ONE of the signs that someone is getting reliant on alcohol is that they start drinking before lunch, and stock exchange chief executive Paul Chow has now had champagne for breakfast four days in a row. He's been driven to it by his job. Three days this week have seen new listings on the exchange, with the compulsory bubbly laid on when they start trading at 10.00 am. Yesterday it was yet more booze to celebrate the index going through 10,000, although at least Paul wasn't drinking alone, as the full exchange A-Team turned out to quaff with him and have their photos taken. They were determined play it cool. ''How do you feel, Mr Chow?'' Paul was asked. ''The investors and brokers are all very excited,'' he said. ''But what about you? Is it just another day?'' ''Yes.'' Exchange chairman Charles Lee was equally cool. ''How do you feel with the index going through 10,000?'' he was asked. ''Just another day,'' he said. They made polite grins for the cameras, waved the champagne glasses in the air, and tried hard to make out that the whole event was rather dull. They answered no questions about the level of the index, whether it was a speculative bubble, or whether the market was being manipulated. Charles Lee came closest to getting excited, describing it as ''memorable'' before deciding this was too racy. He switched to ''historic'', which is the sort of word the Governor uses when he's cutting the ribbon on a new government building in Tuen Mun. Maybe they're all suffering from that medical condition known as ''canape fatigue''. Drain brains SOME historic trivia for a historic day. The first securities trading in Hong Kong was recorded in 1866, and literally took place in the gutter of Queen's Road Central. No doubt many stockbrokers returned to their roots last night after some serious celebrations. Open market THE exchange produces a useful history sheet which visitors can pick up - and full marks for its honesty. It describes the events of 1973 as a ''crash''. ''The Hang Seng Index plunged 11 per cent on 19 October, 1987,'' it adds. It records the closure of the exchange from October 20 to 23, and the 33 per cent fall that followed its reopening. There are always lots of corporate histories being produced, but few are as sincere as this. Most companies, if they produced their own histories with this level of accuracy, would decide to sue themselves after publication. Harms race SUSANNA Lau of Hong Thai Citizens' Travel said yesterday that she was baffled by the way her staff seemed to be charging people with Philippines passports an extra $150 for Cathay Pacific air tickets. ''It's not a matter of racial discrimination,'' she said, soothingly. In fact, rather than a surcharge, she said ''Filipina maids'' were offered a special deal on some tickets that could save $350. Actually, yesterday's article referred to holders of Philippines passports rather than maids as such, but that's another issue. It's heart-warming to learn that this sort of thing is just the result of an innocent mix-up by ticketing staff, but it also happens elsewhere. For instance, Christopher Stubbs of Kornhill had an interesting encounter with Four Seasons Travel Service. Although quoted a certain fare over the phone when his wife Maria - who is a Philippine citizen, but who has right of abode in the UK - turned up to collect the tickets, Four Seasons' staff told her she would have to pay a surcharge of about $300. Plod job YESTERDAY'S Government Gazette had an odd request from the police. They're seeking some help with security. Tenders are being invited for the provision of ''security services'' at the Police Officers' Club and their sports club. Only the best THINK you're smart? This week, the South China Morning Post gave a test to a group of young people wanting to start careers as reporters. A slightly shortened version of the general knowledge section follows: Give yourself just four minutes, and no copying. 1. Who is the Governor of Hong Kong? 2. Who is the Chief Secretary? 3. Who is the Chinese premier? 4. What is Lee Chu-ming's English name, and who is he? 5. Name three advisers to China. 6. What does the Legislative Council do? 7. Name three Legco panels. 8. How many rounds of talks have been held with Beijing? 9. What progress has been made? 10. Which city won the 2000 Olympics bid? 11. What is meant by ''a localisation policy''? 12. What does ICAC stand for? 13. What does MFN stand for, and which of Hong Kong's neighbours is concerned about this? 14. What China Light and Power activities have received a lot of publicity in recent months? 15. What kind of accident happened in Shenzhen recently which attracted widespread media coverage? 16. What happened at Lan Kwai Fong last New Year's Eve? 17. Why are most of the Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong expected to go home? You should know them all, even the unbelievably tricky questions six and nine.