Page 1

North Korea Comes Out? Macau One Year Later *Too Close to Call" The US Elections

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Chorteou Hotut

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CORRESPONDENTS'

CLUB

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2 Lower Albert Road, Hong I(oug Tel; (852) 252Ì l5l1 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 E-mail: <fcc@fcchk.org> \A¡ebsite: <rnt'.lcchk.org>

(Bondenux)

Ervrilioru, Fnnnce)

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President

A bouourr of coconur n¡rd

Anthony Lawence

Fint Vice Prqident

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Second Vice President

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COb{TE.NTS

THE FOREIGN

Correspondent Member Governors Paul Bayfield, Kate Pould Darvson, Huberl van Es, Luke Hunt, N{ark Landler, David Roads, Philip Segal

2 ,",r".. I 4 Ao,,orrrr"ements I 6' The President I "tor7

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Lechere Chorrnporgne (Bleruc de Blnrucs, Fnnruce)

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Associate Member Governors Kevin Egan, Robert L Fienberg, David Garcia, Martin Merz

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Fi¡ance Committee Conuenot : Philip Segal (Treasnrer)

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Professional Conumor:

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Comtitutional Comittee C ona enor

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Memberehip Committee Con¿enol Hubert van Es

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Houe/F&B Comittee Conuazor: Dave Garcia

Entertainment Comittee Convenor: fim Latrie

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RfL Phillips

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Comittee Co-con.ueruor: }]tbert Yar

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so"L Reviews 31 The Feng Shui Detecrive 31 ABC ofHongKong

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The Correspondent

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28 Developing a News Media from Scratch 30 Publishing in War TornJaffna.

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Media 20 Vietnam Reporter's Notebook 22 From Kansas City to Shanghai the oldest newspaper in the America's 24 Il Mercurio 25 Too Close to- Call The US Elections - Stories of \2K 26 The Most Important

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Macau One Year Later

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Cover Portfolio North Korea Unveiled

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The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong

The Corrcspondent is published 6 times a year Opinions expressed b; rvriters in nagazine are not necessarily those of the Club Publicatiore Committee Conaenor: Lttke Hwr DEut¡ Conaenor: Paul Ba¡úeld Etlilor: Satl Lockhart Prorluction: Terry Duckham

I

32 Jasper Becker

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Around the FCC in Pictures

38 Social 38 Bert's 39 Birthdays in the FCC

Editorial Editor: Sarrl Lockhart Tel: 2813 5284 Fax: 2813 6394 Mobile: 9836 1210 E-mail: lockhart@hkstarcom

China: Plus Ça Change...

34 Pamela Yatsko - Shanghai's Rebirth 36 Adeline Yen Mah A Chinese'\Moman's SpiritualJourney 37 Isabella Rossellini - Dinner With Isabella -

Professional Contacts

Production Asiapix Print Services ^fel:2572 9544 Fax: 2575 8600 E-mail: asiapix@hk.linkage ne t

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FCC Faces

Steve White

www.@ruo. wúnes.com Cusroruen Cnne Ervrni[: ondens@biqsnvewi¡res.coru

Obituary

Website

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Mitch Davidson Cover Photographed by FredericJ Brown/AI'P Albright urc treated. to a mass rally of 100,000, incl:u.d,àng 25,000 carlholdns, duting hn recent uisit to North Korea.

US Senetary of State Madeline

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY200t


From Sheila McNamara #7113 After reading the shock news in tlte iMailthat Willie Wo Lap Lam was removed as China editor, his colleagues at the SCMP decided on a party to show their support and respect for one of Hong Kong's most distinguished j ournalists. I instantly rang the FCC to arrange this, and was told we could have a cordoned-off area in the dining room on Friday evening. I arranged to e-mail next day

to confirm the numbers

attending. The following morning, the same lady e-mailed to say the room was pre-booked for the theatre party. I was then put through to the restaurant manager to ask about

the downstairs lounge to be told that tables were only available on a one-member-three-guests arrangement, first-come, first-served. Brilliant! I had explained the occasion, pointing out that Willie was a long-time member. But still no deal. So as a result, the party was held elsewhere.

I should have been at the FCC on attend a fund-raiser for the to Monday night A table for 12 had been Walk. Trailwalker Charity Coincidentall¡

booked, but when the organiser requested an extra table to stack articles for a blind auction, she was tables are for diners only. told this was impossible the event was moved to spare, hour an So again, with the owner put where restaurant to an Elgin Street in a couple threw meal and five-course on a splendid 12 satisfied He's won wine. courtesy of bottles of future customers. I don't want to labour the point, but to turn zway a party for the city's most internationally

known journalist and also badly mishandle a fund-raiser for Hong Kong's top charity event is

W¡nSi'n

I hope the new marketing in October-November read about manager we management gone mad.

edition of The Corresþondenú can knock heads together. Incidentally, when the Trailwalker organiser askecl to see he¡ she was told no-one at the FCC had heard of her. Two major gaffes in two days is quite an achievement. Three strikes and I'm out.

Come to Mo Tat lfan on Lamma Island and discover Hong Kong's newest venue for al fresco dining and

greaf- parties.

Located on the beach, Cococabana offers a laid

back Mediterranean-style atmosphere. Enjoy our exotic cocktails and balcony dining set against the soft sound of waves on the beach and spectacular views over the South China Sea to Hong Kong. Live Latin music and Salsa parties can also be enjoyed on a

President's note: The Club uas þacked that night mahing it dfficuk to accommodate any late-arriuing þarty, no matter hou uorthy. Neuertheless, aþologies for the way the booking uas handled. As for your second example of "bad rnanagement", it was felt fu the staff, and I an'd, th,c House

Committee concurred, that a charity auction (blind or otherwise) could be loud and disruþtiue to other diners uho

uere trying to haae a quiet repast in the Main Dining Room. I understand that the Hughes and Albert Rooms uere offered as þossible alternatiae aenlles and refused. Pity that. Holding the charity auction in one of those rooms uould, to my

mind, have solaed the problem comþletely. As for not getting through on the phone to Andrea Gutwirth, the

regular basis,

new marketing manager, aþologies once again. That

Cococabana can be reached by ferry from the Aberdeen Fishmarket or by junk. Our own boat, Le Junk, is available for hire at very reasonable prices.

shouldn't haþþen.

For reservations please call2328 2138 Produce your FCC n'tembership card and receiue a free Sangriø uPon arriual.

Lunch or dine four times in one month at any of our restaruants in SOHO and enioy a free junk trip to COCOCABANA. Casa

Lisboa

2s69

Polîuguese Cuisine La Belle F;po<rye2537 Frencb Cuisine

9631

Cafe Au

Lac

2526 8aa9

Vietnc mese Cuisine

9381 Cubana

2869 Lz1a

Cuban Cuisine

From Dinah Lee Kung Absent Member #2371 Judy Boillat-Bonavia

The many friends ofJudy (formerly Bonavia), now the wife of Swiss diplomat Jean-Marc Boillat, will be distressed by the news thatJudy and her husband were involved in a serious car accident. The Boillat car's left side collided with a truck on October 15 outside Harare, capital of Zimbabwe, where the couple took up residence early last spring after Jean-Marc was transferred there as ambassador from his previous posting in Buenos Aires.Judy had reported to friends in THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY 2001

in August that she in Flarare, despite the obvious political

Switzerland during a "home visit"

loved living

troubles, and she enjoyed travelling to adjacent capitals to whichJean-Marc has also been accredited.

In two emergency operations in Zimbabwe, Judy's life-threatening loss of blood was stemmed, but at grievous cost. Flarare doctors were forced to amputate her left arm above the elbow and remove her spleen. Medical advisors in Switzerland urged the Boillats to fly immediately to Geneva. They arrived by special medical plane in a 15 hour flight to Geneva on October 26. The Swiss medical team is concentrating now on locating the exact source of partial-paralysis of the left eyelid. Only in a second scan on October 31 did they discover that she was trying to talk and eat with a broken jaw. Happily, suspicions of damage to the innermost part of the left ear seem unfounded.

Judy's spirits are remarkably resilient. JeanMarc, physically unharmed, has not left her side. Despite considerable pain, she greets visitors on her

if swollen, smile. Emerging from four uninterrupted hours of rattling in a magnetic scanning tube in Geneva's Hospital Cantonal, she allowed herself only one less than heroic comment: "Okay, now I'm grumpy." Jean-Marc is asking all friends to e-mail messages of sympathy and encouragement to Judy. Urgent messages will be conveyed to her in Geneva by Dinah Lee Kung (<DinahLeeK@aol.com>). The e-mail address in Harare is <boillat@utande.co.zw>. The postal address is MmeJudy Boillat-Bonavia, c/o DFAE (Harare), CH3303 Berne, Switzerland. feet with a big,

Late add:

T-he doctors here

in

Geneaa

From Angus MacKinnon #7619

Writing in last month's (October-November issue) llunt notes that he has a HK$500 bet that there will be a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan. The esteemed correspondent neglected to mention that the bet, which I was only too happy to take up, specified that the aforesaid nuclear conflict would take place by the end of this year. Corresþondenl, Luke

From Absent MemberJulian Sobin #3233 As a member of the Club, I have just read on page 28 of the October-November 2000 issue of The Corresþondenú a notice of the passing of Klaus Cichon, a long-time friend of mine whom I had lost contact with for too many years. I deeply regret his passing and would like to communicate my condolences to his family. Would you kindly advise me on how to do that? Thank you very much.

Editor's note: Contact details onþassed.

Now open till 3 a.m. on Fridays

þerþrmed a minor

operation to determine the damage to the nerae controlling the þartial þaralysis of the face. The doctors also discouered that her jaw is not broken, but only fractured. No oþeration required there.

From Alan M Abrahams #6135 Chair, Amnesty International Hong Kong On behalf of the Amnesty International Hong Kong Section, I would like to express, formall¡ my thanks

to the FCC for allowing us use of a room for our monthly Group One (English language) members meeting. My thanks to all Club members: but a special vote of gratitude to Karl Wilson (FCC President at the time), his committee and, of course, (General Manager) Gilbert Cheng who has done so much to

WESTERNI IMONEY UNIONI IÎRAIIISFER

make it happen.

Group One meet regularly on the last Monday

of each month. There will be no meeting in

will resume in the new year. They are 'open' meetings, not confined to Amnesty members. All are welcome: curious FCC members December, but

ß 2Lt7 9088 Services available

in the following locations:

Admiralty . Causeway Bay . Central . Kwun Tong Mongkok

.

Sheung Wan

.

