Apparently the haut monde of Hong Kong needs to think about something other than the impending changeover to Chinese rule. Richard Finny started the Sheraton Lunch Club in September and has already capped membership at 1,000. Finny, the hotel's director of promotions, is paying big bucks for celebrities to speak at hotel luncheons. The average speaker's fee runs about $25,000, plus first-class airfare, a hotel suite, and meals. The coming attraction: celebrity traffic-violator Zsa Zsa Gabor. And he's angling for Dudley Moore, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and naughty royal Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
You may have noticed the absence of political types from the list. George Bush, who'll have a lot of free time come Jan. 20, could command $50,000, says Finny, but not at the Sheraton. "I don't touch politicians," he sniffs. "They're all boring." See? The idle rich aren't so very different from you and me.