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Paul Bayfìeld, Marcus W. Bmuchli, Philippe Le core, Diane Stomont,



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Staff Pa'rty A good time was had b). all

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FBackt>encfrer Peter Cordingley on the bod1.6¡ the beach

The Correspondent


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Socia-l A,fffairs Who, where, why?


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Tackling the one-eyecl monster

Athene Clìo)', Kevin Egan, Ronald LinB, Keith Shakespeare

Co nu e n o r : P aul Ba¡' field Mettbers: Fnncis Moriarty, Hubert Van Nùry vittachi, Terry Duckham, Simon Twiston Davies (Editor)


a traged¡.; Rising above

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Joumãlist Memb€r Govemors



Denis, the Digger and the nobbling

Hubert Vân Es, Nury Vittachi, Michael Vestlake

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I-rrnctilines Lessons

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Correspondent Member Govemors

lle nil)e


Anwar Ibrahim: "The Asian press must change"

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February 1995 TltE



From the Editor

To the


Strange aa omßs10fr of reports on the Asian Press Forum in the December issue of Tl¡e Corresponden\ your writer never once I am surprised that in fourpages

mentioned the name of The Freedom Forum, whichwas afullpartnerof the FCC in organising the conference. I'm sure the omissionwas an oversight, although it seems a rather egregious one, given the major role played byThe Freedom Forum's Asian Center, including helping to conceive and plan

the conference progrnmme; inviting the speakers and making all the arrangements for their air tickets and hotel accommodation; preparing all


too was delighted to sup and

sluice with so many old friends and excolleagues, and to be greeted as afriend

by so many of the club's staff,.headed

byTiger and Sammy. The club must haye something going for it if it can, in such competitive times, retain the services of such able and friendly people. They not only rememberfaces, butfayourite drinks and,

reminiscences about wrinklies that no one else has heard of. I will also build on the tremendous work that Simon Twiston Dayies has done in the past year. In particu-



hope to frrther develop Tbe

Corresþondent's role as a forum on the media and associated topics, with special attention to threats ofcensor-

to my embarrassment, my club number

ship, particulady self-censorship,

(616) when I had forgotten it. I must also congratulate them and

which should now be recognised

the Board for the superb efficiency with which the club co-hosted the Asian Press Forum on "Asian Values and the Media's Role" in collaboration

with The Fr€edom Forum. Rarely have

I known such a get-together, gathering so many and diverse representa-

the conference programme materials, and, not least, paying the lion's share of expenses (more than US$50,000). I also take credit for convincing club manager Jethro Lee-Mahoney of the wisdom of constructing a raised platform for the speakers' table . This

tives of the press from round the region, go off without a hitch (none visible to the guests, anyway).

lovely, although still unpainted, piece of furniture is now the sole property of the FCC and is destined to elevate many distinguished speakers in the club's future.

Derek Davies

John Schidlovsþ Director The Freedom Forum Asian Center

From this month, I am taking over the editorship of Tbe Correspondent. My first mov€s will be to double the fee for my own colum¡, set aside a page for unsavollry details about the private lives of members of the Board of Govemors and ensure that dear old Ted Thomas gets no more space for

I had a wonderfully nostalgic cou-

ple of weeks on my old stamping ground, thanks largely to the FCC.



the single biggest danger to freedom of speech in Hong Kong. Within the laws of the land, all views.on all media issues will be welcome. But tlris is also a club magaztne, and there will be plenty of room for

news about members. 'Weddings, deaths andbirthswillbefeatued, and there will be a place for promotions, dismissals and downright poor ca-

reer decisions. Ifyou have some news you would like to share with members, please drop something off in Tb e C orre sþ on de nt' s box inthe mail afea,


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'The Asiatr press mrrst change' In.wzkrat s/as seen as a coraciliatory rrlessage to the foreign rnedia, Ivl.alaysian De12r-rl-y Prirl:re ^ulinister journalists -Allv¡zaf Ibrahirrr said Asian rrrLrst be of ca"rr-ying der.eloprrrental journalisrn to the e><trenae- He szas speaking at tlae Asian Press Forurlr, treld at ttre FCC- Here is the fi- ll te><t of Ìris rerrrarks-

'W;m;,îî,:rJ:':låä::: ment between Asia and the 'West through the current debate on Asian values. Ironically, the debate seems

to be more actively pursued in the 'Western international Press rather than in the Asian national media. Perhaps the latter have been lulled into a state of complacency on account of the so-called "miracle" of East Asian economies. Asian values,

by themselves, warrant the critical examination of our society vis-a-vis humanitarian ideals such as freedom, justice and virtue. Yet the growing self-confidence ofAsians, the greater assertiveness of their identity, has

not yielded a proportioîate awareness of the severe limitations and shortcomings of their societies. In much of Asia, signs of moral entropy, corruption, nepotism and other excesses abound which the elite, for reasons best known to themselves, choose to gloss over. At the same time, from countries outside, Asia has certainly awakened from the slumber of centuries, as it were. If only looked upon as a vast market to be exploited, the rush towards Asia will certainly go on in greater intensity in decades to come.

For a price, of course, North America and also Europe will continue to sup-

plyAsia with the much-needed capifal and technology. However, the new emerging mutual consciousness

of each other's presence must extend beyond the realm of market and capital. It must be an encounter be-

tween equals, between cherished ideals and values that will selve to challenge our pride and end our prejudices. For although in the domain of trade and economics itwould apper that the West fully recognises Asia's positions, there is a dis-

cernable reluctance to accord a similar recognition to Asia's cultural and civilisational aspirations. Even if the debate on Asian values continues at cross purposes this confrontation has its inherent logic. As historyhas shown, this encottnter will inevitably lead to the transformation of both sides, consciously or otherwise. Thus we cannot help but

notice the changing perceptions of the tù(/est towards Asia, slowly yet radically; as temót incognitø in the 15th century, as the 1'ellow Peril during the Cold'W'ar and finally in our times as economic dragons and tigers of the East. There will be Kiplings reincarnated with a new

