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COVER STORY

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB

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HONG KONG

Enemies of the People? FCC Journalism Conference 2019

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APRIL 2019


CONTENTS COVER STORY

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ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE? #FCCJournalismConference2019 was trending across Asia on conference day while the Club hosted talks and workshops on the subject of The Dangers of Being a Journalist in 2019

REGULARS

FEATURES

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12

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The FCC’s master plan reveals changes coming to Ice House Street

Message from the President

Membership

A list of new members and some of their profiles

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Club News

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Planning Ahead for Our Club of the Future

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Past Imperfect, Present Tense

The changing media landscape in Cambodia

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Pilot Whose Legacy is a Lifetime of Adventure

On The Wall

FCC member Paul Gunnell’s widow writes a moving tribute

Siding With Humanity; The Last Emperor Revisited; Metamorpolis

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38

Speakers

Who said what when they visited the Club

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Book Reviews

Philip Bowring

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Obituaries

Dr Feng Chi-shun; Paul Baran

The Greening of the FCC

General manager Didier Saugy on making the Club kinder to the planet

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What Wine Has Taught Me About Life

Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee on lessons learned

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Recognising Stories That Make a Difference

Signposting the 23rd Human Rights Press Awards, and a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Photo Award

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Partying For a Good Cause

A snapshot of the Club’s charity bash

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Everyone’s a Winner

Oscars were the theme of the Club’s annual staff party

THE CORRESPONDENT

APRIL 2019

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FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear Fellow Members, This is my last message to you all as the President, since late 2017, of this extraordinary club. And it comes at a time of vibrant activity and important discussions that need to be had here. In March, we hosted our second in-house charity fundraiser, On Assignment: Yesteryear’s Foreign Correspondent, in support of early education for the children of refugees in Hong Kong. Hats off to First Vice-President Jennifer Jett, former board member Elaine Pickering, the Charity Committee and the Club staff for their tremendous commitment to the success of this event. A week later, more than 120 journalists, students and friends of the club gathered for the Journalism Conference to hear about the Dangers of Being a Journalist in 2019. There were some pretty heroic figures on the stage, some of whom had been flown in by the Club from Myanmar, Turkey and the Philippines. Thanks Enda Curran and Nan-Hie In, and your formidable A-team. You’ve done it again, even better and stronger than previous editions! The next important FCC event is the Human Rights Press Awards, co-organised with Amnesty International and the Hong Kong Journalists Association, on May 16. The keynote speaker will be announced shortly. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Sarah Stewart, who has impeccably managed this important event on behalf of the Club since 2017.

“Of course, I still have a long and wishful ‘to do list’ and leave some unfinished business on the table.” Over the course of the last few weeks we also held an impressive string of events touching on the state of capitalism, living in the Gobi Desert during the Cultural Revolution, Russia as a declining power, religious freedom in China, Basil Pao’s iconic images of the Forbidden City from the filming of Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, Internet censorship in China, Formula E in Hong Kong, the relevance of the UN Security Council and more... Phew! As I write these lines, I am half recovering, half reeling from an evening of jazz and New Zealand pinot noir (my favourite) at Bert’s after hosting a stimulating dinner with Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian. He told a full dining room that journalism is entering a completely new age, one whose consequences have yet to be seen.

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I sincerely hope that the Club will soon have the opportunity to host the Chief Executive, Ms Carrie Lam, and the Chinese Commissioner, Mr Xie Feng, to whom we have renewed invitations to speak at the Club. The Club has been through its own little revolution in a very short period of time too as our reborn and redesigned magazine is celebrating its first birthday with this issue (many thanks Sue Brattle for having brilliantly taken up the challenge) whilst our presence on social media has rocketed, mostly thanks to our smashing social media editor, Sarah Graham. I would also like to bring to your attention a new Fellowship that the Club is launching to support young journalists whilst honouring one of our legendary members, Clare Hollingworth (19112017). As you may have noticed, in recent years the Club’s membership has become younger and more gender-balanced. The Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, detailed on the website, is another step to attract the next generation of journalists. If you know an early-career journalist or journalism student who would benefit from this fellowship, please encourage him or her to apply by May 31. The master plan produced by Purcell has now been handed in. It is a reference document that will be used in the years to come. Different options to best share its outcome with all members are being considered. We have also received outstanding design suggestions by students from the Insight School of Design for a refit of the basement floor. Members interested in seeing these documents are welcome to borrow them from the Office. Since my last message three months ago, the dialogue between members who opposed the introduction of anti-harassment guidelines has continued in an open and lively debate. The good news is that we all agree on both the importance of free speech and the importance of making the Club

THE CORRESPONDENT


The Foreign Correspondents’ Club 2 Lower Albert Road Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2521 1511 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 Email: fcc@fcchk.org Website: www.fcchk.org The Board of Governors 2017-2018

a comfortable and safe place for everyone. This is a responsibility that all members share. Whilst the Club cannot tolerate inappropriate behaviour, I believe most situations can be resolved on the spot before they escalate. To that end, please look out for each other and speak up if intervention is required. The staff is also being trained to better handle these situations. We will shortly consult all members and spouses through an online survey. I wholeheartedly encourage you to take part, to help us steer the Club in accordance with your expectations. It is good for them but a loss for the Club that several excellent correspondent members of the Board are being posted outside Hong Kong. Alex Stevenson (The New York Times) has already left for Beijing and has been replaced by Jennifer Hughes from Thomson Reuters. Sarah Stewart (AFP) is assigned to Dubai, Andrew Marszal (AFP, who spearheaded the survey with Genavieve Alexander) is off to Los Angeles, and Jennifer Jett has received a scholarship to study in China. I wish them all the very best in their new endeavours and thank them very sincerely for the precious time and energy they have given to the Club. I have been extremely encouraged by the number of members willing to stand for the next board in all three categories (Correspondents, Journalists and Associates). The FCC needs and deserves skilled, dedicated and professional board members from all walks of life. I thank them in advance for their contributions to the Club.

President Florence de Changy First Vice-President Jennifer Jett Second Vice-President Christopher Slaughter Correspondent Member Governors Enda Curran, Daniel Ten Kate, Richard Macauley, Andrew Marszal, George Russell, Jodi Schneider, Alexandra Stevenson, Sarah Stewart Journalist Member Governors Clifford Buddle, Adam White Associate Member Governors Genavieve Alexander, Magnus Renfrew, David Philip Roberts, Christopher Slaughter, Douglas Wong Club Treasurer Douglas Wong Club Secretary Enda Curran Professional Committee Co-Conveners: Enda Curran, Alexandra Stevenson Sub-committee: Journalism Conference Convenor: Enda Curran Finance Committee Co-Conveners: Douglas Wong (Treasurer), Jennifer Jett, Jodi Schneider Constitutional Committee Co-Conveners: Clifford Buddle, David Philip Roberts Membership Committee Co-Conveners: Sarah Stewart, Enda Curran, Magnus Renfrew House/Food and Beverage Committee Co-Conveners: Douglas Wong, Jennifer Jett, George Russell, Richard Macauley, Genavieve Alexander Building - Project and Maintenance Committee Co-Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, George Russell, David Philip Roberts Press Freedom Committee Co-Conveners: Clifford Buddle, Andrew Marszal, Sarah Stewart, Daniel Ten Kate

They will be greatly assisted in all their projects by the amazing staff the Club is so lucky to have, headed by Didier Saugy, whose arrival at the Club has been the best news for the Club in a long time. Recruiting Didier is one achievement I feel particularly happy about. Of course, I still have a long and wishful “to do list” and leave some unfinished business on the table.

Communications Committee Co-Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Adam White, Andrew Marszal, Daniel Ten Kate

I shall therefore hand over the baton of the President with both a sense of pride for what we have accomplished and of high expectations for what is still to be achieved. But I am not leaving Hong Kong yet and will continue to enjoy the Club on a very regular basis!

General Manager Didier Saugy

Yours sincerely,

Advertising Contact FCC Front Office: Tel: 2521 1511

Florence de Changy

THE CORRESPONDENT

Wall Committee Co-Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, Adam White, Magnus Renfrew Charity Committee Co-Conveners: Jennifer Jett, George Russell, Daniel Ten Kate

Editor, The Correspondent Sue Brattle Publisher: Artmazing! Tel: 9128 8949 Email: artmazingcompany@gmail.com Printing Elite Printing, Tel: 2558 0119

The Correspondent ©2019 The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong The Correspondent is published four times a year. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the club.

APRIL 2019

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MEMBERSHIP Who’s joined the Club, who’s leaving and who’s turned silver! This is the column to read.

Welcome to New Members Correspondents

• Otis Bilodeau, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg LP • Emma Clark, Editor, AFP • Reuben Easey, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, AFP • Li Yuan, Asia Tech Columnist, The New York Times • Stephen Spratt, Reporter, Bloomberg Journalists

• Chad Bray, Senior Business Reporter, South China Morning Post Associates

• Alexander Allan, Managing Director, ARC Allan & Associates • Simon Bambridge, Director Aircraft Management, TAG Aviation Asia • Mathias Bock • Vivek Chatrath, Head of Financial Crime Investigations, Deutsche Bank • Hongyi Chen, Senior Manager, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research • Anthony Cheng Kwok-bo, Senior Manager, Capital Market Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers • Catherine Cheung Ka-yin, Chief Operating Officer, Tybourne Capital Management • Timothy Cheung Tin-yui, Sales Manager, Financial Intermediaries, Janus Henderson Investors • Dinesh Chhugani, Managing Director, Dac Pacific • Dick Fong Ho-cheung, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers • Jeremy Gill, Group General Counsel, Silver Heritage Group • Jonathan Givelin, CEO, AE Funding Luxembourg • Aaron Goach, Chairman & CEO, Global Criterion Solutions • Sally Greig, Head of Communications, Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills • Mounir Guen, CEO, MVision Private Equity Advisers Asia • Gavin Herrmann, Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank • Priyanka Jain, Founder, Teacup Productions • Radhika Jasuja, Executive Director, Lombard Odier • Henryk Jazdzewski, Managing Director, Infinity Transport Consultancy • Philip Kadoorie, Director, Sir Elly Kadoorie & Sons • Roger Lee Kuo-chuan, Chief Executive Officer, Tal Apparel • Andrew Leung Po-sum, Quality Control, Mystery Ranch • Warren Luk Hua, Head of Programmes, The Good Lab • Alan Macdonald, Director, Urbis Limited • Bhakti Mathur, Freelancer • Alice McLeod, Legal Manager, Clyde & Co • Vikas Mehra, Asia Pacific Lead, HSBC • Peter Messervy, Director - Group Security, China Light & Power • Trinh Nguyen, Senior Economist, Natixis • Jonathan Reoch, Managing Director, Blackrock • Nicholas Roe, Director, MTI Network • Prosenjit Saha, Head South & Southeast Asia, Citigroup Global Markets • Nigel Steffensen, Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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• James Sweeney, Chief Operating Officer, Tor Investment Management • Charles Tse Tze-to, Analyst, Corporate and Institutional clients and Corporate Finance, Standard Chartered Back • Arthur Wong Wing-tim, Director, Abercan • Andrew Yu Chak-chung, CFO, Raith Asia Diplomatic

• Carmen Cano De Lasala, Head of Office, Office of the European Union • Mitsuhiro Wada, Consulate General of Japan, Consul General Diplomatic Replacements

• David Costello, Consulate General of Ireland, Consul General • Randall Graham, US Consulate General, Army Liaison Officer • Derek Ping, US Consulate General, Army Liaison Officer Corporate

• Frank Coles, CEO, Wallem Services Corporate Replacements

• Jonathan Abel, Zetland Corporate Services, Managing Director • Vivian Au Ka-ki, CLP Power Hong Kong, Deputy Director - PA (Group) • Simon Chu Kai-man, Financial Times, Director Operations • Xuenan Dong, Hill & Knowledge Asia, Managing Partner • Mark Russell, Gard (HK), Managing Director • Veronica Tam, Zetland Corporate Services, Legal Counsel

On to Pastures New Au revoir to those members leaving Hong Kong who have become Absent Members: Correspondents

• Pamela Ambler, Senior Reporter, Forbes Asia • Robert Hartley, Asia Editor, Euromoney/Institutional Investor • Rachel Rosenthal, Opinion Editor, Bloomberg • Malcolm Scott, Greater China Team Leader, Bloomberg • Mark Wembridge, Editor, Financial Times Journalists

• Michael Hoare, Freelancer • Kenneth Hodgart, South China Morning Post Associates

