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@llt @srrtßponùtnt Aueust 1985

Professional Forum hits the headlines "LIFE normally consists of three things

-

a cock-up, a coincidence or a conspiracy. I leave it to you to decide which applies in this case." Fortunately, Mr Michael Thomas, the Attorney General, was not referring to the organisation of the FCC's first Forum on current events on July 8 but to the government's handling of the Powers and Privileges Bitl. The lour speakers - Mr Thomas, Umelco

member Allen Lee, Henry Litton QC and Frank Ching of the Hongkong Observers -

all

praised the club for instigating the forums, which we hope will become a regular feature and will help to contribute to the airing ofvital issues in Hongkong's transition period. The Forum got widespread publicity in the media. Whilst defending the bill as a piece of legislation that most people were now 'reasonably satified' with the

it

AG

admitted

was 'greatly improved' as a result ol the

criticisms and he paid tribute to the press, and in particular Harvey Stockwyn whose

major piece in the South China Morning Post had, he said, made him realise the need for the amendments. The Government he said, had lea¡ned valuable lessons during the passage of the bill, among them recognising the change in the public mood and the need for consultations, the need for more information and the realisation that concern about the bill stemmed lrom a variety of reasons ranging lrom concern about the 'rush' to pass it to a feeling that any changes should wait until the future was clearer.

Allen Lee, who sat

in on the

ad-hoc

committee during the later stages, admitted that while they looked at the bill lrom 'all possible angles' they did not spot the sensitivity and suggested that a law officer should be appointed to detect luture problem areas. Henry Litton, while rej ecting any 'sinister' motives on the part of the government, said that trivia the bill contained concerning 'housekeeping' matters had led to the vital parts being overlooked. These included putting Legco 'above the law', introducing penal sanctions for disrespectful attitudes to

Legco and curtailing lreedom of,speech. "Il we are to succeed in finding a new identity, the government must have the broad support ofthe professional bodiès and the pressure groups. But when,the ptessure groups made themselves heard thèy were accused of manipulating the mediai This is hardly an encouraging start to representative

government", he concluded, 1, Frank Ching reserved rhost oilhis criticism fot Legco which should, he said, act as a line of defence between the government and the public. "What Umelco needs is not a deep sense of trust in the government. Umelco was set up as a watchdog. By assuming that government can always be trusted, Legco members are not discharging their function", he said. While supporting the bill in its amended form, the Attorney General in his summing up did say that although it was not an attempt to find an imaginative solution lor one country-two systems, it was an attempt at codification which went wrong. ,

t

W|Mlilf

The Legco Forum line-up, China Morning Post.

from the left: Allen Lee, Henry Litton, Michael Malik (Chairman), Michael Thomas and Frank Ching. Photo: South


A

funny thing happ ened...

MICHAEL Palin, actor, producer and member of that zany group, Monty P¡hon's Flying Circus was in Hong Kong early in July to promote his latest film, 'Private Function'at the British Film week at the A¡ts Centre and got dragged along to the FCC to prove he really was a funny man. The turnout was amazing with just about every seat being taken within five minutes of bookings opening and at least one member was known to have threatened her spouse with extreme prejudice lor not getting on the phone early enough.

She was quite right to be disappointed. Michael Palin gave a tremendous show, unfortunately most of it unprintable in a magazine which might be read by non consenting adults. Suffice it to say that his story of an incontinent pig named Betty who was

used

in the making of

Private Function

had people choking over their dessert in an unseemly manner and shed some light as to why in the c¡edits there appeared the title of'bucket boy'.

The problem with making films in bad taste is that they result in the actors being required to perform deeds of a equal bad tâste - like having to eat mud in a scene for Monty Python. To make it more palatable it was adorned with chocolate, Michael Palin recalled but, alas, the chocolate was indis-

tinguishable from the real thing - and after the 34th take they cut the scene anyway. Further events in the glamorous life of a movie star were recounted, such as having

one's face blacked with Fullers Earth in order to play the hero in 'Jabberwocþ' or being doused with buckets of water in'Time Bandits.' But Michael also gave us some interesting insights into to the Flying Circus background. Did you know that George Harrison put up the money for the 'Life of Brian'when everyone else decided it was too 'base'just because he wanted to see how it would

come out? Or that they got their break in America because a guy from Dallas Public Broadcasting was rummaging though the BBC archives and bought a series of Monty Python shows for the vast sum of US$500 which he played in a telethon and got the biggest audience reaction the station had ever recorded?

For the story of Graham Chapman and

a

former British Prime Minister you'll have to ask someone who attended the lunch to tell you but in answe¡ to a final question about whether there was a limit to bad taste the answer from Michael was 'I used to think so, but now I feel there is probably not' which is good news for those of us who enjoy the team's irreverent view of life - not to mention love, death and religion.

Michael Palin holds his FCC tie presented after his Luncheon talk.

A successlul party "for bank completion

THE Club built up its reputation further with the holding of a highly successful private party by the John Lok/Wimpey Joint Venture to celebrate the completion of the first phases of the new Headquarters for HongkongBank on June 30. The handing over ceremony was held the following morrung.

