Hong Kong society is and always has been somewhat sophisticated. Evening entertainment can bring elegantly dressed top flight executives out in their droves, accommodated by impeccably turned out wives and girlfriends, heavily draped in diamonds and filling the air with the aroma of the finest French perfumes.
The Camus Classic Snooker Tournament was an event that Jess was always deeply involved in as he was a world class snooker referee. The Hong Kong Club hosted visiting celebrity players for days on end, wining and dining them at the very best hotels and restaurants and Jess enjoyed Himself immensely, shepherding his little band of world class snooker players around the sights of one of the prettiest cities in Asia .
A sociable creature, Jess usually stayed on Hong Kong Island for the duration of the Classic; preferring to be on hand should his his guests require assistance in any way. The run up to the event was a busy time for him, organizing the snooker room at The Hong Kong Club and ensuring the correct number of hotel rooms were booked and double checked.
One memorable year, Jess had arranged to meet with the rest of the players in the lobby of the Mandarin Hotel before continuing to dine in one of the hotel's restaurants. Black tie was required and Jess and my mother showed up several minutes before the rest of their party was expected, Mother in a beautiful, understated black floor length velvet jacket and Jess looking his usual elegant yet nonchalant self, in his black tie and dinner jacket , perfectly turned out right down to his sapphire studs.
My mother was one of those people who can not bear to see a dangling thread. Her eyes continually home in on the little scrap of wafting cotton, and even if the wearer of the offending garment happened to be a stranger, she would have compelled to introduce herself so she could then inform them that they had a dangling thread and would they like her to remove it for them?
On this particular evening, Mother's eagle eye spotted a thread, dangling from the pocket of Jess's trousers. The trousers were of the formal; tuck fronted variety, with a satin ribbon running down the length of the outside leg. Mother stuck sharply, and the entire trouser leg gathered, shooting up Jess's leg like a rat up a drainpipe. His skinny, white leg was left exposed, along with a saucy three inches of boxer shorts decorated with an alluring pattern of tiny Union Jacks.
The lobby of the Mandarin is a busy place, usually full of visiting tourists, business executives and local residents waiting around to rendezvous with friends for the evening. Tonight was no exception and the place was packed. The entire room began to laugh and the laughter ripped around the hotel like wildfire. People began to appear in doorways to try to catch a glimpse of Jess who made a funny sight with his one black leg and one white, chalky leg attached with a black sock and shiny patent dress shoe.
No matter what they did, the trouser leg could not be coaxed down. The day was saved by one of the visiting snooker players, who ran up to his room to fetch Jess a pair of his own dress trousers. Luckily, snooker players wear formal evening trousers rather often and spares are always packed.
The Mandarin Hotel will no doubt remember Jess with a smile.
Source by Jan Gamm