- with a democratising rather than a civilising mission and there will be pioneers of new

war cry

orders. For the last 500 years, the forefront of so many discoveries, inventions and innovations that making a new beginning with Asia is not altogether a departure from the Western spirit. To a very large extent the affairs in the economic domain will be the decisive and even defining factor in Asia's ongoing engagement with the '!Øest. Asia, with its seemingly limit'W'est has been on the

less economic potential, its huge markets for industrial products, its mass of hungry consumers of cultural output, its tantalising contracts for mamrnoth infrastructural works, will continue to be sought after. We are convinced that Asia will continue to prosper under the regime of free trade ancl we mllst accept a gradual process to achieve a level playing field. Nonetheless, we must always guard against the insidious practitioners of double standards, who advocate the opening of international markets while panclering to the protectionist lobby back home. Thus the ideal partnership among equals has still to be realised. It would be less complicated if

there were nothing but economic issues. Non-economic matters, however, have lately become bones of contention. We do not appreciate that the Nøest, apart from its enormous interest in Asia economically, cannot help but have a perception of Asia on matters dear to its civilisation, such as the question of indi vidual liberty, freedom of expression which includes press freedom, democratic polity, the rule of law and other humanitarian ideals. The West has often been accused of being hypocritical, for these ideals are more often than not largely ignored than lived by. It was George Bernard Shaw who pointed out the irony that the West conquered half the globe, making millions subjects and slaves, all in the name of freedom and democracy. But notwithstanding this,

sake of the self if predicated on the conyiction that self-cultivation is an end in itself rather than a means to an end. Although we are obligated to asslrme social responsibility and participate in political affairs, it is self-

these ideals are ve ry much cherishe d in the'West. No, they do not have to

,A.sian'rzahres as arì

struggle to remove the contradictions amoung themselves and put an end to their patronising and condescending postures in their dealing with weaker communities. If we in Asia want to speak of Asian values, we too must be prepared to champion those ideals which are universal and which belong to humanity as a whole. It is altogether shameful, if ingenious, to cite Asian values as an excuse for aLrtocratic practices and denial of basic rights and civil liberties. To say that freedom is western or unAsian is to offend our own traditions as well as our forefathers, who gave their lives in the struggle against tyranny and injustices. It is true that Asians lay great emphasis on order and societal stability. But it is certainly wrong to regard society as a kind of false god upon whose altar the individual must constantly be sacrificed. No Asian tradition can be cited to support the proposition that in Asia the individual must melt into the faceless community. If Confucianism is cited as an exception, Professor Tu Wei-ming, a contemporary Confucian scholar and thinker, would certainly resent that. He asserted the primacy of the self, the individual and the community as a necessary vehicle for human flourishing. According to him: "Confucian insistence on learning for the

cultivation, as the root, securely grounding in our lifewodd that enables us to participate in society and politics as independent moral agents ratherthanpawns in agame of power relationship." 'We can equally cite

tIt i. altogetkrer sharneful, if ingenious,


to cite


growth must a;ways be balanced by a profound concern for social justice and equity. One of th€ greatest challenges facing Asia is to nurture the growth of civil society. In all honesty, we must admit that we are still struggling to eradicate the ve stiges of the so-called "Oriental despotism". They will remain unless we vigorously develop and fortify the institutions of civil society, enhance the working of truly representative participatory governments, promote the rule of laws rather than of men, and foster the cultiYation of a fuee and responsible Press. Perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that the propositions we have

outlined eadier cannot be brought to fruition without the pivotal role of the media. Historically, Asian journals and newspapers have been cata-

lysts that lit the sparks which ignited the flames of anti-colonialism, lead-

ing to emancipation for millions across the continent. In the post-


independence era, they have been preoccupied with the all-encompass-


society encompassing economic, social and political dimensions as

ing task of nation-building. By and large, they have succeeded, However, in facing the new realities of our time, the media in Asian societies have to redefine their role. In so doing, they will, I am sure, comprehend the complexities inherent in the social and cultural environment in which they operate. I believe the Press of Asia have to find a middle ground between the'Western paradigm of unconstrained freedom, including the freedom to incite hatred, and carrying developmental journalism to its extreme , so much so that even mild criticism of the ruling elite and a critical attitude is viewed with fear, suspicion and sometimes contempt. In conclusion, Asiawill continue

opposed to partialistic and fragmenfary approaches to development. If

to modernise, erren at an accelerated pace, but it do€s not necessarily mean

other Asian thinkers, Muslims, Hindus or others, expressing a similar position. It has been argued that, like oil and watef, economic issues must be kept apart from non-economic ones. Neither politics nor morality must disrupt the peaceful clamour of the marketplace. This argument is again another gross misrepresentation of

what Asian traditions have always stood for. The major Asian traditions stand for a holistic vision of life and

we waltt to lay claim to a unique Asian way, such a way is none other

than the articulation of that vision in

unequivocal terms. Central to this yision is the philosophy that economic development must proceed coterminously with cultural enrichment. the pursuit of prosperity must

not be at the expense of environmental degradation. The quest for

that she will have to compromise her values and forsake her ideals. However, she needs to be able to give a better account ofherself. This conference might just be the perfect

forum. Ls in Hømlet, we say to our friends: "Sit down awhile, and let us once again assail your ears, that are so fortified against olrr story."


February 1995 TÃE





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ifhe l>est a-nd ttre r\zorst colTte oLrt of ttre rnedia lrzhen they co\zer sorrrettring like ttre disapl2ea-ralace in Carnt>odia last lzear of ttrree ),/ou11g Nú.esterners- Danzid Chappell, ttre father of orre of the victirrrs, gave irnpressions to a ch-rb h-rncheonfI

t *ur a panicularly sombre lunch

the day that David Chappell spoke to the FCC. As a r-ule, serious speakers outweigh the jokers, but this was different again because what he was talking about was a real tragedy: the death of his son, Dominic. There are only two established facts in this case. One is the day on

which Dominic and his gidfriend, Kellie'Wilkinson, disappeared in Cambodia. The second is that they are both dead, along with a female companion.

How they diedwill now probably never be known, although David Chappell acknowledged "it was probably prosaic and revolting". The dearth of any hard information made media reporting of the case very difficult, although, by and large , Chappell commended the journalists he dealt with. "I found people, with two exceptions, very good," he told



f) I

apagal-Anoyo spoke at the club at an event not organised by it, but by the Philippines Association - and speak she did. The salient point about Mrs Macapagal-Arroyo's speech was

not the content, although it did offer interesting insights into current economic developments in the Philippines, but that it was a metaphor for the country a study in adversity, if


former's behaviour as "cheque-book

you like.