• Jay Bhatt, Director, Puam Securities • Julia Byrne, Art Therapist, Art Therapy Hong Kong • Juan Cai, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Marriott International • Simon Doughty, Group Managing Director, Wallem Group Limited • David Hoare, Consultant, Haldanes • Duncan Jepson, Managing Director, Share (Asia Pacific) • Laurence Lau Po-chuen, Retired • Lau Wai-tim, Director, Icatch International Investigation Ltd • Leung Chi-ho, Deputy Managing Director, VC Brokerage

THE CORRESPONDENT


• Anil Mallet, Alternative Chief Executive & CFO, ICICI Bank • Clara Ng Wing-yin, Retired • Fergus O’Rorke, Director, Mode2 • Robert Precht, Founder & President, Justice Labs Ltd • Charles Rixon, Director, Options Group • David Smith, Retired • Sunilh Uttamchandani, CEO, Island Resort • Brendan Wong, President, Paning Centennial Foundation • Lena Wong Sing, Division Manager, Fossil • Marguerite Yates, Retired • Joanne Yau Chui-ying, Director, Infinity Creations

Journalists

• Timothy Pile, Freelance Journalist Associates

• Peter Barrett, Retired • Wolf Berthold, Chairman, Helicon Enterprises • Jay Bhatt, Director, Puam Securities • John Burrell, Managing Director, Celtic International • John Duffy, Senior Marketing Director, Asia, Sky Aviation Leasing • Lee Kai-hung, Retired • Li Ching-shan, Director • Pierre Noel, Chairman, Burton & Brooks • John Pym, Captain

Farewell to these members also leaving Hong Kong:

Despatched

Correspondents

We are extremely sad to announce the death of:

• Laura Mannering, Bureau Chief Hong Kong & Taipei, Agence FrancePresse • Paul Sillitoe, Managing Editor, Bloomberg

Associate

Associates

• Paul Baran

• Robert Morrice, Chairman & CEO, Barclays Capital Asia • Andreas Schubert, CEO, Merkur Holdings

Spouse Member

Resigning Correspondents Journalists

• William Scott Sapp Journalist

• Dr Feng Chi-shun

Category Changes Honorary Widow

• Sandie Dalton

• Yves Sieur, Photo Editor, SCMP • Journalist Associates

• Peter Cashin, Partner, Kennedys • Frederick Ma, Chairman, Mass Transport Corporation • Minzhi Si, Assistant Director, Haitong International Securities Group Corporate

• Thomas Alexander, Fyfe Partner, Clyde & Co • Padraig Walsh, Partner, Clyde & Co • Wong Chun-leung, Research Manager, The DUI HUA Foundation

Welcome Back To Correspondents

• Edward Ion, Freelancer, Helix Media • Linda Jenkins, Freelance Writer • Margaret Lee, Chief Asia Film Critic, Variety (Penske Media Group) • Mitya New, Freelancer

THE CORRESPONDENT

A huge advantage of being a member of the FCC is being able to use clubs around the world. If you are visiting Australia and New Zealand there are clubs in most major cities. In North America there are clubs across Canada and the USA. For those of you heading to Europe there are clubs in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Malta, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Across Asia in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. In Africa we only have one club so far, The Wanderers Club in Johannesburg. Most of these clubs provide dining, work and recreational facilities but some offer accommodation too, such as The Colombo Swimming Club in Sri Lanka, the Hollandse Club in Singapore, The Launceston Club in Tasmania, the Terminal City Club in Vancouver, the Bellevue Club in Washington and the Devonshire Club in London. So when you are planning a trip be sure to take a look at the list on our website of partner clubs – under the Membership tab scroll down to Partner Clubs (www. fcchk.org/partner-clubs-3) – to see what facilities each club has to offer and take full advantage of your membership whilst you are travelling. PLEASE NOTE: To use our partner/reciprocal clubs many require an introduction card which you can get from the Club’s office, simply email membership@fcchk.org.

APRIL 2019

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NEW MEMBERS

INTRODUCING... NEW MEMBERS The latest group of members to join the FCC is, as always, an interesting bunch. The membership committee meets regularly to go through applications and is always impressed by the diversity of people who want to join the Club. Mounir ‘Moose’ Guen I am founder and CEO of MVision and have worked in the global private equity sector for more than 30 years. A passion for travel and cultures is shared by my family. Between us we have been fortunate to travel to many incredible places, including the North Pole. Another passion in my life is my role as a director for my daughter’s travel magazine, SUITCASE. Hong Kong is an important part of my life; I am involved in community work incorporating sports to make a difference, working with the Kowloon Rugby Club, and HK Stand Up Paddle Board Association. My other passion is education; I am on the President’s Global Council at NYU, an Executive Fellow at London Business School and a mentor at HKU. Dinesh Chhugani I am an Indian and Hong Kong has been home to me for the better part of my life since 1990. I am a clothing manufacturer and exporter and being in the garment industry I have been fortunate to travel to many countries for work. I lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for several years but, as the saying goes, home is where the heart is. I always looked forward to coming back to Hong Kong, a city that never sleeps and pulsates with life 24/7. I love travelling to new places and meeting people is my passion. One of the reasons I like coming to the FCC is you get to meet a wide cross-section of people from different walks of life. Dr Priyanka Jain From teaching in university and schools to producing plays and community radio shows, life has been one big adventure. Under the aegis of Teacup Productions, a non-profit that I founded in 2016 to amalgamate education and performing arts, we have reached out to over 100 local primary schools and 6,000 primary students with our educational programmes, produced community radio shows for RTHK and staged plays that I have written and directed. I am also the editor of children’s storybooks that are being used in local schools for learning English. When I am not writing, teaching or recording, I love to meet and talk to people, because that is where real stories exist!

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Warren Luk I currently live life as a social entrepreneur, a cappella singer, musical performer and event emcee, after making an abrupt change of career from management consulting two years ago. It remains one of my best life decisions so far. I find the diversity much more interesting and meaningful. I spent my childhood in Hong Kong before going to boarding school in England when I was 14. I didn’t know what to expect, but I believe the boarding experience gave me things that I need now – for instance, courage to travel alone to unfamiliar places such as Peru, Chile, and Israel which I’d say are my favorite destinations in the world. I look forward to meeting you and exchanging life stories soon. Philip Kadoorie Hi! I was born in the UK then raised here in Hong Kong and have just returned in the last two years. Before coming home I have lived and worked in Switzerland, on both coasts of the U.S., in London, and in Beijing. Now I am part of my family office, as a director at Sir Elly Kadoorie & Sons, working on a variety of interesting projects around the world. In my spare time I love exploring Hong Kong with my camera in hand, hunting for the best bubble tea, and going driving at the crack of dawn. If you see me at the bar, come and say hello! Carmen Cano Carmen Cano began her term as head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao on 1 September, 2016. She joined the European External Action Service as deputy head of delegation at the EU Delegation to China and Mongolia in Beijing in 2011, where she worked until her transfer to Hong Kong. A seasoned career diplomat, Carmen joined the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992. She was posted in Romania, Ghana and Ethiopia. In the headquarters she worked on nonproliferation and disarmament and served as Deputy Director General in charge of Continental Asia twice, from 2002 to 2006 and 2010 to 2011. She is fluent in Spanish, English, and French and lives in Hong Kong with her husband and three children.

THE CORRESPONDENT


Peter Messervy Born into a peripatetic military family, I ended up at Edinburgh University studying the then unfashionable language of Mandarin Chinese. Spent an impressionable year, 1982/3, in Jinan, was arrested and returned from Dali and Kashgar – but made it to Tibet undetected. On graduation, I joined the British military, a 23-year stint which took me around the world, generally the less savoury corners including the Balkans, West Africa and Iraq. I was lucky enough to be stationed in Berlin (when it still had a wall and held Hess), then Hong Kong up to and including the handover. Married to Christine, I am the proud father of two and Hong Kong has been our home now for 11 years. Emma Clark As a newcomer to Hong Kong, I’m happily getting to know the city through dim sum and Tsingtao! I first came to Asia as a backpacker a decade ago so it’s great to be back, this time working as a journalist for AFP. I grew up just outside of London, starting my career with my local newspaper and ending up reporting in the Houses of Parliament before venturing across the water to live in France. I’m a big supporter of activism and all things green. Mathias Bock Four things friends say about me: 1. ‘Mathias likes to shoot people, and he is quite good at it, too!’ – a compliment completely unrelated to marksmanship, but referring to the hobbyist photographer-me taking pictures of the city and its people. 2. ‘Mathias is travelling to [insert random place on the map] – they must have great food there!’ – would be teasing about my interest to explore culture through cuisine. 3. ‘Mathias is pushing the boundaries of business attire’ – would be commenting on my predilection for sartorial uniqueness. 4. ‘Mathias is one of the most travelled lawyers I know’ – must be referring to always running out of space when preparing visa applications and listing the countries I have visited in the last 12 months. Simon Bambridge Hello. I was born and raised in Adelaide, Australia. I moved to Hong Kong in 2010 but my Hong Kong story started much earlier when I was an extra in a famous TVB drama, Triumph in the Skies – which young colleagues around my office still watch almost 20 years later. I am the commercial director for TAG Aviation, a business aviation management company with clients across Asia. I met my wife, who is from Taiwan, in Hong Kong and we have threeyear-old twins, a boy and girl. Before children we hiked a

THE CORRESPONDENT

lot and travelled widely. These days you are likely to see us in the FCC Lounge having lunch after a morning exploring Ocean Park. Harvey Sernovitz I’m the new spokesperson at the U.S. Consulate. Originally from Wisconsin, I’ve made Asia my home over the past 16 years. With all of my other postings within a four-hour flight of Hong Kong, it seems natural that my path led me here. Between managing media inquiries I love to travel, especially to places listed in the prestigious Atlas Obscura. I’m joined in Hong Kong by my wife Jo Ann, two amazing kids (a third is back in the U.S.), along with Izzy, our Beijing rescue dog. Reuben Easey I moved to Hong Kong a little under a year ago to become AFP’s deputy editor-in-chief for video in the Asia-Pacific region. I spent eight years as a video journalist before that, reporting from more than 30 countries across four continents. (Embellished anecdotes available upon request at the FCC bar). I now work mostly behind a computer screen rather than behind a camera, but still get out into the field once in a while – in particular to North Korea, where I travel with colleagues from our Seoul bureau every two to three months. It’s a unique and mind-bending experience, but you won’t catch me making any snide remarks about the place here. n

WE WANT YOU! Editorial contributions, photographs of Club events and members at play, with a few words, are welcome from all members.

Invitation to all members If you have an idea for a story for The Correspondent, we would like to hear from you. Just send an email to the editor, sue.brattle@hotmail.co.uk

APRIL 2019

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CLUB NEWS

Workshop: Open Source Investigations, How to Dig Deeper

H

eld in the Verandah on the evening of January 17, this was a training session for reporters to make better use of open-source investigation (OSINT) techniques. Moderated by Lindsay Ernst, lecturer in Human Rights Experiential Learning at HKU, the workshop was led by Sam Dubberley, manager of the Digital Verification Corps at Amnesty International, and Alison Cole, Asia-Pacific Coordinator of Digital Investigations with HKU and Berkeley Human Rights Center.

Red is the colour A

Bordeaux wine social was held at the Hughes Room on January 9, and it was a serious business as members discussed the subtleties of St Emilion, Graves, Pomerol and many more.

Picture perfect A

uthor Mark O’Neill and photographer Kevin Lee used material from their book, How South Asians Helped to Make Hong Kong – History, Culture, Profiles, Food, Shopping (also authored by former FCC governor Annemarie Evans) for a lunchtime talk on January 23 entitled Diwali, Mosques and Theravada Buddhists – The Hong Kong You Might Not Know.

The Red Stripes

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he Hong Kong Ska/Mod band filled Bert’s Bar on January 25 with an infectious mix of horn-based rhythms.

THE CORRESPONDENT


Celebrating Veganuary

M

embers and guests enjoyed a four-course Vegan Dinner on January 25, accompanied by organic wines. Vegan Chef Heinz Egli and Michelle Hong from Rooftop Republic Urban Farming were the guest speakers.

Welcome to new members A

ceremony was held on January 25 for new Club members to meet governors and be formally inducted into the FCC. A warm welcome to them all.

China’s Forgotten Daughters C

o-directors Vincent Du and Meng Han hosted a screening of their film, China’s Forgotten Daughters, on February 18 in Bert’s Bar. Both based in Beijing, Du and Han used the story of one abandoned girl searching for her longlost parents to highlight the tragic cost of China’s one-child policy introduced in 1979.

Year of the Pig

T

he FCC welcomed in the Year of the Pig with a traditional Lion Dance on February 8, which made its way through the Club and met up with general manager Didier Saugy, President Florence de Changy, and First Vice-President Jennifer Jett.

