If your Internet server slows to a near standstill or collapses completely during the Christmas-New Year period, don't be surprised. Our birdies at the Commission of Inquiry on the New Airport tell us Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing's sidekick Dr Edgar Cheng Wai-kin is out of town and keeping up with proceedings via e-mail. 'So what,' you may ask. Well, the commission took submissions earlier this week from counsel for the 18 parties still giving evidence to the inquiry. Some of these submissions comprised several binders made up of some 500 pages each. Quite a word strain for even the most resilient Internet system. If the Kenneth Starr report on Bill Clinton didn't crash the global Internet network with millions tuning in, this e-mail goliath for Mr Cheng's eyes only surely will! Lai See has finished its yearly Christmas Card Index charting the state of our economy. As expected, our haul of actual cards was down this year, in line with the general economic climate. It has been made up for, though, with a string of virtual cards that have found their way into your correspondent's e-mail in-box. We have also encountered a far more radical array of cards than normal - incorporating everything from condoms in one case to market graphs and dummy cheques. Hard times, it seems, breed off-the-wall thinking on the Christmas card front. One other trend we've noted is a collapse in the (normally heavy) haul of diaries received from the corporate sector. We suspect this could be down to more than a little wariness about prospects for next year. Hong Kongers sick to death of the SAR's often overpowering odours may be interested to hear what the Parisians have done to mask offensive smells. French transport officials last week unveiled a stink-slaying scent to transform its famous but foul-smelling Metro into a veritable perfume paradise. The scent is named 'Madeleine' - and we're told it will spread smells of 'citrus, lavender, jasmine and rose' through Metro stations. In the process, it will overpower existing smells of urine, human sweat, vomit, ozone and burning rubber. Not surprisingly, because some Parisians have been using it as a toilet, the Metro has become particularly odorous of late. Initial tests suggest the new perfume will radically transform it - with 1.5 tonnes of the stuff to be used every month. Perhaps the odd squirt of Madeleine wouldn't go astray in Hong Kong's public toilets, minibuses and around Victoria Harbour. Now, that truly would be heaven scent! 'Furious driving' is indeed a real offence under law in Hong Kong, reader Philip Knauth tells us. How does he know? Well, he was recently tail-gated aggressively by a motorcycle. Later, the rider of the bike also swore at him. Mr Knauth subsequently reported the incident to the police. For some time, the police officers puzzled over what offence had been committed. Finally, they settled on 'furious driving' - although, even then, they apparently had a hard time working out what the 'furious' referred to. For the record, then, furious driving seems to refer to reckless and aggressive road behaviour. Plenty of that going on in Hong Kong. Lunchtime in Central during Christmas week this year has not been its usual, bustling, affair - with retail sales continuing to struggle. We spotted Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming standing opposite Marks & Spencer - trying to persuade people to get worked up about democracy and fill out some forms. This was proving a lonely pursuit. Even with the help of a loudspeaker system, Mr Lee had to endure long periods with no passers-by to convince of his cause. Readers have been calling in to protest Pacific Place being devoid of a Santa Claus between the busy shopping hours of 3pm and 4.30pm every day throughout the festive season. We called the centre to ask why. A spokesman told us - in total seriousness - it was all down to a 'one Santa' policy. 'This Santa has been specially chosen,' she said. No substitute Santas were allowed. As our specially chosen Father Christmas needed a break like anyone, mid-afternoon had to be a Santa-free zone, she said. This 'one Santa' policy might be good for consistency from Pacific Place's perspective. But it's making for anything but consistent behaviour among children craving a stint on Santa's knee. Lai See would like to take this opportunity to wish our readers a Merry Christmas. Try not to get up to anything too outlandish tomorrow or we may be forced to write about your yuletide activities on Saturday!