June 3, 2011 10:01 pm

Of tick tocks and tactics

Sir David Tang, founder of ICorrect, globetrotter, and the man about too many towns to mention, divides his time between homes in Hong Kong, mainland China and London. Here he invites readers’ queries for his advice on property, interiors, etiquette at home (wherever you live), parties and anything else that may be bothering you.

What watch do you recommend for someone buying their first luxury time piece? I’m considering something sporty such as the Rolex Explorer.

Explore first the watch that fluoresces, which is my personal priority, for I subscribe to the practice that we always ought to see the time in the dark; and for some, to know when to go home. In the old days, Rolex was not only smart, but all the dials fluoresced through their clever use of a radioactive source. But predictably and pathetically, ridiculous “health and safety” have now banned these radioactive elements – with the result that if you bought any modern watch that brags to fluoresce, you would have to shine light on it first, whose logic becomes stupidity. Therefore, I suggest that you do the chic thing by finding an old Rolex, but not too old for its isotope to have exhausted its fluorescence. You might also seek out a brand called Ball, which used to run the American Railways. Their new technology really lights up the dials. Mine is in red, green and blue. And even my date is illuminated. It is so marvellous that you can almost read with it in the dark. I was able to use it when a friend got slightly inebriated on the same boat that I was staying on, and stumbled into my cabin by mistake in the dark, and took all her clothes off and slipped into my bed – at least that’s what she claimed. Apparently, we both snored for two hours together in blissful ignorance, until pins and needles on my right arm woke me up. Curious to find out whose unexpected naked body was adjacent me, I shone my watch on to the head. Straight away, I saw none other than Tracey Emin! But then, she has never been too good with beds, has she?

A good friend (since university days) recently married someone I find simply ghastly. Despite many attempts to warm to her out of loyalty to my mate, it’s apparent she is indeed completely unbearable to more people than just myself. It seems sad to let our friendship drift but I see no other options. I’ve tried to keep to “boys lunches” and the like but invariably he wants to involve her. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

I have several friends who are married to ghastly spouses. It’s easier when your friends are male because at least you can then contrive to have business lunches and meetings and games of poker with them, and avoid their wives. But it is trickier if your friends are female, because then the ghastly husbands might think you are trying to have an affair with their wives – which might even be the case.

Then the cunning thing to do is to pretend by ingratiating yourself to the husband, so that he grows to like you and trust you and won’t mind that you see his wife. This approach is based on the inscrutable tactic that “If you can’t beat them, then beat them just as they think you are going to join them”!

Would you mind sharing the brand of sunglasses you were wearing for your photo that accompanies your FT column?

My shades were bespoken for me based on what Puyi used to wear as Chinese emperor in the Forbidden City – before he was packed off by the Commies to work as a lowly gardener in a public park. Notice the imperial yellow, which is traditionally only allowed to be worn by the emperor himself. As I make people laugh when I tell them that I am an heir apparent to the Tang Dynasty (a complete fib if only because the Tang Dynasty is really the Tong Dynasty, and isn’t even my name), I carry on the amusement. It is so important for us to laugh as often as we can. Indeed, I think laughter is by far the most important thing in life.

E-mail questions to david.tang@ft.com

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