Tsìmshatsui

especially so. THE CORRLSPONDENT DECEìIIBER 2000-JANUARY 200Ì

3


news, and the circumstances leading up

to

his

departure do provide grounds for worry.

Mr Lam has an international reputation as a specialist in Chinese affairs and his commentaries are widel)' read se¡¡s¿imes controversial - public. He has -both by experts and the general served his paper for 12 years, 10 of them as China editor.

Mr Lam was personally criticized four months ago in the PosfS letters section by the paper's majority shareholder and former chairman, Robert

Bye-bye fhe SCMP's Editorial Page Editor Danny Gittìngs presents Willy Lam with a souvenir of his departure

WillyWo-Lap Lam The resignation of Willy Lam, former Associate Editor/ Chino. and columnist þr the SCi:|l4 Post, has attracted much attention, here and ahroad. More than 100 editors and reþorters wrote a joint letter to the þaper backing Mr Lam. The FCC's Freedom of the Press Committee wrote this letter to the newsþaperPost Editor Robert KeatlE's reþly is inchtded.

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong expresses its concern at the resignation of Willy Wo-Lap Lam from tt'e SCMP after its decision to relieve him of his duties as China editor. The FCC

rarely comments on the personnel decisions of news media, but the possibility that Mr Lam might have been removed for political reasons is too serious to disregard. We note the Posl's statement that political concerns were not behind the move, and that it was taken to broaden coverage of the Mainland. Mr Lam, however, has asserted that an "invisible hand" had in recent months begun to assert itself regarding China-related

Kuok Hock Nien, who objected to Mr Lam's column suggesting that a group of Hong Kong tycoons (including Mr Kuok) had been called to Beijing and told to rally behind Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. Mr Kuok described the article as "absolute exaggeration and fabrication." Mr Lam stood by his story. Mr Kuok is of course entitled to comment upon his own paper. But then, several more leading businessmen wrote to attack Mr Lam and subsequentþ the State Council's information offìce and Wen Wei Po joined the criticism. In addition, Mr Lam has asserted that he was told on a number of occasions that some unnamed people were unhappy with his columns and that he should moderate them, which he declined to do. He was sufficientþ concerned by these requests that he began to look for alternative employment. The decision to relieve him of his responsibilities as China editor, taken without his knowledge, would seem to substantiate his assessment. The SCMPhas described the move as "an organisational change aimed at expanding and diversifying its coverage of China." Given the criticisms of the paper's China coverage, it is difficult to view Mr Lam's transfer as simply an internal reshuffle by a private company. The suggestion of political pressure is implicit in the change. Newspapers, have a special responsibility of public trust; any decision by

INDEPENDENT JOURI\dALIST ?

DECEN,Í ßER 2000-JANUARY 200

i

President Jiang Zemin's outburst

The FCC takes note of comments made by President Jiang Zemin of China last Friday (Oct 27)

about the conduct of the Hong Kong news media. In particular, we note Mr Jiang's statement, "If you make any error in your report, you will have to take the responsibility for it." We reaffirm that it is the right indeed the duty of Hong Kong's - leaders about - to probe Chinese news media matters of public interest, such as the election of a Chief Executive in 2002. We hope the president's warning was not intended to deter the press from doing itsjob.

Response from Rotrert Keatley, Editor, SCM Post

Detention of Hong Kong journalists in Shenzhen The questions raised, by Willy Lam's decision to resignfrom theSCMP are underslandable nen though many assumþtions

behind them are incorrect.

The senior editors of this paþer decided to transfer the staff-management portion of his duties to someone else and to exþand them; no one at thePost, including Mr Lam, had erer been in ouerall charge of those who urite about China for all sections of the paþer We decided to improue direction and co-ordination as we add more journalists and more sþace to coaer China. We do not belieue lVr Lam's special talents ke in this direction. Houeuer, I spent considerable time encouraging him to remain an associate editor and a regular coh¿mnist anrJ the þaþer He declined, partly because, he said,, þlanned to leaue thePost in the nearfuture in any case and had been negotiating with other þotential employers for

contributorfor

he had

seueral months. The

famous letter from Robert Kuoh Hock Nien uas not a

factor i,n these changes. At no time was Mr Lam told

by

an)one that any subject was off limits for his columns. I did try to imþroae the quality of his journalism for the sake of clarity, argumentation and þhrasing, but this consisted of normal neusþaþer editing. He was neuer censored, and would noL haue been if he had stayed. Clearly, these organisational changes could haae been carried out with greo,ter care and sensitiuity. Howeue¡ ue belieue they uill enable the Post to exþand and imþroue its coaerage oJ the comþlex nation called China uith a continued high degree of credibility, and this uill become obaious to readers

correspondent.com THE CORRESPONDENT

them that may affect the free flow of information is a matter of public concern. The FCC fears the Posú's move is likely to give the impression, fairly or unfairly, that its China-related news will from now on be coordinated into a more singular, less critical view. The readers of Posl have come to expect a high standard of reporting, along with informed analysis and sometimes critical commentar¡ of mainland affairs. They will no doubt be watching very carefully for any indication that Mr Lam's removal as China editor signals an effort to depoliticise the reporting of China's political news.

in

the months ahead.

The Foreign Correspondents CIub of Hong Kong expresses its concern at the detention of Hong Kong journalists by authorities in Shenzhen, where they had gone to cover the participation of the Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa in the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the Special Economic Zone. We oppose the unreasonable restriction of news coverage wherever and whenever it occurs, and we are particularly concerned when Hong Kong-based journalists are involved. The journalists in question were on assignment to report an activity involving the highest official in their communit¡ something reporters and photographers do around the world. Of course, these celebrations also included the presence of the nation's leader, PresidentJiang Zemin. It is difficult to imagine how covering activities involving the president of China and the head of the Hong Kong SAR would not be recognised as legitimate news gathering.

We are also disappointed that the Chief Executive, Mr Tung, did not make a statement disapproving of the decision to bar news media belonging to the community he represents. Perhaps he felt constrained by his position as a guest; if so, we call on him to make his feelings known upon his return from overseas. Barring reporters from doing their job is more than just bad public relations. We sincerely hope this sort of action would not be repeated.


From the President e certainly live in stirring days, and by the time these words appear in print they may

well have been overtaken by new local developments meriting the concern of correspondents and local journalists.

President Jiang Zemin, First, the good news has allowed reporters during his state visit to Brunei, from the Hong Kong media to put questions to him. They were contacted by his secretary over the arrangements. MrJiang is reported to have taken three questions on Sino-US relations, Taiwan and China's coming entry into the World Trade Organisation. The ATV team was allowed to frlm. Before leaving MrJiang

said: "You are satisfied toda¡ aren't you?" A very different scene, this, from the one in Beijing last month when he lost his temper and scolded the reporters for being naive and irresponsible. Then in New York, Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-Kuen told a hundred executives at a breakfast meeting that the Hong Kong press is "powerful, it is watchful...it has inspired confidence in the rest of the world." The free press in Hong Kong, he added, had played a essential role in helping investors make the right decisions.

Next duy Mrs Anson Chan, Secretary for Administration, said in a speech at the meeting of the Freedom Forum that, since the Handover, the Hong Kong media had not lost any of their fabled sting. She added, "investors placed their money and trust in Hong Kong because we offer a leveÌ playng held protected by basic freedoms and the rules of law. A free press is very much part of rhat. If Hong Kong cannot guarantee a free and unfettered flow of news and information, it will unnerve our citizens, undermine the basis of our economy and scare off foreign investors. Any signs of political correctness or self-censorship clogging up that flow are going to send all wrong signals to the

community at home and our friends and business partners abroad." llowever, it was not all honey. Intensity of competition among newspapers, said Mrs Chan had led to price wars and, she had heard, "a general dumbing-down in a scramble for juicier stories and more sensational headlines." We have a solid core of a highly-regarded journalists. We have energetic and enthusiastic young

reporters. "It was up to the industry itself to ensure a

greater and more enduring depth of talent and experience by offering a more rewarding career path, better on-job training and attractive salaries and incentives to stem the flow of young journalists to the greeners pastures of public of relations ancl the Government's Information Service. " That badly needed saying. And it's obviously the proprietors, rather than the editors and staff, who should be hnancing and thus achieving the higher standards Mrs Chan was talking about.

As if to emphasise the contrast belleen freedom here and across the border, a few days before President

Jiang's "charm offensive", a number of Hong Kong journalists were barred form reporting a ceremony in Shenzhen to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Special Economic Zone. Under Mainland law, all media must obtain permission from the Public Security Bureau before being allowed to film or report on an event. t the present time, here in Hong Kong, there

is no freedom more susceptible to quiet erosion, than freedom of the press, radio and television. Does that matter? Experience of many countries shows that it matters very much indeed. It has been rightly said, that so long as the media are free, free to report, comment, criticise,

then everything is free. As soon as they give way to control or censorship or pressures by official institutions, a dark chapter opens. But surely a just a business and the owner should be allowed to do what he or she likes with it, hire or fire, choose an editor who shares the proprietorial thinking? The answer is that it's more than a business, especially a newspaper like the SCMP which enjoys semi-official status. The Hong Kong press and radio cover a wide spectrum. Readers enjoy a choice in what they buy. So solid reliable newspaper and many trends of opinion frnancial "analysts" as well corrupt pornographic rags, advisers, tycoons' play-things as honest, experienced comments. responsible of Experience and vehicles is such preferable a scene very to one in shows how how on good the matter no writing and wellwhich, newspaper or a radio station

is

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000JANUARY 2001

informed the sources, the serious reader can never be sure that he is getting the whole picture, that offìcial interests are not holding back vital truths. It is the duty of the organisations like the FCC, working with the Hong Kong Journalists Association, to express concern at every sign of moves which seem to hold a threat, however slight or unintentional, to the freedom of the media. A proposed law against harassing by "stalkers" might seem reasonable. But could it not be invoked against journalists carrying out important activities in the public interests? Verbal reassurance is welcome, but once a law is passed it's only the black and white of the text that counts, not what a government spokesman said six months previously. More recentl¡ a development of greater concern. -lhe South China Morning Post talks of

restructuring and expanding its China coverage, but its internationally-known columnist resigns after complaining of being victimised and sidelined and a 115 staff voiced their protest. If incidents like this are allowed to pass without comment, sooner or later comes another apparently innocuous attempt at making the local media a little more spineless, a little less troublesome. Those concerned with press freedom can never afford to relax.

