. It seems she made her appearance in an unofficial capacity. Even officials from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London were caught unawares by her phantom appearance. All of the recent incidents on local buses have made your correspondent a tad wary about riding on the top deck of a Hong Kong double-decker. It seems he is not alone. On a recent visit to Malawi in central Africa, reader Martin Gee of Sai Kung heard an interesting anecdote about some ex-Kowloon Motor Bus double-deckers being used by the local bus company. Several of the old KMB vehicles had been delivered to the company about six years previously and had been deployed in its two major hub cities. Two-tiered buses had never been seen in the country before, and the sight of them created a stir around the towns. The company puzzled over an early trend with the vehicles: nobody would initially occupy their top decks. An investigation team was dispatched to get to the bottom of the matter. It eventually returned to explain people were indeed scared of the top deck. The reason? There was no driver sitting upstairs.