Here's mud in the Eye from good old US of A

FOR the second day running, I found myself joining the afternoon tea set. This time hosted by TVB at the Furama to welcome back from the US West Coast the presenters and crew of its popular magazine programme, Eye On Hongkong - although the show they canned over there is predictably called Eye on California.

What contrasting tales are to be had when meeting a waffle (what other collective noun can one use to adequately describe such a grouping?) of TVB presenters.

I can't exactly remember what brought it about, but Gloria Wu was lamenting the fact that everywhere she goes people keep mistaking her as Japanese - resulting in the inevitable fulsome bowing and ''ah so-ing''.

''I just don't understand it,'' she lamented. ''I mean, I wouldn't mind if I had the yen to show for it.'' (So philosophical, that girl).

Katie Ledger, on the other hand, had a more pleasant story to impart. Interviewing CCN talk-show host Larry King last week she complimented him on the tie he was wearing (Katie, as it happens, was wearing a tie, too).

Larry, whose proud boast is that he owns one of the finest collections of ties in the entire global village, suggested they swap.

But Katie, naturally, got the best deal. Larry's tie was an expensive limited edition one commemorating the release of an early Beatles album, while Katie's was a $25 number depicting Mickey Mouse purchased in a market at Causeway Bay.

Incidentally, on the subject of Eye on California, if I am to believe what Paul George (who, with former Miss Hongkong Valerie Chow, presents the US episode), the best bit of action was never canned.

It involved Paul (the coward!) turning down the chance to do a spot of mud-wrestling himself, but paying for his driver to indulge instead - while he watched from a safe distance.

He was probably referring to the look on the face of his 1.9 metre, 90 kilogram Afro-American driver when he declared: ''I've never see such naked fear in all my life.'' Of the muddy spectacle, Paul commented: ''It was as wholesome and graceful as mud-wrestling can be.''