THE CORRESPONDENT

APRIL 2019

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CLUB NEWS

Inside track

M

ichael Carcamo, Director of Nissan Global Motorsports, spoke on Why Race And What We Can Learn From Racing in Formula E at cocktails on March 7 and explained how lessons learned on the track are being used to help improve the Nissan EV road cars of the future.

Ambassador’s focus

A

mbassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback was guest speaker at breakfast on March 8 to discuss Religious Freedom: Global Threats and the World’s Response. Ambassador Brownback, pictured with First Vice-President Jennifer Jett, focused on the U.S. government’s concerns about China.

Speaking out

A

Club Lunch Panel on March 20, How China Is Muzzling the Media at Home and Abroad, featured Yuan Yang, Vice-President of the FCC China, and its treasurer Josh Chin, with Cedric Alviani, East Asia Bureau Director for Reporters Without Borders. Guests were given an exclusive preview of the Reporters Without Borders report on this topic which was released worldwide on March 27.

Standing up for hope

F

rédérique Bedos, founder of Le Projet Imagine – The Humble Heroes, questioned whether the media should continue to describe the world in a way that generates anxiety and confusion at a lunch on March 18. Bedos, pictured with President Florence de Changy, believes that hope can empower people to stand up for a better world, and that the media have a key role to play in conveying it.

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THE CORRESPONDENT


Club of legends

W

here do famous sportsmen head during a six-hour layover in Hong Kong? The FCC of course. Motorcycle racing legends Michael Rutter and John McGuinness, who between them have nine victories in the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix and 30 wins in the Isle of Man TT races, stopped by the Main Bar for a beer en route from Sydney to the Isle of Man in March and member Tim Huxley captured the moment. They will both be back in November chasing another Macau win.

Why journalism matters

A

lan Rusbridger chats with President Florence de Changy, Emily Lau and students after his talk at a Club dinner on March 27 entitled Why Journalism Matters More Than Ever – And How It Has To Adapt To Survive. Rusbridger is former editor-in-chief of UK newspaper The Guardian and current chairman of Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

THE CORRESPONDENT

APRIL 2019

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MASTER PLAN

PLANNING AHEAD FOR OUR CLUB OF THE FUTURE Around a thousand members took part in a survey canvassing ideas for changes they would like to see at the FCC and the master plan inspired by their answers is now finished. Simon Pritchard, a member of the Club’s House Building Committee, outlines its key points.

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A

little over a year ago, the FCC board commissioned a master plan report that had two clear objectives. First, we wanted to know what big stuff needed fixing in our Ice House Street home. Second, we wanted to produce a comprehensive blueprint that would allow future FCC boards to plan renovations and possible use changes on a multi-year basis. The final report was completed in March and the board is moving ahead with key recommendations. Initial efforts will focus on essential works to our external walls and so members should not be too inconvenienced in the coming year. Looking ahead, the idea is to pursue a phased upgrade to areas such as the Main Dining Room, Bert’s and our often-congested entrance lobby. This exercise was overseen by the club’s House committee and managed by Purcell, an architectural firm that specializes in heritage projects. Purcell had a lead role in turning the old Central Police Station into

the Tai Kwun arts centre, and brought along a strong team of professionals. Its first task was to conduct a detailed survey of the FCC premises, and the good news from its report is that the building remains in decent shape, with no major problems. Once Purcell completed the “phase one” work last May, the hard yards of planning possible changes to our major facilities began. This exercise was heavily informed by a detailed online survey of FCC members and their spouses, which drew about 1,000 responses. The basic task was to figure out whether the club is properly arranged for the way members use it today and for how they will likely use it in the coming decade. Purcell worked with the club’s management team and board to come up with a variety of proposals for new spatial uses. These were eventually winnowed down to a final master plan, which the club has now adopted. These choices were subject to practical

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTOS: PURCELL

Main Dining Room


Gym

Work Room

Bert’s Bar

considerations like our desperate need for more storage space. The final master plan can be broken down into 12 project clusters, which it is envisaged will be run over nine years. Highlights of these proposals that will likely be of the greatest interest to members include: • No significant change to the Main Bar area is planned, although the ground floor office and reception area will be reduced in size to expand the lobby area available to members • The Hughes and Burton rooms will become a single multi-purpose lounge that can serve as a quiet room, work area, function space or music venue. • The Main Dining Room and Verandah will be refurbished and toilets added to the upstairs area, but there will be no big change to the spatial use. • The lower ground floor will be overhauled to become more modular to accommodate specific functional needs. These will include a Chinese restaurant, a smaller Bert’s Bar and pool table, expanded work room and a new staff office. It is not envisaged that any major changes to the overall use of space will occur until 2023 and 2024, when the club hopes to have renewed its lease. At this point, the planned upgrade to the Hughes and Burton rooms can be implemented, together with the remodelling of the lower ground floor, which will include a small expansion of the gym to add a stretching room. It should be noted that the key word in this exercise is “plan”. No commitments have been made and the board has said projects will only be undertaken if our financial situation allows. While the plan identifies intended use changes and broad design principles, these are not final decisions; detailed designs will be undertaken at the time of project implementation. The board expects to get plenty of feedback to its

THE CORRESPONDENT

Reception

plans, and these will be factored into final decision making. The value in this exercise is that projects can be undertaken independently of individuals who may serve on the board and champion this or that project. Over the coming decade, a high-level cost estimate by our quantity surveyor points to a cumulative spend of $36 million. Like any effort in forecasting, this one is bound to be proven wrong, however the House Committee — which includes FCC members who work as architects, surveyors and facilities managers — reckon the order of magnitude is about right. This seems like a lot of money for the club to consider spending on upgrades at a time of uncertainty, and it is. That is especially the case when we have run deficits for the last three years. Yet by the same token, on an inflation-adjusted basis the total sum is not materially different than that spent on capital projects since the big renovations of the early 2000s. For this reason, the plan is doable and offers a clear way forward. n * Members can inquire at the front desk to view the master plan and a copy will be made available on the website.

APRIL 2019

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JOURNALISM CONFERENCE

ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE?

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his year’s journalism conference brought together editors and correspondents from around the region under the title Enemy of the People? The Dangers of Being a Journalist in 2019. Eleven panels and workshops looked into this and other topics, under the guidance of conference convenor Enda Curran and his team. Speakers included conflict zone photographer Nicole Tung and Emily Steel, who kicked off the Me Too movement with her reporting of sexual harassment for The New York Times. Online threats and security tips, press freedom in Hong Kong, and dangers for journalists in Asia all

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sparked lively Q&As, alongside workshops on how to get paid what you’re worth and how to use your phone to capture news footage, among others. FCC President Florence de Changy announced the launch of the Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, named after the late journalist and longtime FCC member, offering free Club membership and mentoring for young journalists or those training to become journalists. Reporting Team: Sue Brattle, Christy Choi, Morgan M. Davis, Jenni Marsh Photographs: Sarah Graham/FCC Sketches: Andreas von Buddenbrook

Florence de Changy

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN and Eric Wishart, AFP

THE CORRESPONDENT


Keynote Address: Insights From a Conflict Zone Photographer

Nicole Tung

Opening Panel – Press Freedom and Dangers for Journalists in Asia For Patricia Evangelista war is personal. That’s because the war she’s covering is the one in her home country: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, during which so far 27,000 people have died. As Rappler, the news outlet Evangelista works for, documents the destruction waged by Duterte – who campaigned on the promise he would kill 100,000 criminals – it has become public enemy number one. “I live where I work. It’s hard,” said Evangelista. “Everyone who speaks to me is at risk of being killed the next day.” CNN’s Will Ripley has become the network’s de facto North Korea correspondent. He described how on his first visit to the hermit kingdom he got a rare chance to interview three Americans being held there. Ripley admitted he was so nervous for his own safety during the interview that he “didn’t have as much compassion as I needed to have” for the prisoners. Having since been detained for 36 hours in a North Korean jail “for one innocent iPhone

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Hong Kong-born war photographer Nicole Tung kicked off the conference with a powerful reflection on the challenges facing journalists in conflict zones in 2019. In Syria, the biggest threat was not the bombs, she revealed. It’s the paranoia of being kidnapped: the constant feeling that someone could be surveilling you. Tung graduated from international school in Hong Kong with a desire to travel. That urge and her camera took her to the Arab Springs of Egypt then Libya, which she said were a “baptism of fire.” She then wound up in Syria with American journalist James Foley, who was later kidnapped

photo”, Ripley is keenly aware of the dangers. Meanwhile, American journalist Kevin Sites shared his experience about travelling to every war in the world in one year for Yahoo! News to show “the human effect of war” – an objective that came up throughout the conference. And risk manager for Dow Jones Stevo Stephen stressed the importance of keeping journalists – whether freelance or staff – safe in conflict zones through panic buttons on mobile phones, by getting the right visas, and paying for hostile training courses. There was a question at the end of the talk that set the room a-twittering. “Women are more emotional,” a female attendee said, asking Tung: “How do you cope with being a woman in war?” The audience laughed. But from this not-so-well phrased question came responses that captured the perhaps unintended theme of this panel: The role emotion has to play in news coverage. Evangelista put it most poignantly: “The moment we look at a dead body and say that’s no. 2, that’s no. 3, that’s no. 4, that’s the problem. Not that we’re male or female. I’m human first, a reporter second. If I cannot feel… then I cannot expect the person reading or watching to care. I know we have to pretend to be fearless, but I am afraid every day.” There was solidarity from the men on the panel. Sites

and beheaded by ISIS. She said winning the 2018 James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, named after her friend, made her feel “proud to continue the work he and others did.” However, Tung said that her experience at the frontline had taught her that “no story is worth your life” – and that the perception of journalists in war zones has changed. “In the 80s and 90s it was different,” she said. There was an understanding that journalists were meant to be “neutral mouthpieces”. Now, journalists are targets who authoritarian governments want to stop spreading information. As a result, Tung said it was increasingly important to make sure our digital devices are clean – and that foreign journalists protect local reporters and fixers. When asked what her next project would be, Tung joked: “That’s a question that freelancers never have the answer to.” Jenni Marsh

Patricia Evangelista, Rappler

Opening Panel

joked that he and CNN’s Ripley were probably the most emotional people on the panel, and AFP’s Eric Wishart admitted he had to watch Nicole Tung’s introductory video 10 times before he could watch it without crying. Sites also called for more solidarity within the profession. “One of the things journalists haven’t been very good about is standing up for each other.” Christy Choi and Jenni Marsh

APRIL 2019

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JOURNALISM CONFERENCE

Cultural Journalism: How Best to Cover Asian Culture and Beyond, And Avoid the Pitfalls Rule Number One for working in Asia, be able to speak three languages. They are the best tool for digging deep into stories and finding creative ways to tell them, a skill that is increasingly necessary in China if you want to keep your sources out of trouble. Hard-hitting advice from Amy Qin, China Correspondent of The New York Times, and her fellow panelists agreed that reporting on music, film, art, TV and theatre often involves touching on politics or economics. “Visual art doesn’t attract huge audiences so you can slip under the radar,” said Enid Tsui, Senior Culture Writer at the SCMP.” But in the art world everyone has to speak English, a fact that mystifies Tsui. Kurt Lin, Senior Multimedia Producer for

SCMP’s Morning Studio, said: “I speak Mandarin, Cantonese and English so get to cover so many more stories because I can talk to local people. There is a need to employ more bilingual staff here.” Another vital skill is being able to sell your story, said Vivienne Chow, founder of the Cultural Journalism Campus. “At the end of the day, the editor will ask: Who cares? We have to persuade people that culture matters. If you’re writing for a mainstream publication, you have to make your stories relevant to the general reader.” Digital media means there are many more ways of reporting on culture, so this is “an exciting time for experimentation”, Tsui said. However, stories that end up going global, such as the #MeToo movement, don’t always spread rapidly. “You have to evaluate, is something important for your audience,” said Abid Rahman, International Digital Editor at The Hollywood Reporter. “The movement crippled Hollywood for months from October 2017, but it didn’t filter down to some other countries for some time.” Sue Brattle

Workshop: Covering Health and Science Journalism

From left, Deborah Cohen, Thomas Abraham, Preetika Rana, moderator Richard Macauley

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In 1988, The Lancet medical journal published a paper linking the MMR jab (measles, mumps, rubella) to instances of autism and the world went mad. Later found to be based on just 12 case studies and widely disputed, it still makes medical reporters shake in their boots. Deborah Cohen, BBC Radio Science Editor, said: “Whatever is published in reputable journals, we have to be very skeptical. The BBC got this wrong, as did many others.” So, check who has funded a paper; Is there a vested interest in its findings? And stand back and wait to do your own fact-checking, don’t rush with the herd into publishing errors and half-truths. Cohen added: “We are translators of science for the public; we have to get it right.” Panelists suggested taking online courses to keep up-to-date, build an

From left, Enid Tsui, Amy Qin, Kurt Lin, Abid Rahman, Vivienne Chow

Amy Qin, The New York Times

Vivienne Chow, Cultural Journalism Campus

army of experts around you but be sceptical about what they tell you, and constantly read papers/journals etc being published. Sometimes, when a science or health story becomes huge, it is taken away from specialist reporters and given to mainstream presenters and writers. That proves difficult for science specialists, as they don’t always want to share their sources but want to ensure the story is reported accurately. Thomas Abraham, author of Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication, said: “Second day stories are important. You can get as much new information as there was in Day One’s press release. Stay away from people who are trying to tell you something. Throw away all press releases. Everyone has got them. And nothing happens in isolation, there is always a context. It is the story that becomes an outrage, not the science, because that is how us humans react.” Preetika Rana, Asia Corporate Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, said: “If the story is already out, you need to put accuracy before speed.” Sue Brattle

THE CORRESPONDENT


Workshop: Mobile Video Storytelling Tools & Techniques to Produce High Quality Content This workshop was packed with advice – and the realisation dawned that taking selfies is just about the best training you could have given yourself for filming news video footage on your phone. Aleksander Solum, Senior Video Journalist at Reuters Video News, said: “Most people watch news as much on their phone as on their TV so we are learning how we can use our phones for breaking news.” Reuters filmed the 2018 rescue of a junior football team from a Thai cave on mobile phones for 4/5 hours before other equipment arrived, Tolsum said.

