PATRIOTISM is all very well. But with the district council elections only a month away, it seems there are more important priorities for the party fielding the most candidates. A 2,800-strong Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) parade through Tsim Sha Tsui on Friday saw the party's flags outnumber China's red five-stars, even though the event was ostensibly being held in honour of National Day. The sea of party flags, together with those bearing the names of the group's 16 regional offices, were larger and more prominent than the smaller number of national flags on display. Just in case anyone failed to get the message, umbrellas bearing the DAB logo were swirled in the air, while many participants were dressed in yellow T-shirts bearing the party logo. Party chairman Tsang Yok-sing denied the parade was just a publicity stunt to boost the party's profile in the run-up to November's elections. But there was also a more serious side to his denial. The parade is estimated to have cost about $100,000. And by insisting it is nothing to do with the polls, the party can avoid having the sum added to its election expenses. Yet another disadvantage to flow from Tung Chee-hwa's insistence on abolishing the Provisional Urban and Regional Councils emerged last week. Apparently this means the power to choose street names will pass to bureaucrats in the Lands Department. Predictably, the Democrats objected. 'There are always 'shoeshine' boys who are so keen to please Beijing they may come up with names like Xiaoping Road or Zemin Road,' legislator Lee Wing-tat warned, during a bills committee meeting. Government allies insisted no one would be this stupid. 'We already have a Wong Chu Road in Tuen Mun,' Mr Lee retorted. It is an open secret in rural circles that this road is named after Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat and his wife, Ng Mui-chu. But bills committee chairman Andrew Wong Wang-fat, who is also a kuk member, was so shocked to hear this publicly revealed that he immediately terminated the discussion. More on that disastrous trip to Taiwan by Hong Kong's team of firemen, who managed to spend all of four hours sifting through the rubble looking for earthquake victims. Apparently the commendations they received from fire services chiefs last week have caused some resentment because the awards came more promptly and publicly than those for the firemen who had risked their lives during the China Airlines plane crash at Chek Lap Kok on August 22. It has also emerged that the Taiwan fire services chief, who was largely responsible for snubbing the SAR team, has the same name as Professor Albert Chen Hung-yee, dean of the law faculty at the University of Hong Kong. Cynics say the two have something in common as Professor Chen played a vital fire-fighting role for the SAR Government during the recent row over the Court of Final Appeal ruling on right of abode. He also snubbed many of his colleagues in the legal profession by supporting the controversial reinterpretation of the Basic Law, after initially opposing it.