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FEATURE RED SHIRTS AND BLACK NIGHTS IN BANGKOK

CLUB TIE MASALA MADNESS IN THE CLUB KITCHENS

BI-MONTHLY • AUGUST 2010

FEEDING FRENZY HOW CHINA IS PILING ON THE POUNDS

IN REVIEW PALIN ON FISH SLAPPING AND GLOBE TROTTING

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong 香港外國記者會


THE BI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE PUBLISHED BY THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB, HONG KONG

cover

AUGUST 2010

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FLAB FIGHTING

China’s modern masses are getting rich, stressed and very fat. This belly-bulging reality has huge implications for China’s healthcare system and its wider economy, writes Matthew Crabbe, who speaks about his new book, “Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines Are Changing A Nation” at the FCC in September.

news

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feature

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FCC JAZZ FESTIVAL: SMALL CROWD, GREAT MUSIC

wall

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PATRICK BROWN: TRADED TO EXTINCTION

media

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D-DAY IN BANGKOK

in review

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THE BBC’S FIFTH CHOICE

club tie

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MAKING THE MASALA

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OLD FRIENDS REUNITED

stiletto

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Max Kolbe on the Taliban’s deadly plans to silence the media

then and now

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Blake’s Pier and IFC - in 1973 and today, by Bob Davies

meanwhile

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ZOO NIGHT: A Harry Harrison cartoon plus a letter from The Bitch

NEWS ON THE FCC BALL, CLUB EVENTS, MEMBERS AND MORE

This year’s Festival was low-key but still good, writes Robin Lynam A powerfully stark exhibition shown on the Club’s Wall Gallery in July highlighted the horrors of the barbaric wildlife smuggling business Photographer Kees Metselaar with the Red Shirts in Bangkok The Monty Python star, Michael Palin, was at his entertaining best at a recent FCC lunch, writes Jonathan Sharp Photographer Carsten Schael ventures into the FCC kitchens An FCC member is racing a restored 1970s championship car, writes The Club’s own Jeremy Clarkson, Tim Huxley

Cover: Harry Harrison

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2521 1511 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 Email: fcc@fcchk.org Website: www.fcchk.org

President: Tom Mitchell 1st Vice President: Anna Healy Fenton 2nd Vice President: Francis Moriarty Correspondent Governors: Frederik Balfour, Keith Bradsher, Thomas William Easton, Tara Joseph, Christopher Slaughter, Peter Stein, Stephen Vines, Neil Western Tied election vote: Colum Murphy & Peter Stein – the run off election result will announced on June 23rd Journalist Governors: Barclay Crawford, Jake Van Der Kamp Associate Governors: Andrew Paul Chworowsky, Thomas Crampton, Kevin Egan, Steve Ushiyama Goodwill Ambassadors: Clare Hollingworth, Anthony Lawrence General Manager: Gilbert Cheng The Correspondent © The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong FCC MAGAZINE The Correspondent is published six times a year. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Club. Publications Committee Convener: Neil Western Editor: Richard Cook Produced by WordAsia Limited, Tel: 2805 1422, Email: fcc@wordasia.com www.wordasia.com

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From the Club President Dear Members,

�is President’s report comes to you from the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe, Scotland near the trailhead to tomorrow’s objective, the Aonach Eagach ridge. One can leave the FCC - and Hong Kong even - but there is no escaping Richard Cook’s copy deadlines for �e Correspondent. �is year’s Club election is old news by now, but much time passes between my “updates” to the membership. Still, I am pleased that we managed a smooth runoff for the �nal Correspondent Governor seat, between the incumbent Colum Murphy and challenger Peter Stein, without any Florida-esque drama or legal challenges. And while I’m sorry to see Colum leave the Board, it is great to have the Asian Wall Street Journal represented after an absence of many years, especially by a journalist of Peter’s calibre and experience in the region. For ensuring this smooth transfer of power I would like to thank our Election Committee - Diane Stormont, Philip Bowring, CP Ho, David O’Rear and Will Giles. At our July meeting, the Board also appointed David Lague, Managing Editor of the South China Morning Post, to �ll the Journalist Governor vacancy left by Barclay Crawford’s return to Australia. Other newcomers include Tara Joseph of Reuters, Bloomberg’s Neil Western and Frederick Balfour from Business Week. It took us a while to �nd a replacement for Barclay and the search highlighted an important issue for the Club - the changing nature of Hong Kong’s journalist community. Gone are the good old days in the run-up to 1997, when so many of the world’s most recognised mastheads had a man 2

THE CORRESPONDENT

or woman in Hong Kong. Just take a look at the list of media titles listed on the roll-call of past Presidents in the Club entrance. How many of those publications still have a bureau in Hong Kong? Or more soberly, how many of those publications no longer exist? My counter-intuitive hunch is that there are in fact more overseas journalists working in Hong Kong now than there were 13 years ago. But the grizzled old Asia hands and bureau chiefs have given way to a new population of younger, modestly paid business and �nancial beat reporters working for the likes of Reuters, Dow Jones and Bloomberg. �is reality has forced me, grudgingly, to rethink my previous opposition to our occasional promotional offers for new correspondent and journalist members, whereby they are offered

discounted subscription rates in their �rst and second years of membership. I had previously been of the opinion that the Club offered good value at HK$950 a month, no exceptions needed. To my mind, it was enough that C&J members are exempted from the waiting list when applying. �en of course there is the constitutional bias correspondent members enjoy in terms of Board membership and voting weight when it comes to voting changes to Club rules. But now a majority of Board members support an extended C&J promotional offer in order to to rejuvenate the Club with a new generation of younger reporters for whom HK$950 a month is not easily afforded. I expect the Board to endorse this change, possibly as early as our August meeting, and will back it myself. I also believe, however, that while the President and a majority of Board members should continue to be correspondents, all members should be able to vote for the President. I am con�dent that the vast majority of Club members, regardless of whether they are associates, journalists or correspondents, support the Club’s core values and would vote accordingly. Personally, I �nd it amusing that I was re-elected President this year with a “mandate” of 74 votes. �at is less than the number of votes received by many representatives of the rotten buroughs – the functional constituencies – in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

Tom Mitchell Club President


What’s on

Charity Ball Auction brings Fun and Bene�t While American band Creedence Clearwater Revisited will headline at the 9th FCC Annual Charity Ball, this glittering event also boasts an impressive collection of auction items to raise funds for the Po Leung Kuk/JP Morgan/ FCC Language Training Program, the Po Leung Kuk/Merrill Lynch/ FCC Children’s Learning Centre, the Po Leung Kuk/UBS, FCC Child Welfare Centre and the Po Leung Kuk/Henrik Nielsen/FCC Scholarship Fund. This year’s ball, held on Saturday, October 9th at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is now as good as sold out but those that can’t attend can always join in with the auction. This year’s bidders can look forward to owning a piece of music history with a rare electric guitar (left), signed by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, which also includes a hand-drawn selfportrait. There is also a signed album, “Electric Ladyland”, by Jimi Hendrix and a copy of the iconic Beatles album, “White Album”, signed by the all of the fab four – John, Paul, George and

Ringo – while golfing aficionados can win a green blazer with the Masters tournament logo on the breast pocket and signed by Masters winners Woods, Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Watson, Mickelson,Faldo and 23 other winners. There are dozens of incredible auction items and most can be viewed at the FCC Main Bar starting on September 6th. Anyone interested to participate in the auction but who will not be attending the ball, can find out more about the procedure for outside bidding from Ms. Hoi-Lo Chan at: charityball@fcchk.org The FCC Annual Charity Ball has raised more than HK$28 million over the past eight years. Some of the funds have given university scholarships to 65 students from Hong Kong’s lowincome families through The Po Leung Kuk/Henrik Nielsen/FCC Scholarship Fund. Currently, there are 27 scholars attending university; 38 scholars have graduated, are employed and actively contributing members of the society. For full details see: www.fcchkcharityfund.com

Don’t Try This At Home: The long-suffering, ever-diligent, FCC Wine Committee breaks its own tasting record – but in doing so brings the FCC the best Portuguese wines of any club in Hong Kong. Thirsty committee members shown here are (clockwise): Richard Meins, Anna Healy Fenton, Charlotte Cochrane, Alastair Monteith-Hodge and Tim Huxley. Image by Philip Nourse. Congratulations also to the Committee for launching the FCC’s own wine label, which is proving very popular with Main Bar regulars.

