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CONTENTS COVER FCC signs Macau deal

8

I

Reciprocal membership affangements signed between the FCC and Macau's Military Club. Club President Steve Vines reports.

THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS'

CLUB North Block, 2 Lower Alben Road, Hong Kong. Telephone: 521 l5l I Fax: 868 4092 President - Steve Vines

First Yice President - Hubert Van

PHOTO ESSAY 2 The skyrs not the Karin Malmstrom reports on the latest adventures of China explorer and scholar, How Man V/ong.

Es

Second Vice President - David Thursron

Correspondent Member Governors Bob Davis, Daniela Deane, Carl Goldsteìn, Humphrey Hawksley, V.G. Kulkami, Carherine Ong, Claudia Rosett, Brian Jeffries

Journal¡sa Member Governors

tililliam Barker, Stuart Wolfendale Associate Member Governors D. Garcia, L. Grebstad, S. Lækhart, R. Thomas

Professional Committee: Cont enor: H. Hawksley Members: V.G. Kulkami, C. Rosett, S. \ilolfendale, C. Goldstein, D. Deane, C. Ong, R. Thomas Membership Comrnittee: Convenor: V.G. Kulkami Members: B. Davis, D. Garcia, C. Goldstein, L. Grebsrad Entertainment Committee: Convenor: W. Barker; M¿øå¿¡: S. Wolfendale Publications Committee: Convenor: D, Thurston, Members: S.Lækhart, B. Davis, K. rililson (Editor), Paul Bayfield (Co-opred) F & B Comm¡ttee: Convenor: L. Grebstad Members: D. Garcia, H. Vm Es, R. Thomas, S. Lockhart Wall Committee:

NEWS AND VIEWS 5 A trip down Gonzo avenue Jack Spackman recalls the day he won $10 off Dr. Hunter S Thompson at, of all things, a cricket match in Hong Kong.

6

The thoughts of Sogyat Rinpoche The Tibetan teacher, whose book,The TibetanWay of Living and Dying has gone to the bestseller lists in England and the US, was guest speaker at the Club recently where he gave his views on life and death.

12

PEOPLE

13

An ABC of almost completely useless words A selection of useless words by Arthur Hacker.

14

Better than to suffer alone David Price reports on the writers-in-prison evening held at the Club recently.

16

BOOK RBVIEW

H. Vm Es, Bob Davis. D. Garcia

Club Manager: H. Grabner

The unadorned facts about Murdoch Edward Neilan reviews william Shawcross' book Rupert Murdoch; Ringmaster of the Information Circus.

THE CORRESPONDENT Advertising Manager: Tom Deacon Page Make-up: Jæe Ræio and Eva Lai Arlisli Ammdo D. Recio, Jr. EDTTORIAL OFFICE: AsiaPacific Directories Ltd, Rm. 1301, l3lF, Prk Commercial Centre, 6-10 Shelter Stieet, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Telephone: 571 933t;Fax:8 '128j @ The Corespondent Opinions expressed by writen are not necessarily those

ol

the Fore¡gn

Corespondents' Club The Conespondenr is published monrhly for 4d on behalf of The Foeign Corespondenrs' Club by: AsiaPacihc D¡rectories Lad. Rm 1301, l3Æ, Puk Commercial Cenrre, 6-10 Shelter Slreet, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Tel:571 9331l' Fax: 890 7287 Pübl¡sheÌ: Vomie Bishop Managing Direclor: Mike Bishua

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A SPECIAL REPORT ON COMPUTERS

26

TRAVEL A gathering of bears and hacks Garry Marchant travels to Churchill in the wilds of Canada's Manitoba province to watch the annual migration of the polar Bear.

LETTERS THE ZOO

31

LETTER FROM THE

33

PEDDLER'S

36

31

PRESIDENT........ JOURNAL

Cover photograph by David Thurston shows Macau Military Club manager, Major Manuel Geraldes outside the Club. Inside photoglaphs supplied by David rhurston, Hubert van Es and Ray cranbourne.

THE CORRESPONDENT

APRIL

1993


PHOTO ESSAY

àt'

7

:¡.-

established that Miran would be a jumping off point into the abyss that is the Taklimakan in seaich of Lulan and many other lost cities which have been swallowed by the world's second largest moving desert. Lulan was last purportedly rediscovered at the turn of the century by the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin. lf it's up to Miran Lop local Shalaerximu - now pushing 72 - who has lead other teams into the desert, he'll be the guide for Wong's planned expedition next year using the SIR swaths of the Taklimakan gathered from Shuttle flight in October. Meanwhile, Wong is notwaiting around for the October blast-off. ln June he is leading a four-month expedition to Tibet's northwestern plateau and southern Xinjiang accompanied by Dr George Schaller, world renown wildlife biologist and a slew of other scientists and technicians to assess the geography, wildlife habitat, biological condition and present status of the sparsely populated region. lf this isn't enough, Wong has many

-j ì.J-d Ì.^

The Himalayas as seen from the Space Shuttle.

being absorbed) hunting culture of the Yagut tribe in Manchuria. As presented to the Club, Wong con-

ducted two expeditions to the forested border of Mongolia in the dead of winters 1983 and 88. There he found the hearty Yagut tribe, subgr.oup of the Ewenki peoples, both

peoples who, due to their small numbers, are not officially recorded as ethnic minorities by the Chinese governAncestors of the remaining less than

200 Yagut people moved to northern Manchuria from Lake Bakal around 380

years ago. Since that time, the group

'has lived in isolation within Chinese

boundaries, cut-off to the north by their proximity to the former Soviet border, and unable to move too far south due to their own needs for hunting and rein-

Traditional Yagut hunter. other projects in the works, including

deer herding which constrain land use

conducting a three-year survey of The AltunNature Preserve (Xinjiang), conservation of Tibetan monasteries of the

to pristine forests and pastures. Cultural traditions are strong, how-

Eastern Tibetan Plateau and documenting the vanishing (or more accurately,

ever, within five years of his first visit in 1983, How Man found that many of the local crafts and customs had vanished

The sky's not the limit when Carol Breed, a geologist at the US Geological Survey, found that Shuttle lmaging Radar (SlR) could not only reveal details as obscure as ancient dried river beds two to three metres below the earth's surface, but could tell a story about the area's geological, archaeological and ecological evolution as well. Using NASA's SIR swaths -- recorded scan paths -- of the Taklimakan, Wong made an earthbound orbit of the Silk Road in 1991 . (Simultaneously, the very same SIR technology was being employed to confirn{ the location of legendary 'left for lost' Ubar, Oman of fankin-

By Karin Malmstrom

tate-of-the-art NASA Space Shuttle technology, lost cities of

the Taklimakan and hunting cultures of northern China are not typically discussed topics, much less in one breath or in the same room. But last month nearly 100 Members and guests gathered in the Main Dining Room to hear leading China explorer and scholar How Man Wong present two of his exploration projects. For nearly 20 years, Hong Kong-born Wong has conducted studies of cultural, historical, geographic and environmental importance in some of China's most remote areas, more recently with the assistance of NASA and other organizations. The possibilities sky-rocketed when Wong successfully applied

2

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

How Man Wong.

cense fame, which made headlines in February, 1992.) Wong's reconnaissance included Mi-

Landsat images to discover a new source of the Yangtze River while leading a N atio nal Geograph ic expedition in 1 985.

ticated by 20th Century explorer Sir

The use of Shuttle technology for land exploration took another giant step

ran, the archaeological site first authen-

Aurel Stein in the Lop Nor region of the

southern Silk Road. Talking with local people of the dying Lop culture, it was

The Taklimakan near Miran in the Lop Nor reg¡on of the southern Silk Road. THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

3


A trip down Gonzo avenue down on the ground, the edge of the hallowed turf itself, picking up drinks

By Jack Spackman

he almost simultaneous arrival in the book stores of three biog-

raphies of Gonzo journalist Dr Hunter S. Thompson reminds me of the

day two decades ago when I won 910 from him in a bet on one of his specialties

-

a sporting contest.

Thompson had a dual listing on the masthead of Rolling Stone in those days,

as national affairs correspondent, and

albeit, in Chinese terms

them

modern

-

-

has brought

ets. Although the Yagut seem to be on the path to absorption, their culture, quite similar to some American lndian and Nordic Lapland groups, has been documented and hopefully will not disappear completely. The Yagut and many other projects all operate under How Man Wong's

China Exploration and Research Society, which is based in Los Angeles with an office currently being set up in Hong Kong. Understandably, Wong's major concerns revolve around funding and sponsorship. Lots of it. So far, he's been able to attract enough interest and financial commitment from corporate sponsors

building materials to repairtheirbirch

to keep the outfit going. Still, with

bark American

a continual process to ensure that one discovery will enable the next. And the potential for making continued discoveries in China's unchartered territories

so many projects on the drawing board, its

lndian-style teepees and canoes. The women no longer make a rit-

is limitless. Twenty years under his belt

and How Man has just begun

ual out of design-

ing and sewing traditional rein-

cessories. ln-

Editor's Note: Anyone interested in

stead, tin, wood and brick shacks provide shelter, and some young Yagut men wear padded Maojack-

4

...