"The Philippines does not intend to be left behind," she said. To ensure this and to build on economic growth,

which hit five per cent for the first time in 1994, tfj.e stress is on two topics that the senator feels strongly

camps", referring

to the fact


Chappell was closely associated with the press. In practical terms, Chappell's view was one that many journalists who

will share t}rat the situation needs - with on the ground by "to be dealt someone in contact with the investigators". Equally, the broader problem

of what he called "quite cynical manipulation of the media by the government" needs to be looked into.

- MichaelMackey


overcome. BOT encourages the private sector to invest in the infrastructure requirements of a nation just starting to boom. Not surprisingly, as the author of most of the relevant legislation, the senator was its strongest advocate, referring to it as "a model law that has leamed from past experiences in the Philippines, as well as past experiences in the rest of the wodd, including Hong Kong".

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February 1995

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journalism at its worse ", and said that Hislop " quite blatantþ invented news " . But the media came out of the affaiî befter than some of the others. Chappell's criticism of the Australian Foreign Ministry, the British Foreign Office and Scotland Yard were damning. He believed that both the Foreign Office and Scotland Yard regulady withheld information from him. He reported one Australian consular official as saying to anothervictim's family: "'W'e've known for a week they were dead". On another occasion, a






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Denis, the Digger andthe nobbling of the Beeb Sterze Proctof ha-s l>een reading a nellz book tlaat tfaces the uza¡r lwargaret lftra.tctrer and trer allies orzerttrrex. the BBC rÍaa¡rra-g.erlaent and -¡2ut in tkreir o-*'..r lier_rtena.tsritish politicians and the BBC have traditionally had a relationship akin to that between a dog and a lamp post. 'Who has been doing the

squirtingdependsonyourpointofview MargeretThatcher,especiallyinher post-Falklandspomp,wasnotthesortof woman to view an incontinent hound withabenigneye.Notwhenshethought its leg was cocked in her direction, and she had her best frock on. The BBC stood for every.thing she wanted to knock down. No entrepreneurs here. Instead, its corridors crawledwithsmarl-aleckjoumalistsand peddlersofsex-and-violencemuck,all wellcladded, bythelicencefee, against the chjll winds of the marketplace Mrs Thatcher was hardly an informed TV critic. She rarely tumed on her set. When she did it was to watch something salving and undemanding.


the BBC, aided and abetted by the Murdochpress,ischronicledwithzest

anddespairbychrisHorrieandsteve Clarke in Fuzzy Monsters: Fear ønd Loøthing øt tbe BBC'. Horrie was coauthor of that spirited romp, Stick it up Your Punter; tbe Rise ønd FøIl of

Mainly, though, it was a quaffìng-andscoffing privilege for the kind of people who like letters after their names or, better still, titles in front of them. Hussey arrived at the BBC when it was urder siege from the Conservative

with Mrs Thatcher. He was a dour Scot who exuded a kind of truculent com-


llhen he tried to turn on the charm tap, little dribbled out. ìØorse, he had helped create the satirical review Tbøt Was Tbe Week Tbatwøsinthesixties.Tostiff-lipped

Tories, this was almost a treasonable


offence. Many would prefer

to be

caught in a Soho porn show with disheyelled lower garments than admit tofondmemoriesof thisprogramme. The sub-titles were flashing on the


for Milne the moment that

Marmaduke Hussey was appointed as Or, better still, something that chimed dangerous species of fauna; the scrufû/ scruf$z chairman of the Board of Governors in with her deeply etched prejudices. I'es anarchist eking out an undeserved salsal- 1986. Hussey's credentials for the job were not compelling. He closed down Mínísterwasaparticularfavourite. Noth- ary with a retainer from the KGB. KGB. ing like a good sneer at craven politiRupert has ever mistaken NobodyhasevermistakenRupert tlee Times and Sunday Times for L2 Nobody cians and cunningly inert ciyil servants. Murdoch for a harmless cove, even on on months in the pre-Murdoch days in a dispute with the printers. Very The prime minister was well capa- the murkiest of nights. Thatcher was was ble of hatching her own hatreds. But in in his debt. The Murdoch blatts doted doted Thatcherite, surely? Onlyup to apoir.t, the case of the BBC, she was guided into on her as the redeemer of a nation of of Lord Copper. He, rather than the printgenerers, was widely deemed to have run the kingdom of the paranoid by two of grotty layabouts. Tbe Sun was generher most devoted flatterers: husband ally a burr up the backside of British British up the white flag. Hussey did bring to the job the best Denis and that nice man, Mr Murdoch. public life, but it lavished only devodevoconnections, accumulated during his Denis has largely been viewed tion on the lattetday Boadicea. Boadicea. years at Rugby School and up at Oxthrough the prism of lris Príuate Eye Murdoch would never have been been "Culture" ford. And his wife was a lady-in-waiting caricature . The public image is that of a fan of the BBC in aîy age. "Culture" a dim tippler with cranþ views; the and "quality" are not words that trip trip totheQueen. "Dukey",ashelikedtobe kind of harmle ss cove to be found in off his tongue. They probably could could styled by non-minions, had lost a leg to anyBritishcountrypub strugglingwith not be prised off with pliers. Anyway, Anyway, a German machine-gunner at Anzio in l944.Inthelandofthelegless,theonetlae Daily TelegrøpLt crossword. this was not just any age. It thiswasnotjustanyage. Itwas,orwas was, orwas Lucþ Denis to have been work- shortly about to be, the Satellite Age .. legged man was now king. The Board of Governors he inhering under such effectiye camouflage. Murdoch's hostility to the BBC was was itedwastheresultofapurgeduringthe genuinely visceral. But he had another Cranky is too neutral a word for his genuinelyvisceral.Buthehadanother politicalviews.Theyareuniformlyright- interest: his investment in Sþ TV had eadyyearsoftheThatcherimperiumof had wing, and of the mouth-foaming vari- been so costly that it almost brought brought those who might not be considered "one ofus", thatlitmustestofloyaþto etyatthat. Tohim, the "BritishBastard the receivers to his door. door. Corporation"wasahavenforthatmost Mrs Thatcher's crusade to nobble nobble She Who Must Be Obeyed. 'What was THE CORRISPOImEilT

Februarv 1995

Inthepre-Thatcheryears, the Board

of Governors had been officially responsible for policy and strategy.