THE CORRESPONDENT

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What’s on

Mindanao Monument to Fallen Journalists As seen in history, those who have the courage to expose the inhumane and those who are brave enough to tell the truth are often the ones who are eliminated by those who fear would lose their powers and reputation by being revealed. In the Philippines, many media practitioners and journalists have fallen. In the last administration’s 9 year tenure alone, 103 unjust killings of journalists have been tallied. This monument to fallen journalists is a vision by Eduardo Castrillo, to honor the exemplary lives that have perished in the preservation of freedom. Media, as a component of democracy, is the first element to be silenced by those who wish to control society. The monument hopes to honor the lives and the profession that keeps people aware of the truth, sanctity and the state of that freedom. The monumental sculpture by Eduardo Castrillo is found at De Lara Park, Cagayan de oro City, Mindanao. (www. eduardocastrillo.com) Ovvian Castrillo-Hill

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First FCC Hole in One Paul Nazer hit a hole-in-one on the 120 yard par 3 fifth hole on the East course at Kau Sai Chau at the June 18 FCC golf tournament. Paul (pictured) is the first player in anyone’s memory to hit a hole in one at an FCC event going back some 15 years. We all celebrated Paul’s ace at the 19th hole afterward. Actually, the match started out ominously as the first foursome encountered a one meter long cobra slithering across the fairway on the first hole (see insert). Since it went into full strike position, we took some pictures and gave it a wide berth on the way to the green. Looking for lost balls in the rough became a daring adventure the rest of the round. In terms of future adventures, Richard Castka of Sportpix International is currently organizing a golf event in Pyongyang DPRK for this fall. Richard is an old DPRK hand and led the FCC to a golf and sightseeing trip there in 2006. More details are yet to come but if you would like to see pictures of the two courses in Pyongyang please see Richard’s website www.sportpixgolf.com/ main/search For more information contact russjulseth@netvigator.com


What’s on Membership Our regular column dedicated to the comings and goings of members. It is for you and about you. So just had a baby? Got married? Should you wish your fellow members to know about changes in your life simply email marketing@fcchk.org.

Hatched. An extremely warm welcome to these new members: Honorary: Actor, Author, Comedian, and Television Presenter Michael Palin CBE FRGS Correspondents: Ang Bee-Lin, Editor at Bloomberg News, Kristin Kyoko Altman, Freelance Correspondent for washingtonpost.com, TV Asahi,& CNN, Diana Dorahy, Writer at CNN, Anthony Murray, Managing Editor of Total Media Limited, Vikram Subhedar, Senior Correspondent for Asia Stock Markets (Thomson Reuters), and Alexander Travelli, Online Asia Editor at The Economist Journalists: Pierre Gave, Head of Research at Gavekal Research and Freelance Writer Wong Yee-Wai Associates: Peter Bennett, Consultant for Gottex Fund Management, David Boyton, Barrister-at-Law, May Cheung Kit-Ting the Owner of Achilles Physiotherapy, Jessica Dan Man-Yee, Para-Legal with American International Assurance, William Duane, Managing Director of Banco Santander, Ida Zee Griffiths, Librarian at Swindon Book Co, John Johnson, Chief Agency Officer of Prudential, Eric Law Hon-Dick, Executive Director of Goldman Sachs, Arthur Lee, Controller at Meiya Power, Celene Loo Peck-Hwee, Vice Chairman & CEO of Crosby Wealth Management, Glen McDermott, Managing Director of Wachovia Securities, Mok Kin-Yue, Managing Director of Well Crown Group, James Murray, Chief Executive Officer at Plan International, Aniello Orvay, CEO of Asia Spa & Wellness, Timothy Payne, Managing Partner of the Brunswick Group, Kelvin Schafli, Director at Creative Direct, David Sharpe, Managing Director of Silver Quest, Carmen Tse Ka-Man, Photographer, Mabel Tsui Yuk-Siang, Barrister-at-Law, Peter Watson, Fund Manager at LIM Advisors and Wong Heung-Yung, Barrister-at-Law. Corporate: Lutes(HK) Ltd represented by Christian Brown, Director and Boeing (Asia) Investment Limited represented by Christopher Morgan, Senior Director Sales Welcome back to absent members who have returned to Hong Kong and reactivated their membership: Correspondents: Stanley Orzel, Peter Yung Wai-Chuen, and James Yung Wong-Howe, and Associates: Chiann Bao, Jay Bhatt, Derek Fairweather, Teresa Finch, Nick Fulcher, Sanjeet Malik, Steven Sieker, Shivan Sujanani, John Won Wing-Kit g, and Christopher Young. On to Pastures New. We bid a fond farewell to members leaving Hong Kong: Owen Corrigan, Ronald Jordan, Vice President at UPS and Alan Waring, Chief Executive of Asia Risk. Also resigning were Christopher Wood, Books Editor with South China Morning Post, Nicholas Walker a Senior Reporter at Baltic Media, Au Yiu-Kwan, Partner of Grant Thornton, David Hui, Director at Korn/Ferry International HK Ltd, Janet Cheang Wei Man, Executive Director of CultureTainment Services, Andrew Lau Hak-Fai, Managing Director of Quiksilver Asia Sourcing, Robert Nield, Colin Sims, Managing Director of Phoenix Underwriters and Sylvia Zuercher, Managing Director of Stanton Chase International. Corporate members Doris Poon Kin-Ying from Grant Thornton, Ronald Chan Ngok-Pang and Wong Sze-Wai of the Savantas Policy Institute Limited and Kenth Kaerhoeg, Group Communications Director at The Coca-Cola Export Corporation Bon voyage to those also leaving these shores but who wisely became Absent Members prior to their departure Correspondents: George McDonald, Correspondent, International Herald Tribune, Freelancer Morgan Ommer, Freelancer Trond Vagen and David Watkins, Editor at Agence France-Presse; Journalists: Freelancer Miyake Lung, Sarah Monks, Contributing Editor to the South China Morning Post and Freelancer Benedict Wang; Associates: Michael Binns, Managing Director at Shriro Pacific, James Borton, Director of Stari Grad, Bevan Bruce of the Civil Aviation Department, Colin Day, Publisher at Hong Kong University Press, Jonathan DuboidPhillips, Senior Vice President of Lehman Brothers Investments, Nicholas Kitto, Partner at Ernst & Young, Linda Laddin, Principal Consultant with Wise Resources, Merisa Lee, Director of UBS AG, Mark Musto, Managing Director of IBM Global Business Services, Lawyer Ng Wai-Chiu, Steven Sieker, Partner of Baker & McKenzie, and Humphrey Valenbreder, Senior Vice President at ABN AMRO. Despatched. It is with great sadness we announce the death of Correspondent Member Robert Houston and Associate Leo T H Lee, Chairman of Tung Tai Finance; Leo’s wife Ann has been granted Honorary Membership of the Club in his memory. Other Changes. David Lague changed from Correspondent to Journalist on becoming Managing & Business Editor at South China Morning Post; and congratulations to Associate Agnes Tsang on attaining Silver Membership.

