Today's quiz: What's hot and about to travel around the mainland pursued by a convoy of advertisers? A) A batch of genetically modified chillies. B) Antonio Banderas. C) A revolutionary new form of Chinese bagel. D) A stick with fiery bits coming out one end. Give up? It's that last one. Come July, the 'Sacred Fire of the Chinese Descendants' will start motoring across the mainland, trailed by 40 vehicles and watched by billions of people. We're told the government sanctioned sacred torch will last five months and cover 14,000 kilometres. National and provincial TV stations will be 'rigorously and constantly' broadcasting its five month tour, so expect a surge in the sale of blank video cassettes as torches-riding-around-in-trucks aficionados stock up to ensure against missing any of the action. The mainland authorities are apparently expecting 2.5 billion people to watch. Lai See didn't know there were that many people in the world who had TVs. Impressive. But then, there's more to this sacred fire and it's miscellany of vans and trucks than just a roving traffic jam. That torch will set hearts aflame with national pride, as the mainland and the world 'celebrate outstanding features of China's ancient traditions and customs in the auspicious 'Millennium Year' '. Five government bureaus and ministries helped organise this event. What a triumph for Communism. Or consumerism. We get the two mixed up. Which is pretty easy to do where that sacred fire is concerned. The flaming stick is more than just a proud symbol of the towering achievements of the mainland government and its people. It's also 'a golden opportunity for major advertisement, market penetration, brand promotion, government relations, and direct sales in certain cases, on an unprecedented scale'. Ah. How moving. Apparently mobile exhibition boards of participating sponsors will be escorting the flame on its odyssey 'to popularise famous brand names'. Good grief. When it comes to advertising, nothing is sacred. Lai See feels sorry for that torch. Not only has it been branded, but it's being forced to slum it while posher sticks travel in style. While the shining beacon of Chinese history drags around with a bunch of trucks, the Olympic torch will be flying business class on a Boeing 767. Ansett has even had the aircraft specially painted in Olympic Torch Relay livery. The flame is to sit in a Torch Cradle specially crafted by the airline's engineers. Then, when it's completed it's journey through Oceania, the Olympic fire stick will be collected by an Ansett Airbus. The Sydney Olympic Organising Committee organised the luxury transport. If you haven't checked out the organisers' Web site yet, you should drop in. The Aussies offer a warm welcome to the peoples of the world, and invite visitors to send in any questions they might have about their sporting event or their country. But it looks as though someone may have kept a record of the more ridiculous queries. A couple of days ago someone posted a list of them on the RHF Joke site - complete with some wag's suggested answers. Here are the highlights with their countries of origin: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street (USA)? - Depends how much you've had to drink. I want to walk from Perth to Sydney for the Olympics, can I follow the railroad tracks (Sweden)? - Sure, it's only seven thousand miles, so you'll need to have started about a year and a half ago to get there in time for the games. Are there killer bees in Australia (Germany)? - Not yet, but we'll see what we can do when you get here. Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia (USA)? - What's this guy smoking and where can I get some? Which direction is North in Australia (USA)? - Face North and you should be about right. Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule (USA)? - Americans have long had considerable trouble distinguishing between Austria and Australia. Are there places in Australia where you can make love outdoors (Italy)? - Yes. Outdoors. But there's one question even the jokester left alone: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed porpoise (Italy). Now Lai See admits she thought the Australians a little odd for seating a stick in business class. And she raised an eyebrow at the mainland's decision to dedicate all that TV time to a flame and a bunch of trucks. But when it comes to general weirdness, they can't hold a torch to that porpoise guy.