Karin Malmstrdm is free lance journalist based in Hong Kong.

deer skin clothing and hunting ac-

learning more about the China Exploration and Research Society can contact Karin through the Club.

Yagut callยกng male deer usยกng a tradยกtยกonal horn.

THB CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

against the clock and Hong Kong bowling. As we savour the thump of willow on leather, Raoul Duke boasts that this probably makes him the only American sports editor to have actually taken in a game of cricket. Another feather in the cap for the guy who holds the distinction of having ridden with both the Hell's Angels and Richard Nixon.

as Raoul Duke, sports editor. He arrived in Hong Kong, a trifle shaken after a short stint in Vietnam. Tony Clifton, then as now, Newsweek correspondent in Hong

Yagut woman and deer on the move. along with a substantial portion of the Yagut's forestland. Logging companies had encroached to the extent of drastically altering the Yagut's way of life. Like other isolated peoples who have been found by the modern world, the late 20th Century

from a tent, and watching Neil Harvey and Alan Davidson setting out to save the day for the Australian Xl in a race

in

Sutherland House, overlooking the old Cricket Club, smack in the heart of the Central district. It's Friday night at the Press Club, a scene of much vibration, and over a noisy drink or two we advise Th- The dean of Gonzo. ompson, speaking now to his alter ego, Raoul Duke, that Sunday promClifton and lcarefullytake him through ises a taste of history fpr any sporting the nomenclature and the rules. A bowler man to savour - nothing less than the not a pitcher. A keeper not a catcher. A final match at the historic Hong Kong bat not a club. An over, a no ball, a wide, Cricket Club, a struggle that would pit a full toss, a wicket, the wickets, the the best that Hong Kong, with all its bails, the pitch ("the thing you play on"), colonial history, could offer against a a yorker, a googly, slips, deep square team of Australians, all former Test leg, mid-on, mid-off , point, fine leg, square match stars. ln the cricket world, you're cut, a snick, a bouncer, bodyline, and talking box office with this lot. And it's a "Owszat!". We talk of giants from the dream scene. A compact lยกttle ground past, Hutton, Larwood, Bradman, with sykscraper banks towering around McCabe, Lindwall, Miller, and the mysit, the majesty of the Peak rising above tery of Meckiff's delivery and lverson's it and the sounds of the harbour drifting

in. The sports journalist in him sensed the value of this match and we agree to watch it on the Sunday, from the balcony over lunch at the FCC and later

the keeper, all the men in the field catch the ball without benefit of a baseball glove. That ball travels fast and hard. Hong Kong has put a good score on the board but with the clock in the final quarter hour of the game those Aussies are coming up fast. Thompson by now has assessed the form of all the players on the field, the batsmen at the crease, the bowlers, the wicketkeeper, the fielders, and he's trotted through the pavilion and taken a look at the batsmen padded up and ready to go in. He's applying all sorts of physicaland mental yardsticks better suited for basketball and gridiron football, and maybe basketball, to the players and he's decided

that the team in the field, Hong Kong,

willwin. Got him. lt's $10 cash, to be autographed by the loser. He's on Hong Kong and l'm on those brave Aussie

Kong, brings Thompson down to the Press Club in Wanchai (the original joint in Luard Road) and to the For-

eign Correspondents' Club, then

fast bowler, the Barbados Bombshell. But back to the game. Thompson is impressed by the fact that, apart from

freakiness. He listens intently as I tell him of the days when, as a young reporter in Brisbane I ghosted a column by the great Wesley Hall himself. Now there was a

lads, their bones creaking at the ceases in some cases, from arlhritis, but they're putting on the runs. The minutes fly by and an over ends with two minutes on the clock and the Aussies still needing runs to win. This is the last over. The bowler puts down two balls and the runs mount. On the dot of 6pm Thompson, alias Raoul Duke, the sports editor, starts jumping up and down and shouting "That's it." No, no, no. We patiently explain above all the shouting and cheering. ln

cricket you bowl out the last over to completion. This is not basketball. He's stunned, to think that any game could be so stupid!. He grumbles about a "sucker bet" but even before the winning runs are scored he pays up. He autographs the $10 bill with a friendly note about being chiselled and we head back to the FCC for a few more drinks. Times get tough for me later on, and one day I reluctantly pull out the note and spend it. So much for nostalgia and its trimmings.

Jack Spackman is an absent member of the FCC now living in California.

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

5


N()THING ESCAPES AGFA.

The Tibetan teacher Sogyal Rinpoche, whose book The Tibetan Way of Living and Dying has gone to the top of the bestseller lists in England and the US, addressed members at a Club lunch recently. Here are some of his thoughts:

6

6S ;iTli誰;::,i誰:J:J:; lr.-/

years ago that a terrible tragedy overtook Tibet, forcing more than 100,000 of its people into exile. Yet out of that tragedy came Tibet's great gift to the world: its wisdom, whose inner sciences were nourished, practised and experienced in isolation and to the exclusion of almost any other field of enquiry for over 1,200 years. ln my book I address some of the most urgent and poignant questions: Why is it in this life we are taught nothing about death or how to die? What Possible relevance can spiritual practice have on the threshold of the 2'l st century? How can we restore meaning to life? How can we find hope in death and peace in dying? how can we find the love and compassion we need to help the dying? What exactly happens after death? Does anything survive? Can we help the dead? This book and the tradition it springs from can be summed up in two words: wisdom and compassion. Has there ever been a time when we more needed an inspiration for living and dying? Spiritual leaders and scientists have been telling us for years that

6

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

Sogyal Rinpoche at the FCC lunch.

nothing less than a complete inner revolution is vital for our survival. As the Dalai Lama says: we can never attain peace in this world if we neglect the inner world and make peace with ourselves; world peace must develop out of inner peace. First of all you have to create the environment of understanding in order to understand. To put it simply, two thing are certain: that we are going to die, but it's uncertain when and how we are going to die. Because it's uncertain

templation of death helps you to sofi out priorities, while there's still life. Generally I advise people not to think of death when they're depressed but

when they're happy. Death offers a

when and how we think we have an'

great opportunity for living. I have something very simple to say about afterlife. Sometimes people say to me: 'l don't believe in life after.' I say: 'That's fine. if you did not believe in life after and you died and there was life after, what are you going to do?'So just at least have the benefit of doubt. Just in case.' There is no complete proof

unlimited lease on life and, as such we believe in a sense of false permanence. We become trivial and lose perspective. Sadly in the West people only think of death when they are dying. And suddenly, when faced with death, life looks quite different from the way you lived it.

there is a life after death, but there is no proof that there isn't either. Then there are people who believe in life after and they think they belong to some special club that's going to save them. But actually, that's not the point about believing in reincarnation. Rather, believing in reirtcarnation means what

Through contemplation of the fact

you say, what you think, what you do

that we could die at any moment (dying is very simple - you don't even have to be sick; if you breathe out and you can't

have consequences now and have consequences on future lifetimes. As

breathe in, that's it; whether tomorrow or the next life comes first we do not know; there's no guarantee that we will live tomorrow) that you begin to say 'what's my life been all about?'. Con-

Buddha said:'What you are is what you have been, and what you will be is what

you do now."

David Thurston

g

Too quick for the eye, but not for Agfa. A golf ball is deformed on

photocopiers, X+ay film and cine-film, computer-controlled photo

fraction of a second. A superfast Agfa film captures the

composition systems, digital art printers and mini-labs ("1 hour

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Film is Agfas visiting card. Everbody knows it. Everybody loves it.

