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wlite a book?

[Book R.e¡¡ieu¡ The last Governor

at qzork

So you wanna

Golf A soggy saga from Kau Sai Chau

\lhat's cooking in August?


Nlostalgia Hong Kong is a novelist's dleatr city

A wondelful life

E-mail: asiapix@hk.linkage net

Lelfer:s Frorrr ttre President Co\-er Stor-¡r




Back to the future?

Politics Ernily Lau rebuilcls her'life



Two views of change in Asia


Social Affairs





Asiatteele 1997 Special Eclirion


Keiú'Shakey' Shakespeare

@ 1997 The Foreign Correspondents'

Club of Hong Kong

Cover photogr-aph by Ray Cranbourne

Sole Agent :

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August 1997 rHE CORRf,SPOlfllEilf


To the editor


From several vetetaî members Am I the only one who seems to have noticed a steady increase of people who regulady use this Club wine here and dine here, attendvarious social and professional functions, use tl-re Club as a mail drop, and are even seen downstairs in the work room -

yetneverseemto get aroundto actr,rally joining, to becoming payìng members? At


time when the Board



(usually freelance) writels and photographers who regularly use all the benefits of the club but al-e just too cheap to pony up the monthly fees.

It is time we, and the board in

particularly guilty of spongeing tl'reir' way through the evening, attaching

particular, started getting tougher on these cl'reapskates. They know who

themselves to members kind enough,

they are, we know who they

or silly enough, to subsidise their

instead of buying a round next time, or showing tl-iem the menu, how

if they are veteran

hard to attract new members, when

and acting as

we've got a great new menlr, when the


Club building itself has recently

drinkwith who they want, but when well-off working journalists consistentiy use and abuse the club, while refusing point blank to join, it is irritating. And one publication in particular seefits content to pick up non-members bar bills as some kind of perk, when the same company can't seem to pay its own staff. If they want to bankrupt

r-rnderdone a major multi-million dollar

renovation, (which is being paid for by recently increased rnonthly dues), I don't see why paying members should be made to carry these deadbeats.

I am not talking about our overseas visitors, or even the occasional local journalist gttests, I'm talking about a certain number of


A couple of journalists are

drinking habits. They feel no shame in touting for work, cadging beers


their own company through bad lnanagement that's fine, but please don't help them drain or,rr club's

r/..",,",\1. /',


,'n'* "



'@ ")r


about shoving a membelship form under their nose instead?


Of course members can



tbe editor are always

win yotn'self a bottle an original or of Stolichnaltafor welconxe

witty letter- but we resetae tbe rigbt to ed,itfor clañty orfor teasons of space.


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rå No place

like home

ohn le Ca rre and Tony Spaeth have already immortalized the FCC in fiction, thatleaves fi-ustrated novelists

held a series of luncheons with key public figures, sometimes

like myself with something of


But for the Friday evening happy hour,

dilemma; what hacks' watering hole should provide the venue for the yetunwritten thriller? The thought came to me in mid- July, as I was taking a respìte fl'om the weighty issues of illegal

we moved over one street to Mabini,

Q \-f


mainland cl'rildren and public prosecution guidelines to go off to cover the coup in Cambodia. So there we all were, covering the

not-quite-a-coup, and stopping for a beer bleak at the spacious, open-air'

Foreign Correspondents Club of Cambodia, the FCCC. Andthat'swhen the thought came to me - perhaps there, in that most picturesque of correspondent gathering spots, with the royal palace and museum in the background and the Mekong at the front. \Øhat better spot for a tale of intrigue and mayhem and general

skulduggery, set against the backdrop of a country, Cambodia, filled with,

well, intrigue and mayhem


skulduggery? There is, of course, Manila,where


spent four years in the late 1980s. There's no better novelistic backdrop than the Philippines, with its larger than life characters


-regional commandels, communist insurgents, Moro nationalists. But there's a problem; the correspondents' c1ub,


once-a-week, atthe oldMidtownhotel.

to just above the famed Hobbit House.

The FOCAP's lack of a perrnanent home sternmed at least in part from the lack of any real finances, other than the dues of the correspondent and journalist members.

It was a source of great debate then, whether to open the club like the FCC here to non-journalist,

which would associate members provide a more stable financial base. But eachyearwhen the question came up, the decision was, No. For FOCAP to continue to exist as an independent

entity without any political slant or viewpoint, it was algued, it had to remain a club purely for journalists and correspondents. There was among

the local press corp (and rightly, I thought), a lear that Philippine business leaders might be able to bankroll FOCAP and give Lls our own premises, but the cost could be an unwanted association with some rather LÌnsavoury characters. So

countel with fresh coffee, tea and cold sodas. For all its probierns, though, ChesterHouse had earned a replrtation around town as the one place always open to anyone and everyone. Sudanese guerillas used to drop by to chat about their latest offensive.

Somali faction leaders popped in unexpectedly passing out copies of their latest peace plans. Aid wolkers emelgencies, Kenyan oppositionists with tales of the latest repression, all managed to find theirway to the second floor of Chester House and that little canteen for an impromptu "press conference". A small group wanted to ban press conferences from the canteen. Othels

internecine feuds and debates raging

months. In Nairobi, most of the foreign reporters were basecl on one

of the Philippines), has always been without a permanent home. FOCAP has long been an organization without a premises, a group without

floor of a rundown office building called Chester Hor-tse, jr,tst across fi'om

the central uarket. The hallway lights rarelyworked, giving the place a rattrer dingy feel,

in other foreign press clubs around the

world, I sometimes feel that


problems at the Hong Kong FCC seern small by comparison.

professional staff and facilities.



1959, we undertook our

first crash test. And we still conduct

co-operation of the German police, our

over one hundred such tests every year.

engineers have been travelling to major

Painstakingly, we compile all


road accidents in which a Mercedes-

the evidence and feed

Benz has been involved.

engineers who are working on the next

Today, we have

the benefit

back to the

will study the causes

that others can also benefit from Mercedes-Benz developments.

1949, we perfected the



is a day and

night affair. first

safety car door which neither pops


And their effects. One team has even received

1951, we patented the

rigid passenger car cell,

In fact, you might even say our cars are designed by accident.

I@ stored





by energy absorbing front and

additional medical training.

of unique accident data


open nor jams shut on impact.

of up to 1ó0 accidents.


design patents are not enforced,

pursuit ln

Analysis teams

of your feet.

So, as you can see, our

results are well worth the effort.

accident research behind us.

rather than crush the delicate bones

Mercedes-Benz models.

of more than 25 years of experience in

Ours is still recognized around the world as the best and most fun of all the correspondent clubhouses, in the

best location and with the most


Since 19ó9, thanks to the

press corps should continue to make

Anothel press club comes to mind; the Foreign Correspondents of East Africa, the FCC of Kenya where I lived fol tlrree years ancl three

serious than

felt equally strongly that the foreign

FOCAP remained homeless and broke.

pedals which pivot away on impact,

in our archives.

drumming up slrpport for new

its facilities available, pafiiculady to people or groups denied access to government-controlled radio and television. \flhen I think about the

called FOCAP (Foreign Correspondents

a clubhouse.

and there were two small bathrooms

which looked like they'd last been cleaned during Karen Blixen's time. And at the end of the hall was the "clubhouse," a little canteen rcally, with a few tables and chairs, a coffee


Mercedes-Benz 1982, we developed Engineered to move the human spirit.

goes on for 24 hot¡rs of the day and it's for the younger generation." The high-tech world of the BBC 1,997 is a world away from what Lawrence calls the "horse-and-buggy


days" of his tenure. He joined the BBC after \f orld'ùØar Two whiclt for him ended in Cetman¡'in an information control unit chalged with

starting up German newsP¿lpers again. In cornparison with his prewar career in British newspapers -

he had been the chief sub-editor on the Wembley News - he found the BBC, in his words, "a pushover". "I

aimost felt I was taking my money under false pretences it was so gentlemanly."