THE CORRESPONDENT

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What’s on Reciprocal Clubs

Singapore Cricket Club

The FCC has no fewer than seven reciprocal clubs in Singapore, although neither the Singapore Press Club nor the Foreign Correspondents Association Singapore has its own clubhouse premises, writes Robin Lynam. Several of the others are very luxuriously appointed indeed, and one, the Aranda Country Club, offers comfortable and spacious accommodation. For a combination of location, facilities, historical appeal and friendliness to visitors, however, The Singapore Cricket Club is very difficult to beat. This is a club for which you will need a card of introduction, as well as your FCC membership card, and it also has what sounds at first like a rather forbidding dress code. “Shirts which must have collars and sleeves and trousers; or national costumes. Flip Flops, singlets, T-shirts or outlandish garb of any kind are not permitted in the Club. Shorts are not permitted in the F&B outlets. Shirts or any at attire bearing an advertising message of any kind are not permitted on the Club’s premises,” you are warned. Take solace in the fact that there is nowhere in Singapore you are required to wear a jacket. They do take their dress code seriously, but comply with those rules and you will find that the club is actually pleasantly informal, and staff are highly solicitous towards visitors. My main regret when letting go of a London club membership a few years ago was the loss of the Singapore Cricket Club reciprocal, and I was delighted some time later to see that it had been added to the FCC’s list. The clubhouse is located at the opposite end of The Padang from the Singapore Recreation Club, very close to the city’s central business district. One of a very small number of areas in which Singapore has a definite advantage over Hong Kong is that it still has a green field with a cricket pitch at the heart of the city. It used to have a direct counterpart here, in the Hong Kong Cricket Club’s Chater Ground, replaced by the inaptly named Chater Garden after the HKCC moved to Wong Nai Chung Gap in 1975. The Singapore Cricket Club was founded in 1852, a year after its Hong Kong counterpart, although the present building dates from 1884 with extensions added in 1907 and 1922. In 2006 the club completed a programme of renovations which left the clubhouse’s exterior intact - thus preserving a listed building and major city landmark - but thoroughly modernized the interior while maintaining its essential colonial character. F and B facilities open to members of reciprocal clubs include the famous Men’s Bar and Billiards Room, which was for many years one of the few private club bars in Asia strictly off limits to women. Since November 2009 the bar has been open to both sexes, although it has not been renamed. In the course of the renovations the bar was moved to a cellar location, and other outlets are now more popular, including a new sports bar called Stumps which appears to appeal to both The Singapore Cricket Club, sexes. Connaught Drive, Singapore 179681 The club’s equivalent to our Main Bar is called The Main Tel: 65-6338 9271 Lounge, and the Padang Restaurant is a fine dining outlet Email: scc@scc.org.sg which offers extraordinarily good value for money. If you are in Website: www.scc.org.sg Singapore it is definitely worth dropping in for drinks or a meal.

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THE CORRESPONDENT


Club News

Obituaries

Geoffrey Weatherill Bonsall Geoffrey Weatherill Bonsall (a.k.a. Charles Weatherill) died in Queen Mary Hospital on July 22, 2010. A long-time member of the FCC, he was born in Wuchang, China in 1924, son of a Methodist missionary. Because of anti-foreign disturbances (his father was kidnapped for a while), the family returned to England in 1926 and Geoffrey did not return to China until 1945, to work with the Society of Friends in Chungking. Educated at Cambridge and the University of Hawaii, he settled in Hong Kong in 1955. He became known to many as Charles Weatherill, an early morning broadcaster on RTHK. Before coming to Hong Kong, he was a staff member of the School of Oriental & African Studies at London University, and in Hong Kong he was a Deputy Librarian and later Director of HK University Press. He developed a deep interest in the artist George Chinnery and became perhaps the world’s leading expert on the shorthand used by Chinnery, contributing the chapter entitled “George Chinnery’s Shorthand” to the book Chinnery: the Man and the Legend by Robin Hutcheon, editor of the South China Morning Post. In recent years Geoffrey wrote speeches and other varied material for Dr Stanley Ho. Geoffrey Charles Emerson

Robert Houston I first meet Robert on a shoot for Style magazine swimwear shoot in 1980. I was the new photographer in town and Robert was working as a male model, as just about every decent looking, fit, young and unemployed whiteface did in those days. Robert had taken a year off to do the overland trip from Australia to London, something of a right of passage for young Australians in those days, particularly those just graduating from University and wondering what to do with the rest of their lives. We were both boys from Oz, me from Sydney and Robert from Townsville in Northern Queensland. I was staying in friend’s vacant flat on the beach at Stanely and had a spare bedroom, so Rob moved in. We shared a lot of common interests – we were both active sportsmen, had a strong passion for writing and photography, and both enjoyed a beer or two, among other things. Robert never made it to London, in fact I am not sure he ever did, but he certainly made his mark in Asia. He was captivated by the energy and opportunity that made Hong Kong such a unique economic powerhouse and quickly turned his enthusiasm for media into a job as a copy writer for Dentsu, Young & Rubicam . It was there that he worked on the Neil Pryde account as the senior writer and helped to establish the Neil Pryde brand as the icon it is in today’s sailing and windsurfing world. But Robert is best remembered as the founder and publisher of Action Asia magazine. It was his concept and dream, undoubtly inspired by the years of working with hot-dogging windsurfing professionals in Hawaii and Asia for Neil Pryde, but a dream he turned into a reality. Against all odds he found the partners and investors, put together a team and, working from a small office above what is now Soho on Hollywood Road. , launched first edtion in the early nineties. I was lucky enough to work on that first magazine and to continued work closely with Rob on an number of Action Asia projects throughout the 90’s. In that time he built the magazine from a fledging niche publication into a mainstream consumer success. He worked long hours into the night, writing and re-writing articles, pouring over the light box in search of the right photos, researching and finding new action hotspots and operators. When he wasn’t doing that he was out on the road meeting the people who became the stories that made the magazine what it was. Robert moved into contract publishing in 2002, bringing the same enthusiasm and creativity to each title, but it was hard road and one that took its toll. His best known titles were Macau MotorSport and Security Hong Kong, and he was on the brink of a major re-launch and expansion of both publications when he was quite suddenly stricken with liver cancer. It was devastatingly quick. Robert had touched many lives in his short stay among us and the wake held in Bert’s at the FCC saw the room filled to overflowing. Colleagues from the early Action Asia days, writers, photographers, friends and family gathered and remembered. He will be missed. Terry Duckham

THE CORRESPONDENT

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Feature

Great Sprawl of China

China’s modern masses are getting rich, stressed and very fat. This bellybulging reality has huge implications for China’s healthcare system and its wider economy, writes Matthew Crabbe, who will speak about his new book, “Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines Are Changing A Nation”, at the FCC in September. Illustration from the sylphlike Harry Harrison.