He added the kit you need to carry: A mobile phone, mobile wi-fi (stored in a waterproof bag), battery pack, microphone, gaffer tape and a selfie stick. Diana Jou, freelance videographer and photographer, stressed the importance of planning your video shoot. “Before you shoot, ask what is your story? Explain it to yourself in one sentence. Is it visual? Is it worth taking? Lay down a structure on paper. Chose voiceover, or words on the screen. Write down the beginning, middle and end.” The massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand (eight days before the conference) which the shooter showed on Facebook Live before Facebook shut it down concerned Jarrod Watt, Senior Specialist Digital Editor at SCMP. He said: “It will be a debate I’ve been waiting three years for.” Sue Brattle

Hong Kong Press Freedom – The Challenges Facing Local Journalists

Chris Yeung, HKJA

Mary Hui and Kevin Lau

THE CORRESPONDENT

Hong Kong’s press freedom gained global attention last year, after Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet was forced to leave the city. For local journalists, a contentious relationship with the Hong Kong government was nothing new. “Among working journalists, there’s still a strong commitment for freedom of the press and freedom of expression,” said Chris Yeung, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association and chief writer at Citizen/News. But fears of government backlash have led to self censorship by many local journalists over the years. “Reporters have to make sure their reports are not seen as political advocacy,” he said. Mary Hui, a young freelance journalist, agreed that self censorship is a harsh reality for many. After Mallet’s expulsion from Hong Kong, Hui was prepared to write something about press freedom in Hong Kong, but her friends and family talked her out of it, questioning if she wanted to draw such attention to herself so early

From left, Diana Jou, Zela Chin, Aleksander Solum and Lisa Yuriko Thomas

Jarrod Watt

in her career. For journalists like Kevin Lau Chun-to of Ming Pao Group, the cost of reporting in Hong Kong can be high. Lau suffered a brutal knife attack in 2014 that left him in hospital for months, and in physical therapy until just recently. While such attacks on journalists in the city are rare, they are real enough to many parents that they will discourage their children from pursuing careers as journalists, said Lau, telling the story of a young girl who was torn about becoming a reporter. “When one student struggles for a whole year about whether or not to go into journalism, there are many more stories about giving up,” he said. Yeung summed up the state of Hong Kong’s press freedom as “depressing”. “Unfortunately, we can’t see a major change in political weather in the foreseeable future,” he said. Morgan M. Davis

APRIL 2019

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JOURNALISM CONFERENCE

How to Not Get Sued At some point during their career, a journalist is likely to print something defamatory. With or without the backing of their publication they need to be prepared for a potential lawsuit. But as laws differ globally, understanding the basics of a suit and where the burden of truth lies can be complicated. For Hong Kong, press laws are largely in line with the UK, something that can prove surprising to U.S. journalists. Where the U.S. can rely on explicit laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act, to aid reporters, Hong Kong exists in more of a grey area. Unfortunately for defamation laws, the ambiguity can come at a price for journalists. “When it comes to defamation laws it’s not very friendly to journalists,” said Cliff Buddle, senior editor at South China Morning Post. Buddle, in his unofficial role as SCMP’s legal eagle, regularly works with journalists and editors to assess the risk involved in printing certain

information. While many reporters want to defend a story with “but it’s true”, defamation laws in Hong Kong put the burden of proof on the journalist, said Buddle. “Libel laws in Hong Kong favour the wealthy,” he said, adding that the risks for printing something defamatory are high. The risk of legal action shouldn’t scare journalists away from a story, but they need to be responsible in their reporting, and be prepared to produce notes, recordings and other information should their reporting be brought into question. Hong Kong barrister Queenie Lau pointed out a handful of different defences a journalist can rely on in court, using facts and proving substantial truth to battle a lawsuit. “It should be a question of ‘How do we get this in and make it as safe as possible?’” said Buddle of prepublication discussions. “The question of balance is an important one.” Morgan M. Davis

A Conversation With Emily Steel

Emily Steel

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The Me Too movement has rocked the world in the last 18 months, putting a spotlight on sexual assault and harassment, and taking down powerful men in its wake. Behind the movement have been journalists, diligently reporting tales of harassment and the shocking numbers of allegations and lawsuits that have long been swept under the rug. Emily Steel, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter from The New York Times, shared her experiences reporting on U.S. television host Bill O’Reilly and the endemic harassment found at Fox News. For Steel, the story started with former anchor Gretchen Carlson’s allegations of harassment against then Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. Carlson’s suit led to Steel and the NYT’s pursuit of other such stories, building on documents and data to share personal stories from women who faced similar problems at Fox. For Steel, getting the personal stories from O’Reilly’s victims proved to be challenging. Those who

Cliff Buddle

Audience during the Q&A

had approached Fox and settled harassment claims had signed nondisclosure agreements, blocking Steel’s reporting. Steel and her teammate had to look for other possible victims, cold calling them, knocking on doors and sending handwritten letters. “The thing that’s amazing about all of this is how we’ve seen these behaviours repeating,” said Steel. The pattern of abuse ultimately led Steel to find other O’Reilly victims that had previously not come forward. O’Reilly had personally threatened Steel in the past, who was ready for the possibility of a lawsuit after her story broke. “Fox News really had a history of attacking reporters who had written critically about Fox,” she said. But Steel’s story touched a nerve in the American people, leading to massive backlash and the firing of O’Reilly. Steel admitted that she was so centred on the Fox story that for a while she didn’t see how large the Me Too movement could become. “We were so focused on these details [at Fox], we didn’t know what the bigger picture would be,” she said. But “[Me Too] is something that unleashed in the U.S. and moved globally”. Morgan M. Davis

THE CORRESPONDENT


How To Get More of What You’re Worth

From left, Saijal Patel, Tonia Wong Kee, Andrea Lo, Marie Swarbreck and moderator Jodi Schneider

Workshop and Closing Panel: Online Security and Online Threats Don’t open strange text messages. Use two-factor authentication for everything. Don’t use free hotel WiFi. Use encrypted apps. Check email URLs for any suspicious misspellings. If a link in an email opens up a page asking for logins, don’t enter anything – it’s likely a phishing attack. Train all your colleagues at a newsroom to do the same – even those who don’t think their work is sensitive enough to warrant being watched. And ultimately, get your organisation to get behind security and train people in the latest measures. These were the key takeaways of the workshop But even the best laid security plans can go awry, as Sue-Lin Wong of the FT showed with her tale of chasing a story about workers who had developed lung diseases after being exposed to construction dust in Shenzhen. It was the workers themselves who accidentally let slip to the authorities in their excitement that someone was expressing interest in their story, and ultimately scuppered her reporting trip. “As a journalist you can do all you can to prepare, but there are

THE CORRESPONDENT

“Money is power and a reflection of what you’re worth.” That was the bold opening remark from a lively panel that saw the FCC conference reach out across the divide to – say it quietly – non-journalists. HR Relationship Manager at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Tonia Wong Kee, reminded women to never accept the first offer they get. There’s always more cash, she said – it’s up to us to research the market and know the value of a role. Meanwhile, Saijal Patel, a former correspondent and founder of Saij Elle, made the excellent point that women

sometimes factors out of your control,” said Wong. Other than the threats journalists face from people who don’t want them to report, there’s now the additional threat of online harassment and threats that can transform into very real problems. It’s something that President Trump’s rhetoric inciting hatred against journalists is having an impact on and something that social media exacerbates. The audience heard from freelance journalist Rana Ayyub who, since 2010, has been sent death threats, rape threats and even had her face superimposed onto pornography. She spoke of being harassed over multiple social media platforms, having her phone number and address posted online, being hospitalised for anxiety, and the additional stress that comes of being a freelancer in this situation. “You become all the more vulnerable, because you have to fend for yourself,” Ayyub said via Skype. Sonny Swe, founder of Frontier Myanmar who spent eight years in jail, and CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout spoke of the routine harassment and threats they face both on and off screen. Swe said: “My sister is trolled. I am careful, my doors and windows are locked.” Kirstie described how she checks for exits when she’s out on a job, and said: “It’s recognising and acknowledging there is a connection, that online abuse and online hatred can take root, fester and transform into something like real world terrorism, like we saw happen in Christchurch. That is real.” Christy Choi

are too focused on their experience matching the criteria for a new job, when they should be focusing on their vision for the role. “Women think about what they’re contributing. Men think about their potential,” she said. “People hire for potential.” Seasoned bilingual freelancer Andrea Lo revealed that she keeps a spreadsheet of who owes her what and when – and isn’t afraid to take to Twitter to shame a severely late-paying client into coughing up the cash. Marie Swarbreck, founder of FLEXImums, was all about helping women get back into the workforce after taking a break to start a family. The main takeaway from the event was that women should look again at how they assess their worth and options. Jenni Marsh

From left, Lokman Tsui, Babette RadclyffeThomas, Sue-Lin Wong, Masashi Nishihata

Rana Ayyub via Skype

APRIL 2019

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PRESS FREEDOM

PAST IMPERFECT, PRESENT TENSE Go back two years and the media landscape in Cambodia was very different from the pared-down press corps that covers the country’s news today. Each clampdown on independent media has seen more journalists leave – or flee – the capital, Phnom Penh. Danielle Keeton-Olsen and Jodie DeJonge lost their jobs when The Cambodia Daily was closed. Here are their stories.

W Danielle KeetonOlsen interned and worked for The Cambodia Daily for just nine months before it was closed. She is a freelance reporter based in Phnom Penh who covers economy, society and environmental issues. She is also an engagement editor for investigative news startup Tarbell.

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hen I arrived in Phnom Penh two years ago, you could walk into Red Bar – the journalists’ bar – on any given Thursday to overhear the latest conspiracy theories and tales that couldn’t be verified for print, or just recaps of the latest birthday or going away party in the reporter community. Two years passed, and with Cambodia’s English language daily papers shuttered or restrained, independent media – and the oddball cast of foreign and Cambodian journalists who gathered to drink when their work week ended – has nearly evaporated. I’d hardly call the end of Thursday night imbibing a loss, but the end of that scene underlies the bigger issue: there are very few reporters left in the capital, or Cambodia in general, who are shining regional and international light on the country, both for its flaws and developments. With that, the real challenges lie with Cambodian journalists, who receive fewer opportunities and face harsher punishments for their reporting. Cambodia was once a unique media

subject: it’s small and underdeveloped enough to register as just a blip in the global economy. But the country received far more coverage than the vibrant economies and societies in Vietnam or Malaysia because it had an established routine of independent media. Before 2017, veteran journalists described “close calls”, when a journalist was charged and tried with egregious fines or publications were threatened with closure. But the media were able to power through, until the current regime lost its tolerance for independent media and willingness to respect donors’ human rights requirements. Shortly after The Cambodia Daily print newspaper closed amid a highly publicised and politically motivated tax dispute, I feared my stay in Cambodia might come to an early end, and I know some other foreign reporters felt the same as visa conditions grew more ambiguous. Once an uncontested reelection of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling party was assured, that tension among foreign reporters faded. Instead, the pressure is borne by local journalists.