Anthonv Lawrence

Wine Appreciation By Barry Kalb

he December holiday season begs for rich, bold red wines. There are plenty of great selections on the Club's regular wine list,

greatþ using an ancient method called refermentation. Now, they have expanded on the technique to come up

which will see some changes on December 1 to take the members' preferences into account. We will also be highlighting four reds during the month, one from the revised list and three specials. As usual, there will be a list of champagnes and champagne-method wines available for Christmas and

Campofiorin. It's no relation to the noble barolo wines of the Italian northwest, but it is every bit as good, and a:tff+25,less expensive than most barolos. Chris Baker, who ran the Hong Kong wine school before departing our shores, used to say of the

New Year's Eve.

Jean Leon's cabernet sauvignon is produced in the old-fashioned Bordeaux manner by Spain's most prominent winemakeq Miguel Torres. This one was very popular during the Spanish wine promotion in September, and will now appear on the regular list. At $365, it is an exceptional buy. Valpolicella is a rather pedestrian wine from northeastern Italy. The Masi winery first improved it

with a superb and distinctive wine named Brolo di

Amarone by Zenato. "This is what winemaking is supposed to be all about." The wine has won medals against the best in the world. $595 for a treat you won't soon forget.

Pinot noir, the grape used in the great Burgundies,

is notoriously difficult to make into good

wine.

California's famous Robert Mondavi has succeeded where many others have failed. His Carneros Pinot Noir combines the depth, complexity and flavour of the Burgundies, a real rarity. The price is $640. I

wwtru. prnewswl rea sla . co m ASIA Call

[85212572 B22B

on Email asia@pnnewswire.com


Crue Acrrvruns - Jnz Socrnry

FIRST

E OGATRA azz Festival

PU

he First Puerto Galera-lazz Festival

a concept concocted under

a

-Puerto Galera coconut tree earlier this year by the FCC's Allen Youngblood, Robin Lynarr and Terry Duckham with Allan Nash and his El Galleon crew provided the occasion for a mass invasion of Mindoro Island by FCC members going for the music, the diving, the sailing, the golf, or in the case of a few hardy fools all four. A small advance guard went down with

Bert's musicians, Allen Youngblood, Larry Flammond, Paul Candelaria, 'Wink" Pettis and Guy Le Claire, on Thursday night and helped unload drum kits from outrigger boats, while Bob Davis recorded the whole slightly surreal process on video. Unbelievably

nobody dropped anything important, and the party was in full swing by the time the main FCC contingent arrived at the El Galleon resort in the early hours of Saturday morning. Saturday saw a change of venue to the Puerto Galera Yacht Club, an FCC reciprocal, where the Hong Kong musicians were joined by some young players from Manila backing local singer Maya and her dog, Scout he

lrF--

didn't actually sing but got almost as -much attention as the other performers anyway. Those who surt'ived the Saturday night party back at El Galleon either took to the

depths, accepted a kind invitation from

PGYC stalwart Gundolf Ahrens to cruise the crystalline waters on his luxury yacht, or in the case of the FCC Golf Society members participated heroically in a one-day

tournament on the punishing Ponderosa Golf Course located 2,000 feet above the other festivities. Proceedings wound up on Sunday with an early evening jam from the Hong Kong and Filipino musicians, and the presentation of assorted trophies to the golfers by Ponderosa Golf and Country Club President Tony Taylor, who declined an invitation to sing. Monday rolled around and except for a few lucky stragglers the FCC group returned to the Main Bar to show off their suntans

-

same time, same place nextyear.

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Festiaal Jazz aflcionados should conlact the conaenor Robin 4,?1a'tn on

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THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2OOO:IANUARY

2OOI

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER

2OOO-JANUARY

2OO1

9


FCC GoIf Society Report ByJulian Walsh Sand River -

October

18

On October 18 a group of us went to Sand Rive¡ just over the border in Shenzhen. This was the fìrst time we had played this 27-hole course, most of which is built on reclaimed land and boasts nine floodlit holes for night golf. The arrangements for this game had been kindly made by Vincent Wan (FCC member and best known as the Perrier importer) and Patrick Ung of the Golf Academy at Sand River. Fortunately Vincent was not offended by the occasional beer we drank, but as a result of which the score for the day turned out to be a bit too complex to calculate and we abandoned any attempt to record a winner. However, Robin Swaffield managed the nearest

the pin prize and yours truly got the longest drive. Ken Jackson, whose upbringing in Alabama obviously did not include trips to the beach, made up for this childhood deprivation by spending almost the entire day playing in the sand. He must have displaced enough sand to influence the delicate ecological balance created by the Sand River architects on what was once the

sea.

Golf &Jazz in the Philippines - November 11 & 12 In November we went to the Philippines to hook up with the FCC Jazz Festival in Puerto Galera. En route we played a magnificent course atMalarayaf. Once again we never quite managed to tally the final scores for any overall winner, but Ray Cranbourne won each of the two longest drives and Stella Yang the nearest the pin and the ladies' longest drive.

The FCC would like to thank musicians Allen Youngblood, Guy Le Claire, Lary Hammond, Paul Candelar¡a,'Wink' Pettis, Rob¡n Lynam, Karin l\ilalmstöm, lvlaya Barnaby, Lyl Buencamino, Dolf Cruz, Rachel Conanan, Paolo lilanuel, Alan Nash and the El Galleon staff. Commodore Olaf Tomford and PGYC staff, Frank Doyle and the LBC staff, and Andrew Chislett and the Park Hotel staff

10

After a dark and bumpy sea crossing in a banca, and a night of wonderful music at El Galleon we rose early the next day to make the ascent to what must be one of the world's most unusual golf courses at the Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. This nine hole course is built on a mountain overlooking Puerto Galera and would seem more suitable for goats and rock climbers. The access is by way of four wheel drive up a seemingly never ending rocky track, but the effort was worth it and the views spectacular. The course proved a very severe test of our short game and agility with more than one of us falling while negotiating the steep inclines. Apart from FCC, players local wildlife proask Terry Duckham about the tree liferated snake that showed considerable curiosity in one of his more memorable shots. I THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY 2001

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I\Uorth Ke,ree Coræes,OutP' First it was the meeting of the Kims, Kim Jorg II, North Korea's Head of State, and Kim DaeJrrtg, the President of South Korea. And then there was the visit of the American Secretary of State Madeline Albright to Pyongyang in

October. Is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea finally stepping out from its selÊimposed isolation to join the world community? No one is really certain. But through the lenses of FrednicJ Brownof AFP, who accompanied Mrs Albright, we no\,v have an opportunity for a sneak peak at the country. 12

\iot't't¿

Top: See that? North Korea's Head of Slate Kim Jong ll gestures to US Secretary of State Madeline Albright who was his guest at a mass rally of 100,000. Above: Traffic controller Even though there are few cars in Pyongyang, women controllers in vivid blue are seen at most intersections rigidly directing whatever traffic there is.

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY2001

Top: Hail to the chief Massed dancers at a rally staged for Secretary Albright Above: Kids on parade Children and aid mix at the Rangnang Kindergarten, a UN World Food Programme Distribution site in Pyongyang

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JAi\ UARY

200

1

13


Top: Cards up Some 25,000 card-

Top: Clean up Women sweep in front of the looming Mansudae Grand

holders present an image of support for the milĂŹtary Centre: Never far out of sight North Korean soldiers being trucked to a mass rally in honour of Secretary Albright, Right: What's that? North Korean schoolchildren are curious about the rare sight of westerners photographing on the streets of the capital

14

l\4onument of the Great Leader, Kim ll Sung, founder of the country.

Middle: Once again from the top Kindergarten children perform song and dance routines accompanied by their teacher on the accordion in a welcoming show for the visiting Americans. Right: Fear A North Korean woman carrying her baby the traditional way glares with fear when the camera points in her direction

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY

2001

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY

2001

15


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has been a year since Macau joined the exclusive fraternity of SARs. How has it fared? Warren Rooke reports

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hen Edmond Ho Hau-wah became the first Chief Executive of Macau on December 20, 1999, he promised he would use his first few months in offrce to study and evaluate in which direction to take the new Special Administrative Region following 450 years of Portuguese presence. This seemed to take some observers by surprise. After all, Edmond Ho had been deputy chairman of the Legislative Assembly for many years. He was chairman of the Macau Banking Association and a member of the Standing Committee of the PRC's National People's Congress. He had also been aware for most of 1999, as

To be fair, Ho inherited a territory coming to the end of four straight years of negative GDP growth. Unlike Hong Kong, he had the benefit of a throughtrain legislature, but he also inherited a civil service which his supporters are quick to point out was stripped of expertise, experience and thoroughly lacking in direction Privately he was said to have been devastated by the state in which the Portuguese had left the executive. Stories abound of missing files and documents, staff ill-equipped to take over managerial roles and a dearth of planning within departments. "The Portuguese knew they were leaving at the end of 1999 and so theyhad little need to plan after that period...at least there is little evidence they did," one senior government offìcer told me. "Unlike Hong

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brighter Macau. Crime, particularly triad æß activit¡ has fallen dramatically and, as a direct consequence increased tourism, A meeting of Chief Executives Macau's Edmond Ho Hau-wah and Hong Kong's Macau is climbing again at a rapid rate. It Tung Chee-hwa, is well on its way to a new tourist record, and easily set to pass the eight million mark set in 1996 everyone else was, that he was a shoe-in to become Macau's first Chief Executive. So it was widely expected before the crime wave and the Asian crisis.

that both he and his administration would hit the ground running. The Hong Kong and Macau press had built up an image of Edmond llo as a breath of fresh air following the stifling bureaucracy of the outgoing Portuguese

administration, a man who understood China antd, despite his youth, the only logical choice to lead Macau out of the doldrums of the economic chaos of the Asian crisis and an image damaged by drawn out gang warfare.

On the surface, Macau's first year as an SAR has been more of a light jog down the Praia Grande than the sprint that was anticipated. 16

esidents are uncertain whether the improvement in crime was brought about by

intervention from China or changes within the security forces in Macau, but for most the reasons are not rmportant. "Business is booming again,' says Frank Stocek, general manager of the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel. "People stayed away from Macau for over two years because they were frightened by reports of the shootings and gang wars. Now it is over and we are starting to benefit from the pent-up demand created during that time," he said. THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY 2001

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A pleasant wait The outdoor bar-cum-waiting area at Fernando's Restaurant is packed these days as tourists return to lVlacau,

d o

9 5

t Fernando's restaurant on Coloane Island, always a good barometer of the health of tourism, there are long lines of customers most weekends. Andrew Stow, the man most responsible for the popularity of the Portuguese egg tart in Asia through his Lord Stow's bakery on Coloane, says even Mainland Chinese visitors are lining up for

his product. Tourists agree that old Macau is visually stunning

and pay tribute to the departing Portuguese for devoting so much time, energy and money to ensure the enclave would retain its European culture and heritage, The new administration was quick to recognise the tourist value of Macau's history and has continued to build on it by upgrading buildings, churches and temples, especially on the islands of Coloane and Taipa.

