No, wait. Do not skip this, assuming it is another of the endless stream of nostalgia pieces about Kai Tak airport. Bear with me while we take this final opportunity to disinter two bodies whose names are about to disappear forever from the world stage. I promise you the five ingredients of the quintessential Hong Kong story: love, death, sex, money and property speculation. Most of us think we know the basic story about how Mr Kai and Mr Tak reclaimed the land that became Kai Tak airport. But history has some surprises. For a start, they were not really called Mr Kai and Mr Tak. Let us journey back to a sunny afternoon in 1897, when two friends named Ho and Au were strolling along a strip of rural, coastal land called Kowloon Bay. The livelier of the two, Ho Shan-kai, was a doctor. Au Tak was a retailer. They had just bought the land cheaply, with a view to building a Hong Kong version of the Bund - the waterfront road in Shanghai which carried a line of tall buildings. Ho decided to use his personal name on the new property project, instead of his family name. His friend, whose name really consisted of two surnames, decided to use Tak, the second of these. (We should be grateful they were not British, otherwise we might have ended up with something called Dave and Daph International Airport.) Au changed the spelling of Tak to 'Tack' to make it look more English. He had made his fortune by running a successful shop in Hong Kong called A. Tack Photographic Supplies. His friend Ho had lived an even more extraordinary life, I learn from Tony Hedley of the Hong Kong Aviation Club, who has researched it. Ho's father, Ho Fuk-tong, combined two normally disparate careers - Christian minister and professional loanshark. The old man was the first minister of the Hop Yat Church (the big cream-coloured church up the stone staircase where Caine Road becomes Bonham Road). But he also made money by lending out cash at rates that would have bought a blush to the cheeks of triads who hang around outside Macau casinos. One debit note shows that on one two-year debt, the clergyman charged 20 per cent a month - a rate where the debt grows so fast it can almost never be paid off. One wonders how he felt when the cycle of liturgical readings took him to the passage where Jesus physically expelled one particularly loathed subsector of society from the temple - moneylenders. The Reverend Ho, not surprisingly, became a wealthy property magnate, and used some of his profits to send his son to school in Britain. By the age of 22, the excessively bright young man had done three things: studied medicine and become a doctor; studied law and become a barrister; and fallen hopelessly in love. The girl of his dreams was Alice Walkden of Blackheath. He married her, and persuaded her to get on a ship and travel back to Hong Kong with him in 1882. Oh, what a blissful scene. The young lovers, Kai and Alice, lived in a house the family built in Bonham Road, near the Reverend Loanshark's church. It was a colonial mansion in a leafy street, a short walk from Chinatown (Tai Ping Shan) and a 25-minute sedan-chair ride from Victoria City. But could Chinese and barbarians procreate together? Yes. Alice became pregnant. Because Kai and Alice were a high-class couple, their baby was not shunned like some mixed children in Hong Kong. But their happiness was short-lived. Alice and the baby died of suspected typhoid in 1884, just two years after her arrival. Devastated, a tearful Kai pledged that Hong Kong would never forget the love of his life, and set up the Alice Hospital - again, commemorating her first name. From that day to this, Hong Kong has always had a hospital called Alice. Today, after various mergers and relocations, it is called the Alice Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital. In 1897, the general populace of Kowloon and the hinterlands north of it was rocked by shocking rumours. The pink-faced barbarians who lived on Hong Kong Island were going to seize all the land on that side of the harbour. Prices plummeted. That was when Ho and Au bought and reclaimed Kowloon Bay. The project went bust. No one wanted to be involved. Not only did Kowloon Bay have bad fung shui, but it was many miles from civilisation. The land reverted to the government, and it eventually became Hong Kong International Airport. But no one used that name, preferring the simplicity of Kai Tak. The story should end there, with the young cross-cultural love affair of Kai and Alice preserved in two major Hong Kong institutions which carried their personal names almost until the millennium. But, unlike the romance novelist, the historian has to be a little more comprehensive. So here is what happened next. Au drops out of the story and into obscurity. Kowloon Bay eventually acquired more tall buildings than the Bund in Shanghai. Ho, although he had his ups and downs in business, and never forgot his heartbreak, eventually consoled himself. He remarried. His ardour was apparently not affected by his grief for his dear departed Alice. This is evidenced by his second wife bearing him 17 children. He died at the age of 55, exhausted but smiling.