THE CORRESPONDENT

CREDIT: AFP

Reporters of The Cambodia Daily working in their newsroom in Phnom Penh


CREDIT: AFP

A printout of a hashtag to save The Cambodia Daily, at the paper’s newsroom in Phnom Penh

The detention and charging of two Radio Free Asia reporters gained international attention for some time after they were arrested in November 2017. That media coverage has slowed after the reporters were released on bail, even though they still face charges of illegally collecting information for a foreign source. But in addition to this case were dozens of other attempts to repress the spread of information, as the government leans into a campaign against “fake news”. Environmental activists, former opposition representatives and union members have simultaneously felt increased pressure to conform to party rhetoric. Granted, Cambodia’s independent media wasn’t a perfect system. Some of the local reporters I worked alongside either feel their English is not strong enough to pitch on their own, or they simply lack the confidence to make audacious pitches like I do. The Daily was founded under the premise that, beyond reporting critical news and analyses, it would train and empower reporters to tell stories on their own, and now that it’s gone, it’s clear it did not live up to expectations in this goal. The Cambodia Daily lives on as a website. I’m no longer affiliated, and to my knowledge, no reporters in Cambodia are either. The other English publications – The Phnom Penh Post and Khmer Times – retain a few of the standout Cambodian reporters who cut their teeth in independent media, but their platforms are limiting. There are rumours that foreign development organisations are planning a new independent publication, but the reality is that anyone looking to revive journalism in Cambodia has to find a new model. The tense political environment in the past year-and-a-half might have been the death punch, but like newspapers throughout the world, the independent English newspapers

THE CORRESPONDENT

haemorrhaged money as news went digital, and as a result could no longer withstand the government’s blows. Flawed but independent media is far better than nothing. There are still independent activists and journalists who are researching and writing through an independent lens, but there are far fewer people doing this, and many of the former Daily/Post foreign reporters who attempted freelance journalism have left the country. I still meet a few foreign correspondents breezing into Cambodia for short-term reporting projects, but the vibrant media scene of the past will dwindle with fewer Daily news sources, and general knowledge and understanding of the country will surely decrease. Unfortunately, I’m one of the few foreign reporters still in Cambodia. And if I’m being honest, I’m probably not qualified or prepared to tell Cambodia’s stories, at least not alone. But I’m stubborn enough to still be here, and I hope with time and energy, more stubborn reporters emerge to rebuild a new scene on the ground where the Post and Daily once stood.

Unfortunately, I’m one of the few foreign reporters still in Cambodia. And if I’m being honest, I’m probably not qualified or prepared to tell Cambodia’s stories, at least not alone

A Cambodian vendor arranges newspapers copies of the Phnom Penh Post along with other newspapers at her stand in Phnom Penh

APRIL 2019

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PRESS FREEDOM

The Death of the Daily

A Cambodian man reads the last edition of The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh

Jodie DeJonge was the last editor-in-chief at The Cambodia Daily, then moved to The Phnom Penh Post. Previously at the China Daily in Beijing, most of Jodie’s earlier career was in domestic bureaus of the Associated Press. She is now is a regional editor in Sarajevo for the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

asdf

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The first hint that something was very wrong came in a short story posted on a sweltering Friday night in August 2017 on Fresh News, the government-aligned website. It said The Cambodia Daily, the feisty independent Phnom Penh newspaper, owed more than $6 million in back taxes. Within days, Prime Minister Hun Sen, facing a challenging general election, described the paper as the “Chief Thief” and said the payment was due in 30 days or the American-owned newspaper should pack its bags and go. Threats against the Daily were nothing new. It had built its reputation over 24 years on its tough coverage of the government, its investigative work on illegal logging and deforestation, its attention to human rights abuses, its willingness to cover LGBTQ issues. But this was an ultimatum of a different sort and it came as the Hun Sen government quashed dissent of all sorts in the run-up to the following year’s poll. As the government hammered the case against the paper, positioning it as a simple tax delinquency issue, even though it was anything but, the staff continued its hardhitting journalism. Some of the old-timers thought it might blow over, as so many threats over the years had also quietly disappeared. They said perhaps Hun Sen would back down at the last minute and offer a solution that would save the paper and his reputation as

someone who had allowed a free press to survive. Instead, the climate worsened. Radio stations were shuttered, reporters were charged with incitement. Thirty days after the initial Fresh News story, the Daily prepared to close. We planned a final edition that would look back on the paper’s best work, but like many best laid plans, the news got in the way. On the same day, the government arrested opposition leader Kem Sokha and charged him with treason. It was the biggest news story of the year. The final headline came from a quote in the main story: “Descent into Outright Dictatorship”. It was crushing to be in the newsroom in those last days. Everyone who worked there was truly invested in the mission of the paper, to report the news without “fear or favour.” More than 60 people faced losing their jobs and the journalists knew it would be tough to find another job in journalism. In the end, I was one of the lucky ones. A fateful New Year’s Eve cruise on the Mekong brought me to the Phnom Penh Post. As the Managing Editor for Digital, I was responsible for creating a digital first news environment. We were transforming the paper when it was sold last May by its Australian businessman to a regime-friendly buyer. Seventeen journalists quit in two days. I was among them. News in Cambodia has never been the same. n

THE CORRESPONDENT


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Cast your vote at the Club before 3pm on Wednesday 22 May 2019


ON THE WALL

THE LAST EMPEROR REVISITED Images and words by Basil Pao

T

he name Bernardo Bertolucci first entered my consciousness when I was an 18-year-old art student in Los Angeles. I had to write an essay on The Conformist for my Film Aesthetics class, and my film-buff room-mate and I sneaked into the theatre through the exit to watch the film, as we were always broke. It was the first “perfect” film I had ever seen and it quite literally opened my eyes and “showed me the light”. It changed the way I “see” the world and my place in it forever. We first met in the spring of 1985 through my wife (then fiancée), Pat. She had shown her friend Joana Merlin – Bertolucci’s casting director in New York – pictures of us from our engagement party and Joana wanted Bernardo to meet me while he was looking at actors in Hong Kong. The meeting took place at his suite in the Mandarin Hotel, I was awe-struck and he was kind and generous. At one point, I related the story how my room-mate and I stole into the theatre to watch The Conformist, and without missing a beat he smiled and said, “ You owe me $3.50…” I pretended to search my pockets for the money and he laughed when I pulled out some coins, soon we were laughing together. We came to share many such moments all over the world in the years that followed – moments that I shall now forever miss. In July 1986 I flew into Beijing to join The Last Emperor circus of 100 Italians, 20 British and 150 Chinese technicians, along with some 60 actors from around the world. My primary role there was to play Pu Yi’s father Prince Chun, for which I spent an inordinate amount of time either on horseback or on my knees kowtowing, and sweating buckets inside heavy dragon robes in the blistering heat of the Beijing summer. As one of half a dozen Third Assistant Directors, aka Bernardo’s Eunuchs, I had interesting assignments initially, such as finding the horses for the Imperial Guard (and for myself), and organizing the Peking opera for the wedding party. But as the pressure of filming built, the job increasingly involved marshaling some of the 19,000 extras that appeared in the film’s crowd scenes – which explains why I have all these pictures of “extras in repose”. It was an extraordinary experience. The last time I saw Bernardo was at the Venice Film Festival in 2013, where he was President of the Jury. I was stunned by the toll confinement to a wheelchair had taken. He never laughed during the reunion. I was meant to visit him in Rome last year, but regrettably the meeting never happened. I do not claim to have any special relationship with or unique knowledge of the maestro and his work, nor do I even profess to like all of his films. I am simply a devoted admirer who had been granted the privilege to witness the creation of one of his masterpieces. Showing these photographs is my way of remembering, and honouring the memory of an extraordinary friend whose vision and generosity changed my life. Basil Pao, Hong Kong, January 2019

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Cultural Revolution II

Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro at the Wedding

Ladies-In-Waiting, Summer Palace

THE CORRESPONDENT


Young Extras

‘Medieval’ Fire Station

Female Divinities

Joan Chan II

Tourist-Forbidden City

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THE CORRESPONDENT

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ON THE WALL

SIDING WITH HUMANITY Images by Steve Raymer

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© STEVE RAYMER / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

teve Raymer’s Wall exhibition Siding With Humanity ran at the Club from January 22 - February 17. Raymer’s long-standing role at the National Geographic magazine has taken him all over the world, as shown by the selection on these pages. From abaya-clad women in a Dubai shopping mall to a Bangladeshi girl in the country’s 1974 famine, it is the human face of global news that catches his eye. Rickshaw pullers resting in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and an elderly beggar in the city are the result of Raymer’s fascination with the city that led to a book, Redeeming Calcutta, published in 2012. Raymer joined the faculty of Indiana University more than 20 years ago, and is a Professor of Journalism. He has won numerous awards throughout his long career, and has immersed himself in diverse projects such as recording the nomadic Nentsy in Siberia, life in Hoi An, Vietnam, and opium addiction among the Lisu hill tribe in the Golden Triangle of South East Asia. Sue Brattle

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THE CORRESPONDENT


© STEVE RAYMER / NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

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ON THE WALL

METAMORPOLIS Images by Tim Franco

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im Franco is a Paris-born photographer who was based in China for a little over 10 years, from the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s. Franco first arrived in Chongqing on assignment with The New York Times, to cover then-party secretary Bo Xilai’s running of the city. By some counts, Chongqing is the fastest growing city in the world. By the late 2000s about 30 million people lived in the wider municipality, but only a third of that number lived in a city. Chongqing’s population was still overwhelmingly rural, and that was something the government wanted to change. So it set a goal: In the 10 years until 2020 it would grow 10 million urban residents into 20 million. For residents of China’s poorer western regions, the city of Chongqing represents opportunities that are both big and closer to home than alternatives on China’s richer east coast. For the central government, the city represents a “Gateway to the West”, an anchor to invigorate the economy of western China, a region home to around 600 million people. For more than six years, Franco documented the effects that those two factors – a growing population and massive investment – had on the livelihoods of the people in Chongqing. Metamorpolis was published in 2015. Tim Franco is now based in Seoul. n

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THE CORRESPONDENT


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TRIBUTE

PILOT WHOSE LEGACY IS A LIFETIME OF ADVENTURE A UK coroner’s inquest has failed to find the cause of the light aircraft accident on July 13, 2017, which claimed the lives of two experienced pilots, including FCC member and Cathay Pacific Deputy Chief Pilot, Paul Gunnell. After two years commuting from the Channel Islands, Paul died two weeks before he was due to return to Hong Kong and four weeks before his second wedding anniversary. His widow, Kirsty Boazman, writes that he left a legacy of adventure, not an obituary.

Kirsty Boazman has been a news reporter with Australian Channels TEN and 7, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in HK, and Chief of Staff to the Australian Minister for Industry and Science. She is a resident of HK.

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Blue-sky flying around Greek’s Cyclades islands

aul Gunnell was born 50 years too late and he fell from the sky at least 25 years too early. He wasn’t a natural child of the 1960s but was better suited to the earlier decades of dash and dare. An aviator, an adventurer, a sportsman, a wit, a scoundrel, and an intellect. He was an exceptional, yet gentle and humble, modern mould of a man. Sharing a wild expatriate childhood with his brother Jerry, in Nigeria and later Bahrain, cultivated an awe of freedom, and stirred a passion for nature’s engineering. Anyone can marvel at the sky, Paul loved its weather. Anyone can admire a bird of prey, Paul coveted its wing structure. Returning to Britain as a nine-year-old he developed a state school playground obsession with trains and planes. As a teenager he interrailed across Europe, hiked the Pennine Way, and flew solo at 16 – anything to avoid his mum Shirley’s driving. The man, PG, was born to fly. His father Hugh thought so, the Royal Airforce knew so, and Oxford University gambled so. But he stumbled: mostly into campus bars after rowing or playing rugby, leaving his premature exit from Oxford the single regret in a life lived in full and open throttle. There was, somehow, a second RAF scholarship, a double-first in Engineering from Leicester and, then, eyes only for a fighter jet pilot career.

Training on the Hawks ultimately led to selection as a British “Top Gun” on the Harrier fast, or jump, jets. Before that, as a student officer, PG was banished by the RAF alongside best mate Rick Offord to distant parts for flying too fancy as well as warned, penalised and court-martialled for playing too fast. There was no punishment, however, for the violation of a bombing range with his re-conditioned Volvo, probably because he and Rick collected all of RAF Cranwell’s flying awards at their 1985 graduation. The RAF made a special note that these two pilots never be posted to the same squadron, for their own good and for safe keeping of the RAF’s reputation. After five years in Germany with the Harrier 3(F) Squadron, PG returned a Qualified Weapons Instructor to fly from Belize and Boscombe Down, then into Afghanistan with the Operational Evaluation Unit to test equipment, including the early night vision goggles. PG was at one with an aircraft. He flew with the sort of calm that comes only through an innate understanding of aeronautical machinery and movement. There was no desire to fly the “mahogany bomber” so, in 1994, he traded the prospect of an RAF desk job for a commercial passenger flying career with Cathay Pacific, based in Hong Kong.