He got his first posting in late 1956 to Singapore, a bit of a disappointrnent. He had hoped for Rome or perhaps Athens. But his familywas enthusiastic. "'ùØhen I first cafiìe out to the Far East, I was the only staff collespondent and it was, olr, stick hirn under a palm tree and get the local man who does wedding pictures to do his best (with a TV camera)." \XrhenJuly 1 dawned Lawrence switched seamlessly from radio to

a aq

e () t


ut" ult.rnoon onJune 30, 1997. It's last day of, Blitish rule ol Hong Kong. Driving rain has blanked out


A wonderful


the undulating hills of Kowloon and is flooding out the parade glound on the Hong Kong watelfi'ont where the

depalting colonial power is bidding

a farewell to its last significant

imperial possession after a 756-year pfesence.

Up in a rickety tower, foreign

Anthron¡z Lavzrence kras spent kralf a lifetirne q¡atching events unfold in Hong l(ong and across Asia. NTouz celet>rating hris a5tl1 l->irtk;day, tl-re consr.rrralTrate foreign correspondent spoke to Diane Storrrrofrt al>out Lris life ancl tirrres

correspondent Anthony Lawrence is settling down for work. He may have

retiled from the BCC more than 20 years earliel but neither age - he celebrated his 85th birthday on August L2 - nor the weather could dim his enthusiasm for the story - 01' for the place he has called home since 1960.

"I was roped in. I worked for Raclio Five, " he said with satisfaction.

"I didn't know much about Radio Five. I thought it was a programme for insornniacs but they said no, it

BBC Television's World Service, painting elegant - word-pictures drawn from his encyclopedic knowledge on events unfolding as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was born. "\Øhen they ran out ofpuffthen they brougl-rt in the old inhabitant to give the inside view. That's what I was there for." Lawrence was being modest. Nearly four decades in Asia working as a foreign correspondent has given him a unique insight into the news behind the headlines and the BBC knew that. "I enjoyed it tholoughly. Because, after all, if you've lived in a place for 37 years, you do know mole than all the people irnmediately

around you. And that gives yolÌ a rather comfortable feeling. " For Lawrence, the Handover of Hong Kong was a fitting finaie. He had arrived in Asia, the only BBC staff correspondent between Delhi and Canberra, jlrst as the Britislì prepared to haul down the flag over' a soon-to-be independent Malayâ and Singapore.

He was alone at first. "In those days yor-r wel'e on plobation for six


when the incoming Director-

General of the BBC, Sir Hugh

months so if you took to opium tralficking ol couldn't face the day s ithout a bottle of whisky for

Carleton-Greene, paying a flying visit lo Asia, gently suggested it was time

breakfast itwas jLrstyorÌ to ship home and not thc r'vhole family." Singupore and the Malay states jourr-re1' to independence - despite

proposed the United Nations beat in New York. Lawrence's reaction was mixed.

tlie insurgency in the jungles of Malaya - progressed relatively benignly. "There was quite a lot of goodwill towards the former colonial power because, unlike the French and Dutch, we hadn't come to fighting over it." But much of Asia was in turmoil. The Korean'!l'ar - the filst face-off between the Cold'ùØar superpowers

Lawrence spread his wings



"I said, oh, I think that will be wonderful." Pressed onwhyhe liked the idea, the loquacious Lawrence for once ran orÌt of words. "I couldn't think of anything to say, apart from

the fact the gin in Amelica


stronger. That didn't impress himvery


Bul it gave him the opportunity to press to remain in Asia; let hir-n build on his knowledge rather than have a new correspondent come in and start all over again from scratcl'i.

Lawrence persuaded the BBC to

"I qzas ro1>ed in. I uzorked for R-adio Five," hre said qzithr satisfaction. "I didn't knosr rrl-rcl-r al>or-rt Radio Five. I thought it .uzas a" f)r<)grarranle for insorrrniacs"

send him "up to Hong Kong becattse that's where the action is going to

be." Lawrence threw himself into the arcane world of the China watcher,

peering through the slats of the bamboo curtain into a forbidden world, weighing up sclaps of intelligence from refugees tlickling across the border into the safe haven

under the British flag and slowly learning what made the place tick. "Of course, a foreign correspondent can always do a job that will satisfy

head office without getting or-tt of bed almost . You cultivate the public was over - bttt Communism was still on the move. The conflict in Vietnarn

was heating up. Lawrence was to spend 10 years covering the war there. China and American -backed Taiwan were facing off across tl're stfatt, a war of nelve s which erupted

relations people, you read the

nes/spapers, yor-r think of the home audience and what amlrse thern ancl

everybody's quite happy." Bul that wasn't good enor-rgh for Lawrence, who also had to fend off soffie strange ideas fron-r head office.

in 1958when Mao flexed his muscles

"London said, well, of cotlrse you

and bombarded the Taiwanese

can pop into mainland China evely other weekend. There was only one

islancls of Quemoy and Matsu. For any correspondent this was heady stuff, "For the first time, news in the Far East led the bulletins. And that was quite exciting." "People wondered whether the bombarclment u.otild be the start of \\'ollcl \i'al Three bccause the Taiwan people would obr iously lesist and the Americans hacl rr treaty with the Taiu,'an regime so they would have conre ir.l ancì thcn you could have had Wolld \Wal Thlee starting."

thing wrong with that brilliant idea. It took me 12 years to get in." But Hong Kong ploved a more reliable listening post than Beijing. From his perch on China's southern flank, Lawrence was able to piece together glimpses of the momentoLts events sweeping China in the 1960s. \Øhen, almost ovelnight, small shops began mushrooming all over Hong Kong offeling for just HK$40 to ship parcels of food into China - dealing Attgust



FCC Book with all the customs formalities ancl even s/rapping the pafcels in cloth which could be usecl for naking clothes - he began to get some inkling of jr-rst how wrong Mao's Gleat Leap Forward had gone. "So I began u'riting "-ery guarded stof ies abollt l-runger in China, which didn't go down at all wel1. "

Disillusioned by Stalin,


in the \Øest had pinned their hopes on seelng a Communist

utopia flourish in China. "To say that Mao had cansed a hunger -


else was

saylng it - well it was awkward.



tlie biggest falnine


hurnan histoly."

But living in Hong Kong yorr began to get

a picrul'e oi



the man in Beijing

would not

have because he would be

srrpelvised cvely inch of the way, with a minder from the

loleign rninistry following him around.

But of cor.rrse, this knowledge did not impress the home office very much. Thel' want the exotic dateline. "The1' s''ant t() say from oul own colresponclent in Beijing, inside China.

Antbony Lautrence has spent ntot"e

j7 yeats c



as a

sp o n cl ent


ftnnt Hong Kong. Pbotos at tbe FCC by Frerl.eric Brou.¿ THD GORRXSPOilDENT Augusr


Our correspondent on the China doorstep doesn't carry the same weight." Drawing on


.Apres Hong

lifetime of watching

Asia's FinestMarcbes

certainty about

cooking T t - often asked why there are so I rnany apparently mad chels

journalist woulil

begin to get an idea.

aror-rnd. Let me tell you what goes on

Let's take a normal lunchtime

- not

a Friday, say a'ùØednesday. Preparing

the cleative process of coming up

David Dodwell Oxford Universily Press


ideas, the logistical convolutions yott have to go through to make slrre you have something that will work would

be enough to give a few stressed out execntives a real lesson in what stress is actually about. After finding your suppliers and

ofus are sane.

the best.

Speaking of insanity, it has been an eventful time in the kitchen to say the

Even when you have got the food right, there is the menu itself. As much thought and hardworkwent into getting

would be easy, jr-rst reproduce my diary," he said. "But it's a bit mole difficult than that." Lawrence says, while he is

say all's going to be we1l.

wonder any

Things could go wrong. Of course

least. My nightrnares about getting

you keep your fingers crossed and hope, that if logic prevails, if anyone

through the Handover are beginning to subside now, but the fresh challenge is to re-establish the Main Dining Room as

had any common sense, they realise the value of Hong Kong to the mainland is to keep it as it is."