O

besity in China has become a very important issue. �is is not just because it is China and everything in China these days tends to be important, but because the rise in obesity in China has happened so fast that it presents a superspeed test case for what is going to happen elsewhere in the world. �e problems China now faces with the cost (monetary and human) of obesity, and the way it deals with those problems, will likely become a benchmark informing the rest of humanity of the potential scale of the problem. Our book, “Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines Are Changing A Nation”, was written because both myself and co-author Paul French, through our work researching China’s economic development, were becoming increasingly aware of the wider detrimental social effects of China’s 30 years of breakneck economic and social change. Our primary concern was trying to account for how these issues might affect the Chinese economy and consumer trends but we have become increasingly concerned about how obesity is only one of a whole deck of other social issues. Having �rst gone to China as a student in 1988 to study the language and culture, my interest in the country developed into a business and a career, researching and writing about China’s consumer markets. But my interest in China has always remained primarily a personal one. My concerns over the wider social and environmental problems of the country had been mounting, and when Paul and I saw the �rst research numbers come out of China on the scale and rapid rise of obesity in China, we had our �rst countable �gures on what the tangible implications of how rampant consumerism was altering people’s lives in China. By way of a bit of statistical gymnastics, we took the then only available reliable costings related to the issue of obesity on healthcare budgets, taken from the US, and applied them to China. Even taking into 8

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consideration China’s capping of drugs prices, the implications were staggering. Basically, without huge new spending on healthcare resources, China could not afford the long-term costs of a population getting fat, and all the health issues related to obesity, such as hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, kidney failure, type-2 diabetes, etc. Obesity in China has happened so fast because massive economic and social change has been compressed into such a short period of time. �at change has affected everything.Whole neighbourhoods in cities have been bulldozed and rebuilt, their previous communities relocated to high-rise new suburbs where previous social networks and services have not been replaced. Competition for jobs is as intense as the drive to succeed and join the ranks of the rich, and this competitive pressure now starts as early as primary school education level. Massive labour relocation means that much of China’s workforce no longer lives within its own local community, and this has created a growing sense of isolation. All this added stress has formed hand-in-hand with the widespread introduction of fast-foods, sugary soft drinks, fat-laden ready meals, sugary sauces and other consumable temptations. �e stressed-out masses have their comfort food, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, within easy proximity and all at prices that have remained very low, relative to rapidly rising wages. Add to this the increased percentage of sedentary working environments, little time for participation sports, greater consumption of alcoholic drinks and a wealth of (heavily advertised) media diversions, and it is easy to see how this obesity problem has arisen. �ere are other fundamental ways that lifestyles have changed that contribute to the problem. �e pressure to get ahead in education, for instance, has meant that physical education at school has often been sidelined, or even dumped (often at the behest of pushy parents concerned about exam results), so that


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OBESITY IN CHINA HAS HAPPENED SO FAST BECAUSE MASSIVE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CHANGE HAS BEEN COMPRESSED INTO SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME… WHOLE NEIGHBOURHOODS HAVE BEEN BULLDOZED AND REBUILT, THEIR PREVIOUS COMMUNITIES RELOCATED TO HIGH-RISE NEW SUBURBS WHERE PREVIOUS SOCIAL NETWORKS AND SERVICES HAVE NOT BEEN REPLACED. COMPETITION FOR JOBS IS AS INTENSE AS THE DRIVE TO SUCCEED AND JOIN THE RANKS OF THE RICH, AND THIS COMPETITIVE PRESSURE NOW STARTS AS EARLY AS PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION LEVEL

children rarely get a chance to burn off the excess, nor gain the habit of participation in sports. �e arrival of King Car has also all but banished the previously ubiquitous bicycle from the streets of many Chinese cities, robbing people of the option to make their way into work, or elsewhere, on a bike, without risking more immediate morbidity. It is clear that the Chinese are concerned, not just about the obesity issue, but also the wider social problems that obesity is merely one symptom out of many. �e current leaders’ economic programme aimed at developing more “Social Harmony” is an explicit reaction to the problems caused by the pursuit of growth at all costs. �e next generation of leaders, already waiting in the wings, look set to build on this policy and develop China’s economy towards one of value growth rather than volume growth – quality rather than quantity. �is is to be welcomed, but there is a lot to do. Massive new spending on, and reform of, the healthcare system has long been overdue, and new government investment here is to be welcomed. However, China still has, for example, only a handful of clinical dieticians within its healthcare workforce for such a large population. However, problems such as obesity are hard to 10

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legislate away. Solutions to the problem are more likely to appear at a grass roots level. Certain schools have reacted by hardening the school graduation requirements to include minimum physical �tness and ability. More local community groups and politicians are lobbying for improved access for bicycles, or to keep fast-food outlets at a minimum distance from school gates. Companies are also getting involved. Speedo, for example, has been working with schools in China’s big cities to encourage swimming, including bringing the likes of US swimming star Michael Phelps to China to promote the enjoyment of swimming among Chinese children. Perhaps a few inter-company football or basketball leagues would also both help foster better physical �tness among staff, and a sense of company pride that might help reduce rapid staff turnover. One of the most astonishing things about China’s recent economic past is the speed of its shift from poverty and hunger in the late 1970s, following the chaos created by the Cultural Revolution, to the situation now. �e achievements have certainly been great. However, the shift from famine to feast seen commonly in countries where economic recovery has been rapid has commonly equated to fast expanding waistlines. If we look at this issue as not just being


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one for China to get to grips with, but other emerging economies, such as India or Brazil, then solutions to the problem wrought out in China will become important lessons for other countries �nding that they too have a growing obesity problem. What China now has to face is that what has started as a mainly urban problem is likely to continue its spread as more of its population shifts away from living in a rural setting. Government policy continues to solve the urban/rural economic imbalance by urbanising more of China’s predominantly rural population. �e rural development plan also includes greater control of agriculture by large corporate and cooperative units, to improve quality and quantity of output. Improved food output will likely sustain the relative cheapness of food, which remains low-priced compared to average spending power. Meanwhile, more rural people working in an urban environment, seeing rapid growth in their incomes, will be tempted to indulge in the consumer excesses that their urban peers have been enjoying for the past few decades. �e problem of obesity is not going to go away easily, and the situation looks likely to get worse before it gets better. Many of the health problems associated with being overweight or obese take years to become apparent or severe enough for people to seek treatment, and as chronic illnesses, take a long time to either cure or treat. It is the people who became obese 10 plus years ago who are creating the cost now. �ese costs include treating the heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, etc. �ey also include less direct problems, such as the economic toll created by sick days due to obesity-related illness, the strain on the healthcare system to cope with that treatment. Let us also not forget the psychological repercussions and illnesses related to becoming obese and ill. Many of those who �nd themselves with a weight problem will be reluctant to seek medical help due to social stigma and a feeling of shame. �is makes it harder to treat those people, and therefore more likely that when they are treated, it is at a point when their symptoms are at their most severe and most difficult and expensive to deal with. �is also means that despite recent research into the scale of the problem, any estimate has to be regarded as an underestimation. �at makes planning and budgeting for this issue all the more difficult, and why the impact of fat China could yet prove even more severe than it already seems to be. Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines Are Changing A Nation. Matthew Crabbe & Paul French, Anthem Press

Matthew Crabbe speaks at an FCC Club Lunch on Wednesday, 22nd September

Image: Peter Parks, AFP

China: A Timeline of Obesity 1982: Three years after its initiation, a partial survey on diet and nutrition finds 7 per cent of China is overweight. 1992: A national nutrition survey clocks 15 per cent of the country as overweight – double the figure of a decade ago. Some 30 million Chinese are now clinically obese. 2002: The China Academy of Medical Science conducts the most comprehensive national diet study to date, surveying 270,000 people countrywide. Some 22.8 per cent of Chinese adults are found to be overweight (200 million people) while 7.1 per cent are clinically obese (60 million). Within a decade, the prevalence of the overweight has increased by 39 per cent and the obese by 97 per cent. 2005: Xinhua reports that 70 to 90 million Chinese are now clinically obese – one third of the total number of obese people worldwide. Between 6 and 10 million adult Chinese become obese each year. 2008: China’s largest and most shocking survey of obesity and diabetes to date finds that the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes to be nearly 10 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, across China, accounting for 92.4 million adults with diabetes and 148.2 million adults with pre-diabetes. 2015: Predictions indicate that as many as 200 million Chinese will be morbidly obese within five years. China’s heavyweights still lag behind the US, where two out of three people are overweight or obese, but China is on course to be exactly like the US in approximately 10 to 20 years.