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PHOTO: SUPPLIED

In his beloved Cirrus SR22


PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Argentina - the ice climbing phase

Twenty-three years followed, on the big birds of Airbus and Boeing, as a Captain, Senior Training Captain and in management as the airline’s Deputy Chief Pilot. Those two decades were dedicated to travel and adventure. He scaled Himalayan mountains; haggled over taxi prices in the Khyber Pass; swam with turtles in the Galapagos; skied Swiss and Austrian Alps; saw sunrise over Machu Picchu; watched sunset over Petra; drove the great American highways; dived in the Philippines and Middle East; set dynamite in Bolivian mines; ran marathons in France and Scotland; peered into Ecuadorian volcanoes; slept on Caribbean beaches; para-glided in outback Australia; encouraged a stampede from a microlight in the Serengeti; crashed scooters in Italy; chased snakes in Indonesia; drank dodgy beer in most every Asian nation; ate way too many curries; and flew small planes at every opportunity. More than 18,200 total flying hours. A natural storyteller, who was usually first to the bar and therefore an obvious candidate for FCC membership, PG could debate anything – for the intellectual gymnastics. With a brain that needed constant feeding, he tired of “wasting” time in hotels between the long-haul Cathay flights, so squeezed in a first-class Law degree. He studied, and genuinely understood: quantum physics; computer coding; machinery; grammar; bread baking; even Excel. PG lived his 57 years with an intensity that refused to be constrained by what was considered normal, enough or expected. He caused the environment to bend around him, rather than vice versa. His was the ability to fathom a difficulty, to unravel a conundrum, and to out-think, out-plan and out-fly any predicament. He was, in thought and action, forever one step ahead of most of us. But particularly in an aircraft. We moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands in 2015, where it wasn’t enough for Paul to spend his rostered time-off flying to France for lunch, Spain for an overnight or Belgium for a weekend. There was a three week self-fly odyssey, with oxygen cannulas shoved up our noses, over the Italian then Macedonian Alps to eight remote Greek islands. His writing about the tour remains

THE CORRESPONDENT

As a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF Harrier Group

With his mini-me son Sven

Picking up Cathay’s newest A330 for the delivery flight from Toulouse, 2011

Paul (right) with brother Jerry sailing from Africa to live in England

Paul and I were soulmates... We took almost half a lifetime to meet but didn’t waste a moment on our serendipitous joint adventure

one of the most-read articles in global aviation’s The Flyer magazine. He was also a volunteer pilot for the Channel Islands Air Search Rescue and became a Qualified Flying Instructor in 2017. He cherished flying students from a grassy UK farm strip, with two great “humps” on it, because that was how everyone should learn to fly. Early on the perfect summer evening of 13 July, 2017, PG was asked to join an experienced pilot, who was flying his own plane, for a routine check-ride. Less than 20 minutes later, both men perished in an unfathomable crash in a picturesque Wiltshire barley field. Life was an adventure and a riddle to Paul’s very last breath. We will never know what caused the crash. Paul and I were soulmates, with a deep and occasionally dangerous connection. We took almost half a lifetime to meet but didn’t waste a moment on our serendipitous joint adventure. Paul has, unknowingly, left the indelible imprint of inspiration on so many lives and aviation careers around the world. He has also, knowingly, left me with a butchered heart, a locked laptop, and a bittersweet flying legacy. My brilliant husband was also my flying instructor and, about two weeks after his death, I managed the final skills test in 14 months of flight training. To have given up on my Private Pilot’s Licence at that last hurdle would have upset him greatly. We had planned to fly ourselves around the world in a small plane. I know Paul has followed through with that plan, in another dimension. But it should have been here, beside me, in this lifetime. He still soars. n

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GOING GREEN

THE GREENING OF THE FCC

I Morgan M. Davis is a finance reporter at Euromoney’s GlobalCapital. The Illinoistransplant moved to Hong Kong two years ago by way of New York City, accompanied by her trusty sidekick Gizmo the Yorkie. Morgan has reported on multiple sectors of finance, and holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University.

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t’s not easy being green, but the FCC’s new sustainability initiatives have helped to make at least one part of its members’ lives a bit more sustainable. Since becoming the FCC’s first new general manager in almost two decades last summer, Didier Saugy has made it his mission to cut down on the FCC’s carbon footprint and give back to the Hong Kong community at the same time. “I think it’s very important. We’re big wasters of anything,” said Saugy of his efforts. “We need to look after our planet.” Prior to Saugy’s efforts, the FCC did not have any green initiatives in place; this created its own challenges, but also left a lot of room for easy improvements. “It’s never been on the agenda,” said Saugy, admitting he was a bit surprised by the lack of sustainability efforts at the FCC when he arrived. “Just an eye opening is good for the staff, for the members,” he said. Saugy began by modeling his green plan after his experiences working in hotels, most of which have some sustainability efforts in place. He started with quick fixes, meeting with Club managers once a month to focus on green changes. Initial Club efforts likely fell below the radar of most members. The kitchen, for instance, began

recycling its cooking oil, selling it to a local company that repurposes it into biodiesel. He also switched the Club’s electricity to LED lights. “It’s a little bit easier for me to come in and put it in place…because it was normal practice for me until now,” said Saugy of his sustainable practice experiences in hotels. “What we’re doing in our daily routine is important. We’re diminishing our footprint as much as we can.” Since then, the initiative has become more apparent in the front of the house. Members will notice a battery recycling box in the Club lobby. The FCC is recycling its batteries and electronics through a local programme, and members are welcome to drop off their own from home for the Club to recycle. All cleaning chemicals used in the Club have been changed to biodegradable – something that extends to the soap being used in the Club’s toilets. The laundry is now being done by a green certified company. Takeaway boxes have been switched to biodegradable material, and the Club is making a transition to paper bags for takeaway as well. Any food left over at the Club is being donated to the Foodlink

THE CORRESPONDENT

ILLUSTRATION: NOEL DE GUZMAN

General manager Didier Saugy has made it his mission to reduce the Club’s carbon footprint and has launched a series of initiatives towards that goal. Morgan M. Davis talked to him about the FCC going green.


THE CORRESPONDENT

CREDIT: FOODLINK

Foundation in the city (see box). The Hong Kong charity reduces food waste, while also providing healthy meals to the city’s most needy citizens. “Being part of the community is important as well,” said Saugy. The FCC’s paper has also been given a makeover, with the letterhead being switched to a more sustainable paper option. This magazine is now printed on paper from responsible sources. The Club office has two recycling bins for paper, and has encouraged a policy of recycled paper use and double-sided printing. Previously waste paper was thrown away. While the list of Saugy’s changes is extensive, it’s only just the beginning. The Club recently contacted HK Energy for an audit, to look further into the Club’s current energy use, and how green energy can be better incorporated. Some of the related changes will involve updating old equipment, particularly in the kitchen, to cut down on energy waste. In the dining room, the FCC is encouraging members to try meatless Mondays, by introducing a vegetarian menu with vegan options. Every Monday, the Club ceases to serve meat, instead offering a new variety of vegetable-friendly courses. Saugy tries to buy as much local produce as possible, and hopes to incorporate more home gardening efforts into the menu. He’s looking into options of what herbs and vegetables could be easily grown at the Club, down to the possibility of planted herbs as centre pieces on the Club’s tables. Future menus will include more sustainable seafood options as well. For coffee drinkers, the FCC is switching to Nespresso pods, which can be collected for recycling. Already, the Club has contributed 15,000 pods to recycle. All drinking straws have been switched from plastic to paper. Glass bottles, which were previously thrown out, are now being recycled. While some of the initial projects came easily for a Club starting from zero, a complete overhaul of FCC does have its challenges, namely the cost. “It’s a shame,” said Saugy. “Anything we do for recycling is expensive.” But his initiatives have also helped balance the books. Using new printers and cutting down on printing, for instance, has saved the Club HK$10,000 per month. Selling the cooking oil has also brought in a few hundred dollars. Other challenges come down to how the Club was set up. Air conditioner use, for instance, sucks up large quantities of energy, while offering little option for the FCC to reduce the use. Like many other asdf in Hong Kong, the AC is either on places

full blast or off. That makes it impossible to cut down on electricity by adjusting the temperature. Saugy is hoping to find an AC alternative that will allow more control. “The way the Club was made has not always been the best practice,” said Saugy. Short term answers to long term problems are a reality for the FCC and other such operations in Hong Kong, striving to pay the bills while providing for members in the near term. “Being in an old building as well can be difficult,” he added. But as the FCC makes its changes, Saugy hopes that the Club’s staff and members at least feel inspired to incorporate more sustainability in their lives. “For me, it’s really to be proud of the Club for doing something,” he said. n

“We need to look after our planet” Didier Saugy

Fast Facts from Foodlink, one of FCC’s new partners • Founded in 2001, Foodlink is a registered charity. • Foodlink acts as a bridge between food and beverage outlets in Hong Kong to provide safe-to-eat surplus food to those in need. • The initiative aims to both reduce hunger and reduce pressure on Hong Kong’s landfills. • 3,600 tons of food waste are disposed of in landfills every day in Hong Kong. • Food waste accounts for 35% of all municipal solid waste in the city. • One in five children live in lowincome households and do not get three meals a day. • One in three elderly live in poverty and struggle to meet their nutritional needs. • Low income families spend over 50% of their income on food.

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WINE

WHAT WINE HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE Whether it’s the way a bottle of wine slows down how we eat or feeling wonder at the beauty human beings can create, Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee knows we can all learn lessons from wine.

Jeannie: “Who would have thought that wine would one day make me a better mother?”

Jeannie Cho Lee is the first Asian Master of Wine, author of three books, consultant and educator. Jeannie is a Professor of Practice at the HK Polytechnic University and a Wine Consultant for Singapore Airlines. She holds a BA from Smith College and a Master’s degree from Harvard University.

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W

ine appeared in my life as a saviour after university, giving me direction and focus. Up until then, I hopped from one passion or interest to another with total disregard for what I had studied as an undergraduate and graduate student: international relations and public policy. Moving into the world of wine was effortless since I had spent all of my free time since my childhood obsessing about food. I dove in and did what all good Korean students do: Take classes, learn, study and rack up the certificates, diplomas and awards. All of my efforts culminated in 2008 when I received my Master of Wine (MW) title. The MW took me longer than I expected because I had four children while also

Why stress is essential for greatness I’ve always tried to understand what makes great wine great. Over the years I realized that there is one common thread across all great wines from anywhere in the world. The grape vines from top vineyards are quite stressed – for water, for nutrients, for warmth and for basic sustenance. In a stressful environment where grape vines are forced to struggle, the vine creates a deeper root system that seeks out water reserves and nutrients and limits yield (high quantity and larger grapes usually mean diluted flavours and concentration). There is a limit on the amount of stress that vines can tolerate and insufficient water, nutrients or sunlight can have detrimental effects on quality. However, there is a narrow band of desirable stress that all good viticulturalists understand instinctively – turn on the tap at the right time with just the right amount of water to allow the grapes to survive but not so much that it gets lazy and doesn’t establish deep roots. As a mother raising four children in Hong Kong, a nagging concern was how much pressure to put on my kids. In an era when parents swing from over-indulging their children to hovering over them as guilt-laden helicopter parents, I was torn. Should I follow my traditional, strict Korean upbringing or be more liberal and follow my American and European friends who granted much more freedom and choice

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PHOTO: © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ASIAN PALATE LTD.

working as a journalist and eventually a wine writer. And like many working mothers, life was a constant juggling act. There were about a dozen balls in the air and I dropped a ball or two, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes intentionally. Wine was always one of the balls in the air and it started to move from a hobby to something in the shape of a profession, fuelled by having the MW credentials and Hong Kong eliminating its wine duty. After 30 years of enjoying wine, I feel intensely grateful. Not for the obvious reason that I love what I do, but because of what wine has taught me about life. Who would have thought that wine would one day make me a little bit wiser or a better mother? Below are some unexpected selfrevelations during my wine journey.