Tlte Sun. That should be recommendation enough. Come the hour, come the man? Alas not. Alasdair Milne, the BBC's managing director since 1p81, was never likely to be caught canoodling



left was some way short of a random sampling of the political spectrum. Among these proxies for the British public were: a former Labour Treasury minister whose views had long been stirred with a hefry spoonful of right-wingTabasco; aformerMl6 spook; a farner of purple-faced reactionary views; aprim thrillerwriter G.D. James); a puritanical trade unionist; and a token darkface (which happened to belong to a ConservatiYe suppofter).

afi for a P an o r a.rlt a ptografime called Maggie's Militant Tendency. This purported to show that the party had been infiltrated by extremists. Names were named. Maggie's militant tendencies towards the BBC were soon evident. The Conservatives wheeled out their big guns to denounce the programme. Milne bravely defended it as a piece of rock-solid joumalism. The


adatnatft that the programme's claims

Enter John Birt, to the sound of boos and hisses - from Hor:rie and Clarke at least. Birt was appointed as Checkland's deputy, with sovereignty or¡ernews and current affairs. The bad news for RBC stalwafts came in a double dose. Birt was an outsider (from London Weekend Television). And he talked like an accountant manque. Personalitywise, he made Checkland look like Mr Effervescent. Nobodyknewwhat conclusions to draw about Birt's days as a senior programmer at LìØT. Famously, he had helped create the Sunday mid-day current affairs programme Weekend World. This was worthy, but murderously tedious. Mogadon through the ether. But he was also responsible for as Blind Date.

lowbrow mush such

Politic all¡z sensiti\ze investigations


tc¡ t>e cleared at tkre

trigkrest le.r.els, szhere tleey s/ere filleted-

would stand up in court. Hussey refused to allowhis programme chiefs to defend a libel action. Capitulation was the order. Shortly after, the trapdoor opened and

Milne fell into the BBC oubliette. The good news for the BBC legions was that their new standard-bearer would be an insider. The bad news was that he was a professional accountant: Michael Checldand. OrMichael Chequebook to the wags. Not that Checkland was an alarrn-

ingfigure. He couldhardlybe that inhis crumpled Marks and Spencer suits and Hush Puppies. Uninspiring was a word that stltck to him like gum. $øhen the charisma was being ladled out, he was boning up on his multiplication. Even a

"love-nest" sniff by the tabloids was a

quirk of the wind. (It is to Checkland that we owe the title of this book. V4ren relations later soured with Hussey, he made the public swipe: "When you talk to the Goyernors about FM you want to be talking about frequency modulation and not fuzzy monsters." Those accountants, eh? Never let you down when you need a chuckle.)

Birt soon made it clear that he was of the BBC's joumalism. The news bulletins were too superficial and too trivial. The flagship no great admirer

cLment affairs prograrnmes lacked authority. Interviewers were too beastly to politicians. Sensationalism and bias were all too evident. "Story-based joumalism", inthe Birt book, gave too much credence to the disaffected at the expense of the powerftil, and pandered too much to the

viewers. Now


was officially pro-

claimed a clead art. Birt was less incisive

in defining what he wanted to replace it with. Something both vague and bogusly precise was mentioned, something about splitting journalism into four cardinal specialities. But he and his camp followers spouted an ar got tl'løt was for initiates only. W'hat, in practice, "Birtism" often amollnted to was dull and safe journalism. Politicaly sensitive investigations had to be cleared at the highest levels,

where they were filleted, or, on two

occasions, yanked from the schedules.

Birt also launched himself into the strafing of the BBC's admittedlybloated

bureaucracy. Taskforces were mobihsed. Management consultants prowled the coridors and poked around in the undergrowth for examples of waste and decay. Forests were felled as


after report was debouched. The results were big staff cuts, and

a donkey called "producer choice". Notionally, producer choice was all about creatirig autonomous but account-

able programming units. In reality, it a bureaucratic nightmare, although


Birt did tly to ease the book-keeping load by specifically exempting paperclips from the new cost{ontrol regime. Inside the BBC, Birt was cordially loathed. Outside of it, he was finding some surprising new chums. ln a tzre case of the fox getting an embossed inyitation to the chicken coop, the BBC and Murdoch joined forces in a Í,30G million deal with the soccer authorities. This gave Sky TV the right to show 60 live matches a yeat. In effect, it gave people a reasonforbtrying asatellite dish. Birt put a lot of effort into cultivating David Mellor, then the Home Office minister in charge of broadcast-

ing, avain man on whom no flattery was wasted. He and his advisers were assured that Birt would not "go native", and they decided that he was cut

from the right cloth to be the next director-general.

Poor Checkland. lØhile Birt had been running amok, he had been left fiddling with his abacus. His powet rested on the flimsy base of his knowledge of the accounting system. His deputy ran rings around him politically. Checkland had been hoping for a three-year extension to his five-year tenufe. Instead, he got one year. And Birt was designated as his successor, taking over tnlaruary 1993. Veteran broadcaster Mark Tttlly told an industry conference n 1993: "I don't think John Birt understands what the BBC was, or, indeed, what it shottld become." To the Conservative Parry and

the Murdoch press, that is the sour griping of a revanchist. Theylike the BBC

verymuchthewayitnowis. BE Fuzzy Monsters: Fear and Loatbíng at the ,BAC. By Chris Horrie and Steve Clarke. (Mandarin, about HK$135). February 1995 TEI



Tackling the one-eyed monstef

too much like the man in the street. He then stumbled during a marathon run, reinforcing the feeling that he was all

C¡rHnv Pnclnc

too fallible. From that point on there was really no saving the man.

George Bush suffered much the same fate as Carter. "As soon as people

started imitating him on comedy

lFelerrision lras long l>een l>era-ted as ttre crea-tor and destro)r'er of political cultures. \Zeterara Arnerican television journa"list Sander Vanocur recentl¡r rzisited Hong l(ong to discuss ttre state <>f play t<>d'ay- Si,rrron lfqriston Danzies reports-

shows, he wasfinished," saysVanocur. As far as accusations that the jour-

nalists of the Kennedyyears looked on

the handsome, youthful president through fose tinted glasses, Vanocur,

bites back. "'We weren't soft on

tfl I

f-,. frightening power ot television to manipulãte the American political system is hammered home by SanderVanocur, ayeteran'Vøhite House

Ever since, the system has


up lists of winners and losers



least as far as the one-eyed television audience is concerned.

'Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter

network correspondent. According to Vanocur, America is now living in dangerous tim€s; times that have only become more perilous as politicians have begun to believe they know how to use television to

and Bush didn't know how to use television. They were the failures, with Kennedy and Reagan being the masters of the medium.

their advantage; times that are only getting worse as journalists have hit back and begun using "attack dog"

thing while saying nothing. Kennedy and Reagan were sure they knew who theywere andthat came across." In order to succeed as a politician on televisionyou don't need intellect:

tactics to attempt to destroypresidencies almost as a matter of policy. To prove his bona fides as a paidup liberal, the former NBC Television staffer was able to say with pride that

"I was on Richard Nixon's hit list of enemies" but that doesn't make him much more sympathetic to the Clinton

"The key is the ability to say some-

"You can hire good people". Whatyou need is self-assurance.

of television professionals coming




Februarv 1995

know about his womanising,


didn't care to ask. It was a hangover dating back to the days when the press didn't ask about or report on Franklin Roosevelt's inability to walk because olpolio. "Even in the Kennedy years we didn't know the president intimately and those who did know him only got to know the man in off-the-record That distance, and the lack of inti-

Vatrocur tras little good to sa)z

debates between presidential candidates Nixon and Kennedy, those who heard them on the radio were convinced that Nixon had wiped the fl oor with Kennedy. Yet, "people who saw the debate on television thought Kennedy had won," and that was enough to move the election firmly in the direction of the Kennedy camp.

Cuban Crisis took place at a time when

there was no instantaneous coverage ofeyents on the ground. "The delays gave the man time to think." The press corps genuinely didn't


administration. As might be expected, like most old hands in any profession, Vanocur has little good to sayfor the generation throughthe ranks ashemoves beyond "veteran" status towards retirement. "Embryos in Gucci loafers telling me what to write" are intolerable. Even so, Vanocur was young himself back in the 1950s and 1960s and was there at the embryo stages in the growth of TV journalism. It was a remarkable fact that in 1960, during the first-ever televised

Kennedy - but we had manners." Kennedy was also helped by the fact that an eyent as recent as the

atror-rt the neuz

of IJS

lfV jor-rrnalists So it was that Richard Nixon was destroyed by an apparent lack ofphysical co-ordination on screen. "He tried to use television and was done in by television, " says Vanocur. Gerald Ford shouldn't have pardoned Nixon so eady into his presi-

dency as he did. And he did it on television on a Saturday night. "They do that kind of thing inbanana republic's" and the people knew it. Jimmy Carter was tripped up by as simple a thing as the fact that he carried his own bags through airports, creating the impression that he was all

macy between president, press and the people, created more respect for the office of the presidencywhichhas been destroyed by the "Rottweiler attitude " of today's l7hite House televislon pfess cofps. But what can you expect when the fate of millions of people is controlled by a man who comes on "like a talk show host, coming down among the people from a public platform like Phil Donaghue. Clinton has tumed the V/hite House into a day care centre with only two modes fast forward


and reverse. The electronic


like a child, doesn't need to be fed all the time." Of course, Bill Clinton needs exposure on television, but too much of itbecomes "indecent exposur€, " says Vanocur. The luncheon speech sponsored by the Freedom Forum was an amusing outing for most of those who attended, but after considering the substance of Vanocur's words it was an ultimately sour experience. [@

The Heart of Asia. Being progressively introduced on our 8747 and A.340 fleet.

Swirc (ìrou¡r


The quietAmericant atthe far end

Easy or not, he managed to grind out scores of pieces that appeared in the Hongkong Standard, in various and

columns were published in the Uníted States under tlre titles Asian Obseruer and The Tokyo Obseruer (Cross CulttualPress. Salem, Oregon). Maybe none of this came easy, but he made it look just like the pros do. easy

Ch-rt> rr.rernl>er Leighton ,{.. rùØillgerodt died suddenl¡r <>f a a-tta"ck iust after Ctrristrnas. A

good friend of tris, Jifn Stravz, .who lÌosz lirzes in the United Sta-tes, pa)r's tfris tribLrte to tkre qr-riet rnan at the end of the l>arp.opt. who labouratwriting f'or a -L living sometimes adopt a condescending or dismissive attitude towards those who are not in it for the money. Leighton W.illgerodt, who for several yeafs wrote a column for this magazine, wasone such'amateur'. He wrote because he enjoyed it.

You might never have noticed Leighton sitting at tl:'e Tar end of the Main Bar; he was a quiet, selÊeffacing sort of man. But chances are he would haye noticed you. He was an observer, and he had a talent for putting things

into perspective.

In his "real job", he was the regional director of a multinational corporation that sells industrial chemicals, and in this role he roamed the cities and back roads of Asia for neady

bodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysiaand elsewhere. Everywhere he went, he found stories. He wfote abollt encounters with farm-

ers in Thailand, Indian carpet merchants in Malaysia, Chinese entrepreneurs in Indonesia, irate customers in Pakistan. But the place that probably interested him most was Japan, where he lived for several years and where he met his wife, Toshiko. He was intrigued byJapan and theJapanese and their intricate culture, and he became quite proficient in the language.

A deep sense of loss Leighton Willgerodt appeared to be permanently ruminating on life's incongruities. The firm mouth and strong jaw were set in constant

contemplation, while the eyes

sþondent in 1990. In that concretemixer voice, he acknowledged with misplaced humility that he wasn't a 'rnewspapennan", but he did "a bit of writing" and wondered if I would

danced beneath their craggy b¡ows

be interested in considering his

to the humour of each passing thought.

Though not a journalist, he was a natural reporter - a remarkably acute observer who was uncommonly modest about his ability ro pick out fascinating elements among the banal and portray them on the page in clear, unpretentious prose. He introduced himself to me in

a telephone call shortly after I assumed the editorship of Tbe Corle-


Februarv 1995

pieces for publication. since I was anxious to encoufage non-journalist members to contdbute more than they did, I agreed, althoughwith some unspoken reservations, to read kighton's offerings.