Br-rt har,'ing spent u,atcliing China


a lifetime

itself in the foot

under communism, the Great Leap Forward, the Cr-rltural Revolution and crr-rshing tlie aspirations of ambitious and talented yoLlngsters; and having also seen Singapore embark down

the path of authoritarianisll -

he concludes: "I clon't think you can be

too complacent.



one of the best clnb restaurants in town. The new menu I told you about in the last issue of Tbe Comespondent is

now in place. Before anybody


"about time too" I should point out that before I allived at the selection of 50

dishes you can choose fi'om - not connting the Club Lunch of the Dey options - I had thought up about 250 and whittled it down from there. Menus, I'rn afraid, do not write themselves overnight. Quite apart from



Man witb tbe

Key $ 49.00

Pacific Ventures Press

about the challenges ahead. "One cannol throw one's l-iat in the air and

oldpeople". His latest challenge is writing his memoirs. " I thought it


by Murray Zanoni The Stock House Ltd.

discover that a dish has to be modified because you can't get certain ingredients

'ùØhy are chefs crazy? It's a

and people ale

telribly nice to


by Karin Malmström/Nan-Tan

cautiously optimistic about Hong

Hong Kong. "Taxi drivers

Hong Kong Visitors Booþ $360.00 by Arthur Hacker

cooking samples you sometimes

Kong's fr,rture, he harbouls no illusions

because they love living in

$ 90.00

Hong Kong Adløntage $190.00 by MichaelJ Enright & Edith E Scott/

food and setting up equipment stafls jn the early morning, and we're working on that pretly rnuch solidly until about 12.30, which iswhenthe plessure really gets turned on. The first few diners take their seats in the restaurant and start deciding which of 100 plus dishes - all ofwhich we have to be leady to produce - they are going to have. The orders come in thick and fast, and by 1 . 15 the kitchen is busier than a bee hive in high summer. By two o'clock when at long last things have started to slow down we will have seled 160 lunche s in 90 minutes - just in time to starlgetting ready for dinner.

minds. Partly


City on 1997 Hong Kong

in a kitchen during the first half of an average working day and you might

the Lawrences changed their



85-year-old freelance

be so hot." But


by Kevin Sinclair

wele going to leave.'We were going to experience the Handover and then a month of so later, go back to the UK." could go "NØhy7 unthe future. Also, I didn't feel the prospects for an


by Philippe Le Corre Les Editions Autemment

Hong Kong and China evolve, "our corespondent on the doorstep" was initially ambivalent about the future undel the Chinese flag. "My wife and I

"lfl-rings q/rol1g. Of course ;zou keep )zoLrr fingers crossed and Ilope, that iF logic prerzails, if a-n¡zone Lrad arry colTLlTLon sense, threy realise tl-re rza-h.-re of Hong I(ong to the mainla-nd is to keep it a-s it is."

know it was

Avilable at the FCC Front Desk

reliably, or they are not of the light

quality. 'ùØhen you finaily have the recipes right, and photographs shot so there is a cleal record of what the food is sr-rpposed to look like, the kitchen staff

have to be trained in the preparation and presentation and get in some aÌl impofiant practice and sampling. Of course, the sampling is one of the plus sides, but spare a thought for

those of us in the kitchen who are obliged to abuse our bodies by eating too much in the interests of quality control and ensr,rring that you only get

the wording and design of this menu up to the standard I think the restaurant deserves - as was put into developing the dishes themselves.

Getting on with all this while

Wbat's going to bøppen

in 1997 $140.00

by Ted Thomas/Nicole Turner Corporate Communications Ltd. Seeing Red


byJamie Allen Asia Publishers Services Ltd. Red Cøpítal



by LaurenceJ Brahm Naga Group Ltd. GeTting to




by Jan Alexander Asia 2000

Cbina A"fter Mao by Liu Heung Shing M Photo


Pinky tbe Dolpbin and Tbe Power Tbat May by Gavin Coates

Be $ ZZ.OO

keeping "business as usual" going in

The HK Marine Conselvation Society

the kitchen takes sorne time. But I hope you'll think this menr-r has been worth the wait. Any'way, clon't take rnyword

ngaporean A u I bori la ri an $140.00 Caþitalism by Christopher Lingle Edicions Sirocco, SL Si

Ilong Kong'swild Places $280.00 by Edward Stokes Oxford University Press

August 1997 Îf,E CORRf,SPOilIIEIllÎ

_T l

During my research, I was able to learn many of the details of the transition. I also uncovered more controversial information than I


So you

expected to find. I learned that China

had made it clear to Britain during

the negotiations that it was not

abook? Tlrink vzriting a brillia-nt book on arì irrrportant intern ati<;na.I rìeszs everat qzill rrrake )zour ca¡eer? Think aga.irl , says Dzfa,rk Rol>erti, ar-rtLror of TVse Fattt o¡f Hong I{otz¿q: (ly'sirz¿z's 7-riurrzplt G,Britc¿itz's ,Betrczj,,tcr,l

codified in the Basic Law. Itwould give a clear understanding of the Chinese govemment's actions during


waiting for just the right story, one that has drama, human interest and national or international rumifications. They believe that producing a top-notch

the transition so they would be in a better position to judge Hong Kong's

publishing houses, which promptly rejected it, usually on the grounds that it was too serious or that Hong Kong was not an important topic for Americans.

In Decembe r

1989 , Diane finally sold the proposal to Basic Books,

prospects for the future.

work exposing government wrongdoing will propel them to the forefront of theil profession,

a division of Harper Collins specialising in "serious

where newspaper editors will be

nonfictíon books by leading public intellectuals, academics and journalists." The contract called for a book of about 200

waitingwith offers of high profile

jobs and publishers will be pestering you with offers of huge advances for other books. I bought into this dream, but

the reality was something of

pages. I told the editorthat I was

planning to portray the people negotiating Hong Kong's future


was completed.

Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe to

the end of the tr-rnnel.

spell out that the future legislattire would be elected by universal suffrage. This flew in the face of British claims, at the time the Joint

Then, a few months

had agreed to give Hong Kong

introduce direct elections in 1988 and that this decision was overturned after Sir Edward Youde died and was replaced by David \Øilson because of

China's opposition

to the


Instead, a survey was held to gather public opinion on the issue. The most shocking thing I learned was that \Øilson had cut a secret deal with Beijing to put off direct elections until 1991 even before he or the Executive Council saw the results of the opinion survey that was supposed to be the basis of their decision. This

undermined Mrs Thatcher's

determination to introduce polls if that's what Hong Kong people


In 7987,I was working as a staff writer and the Hong Kong correspondent for Asiaweek,

meetings in detail, much like a novel; this would take more than 200 pages. He said the approach sounded great and not to worry

wanted. I sent a draft of the manrÌscript to the publisher in late 1997. Unfortr.rnately, the editor who bought the proposal had left. His boss thought

about the length stipulated in

the prospects for selling a serious

covering the territory's transil jon to Chinese rule. I realized that

this would be a

malor international news event, and since all of the negotiations

the contract.

between Britain and China were secret, a book exposing how the

against royalties (the rest would be paid when I delivered the manuscript), I began working full

Although I received only US$6,000 of a $10,000 advance

transition was being handled would be of great value.

I left

time on the project. I spent

Asiøweek in June 1988

and began looking for a publisher.

I planned to do research for



years.By 7))0, the Basic Law, the charter under which Hong Kongwould

exist after the Handover, would be completed. My book would cl'rronicle the two years of negotiations between

Britain and China, and how the agreement the two sides signed was THE G0RRXSPOilDENT Augusr 1997

A novelist friend in New York introduced me to Diane Cleaver, a very influential literary agent in New York. Diane liked the book idea and helped me to write a proposal. She

took the proposal to more than


months in the libraries of Hong Kong University, the South Cbina M Post and tlne Far E ast enl Economic Reuiew. I drew up a list of some 200 people

to interview and drafted pages of questions for each of them. Over the next two years, I travelled to Beijing and London at my own expense. In all, I interviewed 1 42 people.

edited and covel art publication date was set. There was light at

Declaration was unveiled, that China

book aboutHong Kongwere limited. he saw a manuscript of about


In early 1993, she sold the manuscript to Paragon Books. It was

Hong Kong and that Beijing had explicitly rejected a request by then


characters and describe secret

Diane's efforts to find new publisher.

prepared to tolerate democracy in

democracy alter 1997. I also learned that in 1984 the Executive Council had decided to


the U.S. to slrpport


before the bookwas

to be released,


visited Hong Kong. During a stopover in L.A. on my way




my voice mail.