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overa hundred years Agfa has been setting milestones along the road

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@


II

COVER STORY

FCC signs Macau deal By Steve Vines

many of our members are frequent, or at least regular, visitors to Macau,

renovation programme. However our members will be able to share in the

we were more than happy to re-

improvements which will follow. There is no need to make elaborate arrangements to use the club's facilities. Verif ication of membership can be made simply by showing your club card. Payment at the Military Club is on cash terms. The Pousada Mong-Ha is part of the Macau government's Tourism and Hotel lndustry School. The hotel part of the school is not open to

spond. he Foreign Correspondent's

Club has established closer ties with Macau through two arrangements agreed last month. We now have reciprocalmember-

The Military Club, situated just

These arrangements followed an initiative from the Macau government which is keen to foster closer

behind the Hotel Lisboa, has a bar and restaurantoffering food and drink at embarrassingly low prices, which we would dearly like to duplicate in our own establishment. The Macau government has also offered to look into the possibility of installing equipment such as fax machines and a wire service for members visiting the colony on journalistic assignments. The one snag with this arrangement is that the club will be temporarily closed towards the end of the

ties with foreign correspondents. As

year for a major improvement and

ship arrangements with Macau's Military Club, housed in one of the Portuguese colony's most splendid buildings. ln addition FCC members will be able to stay at the government run Pousada Mong-Ha at extremely favourable rates.

members of the public but will be available to Club members at room rates ranging from Patacas 300 to P500 (for a suite) per night. As of

May, prices will rise to P400 to P700. I can give a cast iron guarantee that there is no other accommo-

dation of this standard available in Macau at these priรงes. The Pousada also has a restaurant serving good Portuguese and Macanese food again at very reasonable prices. Reservations for the Pousada can

be made through Diamantina Rosario, the director on Macau: 556920 or Francisco Xavier, the reception manager. on 561252 ext: 505. The management and staff at both these establishments have been extremely helpful in establishing this arrangement which looks set to be a great success. ln another move, the Club has established a reciprocal arrangement with the Singapore Press Club which will also entitle members to hotel discounts in Singapore. The SPC has negotiated the following special rates: Holiday lnn Parkview: S$170 for a single and S$196 for a double room. (published rates are 56260-59290) Marina Mandarin: 56175

The FCC team gets among the cocktails at the Macau Military Club, right and below. Below left, is the Club 50 years ago, note the sea lapping at the door.

8

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993


The Swire Group

Cathay Pacific puts business travellers in space.

PEOPLE

A touch of Brazil

I

Tr

he Brazilian Consul-General,

Arnaldo Carilho, and his wife at the opening of an exhibition of works byBrazilian artists which went on display at the Club on March 20. With him

is Jacqueline Montagu (right) one of the co-sponsors of the exhibition and Ane-Marie Philippe. The exhibition sþowed Brazil through the eyes of its artists.

Heading back to Oz t.a l\ Offering more space than ever, Cathay Pacific now introduces new Marco Polo Business Class seating

en and Heather Ball said goodbye to friends at the Club ¡¿s1 month before heading back to Australia to live. Ken

had a distinguished career in Hong Kong returning a second time in the mid-1980s to edit The Hongkong Standard. he left the Standard and moved to the Trade Development Council as head of the public relations and marketing department. Two years ago he joined Emphasis as managing director. Ken will retain his links with Emphasis in Australia and will be returning to Hong Kong from time-to-time.

with an extra two inches of legroom on all aircraft. And

i t

also on all 747s, you'll find Çu

a

new, redesigned seat featuring

CLUB EVENTS

a convenient swivel table and fully extendable legrest for

long

O

APRIL 11: Easter Sunday Buffet. Children welcome as long as they are accompanied by parents. $150 for adults and $125 children. Noon to 2pm.

distance comfort. What's more, we've dedicated the upper deck of

all ou¡ 747s exclusively to

O

15-1 6: Supper with strings attached The Lauda Amadeus String Quartet for two nights in the Main Dining Room. Time:7.30 pm. Price:9170

marco

-

Polo Business Class and made it I

O

smoke-free. Enhancing the space and

comfort of our cabin is yet another way

in which Cathay Pacific helps business travellers arrive in better shape.

,-.f

-

Another Club regular who said goodbye was Ben Tierney the local correspondent for Southam News of Canada. Ben caught the Canberra and headed off to Scotland and retirement. Seen here with his Canadian colleagues are (L-R) Mike Levin, Billboard Magazine; Ben; Kelly McParland , Ihe Financial Posl,'and Peter Goodspeed, The Toronto Star.

30: Eleven years in lce House Street. Club birthday party, 8pm to 2 am. Price $450, which will cover food and drink. MAY 14: An Evening with British comic Chris Lynam, 8 pm in the Main Dining Room. Price $180.

O

For further information ring Sandra or Sheila on 521 -1 51

1

^-

CATHAYPACIFIC Arrive in better shape.

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

1I


The name of the world's

MasterCard issuer,

Better than to suffer alone Oh come in! Uninvited friend! Come in and sit next to me And your cold knees Would touch mine and bring me The long-awaited contact : It's much better so than to Suffer alone! ith these lines on solitude, written by the Vietnamese

novelist and founder of Vietnamese PEN Duy Lam, aprogramme

of readings and music on the theme of Asian writers in prison come to end on lllarch 22, in the Main Dining Room of the FCC. It was a fitting climax, not so much to the evening, but to a programme that gathered together the writings of poets,

journalists, children's writers, publishers and satirists, all of whom figure in

ln the final section of the programme there were example of what can tragi-

By David Price

cally happen even if PEN and organisa-

sentenced to five years' imprisonment for publishing a popularity poll in which the Prophet Mohammed did rather badly. The letter revealed that he was still

writing novels and had genuinely fallen in love with his wife. Such resilience was repeated in almost every extract that was read: Aung San Suu Kyi's incredibly cool response to the cocked guns of the military when she was on an election walkabout in the town of Bassein in Burma in 1989: the Laotian poet Khamphan Pradith claiming that'in the clear moonlight I always look for courage' despite being under arrest on an undisclosed charge since 1975: the South Korean worker poet Park No-hae, serving a life sentence for allegedly advocating socialism by vio-

the long litany of writers detained through-

lent means, whose savage satire

out Asia for daring to published the

political corruption in Grave for a Hand visibly moved the audience. Music and some wonderfully clear, impassioned reading by the team of readers assembled by Michael Waugh did more than justice to the texts. After an interval hosted by the inimitable Han Shan Trio, whose eclectic mix of Tibetan bells, Chinese flute, saxo-

truth.

Evenings

of the lmprisoned Writer

are held by many of the 70 PEN centres throughout the world as a means of drawing attention to the plight of writers - a grouping that includes almost everyone who publishes or is involved in publication - at the hands of governments of every political persuasion. Many of these governments regard freedom of expression as the most expendable item on their agenda. Of the 700 or so writer-related cases reported throughout the world each year. Asia is responsible for about a third. There may be a grain of comfort hidden in this figure, since Asian governments seem less likely to execute or cause writers to disappear than in parts of the world like South America. However, they have a miserable record of long-term detention, amounting to over two-thirds of the world total. They are also fond of house arrest. The lmprisoned Writer programme began with a letterto PEN from Arswendo

Atmowiloto, an lndonesian journalist

14 THE CORRESPONDBNT APRIL

1993

on

phone, keyboard and double bass

tions like it do all they can to draw to attention to the arbitrary repression of speech and also of the rays of light that encourage Writers in Prison committees of lnternational PEN worldwide. ln Memoriam Richard de Zoysa commemorated a Sri Lankan journalist and poet murdered while in police custody in 1 990. His poem on the subject of shotgun democracy could not have been more apposite; the memory of his courage and others like him was aptly evoked in Ute Zahn's playing of the Saraband

from Bach's 2nd Suite for Cello. Then came the turn of Hong Kong, in the form of Ong The Hung, a Vietnamese poet and asylum seeker who was released from Chimawan Detention Centre after a concerted campaign by

5rl.I0 I 096 LEE

[B

le3q HH

rt!

5b

o7l93 E

Ă‹u0[

The most important name of all,

lnternational PEN, the Hong Kong English-speaking PEN and the FCC. His poem Autumn Season evoked all

the hope and poignant sacrifice of the writer who dares to speak his name. As the programme drew to a close with Duy Lam's description of how he

wrote even when his legs had been crushed, I couldn't help thinking - and I don't suppose I was alone -of the extraordinary power of the word to transcend both physical pain and mental

punctuated the programme, the six readers in chorus delivered Slaughter, Part lll by Liao Yiwu, a young dissident poet of Sichuan province in China. His long, expressionist poem evoking the horror of the Tiannanmen massacre, for which he is still under arrest without charge, contained some of the most moving lines of the evening:

How muchfurther till We're home? We have no home. Everyone knows Chinese People have no home. Home is a comforting desire. Let us die in this desire.

Editor's note: Hong Kong Englishspeaking PEN has adopted six poets, editors, journalists and satirists from Burma as honourary members. Two more of its honourary members, Li Guiren of China and Nyan Paw of Burma, have been conditionally released. Further details and information on joining PEN can be obtained from the Writers in Prison Committee, Hong Kong English-speaking PEN, 4th Floor, 29 Old Bailey Street, Central (Tel: 525 9736/Fax: 8'l 0 1 289)

Wp'vE puT THREE BIG I{AMES 0r,{ 0r,{E SMALL cARD, CITIBAI{K MASTERCARD. Pick up an application form today 0r call our 24-hour hotline: 8661123,


BOOK REVIEW

Murdoch is one of the elders of the communications village. lf his modus .operqndi and entrepre-

t the stroke of midnight June 30, 1997, just as Hong Kong

ln the 1970s he invaded America, buying papers in Texas, starting a new supermarket tabloid lhe National Star and acquiring the Neuv York Post, lhe Village Voice and New York Magazine. ln the early 1980s he purchased more television stations in Australia, half of one of Australia's principal airlines and Britain's most prestigious newspaper, The Times, together with its Sunday

becomes part of China,

Times.