They were delights; beguiling insights into people and places throughout the region, written with a charming simplicity and obvious affection for the idiosyncrasies of mankind. As he travelled aroundAsia

Artlrrrr ÉIacker v¡ill trawe no truck qzith the BBC's attenapt at lingr-ristic correctlless-


Leighton grew up on a chicken farm in NewJersey, att€nded Rutgers University, and got a taste for travel when he went into the US Air Force. He told me he thought his family

30 years, pushing things like cotton insecticide s and cellulose-based poly-

mers and chemicals used in paints and plastics. The job took him to hot and dusty corners of BurmaandCam-

in newspapers in the

United States. Two collections of his

What's in a name?

Leighton had a keen eye for eve-

ryday detall and a fine talent for spotting stories in the most mundane events. He was the sort of observer who could get material for hall a dozen stories just by taking a tram ride to Shau Kei rüØan. Better still, he had a real knack for the hardest patt of it - getting it written although he once wrote: 'It neYer ceased to amaze me what a Iaborious and agonising task it is to get down on paper what is nothing mofe than a short, simple essay. And, in my case, it doesn't come any easier with practice .'

in his job as a representative for an international company, Leighton observed with the natural curiosity of a child and was able to recall what he had seen the more vividly for it. For the remainder of my terrn as editor, I looked forward eagedy to

his monthly contributions. Our working relationship developed into a warrn friendship that was intensified by a similar outlook on life.

Leighton was an unfailingly charming companion, a gifted raconteur and a delightful wit, regardless of the subject under discussion.

Chatting about the perils of travel, the joys of food, his German forebears, the trials of learning Japanese, the deadly firearms obsession

might be the only Willgerodts in all the United States, and every time he went to a new city, he would look in the localtelephone directoryto see ifthere were any 'Willgerodts listed. There neYer were. But a fewyears ago, when he and his wife visited Germany, he tracked down some distantrelatives in a tiny village, and he wrote a fascinating account of visiting these kinfolk and of a dark family secret they didn't want to talk about.

In his Christmas card last December, he wrote that he was considering leaving Asia at the end of the year and retiring to somewhere in the American Northwest. alas, is not to




Leighton was also a humanitar-

ian, with well developed ideas of social justice and a delicious scorn for bigotry in all its guises. He was an American in love with Asia, yet the best kind of patriot - someone who recognises his nation's faults and grieves that it is not better than

ir is. But his particular pride was his family - his daughters, Penny and Mayumi, and his wife, Toshiko. He spoke glowingly of Penny's and Ma¡rmi's achievements in distant Ämerica, and the gids were always

close to his heart. The cultivated, delicate Toshiko was always close to his side. His friends share with them a deep sense of loss.

of his American homeland, or the faded glory of an imperial hotel, he

entertained endearingly.


Ron Knowles


{v v\

ome time

back the

we shall, in RRC

committ€d an act of vile treachery against the English language. 'Auntie' instructed her staff to pronounce Pe-

king as 'Beijing'. It was just such a crass act of linguistic barbarism that provided the former British Prime Minister NØinston Churchill to send the following minute to the Foreign Office on 23 April1945. I do not consider that names that have been familiar for generations in England shouldbe altered to suit thewhims


few weeks, be asked to call leghorn 'Livorono', and the BBC will be pronormcing Paris 'Paree'. Foreign names were made for Englishmen,

not Englishmen for foreign names. I date this minute for St George's Day.

It could be argued that


and Peking are two different cities locate d in the same spot. Their names

certainly conjure up very different images. Basically, Beijing is a rather unpleasant place with dirty lavatories

of foreigners living in those parts. Where

and an unworkable bureaucracy, where the old men of China wear

the name has no particular significance,

Mao suits and slaughter their young at

the local custom should be followed.

irregular intervals in Tiananmen

However, Constantinople should never abe ab¿ndoned though for stupid



people Istanbul may be written in brackets after it. As for Angora, long famüar

to us through the Angora cats, I will resist to the utmost of my power its degradation to Ankara. You should note, by the way, the bad luck which always pursues peoples who change the names of their cities. Fortune is rightþ malignant to those who break with the traditions and customs of the past. As long as

I lrave a word to say in the matter Ankara is banned, unless in brackets afterwards. If we do not make a stand

Peking, on the other hand, is an unbelievablyromantic place, the "city

of lingering splendour", populated by exotic Dragon Empresses, imperial concubines, mustachioed Mandarins, goolieless eunuchs, venerable bonzes, flower gids and disgruntled Pekingese dogs. I am talking about the Peking


fabledCathay; thePeking ofKublaiKhan and Marco Polo. Unfornrnately, these

two gentlemen, for some reason best known to themselves, seem to have called the place

February 1995 TÃÊ

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February 1995

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tourists. But it's ne]/er apart from the

Gable, Stephen Potter, Nell Gwynne, Talleyrand, Farah Fawcett ( she added

It'll be great,

tourists". Thus, not knowingwhere to go,

I found myself in

a bar ovedooking

the harbour at Sheung'Vlzan. Yes, the fireworks were lovely. But man does not live by fireworks alone.

My local char siu shop, which never closes, closed. My laundry, if you'll pardon the personal details, was incarcerated for three days behind bars that looked fl imsy but were a match for any that hold fast in the local zoo.

eing somewhatnewto the area

I even missed the smell of

means that one views events

with a slightly different expectation than an Old China Hand. Take, for example, Chinese New Year - the Lunar New Year. My only previous experience involved aî expaúiate Singaporean Chinese lady (now award sister in a major London hospital), who insisted on giving me a little red packet with a coin inside, in return for my attending one of her magnificent barbecues holding aloft a bag of oranges! This, coupled with the astonishing sight of the entire staff of my local takeaway jumping up and down on top of one another in the streets surrounding Covent Garden, looking like an enormous, drunken glowworm, left me with an idea of what things might be like. But it didn't prepare me for Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. For a start, nobody told me everythingwouldgo into acoma. I know, I know, the fireworks were lovely. I tortured myself with such questions as "Should I go to 'Walter's house? The view is great unless there's mist. But there's always mist". "Should I pop up to the TED GORRESPOI|IIEIIT

chicken blood in the morning (from that you may infer I live within proboscis-detectable range of a market). The gung-ho image of that Yank in Apocølyþse Nou, eagetly sniffing napalm, has never quite left me. So, as you will Elrery

all be aware, it's

the Majors bit later), Stan Getz, Mendelssohn, Idi Amin, Francois Truffaut. Äh, the list is endless and odd. lØho would have thought those names would appear together? Money comes to mind at this time of year. 'Well money always comes to my mind. Many budgets are given complete attention in readiness for their implementation in March or whenever. And this is a matter that has gfeater than usual significance for the FCC this year. The terms of the new lease bring higher rent. Be assured that a reduction was never on the cards; but also be assured that full effort is being put into an attempt to hold all prices as low as


slow that I started to wonder. I make

the assumption thatthemonthwas

named (from februørius

Februarv 1995

mensis) after the Latin expiation, simply because, if

there will


I don't just refer





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26/F World-úde House,

PL. Jimmy

I Harbour Boad,

0ffices in:


2/F HutchÌson House, Central, Hong Kong

Managing Senior

flor Home Delir¡err¿-

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

F"truur1, .r.11. I)"lir."ri""


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To hell with whining expats lftre E¿¿sterrt Etcpress has at last caugtrt on to ttre advarata,ges of using the ()riertt¿tl l)cliljv ,Neztt's 1Ìe!\zs-gatkrering strengths- But sorne readers are rrot trapp).- fn tris regula-r colurnn, Peter Cordingle). ttrinks tt:e E.xl)ress is rigtrt. treatment, taking up nearþ a quarter of the front page, across the whole

the top.



it in poor

taste? Was the Exþress's middle-class readers? Or was it justi

treatment wrong

for the

t|ln. topic at the bar this month I ças this is being written, the Lunar New Year approaches, and all deadlines haye been brought forward) is this: Is the Eastern Express doing more harm than good by publishing graphic photos taken by cameramen t}ae Oriental Daily Neuts? First, a few months ago, we had the "head in a bucket shot", which featured the severed head of a murder victim, complete with hideous,

working for

bulging eyes and bloate d, peeling skin. TheHongkong Standard also ran the

picture , if I remember correctly, but the S o utlt C b in ø M o r n ing P o s t chose not to - always presuming that it had the shot in the first place, which may not be the case, as, unlike tl;.e Støndørd and the Express, it doesn't have sister Chinese papers to help cover the ground for it. And now, more notably, the Express has published a controversial picture taken on Shek O beach, where the body of a drowning victim is seen washed up on the sand, with his hys-

terical parents being comforted by police. This was no ordinary press picture. The Exþress gave it the megaTED COnXESPOI|IIDNI

February 1995


accompanying storywas about a cockup by the police, who had invited the

to make more use of the OrientøI Daily Neuts's massive resources.

parents to identify the youth's body at the beach, rather than in a morgue?

Michael Chugani, the new chief edi-

tures", "deeply offended" and "insensitivity and disrespect" were some of the terms used in the first batch published, and there were others on fol-

lowing days. But, setting aside the fact tlaat wfitefs of lettefs to newspapefs nofmally have some-

thing to bitch

I think the Exþress gotitrighf about, ...

neady. Its style

where the paper


normally displayed

folded in two, with only the top half showing. The Posf would never make





l:' le




a a


t-.' -t


tor, came up from the street and, at the height of his news-hound days, was in a class of his own. He could a difference, although I suspect that, like most editors, he will graduallyfind himself cut offfrom the newsgathering operation, to be buried in



of paper work. And, if

reports are to be believed, the OrientalDaily group is very good at creating paper work. Still, let's be fair

about the body on

ff follovz-r-rp letters $zere arr:r guide, readers \wzere strocked by ttre picture

is to use pictures big (although not usually as big as the display this one got), and it is an approach that gives it an edge over the Posl. What's more, it was an excellent photo that told the story well. Where they got it .wrong, I think, was in putting it on the front page. Not because it was more likely to shock in that position (which it was, of course), but because it shoved the splash headline down to the fold. This is not the first time tlJe Exþress has done this, and someone should explain to the person who lays out the front page that the main headline has to shout out from the newsstand,



fied by the very real fact that the

published were any guide, readers were, indeed, shocked. "No redeeming fea-


a mistake like that, although it has to be said that the Exþress has yet to commit the more radical howler of running a splash headline with words

tlJe hcþress is eyer going to have areal shot at the Post, it has got

If follow-up letters


the beach. There is

nothingmoreirritating for a sub who is under pressure at one in the morning, towards the end of

smart ass like me. So let's just say that, in a perfect wodd, that picture should have gone across the top of page three. And to hell with "Yours Disgust€d, Mid-Levels".

Did you ever wonder what happened to those TVB Pead videotape editors who always cut into a moyie in the Yery scene that had to be left intact? W'e11, I knowwhere theyhave gone. Theyarcallat STARTV's Prime right.







28t}¡ Feb, I OOõ



I e.3O

,ftain D¡n¡ng room only .

a shift in which

nothinghascomein right or on time, than to be judged weeks after by a

Sports. Take

f;, 7:

Only $22O Der Derson Dinner and Daftness!


look and


if I'm not


i:, lrt l-








'i s .l' a a

V/hatcould be easier than

get through his blurry yiew on life to find out what was the story with the

Sorrrevztrere in deepest Grrateûraf.a, tÍIere v\zas a a-s


landing strip- Danzid (ìarc.ia found it. He still't vrzork out vrzh.;.-

The next pass was in three days, unlesswewantedto takethebus, which was due the next day. The bus trip to



Guatemala Citywas three to seven days, ome time in 197 3, I found myself in Dallas, Texas. I had been work-

ing offshore for an oil company and was at the head offlce trying to work out my pay when the boss asked me if Iwouldlike to work onshore duringmy

down-time. Hey, no problem! rùflhat's the gig?


was basically to baby-sit one of their geologists who was going to do some work in Guatemala. The guy had never been out of Texas before. 'W.hat couldbe easier? Flyto Mexico City, go to "Gringo RipoffAircharters", ask forJesus and he would fly us to the job site. In Guatemalawe were going to be met by IIatry the Inca, who had ananged all the transportation idand. Offwe went. FoundJesus and his atrplane. This thing was out of another era. It looked a lot like the Spirit of St. Louis. No seats - you sat on the floor or on the cargo. Most of the cargo was of the four-legged variety - goats who were busy eating the inanimate cargo. Not our problem. W.e kept our gear at the other end. 'W'e fl ew south and after a few stops managed to find our destination, a village in the middle of the jungle. The pilot flew over the village, tumed, flew

low over it agarn, circled twice more and landed on the road.

