Ted gets great deal on a used beer mat

THERE was a dramatic scene in the third floor members' bar of the Hong Kong Club a few days ago, we heard from Steve Burnham, former boss of Cresvale.

Steve, a cockney lad who has risen to great heights in the broking business, was in the mood for spending some cash. He surveyed the bar and asked for suggestions.

Among the inmates was the weathered Ted Thomas, Peter Pan of public relations in Hong Kong. He mentioned that his company, Corporate Communications Ltd, might be available.

''How much would you be looking for?'' asked Steve.

''About $25 million.'' Steve thought for a while. ''Is that the figure then? $25 million? Okay. Done. I want to give it to a pal as a gift.'' Ted was stunned. ''Okay,'' said the PR man. ''But on one condition - that we sign the deal here and now.'' Briefcases are confiscated at the door of the Hong Kong Club to discourage people using it as an office. Steve suggested using a beer mat.

A crowd gathered. They watched as the PR man and the Suit etched their names solemnly on the beer mat.

Steve's personal attorney was there, so he duly witnessed the deal. ''That's it. It's official,'' said the lawyer, after adding his scrawl to the beer mat.

It was a quintessential Hong Kong scene: money moving impulsively at high speeds.

In the past few days, several people have said to the PR man: ''To be frank, I reckon you did well to get rid of that company of yours, old chap.'' Sorry to disillusion people, but the whole thing was one of those impromptu bits of play-acting for those watching.

Steve wanted to see how long he could keep a straight face. Ted wasn't sure what was happening.

Meanwhile, the beer mat has gone missing.

Benign disorder FRIEND of ours is studying a book called Primer on Special Investors Resident Visa, for would-be immigrants to the Philippines. It starts off with a stern warning: you cannot move there if you are afflicted with a ''loathsome'' disease.

So this means it's fine for people with highly desirable, much-sought-after diseases, such as, er, umm. . .

Camping IT up OH-OH. Dennis Thompsett is at it again. The fearless Hong Kong ad-writer, who loves to go over the top, is sure to ruffle feathers with his latest work.

''Raving Queer Needed Urgently'' said the headline on the ad in this newspaper on Saturday.

The text: ''Actor, Performance Artist or authentic Raving Queer needed urgently by the IT club in Wan Chai to 'man' the door (and we use the term loosely).

''Must be capable of wearing silly make-up and garish clothing and acting totally camp and swishy.

''The successful applicant can look forward to long hours and crummy pay in a horrid environment as well as verbal, mental and physical abuse - but will be the kind of person who would ordinarily pay to enjoy these things.

''A good lisp would be a definite advantage.'' Is this offensive to our non-heterosexual brethren? On the surface, yes. But we're sure most are sophisticated enough to realise that this is meant to spoof the attitudes of gay-bashers, not reinforce them.

Queen's counsel OVERHEARD a curious conversation at a wedding on Saturday.

Henrik Wesslen, the Swedish ''Dreamboy'' male stripper, married Sungyee, a Cathay Pacific stewardess from South Korea.

Barrister Alex King was one of two best men.

Alex took centre stage as master of ceremonies at the reception, getting plenty of attention from the many Cathay Pacific girls among the guests.

One almond-eyed beauty asked him what his job was.

''I spend most of my working days wearing wigs and gowns,'' he replied.

(Fancy a job at IT in Wan Chai, Alex?) Riot of laughs HEART-FELT thanks to the large numbers of people who attended our book-signing at the Star Ferry on Saturday.

It was riotous. The shop's stock of Only in Hong Kong was sold out in minutes, and so was the back-up stock.

Gophers were sent to fetch more books from other shops in the network, while would-be buyers were asked to wait. The freshly fetched books also sold out at lightning speed, in scenes reminiscent of the Harrods sale.

The book chain's final stocks were fetched and those too were quickly exhausted.

Then the police turned up, convinced that your humble narrator was some sort of apocalyptic rabble-rouser (how did they know?).

We fled.

Apologies to everyone who was disappointed. Fresh supplies arrive this week. We will do another signing later, and promise to be better prepared.

Racily named WANT to meet a girl who makes your mouth water? A young lady now appearing on Hong Kong computer ''bulletin boards'' is named Saliva Chan.

Then there was a chap featured on Metro radio recently whose name sounded like the answer to a riddle.

Q: What do you call a Hong Kong racing driver? A: Formula Wong.