The unadorned facts about Murdoch

The mid-1980s were the period of greatest expansion. ln the United States

Australian-born Rupert Murdoch automatically will become validated as the owner of China's most successful English-language daily newspaper. Although Murdoch takes a generally hands-off approach to the prosperous South China Morning Posf, which this

he acquired the Bosfon Herald,

Chicago Sun-Times and, most significantly, 20th Century Fox Studios and Metromedia television stations, which he shaped into a fourth national television network, Fox Broadcasting.

bcok lists as a 50 percent owned, asso-

ciated company of Murdoch's parent

Also in the 1 980s he bought the Soufh China Morning Post and went back to Australia to take over his father's old pa-

News Corporation, he could turn up at

any moment to make deals or to tilt

per, The Melbourne Herald. Then he acquired one of America's oldest pub-

Beijing's windmills.

The unadorned facts about Ruped Murdoch comprise the strong point of this book by William Shawcross. When first seen, the dust cover warns of a possible ego trip by the author. On the front is a photographic montage of the media mogulwith "MURDOCH" across thetop and "SHAWCROSS" in the samesize type across the bottom. On the

Rupert Murdoch: RÂĄngmaster of the lnformation Circus By William Shawcross

a photographic montage of the author with back cover, there is

Chatto

&

Windus, London,

HK$285

"SHAWCROSS" at the top and 'MURDOCH" at the bottom"

Fortunately, the text subdues the author's projection of himself and also marks Shawcross's further return to a

Reviewed by Edward Neilan. pushing

jungles of Cambodia in his Srdeshotv: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of

- always for more." Even Murdoch has proclaimed " My pasr consists of a series of interlocking wars." His trail from a start at lhe Adelaide News reaching all the way to Hollywood

Cambodia. Shawcross observes with good marksmanship that "since the 1950's, Rupert Murdoch's life had been an endless assault upon the world. One tactical and strategic battle followed another, on and on, incessantly moving, questing, searching, striving, fighting, cajol-

has been full of bumps and excitement. ln the mid-1960s Murdoch created lhe Australian, the first national newspaper on the continent, and has kept it going despite losses. By the end of the 1 960s he had acquired the tabloid News of the World and The Sun, his f irst properties in Brit-

ing, bullying demanding, charming,

ain.

relative objectivity which earlier was suspected of going astray in the tangled

16 THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

The

lishers, Harper & Row, and British publisher William Collins, not to mention the American Triangle Group which owned lhe TV Guide. As the 1990s dawned, he launched his British satellite television service, Sky, which he planned as the core of an

international television network to be carried around the world. "His achievements made Murdoch a major player in the information revolution and the vast communications industry which was driving it, and from which his global power now derived." writes Shawcross. The world seems defined by the extent of communications and Murdoch is at the centre. ln the early 1990's, com-

munications v\ras the ninth largest industry in the United States, growing at faster than almost 10 per cent a year

-

any other sector except health and medicine. Marshall McLuhan's predictions have proved correct: communications have both been able to shrink the world into a global village and expand the horizons of the individual villagers in one swoop.

a Murdoch man from the start. Now in Hollywood, Dunleavy will be

been

S]IAWGROSS

remembered by Hong Kong hands from the 1960s. lt is believed he still holds the world record for being knocked cold at the old Firecracker Bar in Kowloon. lf one element shadows Murdoch as

neurial skills are a matter of record, Murdoch's substance draws criticism

from many sides. Some of the barbs are measured, some sound like the opening salvoes of World War lll. Murdoch's acquisition ol lhe Chicago Sun-Times came shortly after the publication of Harry Evans'memoirs Good Times, Bad Times in which he portrayed Murdoch as "restless, brooding, moody, aggressive, manipulative, petulant and very right wing." This assault on the new boss was widely read in the newsroom of lhe Sun-Times. "lt was a deterrent to everyone to stay," said the paper's editor James Hoge. One of those who decided to leave was Mike Royko, the paper's star col-

umnist and

a Chicago institution.

His

column, which often featured an imaginary blue collar worker named Slats Grobnick, was widely read and immensely popular. "Royko," Shawcross observes, "was seen as the defender of the little person against authority." After the paper's sale was completed but before Murdoch moved in, Royko started to refer to Murdoch in his column as "the Alien" and painted a picture of a kind of journalistic terrorist. Royko had once said he would never work for the opposition Chicago Tribune he could not stand the right -wing

closely as fame and controversy

it

is

debt. His brusheswith disaster, as chron-

icled by Shawcross, have come when

debt service creeps up on ambition. How ironic if during his next crisis

-

and

-

it is

for flashy entrepreneurs like Murdoch there will always be a "next crisis"

Hong Kong and China and the SCMP that bail him out. Meanwhile, even as we are congratu-

lating Shawcross for an even-handed

portrait Kong's most profitable daily newspaper

and one of the best in Asia." Michael Sandberg, then chairman of the Hong

of Murdoch, there are post-

scripts about Murdoch the newspaperman who has gone "Hollywood." The February 8,1992 edition o'f New York Magazine carries a lengthy profile

Kong and Shanghai Bank, is quoted as

and update by Michael Gross "Rupert

saying that Murdoch had told him he saw the Posf as becoming 'The Times of Southeast Asia." There is also scant mention of any of

swered the question whether Rupert Murdoch can impose his will on Holly-

in Wonderland" which still leaves unan-

wood the way he did on Fleet Street.

the editors or writers at the SCMP. Shawcross mentions only one SCMP editor: "Phillip Crawley came to Murdoch from the Daily Telegraph and continued to run a serious newspaper."

Edward Neilan is an absent member of the FCC and Chief Correspondent in Japan for fhe San Francisco Chronicle.

Given more space is Steve Dunleavy,

a rough and tumble journalist who had

-that legacy

of the owners. But Royko wrote that no self-respecting dead fish would want to be wrapped in a Murdoch paper, and he went across the bridge to the competition. Murdoch sued for breach of contract, the spat became a news story itself and the Tribune's sales soared. Shawcross' book is well-researched

and capably-presented but readers

in

the Asian neighbourhood can regret that he didn't give us more about Murdoch's dealings in Hong Kong. There is only passing mention of his entry to Asia in 1963 with a 28 percent stake in Asia Magazine and then the outbidding of lhe Financial Times for the purchase

of the South China Morning Post for US$260 million in 1986. The author says the SCMP is "Hong

Murdoch the American ln 1985, when Murdoch put his hand over his heart and pledged to become

Murdoch thinks we're boobs. That's

an American cĂ­tizen (for business

why he publishes boob-mentality news-

acquisition reasons) the critics were on him again. To Chicago Tribunecolumnist Mike

papers. He thinks that's all we can

Royko, Murdoch's only motive was to

get richer and more powerful. He was

a

"bloated millionaire, a sacker of American workers and breaker of unions, a proven ingrate, a proven liar." Royko felt that Murdoch obviously had contempt for Americans and wrote, as quoted in Shawcross' book:

"ln his heart, if such an organ exists,

understand. So, if Murdoch is allowed to become a citizen while we're turning

away people who are running from death squads and starvation, then we should make one small change in the plans to renovate the Statue of Liberty. "Get rid of the torch. Just have the lady hold up her hand with the middle

finger extended."

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

I7


Now's the time to get that portable

Warranty and servicing becomes important here. PC price wars of the past year or so have trimmed vendor profit margins considerably - such that the larger companies are now offering better product and service guarantees than ever, rather than competing on price alone. lBM, Compaq and AST among others and worldwide service agreement (meaning simply that help is at hand should your

all offer three-year warranties, By James Riley

hen Compaq Computer launched its first product in 1982, it held almost universal appeal for the simple reason that it was the world's first 'portable' system.

The product all but walked out of retailers' doors as the precursor to what is now perhapsthefastest growing sector of the PC industry. But Compaq's first offering is almost laughable when stacked up against what the industry now classifies as a porlable computer. With the introduction of smaller, more powerf ul'laptop' machines, Compaq's first box was soon renamed a "luggable". Miniaturisation of the PCs

ê

time to buy a notebook computer. Sure, in ayear or so you can bet that there will be a'better' option available and very likely it will also be cheaper. But waiting for the ultimate machine to appear is clearly not the answer. As daunting a task as buying a notebook appears, it can made a lot lot less painful by following a couple of simple rules: Define precisely what you will be using the notebook for and the software you plan to run on it, protect yourself

against the future as best you can by

-

Examine the screen - how

easy is it on the eye, can

you adjust it for comfort. What colour is it (as in black on white, blue on white, red on black etc), how sharp are the contrast, how quickly does it'refresh' when moving from one program screen to the next (does the cursor 'disappear' when you move it around).

now ubiquitous'notebook' both come

As

as

Compaq. standard issue on the top of the range A revolution in price/performance that COMPAQ Contura 4/25CX. Then there's the COMPAQ Contura has swept through our product range. get you 4/25c, with a new improved passive You see can now a Compaq 486 a revolution going on at

if this wasn't enough, they atl enjoy

Compaq's exclusive power management system,209 MB hard drive, and pre-loaded

Microsoft Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS

5.0.

