THONGS ARE SMALL, tight underpants in most of the world, so teacher Rebekah Crain’s eyebrows rose when she saw her friend Khoi’s t-shirt (see pic) saying: “New and used thongs for sale.”

New & used thongs.

Since no-one would want used underpants, Rebekah assumed the garment came from Australia, where a thong is a flip-flop sandal.

But I don’t know. I knew a guy who noticed that his underpants had fallen off the balcony washing line, and would have landed on the terrace of the flat at podium level of his building, a typical Hong Kong structure.

So he went down to the podium level apartment, knocked on the door and asked if they’d found his Calvin Kleins.

The guy who opened the door told him to wait, then shut the door. Then my friend heard the sound of a running tap. The door was then opened and his pants, newly washed, were handed to him.

Yes, the neighbor had found a stranger’s underpants on his terrace and put them on! All together now: EEEEWWWW.

RELATED JOKE: Q: What do you call a Frenchman wearing sandals? A: Philippe Flop.

TALKING OF UNDERPANTS, young Hong Kongers were baffled when a mainland woman hung her bra, knickers and trousers to dry on railings while she was on a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland, the Apple Daily reported.

Members of the older generation would not find this odd at all. In the past, most travellers washed their smalls in hotels and looked for places to dry them. I remember interviewing Jackie Chan many years ago, and he said that even after he became famous, he would shower in his underpants, because washing one’s own undies in hotels had become a habit.

I’ve done that myself. (Washed my underpants, that is, not Jackie Chan’s.)

ARE HUMANS LOSING their practical skills, as some scientists warn? Former Hong Kong book editor Robin Bower has moved to Perth, Australia, where it is now winter. This week she sent an urgent message to her international friends: “Ice on the windscreen! What do I do, northern hemisphere people?”

Here are the replies she got:

1) “Wait for the summer.”

2) “Stay in bed.”

3) “Whenever I encounter a problem I can’t immediately solve, I curl up in a fetal position on the floor.”

A READER ASKED A BANKER in Hong Kong if the stock market crash this week would make property prices fall. He told her that the cost of a small apartment in Hong Kong would fall from “utterly, ludicrously unaffordable” to “utterly, ridiculously, unaffordable”. Well, thanks for that.

Meanwhile, I like the creativity of the reader who prepared this letter (see pic) for the Visa card company. It’s worth trying, right?

Worth trying.

A STAFF MEMBER AT Manhattan Mid-Town, a building in Mei Foo, put up a sign (see pic) warning the public that a typhoon signal had been raised. They put the traditional Chinese sign for “one” (a horizontal line) in the English sentence and the traditional international sign for one (the Arabic numeral “1”) in the Chinese sentence. Gerry Marques, who sent me the photo, quipped: “You had one job.”

Typhoon Signal 一.

HAVE A GREAT weekend—and send me more funny stuff. Cheers.

Nury Vittachi

Nury Vittachi failed to win the Man Booker Prize this year. He also failed to win the Pulitzer Prize. He hopes to make it a clean sweep by failing to win the Nobel Prize for literature. He does not live on The Peak with 20 cats and a parakeet called Trixy. He is not strange.