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Small crowd, great music The turnout was low and competing with the World Cup in the Main Bar was an error. But the Club’s annual Jazz Festival was still a success, writes Robin Lynam,

All images: Terry Duckham, Asiapix

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irst the bad news. Short of a typhoon hitting, the timing for this year’s FCC Jazz Festival could hardly have been worse. Trying to compete with the World Cup on the big screen in the Main Bar was probably a mistake, and having the �rst night coincide with a concert by Natalie Cole which skimmed off much of the rest of the potential audience was just plain bad luck. On both nights the audience was sparse. A better job could probably have been done in getting the word out to both members and the general public, and we certainly should not have had the hopelessly confusing ticketing arrangements that we did for our paying guests. �e drinks tickets for those non-members who chose the Bert’s-only option on Friday night should certainly have been much more reasonably priced. We were charging �ve star hotel bar prices, having already charged for admission. �is was not particularly tactful in a month in which private clubs all over town were coming under �re for failing to provide public access to their facilities, despite an obligation to do so under the terms of their leases. 26

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�e FCC is under no such obligation, and the fact that as well as allowing non-members to come into the Main Bar to view exhibitions we do stage an event once a year at which non-members are welcome, is greatly to the Club’s credit. Gouging for the drinks probably cost us a certain amount of goodwill, and may have discouraged applications from some potential new members who would almost certainly have otherwise enjoyed the music and the ambience. Now the good news. In all other respects the event went very well. So far as I know this year nobody attempted to assault Gilbert or any other member of staff, or come to that any Club member. �e calibre of performance was high, and those dining upstairs generally seemed to agree that the kitchen had done a magni�cent job. On the second night I spent some time chatting with the head of a restaurant group with several successful outlets in the Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo areas who was hugely impressed with the professionalism of the whole thing. �e musicians, as ever, gave it everything they had, and memorable performances were turned in on the �rst night by


Feature

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Above: xxxxx - caption info coming Below: Larry Hammond ???

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Eugene Pao and his Quartet and by our own musical director Allen Youngblood and Jazbalaya. On the second night an all star band fronted by vocalists Jennifer Palor and Ginger Kwan paying tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder was on similarly �ne form. Neither night was as well attended as it might have been, and rather than dine early and then listen to the music many people opted to eat later. Pao, �nding himself slightly unexpectedly playing what was in effect a dinner show, rethought the set he had planned to play, adding some slightly softer numbers more in keeping with the atmosphere, but let rip later with some blistering solos. Pao and the group, comprising himself on guitar, Ted Lo on keyboards, Ah Hong on bass and Anthony Fernandes on drums, were limbering up for a performance they have been invited to give in Shanghai this October during the closing week of the Expo. Some of the original material intended for that performance was tried out in the course of the evening, as well as a few old favourites and some new cover tunes. One of Pao’s own guitar heroes, Jeff Beck, had come through town a couple of weeks before the festival and Pao, who opened a show for him in the States twenty-something years ago with his college band, had met up with the legend after his show at the AsiaWorld Arena. Pao was de�nitely channelling his inner Beck on a performance of the old Julie London hit Cry Me A River, which the British guitarist has recently added to his repertoire. All present certainly seemed to enjoy the performance, and the band - who although they have all played their share of concert halls and good clubs are also pretty familiar with scruffy rooms and substandard sound equipment - got a kick out of playing the Main Dining Room using well maintained gear, supplied by Youngblood. Both Pao on the �rst night and Guy Le Claire on the second got different but particularly satisfying tones from the guitar amp, and Fernandes and Dulip Wijesinha, better known as DC, clearly enjoyed working with a very good sounding drum kit. All the musicians who performed this year are thoroughly familiar with the Club through engagements in Bert’s – some including Youngblood and Kwan are also members – and know each other well. On their break between sets Pao and the Quartet headed straight downstairs to catch Jazbalaya’s set. For members, who can go to Bert’s anytime and pay nothing to hear some of Hong Kong’s �nest musicians playing in a room that suits them well, it is easy to take the house band for granted. We are nevertheless exceedingly fortunate to have them, and the group, which for this evening comprised pianist Youngblood, saxophonist Tom Nunan, bassist Paul Candelaria, guitarist Cary Abrams, and drummer Larry Hammond, were playing with their customary verve and commitment. On their own break Jazbalaya returned the


This page: vocalists Jennifer Palor and Ginger Kwan pay tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder with support from pianist Jezrael Lucero, while Guy Le Claire takes it to the bridge on an instrumental number Wonder wrote for Jeff Beck THE CORRESPONDENT

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Feature

compliment and headed upstairs to catch a bit of the Pao Quartet’s set. It was a late night in Bert’s, which I seem to remember closing. On Friday I dined as well as listened, and although the full menu was not available the special one for the night was well thought out and well up to the standards of the restaurant at its best. On Saturday I settled for a seat at the bar to hear the Stevie Wonder tribute. I had caught the �rst half of this show a few weeks previously, playing to a packed house at �e Melting Pot. �e audience this time unfortunately was thinner on the ground, but the sound was a lot better and those who were there certainly seemed to enjoy it and applauded loudly. Wonder celebrated his 60th birthday in May this year and is one of the few pop/rock artists genuinely revered by jazz musicians. Several of his compositions are now in the jazz standards book. Kwan and Palor fronted the show and both sang

exceptionally, but were not the only featured vocalists. Jezrael Lucero, whom we hear often in Bert’s on both piano and bass, sang Part Time Lover, and DC also contributed vocals. Guy Le Claire got his Jeff Beck moment on an instrumental Wonder wrote for Beck as a thank you for his participation in the Talking Book sessions, ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers. �e music was good and a great time was had by all. Unfortunately the all were not that many, and the festival will probably not be held next year, although some alternative special jazz presentations are envisaged. �at is a shame. �e FCC plays an important role in nurturing jazz in Hong Kong, and that contribution to the culture of the city should be celebrated. At various points throughout both evenings Youngblood, in his master of ceremonies capacity, thanked the audience for coming out and supporting live music. If you don’t, he will tell you, it dies. Bert’s makes a valid contribution to keeping the �ame burning. Consider dropping in more often.

Saxophonist Tom Nunan joins Allen Youngblood (on piano) and his Jazbalaya downstairs in Bert’s

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This page: Eugene Pao on guitar, Ted Lo on keyboards, Ah Hong on bass and Anthony Fernandes on drums

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The Wall

Patrick Brown: Traded to Extinction Today’s wildlife smuggling trade moves an estimated 25,000-30,000 primates every year along with 2.5 million birds, 10 million reptile skins and 500 million tropical fish. This starkly powerful exhibition, shown on the Club’s Wall Gallery in July, highlights the horrors of this barbaric business.