0f course, a Compaq wouldn't be a Compaq without our usual three Finally,

year guarantee.

proud of, it's the features. Features

our exceptionally clear active

like

While the COMPAQ Contura 4/25 with

EAMPAE

matrix its advanced black and white screen

colour screen and go-faster extras

like

Play with the trackball/

machine. Notebook computing represents perhaps one of the

most cut-throat market sectors. There has never been a better time to buy a portable computer. The dilemma for buyers, though, is to make sense of this onward march of technology. What system is best for your purposes, how much should you pay for it, or should you hold-off buying, waiting either for prices to fall or a new generation of machine to emerge? The fact is, right now really is the best

It sounds trite, but for a first time buyer, the wisest possible thing to do is 'play' with as many different notebooks as possible before you buy, and simply go for whatever feels comfortable. Tinker with the keyboard - find the machine with a key-layout that suits you (they alltend to vary slightly, particularly in the position and enter key).

industry - in yel another reinvention of itself - redefined the portable as. the

our EasyPoint trackball

cheaper clones.

size of the function keys

history in the laptop class as well, and the computer

there's

'brand-name' models. rather than

of the cursor keys and the

various innards quickly made

You may not have heard that

notebook collapse while abroad). lt is as good a reason as any to stay with

going for a machine slightly more powerful or with more data storage capacity

than you think you will initially

need,

and, of course, read the small print of the warranty offered. Though there are numerous,different brands, and seemingly infinite possible variations of technical configurations, to the layman there appears little in any one notebook to differentiate it from another.

mouse - if you are going to use a graphical user interface like Windows, some form of trackball is a little more than advisable (to avoid needless frustration). Does it have a built-in trackball and where is it positioned? lf the trackball's not built-in, is it cordless or simply a mouse replacement? Do you want external mouse? Frankly, where notebooks are concerned, whatever can be built into the machine i the mouse, communications modems and certainly the f loppy diskdrive

Eantara

make other notebooks seem rather grey.

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL .

Jardine 0ffice Stslems ([4âc¿u)

Ltd [853) 3l I 990 . COIIIPAQ VALUED-ADDED

Rf,SELLERS: Chevatier (Conìpurer) Lrd 73] 5967

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19


- should be built in the machine. Any notebook computer appears a

already being superceded by the 486

wee shy little thing in a retail showroom, but once you have lugged it through a few airports, or back and forth from the office, it starts to look decidedly obese.

platform. lf money is not the critical issue, and especially if you expect to 'grow into' your new computer toy, it is probably worth paying a little extra for a machine

The less paraphenalia that has to be

that is less likely to frustrate you

in

packed up and carried with it, the happier you will be. The bottom line always: ls the machine

(Microsoft's graphical user interface), at least 4Mb of RAM is probably wise. For disk storage, most systems will come standard with 60Mb to 80Mb hard disk drives at the low-end, but 120Mb and 200Mb is not uncommon. This kind of capacity would have been consid-

ered awesome five years ago. It

surprising, though, how

much diskspace you can chew up just storing appli-

comfortable?

The more difficult questions, of course, relate to

cations, so don't underestimate your needs (pañicularly if you are using your notebook as your primary

the inside of the computer the source of the industry's evil fascination with acronyms.

computer, as opposed to

Deciding what central

being an adjunct to a desktop office system). Contrary

processing unit (CPU) - the

to popular belief, additional

silicon chip brain of a machine - is number one. ln IBM-compatible machines

80X86 series -- 8086, 80286,

hard disk capacity does not add weight to the machine. Once you have bought a system you may want to consider buying compression software. Programs like Stacker or DiskDoubler can literally double the capacity of your hard drive.

80386, and 80486. The bigger the number,

as varied as the the sys-

these chips generally manu-

factured by lntel (though there are clone-chip mak-

ers) and are known by numbered code as the

Notebook prices can be

the more powerful the processor. The older generation 86 and 286 are all but obsolete. ln looking for a

tems themselves. As a rule though, you can be abso-

paying considerably less now - for a more powerful system - than you would

notebook, you will find an enormous number of different systems based on various versions of the 386 microprocessor, and rapidly increasing numbers on the 486. lf your needs are simple -word-processing, maybe some database work - a 386-based system is fine for your needs. Where you need lots more power - the raw grunt of the 486 chip - are in spreadsheet and database intensive applications, or in manipulating graphics and text in applications like desktop publishing.

Certainly on price, you can't go past a 386 machine - you can buy a reasona-

bly configured machine from about HK$7,500 (albeit from a no-name clone manufacturer). But the 386 is a technol-

ogy already a few years old, and

AST's PowerExec Notebook Famlly cons¡sts of 486 and 386, color and monochrome models

lutely sure that you will be

is

ltFt't'l¡tilf

have one year ago. Prices How fast a CPU operates depends largely on fast data can be move into and out of the processor - and this depends on the notebook computer's most important acronym, RAM (random access memory).

RAM stores the information that

is

about to be processed, or has just been processed bythe CPU. lnsufficient RAM creates data bottlenecks entering and exiting the processor, strangling processing efficiencies. Most low-end 386-based notebooks today come standard with 2Mb (megabytes) of RAM, which is ok for writers doing wordprocessing jobs. lf you are going to be running anything more complex, or planning to install Windows

nese makers have yet established in-

Now, our latest addition to the PowerExec family - the new 25MHz,386SL PowerExec EL promises another breakthrough in price performance.

Portable and powerful - AST's *award-winning PowerExec series are top-value notebooks designed to empower your

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

If unlimited portability, unlimited power and unlimited func-

world with unlimited functionality and productivity. Featuring 386SL and 4865L, monochrome and color models, the PowerExec has unparalleled versatility. At home or office, Powe¡Station for

Æ

connection to drive bays, ISA slots, desktop I/O ports

Cable-free TrackbaIl for ease of operation

5.9 lbs and up to 6

hours of battery life

World ExeCare worldwide expedited support service

ternational warranty schemes. CorporateHeadquarte¡s:ASTResearchInc:16215AltonParkway,P.O.Box19658,

20

U¡ll!ffi I l4'

it is small in size, but big in impact.

have been in freefall. At the low-end, the popular Compaq Contura model, with a standard 4Mb of RAM and 60Mb drive is currently under promotion at about HK$9,500. A similar AST PowerExec system (with though 2Mb of RAM) sells for HK$9,995. IBM's ThinkPad 300 (4Mb RAM and 80Mb drive) sells for ábout $15,000. All have about as good a international warranty programme as you get in the industy. The Japanese companies - Toshiba, Sharp - have similar machines at price points that usually sit just a little below lBM. The machines are excellent quality, but unfortuanately none of the Japa-

l

@

C(lMPUTER

I¡vine,CA92773-9658,USA. Tel: 714-727-41.47 Fax:774-727-9355

Asia/PacificRegionalHeadquarters:ASTAsia/Pacific:29/F,CiticorpCentre,lSWhitfieldRd,CausewayBay,HongKong. Tel:852-806-4333 Fax:852-807-0599 Sales Offices : [Australiaì AST Research ANZ Pty Ltd Tel: 67-2-418-74M [fapanl AST Research Japan K.K. Tel: 81-3-5300-5811 [Singapore] AST Singapore Pte Ltd Tel: 65-298-8083 [Taiwan] AST Research Inc (Marketing & Support Office) Tel: 886-2-731-0007


PLEM At the bottom end of the market, you can buy similarly configured systems for

a noname brand. A Hongkong-manufactured little more than HK$7,000, for

Laser computer (2Mb RAM and 80Mb drive) is priced at just HK$7,321. More power colour models are obviously more expensive. Whether you actually need colour if you are only word-processing is a mute point - it is an available option and if it falls within budget, why not get it. Colour tends to be more expensive, because apart from the more expensive screen, you really need pay for the

Software for your portable needs By Larry Campbell

and even palmtops, are de-

faster processing power, the extra

signed to help you take your work with

memory and larger storage needed to support colour.

you wherever you go. With them, you

A top-of-the-line 486DX-based

a 12-hour trans-Pacific flight anymore.

no longer have an excuseto sleepthrough

Toshiba, the T4400c, (wirh 4Mb RAM

Despite their convenience, however,

and 200Mb hard drive) carries a list price of HK$38,000, though there is

or their power to force you to get serious

probably some flexibility in that. An IBM ThinkPad 700C (4Mb RAM and 120Mb harddrive) is priced at about $32,000. When you buy a colour notebook you will find yourself being pummelled with talk about "active-matrix" and "passivematrix" screen technology. Don't panic. Suffice to say active-matrix provides better colour - sharper, brighter colour, better screen contrast and faster screen refresh. This is achieved by controlling

in life while on the move, portable

every individual screen pixel with an individual transistor. Active matrix screens are more expensive though. Another downside is

that they are also slightly 'thicker"

computers - any computers, for that matter - would be nothing more than boxes full of silicon microchips and integrated circuits if not for the software that makes them run.

