Stirred but not shaken, and lots of ice

WE rang up Carl Pensyl in his home in Reading, Pennsylvania. He is the swizzle stick collector whose address was printed on Tuesday after he wrote to Hongkong bars and hotels trying to increase his collection.

He is 69 and has a collection of 14,400 swizzle sticks, the things you get with your drink in posh bars (apart from a free taste of lipstick).

''Hongkong has been very good to me,'' he said. ''I have over 50 replies so far.'' When he retired he wanted a hobby. He noticed he had a few swizzle sticks around the house, and decided to get serious.

The pride of his collection is a swizzle stick from the Titanic, the giant ocean liner that sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Only three are in existence, he says.

You can imagine the scene, as the passengers dash for the lifeboats in the middle of the ice-cold Atlantic.

Everyone is screaming and the ship is sliding into the black, stormy ocean.

Suddenly someone says: ''Gee! Let's grab some swizzle sticks. They'll help remind us of our trip when we get home.'' Nut case CATHAY Pacific tells us that collectors write to ask it for almost anything with the airline logo.

Don't start collecting airline orange juice and macadamia nuts though: Hongkong's favourite airline overreacted to the last collector rather badly.

Nissen pouch BUT what everyone really wants to know about is collecting airline sick bags.

This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the many letters, faxes and phone calls on collecting airline sick-bags, as memories of strange collections were jogged by the first mention of Mr Pensyl last Tuesday.

One person even claimed his brother-in-law was a collector, but we decided not to print the alleged collector's name as it could be some sort of libellous in-joke.

Nissen Davies used to work for Flying Tiger Line, the cargo airline, and was baffled to receive a request from a collector claiming to be from the British Airsickness Receptacle Foundation, which nicely shortens to BARF (an American word for being sick).

(Incidentally, the cable address for Baring Securities, probably Hongkong's largest stockbroker in terms of dollars traded, is BARFESEC.) Cargo airlines don't have passengers, so they don't need the bags, but they do often carry horses and cattle, so Nissen obliged by sticking a big picture of a cow and the company logo on the largest brown shopping bag he could find.

With only one example, even rarer than the Titanic's swizzle sticks, this is now surely the most prized example of its type in the world.

Trading up NO-ONE could accuse Peggy Lam Pei Yu-dja, Legco member and cleaner-up of Wan Chai, of getting big-headed when her MBE was turned into an OBE six months ago.

Last week she was still handing out her old business card, the the M turned into an O with a biro scrawl.

Yokel expertise THE newspapers over the last few days have been full of news about these new China funds, which aim to combine the local expertise of Chinese Government departments with foreign cash to revitalise ailing mainland industries.

But wasn't it the management expertise of government departments which made Chinese industry such a mess in the first place? Bar tub FURTHER uses for the three spare Russian aircraft carriers. One rugby-lover suggested holding the Hongkong Rugby Sevens on one of the aircraft carriers if the arguments between the organisers and the owners of the Hongkong Stadium continue.

The fans could be accommodated on the second carrier, while the third could be turned into a gigantic version of that unique British-style seller of cold fizz, the Mad Dogs bar.

Thrown up STILL on a Sevens theme, David Cosgrove of Carlingford Insurance was flicking through his copy of Construction News, which carries a technical rundown of the new stadium. It says the stadium has ''52 upper concourse cantilever beams, 160 ramps and 68 vomitory walls''.

Just a float A BIG disappointment - that's all that can be said about the Guangzhou Shipyard prospectus which will be the weekend reading of many overworked stockbrokers (both of them).

It was a mere 1,040 grams. Pathetic beside the 1,200 grams of Shanghai Petrochemical.

The cover is rather strange: it resembles the view one might get half-looking out of the port hole of a sinking ship, a pessimistic choice given the apparent mild enthusiasm for the shares among brokers.

Barren night WERE you looking forward to your trip to the Conrad Hotel to see it getting it presented with its Excellence in Travel and Tourism award on Tuesday? You've now got a free evening. The hotel has cancelled it ''due to unforeseen circumstances.''