OFFICE estate agent Mark Denny-Fairchild of Queens Property Consultants, Wan Chai, was at the marriage registry at City Hall recently with blushing Thai bride-to-be Marlee Buntham Sridet. There was a bit of a hiccup in the matter of wedding rings: the young lovers had forgotten to buy any. They asked whether the registry kept a supply of curtain rings on hand, since there are inevitably lost ring problems. It doesn't. Staff suggested that the bride and groom ceremoniously rearrange the rings that were already on their fingers. Then came the time for the witnesses to do their bit, and they were asked to give their ID card numbers or passport numbers. Uh-oh. No identification. Panic. A guest, David Barnard of Speedflex, dashed out to the Star Ferry to try to get help. He managed to persuade a pair of tourists from the UK to agree to act as witnesses. But once he ushered them into the registry, he found that the problem had vanished. Staff had decided that a Mastercard was acceptable as an ID card for the purposes of the marriage. The ceremony was completed successfully, and the credit card returned. Only in Hongkong. Good signs GUY Shirra of the Hongkong police had to arrange a social function in Sha Tin, and he didn't know which of the two main hotels there to choose. Then God sent him a sign. The woman he had to deal with at the Regal Riverside was a ''Ms Sin''. This augured well. Then he discovered that the chap he had to deal with at the Royal Park was a ''Mr Fun''. This also augured well. He can't lose, can he? Betty BUPA A NEW porn magazine has been appearing on newsstands all over Hongkong, called BOOPA. Could this be have anything to do with the independent medical service, BUPA? We phoned BUPA Hongkong boss Keith Pearson, only to find that he had left the firm. We asked for the firm's other man in Hongkong, Graham Jones, to hear he had gone back to the UK, and was shortly sending out a replacement, a chap called Andrew Kielty. A BUPA spokesman to whom we showed the magazine said: ''We are quite sure that former staff of BUPA in Hongkong have not left to start a magazine. . .'' He started flicking through the pages of BOOPA. ''Mind you, the girls do look extraordinarily healthy.'' Voice male BARINGS broker Stuart Cook is being teased about the remarkable similarity between his voice and that of Hongkong Telecom's male robot who tells you the number when you call 1081 Directory Inquiries. ''We reckon the telephone company hired him because he is associated with telephone numbers - his salary looks like one,'' said a rival stockbroker. Get ready DID you notice that the new Hongkong-Beijing body announced last week is called ''the preparatory working organ'' for the Preparatory Committee of the Hongkong Special Administrative Region. In other words, it is a preparatory committee for a preparatory committee to prepare us for post-1997 government. Are we ready for this? Do we not need a preparatory preparatory preparatory committee? Field kitchen ''JUST spotted Steve Vines, the Guardian correspondent, in a sandwich bar,'' said one of our colleagues. ''So?'' we said. ''He wasn't buying a sandwich. He was working there.'' We dashed around to look. Sure enough, the Hongkong-based foreign correspondent was slaving at the Sandwich Club, a new shop in Quarry Bay. Aren't people like him associated with rushing off to war zones and the like? ''This is a war zone,'' said Steve. ''Look around.'' He was right. Three sandwich shops and a dozen fast food places have opened up to serve the thousands of office workers in the Swire Group's massive office development there. Imagine Steve's latest despatches: ''Rebel forces bearing tuna toasties were yesterday ambushed by rival militiamen carrying chicken mayonnaise on rye.'' Healthy habits SMOKING and drinking are good for you. Yes, there had to be a newspaper story starting with those words one day. Cigarette smokers have a lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis, a recent study at the University of Wales has shown. People who drink moderately retain full use of their brains for longer into old age, according to a recent report by researchers at Duke University in the United States. Hey! ''Moderately'' is defined as 1.5 servings of an alcoholic drink a day. Put down that pint glass of XO at once. Vote winner BOSSES: do you have some tough talking to do with your employees? Take a leaf out of the book of the president of a large US corporation with the same problem. He opened a board meeting by announcing: ''All those who are opposed to the plan I am about to propose will reply by saying: 'I resign.' ''