Software, the key to the very existence of computers, are the complex

bout four out of every ten personal computers sold in

matrix screens, and unless you are often doing graphics-related work, the quality is quite adequate.

James Biley is editor of fhe South China Morning Post's weekly Technol-

ogy Post section and a presenter on Metro News' Dataphiles technology talk show.

"THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL 1993

tem

-

Hongkong is a notebook sysas opposed to the tradยกtional

desktop PC. But for all that portability, most note-

book users don't bother buying lhe complimentary peripheral products, like communications modems or portable printers, which make the notebook systems really useful. Which is most unusual, particularly in the case of the much under-utilised modem technology. lf you are going to lug computer across the world, or even across town, for a few extra dollars you may as well give yourself the option of actually being able to do something at the

notebooks from Apple Computer.

Parallel advances in software have enabled the same page

fect, Ami Pro, Pro Write Plus,

layout, word processor, database,

MacWrite and WordStar. Almost

masses of code that make the ma-

spreadsheet and other software

chines work for you. Today, you can find programs that help you write any-

that run on these machines (called

the PowerBook range) to work

thing from letters to novels, balance

even be compared with the origi-

on IBM compatible computers. On the IBM compatible side, useful programs for portable

nals.

to learn and use, and produce

computing are as many and varied

work that is very professional-

communicate with other computer users on the other side of the world. .Most of these programs work as well with the latest range of notebook computers as they do with desktop models. The miniaturisation of technology has enabled many of today's notebook computers to pack hard disks and random access memories (RAM) thatwould have been considered excessive for desktops only a few years ago. As a result, graphically intensive pro-

grams, such as those that work under the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced GOOEY), can run on IBM compatible PC notebooks containing microprocessors ranging from 286 models all the way up to

On the peripheral

-

adding to the overall size of the notebook, as well as heavier. Passive matrix screen has a transistor controlling each line of pixels. They are considerably cheaper than active

22

and forget enjoying the more fun things

intuitive programs of this sort for both the Apple and IBM compatible platforms are such names as Microsoft Word, WordPer-

all have been around for years and are now available in versions so advanced they cannot

your accounts, maintain databases, and

ortable computers are wonderful devices. Laptops, notebooks

top-of -the- line.486 chips. The same is'trรฌยกe bf software that runs on the latest range of

other end. Many notebook users simply write off the idea of using their computer as a communications tool, writing the modem off as an invitation for headaches,

frustration and endless techno-lrouble. They would rather work on the notebook while away, and wait until they get home before either dumping the work into an offlce computer, or using the office printer to take a hard copy of their work. This is crazy. Modems simply aren't thatscary. An internal fax/modem card, which your retailer will install for you when you buy your nolebook, costs about HK$1,200, With it, you can be on the road, dial into your home office, collecting and

All these programs are easy

as those for desktop computing. With the same programs running underWindows, a notebook-

looking. They all come with spell

using writer/publisher can work on an article for a magazine, cre-

ate drawings and illustrations for it, lay out that magazine, electronically paste

The same is true of an Apple Power-

Book user.

in pre-scanned images into it, and even

ln both cases, there are a host of

prepare it for colour separation at an

word processors that can be used. All are quite similar in general, but have

output centre. ln addition, he could work on financial figures for the magazine, check its circulation ratios, create or edit a database of readers and prepare for printing the labels used on the enve-

lopes in which the magazine will be mailed to its subscribers.

some subtle differencesthat would make

one seem better than another for pera particular word processing

forming

function such as spell checking a document or changing its format. Among the most popular graphically

checkers, dictionaries and thesauruses, and enable users to produce documents in multiple styles, fonts and formats. The same is true of page layout programs. Aldus PageMaker and QuarkXpress are the best-known examples, and both work on PCs as well as Macs. For PCs, PageMaker currently comes in Version 4.0 for Windows, while the Mac version is 4.2 - a slightly more advanced program. Quark has just come out with its first Windows version - it has had one on the Mac platform for a long time - which is more

delivering electronic messages, or for sending stories/faxes to customers/ clients or contacts. Modems allow for international access to information. Through services such as Prodigy, CompuServe (which has an access node in Hongkong) or

sized memory devices. It is now possible to buy a PCMCIA faxlmodem - which you simply plug into a slot in the notebook when you want it. useful, in so much as when you combine a printer with the notebook on your

version of the product, is equal in

GEnie, you have access to massive volumes of data - from stocK market

travels, you are in for some serious

The Canon BubbleJet is slightly less expensivethanthe HP,though isslightly larger. The BubbleJet actually prints at 360 dpi. lts output, like the DeskJet, is excellent. The one major drawback oT the BubbleJet is that it does not run on batteries, which limits its applications somewhat. Alone, the notebook computer is an enormously useful business tool. But with communications add-ons like the simple modem, or the portable printer, it can open up new application areas

prices to newspaper clipping libraries anywhere in the world. The faxlmodem can be internal (which

come on a printed ciruit board inserted

Portable printers are actually less

weight training. Portable printers are popular, though.

Those using ink-jet technology find that

the quality is close to that of

a laser

printer, and they are relatively cheap.

in the computer) or external, and simply

Two popular models in Hongkong are

plugged in the communications port of

the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet Portable

the computers. lf you are about to buy a notebook, keep your eye out for the, PCMCIA

and the Canon BubbleJet (BJ-200), which can be picked up for less than H K$3,000.

technology (personal computer memory card international association). As

and folds ยกnto a neat rectangular package about 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. lt has a re-chargeable NiCAD

intimidating as the name sounds, PCMCIA is a standard for credit-card

The HP DeskJet weighs about 4.8lbs

those found in Sony HandyOam, avaliable virtually anywhere in lhe world). The machine's 300 dots per inch (dpi) output is crisp, and using exactly the same print mechanism as the desktop

quality to the larger machine.

for the machines.James

Riley.

battery (which incidently is the same as

THE CORRBSPONDENT APRIL

E 1993

23


powerful than PageMaker, but also somewhat more difficult to learn to use.

Using page layout programs on a notebook computer with enough mem_ ory and hard disk space is no problem,

except perhaps when it comes to cop_

ing with the machine's liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. The latest of these o'Ífer very good contrast and clarity, but still are less than perfect when it comes to coping with applications that call for

high degrees of visual accuracy, such

as layout, painting and drawing

pro_

grams.

As a result, many users of notebook

Telecomput¡ng computers simply plug their machines into a desktop full-colour VGA monitor when performing graphically intensive work for long periods. When it comes to database programs,

popular names include Microsoft

can put together a complete presenta_

tion on yciur notebook, complete with slides, colour graphs and any other

Access and paradox are the latest

products of their

kind for Windows, and since

Ìlenü-Êl lagnetx 0R ljnix

the programs, makersare in hot competition with each other, they

Hit Iist

(I

(l

û

are available at

HitS)

Hits) (Z Hits) (6 Hits) (4 Hits) (l Hits) (ll Hits) (4 Hits) Hirs)

(7 Hits) (6 Hits)

t1ÊcNEI ìC NRCNIT ICÊLLY Íntilil rtS HâGHET tzÊl IoN fÉriilil IZED hÊriNtIo IX fin¡l Rrr:ull râ0N[I

UN

near giveaway 4

49 3

II 7.

I

I

)

IZ.?6

136?

prices. Spreadsheets such as Lotus 1 2-3 and Micro-

soft Excel are very common among notebook

users, particu-

larly the more

The art of retrieval n an age where we are confronted by másses of data to sift through, along comes lSyS the latest generation of information re-

-

trieval programs developed by the Australia-based company Odyssey Development. ISYS indexes directly the word processor and spreadsheet files you specify on your PC, or network server, without disturbing or duplicating your original

documents. Then from your query, however simple or complex you make it, ISYS retrieves the relevant documents at record speeds.

With Version 3.0, it doesn't matter how many directories it has to search.

24

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL 1993

entation applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint. With such a program, you

Ac_

programs are very powerful and versa_ tile and can help you maintain massive databases of information comprising text, graphics and pictures _ provided you have the storage space for it. Microioft

ln fact it can work its way through an entire file server. It has

two methods of building a query (where only a basic

- menu assisted

keyboard skills are required) or com_

mand based. While performing a menu search, ISYS shows how the same result could have been achieved using the faster command method.