But despite the fact Macau is expecting a 23% increase in visitor arrivals, the forecast for hotel occupancy is less thar' |Vo. Even though 2.7 million will overnight in Macau this year, it doesn't mean

ferry fleets and transport companies and entertainment outlets which today employs over 10,000 people under the umbrella of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM) . The government of Macau admits that gambling's contribution to the GDP is in the region of 43% while others say STDM accounts for more than 60 cents in every dollar of government revenue. STDM's influence has grown to such an extent the governm'ent says openly that it is time to reduce it. Ho announced that the franchise would be thrown open at the end of 2001 when the current contract ended. True to his word, Ho continues to study the way ahead and has avoided big spending in his first year. There is little evidence of any government-led capital projects underway and while trade frgures show an improvement there is little overseas investment in industry and new business. Businessmen say that immigration procedures need careful study and should possibly be taken out of the hands of the security forces, while others say Macau lacks incentives to attract new business, with investment being in the hands of IPIM, a smaller and rather ineffectual version of the Trade Development Council in Hong Kong. The IPIM can also approve residency for investors, but it is a lengthy process. Nearly all currenl development is in the hands of private enterprise and in Macau that means STDM and Stanley Ho. His company is financing a billion dollar project known as the Macau Skytower, a 388-metre high observation tower and restaurant complex already

they will stay in hotels. Macau is still a gambling mecca and many Hong Kong gamblers stay here until the early hours before returning by fast jetfoil to Hong Kong. Those who return after midnight are classified as having spent a night in Macau. It is the gambling franchise that must surely tax Edmond Ho's working hours

Macau International Trade City. Right: Casinos Gambling ls at the heart of Macau's and its number one attraction.

dominating all waterfront views of Macau and visible on a clear day from as far as Lantau. At its base, and due for completion at the same time, is a futuristic shopping, convention and entertainment complex which all visitors to the tower will be obliged to pass through. Those close to the project refer to a huge unallocated space which might just suit a new casino complex STDM has also teamed up with Legislative Assembly member and CEO of the prestigious Landmark complex, David Chow, to build a billion dollar 'Fisherman's \A/harf' theme park adjacent to the main ferry terminal. The original concept was Chow's who, despite having a casino within his building, has made it clear that he feels Macau needs attractions other than just gambling. o = 3

most. From modest beginnings in 1962, a group of Hong Kong businessmen

headed by Stanley Ho (no relation) created an empire of casinos, hotels,

Traditional Macau's effort at keeping its unique Mediterranean style of architecture has attracted visitors.

18

Top: Early Brighton? A artist's drawing of the proposed

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JAÂĄ{UAĂ&#x152;{Y 200r

nother Macau businessman, Ng Lap Seng, a building contractor, is in the final stages of building a HK$100 million trade and shopping complex on land leased from the government. Called Macau International Trade City, and due to open on December 20 to mark the anniversary of the handover, it covers 60,000 square metres within nine giant air-conditioned warehouse type buildings, with each hall carrying a different shopping or business theme. In an effort to build up the strength of his executive, Ho has struck a deal with the government of Singapore to oversee training schemes in the civil service while hundreds more government employees have been sent to Beijing to study administration. At the same time, consultants have been appointed to advise on various aspects o[ government. THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2OOO.IANUARY2OOl

One of the first such appraisals studied Macau's Healthcare System and the American-based consultants, having themselves added a reputed HK$9 million in fees to this year's health bill, certainly didn't like what they saw In a sparse and superfrcial 30 page

report, the consultant's criticised virtually every aspect of the health care programme identifying new equipment still lying idle in crates to millions being wasted in duplication of effort caused by lack of cooperation between departments. The report said it was time to re-examine the 'self governing' status of the department, something that critics were quick to point out should be extended to all government departments. Early in November, Edmond Ho moved his executive back into Macau's traditional Government Palace on the Praia Grande, which has served as the office to all Portuguese governors since 1881,

following a HK$35 million revamp over 10 months. Now his administration is comfortably settled with a year's experience under its belt, business leaders in Macau say it is a good time for the Chief Executive to follow up on his promise to make Macau more competitive and attractive to investors. I T9


before North Vietnamese rockets and mortars shut

it

down.

That

was

just the beginning of a chaotic evacuation

of Americans and Vietnamese which ended in humiliating fashion

America's 15 year-long wartime involvement with Vietnam. The unplanned

airlift

left tens of

thousands of Vietnamese

allies behind, many of rvhom ended up rotting in

Before and after Jim Laurie reports the fall or

communist re-education

liberation (depending on your point of view) of

camps or risking escape by

Saigon and in modern times

flimsy boat into the South China Sea.

I was one of

14

reporters and photographers who had rvorked and lived in Vietnam before 1975 who were back once again with

President Clinton. Most of the 200 or so journalists assigned to the White House, like most Vietnamese today, have little or no memory of the war. 'Jim, haven't seen you since Pleiku 797Ll" shouted Pham Boi Hoan. Hoan, or "PB" as he was known, is one of the true Vietnam vets. Having completed his army service where he was trained as a combat photographer, "PB" joined CBS News as a cameraman in Saigon in April 1965. After his evacuation to the US, he became a CBS White House cameraman. "Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush. I covered them all," said PB, "I wanted one, any one of them, to

lUotehook

the draft, reviewing North Vietnamese troops "enemy" troops

in Hanoi.

-

- President gazing out from the There was the

rooftop bar of Saigon's Caravelle Hotel. As he looked out, he stared at the spires of the Saigon Cathedral,

20

success. "

"Remarkable," noted one old reporter, "I don't recall that either Johnson or Nixon (the last US Presidents to visit Vietnam) even tried to speak Vietnamese when thev came here." I

visit Vietnam. Now I'm finally going back with an American President."

is colleague and friend, CBS wartime

A byproduct of President Clinton's historic trip to Vietnam was the gathering of old Vietnam hands, including Jim Laurie, now Star TV's VP of Network News and Current Affiars h, the passage of time. The memories rekindled. The ironies of this visit. "Welcome US President William Jefferson Clinton and Spouse" proclaimed the banners on selected motorcade routes in Hanoi. There was the American President, who like so many of his generation opposed the war and avoided

President Clinton, of course, did not to dwell on American "contributions" to Vietnam's past. He was focused on the future: building psychological bridges not military airstrips. He focused on Vietnam as a country, not as a war. "Chuô cat ban hanh phúc vã thañh công," said the American President. "I wish you all happiness and

cameraman Pham Gia Cuong, also joined the \À¡hite House party. They seemed more proud and happy about this event than

Top: Pressing the flesh US President Bill Clinton in action on the streets of Hanoi Above: All aboard The last rescue helicopter out Saigon on April 30, of the Vietnam War,

1975-

one of the most used and familiar images

gazed to his right to the site of the old US Embass¡ now

torn down, and just in between, he could see the tiny rooftop immortalised in Hugh van Es' famed photo of Vietnamese scrambling up a ladder to the safety of a US helicopter. As I rode the press bus with the gaggle of reporters

behind the Presidential motorcade, memories of other buses 25 years ago flooded back. Now smiling, waving children lined Saigon streets. Then, on April 29 1975, panicked faces raced along as a caravàn of evacuation buses driven by US

Marines shuttled people to Ton Son Nhut Airport THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY 2001

anyone else I met. I thank former FCCer Derek Williams, Bill Plante and Bruce Dunning, all old Vietnam hands, for making sure I saw them again. Other colleagues had different takes on the war. David Hume Kennerl¡ UPI in the early 1970s when I knew him, and later President Ford's \Ârhite House offrrcial photographer, was back again for Neusueek.

"Bet you've seen a lot of changes here," shouted Clinton at one photo opportunity. Kennerly was in the "tight pool" with the President. "I always enjoyed getting 'tight' in Vietnam," Kennerly allowed. Seth Mydans of the New York Times l;rad "served" in Vietnam with "RMK-BRJ," a giant American construction company conglomerate. "Itwas away of avoiding the draft," said Mydans.

"Well the Americans in Vietnam did contribute something besides misery, death and destruction," one Vietnamese friend told me. "Our roads and airstrips would be a lot worse than they are if 'RMK-BRJ' hadn't been here." THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2OOO-JA¡{UARY 2OO1

21


it might offend the state, which owns the paper. We have no editorial page. I don't believe that Peter gets a phone call at some time in the day telling him to put this story or that one on the front page. More likel¡ I think he knows what is expected and does it." But Rosenthal recalled he once edited a story about the opening a new park down to the size of a brief. But the next morning, it appeared at full original length, with a page one photo, which also appeared on front pages of three other Shanghai

ventures annual reports of profrts and mergers. Lots of boostering. "You won't find the word 'today' in the paper

newspapers. "Obviously," remarked Rosenthal, "there was some concerted action."

they are named, is legitimate.

Shanghai Dailybecatse

Harry F Rosenthal was the Associate Press' premier general assignment reporter in Washington, DC for three decades. His journalistic career covered the last half of the 20th century. Though an AP retiree in his seventies, he became a "polisher" for the Shanghai Daily. Arnold Zeitlin, director of the Freedom Forum's Asia Center reports witching from 46 years of hotly

competitive reporting for the Associated Press in the US to

"polisher" the Shanghai Daily "was a move

working for six months

as a

for to the other side of the world",

says

Harry

Rosenthal.

"In Shanghai, we dealt with young reporters who had no training, who came

space race.

Most troubling to Rosenthal was what he called "the China practice of 'reimbursing' reporters for attending a news conference by the corporation staging the event. "Often at times it comes as taxi money or, 'we kept you over lunch; here, please, use this to buy one.'

It's a form of bribery that no one seems to question and the source of considerable income to reporters, photographers and the like. They earn about US$375 a month." His journey to Shanghai started after he retired in 1997 and saw a note distributed by The Freedom Forum that the new Shanghai Daily was seeking "polishers," experienced EnglishJanguage journalists

22

,)

11

j

e said, also, "We seem to carry every utterance

that comes from Beijing about the

'One

China' policy toward Taiwan....We are not as blatant a government mouthpiece as China Daiþ,but you will not find much in our pases that even hints at criticrsm. "The government's healy thumb can be felt when a story about Taiwan and its president refers to him simply as 'the leader of Taiwan' but curiously omits his name completely. On the other hand, it's a small miracle that the story is in the paper at a17." Rosenthal said he tried, usually unsuccessfully, to instil basics into news stories."The business page tends to be an endless reporting of joint business

attribution simply is not there. Sourcing is a joke. "The concept of sourcing is new to China, and the sources worry about getting into trouble. Reporters' fear that the source may never speak to them again if "Some polishers have managed to get some of the reporters to look up background, some of

the time." He and his polisher colleagues wrestled with such strangled prose as the elderly couple who "sophisticated to death" in a fire; the experiences in school that "aroused symnpathism to bigger kids" and the arrest of three men who "allegedly committed robbery in the name of salesman." FIe dealt with leads saying 'with the gone of peak season for microwaver selling..." and "the logistics industry of china is very potential."