Harvest time

to their children? What I learned from wine told me I needed “acceptable stress” – somewhere between Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom and the laid-back mothers that offered extreme independence. How do you provide just enough stress to instil selfmotivation and discipline yet not stifle selfexpression or creativity? I haven’t found the answer but my middle way was to send my children to local Chinese schools during their younger years, then switch them to international school; similarly at home, I evolved from a traditional Asian parent to a more liberal one as my children matured. Time and timing is everything Another key element to producing great wine is understanding the role of timing. While a hundred small decisions are involved in making wine, getting the timing right makes the difference between good and great wine. In the vineyard, timing of preventative measures is key to keeping rot, disease and pests at bay; in the cellar, timing decisions involving date of harvest, maceration length, and length of barrel aging are all critical to the wine’s style and ultimate quality. The concept of time by the estate and winemaker often contributes to the wine’s quality: Are the wines for early enjoyment or are they made to lay down in your cellar and pass on to your children? Is the winery most concerned about short-term profits and sales or is it a family business to be preserved for generations? In life, timing is not something we can always control, but understanding the importance of time is something I have learned to always keep in mind. Great wines are made for multiple generations and the ability to defy time (as a timeless classic possessing long aging potential) is a defining feature of quality wines. Thus when I am confronted with important choices, I try to consider whether the timing is right

THE CORRESPONDENT

With film director and winemaker Francis Ford Coppola

and how my decision may be judged by my children or my grandchildren. I’ve noticed too that when I open a bottle of wine with a meal, the pace and rhythm changes. As time-strapped Hong Kong residents, we often eat far too quickly and the super-efficient Chinese service in most restaurants propels us to eat faster. Adding wine to a meal slows down the pace and I find our meals are longer, our conversations more open and our discussions more interesting. Beauty is everywhere Even after 30 years of exploring and tasting wine, I find myself stumbling across wines with such astounding beauty that it leaves me breathless and sometimes in tears. My most recent experience was at the cellar of Domaine Etienne Sauzet while tasting the 2017 Montrachet grand cru from barrel at the end of 2018. It was pure, intricate and delicate and at the same time, persistent and complex. It was a symphony of flavours that stayed on my palate long after I tasted it. Words could not do justice to this experience; instead, I scribbled “perfection”. We don’t need to taste a grand cru Burgundy to have such epiphanies and marvel at what we as human beings are able to create – destruction and chaos but equally, beauty and magic. In the face of beauty, of great art, a realm that I feel great wine falls under, it is impossible not to be humbled and in awe. Even after all these years, great wine moves me. It reminds me to be hopeful, that despite the mess we are making of the environment and a mockery of democracy, magic can be found in a simple bottle of wine. It reminds me to be grateful that I am part of a world that can produce such beauty, and that life is full of unexpected, wondrous surprises. It reminds me to be humble, that life is a journey of discovery and there is much more we don’t know than we do know. n

While a hundred small decisions are involved in making wine, getting the timing right makes the difference between good and great wine

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HUMAN RIGHTS

RECOGNISING STORIES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE The winners of the 23rd Human Rights Press Awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Club on May 16. Sue Brattle and Vicky Kung caught up with some of last year’s winners and spoke to an awards judge to find out how things are going

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“Reading almost a hundred entries, I was struck by the wide range of human rights issues in the region, and by the number of dedicated journalists who are trying their best to shine a light on them.”

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he Human Rights Press Awards are run by the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association with the aim of increasing respect for people’s basic rights and focusing attention on threats to their freedoms. In an ideal world, such awards would become less important. Sadly the opposite is true. Professor Cherian George, one of this year’s judges, said: “Reading almost a hundred entries, I was struck by the wide range of human rights issues in the region, and by the number of dedicated journalists who are trying their best to shine a light on them.” The awards are split into English and Chinese language categories. This year, English entries are up (287), and Chinese are down (182). Last year there were 176 English entries and 238 Chinese. Professor George, director of the Centre for Media & Communication Research at Hong Kong Baptist University, said: “It was great to see entries from more countries, especially from journalists in South Asia, who were grossly underrepresented last year. “They are covering events and issues that many people would prefer to ignore, and I hope that their organisations, their audiences and they themselves appreciate the importance of the work they’re doing.” Winning a HRPA can certainly make a difference, as these 2018 winners prove:

Clément Bürge and Josh Chin were members of the Wall Street Journal team that won the Multimedia (English) award for reporting on the plight of the Uyghurs. Bürge said: “Since our story the crackdown on Xinjiang’s population has grown more dire. Beijing accelerated its detention programme, putting as many as one million people into internment camps, far more than journalists and the international community had thought. We recently took another trip to Xinjiang and found the crackdown has moved to a new stage: demolishing Uyghur neighbourhoods and purging their culture. Reporting in the region has become tougher than ever – with the police obstructing our work more often and with greater intensity than last year.”

Emily Chan Miu-Ling of RTHK won last year’s Radio & Audio (Chinese) category for her reportage on the Chinese government banning religious activities in Beijing. Since then she has taken on a new task at work: to encourage, and to mentor.“I am now leading a team of six junior reporters who have to come up with new stories weekly about Mainland affairs,” said Chan. “The award gives people the confidence that sensitive stories can actually be covered, even in restrictive places.” Under her supervision, Chan’s colleagues have covered issues such as Uyghurs forced into re-education camps in Xinjiang. “It is more powerful working as a bandwagon of watchdogs than as a lone-wolf journalist,” she said.

Julia Wallace won the Text & Print, Commentary (English) award for her investigation into the loss of press freedoms in Cambodia, Cambodia’s Crackdown. Now an editor with the Sarajevo-based Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, she says: “Cambodia is much as before. The difference is that many of the civil institutions that endured through previous crackdowns have been damaged or destroyed (see Recognising Stories That Make A Difference, pp36-37). So I’m very happy that Chhorn Chansy, the journalist I wrote about in Cambodia’s Crackdown, is now an advisor at Voice of Democracy, a local radio station and one of the few remaining independent media sources in Cambodia.” n

Olivia Cheng Tsz-Yu won the Text & Print – Features (Chinese) award for reporting on the hidden lives of asylum seekers detained at Hong Kong’s Immigration Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre (CIC) in Tuen Mun. Cheng translated her winning article, The Invisible Wall: Hong Kong’s Refugees, into English and published it on Ricochet, a crowdfunded, public-journalism platform based in Canada. “The award gave me much encouragement,” said Cheng, who now works for HK01 on in-depth features. “It is a recognition that these stories I am working on matter.”

THE CORRESPONDENT


VOTE FOR THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE PHOTO AWARD

SHRIRANG SWARGE: Kisan (Farmers) Long March: A New Beginning

TSANG HIN CHUNG: Three Defendants

ADAM DEAN: Legacy of War in Sri Lanka

INDRANIL MUKHERJEE: Freedom at last

IAN JOHNSON: Underground Church in China

FELIX WONG: Work there... Eat there

You have until 11.59pm on May 1 to vote for the photograph you think should win the People’s Choice Photo Award. Simply go to the Human Rights Press Awards website https://humanrightspressawards. org/ to cast your vote, or via the HRPA Facebook page.

THE CORRESPONDENT

APRIL 2019

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SPEAKERS

See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events

WHAT THEY SAID... Featured highlights of event speakers at FCC

Book launch: Is the Hong Kong Judiciary Sleepwalking to 2047? by Henry Litton Retired judge Henry Litton pulled no punches in a speech to launch his book of essays, Is the Hong Kong Judiciary Sleepwalking to 2047?, illustrated by cartoonist and FCC member Harry Harrison. Litton warned that some judgments by former colleagues come under scrutiny and hoped they would read his essays “with broadmindedness and tolerance”. Litton, born in Hong Kong, was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 1992 and became a permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal in 1997. He said: “Unlike all other Common Law countries, the Hong Kong Common Law system has a shelf life. Like Cinderella’s carriage, it turns into a pumpkin at the last stroke of midnight on 30 June 2047. “When HK’s governing system and lifestyle were an issue last time … the decision makers were the two great powers of China and Britain… this time around, maybe only 10 years from now, Hong Kong will stand alone. It will have to advocate that the Common Law system should remain. Can it be taken for granted that it may continue for another 50, 100 years? “The Common Law is effective because it is pragmatic, its focus is on remedies and practical decisions. In 1983 that was the system that Britain and China agreed should continue… But slowly, insidiously, this has changed. Now,

Florence de Changy, Harry Harrison and Henry Litton

real issues get swept away in a flood of words, common sense gets submerged.” Litton, 84, cited the co-location scheme at the West Kowloon rail terminal of the high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and mainland China where two legal systems operate side-by-side to process immigration, customs, and quarantine etc. The trains had been running for one month when four people challenged this set-up and the case went to court. They lost. Of this challenge, the judge said, “a Frankenstein monster had been born”. “The four people had no more interest in the rail project than you or I. No common law jurisdiction in the world would allow such an application to wreak havoc in their community.” Needless to say, the Q&A session was lively. Evening book launch, January 21, Sue Brattle

Jamie Angus | Lost in Translation: Making the News in 42 languages Jamie Angus, who was appointed director of the BBC World Service Group last year, spoke about the many “challenges” broadcasting in 42 languages brings, not least whether the service actually uses 41 or 42 languages. He said that loaded language use changes over time. The Bengali service broadcasts to a Muslim community predominantly, but also Hindus. “Hello” is different for each, so presenters for the service use “Good Day”. Referencing God in broadcasting presents endless opportunities for causing offence; which term should you use? The BBC has opted for “the Creator”. “We have a big challenge when we use Chinese. We have a glossary of business terms in three languages, and for written Simplified Chinese and Cantonese.” He said everything about the monarchy in Thailand is sensitive and enshrined in Thai law. There are three words in Thai to describe a death, each particular to the deceased’s social status, which posed a conundrum when the King passed away in 2016. “On legal advice we felt none of the phrases were correct so we went with “the king is no longer alive,” Angus explained. The Two Lakes service for Rwanda and Burundi poses a problem as the words for July and September are the same, so the BBC now uses the number of the month rather than a name.

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Enda Curran, Keith Richburg, Jamie Angus, Florence de Changy and Eric Wishart

Value-loaded words, like “committed suicide”, can give a sentence a different, and misleading, meaning. “We once described soldiers as “pulling back” from a situation, but actually they had retreated, an entirely different action.” Euphemisms create another challenge. Angus said local journalists sometimes prefer an accepted euphemism, for example for the word “rape”, to avoid stigmatising the victim. The BBC, however, prefers to use clear language. The term “martyrs” for deaths in military conflicts is never used, he said. Angus said he has to trust his colleagues’ translation skills. “Bluntly, I have to get our words translated so I am clear what is being broadcast,” he said. He ended with a clip of Prince Charles making a brave attempt to speak Pidgin. Lunch, January 24, Sue Brattle

THE CORRESPONDENT


FEED YOUR MIND Our FCC Speakers Series is a unique opportunity for our members and their guests to listen, engage with and discuss the latest local and international events and trends at the Club. To book your seat, telephone (852) 2521 1511

www.fcchk.org/speakers-upcoming


SPEAKERS

See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events

Denise Hearn | The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition in the U.S. and China Denise Hearn peppered her lunchtime talk with some surprising statistics: five banks control half of the United States’ banking assets, two companies control the production of 75 per cent of beer Americans drink, 75 per cent of Americans only have one choice of Internet provider. Hearn, a contributor to Jonathan Tepper’s book The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, said: “We wanted to write about capitalism, but not about the symptoms such as inequality; we wanted to look at the disease. We discovered that capitalism is a myth, particularly in the North American context. I kept seeing articles about capitalism dying. People have lost confidence in their economic and political systems.” Hearn, who works at macroeconomic research firm Variant Perception, reckons there is a 45-year high in inequality in Hong Kong, where 21 tycoons own more assets than the entire Hong Kong fiscal reserve. In Asia, conglomerates are a much more apparent model and about three-quarters of U.S. industries have become more concentrated in recent years. Hearn used funeral services as a particularly shocking example. In the 1970s, a funeral in the U.S. cost around US$700 per person; today it’s US$8,000. She had a disturbing anecdote about an un-named U.S. funeral company which has such a focus on profitability that it doesn’t always have space to deal with “turnover”, so it stores corpses in lorries which are parked away from the crematorium until the driver gets the call to go back. Hearn said: “If we define capitalism as competitive free markets, that is not what exists in today’s universe. For

Denise Hearn

example, only the largest conglomerates can comply with the amount of legislation required to be in banking in the U.S.. How did we get here? Even in the Roman Empire there was competition law. What’s happening now is the equivalent of Wal-Mart replacing all the different stores that used to be in a High Street, so it is them that dictate wage levels.” This could be depressing, she said, but not everyone is a bad actor. For example, Henry Ford paid his workers a living wage so they would buy his cars. Nowadays, the middle is being hollowed out and the people who would buy your goods can no longer afford to. Companies with huge clout squeeze their suppliers, and competition dies. The result is fewer start-ups in North America, Canada, and Hong Kong, because why enter a market dominated by big players? She added: “The Amazon story is too frightening to relate. The backlash is growing, and we should all be concerned about what they’re up to.” Lunch, February 27, Sue Brattle