There was


message from Diane andArthur

Samuelson, my editor at Paragon.Iknew something was

wrong, and

I shook all the way home. \Øhen I reached New York, I was able to contact Diane. She had some chilling nss/5

¡þs owners of Paragon were

- the ph"rg on the company pulling because it was losing money.

Diane began pounding the ManhatÍan pavement again. In late 1993, she sold the manuscript for a third time, toJohn søiley & Sons. The company and my editor, HanaLane, were extremely professional. The

book was finally published in

September 1994. So the story has ahappy ending, right? \øell, yes and no. The book was extremely well received by those


who have been following the

700 typed pages, he decidedwithout even reading it-that it should

situation in Hong Kong closely. Frank Ching wrote a very positive review inthe FarEastern Economic Reuiew. Derek Davies, former editor of the

cut be in half. I edited the manuscript to about 500 pages. Still, this was r-rnacceptable.

Ratherthan change the approach I took, I broke the contract, which left me with the results of two years of

intense labour and no contract. Having had the proposal lejected by most of the major publishing houses in New York, I was faced with the possibility that no one would publish my book andall my efforts would be wasted. My wife and I moved back to

Reuiew, praised it in the London Literøry Reuieu (Derek's not a man

who gives praise easily; his


review of Simon 'ùØinchest er' s Pacific Risingntust stand as the most savage book review ever written). Former Legislative Councillors Christine Loh and Emily Lau have written of the

book's importance. The US reception is a different

story entirely. The trade


including Publisber's Weekly, gave the book very positive reviews, but TLte Wall Street Journal is the only major newspaper in the country that I know of that reviewed the book. So much for farne and fortune. In London, the book got positive reviews in the Sunday Times and other papers. Tbe Guardian asked Percy Cradock to review the book;

could there be a more biased reviewer for a book that exposes Foreign Office wrongdoing? One

major British weekly wrote an anonymous review that made Cradock's look like rave, but I'm ^ sure it had nothing to do with the fact that one of the publication's staff had written a competing book. Tb e Fall of Hong Kong sold about 10,000 copies worldwide and was translated into Chinese, which is not bad for a serious political book, but less than a qual-ter of the sales were in the US People told me that timing is everything, As the Handover gets closer, they said, there will be greater interest in the book, and people will seek to tap your expertise on the


\Øiley released an updated paperback velsion with an

August 1997 fHE



introduction by Martin Lee inJanuary.

It did make the best-seller list in Hong Kong, but again it made barcly

a ripple in the States. The only mention I've seen of it in any US nes/spaper was in an article by Ian Buruma in the New York Reuiew oJ' Books (he described the book as "excellent"). I have appeared on CNN International, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNBC and other stations to give myfive minutes worth of commentary on Handover issues,

which is probably a significant achievement lor a guy who's never worked for a major US newspaper or magaztne. But the sad fact is, my two years of research has had no impact on

how people outside of the territory view events in Hong Kong. During the Handover, Britain was largely portrayed by the international media as having done well by the Hong Kong people, even though I provided strong evidence that Britain had lied to them to get them to accept the Joint Declaration and cut secret deals with the Chinese that left Hong Kong with far less democracy than they'd

been promised. A search of a database of articles

ftom L35 top American newspapers reveals that not one of the 3,500 stories \'r'itten on the Handover cited my book as a source. Nor could I find any evidence that journalists covering

the hand-over wrote about British perfidy without citing my book as a source.

To top it all off, when Jonathan Dirnbleby's book Tbe Last Gouernor was published shortly after the Handover Chris Patten's comments about a secret deal by the Foreign Office and China in 7987 over direct elections was treated by.the media as a revelation, even though the events were described - albeit in

less detail

- in my book. In fact,

Patten admitted he didn't know about the secretdeal when he wentto Hong Kong. Since he said publicly, when my book came out in L994, that he

had tead it, it's likely that my book was the reason he went back over the records from that period. Now, as I labour in obscurity in the US, I console myself with the knowledge that I wrote a good book andthat some people in Hong Kong appreciated it.'lØhen people ask me why I don't write another book, I say: "I'd love to answer that question




How to write a successful book on internati onal af fafu s 1. Be the bureau chief for a major newspaper in the crty you're writing about, or a Ph D (don't worry if you're Ph D is not relevant to the topicyou're writing about; no one cares). 2. Choose a sexy topic, such as

espionage, drug trafficking,

corruption, the Mafia or sex itself (tell me no one in Britain is working on a book entitledThe Sex Scandals

that Destroyed the Tory Parry). 3. Don't waste time doing original research; it's not necessary. 4. Network with people who can write positive reviews when the book comes out. 5. Shamelessly promote yourself.

Tell everyone there's significant information in your book, even if there isn't. \ùØrite inflammatory articles that

will draw

responses from those you've written about. If

you create enough


will assume- there's fire. 6. Hire your own publicity agent journalists

because your publishing company

won't advertise orpromote the book for you - unless your name is Bob SØoodward.


Is there life after legco? The forrrrer legislative col.rncillor and journalist is oLrt <>f a. j<>f>. Br-rt Eirrily Lar-r still rerrels in krer role a.s a. \z<)<:a-l critic of the establiskrrrrent. Lau recentl;z spoke to a pal.ked rneeting of tkre -V?'orrren in Publiskring Societ¡z (-V7-IPS) at>out hrer future plans. Francine fBrerzetti re1>orts


mily Lau insists she will remain

-l-.t politically active despite the activities of "an illegitimate legislature" and its attempts to marginalise the democratic movement in Hong Kong. According to Lau, The Frontier, the

new political organisation which she founded (but insists is not a "party") plans to put members forward in the election of the first legislative council, depending on how the

terms of representation

comparisons with the late pro-Beijing politico, outrageous Dorothy Liu. Lau exhorted \XTPS members to fight the good fight and persist in

reporting the news fearlessly, despite interference or political pressure. "I urge you to continue what you have done in the past. Don't censor yourselves and encourage others not

Publishing Sociely's first meeting after Hong Kong's return to China, Lau announced with satisfaction that she had landed her first new job since being ousted from Legco

David Chu, a high profile member of the provisional legislature assured her that inJune 1998 he would invite her to an "l ToldYou So" party, celebrating the

survival of free elections in Hong Kong. "ButI toldhim, if that occurs,

it will be largely thanks to my efforts!'' she exclaimed. Asked if she had received any

'W'hoever gave Lau this assignment can only be credited,i with a stroke of genius.

warnings or threats from Beijing because of her views and activities,

Lau assured us that she had not.


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Unapologetically outspoken and

"They don't want to waste their

articulate,Lau has that deftness that

time onme... 'ùØhenyou saythings they don't want to hear, they just freeze

can level an opponent with ridicule.

to do it. There is safety in

She sees her role as being on the side of the angels an attitude which can

numbers and, if only a few speak out,

you out."

they are very vulnerable. If a large number of people are writing freely, then there are many to deal with," she

lau's credentials as an effective politician and a committed, even

sometimes tip- her into the dangerous waters of self-righteousness,

lau's style is impassioned and emotional, but she always frames her argument with an inescapable logic

that saves her from the aura of victimhood that frequently sticks to those who see themselves as battling sinister forces. 'W'ere she any more

expressive, she could tempt

TEE C0RnDSP0tttEIfT Augusr 1997


instant noodles."

onJuly 1 at the stroke of midnight ("I felt like Cinderella").