It turned out he had to buzz

How the pilot found the place at al7 is still a mystery. W'e bade him farewell and told him we would see him in seven days.

After a couple of hours, Harry pitched up with the transpoftation: ñvo mules and tluee horses. W.e packed up and went into town for some refreshment.

At four the next morning, with monumental hangovers induced by locally brewed tequila, we rode off into the sunrise (I shouldhavefigured something was wrong there, shouldn't I?).

The trip took two days. Lots of irisects , snakes and guys trying to sell us manjuana until we got to a poftion of

the jungle where people disappeared altogether and we had to go it on foot.

Over the next week, Tex was


pretty good trooper. Did his job, complained little and drank lots of tequila.

We got back to the village with littleincident, got cleanedup andwaited for our plane. Harry said we had better get out on to the road at around 9am as

there was no telling when the plane would come by. We paid Harry and he went back to the village. Jesus buzzed somewhere around 3.30pm.'We waved. He buzzed again. rW'e waved ag atn .Ilebuzzed off into the distance. As no plane had landed, no


one came out to the road. So Texwaited

town in order to get them to come out and block the road at either end. Not that this place had trouble with traffic jams. Peak traffìc was when the bus came through once or twice a week.

with the equipment and his bottle of


Februarv 1995

tequila while I walked three kilometres back to the village. I found Harry throwing a p arqr and getting plastered in the cantinawith his

The cream of the club's cuemen gathered in the basement for the prize-giving ceremony for the winners of th.e 1994 snooker, billiards and pool tournaments. Edward "Fast Eddie" Lee scored a remarkable double

by winning both the snooker and the 8-ball pool, the

plane. "Whatplane, senor?" "\ù(/hat doyou mean'what plane, senor'? You know what plane. Our plane. The one that's supposed to take us back to Mexico City. That's what plane." "Oh, si." The next morning we tracked Harry the Inca to his farm, where he was out in the fields. Harry apologised and said he forgot to tell us thatthe plane would not land unless there were at least three or four people on the strip.

baby-sitting? rc¡a<f ttìat doutrled

Pocketing the prizes

hard-earned (i.e. our) cash. Being the only person iri town who could speak English and Spanish (most ofthe gentry spoke a local Indian dialect), I tried to

depending. Depending on what? Just

Baize utonders Qelt to rigbt): Jack Kompan (runner-up I ball), Feng Cbi-sbun (tuinner billia.rds, runner-uþ snooker), Edttard lee (uinner snooker and 8 ball) and Staffan lofgren (runner-up bílliards).


'We decided to hold out for the plane. Three days passed, and I paicl }{arry and two of his cronies 10 bucks each to come to the strip and wait for

runners-up being Dr Chi "The Doctor" Feng andJack "We don't do it this way in the Press Club" Kopan, respectively. The Doctor also stunned the gallery by defeating Staffan "Lofty" Lofgren in the billiards. Our man at the baize-side reports: "The tournaments were played at a good level and were generally fast paced, except perhaps for the billiards. And the spirit was good natured." Several past winners were conspicuous by their absence among the laureates. They included: Peter'$Øong, who has moved to NewZealandasart director of theld.eal Honte and Sl¡eeþ Pen magaztrre; Howell Givelin, who was out with a back injury - an old snooker wound; John Haryett, who came close but finished cigadess; and Tony Craig, who made it to all the semis but says he "lost concentration due to the stfess of organising the event". Both tables are scheduled to be recovered and rails and pockets are to be renewed - which should put new bounce into things. The organising committee thanks club managerJethro Lee-Mahoney and the Board of Governors for their generosity in this matter.

the plane.

On the move

Jesus buzzed by at high noon this time. The only problem was that word

Jack Beattie h as left. Win clo u maga-

got out in town that the were paying $10 for people to stand on the road.


Everyone turned up. Jesus couldn't land because the road was full of people, horses, donkeys and carts. He flew off again. A riot broke. People demanded their money, Tex got knocked out and I finallyhad to pay the local cops to sort out the mess. Harry must have felt somewhat responsible for our predicament, as he put us up until the bus came in two days




A baby Coates In from England is news that Howard and Sunshine Coates, late of this parish, haye settle d in nicely in London. And, yes, it's true that

later. The bus was a Fi-fties model Dodge schoolbus withno brakes and no available seats. We packed our gear on the roof, climbed on board, grabbed a rail and stood for four and a half days. Joumey highlights included broken this and flatthaf, erreryon€ out to push on the hills, "Hold on, the brakes don't work too well", half-houdy stops to let the old lady with the runs out, etc., etc. Finally, we were in Glratem ala City, on to Mexico and back to Dallas. "What happened to you guys?" Tex lost it agaiî, punched the boss, quit and vowe d never to leave Texas

to join the Eastern Express

managing editor. Steve Proctor, who resigned as editor of the Eastern Exþress's Veekend magazine last year, has taken trp an offer ftomAsiø Inc.

they are going to have


baby. Timo-

thy will be the name of the little boy, who is scheduled for birth in


the spring. Sunshine is in fine health




With this riltg


A picture tells a thousand words? So what, one wonders, were the words running around in the head of veteran club member Keith Shakespeare as his bride, Arunee Sukkasem, slips the manacle on to his finger in the marriage

registry in Hong Kong Park?

despite going on the wagon


and Howard is reported to be feeling a little better now and is almost out of shock. After squatting in Les Leston's

place in London for a while, the couple bought a bijou res about a

week's travelling time from Howard's job on the business pages of Tl¡e Tirues, where he declares himself happy.

February 1995


A montbly portrøùt of FCC ùrrepløceøbles

Donald Wise Member since: Age:

Occupation: Nationality: Description:

7976 (according to the records, but it must be longer, sureþ. Unspecifìed, but he claims to have covered the Normandy Iandings. (Not ttre 1945 version. The 1066 show, with'SØilliam the Conqueror and that lot.) One-time correspondent and now French Riviera resident.

Brirish (what else?). Looks like a stuntman for David Niven.

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The Correspondent, February 1995  
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