Weijian Shan | Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America “The trouble started in 1966, when I was 12, and all of a sudden schools [in China] were closed.” So began Weijian Shan’s FCC talk, named after his book which Shan called his “bittersweet stories representative of my generation, an account of the most horrific part of Chinese history”. Being a child during the Cultural Revolution meant Shan was part of China’s “lost generation”, lost because they had no formal secondary education and consequently many – including some of his friends from those days – are living out their lives in poverty. Shan, chairman and CEO of PAG, one of Asia’s largest private equity firms, has followed a different path. As the revolution took hold, society broke down and violence broke out. For three years of chaos, Shan and his friends roamed the country. “At this point Beijing was a hell,” Shan said. “I didn’t realise how stupid I was.” Then Mao ordered young people to leave the cities and go to the most remote parts of China to learn from the peasants. This “intense reverse urbanisation” led to Shan spending six years in the Gobi desert, fruitlessly trying to nurture crops where nothing could grow. “We worked 12-18 hours a day, had very little clothing, not much food, and dug holes in the ground to sleep in when we first arrived.” Shan survived the horrors, of course, and went to the U.S. on a scholarship. “They thought I was a teacher, I fooled my way there.” Since then, he has had a glittering career in finance and academia and his book is his way of

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Weijian Shan

being true to his past. “If you hold back when you write true history, you may as well not write anything at all,” he said during the Q&As. When asked what prevented him from just giving up on life, he answered: “What was the alternative, to kill myself? The worst thing was there was no hope; no one told us we would get out. We expected nothing.” As always, the detail is what made Shan’s talk so revealing. In the winter, he cut reeds on a frozen lake every day, then carried them 25km to a paper mill. “It was -20C at night, we were standing on millions of gallons of water all day under the ice, and had nothing to drink. I would put a piece of ice in my pocket to suck on from time to time. It was so cold, the ice didn’t melt,” he said. Lest we forget. Lunch, March 5, Sue Brattle

THE CORRESPONDENT


FUND RAISER

PARTYING FOR A GOOD CAUSE By Joyce Lau

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hasn’t been to a Club-wide party like On Assignment missed the FCC at its best,” said Douglas Wong. “All thanks to the hard work of a volunteer committee and our fantastic staff, ably facilitated by our fantastic new general manager Didier.” Doug explained his costume as Tintin, “the first journalist hero I followed before I really knew what journalism was about”. “The party was a celebration of yesteryear’s and tomorrow’s courageous correspondents,” Doug continued. “Glasses were raised to absent friends, and making new ones.” Each venue of the Club was transformed into a different global hotspot. The Main Bar gave tribute to some of

PHOTOS: SARAH GRAHAM

intin, in his navy jumper and tan breeches, was pulling a rickshaw. Emily Dickinson greeted guests in her classic black dress. And the BBC’s Kate Adie was running around with her microphone. The FCC community turned out in full force – and full fancy dress – on March 16, 2019, for the Charity Fundraiser On Assignment: Yesteryear’s Foreign Correspondent. There was a profusion of retro cheongsam, trench coats, safari suits and fedoras, many with a “press card” tucked in the rim. Even the FCC staff, who donated their time, dressed up, joined in the dancing and had a blast. “Any member who

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THE CORRESPONDENT


Asia’s old warzones, with street food from Korea to Vietnam. It rocked to the sounds of Crimes Against Pop. At the “Latin” Main Dining Room, Chris Polanco, DJ Perez and salsa dancers led the crowd through seductive dance moves, while Cuban café snacks were served on The Verandah. Sandbags lined the stairs down to Bert’s, which was turned into a Beirut dug-out bar, with waitresses in MiddleEastern dress and chefs carving fresh shawarma. Sybil Thomas sang sultry old-school tunes, while the Don’t Panic Band was a big hit with dancers tightly packed in front of the stage. “It was a great party. We really enjoyed it. THE CORRESPONDENT

Everyone involved did a tremendous job and the Club looked fantastic,” said RTHK’s Jim Gould, dressed like a 1930s BBC newsreader. In total, more than $250,000 was raised via the raffle, auction, items sold on the night and personal sponsorship. Thanks to revelers’ generosity, 25 refugee or asylum-seeking children will be funded for three full years of early education in Hong Kong. n * FCC members who wish to sponsor a child from Keeping Kids in Kindergarten can do so by contacting the Front Office on 852-2521 1511.

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STAFF PARTY

EVERYONE’S A WINNER

PHOTOS: JOSEPH CHENG

The FCC closed its doors on the afternoon of February 16 for the staff to put on their glad rags for their annual party which was held at the Novotel Century in Wan Chai. This year’s theme was the Oscars.

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THE CORRESPONDENT


BOOK REVIEW

WELCOME TO THE FORGOTTEN WORLD OF NUSANTARIA FCC member Philip Bowring takes readers off the beaten track in his sweeping history of a maritime region shaped at the end of the Ice Age. Jonathan Sharp dived in.

PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

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any people, myself included, may have assumed that Philip Bowring’s magisterial new book about the seas and seafarers of the South East Asian islands would tread the well-beaten path of the West’s arrival and colonisation of the region. The spice trade, gunboats, opium and all that. But no. Empire of the Winds, The Global Role of Asia’s Great Archipelago, covers a much broader canvas. In terms of time, it stretches as far back as the end of the last Ice Age. Melting ice inundated vast blocks of dry land – a foretaste of what could happen again courtesy of global warming – and eventually created the map we recognise today. In its geographical reach, the narrative extends at least as far away from South East Asia as Africa. Welcome to the world of Nusantaria. It’s a name (derived from a word referring to an island realm) for a huge and un-demarcated maritime region which, despite the multiple vicissitudes of history, has an enduring identity of shared linguistic and cultural roots. It also had a remarkable record as a trading corridor. The region’s seafaring tradition, which stretches back far beyond the arrival of Europeans, continues today; about 40 per cent of crews on the world’s merchant fleet come from the Philippines and Indonesia. The huge extent of Nusantarian influence is also still visible in other respects. Among the many fascinating illustrations adorning this book is one of Madagascar women who look distinctly more Asian than African. The book opens a welcome door on a period of history that has been seriously under-reported and as a result often forgotten. This lack of knowledge is the case even among people today in the countries the book is about, as Bowring noted in a presentation he gave at a soldout FCC lunch (Littoral History: Who owns the Seas to our South?, February 21). His book is rich in detail, and laced with vivid anecdotes, including fresh slants and sidelights on several long-accepted beliefs. For example, every school child knows that Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the world. Not so. That honour goes to a Malay-speaking

THE CORRESPONDENT

Every school child knows that Ferdinand Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the world. Not so. That honour goes to a Malay-speaking Nusantarian acquired in Malacca as a servant

Nusantarian acquired in Malacca as a servant. Named Enrique and taken to Europe via the Cape, he completed his round-the-world circuit during Magellan’s western globe-girdling voyage when the ship passed Malacca. Other crew members had to wait until the ship returned home. Bowring also writes that the social damage done by the scourge of opium has probably been exaggerated. “Even at the height of China’s opium imports in the nineteenth century, opium use per head was greater in Britain than China.” It was Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama who was recorded to have started the west’s expansion into Nusantaria. His navigating prowess notwithstanding, Da Gama was “cruelty personified”, writes Bowring. So were many of those after him in the centuries that followed, as is widely documented in Bowring’s book and by others. But many early visitors also found Nusantaria a congenial place, especially for its relaxed approach to sexual matters. An Arab visitor, taking advantage of the easy acceptance of temporary marriages, took four wives in one year, plus concubines, and visited them all every day. For their part, many Asians had a jaundiced view of the foreign intruders. A Chinese in Malacca described the Portuguese as being “seven feet tall, (they) have eyes like a cat, an ash-white face, thick and curly beards like black gauze and almost red hair”. Following the West’s depredations, is another existential threat to Nusantaria on the horizon? Quite possibly. Bowring notes that Nusantaria is just as vulnerable to climate change as it was after the Ice Age. A rise of just one metre in sea levels, which has been forecast by some, will flood or salinate the region’s rich delta lands or at least incur enormous costs in flood protection measures for cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Saigon and Manila. Will the book’s excellent maps of Nusantaria have to be drawn again? n Empire of the Winds, The Global Role of Asia’s Great Archipelago, Philip Bowring, Published by I.B. Taurus, ISBN 978-1-446-6

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OBITUARY

DR FENG CHI-SHUN Dr Chi won the International Proverse Prize 2017 for his last novel, Three Wishes in Bardo. At a ceremony at the Helena May Institute last November, his wife Cathy Hillborn Feng accepted the award on his behalf as he was already ill.

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hi passed away peacefully in the early afternoon on Friday, March 8, after a particularly debilitating illness which robbed him of his considerable communicative powers. Originally from Wuhan, he came to Hong Kong, as so many did, as a result of the Mainland Civil War. His insightful novel, Diamond Hill: Memories of Growing Up in a Hong Kong Squatter Village, describes his early years and schooldays growing up with his family in a tough squatter settlement at a time when Hong Kong’s population was rapidly expanding. A clever man, he was no isolated “bookworm”. He enjoyed sport and socialising, keenly and astutely observing the world around him with many such observations adding colour to his column in the South China Morning Post. Chi took his medical degree at the University of Hong Kong in the Class of 1971, then moved to the United States,

PHOTOS: SUPPLIED AND ROBIN MOYER

Not only was Chi a well respected pathologist, but in his later years became a prize-winning and bestselling novelist

training as a pathologist initially in New York then Philadelphia. Chi married and had three children in the U.S. before returning to Hong Kong to work and settle. He remarried in Hong Kong in 1997. Cathy Hillborn, was loyal and loving, and was with him daily throughout his last dark journey. Not only was Chi a well respected pathologist, but in his later years became a prize-winning and bestselling novelist. His most recent work, Three Wishes in Bardo, perhaps his best, takes us from Hong Kong to New York, California, Texas, back to New York and ultimately to Hong Kong. An adventurous, powerful and spiritual journey, it encapsulates the triumph of human qualities over malice and Tibetan Bardo – a state after death when the conscious mind actively persists on leaving the physical state. Chi was a popular, elegant and witty friend. A fixture and feature at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, it is hard to believe we won’t see you and enjoy your company there any more. A truly talented and diversely accomplished man. Profoundly missed by your loving wife, your sisters, children and many friends. At peace now, Chi – your muse at peace, too. n Paul Murray

Dr Feng with the late Walter Kent at the FCC

THE CORRESPONDENT


OBITUARY

PAUL BARAN

PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

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aul Baran, retired journalist, former FCC member and champion pool player, has died in Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, Canada, at the age of 69 of brain cancer. Paul was initially a reporter and copy editor at the Vancouver Sun. Arriving in Hong Kong in 1980, he was a feature writer at South China Morning Post’s Sunday Magazine, and then freelanced for a variety of local and international publications, including the Asian edition of Business Traveller, Asia Travel Trade and Reader’s Digest. He returned to SCMP from 19831985 as the senior trade and finance reporter. Paul also spent many hours hustling all comers in the FCC basement pool hall. In 1988, he was the Club’s 8 Ball Champion. Paul also tried his hand at public relations with a brief foray into financial PR with start-up Media Dynamics Ltd before it was taken over by Edelman. Dealing with demanding PR clients, it seemed, wasn’t well suited to Paul’s freewheeling, independent approach to life. He returned to his native Canada in 1999, where he continued working as a freelance business writer and was active as a volunteer in community projects. For a number of years he helped organize the Kaslo Jazz & Blues Festival in British Columbia. Moving to Ladysmith, he was an avid boater and nature lover. Paul’s conversations were always interesting, weird, stimulating. Sometimes all of those within the same story. He loved music, from Franz Schubert to Frank Zappa, and among favourite authors were Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, John Updike, John Cheever, and Patrick O’Brian. One of Paul’s all-time favorite movies was It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World — and, knowing Paul, this made perfect sense. He could quote many lines from it. He was deeply intelligent, a trait that often surfaced in his sense of humour. Quips that initially appeared to have come out of left field were later found to have been delivered with the precision of a surgeon. He cared deeply about people, inquiring about his friends’ fortunes every time he saw them. He asked often and, when they responded, he listened. Paul Baran was an übermensch, huge hearted and a terrific journalist. He was

THE CORRESPONDENT

Paul Baran reads the SCMP on the Cheung Chau ferry in the 1980s, and inset.

Paul was passionate and playful, loyal and loving — to be Paul’s friend was a blessing, a gift. The world was brighter, lighter around him.

passionate and playful, loyal and loving — to be Paul’s friend was a blessing, a gift. The world was brighter, lighter around him. Paul is survived by his wife, Sue, a landscape architect who he loved with all his heart; he filled their life together with laughter and happiness. He was a very special person who touched the hearts of those around him and he will be truly missed by all his friends. n

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The Correspondent, April - June 2019  

The official magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong.

The Correspondent, April - June 2019  

The official magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong.

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