The FCC 1998 range of executive diaries is now available at "Club" prices. Each has been specially produced with a wealth of important information, in either black imported bonded leather or calf skin for wallet. All feature a discreet club logo and your name, if requested. Avoid disappointment and order early as stocks are limited. Orders will be available to be collected in December. Allow three weeks for personalizing with your name or initials.

China resumed control of Hong Kong, he would visit her in jail and bring

Two democratic colleagues have admonished their children: "In the future, when Daddy is in prison, you know how to make

On July 9, at '!Øomen in

were preparing a story on Pauline Hanson, the Australian politician who is infamous for her attacks on Asian immigration.

Maclehose promised her that when

serious," she says,



brought to bear on Hong Kong media, it will affect television first, she said. Lau treated her audience to some memorable anecdotes: In a meeting with Lord Maclehose (Hong Kong governor from 797I to 1982),

her cigarettes. "And he


The paid gig was with an Australian television crew who

influence. If any political pressure is



The former reporter lor the Før Eastent Econoruic Reuiew minimised the danger of censorship on the

intel'net but feared for the future freedorn of television broadcasting. She reasoned that, compared to the internet, television has much vaster

courageous democrat can hardly be challenged. But I worried for her destiny andthat of other democrats in the pursuit of their ideals. 'where does commitment leave off and victimhood begin? How far must the underdog and the members of the opposition fight for their causes before they appear

clownish or Augtrst


1P!7 fHE




Asian century was problematical, causing unnecessary and avoidable tensions between East and '$Øest. Opportunist politicians in the \Øest used the so-called Asian century as a stick to beat Asia, and encourage protectionist sentiments. !Øhile here in the


governments catrbreak economles o

allowed people to believe in Beijing's policies for Hong Kong

and believe what Beijing says will come true in Hong Kong," Allen said. However, he pointed out, this was a paradox because

it more positive to label it the global millennium. Lingle

decided, Lingle told


CIub lunch, that

the possibility of a libel writ

to take advantage of market

opportunities in a new and innovative way. Thus, he noted: "Those parts of

from the Singapore government on its representative office there

that he is seeking to overcome rules and regulations - is being restrained in much of East Asia in that regard. "In some of themore authoritaian countries," Lingle explained, "there are

lots of successful


people who rely more heavily on their political contacts than

in Hong Kong didn't trust the Beijing most people

foresaw a slowing down in the growth in EastAsia andfeareda banking crisis that went beyond today's speculative pressures on

government to any great extent,

yet they seemed to trLlst the slogans.

The separation of politics

East Asian culrencies.

Returning to his theme, Lingle warned again about the economic dangers of restraint

and economics was also crucial

was enough to make the

they do on their ability to perform

company renege on its contract.

and produce efficiently. "So ultimatelythe testof their survival is probably going to be guanxi or some sort of political connections," he said. TheHong Kong story, Lingle said, was

Happily for Lingle another

publisher was found and the tour of 30 cities went ahead. Lingle is the former Singaporebased academic who wrote an

view that the media are meant to be friendly. By being friendly, it means you don't ask tough questions, which means you don't uncover embarrassing

wrong. But, of collrse, people will

about freedom not politics.

learn the truth as long as the media is open. These things will wash out."

People here had not had to be

The picture of HongKong'sfuture

there were countries which used

interested in democracy because rùØestminster politics had ensured

by Club member Jamie Allen at a lunch to promote his new book,

bankrupt opposition politicians. He did not name Singapore. He decided to run for it after the secondvisitfrom the police. He was found guilty of scandalising the judiciary - by the judiciary. Lingle addressed the C'lub

the British behaved with a modicum of restraint and

S eeing Re d.:

article in the Internøtional IIerald. Tribune suggesting

compliant judiciaries to


"It was costless to

apolitical," Lingle said. "and, indeed, there were few rewards lor being pol itical. " I n Singapore they wele apolitical because it was dangerous to be political.

on "The Economic Consequences

of Asian Media Policy". That is,

he emphasised the l'ole


media in provicling

information that n ouris

economies, while

the . the i




Cbristoþber Lingle a

also expounding his view of Asia that appears in the new book, Tbe the world that put restraints on Rise and, Decline of the Asian Century.. infolrnation flows, on access to data, False Starts on lbe Patb to tbe Global will ultimately put restraints on the


capacityfortheireconomies to Éarow."

"The engine of economic growth Lingle believes that the real is the entrepreneur in any economy," entreprenelll- who is a contrarian in THE C0RRDSPONI¡ENT August 1997

\ùØhat was making people more interested in politics in Hong Kong was not Chris

Patten, Martin Lee oreven Emily Lau. "It's the anxieties and the fear of the loss of the protection of their civil rights and freedoms in the future," Lingle said. Stepping back to examine the region's future, Lingle suggested the

idea of the next centlÌry being an

ina's Un c orultroruising Takeouer of f{ong Kong, was not, as Ch

you would guess from the title, altogether rosy. For Allen, the return was not so much decolonisation as recolonisation. All the facets of colonisationwere

in the Handover, he said. ^pparent Hong Kong had had no say in its future, its political system was being reshaped, its new sovereign was hking commercial advantage from

in Beijing's plans. Hong Kong could keep its economic and social freedoms, Allen suggested, but there was no similar promise on its political freedoms. Deng Xiaoping's theories on the division of


troubling signs that many leaders in East Asia take the

moments." He concluded: "The media are never meant to be friendly to any parties. They are meant to reports facts as much as po-ssible. They are a true loyal opposition. They can get it

to which these

slogans have essentially set the agenda of the debate and contained the

debate over Hong Kong and

on the media. "There are some

Lingle said. Entrepreneurs rely on information flows, he continued,

estimate the extent

East, theyused it to promote the political status quo. Lingle found

Atrtl-rors Cl-rristopkrer Lingle and Ja-rr-rie Allen ga\/e solrae sot>ering insiglrts on l-rouz re1>ressi.rze gorzefllrrrents, urell-rrreaning or otl-rerqzise, carì qzea-ken everì tl-re strongest econornies. Andfeur I-¡,.rrctr reports

A not very funny thing happenecl ,[ \ to Christopher Lingle on the way to promote his latest book. His publisher dropped him. It had

"I don't think we can under-

He saw that the party still had some life in ir and while it still controlled internal security, and was

politics and economics were still being spelled outby the Pe op le's

Daily tn April. Jømíe Allen spoke ctbout his neu booþ.

The united front strategy was the means to Beijing securing itself - through isolation

able to handle economic growth, it had a future. "I think the Communist Party will surwive for the next four to five years. It may suryive longer. "There has been a certain political loosening and the government no longer controls people's lives like it did in the communes phase of the 1960s and 70s." People's desire forprosperity and stability in China gave the Communist Party a certain legitimacy, he said. It

Lrad a right to rule that no other organisation - aparf from the PLA could show.

"lØhat matters really is what people in China think about their government- and how they relate to the party," Allen saicl. And for the

and encirclement of the democratic camp. Although Beijing may eventually discard some of its allies along the way, Allen said, it's probable

that the democrats are going to be contained.

