WHEN HONG KONG-born John So Chun-sai became Melbourne's first directly elected mayor last month, he was so keen to wear the robes of office that he forgot the proper ceremonial procedure and rushed to put on the red gown instead of stepping up to the lectern in the Town Hall and taking the oath of allegiance. However, Mr So quickly realised his mistake, grinned apologetically, and went through the rest of the ceremony in due order before donning the robes and the heavy chain of office. It wasn't the first time the former Aberdeen Technical College student had made a bid for the mayor's post, but this time he put extra effort - and hundreds of thousands of dollars - into the campaign. A councillor since 1991, his lavish campaign was the talk of the city. He used a helicopter to launch his run for office, hired a campaign bus and plastered the streets with posters and mailshots. The strategy paid off. He won with almost 5,000 more votes than his nearest rival - no small achievement for a man who emigrated to Australia in 1965 at the age of 17 because there were no jobs at home. Life on Lower Albert Road is a lot more taxing than life in the private sector, Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung confessed to journalists this week. 'The joke going around the market when I was a trader was that if you told one third of your clients that the market would go up, one third that it would go down and one third that it would stay flat, at least you'd be right one-third of the time,' he grinned. 'Unfortunately, that's not something you can try in government.' Now, he says, he tries to avoid predictions altogether. United Nations officials gave the Hong Kong delegation a dressing down in Geneva over the SAR's reluctance to table anti-racial-discrimination laws, but the group got their own back. Stephen Wong Kai-yi, the Deputy Solicitor-General who headed the group, addressed the panel in Putonghua. As the 16 members of the Committee on Racial Discrimination came from countries as diverse as Egypt, Russia and Ecuador, proceedings were in English. It might have been polite for a city claiming to be bilingual to fall in line with the rest. But perhaps the group hoped that speaking in Chinese would somehow get them off the hook. It didn't, of course. The lecture they received from various committee members was humiliating. Still, a little bit of political correctness with the mother country in mind cannot do any harm to an ambitious civil servant's career prospects. The row over the award of a Grand Bauhinia Medal to former Federation of Trade Union official Yeung Kwong has been good for Post reporter Gary Cheung. His book, The Inside Story of the 1967 Riots, has been walking off the shelves ever since. First published a year ago, it is now in its fourth edition. The rumour mill has been grinding furiously over claims that legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip was planning a break with the Democrats to start his own party. By Monday, Mr Chan felt obliged to issue a press release denying the story. How it began is anybody's guess. Only two days previously, he won a Court of Appeal judgment against Cheung Kong (Holdings). Li Ka-shing's company originally sued him over allegations he made about the company 'acting together' with the Government to advance its interests. His counsel was top barrister and party boss Martin Lee Chu-ming, who acted without fee. Having his 'client' desert the Democrats after that would have been a real slap in the face for this benefactor. Don't the gossips credit Mr Chan with more loyalty than that?