HELEN Clements was very careful to apply for a temporary hawker's licence nice and early this year. Last year, when she organised a jumble sale in Sai Kung for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, the Regional Service Department (RSD) raided it and shut the whole thing down. The raid was obviously planned down to a level of meticulous detail. Half a dozen uniformed goons swooped on the illegal assembly and offered the organisers a choice: shut up shop or be nicked. Some $8,000 had been raised for the society, which employs around 100 people in Hong Kong caring for sick or abandoned animals and helping to prevent rabies, so Ms Clements decided it was better to bend like a reed in the wind. Imagine her surprise this time round when the Regional Services Department clearly told her: ''There is no such thing as a Regional Services Department temporary hawker's licence.'' ''Wait a minute, if there's no such thing as a RSD temporary hawker's licence, why did our jumble sale get shut down last year?'' queried Ms Clements. ''Just because we don't issue them, you still have to apply,'' came the RSD's reply, ''then we write back saying there's no such thing.'' Actually, it is more complicated. There is such a thing as a temporary hawker's licence, but it is only issued at Lunar New Year to flower stalls. But a charity jumble sale is a totally different case, the RSD told Lai See. ''Not our jurisdiction,'' was the view from RSD's Sha Tin office. Readers who have dealt with bureaucracy anywhere in the known universe will instantly guess what happened to Ms Clements at Social Welfare. ''Try Regional Services, you need a temporary hawker's licence.'' Lai See has seriously considered fighting bureaucratic fire with fire. A special kit containing rubber stamps, ticket punches, little self-adhesive coloured labels and sticky seals is what we have in mind. Every time a low-level bureaucrat demands a form to be filled in or signed and stamped, do the same to them. Demand a receipt for your signature then reply with a receipt for the receipt, properly stamped, dated and initialled. If everyone does this, bureaucracy will collapse under its own weight. Red Nose-Day MS Clements was also the recipient of a missive from the Census and Statistics Department, which was carrying out its annual survey of premises owned and occupied by private non-profit bodies. It has addressed its letter to Rudolph's Red Nose Day, possibly in the belief that Mr Red Nose-Day has been appointed to head up Santa's Pacific Rim distribution headquarters. The fact that the Census and Statistics Department doesn't recognise the name of one of the RSPCA's most important local fund raising drives is not too surprising though. It might surprise readers to learn that the Community Chest will not let the charity join as it does not have a social welfare role. The Community Chest might care to consider two things. Firstly, humans are directly responsible for almost all animal suffering. Secondly, it might be considered conducive to social welfare if Hong Kong's children were brought up in a place where animals suffering on the streets was not a visible example of how to treat fellow creatures. Just Irish logic THE other night, we visited Delaney's - a new spot in Wan Chai which has been teeming with suits and Eireophiles all eager to get at the house's heavily promoted speciality - Guinness stout on draught. Guinness on draft conjures up all kinds of strong emotion among Irish people and beer lovers in general. But we were disappointed on our first trip. Even the cans of so-called draught Guinness had run out and we haven't met a soul who has managed to get his paws on a pint of the true brew. Disappointed punters at a large firm in Central couldn't believe they'd spent the evening in the only Irish pub without stout. ''It could catch on,'' one wrote, ''next we could have the hotel without beds, the horse race without horses and the stock exchange without stocks. I'm sure this will save everyone a lot of trouble.'' Floating blues MORE on our planned floatation. Obviously, the boys from the corporate finance department of Yes, Get Rich Securities have been going through all of our books with a fine-tooth comb as they look for potential pit-falls in our plans. Thank goodness they haven't noticed the curious shareholder structure of our China operations, which are all held in separate companies owned 51 per cent by the absent Gren Manuel, the chairman, and 49 per cent by the company. And they haven't noticed the put and call options which Gren negotiated with the company yet either.