The territory's economy would

not be harmed, either to boost Shanghai or to spite. But mainland companies would use Hong Kong as a base to reach back into China as well as overseas. Allen feared the effect of mainland interests on the

gradual liberalising of competition,

particularly in the aviation, telecommunications and power sectors. He believed that the economy

would still be viable but the qr-rality of doing business would diminish.

its possession, and it still did not have

moment there was no aiternative. Thele had been a consistent plan for handling Hong Kong and

"\Øhat can China bring to the management of the Hong Kong economy that Hong Kong doesn't

control of its foreign affairs. Allen, formelly editor of the Economist

its broad objectives had been in place since the early 1980s. The

benefited from a separation from

Intelligence Unit's Business Asia and a contributor to Tbe Econon'tist, described how the Communist Party had played a central role in the taking back of Hong Kong.

use of langr-rage assumedaprimacy

akeady hav e? Hong Kong has always China and Ch ina has alw ays benefited as wel1. "I question whether reunification is to the real benefit of either China or to Hong Kong," he

in this: one country, two systems; Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong with a high degree of

from that

alrtonomy, and so on.

concluded. August 1997 THE




On the Wall Asiaweek 1997 Special Edition


j ong Kong's last rain-drenched day under British rule

was recorded by thousands of Nikon-carrying journalists, including several hundred who call Hong Kong home. For these non-parachute repolters, June 30 will be remembered as a day of strong emotion as well as high drama. Captured here is a selection of images from Asiaweek's Special Editionwhich recordthe lastnine hours ofHong Kong as a British territory. The corlplete collection from the special issue will be displayecl on the Club wall for the next few weeks. TID CORRDSPONI!f,I|T August 1997

Clockwisefrontfar left:72OOøm - Pa.rtJ) time in l6tn Kuøi Fong -Meløníe Conner;4.40pm - Chris Patten leaues Gouernment House

-Adhika Cbaløsani

3.3Oþm - Relaxing in'W'ancbai's Soutborn Playground -Edutín Tu!øJ);5.45þm - General Zhou Borong at Conuentiotx Centre cochtail party - Edtoin Tuj,tay; 1O.4Oþm - A reþorter taps out ber thoughts ousid.e legco - Mike Wílbur; 950pm - Fir.eworks for the familjt in Tsim Sba Sbui - Stephen Wølløce



Hong Kong is anot)elíst's


dreanrr city


At a tirre qzhen 'a d<>zert FCC rner-rrt>ers are apparentl¡z knocking oLrt Hong I{ong novels, I(erzin Sinclair takes a look at Hong I(orrg as a .wzriter's cit;2. It kras been the setting for rrrarry a norzel in the past t>ut as Sinclair discorzers, tkrere's hope for r.-rs a,ll yet

\Øl:ÏJ"ååf',:".ïå::i";;" H onoura



S c h o o I b o1,,,

heworried that

leaders might find far-fetched his accounts of behaviour at the Foleign Con'espondents' Club. Did respected journalists really behave like that, flinging paper arrows

at the

wine racks

and drinking whatever bottle happened to be hit?'ùØell, as a matter of fact, yes, they do. And a lot rnore, besides.

The author of the George Smiley espionage novels decided that life was tn-rly more bizarre than art, and toneddown some of his taÌes of reporters on the fringe of the secret world. "That's the trouble with HongKong, " says Rhodesian-born, John Gordon Davis, anthor of Year of tbe Hungry Tiger. A,former crown plosecr-rtor in the colonial legal service who now lives in Spain, Davis lived life to the full during

the chaotic years of the Cultural Revolution when the lwitchy city lived on its badly-strained nelves.

"Anlthing you w'ite about Hong Kong is an undelstatement," Davis complains. "The truth is always mole lemarkable than any fiction you can dream up."

How about the plot of one of his books, that dealtwith

Special Branch policeman in love with a commr-rnist activist af a time when police and left a

wing extrernists were fighting

and dying in the streets. Ridiculous, surely. No, it's the truth, actually.

\X/hat about evocative nov el

the malvellously

Th e lron Tre



Kong-born Maltin Booth? An aged, unfrocked priest living modestly in a fHE CoRRDSPoilDENT August 1!P7

grimy Kowloon tenement,


existence a grim living shadow of a tragedy during the Boxer Rebellion at

the turn of the century. Unlealistic? Yes. Also true. There are stories inHongKongso ridiculously impossible that they are beyond any credible belief . ln I97 4,1 was speaking to a debonair old !Øhite


a man who had marched

across Siberia with the \Øhite Army,

an elite Imperial Gua¡ds Regiment, he was the officer who escofted the last Tsal from his throne into house arrest. In Hong Kong's crammed streets, amid its six million energised people, there are untold stories to fill entire liblaries. How about some of the themes that rr-rn through Robert Elegant's novel, Dynøstt Can you believe the

wife of a billionaire is a habitual shoplifter, followed on her fr-rrtive sorties by maids and butlers to pay for

Authors har.e l>eer-r uzriting at>or.t Hong I(ong, bothr fiction a.nd fa.ct, aknost since tkre cold, l>h-rster-y Jantary day irt 1A4a .wzl-ren Ca"ç>ta"irt

Belcl-rer raised thre IJr-rion Jack on Possession Point

what she steals? \Øell, it's true.

too are some of the other scandals of Hong Kong, many So

unwritten because nobody would beiieve them. A leading political and

financial figure who mal'r'ies off his mistress to his homosexr-ral son, to hide what was perceived as a blot on the family? Tlue.

How about that gleat adventure story Feny To Hong Kongín which a stateless lØhite Russian shuffles back and forth across the Peall River estuary

between Hong Kong and Macalr for

over a year because immigration officers at either end will not let hirn disembark? Trr,re, again.

wl'io had been a refltgee ahaff dozen times during the turbulent centuly,

before finally washing-up on the craggy shores of Fragrant Harbor,rr. He was dying, slowly and quietly, of cancer, amid his books in Russian, French, Gelman, English ancl Chinese aged scholar preparing to go quietly into the long night. \X¿e had a companionable glass of vn'ine and he told me his rnost hidden secret. As an 18-year old subaltern in

In Hong Kong, the incredible


the norm, the or-rtrageous acceptable and the only thing beyond belief is the thought that something even more astonishing is not going to happen tomorrow. The basic history of Hong Kong,

written in the most arid academic

firanner, is the very vein-bursting stuff

of adventure. Consider the facts: a bunch of sn'ashbuckling Scots and English rnerchant adventr-rrers conspire

to sneak massive nalcotics shipments

into China, in open defiance of all laws of the Dlagon Thlone. \Øhen they are called to account, they start what is virtually a private u'ar against the Qing Dynasry. \(iith a liule help from the Royal Nar,y, they win the Opium 1ùØar and seize an island off the delta of the Pearl Ri¡zer as a base for their illegal activities. That, factually, is how- Hong Kong was born. And James Clavell told it graphically and accr,rrately in Tøipøn. If this be fact, how can you inprove on in fiction? Many have tried. Some continlre. If you gather today, 20 years after Le Carue researched his novels, around the main ba¡ of the Club, you can still hear grr-rmbles that The Gleat Hong Kong Novel is yet to be wlitten. There is, just in this one taproom, sufficient raw material to last Charles Dickens, Mark Twaìn and \Øilliam Sl-iakespeare a lifetime. \Øho's that olcl fellow over there? He's English, by ancestry, but born in remote Sichuan province in

tlre warlord era, his

parents missionaries. His Cantonese and Mandarin are better than his English. \Øhat about that nan? Oh, just another'ù7hite RussianJew wl io spent the war in the Shanghai ghetto. That

American wofiran with the gin and tonic? She's a pianist who sailed a yacht around the world. Delve into the streets outside and there are

mothellodes of potential novels. The twisting alleys of Tsimshatsui hold tales in every shadow. The squatter camps of Kowloon see figures disappear like a wisp of smoke as strangers arrive. \Øhat's behind that closed door, an opium den or a gambling hall? There's romance of the old. In the

New Territories tradition lingers. In the 1950s, it was part of the willowtree pattern of Old China and Austin Coates wrote wryly and magnificently of its unique character in Myself a Møndørin, a modern classic. Authors have been writing about

Hong Kong, both fiction and fact, almost since the cold, blusteryJanuary day in 1841 when Captain Belcher raised the Union Jack on Possession Point. Not all the early dispatches

were complimentary; one of them causedthe Blitish prime ministelLord Palmerston to make his famor-rs complaint that the navy had seized'a barren rock with scarcely a holrse upon it'. The growing hostility between Chinese officials and lawless traders,

the Opium War ancT the tumultuous first tlrree decades of the colony are recorded rneticulously, with flashes of dry wit by EJ.Eitel, who was an inspector of schools until 1882. The police chief lan the brothels

and a seniol colonial official

attempted to horsewhip the editor of

the first newspaper. One governor was boycotted by the mercantile tyrants and another u.'ent mad. Half

the police were drunk, all


corrlrpt. There were scandals of sex, graft and misuse of finance. Pirates sailed right into Hong Kong harbour,

under tl-re guns of the Royal Navy, and a Chinese baker attempted to

poison the entire


community. There's sufficient factual basis here

for a dozenJames Clavells to write a score of sequels to Taipan. Some themes are constant. Romance, usually

between white men and Chinese women, has always been a popular theme, reflecting reality. Once carried on discreetly, behind drau'n Victorian blinds of hypocrisy, it r-esulted in the

consìderable - often wealtl'ry and powerful - con.ununity of Hong Kong Enrasians, citizens of both cultures. Han Suiyin wrote of it in Loue Is A

Many Splenclored Tbing, heartrending, wann, doomed. It was a stoly of one of hel own malriages. Timothy

Mo, who wrote The Monkey King among other novels set in modeln times or against historical backdlops. is a Er-rrasian, now living in London.