The latter phrase stuck with him.

When

Rosenthal was asked what he thought after six months about the future of China, he replied dryl¡ "China is very potential". I

When you look at the price, please also look at the Company behind

to the job with absolutely no love of fac ts and accuracy, who knew zilch about journalism or its purposes and ethics and whose ability to speak and n,rite in English ranged...from very good to hilarious." He recalled that when he worked in Kansas City for the AP in the 1950s, "all we really had to do with stories was to make sure they had a reasonably clear and interesting lead, that words were spelled right and that nobody was libelled." Rosenthal went from Kansas City to Washington, DC where he served for 30 years as a top AP reporter covering major stories such as Watergate and the

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because most stories originate in Chinese newspapers. 'Recent' can mean any time from last Sunday to last Spring. "A libel lawyer would have a field day with tL'e Shanghai Daily. The concept of

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osenthal said Zhang, a Communist Party member, and his colleagues fought a "monumental" battle to start the paper because the "party wasn't eager to have an unknown voice nipping at its heels...It took true courage for Peter...to maintain a measure of independence, however small....

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Th,B U$ Elections, The peripatetic Keuin Sinclair discovers the oldest newspaper in the Americas in the Chilean port city Valparaiso 1l newspapers

report facts which become

history. At Il Mercurio, the oldest

newspaper in the Americas, history is alive. Bound volumes in the frre-proof vault off the library contain copies of the paper going back 173 years, to its founding in 7827 . Art studs the walls. Corridors are lined with a series of lively portraits of former owners, editors and writers. On one wall is a picture of the major warships that led the Chilean nar,y into the War of the Pacific, against Peru and Bolivia, in the 1870s. Old publishers look benignly down from life-sized paintings on the boardroom wall. Old leather chairs in the classical Spanish style have the newspaper masthead imprinted on the backs and throughout the century-old building, front pages of notable events hang on the walls. Il Mercurio, founded in the port city ofValparaiso in 1827, now sells 55,000 on Sunday and 22,000 on weekdays. A sister edition in Santiago, the Chilean capital 150 kms inland under the shade of the Andes, was founded in 1900 and sells 250,000 daily. Chile's press is bouncy, alive and exciting. A dozen major dailies sell in the capital, some weighty broadsheets that focus heavily on politics and economics, others sprightly tabloids with abundantly proportioned pin-up girls and sports stories. The only English

History ln the fire-proof library, ll

Carlos Schaerer publisher of the lively but heavyweighl daily

language presence is a pathetic lightweight weekly tabloid; expatriates rely on cable television for global news. When it was first published in 1827, Chile had only recently wrested its independence from Spain, after a long, bitterly fought war. Since tlren, Il Mercurio has come out daily, through coups, wars and earthquakes.

he headquarters building in Valparaiso is topped by a statue of the Greek god after whom the paper is named. The structure was put up a century ago, built with desioned to hold the meter-thick walls designed + heavy press and lead typesetting machines of the era. It was also designed to withstand the frequent earth tremors; six years after it was constructed, most of the rest of Valparaiso was levelled by a major earthquake. 1l Mercurio came out to report the disaster, the stout walls still standing. Publisher Carlos Schaerer is a youthful executive whose office in a high-arched corner is like a cathedral nave. He also directs El Lider, a tabloid in another coastal city, San Antonio.

143 years.

English language source of Chilean news.

Larreta holds

24

shook his f,rnger at the Hong Kong media, telling them they neerled to learn from American media how to be more

one of the bound volumes that go back

director Alfredo

The refrain "too close to call" has now become part of the popular lexicon. The SAR's top pollster, Dr Michael DeGolyer of the Hong Kong Baptist University't Hong Kong Transition Project looks at the controversial exit polls on which the networks based their projections few days before the US election, China's President Jiang Zemin

From 1840 to 1990, Il Mercurio published a respected English newspaper which gave a comprehensive weekly account of Chile's internal and business news. Those who visit the country regularly greatly miss what was the most reliable

Mercurio,

>efu./rr.,4,/r/el/r.,P,44

I

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY 2001

rofessional. His comparison seemed plausible...then. Now after "calling" key state results wrong not once, but twice, and then prematurely awarding the presidency itself, the American media's standard of professionalism seems rather less attractive. In turn, media and others point an accusing frnger at pollsters, in this case, those who work for the Voters News Service, the company which conducted exit polls nationwide and made election estimations for all the US media. The netlvorks co-ordinated all their polling through VNS which they administer with the Associated Press. So who's to blame for the lapse in professionalism journalists or pollsters? Well, both. Or neither. First, did the pollsters get their exit polls wrong? Looking at the dispute in Palm Beach County Florida in which perhaps more than 20,000 people thought they voted for Gore, but had their ballots invalidated or registered as a Buchanan vote, it's entirely possible that these people reported to exit poll personnel the vote they thought they had cast. Only when actual precinct numbers failed to report data supporting the exit polls did pollsters know for sure that something was wrong. But what was wrong doesn't seem to be so much methods or survey accùracy as the ballot count (originally reported at around 1,800 for Bush but amended downwards in subsequent recounts) and the form of the ballot itself which resulted in so many miscast votes and invalid ballots.

econd, recall that polls showed the election as nationally "too close to call" right up to election day itself. And, looking at the current returns, pollsters were right. Indeed, given the proportion of outstanding mail and absentee ballots on election night in the very closely divided states, calling the election for anyone on the basis of vote totals which excluded enough absentee ballots to change the overall results was unprofessional and hasty, whether on the part of pollsters or media. So, why did they call it early? Who is to blame? Well, us, actually. We news consumers and generators alike prefer our news stories short with information packed in the first paragraph. We want our TVprogrammes to wrap up any mystery or issue in an hour or less. Radio news slots are considered long if over hve minutes. A three-hour movie stretches our patience and attention span. And a thousand page novel? \i\¡ho reads those anymore? We want to know noq not later. We move on Internet time, instant information at your fingertips. And no one wants to wait for the whole story, any story. In short, I blame your impatience, and mine. I THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER

2OOO-JANUARY

2OOI

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Tsui 2732 ó801

25


trapped in the Kursk: A note scribbled by an officer trapped on the submarine later revealed that at least 23 of the crew initially survived the explosions which sank the vessel. 3. Israeli right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon makes a well-publicised visit to the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount on the eve of Rosh Hashanah: The provocative visit angers Muslims, who revere the site as it houses the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest shrine in Islam. At the time of writing, l74had been killed in the

$.to:F,les of YZK Six correspondents sitting around in the Main Bar were asked by Luke Hunt to suggest five stories this pastyear that made the biggest impact on them. The question was asked before the American elections took place Kong and arrive in London before we took off but maþe not in my lifetime now. 4. The top business story was obviously the bursting of the internet stock bubble: But just as important was that the US economy kept on growing with no real signs of inflationary pressure. This year's slump may well prove to be just a blip on the onward march of technology. 5. In sports there was only one story: Tiger Woods.

Vaudine England Jakarta-based correspondent SCM Post 1. Indonesia:

for

ensuing violence. 4. Philippine PresidentJoseph Estrada offers Vice President Gloria Arroyo his post as chairman of the Economic Co-ordinating Council as a sop to opposition politicians who have been urging his resignation amid attempts

Those

r,rtho LOVE

Tennis will be pleased to know the

courts

have

reopened!

to impeach the former actor for taking bribes from illegal gambling syndicates: Since the bribery allegations emerged the peso has fallen to levels unheard of even during the 1997 currency crisis and the stockmarket index has fallen to tlvo year lows. As of this writing, Estrada still refuses to go. 5. Chinese President Jiang Zernin loses his temper with Hong Kong reporters calling them "simple and naive" for daring to question Beijing's apparent support for a second term for Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa: Jiang said his rebuke was made in his capacity as an "elder person," a reminder for some of the gerontocratic values which were used to justify the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

It's my living.

2. Philippine hostage crisis: because of how the media fuelled the story and because I had friends involved. 3. Sierra Leone: My brother was there with the ICRC

and I knew nothing about it.

Michael Mackey

4. Pakistan coup: It's an interesting example of

Freelance journalist

an

Philip Bowring

accepted military coup. Often discussed in Indonesia. 5. Taiwan air crash: Because I fly SQ and I think airport management should carry some responsibiliry.

_"¡¡¡l{S

OUft.

Rapprochment on the Korean Peninsula: Unthinkable this time last year : That an Asian telecom stock can manage to sink so low 3. Euan Blair found drunk and disorderly in central London: Worrying for 1.

Columnist,

International Herald Tribune 1. Kims meet 2. Putin's Russia

3. Iran elections 4. Global technological boom/bust 5. Global cricket fixing scandal

2. PCCW

everyone except seemingly his parents 4. Manchester United: More than a team, more than a story. 5. The demise of the dotcoms and the oil price surge: There is (expensive) life still in the old economy

Argor MacKinnon

A better vray to enjoy and re1ax.

AFP

1. Taiwan elections: Story of the year, the shift into democracy. An optimistic story for the first year of the new millennium, or last year of the old one.

2. A group of Chinese pirates being led, singing drunkenl¡ to their execution carried on the SCMP front page: Had the strongest impact There was - who had something about the kindness of the guards allowed them to get drunk and the barbarity of what awaited them that was very disturbing. It was a great

Belinda Rabano Stafford Mawhinney Atr'X- Asia

1. Gene Mapping: Looking forward to my own personal future of

piece of reporting.