One of the better things about this program is the ability to call up lSyS in

the middle of writing something (it only uses 10k of RAM), locate the informa_ tion you need, and then copy and paste it directly into what you are doing.

PCS

Among the programs popular with users of portable computers are pres_

Super_ base and dBase from Ashton_Tate (which is nowowned by Borland anyway). These

cess, Paradox from Borland,

ttltflt

D:\DOCS\UilIXO8.TN1 [:\D0CS\U|Z.4 [:\D0CS\U1Z.3 E:\D0CS\UI2.Z D:\D0CS\UIZ. I [:\D0CS\Ull.4 [:\D0cs\ull.3 [:\D0CS\UI 1.2 E:\D0CS\Ull.t [:\D0CS\U10.4 [:\D0cs\u10,3

business-oriented ones.

"Ask ISYS"

visuals you might need to drive a point home. The good bit comes when you have to deliver your presentation. lt is easy enough to plug in your notebook to

a large desktop monitor and let your fingers do the talking to a small audi_ ence. And with a larger audience, projeclors are available that can link up to your notebook with equal ease.

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TRAVEL Photos by Garry Marchant

toppled over or collapsed, the wires dragging on the ground. When I tell the engineerthat I climbed these poles while working as a lióeman here years ago,

he stops the five-car train so I can scramble up the bank to get a glass insulator for a souvenir. Above the tree line, the tundra is a

bleak wasteland of frozen streams, scrubby willow brush and patches of dwarf trees. To traverse this bare rock, gravel and ice, Noriherners invented Tundra Buggies, bizarre, sci-fi off-road vehicles with six-foot-high agricultural tyres, truck chassis, heavy machinery parts and crude bus bodies. Viewing platforms astern, seven feet above the ground, give photographers clear shots of these dangerous beasts. The ambulatory Rube Goldberg devices slowly trundle across the tundra like gargantuan wind-up toys. Ninety-two was a prime year for bear in the "Serengeti of North America.,, Early the first morning, we came within yards of large adults sleeping on the ground, curled up like huge white puppies with ice chunks for pillows. pairs of males sparred for the cameras, standing and slapping each other with huge

A gathering of bears and hacks

paws, blubbery flanks quivering, like out on the tundra on various off_road

By Garry Marchant

vehicles.

orseveralweeks each fall, there

is probably more press

per

population in the little town of Churchill. Manitoba, than in any other peaceful place on earth. TV crews, radio and newspaper reporters, outdoor columnists, naturalist authors, cinematographers and travel writers are all there for the bear.

From mid-October to early November every year, hundreds of polar bears

gather at Cape Churchill, just outside the town, waiting for the sea ice to form so they can go out hunting seals. Chur-

chill, self-styled Polar Bear Capital of the world, is the best place to see these huge white carnivores in the wild. Bear

spotters from around the world stay in comfortable hotels and take day trips

26

sumo wrestlers in fur coats. A haltton of menacing playfulness came right up to our buggy, standing up on hind legs to sniff us. The hearthrug cuddliness is

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

The town on Hudson Bay is a two_ and-a-half hour flight or leisurely 35-

hour train ride from Winnipeg, 1,00O kilometres south. The Bayliner is one of North America's last authentic passen_ ger trains, used for transportation rather

pouË¡¡m

AIERÌ

than rolling resort complete with bingo games and party hats. Southern tour_ ists book the sleeping cars while North_ erners occupy day coaches, travelling from villages, missions and native ln_ dian reservations into town to shop and to socialize. The smoky bar car is especially lively

when young Crees return from week_ end hockey or pool tournaments in communities such as The pas. The baggage car is a rural delivery truck, hauling groceries, snowmobiles, build_ ing materials, frozen moose carcasses and boxes of fish. Trappers, fisherman,

deceptive. Compared to a polar bear. a lion is a pussycat. The world,s largest land-dwelling carnivores feed on large sea mammals such as seals and walruses, and can gorge on Z0 kilograms of meat at a sitting.

"Does that apply to people as well,,, an Australian girl asks, pointedly. Rob stafts to reply, realizes the implications,

and breaks up laughing and blushing. Having these lumbering, unpredictable carnivores as a tourist attraction has its drawbacks, as "Polar Bear Alert, signs in Churchill attest. Starving bears

frequently wander into town, terrifying the residents, and each fallwildlife officers trap a number and airlift them out on the ice by helicopter. My first morning there, breakfast conversation in the Tundra lnn was of

the muffin bear. The night before a

woman was baking in her home near town when a bear clawed through a metal door, broke into the kitchen and began eating her muffins. The family had a rifle with only one bullet left, but were able to kill the fierce intruder. There are scarier stories. A few years

ago, a town derelict hid some

ham_

burger patties and steaks stolen from a hotel refrigerator in his jacket. The scent

of the meat melting against his warm body attracted a passing polar bear. And it ate him. On the main street. ln front of the tourists. lt was a public relations nightmare for Churchill's bud-

When a bear pulls a seal that is two feet or more across through a breathing

hole about eight inches across, hunters and prospectors with huge packs,

rifles and camp gear emerge from the bush to flag dowrÍthe train like a taxi. Rules are lax up here in the wilderness, so I talk the engineer into letting me ride up on the engine. Along the track this far North, telephone poles are set in tripods so as not to sink into the

mushy muskeg. Microwave and satel_ lite communications have replaced the land line, so the teepee tripods are

it

is

gory. One wildlife writer graphically recalls

a kill: "Pulled through this seemingly impossible small hole, the seal is instantly stretched out into one long, spluttering shred of broken bones, blood and

entrails." I am pondering this vision when we stop for lunch. Rob, the young tour guide, talks about the bears, pointing out the webbed paws and the small tail. The further north you go, the smaller an

animal's extremities are, he explains.

1993

THE CORRESPONDENT

APRIL

1993


UARSTEINER one of the best beers of our time.

ding tourism industry. But tourism survived, and the town owes much of its eXistence to the media. Churchill has béeÀ a ma¡or grain shipping por1, a northern warfare research centre, a military base and a National

An informal group gathers most

nights at the "board of directors' table" atthe Traders' Table

restaurant. On a typical evening, media from the US, Britain and a lone stray from the

Research Council and NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) rocket testing range. But the population of 6,000 dwindled to about

with Tundra buggy drivers and

800. After National Geographic made a

tour operators. Also on hand

documentary about the bears over a decade ago, tourists started coming by the thousands, providing the town with its main industry.

are two young Japanese women, working and travel-

A Churchill pub crawl is a

*.

Meeting the locals is easy in

this friendly frontier outpost.

simple

Hong Kong FCC gather there

ling around Canada. I ask them about the Japa-

nese custom of arranged

matter, with only four bars in town counting the Canadian Legion, a veterans club which welcomes overseas visitors. But walking home late at night with the wind hor,'rling and snow swirling, can be overly exhilarating for any-

younger lady boldly asks the boyish waiter. lt sounds more like an invitation than a hypo-

one with a vivid imagination. Over bottles of Labatt's Blue beer, a spooked American wildlife photographer recounts being followed home by sinister shadows after a long session the night before.

thetical question, and the f lustered youth stammers and retreats behind the bar to wipe glasses. East is east and norlh is north, Kipling might say.

marriages.

"Would you like to be an arranged husband?" the

Garry Marchant is a freelance writer based in Hong Kong.

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APRIL

I9g3


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Gratuitous sexism

Red lips bites back

Steve Vines' President's Letter in the March issue of The Correspondentwill

I refer to the President's Letter of the March 1993 issue of The Correspon-

no doubt have the "female... of the public relations persuasion" gently chuckling at his gratuitous sexism and occupational elitism. How could she have presumed that a complaint about value for money would be taken seriously? And in the same rich vein of loony humour, his boldly illogical use of the Club's democratic election process to defend us all against improvements left

tears of laughter streaming down my face. After all 20% (Correspondents) of the membership vote for 55% of the Board,

and 70/" (Associate) vote for 30% of the Board. I am confident that Steve's fine sense of humour will continue to defy the requirements of logic

Tony Scott

relevant lo this or any issue.

Dorothy Ryan (Unofficial Convenor of the Red Lips Brigade)

denfwherein, in my opinion, Steve Vines'

Market rate

indulgence at the expense of a "a female Club member of the public relations persuasion" denoted wit of the lowest form.

I refer to your story concerning a questionnaire which is to be sent to freelance journalists.

shall therefore strive to maintain this

As a public relations consultancy that

vein. "Sharp downward spiral" is not

occasionally ventures into the realm of

restricted to PR personnel; the phrase

publishing, our experience might be

is frequently utilised by financial

relevant.