Altogether some 280 guests were invited

by John Lok/Wimpey including members

several

of the international press who

were in Hong Kong for the formal handover cefemony. Hosts of the reception were Frank Archer,

Executive Project Director of John Lok/ Wimpey Joint Venture and HardY Lok, Assistant to the Executive Project Director. The function was arranged by FCC member Mansel Evans who is also the Project Manager (Construction) for the new building.

Mansel Evans (left) wíth Hardy &. Shelia Lok, of John Lok/llimpqt OAP is in the background.

l.V

-

Tony Fitzpatrick

of

The July t handover ce¡emony got wide coverage both locally and abroad in such papers as ttre London Standard, The Times, Sunday Times and a number of technical newspapers.


I

Media Council Forum: strong views expressed

For your díary AUGUST is a quiet month at the club - as it seems to be everywhere in Hong Kong but things get busier come September, so here's a few dates to earmark in your diary:-

Saturda¡ September 21 Get out your luminous socks for it's Rock Rock Band and a Singaporean Buffet.

'n' Roll Night with the San Miguel

Saturda¡ October 2l It's fiesta time as the beat heats up for the L¿tin American night. There'll be lively music and a buffet muy bueno.

The line-up at the Media Council Forum, from the left: Robin Hutcheon, Mr Justice Li, Michael Malik, Emily Lau and Cliff Bale. Photo: Hong Kong Standard.

of the FCC Forum featuring Attorney General Michael Thomas, a second Forum was held in the Club dining room on July 24. This time the topic was the proposed Hong Kong Media Council, with panellists FOLLOWING the success

Mr. Justice Simon Li, The South China

Morning Posr's Robin Hutcheon, Emily Lau of the Far Eastern Ecanomic Review and HK Journalists' Association chairman Cliff Bale. The moderator was Michael Malik. Predictably, strong views were expressed but, as can be expected with any discussion involving media people, no clear consensus emerged, and it was apparent that a lot more talking will be done before any formal steps are taken to establish a Media Council.

Cliff Bale said Hong Kong journalists needed to think carefully about whether they wanted a Media Council at all, and cautioned

against the setting of deadlines for submissions and/or discussions on the whole issue. He noted that the HKJA was planning to seek the views of its members - possibly

STOP PRESS: On August 12, the media council preparatory committee dissolved itsell and abandoned present efforts to form a council in face of oppositiion lrom both the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, the ad hoc group ofjournalists and some Chineselanguage newspaper publishers. All these groups had decided not to take any part in the work ofthe preparatory committee, which they said did not represent the industry. In view of this, Mr. Justic Li announced the abandonment of the idea at this time, saying it would not succeed without the support

of "the

reporters, journalists and

publishers."

of all journalists - on the need for a Council and what form it should take. Emily Lau said journalists had been be wildered by the sudden formation of a Media

Council preparatory committee, and asked why government people, including Legislative Councillor Selina Chow, were working hard to sell the whole idea of a Council. Miss Lau also laid the blame for some of the ills in the media at the door of the proprietors who had done little to alleviate poor pay and conditions in sections of the media: "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys," as she said. Robin Hutcheon made the point that the idea of a Media Council had been floating around for more than 10 years, and unless some sort of deadline was set, it could go

on floating around indefinitely.

Further

debate would also help to clarify some important points, such as what powers the

Media Council might have.

He was in broad agreement with the other panellists that there should be no government involvement in the Council. Mr. Justice Li made this point strongl¡ saying if there was any government intervention, "I will be the first one to quit." During question time there was criticism

of the fact that the committee had sought the opinions of outside bodies, such as Umelco and the Chinese Manufacturers Association, rather than those of the media. However, Justice Li said the committee would write to an ad hoc group formed by

journalists - including Miss Lau - inviting more journalists to sit on the preparatory committee.

After the Forum, this ad hoc group organised a mass meeting of journalists at the Hong Kong Press Club on August 6 to formulate a policy on the formation of a Media

Council.

Saturday October 26 The mood changes and the tempo slows to waltz time for a sit-down dinner recalling the elegant days of the Hapsburg Eqlire for our Viennese Night.

i Saturda¡ November 9 Imperial splendours are recalled agail on Russian Night. Gorky Park waÇ, ndver

likethis!

;

,'

Saturday November 30 It's that time again as the club celebrates the arrival of that most popular of wines, Beaujolais Nouveau, with a Gala Dinner. This event - now almost a tradition - is bound to be a sellout. Saturday, December 7 Save the price of the jetfoil ticket to Macau and splash out on the Spanish/Portuguese buffet featuring everything from calama¡es to caldo verde. Saturday, January 18

Finally all rockers, gauchos,

moujiks,

Civil are welcome, in appropriate dress of course, to our grand paysans and Guardia

Fancy Dress Ball.