1. South African President Thabo Mbeki saying that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) does not cause AIDS and that the mainstream treatment, AZI does more harm than good: Some 3.6 million South Africans

3. The Concorde crash had a similar shock impact when I first heard about it: How much worse it might easily have been. It will also have a lasting impact on how we live. One day we will be able to leave Hong

in 11 are HIV positive, according to government fìgures. 2. Russian President Madimir Putin initially rejects offers of Western assistance to rescue 118 submariners

26

THE CORRESPONDENT

Asiaweek

DECEÀ,Í ßER 2000-JANUARY 2001

death and disease. 2. Rising oil prices: \À¡hy my airticket to Bali costs more. 3. Hillary Clinton running for the US Senate: So I can tell my kids that Hillary wasn't always President. 4. The collapse of the tech bubble: Because yellow tulips look better than a Red Herring tastes. 5. Lost in Shenzhen, Hong Kong boy Yu Man-hon: Proof that Hong Kong's civil service doesn't live up to its over-hyped image. I THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY200l

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Mnnra Mr Imbaraj essential

believes that a good print media is to the democratisation process, as a way of

ensuring that all people have a voice. "We don't want Timor to become a one party state. Minority views need to be heard. Young people, women, and students their voices need to be heard." East

-

Media Fno

Ithough there is a high rate of illiteracy in the country, in urban areas such as the capital,

Dili, and the second city, Baucau, the population is "highly literate". But it is

While struggling just to survive, war-ravaged East Timor tries to create a free press. Benedict Rogers, a reporter for Hong Kong i-Mail, hras visited this fledgling country twice this year ast

Timor is a new nation. It is starting from zero

in almost everything: reconstructing buildings, legal and political systems, and media. Physical rebuilding is needed because so much was

destroyed in the Indonesian-backed militia violence after last year's referendum, but building a democrac¡ a system of justice and a free media is entirely new for East Timo Under Indonesian rule, the media was not free. The official media was controlled by the government; the underground media served the cause of resistance. Now, a new type of media is needed: one that is objective, free, able to accurately report the news to all the people. And there are signs that this is developing, although the Timorese need ¿s5is¡¿¡6s -to both in terms of expertise and equipment make it happen. "The needs are great, the interest is great and the appreciation is great," says Inter-News Country Director for East Timor, Carolyn Robinson. Sonny Imbaraj, head of the Media Development Centre established by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), the body governing East Timor through transition to independence, believes there are two types of local journalist. There are the former reporters of Suara Timor 'fimur, previously the mouthpiece of the Indonesians. "Many of them are good reporters who chose to work within the system and push it as far as they could," he explains. Then there are the "activist" journalists, who ran underground student resistance newspapers in Jakarta and Jogyakarta, which were circulated secretly in East Timor. "The challenge for all these journalists now is how to operate in a free environment," says Mr Imbaraj. Timorese journalists themselves see the need for an independent media. 'We are a new country and we face a lot of obstacles," says Rosa Garcia, a reporter at the Timor Posf. "Before we knew who our enemies were. Even as journalists, Indonesia was our enemy had to side with our country because it was our struggle. But now, in our new countrl', we have to be

28

very impartial. We have to give people opportunities to voice their criticisms of leaders, but also give leaders a chance to speak."

There are now four main publications in East Timor: The Timor Post, Lalenoh, Thli Thkum, and Li,an Maubere. Tllre 'fimor Posl is published three times a week, and plans to become daily. The others are all weekly magazines. UNTAET publishes a weekly

Timdr Post I\lena: Fertama l<nli msanya glogi

Kabinet Translsi dilantilr mendadalr

I

Posisi Mariano

diglnti Ana Pcssoa

newspaper called Tais Timor. And there are others starting up all the time. Most publications contain articles in English, Portuguese, Tetun (the Timorese native language) and Bahasa Indonesia, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

ut the lack of adequate equipment is a hindrance. There is currently no printing press in East Timor, although UNTAET is supporting the establishment of a print consortium, along with four publishing houses and four NGOs, funded by USAid's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). Further assistance has been received from Australia and New Zealand. THE CORRLSPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-lAr\ UARY 2001

important to remembeq says Mr Imbaraj, that Timor is not Dili and Dili is not East Timor". The media must reach the people outside the capital. This is hampered by the lack of printing presses and distribution networks. The circulation of each newspaper is limited to a few hundred photocopies. But creation of community radio, and the distribution of large television screens to district areas, is being planned. "We have to get out to the districts, where democracy is born or dies," explains Mr Imbaraj. Media can play a role in the reconciliation process, believes the Post's Garcia. Timorese journalists should be providing information to East Timorese refugees still in West Timor, to counteract the false information they receive from pro-Indonesian militia. There has recently been an exchange of journalists from West and East Timor, in which Indonesian West Timorese journalists came to East Timor to interview people about whether they would be willing to receive former militia members back into their communities. Most people agreed that they would. The development of radio is another important task. Radio UNTAIT, operated by the UN bod¡ will become the national broadcaster after the transition. It currently broadcasts 15 hours live radio each day. UNTAET and UNESCO are working to establish community radio in towns such as Maliana and Lospalos. Inter-News is involved in supporting the development of the community radio station in Maliana, through provision of basic training and equipment. The main independent radio station is Radio Kmanck, which is the Catholic station. Kmanck means "terrific" in Tetum, the Timorese language. The resistance radio, Radio Falantil, is transforming itself from revolutionary station to a community show. Nilton Gusmao, co-ordinator of Radio Falantil, believes radio will be important in "helping people understand how to respect each othe¡ how to respect human rights." Radio Falantil was the illegal radio station attached to the resistance fighters, operating secretly in the mountains, until October 1999. It broadcasts 18 hours a da¡ with a 30 minute news programme, but it has no transportation to send journalists to the districts, so it is difficult to obtain news from outside the capital. LUSA, the Portuguese news agencyJ "East

supplies some news items to Radio Falantil. Television is also developing, but is truly in its infancy. There are test television transmissions twice a week, THE CORRESPONDENT DE(IEIVIBER 2000-J NUARY 200I

and plans to distribute big screens to districts, so that people can watch television in, for example, a town square. There is a group of Timorese cameramen and technicians who previousll' worked for Indonesian television who are, according to Inter-News' Robinson, preparing to start a television station. "At the moment television is the only media area with no independent broadcaster. The Timorese welcome foreign support, and already several international organisations have been helping. USAid's OTI organised a training seminar for journalists in December 1999. UNTAET has formed a Press Club, for local and foreign journalists to meet each other informally and discuss developments. Inter-News has run training seminars for newspaper journalists, radio journalists and radio management, and has also distributed minidisk players to radio journalists to record interviews. There is a mentorship programme training Timorese journalists in interviewing non-Bahasa and non-Tetun speaking people (e.g. English speakers). And the Freedom Forum funded a five-month training programme at the Domo Press Training Institute in Jakarta for 10 Timorese reporters. The Freedom Forum has, says its Asian director Arnold Zeitlin, invested 25Vo of their annual Asian programme funds in East Timor. Rosa Garcia would like there to be more exchanges with foreign reporters, to share experience and skills. She also wants to encourage more women to go into the media, as journalists, photographers and editors. "East Timorese culture is a culture in which women stay at home that is an obstacle," she says. If the East-Timorese media is given the equipment,

and training, needed to be effective, there is potential

for a solid and

accurate free press. But foreign

organisations donating equipment should send trainers with it, for it to be of any value, says Robinson.

ast Timor has to transform itself from the of struggle against Indonesia, and that will not be easy. At the moment the Timorese media is, in Zeitlin's view, "a bold news media, years

quite rough and highly nationalistic and It is far from being balanced, objective and dispassionate." But, he says, "the potential for a free advocative.

press is clearly visible".

Eventuallyjournalists will see the need for objective information to create an informed population able to make decisions on its own behalf. \Àhat journalists in East Timor must do is seek out the facts, print them fairly and with balance, and learn to tolerate dissonant opinions. " Robinson sees these characteristics developing already. "The Timorese media is in a good position they have had a year of watching the - press. They are very intelligent, they ask international a lot of good questions, and they are critical thinkers. They have made a modest transformation so far, but they are learning." I

29


?

The Feng S,hui

T

Ð,eteetive Sil]TDETICTÍYE TSE F${G

æ.

Humourist and Club member Nury Vittachi's new book is a mystery with a difference. Read on

ove over Sherlock and Hercule, Father Brown and Miss Marples. Mr & Mrs

€Ì

North. Mike Hammer. Make room on the ':

-l*" shelf for C F Wong. "C F who?" Wong is a geomancer, a feng shui expert,

How do you publish a newspaper in the middle of a civil war? The International Herald Truhune's Thomas Crampton discovered the answer

Newsroom bunker Protected against bomb blasts by stacked newspapers, Uthayan's co-edìtor N, Vìthyatharan looks through issues of the newspaper that were printed on wrapping paper when a blockade caused a severe newsprint shortage.

L

the pages of the previous day's edition.

n a city trapped

between tlvo armies where just about every standing struclure has been scarred bywaaJaffna's main newspaper, Uthøyan, is a daily testimony to. j ournalistic determination.

Heavily-armed Sri Lankan government troops man roadblocks throughout Jaffna's centre, while the suicide soldiers of Liberation Tiger's of Tamil Eelam enter the city with impunity at night. Working from a newsroom bunkered against bomb blasts by stacks of newsprint instead of sandbags, Uthayan's editorial staff of 14 produces 18,000 copies of their lZ-page Tamil-language newspaper seven days per week. The newspaper's co-editor N. Vithyatharan has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep publishing, including the illegal smuggling of ink to supply the presses. "The

30

worst was when we ran out of both newsprint and diesel," Vithyatharan explained. 'We printed the fourpage issue about Rajiv Gandhi's assassination on brown wrapping paper and powered the presses with a mixture of five litres kerosene to one litre vegetable oil. Very smelly." When electricity gets too erratic, a bicycle dlnamo is set up for a young member of staff to pedal while others listen to the radio news. Apart from half a dozen computers serving one modern offset press, the newspaper pages are composed by hand using individual lead letters and printed on four recently purchased 1950s-era Heidelberg presses. When he speaks of "lost staff', Vithyatharan is not referring to those poached by Internet companies. In addition to an air raid that killed one staff member and forced two amputations, the newspaper has been shelled both by the government troops as well as the Indian Peace Keeping Forces. Grenades tossed into the presses injured a security guard, the Tamil Tigers have threatened to shut down the newspaper on several occasions and the government closed the newspaper for a time earlier this year. Referring to the sound of pounding artillery and multi-barrel rocket launchers in the distance, Vithyatharan said his car always has enough gas to flee the frghting and the presses are ready to pack up within an hour. Publishing in a city that is not under clear control of either army makes for diffrcult editorial decisions. Vithyatharan's method: '"\Me protect ourselves by trying to make both sides equally unhappy." I

in Singapore with the down-at-the-heels image of Mickey Spillane's Flammer. The similarity ends there as C F rather, does not pull out a huge 45 to settle matters - out of in true detective fashion, he thinks his way life-threatening situations. Nor does the geomancer detective have a real babe as a secretary, rather the intimidating Winnie Lim from whom he hides. Wong's unlikely assistant is Joyce McQuinnie, a 771/2-year old student doing a school project on geomancy who was foisted upon the hapless geomancer by his biggest client. C F looks at her as a chance for

- promised and unlike other detective volumes are series, the readers are asked to contribute chapters. By logging onto <wwu.english.honghong.corn> or <urunu.english.dtina.com> you can rnake The Feng Shui Detectiaeyour own personal interactive novel. I SL The Feng Shui Detecttae By NuryVittachi Chameleon Press PB 314 pages ISBN 1-387-80212-0

free English lessons outside his antiquated English Conversation Club and is then flummoxed by her

ÆB,C

HK$65 (Available from the FCC)

Bfi Hcjn,$' Ke,ns.