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rom the pristine jungles of Cambodia to the great national parks of India and Nepal, Asian wildlife is being plundered and trafficked on an unprecedented scale. �e exploitation of wildlife is centuries old. �irteenth-century Cambodia boasted thriving markets for tigers, panthers, bears, wild boars, stags and gibbons. China has long pillaged the animal world for its supposed medicinal bene�ts, and today remains one of the trade’s biggest players. With the arrival in Asia of European colonialists, and soaring demand from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, the killing rose to the record levels we see today. Some animal parts have been imbued with near-magical properties. Superstitious Chinese believe eating the �esh of a tiger will give them some of the animal’s strength, while tiger penis is highly prized as an aphrodisiac. Countless other animal parts - rhinocerous horn, shark �n, bear gall bladder, monkey brain - have been credited with similar potency. Scienti�c studies have proved these beliefs wrong, yet the trade of animals continues largely unchecked, fuelled by ignorance, greed and corruption. One way of curbing this rampant killing is to educate future generations. We must remove antiquated and false beliefs about the potency of animal parts, thereby decreasing the demand for them. Remove the consumer, and we are one step closer to halting this destructive and unnecessary trade. Patrick Brown’s work regularly appears in Time, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, Neon, The Guardian, Liberation, Human Rights Watch and UNICEF International, among others. His work has been shown at some of the prestigious festivals and galleries in the world, including the ICP in New York, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, Noorderlicht International Photofestival, Reportage Australia, Fotofreo Australia. Patrick, originally from the UK, won a World Press Photo award in 2004 for his work on the illegal trade in endangered animals and a multimedia award from POYi in 2008.

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Above and right: Hanoi, Vietnam 2003: The snake is cut open while still alive and its blood, bile and heart are consumed because it is believed they will increase sexual libido. The snake’s heart was still beating while the photo above was taken.


The Wall

Kanchanaburi, Thailand, 2003: A monk strokes a tiger at a tiger temple. The temple rescues tigers from private zoos and circuses.

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The Wall

Chitwan National Park, Nepal, 2004: Chiangmai, At the Bharatpur barracks, a Royal Forestry Officer holds a rhino skull. The barracks’ stockpile of items is five years old and is valued at US$750,000.

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The Wall

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The Wall

Facing Above Left – Sumatra, Indonesia, 2003: A female gibbon for sale at Medan Zoo. The zoo is a centre for “cleaning” wild animals – forged papers are created for illegally caught animals allowing them to then be sold on the open market. Facing Above Right – Thakhilek, Myanmar, 2003: An Asian rhino horn on sale for US$8,000 on the Thai/ Burma border. Facing – Hanoi, Vietnam, 2003: At a bear farm, a bear is tranquillised and taken out of its cage to have its bile removed. Above – Bokor, Cambodia, 2004: A poacher caught and displayed by National Park forestry officials.

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The Wall

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The Wall

Facing – Chitwan, Nepal, 2004: A 50-year-old bull elephant chained because, during its lifetime, it has killed four of its mahout handlers Above and Below: Anti-smuggling rangers in Kaziringa National Park, Assam, India (above) and Chitiwan National Park, Nepal (below) – elephants are favoured by ranger patrols because of their stealth and because they can see over the 15-foot-high elephant grass

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Feature

D-Day in Bangkok

After a failed crackdown in Bangkok on April 10, which left 25 people dead including the Japanese cameraman Hiro Muramoto, the army moved in again, on May 19. Photographer Kees Metselaar eschewed the madding crowd and looked at it his way

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his morning the sky was blue and it was exceptionally quiet around our apartment located inside the eastern edge of the Red Zone. I could only hear the birds in their early morning cacophony. It felt as if we were in the heart of the storm. I knew from my wife Vaudine, who was already in a temporary office of the BBC outside the zone, that the crackdown had started with an assault by the army on the Red barricades in the Silom area. I had been photographing the Red Encampment many times during the weeks before but did not feel at ease getting any closer to the crackdown. You would never know where the bullets were coming from. �ere had been many deadly skirmishes before and I had lost the appetite. �ailand has a habit of leaving one or two foreign journalists dead almost every time they have one of their coups or crackdowns. Remember Neil Davis heroic cameraman who survived the Vietnam war and much more, to die on a Bangkok street in another silly military spat.

So I stayed at home. Now and then a helicopter �ew by over Lumpini Park. Our landlady, who is in her eighties, was working in her little garden and seemed relaxed. She had sent her elderly husband to Hua Hin and joked that she felt safe with the Dutch embassy gate opposite our entrance. I could hear some bangs but they could also be from �reworks which the Red Shirts were launching at the helicopters. Until a few days before the crackdown living in the Red Zone had not been so hard. At least not on our street, the treelined Soi Tonson. �e shops on Lang Suan were still open and there were no Red Shirts camping on our street. Of course the area was difficult to reach by road but taxis and motorbikes could get through, especially if you paid a bit extra. Media organisations like the BBC, Al Jazeera and others were working from the top �oor of the Maneeya Centre, in the middle of the Red Zone. �e Foreign Correspondents’ Club �ailand is there too, but had to close when the Sky Train stopped. It became too

Above: Aela Cullen of Al Jazeera English doing a stand-up on the Balcony of Asiaworks TV Right: Central World mall burning on the afternoon of the 19th of May 26

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difficult for the local staff to reach the building. All the big media out�ts had also rented rooms outside the Zone for when it would become impossible to work from the Maneeya Centre. Still many, including freelancers, were coming every day to the Centre where the office of Asiaworks TV started to function as an ersatz FCC. �eir balcony was the scene of a constant line of TV stand-ups with correspondents from all over the world. One night a group of journalists walking to their hotel still open in the Red Zone were harassed by a group of men. �e 7-Eleven shops in the area were broken into and looted. Still the next morning I could walk all the way to Sukhumvit through the barricades without a problem. I did some shopping over there in “normal” Bangkok and returned to our home. It was surreal and it felt nearly too busy there. I had gotten used to our quiet streets. Finally at lunch time on the crackdown day it all changed. It was clear that the army was coming closer. I could hear more and more explosions and gun�re. Black smoke was visible on different locations. Several helicopters and small planes were circling. �rough Twitter I heard about the death of a foreign photographer - Italian Fabio Polengi. I did not know him. He was on the protesters’ side and he was shot through the heart by a high-velocity bullet. As the Red Leaders surrendered and their supporters started to leave I went to the area of the now deserted main stage and the Maneeya Centre. �ere were �res in several places - also in the Central World shopping mall, the biggest in Bangkok. When I came close the heat was incredible. No �re�ghters were around. �at evening we slept in a hotel outside of the Zone. �e government had declared a curfew and we were worried it would not be safe in our street. But next morning I walked back to our home. Everything was �ne. Nothing had been touched. Water and electricity still worked. By early afternoon the �rst soldiers �nally walked into Soi Tonson and sat on the curb with shotguns and lots of small water bottles. �ey looked young and acted rather shy. Going in and out of the zone, going from crackdown day to the morning after, was like crossing through parallel universes. Now we miss the quiet, the pedestrianised neighbourhood, the edgy tension of the walk to and from home. But at least the killing is over. For now. 28

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The Red Zone camp in front of the later burned down Central World mall.

Reading the morning paper in the Red Encampment on Rajaprasong.

A Red Shirt in black, in front of the Ratchadamri Sky Train station.