Inter--marriage is today so comlron nobody thinks of it; a scant three decades ago, maniage lo a respectable Chinese girl could stunt August 1997 THD




tlre plomisin gcarcer of ayoung British

colonial officer. And then there is that most Hong Kong of all tales, the one that set the scene for a generation of rnovies. Yes, there leally was a Suzie \ùØong and her wodd did exist. It flourished most openly in the Korean \Øar years when

twin whiff of crime and sex floats in the Hong Kong air, along with the aroma of gadic-fried bean curd. It seems there is some intellectual

"He shouldered his way into the book," complained Fleming, who was Hughes' boss on London's Sunday

virus that penÌeates the Hong Kong atmosphere. Perfectly normal people

gift like Dicko." So agreed John le

arrive here and imrnediately stalt writing

Carre, whose pofirayal of Old Craw in

novels. This is the sort of thing one

Tbe Honourable Scboolboy was unmistakably the vast, exuberant

the harbour was crowded with the sleek gunboats of the Royal Navy's China Fleet. 'ùØhen Britain pulled its forces back west of Suez, the mighty

expects from reporterc, of course, but it also affects bankers (Marshall Blown's

US Seventh Fleet dropped anchor, on

Horses of Vengeønce) and academics

its way to and from Vietnam.

(Rebecca Bradley's Hong Kong

Suzie's worid boomed and more books we¡e written, but none that can match Richard Mason's classi.c, Tbe


Times, ".\ writer simply can't ignore a

In recent years, the explosive

Negatiue), lawyers (Mark Hafimann's

growth of the cityas business centre for much of Asia has created a financial

\Øhy the latal attaction of Hong

Spies, sex, secret societies, drugs,

conspiracy, violence, graft, money,

was inevitable that the imposing,

more sex ... it seems when a writer sits down at his battered typewriter, the

impossible figure of Richard Hughes, doyen of foreign correspondents,

The last Governor

Australian newspaperman.

City of Masks and Tbe Nanjing

Kong as a setting for a novel? Partly, it's the geographical location, perchedlike a pimple on China's bum, as onewriter so elegantþ explained. Second, it's the people. \ùØhen Ian Fleming was writing his 007 novels, it

World of Suzíe Wong. The prostitute withthe heartof gold, is part of citylore. Try to find her modern counterpafi. Good luck.

became a recognisable character.

J<>natll.a"n Dirnblet>¡z's nev./est book tras caused serrsa-tion in Britain, u¡itLr allegati<>ns ttrat tkre Official Secrets Act rrright hrarze t>een breached. l\4irstr<¡,- inrzestigates. Jonathan

feeding frenzy in which Cantonese of Gordon Gekkos outdo


anything in Manhattan. The chairman of the city's stock exchange gets jailed forgraft, stockbrokersfleebythe dozen; there's scope formore fiction, ifanyone can write something more remarkable than the facts. This afticle originally ø in tbe Seaboutne Cruise line magazine


p.itrin's reputation there (Hong I-/ Kong lwill be indelibly stained by the mark of appeasement." Most II

Hong Kong "liberal opinion" accuses these men of "betrayal" - which he

he arrived in Hong Kong, that lwo years eadier the Foleign Secretary Douglas Hurd and Foreign Minister

carefully encloses in inverted commas.

Qian Qichen reached an asreemerit on

damningly, Mr Dimbleby suggests that

'Tn" stage was set inJLrne for I the greatest garne of our golfing caiendar. The Richard Hughes Annual

Club Championship, together with the Charlie Smith Seniors Championship, was scheduled for June 16 at Kau Sai Chau. This

certain arrangements for future

elegantlywritten book centres on 1986 and 1.987 when Britain was faced with Chinese objections to a \Øhite Paper Iooking forward to modest elections in 1988 for the Legislative Council, until then an appointed bgdy.

elections. One of these, had Mr Patten been told, cast into doubtful legitimacy a section of the Governor' s reforms, the very package which caused Peking

The Hong Kong Government decided to test public opinion and discovered that an overwhelming

before goingup to Pekingto discuss his plan with his opposite numbers, who naturally thought he was the messenger for a fundamental breach of agreement. He didn't dare tell them of the cock up. Douglas Hurd rold Mr Dimbleby that he had forgotten about his agreement withMrQian and admitted ithad been a mistake not to infom the Governor. Also listed as not telling Mr Patten are Sir Percy Cradock - who says that he was cerfain Mr Patten had been

Handover Special was to be our last game under British sovereignty and we had really planned to push the boat out. Two boats, actually; since there were 40 players, we needed

two junks to return to Central, enjoying light refreshments on the return voyage. Thanks to Newsweek and the IHT, our vessels were well stocked with beer (estimates of our

requirements had been carefully calculated byMitch Davidson so there

was little prospect of running out).



August 1997

number of people favoured such

There were great prizes to be had, too - including Business Class tickets donated by Cathay Pacific.

which was inches deep in water,

Though the rain had been torrential

course been cancelled and sowe had to return aboatd boring old buses,

for days and showed no sign of abating, most of us made it to the golf course. But when we arrived, the course had been closed due to severe ooding. Yet, the kindly Kau Sai Chau


management eventually took pity on us and offered to open the course just

for us. The first fligl-rtgot about 150 yards

up the fairway of hole numbeL one, in what could be kindly called tollential raín. It was not a pretty sight to see grown lllen pacldling golf balls slowly towalds a lake - which

had once been a green. \Øe did, however, learn how to putt a green



The charge of "betrayal",

A soggly saga from Kau Sai Chau. before giving up and wading back to

the club house. The junks had of even arriving back in time to put in some afternoon work at the office. So, the Handover Special never happened; but we plan to re-coup andtry again, this time in a hopefully dryer October, which is when we traditionally hold our annual club championship. Meanwhile, there will be other games this month and next, probably re-visiting Nansha, which

proved a highly popular destination

on our last visit. Details will

be distributed to golf society members shortly. Juliøn Wølsb


Mr Dimbleby also says that the Foreign Office, astoundingly, neglected to tell the new Governor in 1 992,before



political reform. It then, with what Dimbleby calls "breathtaking sleight of hand designed to suggest the reverse 'was true with an effrontery usually only associated with totalitarian states andbanana republics, "declared to the

Hong Kong people that they opposed an election when in fact 265,078 favoured one and only 94,565 did not. This was more or less understood at the time. rùØhat Mr Dimbleby states flatly in his book and is utterly base if true, is that Lord Howe, Robin Mclaren, and Sir David, advised by Sir Percy, warned the Chinese that the poll would go against them, and then connive to

rig it; in Tbe Sunday

Tirues Mr Dimbleby says further that London "advised the Chinese informally" that

they should.instruct their friends in Hong Kong to write to the government

polling office indicating their opposition to elections.

to call him



Mr Patten got a whiff of this just

properly briefed - Sir Robin, "who drafted the British documents," and Tony Galsworthy, Mr Patten's Foreign Office political adviser who is Britain's

new ambassador to China. Mr Patten was forced to walk naked into the presence of his enemies. This sounds like a mammoth cockup. tVhat seerns to tne genuine betrayal is sorlething not yet noted in recent scranrbles to name the guilty .In 1.993 Mr Hurd invited Mr Patten, less than a year after' his appointment as Gctvernor, to return to London and, as leader of the House of Lords, "help shepherd the


government and abeleaguered prime minister towards the next election." Mr Patten, "not temptedfor a moment," would, however, have returned out of "loyalty and political conviction" if the

Prime Minister had "asked him unequivocally...". In 1994, three years before the handover, MrMajormade an improved

offer: leader of the Lords, foreign secretary, and deputy prime minister, all rolled into one : "Apart from Major himself, Patten would become the most powerful man in the Cabinet." rùØhat troubled the Governor was thatJohn Majorhad always insisted in public that he stood solidly behind Mr Patten, "Britain's mission in Hong Kong somehow mattered less in 10 Downing

Street than the future of his administration. For a while Patten

brooded on this: it did nothing to cheer him." People in Hong Kong will have the right to wonder after all this, together with the rows with most of the Foreign

Office "sinologues".