Historian, raconteur, designer and Club member Arthur Hacker has written another book. Though it is also suitable for adults, we let a group of seven and eight year olds from Kennedy School review it. Their comm .I

enjoyed the book...especially the Lamma and the

Summer one. Sarø ¡ I like t}re H best. John

o The story was good and funny. Richard o I like the T best because my name is Timms. Sør¿å o I liked the part where the two kids were at the beach

without swim suits. Daniel o The naked page (S) was very disgusting. Catherine ¡ I live on Lamma and thought I (for Island) was the best

. I liked A he said the girls wear pyjamas. . I laughed-at most of them. Nathan

Z. Anjali I liked D for DragonBoat. Chris . I liked the part with the nine dragons and the silly was

o

clock tower (K). Hannah ¡ That was great and the funny part was naked kids (S), but I don't like the man eating the dog (E). Jodi . The story is funny because the pictures are funny.

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY 200 I

Araeen

. The writing is funny. Raymond . It made me giggle. Mao . I think the funny bitwas a man riding on azebra. Jun . I would read it again. Kazusa . It was interesting and funny. Surmayee . I liked R. Audrq . I liked the storybook because I like poetry. Eileen

one. William

. The funniest part

Lorraine THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JAì{UARY 2001

modern slang. Vittachi uses McQuinnie as the vehicle to explain aspects offeng shui as the plot progresses. As expected in Vittachi's hands, the clash of cultures and languages is humorous. And in the true detective genre, the "hapless" McQuinnie, in spite of her youth and language, contributes to the solutions of the there are nine in this hrst volume. Future mysteries

Sþecial thanks to Alison Lockhart and the

4L

class al

Kennedy School.

ABC of Hong Kong By Arthur Hacker Lanyon, Lanyon PB 56 pages ISBN 962-85904-r-3 HK$45 (Available from the FCC)

31


az Plus Afi,,,g oo,-oAuthor and journalistJasper Becker is the SCM Post's Beijing bureau chief. Excerpts

technology and using technology as a means of driving

change in China and of sort of altering the sort of feudal set up that they inherited.

from his luncheon talk where he discussed his latest book The Chinese V'want to t l' the last I Chinese *u.,t to I I

wrong in that the

..1 (also) he future

holds...To try and address the issue which Clinton raised when he held his joint press conference in Washington with Jiang Zemin a few years ago when he toldJiang that he was on the wrong side of history...

Like many countries in the world, China

is

imprisoned by its history and that's one of the themes I try and tackle in the book. The fact that despite all the reforms and revolutions of the past 100 years, many things in China haven't changed. One particular thing they failed to address in the last ten years is the organisational problem. You still have about 90Vo of tllLe population who still live in villages. ..One of the failures of Communism, one of the strange things about the Maoist policยก has been their determination to actually reduce the urban population and to kind of de-invent the big city... An allied problem is that rural poverty has gotten worse. There are different estimates about how many poor people there are, but it is something like 110 or 120 million people in desperate poverty, and probably another 300 million on sort of borderline poverty....

think the worst thing that has happened in the last 10 years is, as many people point out and the Chinese leadership itself recognises, corruption. Of course, corruption is bad and it's a price that they had to pay for staying in power and keeping this tight monopoly on power. But it has a more long-term economic cost because what you have is a breakdown of trust between the governed and the governors that was actually unnecessary.

With the lifting of many of the worst features of dictatorship in the 1980s, there was a chance to re-establish this trust. One of the things I talk quite a lot about in the book is the fact that if people are cheating each other, and the;' believe they are cheating each other, they believe the government and the local officials are cheating, you have a diminution of trust and diminution of social factors which is important for

32

any country to function. If you couple that with a weak central government budget, inability of the government to fairly level taxes and redistribute income, you are going to get very exacerbated disparities in income, which again means there is a considerable build up of anger for which there is no outlet. I think what's particularly distinguishing about the Chinese leadership is that it is one of the few countries in the world where the leadership is actually made up of engineers, technologists. In countries like Britain or France, the top leaders are usually lawyers or they come from business or academia. But in China, people like Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and many others in the top leadership are all engineers. \A4rat this means is that they are extremely keen on having a kind of stagnant political system, but they are very keen on importing

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEIVIBER 2000-JANUARY 2001

hat I think is particularly interesting about Jiang Zemin's rule, and one of the things he has really taken advantage of in the last eight to nine years, is electronics. lle is a former electronics minister and he has really pushed the wiring up of China. I think of this as being it is one of the things his personal contribution which will leave a lasting mark on China.. .. I think this is something completely new in Chinese history because the effect of this telecommunications revolution the fact everybody now in urban China

- or a phone or a mobile phone has a beeper means that it actually empowers the individual and-it diminishes the state's power and the monopoly of the state's power...I think the Chinese themselves have been surprised that how fast this has taken place in China, (but) they haven't really sort of prepared themselves for the impact this is going to have on Chinese society and on their own political system. For the first time when you go around the countryside...people actually know what the regulations actually are in Beijing, what the central government has decided...they have been able to see what the regulations are and engage in a conflict and a battle with the local tyrants who previously had total control over their lives. This also puts them in touch...with all kinds of things coming in from outside world. So how is (China) going to respond to the challenges (of) this technology-driven social change? That is going to be one of the most interesting things we are going to be following in the next few years. All this technology is a sort of double-sided sword. You can use it not only to liberate and to empower people, but also as a more efficient means of social surveillance, to monitor people....All this information then becomes instantaneously available to the state and it could be

that the Chinese state in order to survive (is) going THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER zOOO-JANUARY 2OOI

to use all this technology to maintain its control over people...New technology will (also) allow people to organise themselves against the state much more efficiently...What you are likely to see in next few years is very fierce local battles between people who organise

fight the local offrcials over ownership taxes, over access to information and access to residency in the citres... The other aspect of this change . . . is. . . this incredible urbanisation...The state's ability to control people and keep them in the countryside as they have done before is going to be progressively weakened. If China is, as some Chinese experts want, going to reach the level of urbanisation that you see in Western countries, you are going to have something like a billion people in the next 20-30 years moving from the countryside themselves and

of land, over

into cities. I think that is going to unleash powerful forces because when you have that kind of mass urbanisation, you are really going to have an outbreak of crime and of social disorganisation which the state will only be able to control if it adopts the current political system into one which embraces more selรŠgovernment and more autonomy.

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33


LuNcrruNES interesting issues that I discuss in my chapter on culture is that the

$haiftghart E

the US...went to Shanghai and found a cast... got the necessary approvals

from the Shanghai Cultural

0f ehÍnra'$ tegend;arl'y¡ Citll Pamela Yatsko, a Club member who became the Far Eastern Economic Reaiew's first bureau chief in Shanghai since 1,949, spoke about her book, New Shanghai, at a Club luncheon. Excerpts of told Asia Inc "I think Shanghai is capable of becoming the financial centre in Asia-Pacific by the year 2000. It is a business opportunity unequal to anything we have seen in this century." Now, this is not the first time that I heard business people, government officials, media refer to Shanghai in such lofty terms, and it certainly was not 1993 the chairman

Morgan Stanley (Asia)

going to be the last time.

In

1994 tþ'e Far Eastern Economic Rzuiew asked me to

open their bureau in Shanghai and be their bureau chief there. It seemed at that time that everyone was opening up offices and bureaus in Shanghai...(and) I was lucky enough to be part of the frrst wave of foreign correspondents... lucky enough to be able to see this transformation fi rst-hand. It was fascinating to watch, but as I was doing my reporting, I kept coming across issues, trends, truths about Shanghai that didn't quite jibe with conventional wisdom about the cit¡ particularly among foreigners. In my book as I tell the story of Shanghai's rebirth, I point out many of these trends that do not quite jibe with the conventional wisdom. For instance, you can often hear Westerners say things like "...Shanghai is the most entrepreneurial city in China" and "private entrepreneurs flourish best in Shanghai.." You can also hear people say things like, "Isn't Shanghai going to be China's Silicon Valley? Aren't Chinese most innovative, creative and successful high-tech companies located in Shanghai?" 34

works for some things, but it doesn't work for others...it works for quickly erecting highways, cleaning polluted rivers, building beautiful theatres and hosting high-profrle events...But I think the Shanghai experience also shows that government control does not work for building strong indigenous plans, encouraging entrepreneurship, nourishing

Culture Bureau is better able to control the cultural scene...Some of you may have heard about: 'The Saga of the Peony Pavillion'. This was a fantastic production commissioned by the Lincoln Centre in New York in 1998... (a) Chinese director living in

The ehlpth

n

that hear'y government intervention

Now the answer to these questions, I would have to

sa¡ is no, no, no and no...When it comes to private enterprise, places like Shenzhen in the south and Beijing, the political capital in the north, and Sichuan in the west, are really more entrepreneurial and more risk-taking places. There are a number of reasons for this, which I explain in New Shanghai... (However) the Shanghai government...makes it more diffrcult for private business to flourish in Shanghai, particularly if it is in an industry that the government still wants to control... Another thing that people automatically assume about Shanghai is that it is once again becoming the "whore of the Orient"... Without doubt vice and nightlife have made a comeback...and this was probably the most fun chapter to research...(one) my husband was not terribly pleased... (about when)...the trajectory of my research was...a discotheque called CD. \Atrhile I conclude that Shanghai is increasingly becoming fun and active...it is not turning into the "whore of the Orient" or of China... (because) places like Hainan and Shenzhen are far more out of control. ow, also many people assume that Shanghai

is China's most creative and innovative

art

centre... But while the Shanghai government has done a very good job of building new museums, theatres and holding international arts festivals... the atmosphere for artists has not really improved that much...One of the THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-IANUARY 200r