I

au-

thorities and even the media. Do journalists, and indeed other professionals, not comprehend "value for money" and the significance of "corporate clients"? It is unfortunate that the President of

To put it bluntly, we pay the market rate. We would not expect, for example, to pay a cadet journalist or a new graduate from a school of journalism the same rate as a Stuart Wolfendale or a Simon

our esteemed institution is not prepared

Twiston Davies.

to accept constructive criticism. I presume the author's complaints pertained to the erratic standard of the Club's cuisine and subsequent loss of

We would also negotiate if we felt that the asking price was too much and if we couldn't find agreement we'd use other

sources: publishers have budgets too.

revenue.

(of the Associate persuasion)

TH

E ZCO

Neither gender nor profession are

Ted Thomas

BYARTHUR HAcKER

WELL THAT RULES OUT /\AOUTH4C-./y\OUTH / RESUS,TAT'ON./

( uJ

v u

\

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

31


fl.__J1_-/7

L---r-rS t:::::::::-

BLJtr

THERE'S ALWAYS

A STORYAT

PRESIDENT'S LETTER

THE

HONG KONG TRADE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL

Heinz calls it a day think the time has come for the

understanding grows and all sorts of new possibilities for agreement arise. Call me a foolish optimist but l, in all modesty, think that l've found the solution to this problem. Talking of solutions, the Club is in

Foreign Correspondents' Club to offer itself as an intermediary in the row between Britain and China over kitchen stoves, three legged stools and other culinary related matters. I say this

not only because, if the admirable Cooperative Resources Centre can offer themselves as intermediaries, the situation must be truly desperate, but also because I have discovered a little known link between the colonial Government and the highly popular government of the People's Republic of China. As we say in journalistic circles, I can exclusively reveal a common thread in thinking between Sir David Ford, ex-of Government propaganda dept., now Chief Secretary and Lu Ping, ex-of St John's University Shanghai, now boss of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of China's thoroughly splendid State Council.

Both of these gentlemen have been invited to address the distinguished members of the FCC, neither has turned up nor even deigned to reply to our fulsome invitation. This development, although not life threatening, is some-

what surprising. ln the case of Lu, he

seems to suffer from amnesia when dealing with correspondence emanating from Hong Kong. lndeed the amnesia might have turned into a more seriThe Hong Kong Trode Development Council con help you moke business heodlines every doy of the yeor As

o mojor force in world trode you'll find we've olwoys got o good story to tell: no podding, no puff ond bocked by occurote, up{oìhe-moment figures ond stotistics, Nexttime you receive one of our press releoses, give it o good once-over, You'll soon see whot we meon, Or contoct us if you need detoils on ony ospect of Horyg Kong trode,

ous ailment qs suggested by his recent outbreak of demonology, brought live by the wonder of television to an ever anxious public. Sir David, being closer to hand, cannot claim that his precious FCC letter was lost in the post but, being grander than the Governor (who personally replies

to letters), he dispatched the secretary Leung Telr 32ó-4,19ó

lokyo

.

Kozo Yomoshilo

Singopors Andy tim Tet: D3-79n , Stockholm Morio pelersson_sondow lel: 3502 325,1/5 . Ioronlo Henry Ng ïet: 3óó-3594 . Voncouver Jeff Domons

Hong Kong Trade Development Council We Creole Opporluniiies

Heod

ofice: 38lh

Floor. Office Tower, convenlion Plozo,

'1

urgent need of a solution to the pressing

problem of finding a replacement for our manager Heinz Grabner who will soon be leaving the Club to start his own

business. Heinz has been the FCC,s longest serving manager and was instrumental in the transformation which has taken place from a struggling deficit ridden organisation to the thriving place it is today. He is so thoroughly identified with the Club and its activities that it is very difficult to envisage the FCC with-

the FCC. Some would argue that that's not much of a basis for a common stand

but I challenge these doubters to come up with anything else on which Messrs Ford and Lu can agree. Let's take this thing a step furlher. As neither of them want to tangle with the Great Unwashed, as found at the FCC, maybe they could settle down for a nice comfy chat about how thoroughly appalling/disgusting/gullible etc. are the members of the press. Having discovered this basis for agreement, maybe, just maybe, they could inch a step further and find that they are united in bad mouthing their colleagues.

You know the sort of thing. Lu, for example, could describe how he was slightly taken aback to find nice friendly

Zhou Nan eating small babies on Wednesday nights. Sir David could tell some out of school stories about how no small baby in Hong Kong was safe

to his secretary to send a fax. You may think this a petty concern and, indeed, that may be the case but,

from the embrace of his boss Chris

as ever, I am trying to draw some comfort

This process of swapping views and experiences is currently known as bonding. As bonding bonds, so to speak,

from adversity. The way I see it, here are two chaps united in their disdain for

Patten, particularly on Thursday morn-

out him. The job of Club manager is often a thankless one. A large percentage of the membership think they know far

better how to run the place and the annually elected board, regular as clockwork, bursts in with new ideas and policies. You need a steady hand to deal with these pressures. Heinz has had to put up with a lot. Even your current President, a person beyond all possible reproach, has had occasion to use sharp words where a more considered approach might well have sufficed. However Heinz has withstood this sort of battering in a dignified manner. He is a thorough professional, which I think is the highest praise you can offer, coming as it does from a member of a trade not normally given to saying anything nice about anyone.

I hope he prospers in his new enterprise and maintains a strong tie with the Club, which will always welcome him back, without fear of having to deal with complaints while on the premises. Outside, that's another matter.

ings.

Steve Vines

Horbour Rood, Wonchoi, Hong Kong, Iel: (gs2) sg4 4333 Fox: (gs2) g24 0249

THE CORRESPONDENT APRIL

1993

33


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PEDDLER'S JOURNAL

Jakarta's coming of age hen I first began visiting Jakarta twenty some years ago there was only one five-star hotel and it was always full. Taxis were nonexistent, it was next to impossible to make a telephone call, and the smell of clove-scented kretek cigarette smoke filled offices and public buildings. Elderly Dutch tourists could

still be seen taking ther r¡jstafel

Another customer of ours in a differ-

ent industry insists on having all the labels removed from our product prior to delivery to his warehouse. This way even his own workers are kept in the dark as to what he uses in his formulation.

For the would-be marketer this passion for secrecy creates certain problems. ln introducing a new product his

on

Sunday afternoons in the old pre-war landmark formally known as Hotel Des

most difficult challenge is merely to find

lndes.

Today Jakarta has come of age and

taken its place with the other great traffic-clogged cities of Asia. New construction is everywhere and the once ubiquitous becakhas been relegated to the suburban lanes and alleys. Much however, remains the same. Take for example the business world.

available on that parlicular day. The cheapest option is usually an egg garnished with a sauce and some vegetables. This clever fellow analysed his market and realising there was a large segment of the public out there who

ln these days of down-sizing and renewed emphasis on finding that special market niche perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from the small enterprises one finds in lndonesia designed to accommodate the lowbudget consumer. Petrol is sold in one of five litre cans

could not afford the whole egg came up

with his novel idea. With his half egg

nasi padang he captured

which are stacked under afaproofed huts conveniently located along provincial highways, allowing the cash-strapped motorist to buy just enough to reach his destination. lndonesia is stillone of those few countries left where a single cigarette can be purchased from a shop or stall. But an example of a market oriented

enterprise which I found particularly noteworthy is a restaurant owner in Medan who built his business around offering half an egg for his nasi padang.

Nasi padang is an lndonesian dish whereby the customer is given a plate of steamed rice. To add flavour he makes

a selection from assorted ingredients displayed behind a counter. There will be mixed vegetables, chili, chicken, possibly shrimp or whatever may be

a

market

segment overlooked by his competitors and thus built a thriving business. One wonders whether the local barber would also do a number on his competition by offering half a haircut. Regardless of their size lndonesian businesses are marked by their lack of interest in image. On the contrary the goal seems to be to maintain as low a

profile as possible. Multimillion dollar enterprises are managed from dingy offices three flights up in ramshackle buildings at the end of muddy lanes. We have a customer in Surabaja who buys an ingredient of ours for a soft drink which he markets throughout Java. He came up with the unique marketing technique of labelling some of his brands with a fictitious Jakarta address. Not only does he keep the tax collector off balance but confuses his competition and eliminates any potentially troublesome quality claims.

the potential customers. Our distributor had been selling our product for two years into a minor segment of the soft drink market before he uncovered the maker in Surabaya, one of the larger ones in the field. A couple of years ago our distributor embarked upon a programme to introduce a new vitamin supplement to the poultry industry. He soon learned that to protect the small farmer, there was a government regulation limiting the number of birds to maximum 5,000 per farm. Unfortunately servicing that size would not be economically viable. Un-

daunted he continued his research, gradually ferreting out, one by one, in

Your point of Yiew.

the most unlikely corners of Java, clandestine chicken ranches with populations of 50,000 or more, in ample number to make his project worlhwhile.

Leighton Willgerodt is an associate member and sales executive with an American multinational company.

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The Correspondent, April 1993  
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