Feature

Above: Buddhist monks praying for victims of earlier shoot outs with the army. Below: Soldiers in Soi Tonson. All images: Kees Metselaar

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In Review

The BBC’s Fifth Choice The Monty Python star, Michael Palin, was at his entertaining best at an FCC lunch, recounting how a dire stomach upset and friendly Gujarati fishermen were keys to making his much-loved BBC travel series a runaway hit. Jonathan Sharp reports

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ichael Palin has been dubbed “the nicest living Englishman”, and many of us who packed into the Main Dining Room on May 28 doubtless reckon that he also has the nicest job imaginable. It sounds irresistible: travelling the world, at someone else’s expense, making utterly agreeable, and agreeably lucrative, TV programmes about his adventures. What’s not nice about that? 30

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Well, not much, agreed Palin, whose career as a fabled funnyman blessed with limitless charm – sheer niceness – ensured that the FCC lunch for him sold out faster than for any other Club speaker. Looking only slightly more weather-beaten than he did thirtyplus years ago when he famously refused to accept the deadness of a parrot, or minced around as a lisping Pontius Pilate (with a friend called Biggus Dickus), Palin explained how a series of happy

accidents were instrumental in bringing about the success and longevity of the travel series. In 1987 soon after playing the hapless, stuttering Ken in the movie “A Fish Called Wanda” (whose script Palin initially dismissed as being not funny at all), the BBC came to call and praised him to the skies, saying he had all the right qualities for a planned experimental travel programme. �e idea was for Palin to emulate Phileas Fogg, the main character in the Jules Verne


In Review

novel “Around the World in 80 Days”. Was Palin interested? “I said yes. Just the prospect of travelling around the world, on the BBC’s money, appealed to me.” However all that fulsome BBC chat-up came into de�ating perspective when, once �lming had begun, the director shamefacedly acknowledged to Palin that he had been, in fact, the BBC’s �fth choice to present the programme. Not Just Plan B. Plan E, more like. Palin, who said he went into a complete panic about doing six hour-long programmes without a script, began by trying to play the character of Phileas Fogg as the archetypal British buffer abroad. �at all changed in the �lming of the third episode, during an eight-day voyage from Dubai to Mumbai aboard a dhow with a capricious engine and crewed by Gujarati �shermen. He said it was such an extraordinary experience, “such a sort of leveller”, with no technical gadgetary to fall back on, that by the end, Palin had dropped the Fogg persona. Instead, “By the time I left the boat I didn’t have to be this created character, it was just me. I was being myself.” �e rest, as one says, is history (plus of course a lot of geography). “One particular event happened which also shaped the pattern of the future series. I became ill with a gut problem.” �is necessitated a series of emergency night-time visits to the dhow’s serviceable, but awkwardly placed, toilet, a box tied to the back of the dhow. After each visit, Palin received kindly greetings from still-awake sailors, including one enthusiastic invitation – declined – to join them in eating a curry. In misery the next morning, Palin did a piece to camera telling how awful he felt.

PALIN WAS ASKED WHAT HAD BEEN THE FUNNIEST THING HE HAD DONE. HE NOMINATED THE FISH SLAPPING DANCE, PERFORMED WITH JOHN CLEESE IN THE MONTY PYTHON FLYING CIRCUS SERIES

Images: Bob Davis

“It turned out, this was one of the most popular moments of the entire series. People said, ‘We loved that programme where you were really ill’.” He remembers particularly fondly his dirt-poor Gujarati hosts, their enormous friendliness and hospitality. “I have never ever, in all the travelling I’ve done since then, had a relationship quite like that.” One possibly less nice aspect of doing the travel series – of which he has done seven, with another one about Brazil planned for next

year -- has been something that may well resonate with many FCC members. Palin said that nobody, not even his family, is terribly curious about where he has been, what he has experienced. He has even devoted a section in one of his books to advising travellers how to behave when they come home. “Don’t expect people to be the slightest bit interested.” So what else made what was initially conceived as a one-off travel programme into such an enduring hit? What did not work in the series were set-up interviews. One such non-event was a chat with a Saudi Arabian skipper, who became animated only when discussing his favourite English soccer team, Liverpool. Audiences were also less interested in his journeys along well-trodden tourist paths such as to the Giza pyramids. It was the unexpected adventures, and misadventures, that are best remembered. �ese included Palin �lmed while being shaved by a street barber in India. �e scene drew a small crowd whose slightly alarmed demeanour was explained by the fact that the barber, unbeknownst to Palin, was blind. Also an enormous success was the climax of the “Round the World” programme, the arrival back at the destination, the Reform Club in London, after successfully completing the journey in just under 80 days. Incredibly, the doorman at the Reform Club – so cretinous he could have come straight out of a Monty Python sketch – refused Palin and his team entry because, as he said, “We’ve got a function on.” Undeterred, Palin forged ahead anyway with his �nal piece to camera, triumphantly proclaiming the journey’s end. Nice one, Michael. THE CORRESPONDENT

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Club Tie

Making the Masala Photographer Carsten Schael ventures where few members have gone before… to the FCC kitchens, for the first in a series of Club food features.

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In December chef Pardeep Ray will have been with the FCC for ten years. He runs a team of three skilled Indian chefs who are busy every day of the week. Taste their food and you will see why. Here Pardeep demonstrates how he makes a Club favourite, Chicken Tikka Masala. All images by Carsten Schael

Cube two boneless chicken breasts

Mix the chicken with two tsps each of cumin, coriander, chilli, mace and green cardamom powders

Add cream or yoghurt (or a mix of both) making sure there is enough liquid to cover the meat

Add a good tablespoon of tomato puree and a large pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients together very well. Slowly mix for ďŹ ve minutes

Leave in a cold place to marinate for at least one hour then bring back to room temperature

Slow fry an onion. Add cardamoms, fenugreek, cinnamon sticks, cloves, tomatoes & capsicums

Add the chicken and its marinade, cook for 20 minutes and serve with rice, pickles and raita

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Club Tie

Old friends, re-united A 70’s sporting legend was re-united with an old friend after 35 years recently – with the help of a car-loving FCC member, writes The Club’s own Jeremy Clarkson, Tim Huxley

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he year 1974. A hung parliament in the UK and Holland lose the World Cup �nal. Sounds familiar? A more positive sense of déjà vu prevailed at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, a three-day petrolhead-fest held in the grounds of an English stately home. In 1974, the then 28 year-old Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi won his second world motor racing championship at the wheel of a McLaren M23, a car whose descendants are now hustled round race tracks by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Fittipaldi had not seen his championship-winning car since he moved teams at the end of the 1975 season, and now lovingly restored, the car is owned by FCC member and driver of historic racing cars, Richard Meins. The Goodwood event is not an actual race - it’s a hill climb up the drive of Goodwood House. The reason it attracts over 100,000 spectators on each of its three days is the amazing array of cars and drivers from past and present who gather at this garden party style event, and the unprecedented level of access the public gets to these sporting icons. Anybody who is anybody in motor sport tries to makes the annual pilgrimage to Goodwood. Unable to drive the car at Goodwood due to a clashing racing commitment, Richard nominated up and coming British ace Sam Bird to drive on the first

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two days, with Fittipaldi performing before a sell-out crowd on Sunday. The hair might be a bit thinner, the classic 70’s sideburns a bit more restrained, but Fittipaldi still oozes charisma and as he made his way through the crowds, accompanied by his three-yearold son, the racing overalls last worn when he quit competition in 1996 showed to be still a perfect fit. The delight on the champion’s face as he saw the car was obvious. This might just be a blast up the drive of a stately home, but he went about getting fitted into the cramped cockpit with seasoned professionalism. As he held the wheel for the first time in 35 years, the grin said it all. And when it came to his run up the hill, the crowd’s reaction was the equal of that given to modern day hero Lewis Hamilton whilst throughout the day, Fittipaldi greeted his legions of fans with unfaltering charm and courtesy. In a note to Richard, Emerson wrote: “Enjoy this beautiful car. Win for me!” and told the mechanics who looked after him: “The car is perfect, as good as when I drove it last.” Richard, meanwhile, whose races down the road at Brands Hatch that weekend ended with a podium place and a trip into the gravel trap, was delighted to have re-united the legendary car and driver and now has a personally signed exEmerson Fittipaldi McLaren which he will be racing this summer.