Bureau. Following dress rehearsals in Shanghai in June 1998, three weeks before the production's New York premiere, the Shanghai Cultural Bureau demanded that the director change the production significantly because it felt that the production contained feudal, superstitious and pornographic elements. Now mind you, there was no nudity in this production and the Cultural Bureau had given the director full artistic freedom in the contract. In the end the Shanghai Cultural Bureau barred the Shanghai cast from leaving the country. any also assume that Shanghai is well on its way to becoming the fìnancial centre

of Asia again. "Isn't it replacing Hong Kong?" they ask. But as I explain, while there has been some progress, Shanghai is still so far away from that, and so much difficult reform still has to take place. Among other things, Shanghai still lacks convertible currency, wellenforced regulations, reliable intermediaries, a reliable business press, good listed companies and

technical and artistic innovation.... So part of the reason why I wrote Nat Shanghaiwas because. . .I w a n t e d

to tell the story of Shanghai's but also set the record straight and look at re-emergence,

Shanghai's achievements and progress, pitfalls and potentials realistically. I also wanted to bring Shanghai alive for

people...I

New Shønghøi: The Rocky Rebirth of China's Legendary City By Pamela Yatsko John Wiley & Sons Inc PB 298 pages ISBN 0471-47915-2

HK$200/US$1e.e5

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Vf

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proper disclosure practices. Also Shanghai cannot do anything without Beijing's permission. It can't do big things like make the currency convertible, or open its markets to foreigners. (But) it can't do small things either. If a foreign securities firm wants to change its name, it has to go to Beijing to get approval. The Central government basically put the markets in Shanghai, but it has not put the financial decision-makers there..

(ã \ùñ

vz Tel:29142563

..

Also a lot of people think that Shanghai is the best place for foreign multinationals to set up operations in China. And I would have to agree with the conventional wisdom on this point. Although they still have problems with the Shanghai (and they have) the same problems bureaucracy in making money in China that foreign investors all around the country have had they do find the city to be relatively less -corrupt, more predictable, and in many cases a more cosmopolitan place to conduct business. They fìnd it to be a more controlled place. In the end, I came to the following conclusions about Shanghai... I say that the lesson of Shanghai is THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER

IU

2OOO-TANUARY 2OOI

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Excerpts from author Adeline Yen Mah's talk about

her new novel Watching the Tree he title of my new book Watching the Tree has both Western and Chinese connotations. In Chinese, it comes from a well-known third century proverb which relates the tale of a boy who was told by his master to catch a rabbit. He had no idea how to do this and was looking around in the forest when low and behold, a rabbit runs out of the hole before his very eyes at full speed, knocks itself unconscious against a tree and falls dead at his feet. All he had to do was to pick it up and present it to his master.

"Well done," the master said. "Now, go get me another one". Ever since then, the young man has been watching the same tree, hoping the chance will repeat

itself and bring him another rabbit. Naturall¡ he waited in vain. Chance seldom repeats itself in exactly the same way and the only thing that does not change is change itself.

In Western culture, Watching the T-ree can be said to have come from the French philosopher René Descartes who wrote: 'All philosophy is like a tree, of which metaphysics is the root, physics the

trunk, and all the other sciences are branches that grow out ofits trunk, which are reduced to three principles medicine, mechanics and ethics". These two interpretations symbolise differences between Chinese and Western thoughts. From them, we can deduce that the function of philosophy in China is to inspire the mind, whereas in the West, it is to increase the knowledge. After the publication of Falling Leaues, I received many letters...Taken together, they were a collective expression of empathy from across the globe, intermingled with questions about my personal beliefs. Again and again I was asked, "If there is a God, after all?" and "How do I find him?" At fìrst I tried to answer individually by long hand, but gradually fell behind. Watching the Tree is my letter of reply to everyone who wrote, and to the world at large. In my new book, you would have encountered many 36

of the same cast of characters

as

in Falling Leaaes...(it)

is comprised of many stories from my youthful experiences in Chinese culture struggling to - an adult, which come into my own as a child and as

lsahella

formed the foundation of my own philosophy and spiritual beliefs. The great German philosopher Martin Heidegger once wrote: "Whatever, and however, we may try to

think, we think of tradition." But what if I were to introduce to Western readers a new and entirely different tradition? Will the thoughts then get transformed and undergo fresh and radical change? Some Chinese words are non-existent in English, just as various English words are absent in Chinese...so the only way in which to grasp concepts that are unique to each country is by leaping across national barriers and align for the possibility that occasionally truth may also be arrived at in a language other than one's own...

We can only perceive the world through certain categories of experience, such as space, time and causalit¡ which are built into our minds. If this is so, then a person's native language is of critical importance on how we perceive reality. Because language is the filter through which we must look whene\/er we experience anything. Described by philosophers as "a mirror of man's mind", language reflects the essence of our perceptions and concepts. We use it to clarify our thoughts, feelings or ideas and express them to others. Since ideas define how we perceive the world, it follows that any logical train of thought is related to the language of the thinker and his country's culture. I

It isn't often that a professional lunch or dinner is graced with the glamour imbued in Isabella Rossellini. She spoke to the standingroom-only-crowd usually seen with politicos, with words and image carried on CCTV in the Main Bar, itself packed for the weekly Zoo Night festivitie s. Angus MacKinnon reports or someone who has never quite forgiven the for the way it treated her parents, Isabella Rossellini did a good job of charming the FCC crowd at a packed out dinner on November 24. In town to promote Manifesto, the cosmetics line she has spent the last three years developing after being dumped famously by Lancôme as too old, Rossellini dropped into the Club with a reassuring message for most of its male members. Bags under the eyes, generous love handles and a receding hairline? Not to worry, you have still got a chance with one of the world's most beautiful women. "IJs women are so much kinder and sweeter than men," she said. 'We don't love )'ou for the way you look. We love you the way you think. So don't worry about the bags. If you've seen my husbands or lovers, you'll know I don't go for press

beauty."

Wøtching the Tiee

ByAdeline Yen Mah HarperCollinsPublishers HB 248 pages ISBN 0-00-257099-8 HK$135

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBI,R 2000-JANUARY 2001

Some of Rossellini's former paramours, who include film directors Martin Scorsese and David Lynch as well as the British actor Gary Oldman, might have been a little put out by that. But it went down well with an audience that had more than its fair share of curves in all the wrong places. As did her selection of snapshots from what life was like as the daughter of Italian frlm director Roberto Rossellini and Swedish screen icon Ingrid Bergman. Growing up, one of her heroes was the legendary photographer Robert Capa. "It was only years later when I read my mother's autobiography that I found out they had had an affair," she revealed.

efore a chance meeting with the American photographer Bruce Weber launched her modelling career, Rossellini had flirted with journalism. While working as an assistant for Italian television station RAI in the US, she interviewed Mohammed Ali. But the lingering bitterness in her family over the way her parents were hounded and condemned for their affair and the birth of her elder brother out of wedìock meant it never felt quite right. "I think it wounded by mother forever," she said. "So I felt like I was going over to the other side. I knew couldn't be a good journalist and feel my conscience at peace."

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEÀ,IBER 2000-JANUARY 200r

I

37


AnouNo Tnn FCC

Birthdays in the FCC

Fore FCC Golf Society convenor Julian Walsh (/) and Peter Bennett work on improving their game during a recent golf traĂŹning seminar.

Sinclair (/) and Shanghai-based Graham Earnshaw, are working together again, this time in Chlna.

o =

q)

Vernom Ram (c) and friends

oJ

o

On the mend Wending his way circuitously to temporary exile in Boston, Christopher Slaughter (c) stopped off in Sydney where he spent an afternoon at chez Seidlitz visiting the former president Peter (/) and wife Silvie. Slaughter reports that Peter is doing much better following his stroke although he still has quite some way to go before he is fully recovered.

Clare Hollingworth ably assisted by Cathy Hilborn Feng (l)

Cheers FCCers tossing back a few ales on the verandah of the Cambodian FCC in Phnom Penh where the Mekong River meets the Tonle Sap. (l-r) Luke Hunt AFP, Anette Jonsson, AP-Dow Jones, Belinda Rabano, Asiaweek, and Alkman Granitsas, Far Eastern Economic Review.

Former president Guy Searls and wife Ursula

Live at

Former president Hu van Es with wife Annie Elaine King and friends

From Cuba Son Xango

Don't forget

From Hanoi Quyen Thien Dac

the

FCC's sĂžecial birthday offer uhen you haae your celebratory dinner

in

the

Main Dining

Room

n the Verandah.

38

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2000-JANUARY

2001

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER

2OOO-JANUARY

2OO1

39


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PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS

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ladder when he died recently of a heart attack at the age of51. Gerd received his training as an engineer at the university in Wuppertal, Germany, and came to Hong Kong in 1979 to work as project manager with a British construction firm. He was involved in the building of the new electric power plant on Lamma Island and was

C.opy

highly regarded as a conscientious technical expert. There he met Laura, the Chinese girl who became his wife.

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Later he was involved in seawall projects. Flowever he seems to have inherited from a grandfather a keen interest in writing. And for reasons best known to himself, he wanted to excel not as a German author, but in English. He actually won a prize for a short story he entered in a competition in the US. He joined the

Writer's Circle in Hong Kong from whom he had valuable encouragement. I met him when I was approached by the late Sally Rodwell, (an inspiring figure on the local publishing scene) to write an

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THE CORRESPONDENT DECENIBER 2000-JANUAI{Y 200I

THE CORRESPONDENT DECEMBER 2OOO-JANUARY

2OO1

introduction to a book of interviews, Hong Kong Voices, that Gerd completed in 1989. But his heart was set on getting a novel published. His literary agent said: 'lVhen he talked on the phone you could know he was German, but when you read what he wrote you were looking at something really good in the way of English prose."

He hnally won acceptance with a novel

Paradise

Minor problems of illustration and editing were being ironed out when Gerd and Laura both took part in an expedition with a group of other adventurous spirits, using jeeps and a van, along the famous Silk Road. Eighteen of the group were from Hong Kong and six from the Mainland. Gerd was the only westerner. First they drove from Chengdu up to Lanzhou, and then over mountains and desert to the borders of Pakistan. They covered 7,600 kilometres in 21 days and returned triumphantly on October 1, but thoroughly exhausted. That night Gerd suffered a heart attack and never woke. "We so enjoyed that trip", Laura recalls. 'And all became good friends. Two of them came all the way from the Mainland to attend the funeral service. He'd taken lots of notes himself and was going to write a novel based on the experience. In death, he had a smile on his face." I Fermenting.

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The Correspondent, December 2000 - January 2001  
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