If Chris Patten,

during his five years here, had been out on his own limb - which many at the highest level in London, were striving to lop off. Finally, a question hangs over Mr Dimbleby's entire account: canwe tftrst it? He says he had "easy access" to Mr

Patten who agreed to discuss "his strategy and tactics at every stage of whatwas to be a serious and sustained diplomatic crisis. " How did Mr Patten -

whose authorised memoir in fact this is convince Mr Dimbleby? Did he show him state documents? If so, what about the Official Secrets Act? @ August 1997 ff,D



Back to the


Mat'tin Vlstauil

R-adio Free Europe reporter À4artin \z¡z-starzil s/as one of tlrousands of journalists q¡Lro descended on Hong I{ong to co\zer thre Handover. IJnlike naost, krovzerzer, \z¡rstanzil lliad a, lifetirne of krard e><perience lirzing under cornrrìLrnisrn. Tkre Slorzak Repr.rblic resident gives tris rziev,zs or-r tl-re territory's return to Chrina and sorrre adrzice on 1-ro-çr¡ tkris cornmunity rnigkrt still rernairt a "just societ¡2" in tkre years a"}rea-<J_

J *u, iust one ol many foreigners desert and the sociely is focused only I visiting Hong Kong during the on money. But still, I feel deeply that

from the first wave of integration into

Handover. It was my first visit to the territory. Before setting out, though, I

Having experienced that, I would like to share a few thoughts about some of our failures.

forthosewho soughta place to surwive and to live, Hong Kong is a city of

carefully studied Hong Kong's

fulfilled hopes. I also returned home

information sources for several months.

with a feeling of sadness because there are so many parallels between the return of Hong Kong to communist


read mostly Internet \Øeb sites of

countless newspapers and magazines, as well as people's home pages. However, I still feel as somebodywho

only caught a brief glimpse of


precious jewel.

Yet when leaving Hong Kong, I took with rne,

as I suspect many others have, something that touched my heart.

Firstly, it is a deep respect for those who created this most civilized city. To express the fundamentals of Hong Kong society, I would not use adjectives such as "'Western" or "Eastern." Hong Kong is simply a good place to live. The people treat each other in accord with sound and just laws, under which the uniqueness and creativity of the i ndividual is respected. I know that many criticize Hong Kong. They warn that the territory will sufferfrom rising con-uption andfalling living standards. That it is a cultural fHD


Àugust 1997

China and the situation in my


Here the will of citizens is not used to inspire the legislation

NATO and the European Union.

Firstly, decent people have forgotten that democracy is a precious stone which can be easily stolen. \Øe have let big mouths carry the burden of freedom for us, and we have given up superwising those in power. Now

processes. Respect for the individual

we stand struck by surprise as we watch them abuse the virgin of

is trampled; instead the worshipping of myth-rnakers and their false myths inspired by the former communist -and transformed to nationalistic ones now still get the green light, - sadness and respectwel'e my Both company when I walked the streets of

democracy. Secondly, decent citizens suppose that there are limits which no one will break. Forget it! Those with servile eyes, being full of fear of their own deeds, break more laws than one can lmaglne.

Hong Kong during those last ruiny day s inJune. A mixture of emotions similar lo those when you say "Good bye" to a friend going to selve in a communist army. How long will it take to see him again as a free rlan? And, how will he be changed when next you see hin? I come fiom a former communist

You may say: "tùØel1, we do not have such people in Hong Kong!" However, you need onlywait a while, and I think you will soon see a new species of people. Two faced andwith no backbone, they will spring up as mushrooms after rain, in a society which prefers uncertain rules of

country. It has recentlybeen excluded

blackmailers to just laws for all.

Our next faillrre was this: rùØe have not stood up for unjustly treated fellow

competition to practical help. Their image is uncertain and their deeds

it. lt also

citizens, Once the myth-makers

unpredictable. You know, intellectuals .,, And let me also share a medra experience. If Hong Kong shows any

growing plants. As I walked the streets of Hong Kong, I reiished being with relaxed

conquered our media and state security stluctures, the myth-makers began to draw a picture of so-called "enemies" inner or oltter ones. The m¡h-makers love to uncover "traitors"-thosewho are "unpatriotic." If the citizens of a counüy or a territory have no interestintheirfellow-citizens,

their society will eventually become atomized by individual fears. Another mistake lies in our giving

up being proactive about our lives! Instead of creating a network of awareness, influential citizeninitiatives,

and own information sources, we merely react to unbelievable deeds.


I hear "Sf ait, we will see!" I have to smile. "Yes, you will see!" The myth-

signs of dictatorship or if there is a quickly growingtyrant, you shouldnot forget also to laugh at theml It is our experience in Eastern Europe that tyrants and dictators take themselves very seriously indeed. They become frlrious when pressed face fi'ont to a


to be defended,

Democratic freedoms are not self-

people who were free and who respected olhers.


also admired the

Hong Kong police, who were both effective, yet polite and respectful. To

me they are another proof of real freedom and safety.


I will

always remember

mirror. Humor canbe falmore powerfu I than guns. Because itworks in people's minds andit can give brilliant insightin an instant. You may have noticed that I often

watching two British policemen, standing up, when the last British

talk about "us" and "them". This

of the "rule of law!" as they firmly


another clear sign of a divided sociely. Evil is eagel to approach each ofus as

individuals. But some of us allow

makers are usually very focused and the force dliving their deeds is quite intelligent. Pro-democratic politicians have also failed in my homeland. They have

therlselves to be fascinated by it more. It is also permanent mystery for me this process of the change from "us" to "them".

not leamt to talk with ordinary people. Their speeches are full of Latin words. It seems that they prefer intellectual


' I hope that now you

better my conviction that the

precious gemcalledajustsocietyshould be cherished bythose who have created

anthem in Hong Kong sounded. They have spent most of their lives in Hong Kong, proud of their work, and proud proclaimed. Now they will continue to SAR. They are too strongly linked to Hong Kong by family, and friends, andcareers, toleave. They, and the many other just citizens of this city, are the main hope that Hong Kong has to preserve independent spirit.

work for the

Vystauil's \[/ebsite on tbe political situøtion in Sloualeia can be accessed al

unuw.saubøsþ/-comÇmauy August






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þress conference 6tt the FCC ctt the



Cbtb ntentber Dau,id'Westerbout îl,¡.eets Cbristopber lingle after his bLncheon address

Top: Iisa Weauer cross drcssittg.for Zebras and le.ft; Charlotte Cocbrane, FCC absentee ntentber, at plql it'L

Tbailand Veteran cotresþondent Edwarcl Behr, in toutx to couer the Hanclouer, is t'tot tal<it'tg any cbances of 'caught' insicle tbe Clttb witlt his þoñable phone


August 1!P7 IHD


A montbly portrøít of FCC ùrcepløceøbles

Keith'Shaþ' Shakespeare The swinging 70s. Does it really maifer? Cryptic Crossword Consultant. English (very). Guess what I did at work today. what's another word for ...?

Member since: Age: Profession: Nationality: Least likely to say: Most likely to say:

Pltotogrøþbed by Bob Døuis


rHE GoRRXSPoNIIENT August 1997


7Ã Nl

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The Correspondent, August 1997  
The Correspondent, August 1997