APPOINTED Legco radical Christine Loh Kung-wai has finally made up her mind to stand for direct election. That much is firm. So is her intention to run as an independent. Less definite is where she is going to stand and who, if anyone, is going to step aside to let her do it. Tentative contacts with the United Democrats on possible co-operation may take some time to bear fruit. It would be a humble politician indeed who would stand aside for a rival who is not even in his own party. Mind you, we can think of one or two who ought to consider it. Miss Loh isn't revealing exactly what prompted her to take the plunge, she is not letting on. But it may not be unrelated to her changing status at CIM Co Ltd, with whom she is currently discussing the retention of her services as a consultant rather than as an employee. However, she categorically denies the rumour that CIM boss Yu Pun-hoi sacked her, or that he was acting under pressure from China. Good thing too. As the new chairman and major shareholder of Ming Pao, we expect him to be above that sort of thing. HOPE the new ombudsman Andrew So Kwok-wing knows what he's about. Rung for a reaction immediately after his appointment to succeed Arthur Garcia last week, he told our reporter he wasn't an ombudsman, merely the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints. Didn't an official spokesman say Mr So was selected because of his extensive experience in public service and familiarity with the workings of government? ''WHAT would you like as a Christmas present from Beijing?'' BBC TV correspondent Brian Barron asked the Governor in a festive interview. ''What I would like from Beijing . . . ''. Mr Patten paused, then repeated sternly: ''What I would like from Peking . . . .'' Nowadays even the BBC says Beijing. Not so the Foreign Office, RTHK, or our Governor. ''You don't call Moscow Moskva or Munich Muenchen,'' explained our mole at the Foreign Office. ''On the other hand we talk about Guangzhou. So we're not very consistent. ''Of course there is another rule for people we don't like. We don't say Myanmar but Burma because we don't recognise the legitimacy of SLORC (the State Law and Order Restoration Council) and we didn't change to Kampuchea because we didn't recognise the Khmer Rouge.'' But that can't be the reason in this case, can it? REFORMIST Taiwanese politicians were delighted at the opportunity for an exchange of views on democracy with Peggy Lam Yu-dja who has just returned from an arduous Legco study visit there. Asked by an elected Taipei city councillor why the people of Hong Kong didn't want the Patten proposals, she regaled her hosts with a tirade about British-inspired chaos and how London always messed up its colonies before it pulled out. Then she entertained Justice Minister Ma Ying-jeow with the news that human rights were the cause of all our problems with law and order. She was still wearing her Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress hat when she offered her services to the Prime Minister as a bridge between Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. THE courtly Sir Sze-yuen Chung may think twice in future about coming to the rescue of damsels in distress. Spotting an empty chair as he hurried in late to a recent meeting of the Preparatory Working Committee (PWC), he found himself next to Dorothy ''Dotty'' Liu Yiu-chu, in her usual tearful condition. Ever the gentleman, he offered her his handkerchief and found his discreet assistance gratefully accepted. Opening his newspaper the next day he discovered the subject of her latest outburst: himself. As everybody except Sir S.Y. knew, Miss Liu was bewailing the terrible irony that she, with her life-long services to China, had won no more recognition than the Johnny-come-latelys who had only just stopped sucking up to the British. As he later confided to the others, he might have comforted her better by resigning. THE latest issue of the Liberal Herald shows the delicacy with which the official organ of Allen Lee Peng-fei's party tackles sensitive issues, such as criticism of the boss. Under the headline, ''South China Morning Post Tarnishes Allen Lee's Image'' and a complaint about the use of a photo giving the great man an ''unreasonable, tough and stubborn image'', reader Lau Wing-on is given space to set out his real message. This is a lecture in five points to the party chairman. Its gist: Try to be friendly and avoid ''exaggerated'' expressions; don't criticise others and make sure you know what you are talking about before you launch a political attack. Meanwhile, just to make sure readers also know what they are talking about, the Herald advertises a hotline so you can find out the party's latest position on 18 major policy areas. Remember, it may be different from yesterday's. Similar contributions from the corridors of power welcomed and treated in confidence. Tel 565 2227, fax 516 7489.