Indentity crisis TIJE South China Morning Posr recently

advertised the editorship of its Sunday edition in the UK Press Gazette at a generous f,70,000 a year, plus fringe benefits. The ad stressed at great length the success ofthe Post group and the "clear leadership and respect" it has established in the region. But it rather spoiled the effect with two nnfortunate literals:

itl'ext'endivb newspa indentity of The Sunday The renumeration pac han f70,000 per annum. Perhaps proofreading skil1s are not part

ol the job.


The glory that was Greece A MENU rather longer than in the average taverna, including several items which defied

translation, awaited diners at the FCC's second Greek night on July

13.

If lobster, mullet and shrimps were absent, there were some dishes I had not come ac¡oss before - including a mouth watering fried chicken in sesame batter (recipe please!) - as well as the expected tarama salata and moussaka and about 30 others. Demestica and retsina were also on offer

but inevitably not at Greek prices: let's put them on the regular wine list.

A minor

complaint: why not Greek (Turkish ifyou will) coffee? It's easy enough to make.

I

A warm welcome is extended to the

should have come on later: Apart from anything else, the volume made dinner conversation difficult - and who in Hong Kong dances when there's food on the table?

Correspondent

It

has always seemed strange to me that

the¡e is no Greek restaurant in Hong Kong, especially when there is an apparently insatiable demand for second-rate Italian food. In view ofthe Greek evening's success, let's hope we see some Greek dishes (not all, and not always the same ones) on the club's menu. - Chris Minter.

And why not more Greek music? No doubt we have members with records or

On the Move

tapes they'd be prepared to lend to augment

ALAN

what we did hear briefly.

CLUB members like Mike Winsloq Paul

of finance and this month joins a firm of international stockbrokers, Hoare Govett as

Special guests will be some of the world's

best snooker players: Steve Davis, Denis Taylor, Terry Griffiths, Tony Meo, Tony Knowles and Wi1ly Thorn. Sonte of them, like three times World Professional Snooker Champion Davis, have been here before and have proved very popular with members so you'll need to book quickly for this one.

A Wise word FORMER President Donald Wise's many friends will be glad to know that he is planning to visit Hong Kong at the end of this month or early September after eight months of lotus eating in various European 'hot spots' such as the South of France, the Algarve, London and Paris. Donald is supposed to be writing his memoirs but according to various indecipherable scrawls to FCC members claims not to have written a word!

A1an, who is Financial Editor lor RTHK is moving over to the other side of the world

a Research Manager.

But A1an, and his journalist wife, Lesley,

will

continue to be seen at the club they are keeping on their membership.

And while you might not be

as

hearing

Alan's familiar voice over the radio you'll probably still be seeing his face on tv for he

is the guy in the commercial for a well known suitcase manufacturer who seems to having so much trouble with his brand X case at the airport!

Obituary WE are sorry to hear of the death this month, on August 5, of former Correspondent member, B.K. Tiwari, who died in London aged 57. B.K. who wo¡ked for the Indian Express, was an active member of the Club during the 1960's and early 70's before his posting to the UK.

Expression of disgust THE Board considered several letters it had

received concerning an article in Target newsletter of June 24 ort the death of Club Member Nigel Tasker. These letters expressed disgust at the article and cal1ed for

the Editor of

Target, David Pyott,

to

be

deprived of his rights and privileges to use the Club. (David Pyott is the spouse of Jour-

nalist member, Patty Pyott.)

Gavin Young

The Observer Osamu Kobayshi The Nihon Keizai Shimbun

Vijay Verghese Far East Trade Press Park Byeong-Seug

The Joong-Ang Ang Daily News

Beverley Howells

Hargreaves, j ournalist representative on the Board of Governors will be stepping down from the Board as he is leaving jour-

Club Luncheon luncheon.

following new members:

Jou¡nalist

nalism.

Sillitoe and David Gilhooly are likely to be fi¡st in the 'cue' for the September 5 club

New lVIembers

liked the music of Nick Demuth and his fellow old-timers but it Personally,

The Board's decision was that it was not its lunction to withdraw the Club's privileges

and facilities on account of journalistic activity whatever the quality. However, the Board unanimously endorsed the expressions ol disgust it has received both verbally and in writing lrom members at this particular article.

Freelance

Li Kou Yu ABC News David Chen (re-admissidn) South China Morning Post Associate

Elfed Roberts University of Hong Kong Stephen Goodrich

international Gold Corporation Alan Whitmore Sun Hung Kai Bank Brian E. Lee City Polytechnic of HK

Looking smarter OVER the next few months members may be slightly inconve-nienced by some redecoiration worked planned. The upstairs dining room will be repainted and varnished and some of the function rooms will be repapered. Interference with functions and dining facilities is being kept to the mininum but please note the main dining room will be closed on August 24, 25 and 26. Lunch and dinners will be served as usual but in the lunction rooms.

Putting it together Editor

-

Janine Wookey Tel: Work

5-245095 Home 5-593454

Newsletter Liaison - Michael Malik (FEER) Tel:5-8936688 Printers - Ad-Asia, Worldwide Commercial Bldg, 34 Ìù&ndham Street Central: Tel: 5-256067.


The Correspondent, August 1985