Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

For as long as I can remember I have given my wives’ bottoms a pat when I walk behind them. My current wife has said that while she likes it she thinks I should stop as it appears to others as disrespectful. Nothing could be further from the truth. Can I have your advice?

If your wife loves her derrière being patted, I’d carry on without regard to what others think, if only because pleasing one’s wife is the most sensible insurance for longevity. But I would not envy Kanye West doing the same to his wife. She is, of course, the infamous Kim Kardashian, whose rear contours bulge out like Ayers Rock and are just as extraordinary as that rock formation sticking out on the Australian plain. I have often wondered if Ms Kardashian ever sits comfortably, or does she always expect to rock from side to side? I also shouldn’t wonder if her husband caused an injury to his hands were he to pat her from behind.

Of course, one would be ill-advised to pat the bottom of a stranger or a friend or colleague in the office, say, because that would immediately constitute either sexual assault or sexual harassment, both of which are taken exceedingly seriously. I know it is all a little pathetic to some of us, but political correctness rules the roost in vernacular life. We can but sigh.

Surely David Tang was being ironic (May 21) when he suggested London mayor Sadiq Khan learn from Hong Kong about affordable housing, given the city has recently broken records for its “severely unaffordable housing”. Median housing prices are 19 times median income, contrasted with London’s more comfortable 8.5 times. Is he also suggesting that 76 per cent of Londoners aged 18 to 35 should live with parents, as they do in Hong Kong?

I merely made the point that about half the population of Hong Kong lives in subsidised housing. And if your statistics are correct, then it is even more remarkable that such a high proportion of Hong Kong dwellers manage nonetheless to find shelter. Your argument merely strengthens my marvel at the system of subsidised housing that was instituted by a clever British governor, Murray MacLehose, who understood the importance of shelter, before food and employment.

And what is wrong with living with one’s parents? I would venture to suggest that we would all be better off if more of us were to live with our parents, so that we could have proper conversations at dinner and cultivate a sense of discipline and tolerance about sharing a space, especially the lavatory.

If the rich give employment to yacht builders and their suppliers, who are the rest of us to criticise? We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Neither envy nor sneering are virtues.

So anyone providing employment is beyond criticism? That can’t be right if the business is illegal. And I regard it as illegal, morally and aesthetically, when rich men squander their money on ostentatious monstrosities. I certainly don’t envy these men. I sneer at them. And I admit I am not virtuous in doing so. (In the interests of transparency it is worth pointing out that David Tang spends most of the summer sailing about in a superyacht justifying his high-octane lifestyle by saying that he charters rather than owns them. Ditto the private jets he uses in order to escape my remonstrations about his latest column — Ed)

The racecourse idea sounds brilliant, but there is already successful evening racing at Windsor and (less successfully, certainly in terms of fun) Kempton and Sandown.

“Pleeeaaase”, as my children protest whenever I tell them something they regard as utterly ridiculous. Since when have Windsor and Kempton been ideal racing venues? Compared with Hong Kong’s Happy Valley racecourse, they seem like a row of dilapidated sheds against a gleaming yard of stables. And these British venues are getting worse. Just think of their cold pork pies and lukewarm gin and tonics consumed standing up in draughty rooms, compared with a full menu of hot food and chilled drinks, all taken in the luxury of a box from where one can comfortably watch the races. Besides, none of these racecourses is in the centre of London, as Happy Valley is in the centre of Hong Kong. At least Canary Wharf or Stratford are in London and not in the home counties, like Windsor, Kempton and Sandown.

Please post comments and questions at the end of this article, or email david.tang@ft.com

Get alerts on House & Home when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article