Club Tie

While Emerson Fittipaldi was at the wheel of the McLaren at Goodwood, the car’s current owner FCC member Richard Meins - was on the podium in a historic Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch (left).

Enjoy this beautiful car. Win for me! ...The car is perfect, as good as when I drove it last.

Opposite: Emerson Fittipaldi in the McLaren M23, now owned by FCC member Richard Meins. Above and Right: World Championship winner Fittipaldi gets to know the McLaren M23 for the ďŹ rst time since he won the championship in the car in 1974. All images except this page, top left: Tim Huxley

THE CORRESPONDENT

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Press Freedom

Stiletto By Max Kolbe

A deadly twist on ‘killing the story’ Fifty-nine journalists were killed because of their job in the first six months of 2010, the Switzerlandbased Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) says, up from 53 for the same period in 2009. According to the Geneva-based organization, journalists are more in harm’s way in Mexico where they are hunted by organized crime while The Philippines, Pakistan, Honduras and Nigeria were not far behind. PEC Secretary General Blaise Lempen noted that journalists were exposed in countries that were witnessing internal problems. That goes for the likes of 75-year-old Filipino radio commentator Jose Daguio, who was shot dead in his home in Tabuk City, becoming the first journalist murdered during the Aquino administration. Police said a lone gunman attacked Daguio, a semi-retired reporter and commentator of Radio Natin, and he died while being treated at a provincial hospital. Daguio’s death provided a backdrop for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to present an action plan aimed at ending the impunity that seems to accompany the murder of journalists. As the IFJ congratulated President Benigno Aquino as he was sworn in (pictured), it asked for independent investigations into acts of violence against the media, particularly the victims of the Maguindanao massacre. It also wants passage for the Freedom of Information Bill which the House of Representatives has as yet failed to ratify. “It is our view that a robust and independent media sector is essential to democracy and assurance of respect for universal human rights. However, the

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AFP

long-running culture of impunity surrounding the deaths and violent assaults and intimidation of Filipino journalists pervades the Philippines, and is a significant impediment to the full realization of these rights,” IFJ said in an open letter. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the Taliban have announced they will soon launch their own Media Regulatory Authority to monitor press and TV reports. “Its main objective is to monitor the media closely so that not a single false statement regarding Islam and Islamic ideologies should be broadcast nor any disputed matter could be discussed in (sic) media,” said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Omer. Anyone violating the Taliban’s media guidelines for the first time would be fined. Anyone who commits a second violation “will be executed”, he added.

In comparatively moderate Iran, Jila Baniyaghoob was jailed for one year and banned from writing for 30 years following coverage of post-election unrest, the moderate daily Shargh said. It said Baniyaghoob had been working for a string of best-selling but now closed reformist newspapers and was arrested in June last year along with her husband and charged with propaganda against the Islamic regime over her reports on last year’s disputed elections. There has been some good news. Following pressure from the Federation of Nepalese Journalists and National Human Rights Commission, radio journalist Keshav Bohara was released from jail. Bohara, associated with Radio Mandavi of Pyuthan, is believed to have sustained minor injuries after his abduction in June. Meanwhile in Hanoi a veteran journalist received a presidential send-off. Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh; President Nguyen Minh Triet; Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong and Viet Nam Fatherland Front President Huynh Dam attended the funeral for Hoang Tung. It was an extraordinary turnout and indicative of the esteem held for journalists who tow the party line. Hoang Tung is the former Party Central Committee secretary and editor-in-chief of Nhan Dan (The People) newspaper. At the packed funeral he was described as an “outstanding instructor and teacher and a talented journalist who dedicated his life to the revolution and the nation”. Tung was imprisoned before unification and then became a national hero in the years after. He was 91.


Then and Now

Blake Pier and IFC. Images by Bob Davis

1973: xxxxx

2010: xxxx Š Bob Davis. www.bobdavisphotographer.com

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Meanwhile in the Main Bar

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Back Page Bitch

Send all media-related confessions and adulations to the Bitch. Don’t hold back: backpagebitch@yahoo.com

August, 2010

So where to begin? With chips. But not the Macau kind. Oh no. Here we are talking the deep fried potato kind, served up with battered fish. Hong Kong’s only fish and chip shop – called, wait for it, “The Chippy” – is now owned by none other than five former SCMP staffers. Ben Richardson, Matt Scott, Tim Pratt, Richard Cook and Neil Western, who all worked in varying spells at Hong Kong’s finest newspaper factory from the mid-nineties onwards (and who are all known faces at the Main Bar) are now The Chippy’s proud owners, along with a lawyer (another Club member who may prefer to remain nameless here) and a real chef who presumably is actually running the place. Although the quintet’s combined contribution to the newspaper industry’s legacy is perhaps open to debate, the gang wants to usher in a news theme, initally by encasing the takeaway portions in wrapping that looks like newspaper – in the UK, news print was the traditional wrapping for fish and chips until people realised that fish, chips, lead and printer ink solvent were not the healthiest of edible combos. But that’s not all. Tim Pratt, who as former SCMP Racing Editor would probably know a fair bit about the other, casino sort of chip, has taken time out from his day job to develop what the quintet is saying is Hong Kong’s finest chip. It involves a special chip cutting technique and a complicated double cooking method. You heard it here first.

Another man who undoubtedly knows a lot about chips of every kind, that Main Bar icon Keith Wallis, is, would you believe, back at the SCMP for his third stretch as Shipping Correspondent. And, since arriving back, his straightfrom-the-shipping-tycoon insider yarns have been appearing frequently and large across the paper’s front pages. It does seem strange, however, that after all these years and column inches, they still can’t get his name right. The byline “Keith Wallace” appeared above the first story Wallis penned after re-arriving. An innocent mistake or an elaborate tax dodge? The other name that is once again gracing the SCMP’s payroll is Niall Fraser, who is back where he was four years ago, as editor of The Sunday Post. Fraser was given the royal boot by then Editor-in-Chief Mark Clifford after working for the Post for more than a decade and after earning the reputation (in the finest Scottish news traditions) as being your hunter-killer kind of journalist. His 2006 departure from the Post will be remembered forever more as the “c**t gate” saga after a copy of his leaving page gift (an age-old hack tradition that sees a leaving staffer receive a normally rude dummy version of the publication’s front page containing fictional stories that mock the recipient), was found by Clifford. The page was filled with expletives (they nearly always are) and Clifford held an inquest and started firing those who he saw

as guilty, which in turn led to a newsroom revolt by more than a hundred editorial staff. The story made a lot of play on the international wires, which just made the whole episode even sillier while various old Asia hands queued up to recall the profanities that Clifford himself may or may not have used over the years at other such leaving events. For a while the debate even morphed into some sort of quasi socio-cultural mumbo jumbo about the difference in journalistic methodology between the old, swearing and drinking, British way of doing things and the new, puritanical, American way. Clifford himself got the golden shove from the Post some months later and has, perhaps wisely, left news. He now fills his days at the Asia Business Council as Executive Director while dear Niall Fraser is happily back at his old desk. Ultio dulcis est. And just for posterity’s sake, the bit that angered Clifford so was the banner headline at the top of the mock front page that read: “You’re a c**t, but you’re a good c**t” (complete with asterisks). Any that know Fraser and his cultured turn of phrase will know why it’s funny but indeed, it’s not exactly something you would want to wrap your fish and chips in.

THE CORRESPONDENT

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The Correspondent, July - August 2011  

The Official On-line Publication of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong

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