THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTSâ€™ CLUB | HONG KONG | JANUARY 2020
Dear Hong Kong Journalism students tell how the protests changed them
CONTENTS COVER STORY
DEAR HONG KONG
Journalism students reflect on how the city’s months of turbulence have changed their lives
Message from the President
On The Wall
Stones, The Red Corporation, Snapshot Temptations: USA 1972 – 1982
Year of the Rat
Hong Kong Protests
‘Parachute journalists’ and the fixers who break their fall
The Danger Facing Journalists in Hong Kong is a Threat to Press Freedom Everywhere
Op-ed for the Los Angeles Times by Club President Jodi Schneider
Who said what when they visited the Club
The Decade in the Club and Hong Kong
A list of new members and some of their profiles
FCC Member Dr Jenny Pu talks to Rebecca Feng
Macau looks for a delicate balance rather than a roll of the dice
‘I will sing and dance if I have to’
Australia looks to new rules
Call for entries 47
Human Rights Press Awards
How to submit your entry
The lonely taboo that weighs heavily on troubled minds
Food & Beverage
Why is the Club’s Indian food so good?
Ships of The Silk Road by Club member Angus Forsyth
FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear FCC members, My previous two columns as FCC president – in July and October – centred on the Club’s response to the unrest in Hong Kong and to the clear threats to press freedom. We’ve continued our push to uphold press freedom, which I’ll detail, yet I also wanted to remark on how FCC members and staff have been showing spirit and resilience – I like to think of us as the club equivalent of the Japanese yen, a safe haven in a stormy environment. Journalists remain targets of violence and intimidation in Hong Kong. In recent months, we’ve seen an escalation of the use of tear gas, pepper spray and blue dye fired from cannons to interfere with media coverage. Press access has been restricted, most notably during the standoff between police and protesters at Polytechnic University. And police have interfered with film and video coverage of arrests – sometimes flashing strobe lights directly at journalists. Horrifically, Veby Resasdf Mega Indah, a reporter for an Indonesian-language paper, lost sight in one eye after police shot her in the face with a rubber bullet.
We at the FCC have raised our voice for press freedom, as we did over the summer and early autumn, by speaking out through statements and working with other groups. We have been briefing journalists on new risks to coverage, holding panels on issues involved in the unrest and welcoming visiting journalists to use the Club as a base in Hong Kong. And we have been proactive in other ways. In response to a letter drawn up by the Press Freedom Committee to the police on ways to improve press-police relations, a delegation from the board met with Hong Kong police officials and began a dialogue. Also, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece, included in this issue, on our call for the need to stand up for press freedom in Hong Kong. We will continue to hold authorities accountable.
our staff have done an impressive job under trying circumstances. We had festive Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and hosted many private functions, helping keep our finances strong as we head into the new year. In recent months we’ve hosted a number of important guests and speakers including former chief executive C.Y. Leung, who has been a vocal critic of the FCC in the past. It was a sold-out speech and generated a great deal of media attention in Hong Kong, on the mainland and internationally. As I said in my introduction of the former chief executive, the fact that the FCC extended the invitation and he accepted it showcases the club’s role in advancing discussion on a range of topics from those with a range of views. It underscored the importance of upholding freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which is written into Hong Kong law. The FCC showed that it is a place that encourages debate and respects all views. I’d like to again thank members for their support of these efforts and for helping one another through a tough time in our community. We need your support for the Club and its facilities now more than ever and we need your involvement. Let us hear from you. Happy 2020 and, soon, the Year of the Rat. Jodi Schneider Hong Kong January 2020
We’re planning more panels and briefings, and welcome ideas and suggestions. Also, entries have opened for the Human Rights Press Awards in Asia, of which the FCC is a sponsor, and we hope to receive compelling entries on the protests in Hong Kong. Please encourage submissions.
CREDIT: MAY JAMES
I am proud of the fact that, unlike many other clubs and institutions in Hong Kong, we’ve remained open even at difficult times and have continued to hold lunch events, regular meetings and special food and wine events. Our GM, Didier Saugy, and asdfasdf
LETâ€™S CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF THE RAT
ing in the Year of the Rat at the Club with a lion dance performance, among other traditional revelry. Expect traditional feasts in a series of menus, too. The Club will kick off this astrological year on January 30 from 10am onwards, with a worship ceremony to start the year on the right foot, followed by a slicing-into-a-barbecued-suckling-pig session. Some Board members and Club staff will join the celebrations. Importantly, a lion dance crew will perform throughout the premises. Chef Johnny Ma conceived a series of hearty menus to usher in the Year of the Rat, with several delicacies associated with the cityâ€™s most important holiday of the year. The Poon Choi menu, available from mid-January to February 7, also known as a big bowl feast, will be packed with seafoods including braised whole abalone in oyster sauce, fried prawns in sweet and sour sauce, plus meatbased specialties such as roasted duck and poached chicken. Prices range from HK$998 to HK$1,888 per platter for five to 10 people respectively. It can also be ordered as a takeaway to celebrate the feast at home with family and friends. On the celebration set menu, the six-course selection at HK$688 starts with double-boiled pork tongue soup, and perennial favourites such as steamed grouper fillet accented with Yunnan ham and mushrooms. Also expect classic banquet dishes such as egg white fried rice with dried scallops and scallions. To up the ante, consider the Chinese New Year Loh Hei menu, available from January 25 to February 7, a massive feast concocted from 20-plus ingredients, with each item carrying its own auspicious meaning, such as raw seafood for prosperity and longevity. The vegetables and seaweed-arranged platter can arrive with a centerpiece of either Norwegian salmon, sliced chicken, roast duck, abalone or prawns. Kung Hei Fat Choi!
The Poon Choi menu, available from mid-January to 7 February, also known as a big bowl feast, will be packed with seafoods including braised whole abalone in oyster sauce, fried prawns in sweet and sour sauce, plus meat-based specialties such as roasted duck and poached chicken
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THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB HONG KONG
EDITORIAL It was great to hear that the story of the revered late Club member Clare Hollingworth is being told in a play that’s touring schools and small theatres around England (see p22). Even better is that the schoolchildren have created #BeMoreClare to tell each other inspiring stories and discuss what being a journalist means. Young people studying journalism at the University of Hong Kong right now have been forced to think hard about the same subject as the city continues to be embroiled in ongoing protests. Five of them have written moving and personal accounts of how the unrest has impacted on them and the decisions they face (see pp6-11). I thank them for their contributions to this issue of The Correspondent. Like any group, they represent a range of views and circumstances and I am delighted that the magazine can give them all an equal platform.
The Board of Governors 2019-2020 President Jodi Schneider First Vice-President Eric Wishart Second Vice-President Tim Huxley Correspondent Member Governors Emma Clark, Jennifer Hughes, Tripti Lahiri, Richard Macauley, Shibani Mahtani, Keith Richburg, Kristine Servando, Dan Strumpf Journalist Member Governors Clifford Buddle, Adam White Associate Member Governors Genavieve Alexander, Kin-ming Liu, Simon Pritchard, Christopher Slaughter Club Treasurer Tim Huxley Club Secretary Jennifer Hughes Professional Committee Conveners: Eric Wishart, Keith Richburg, Kristine Servando, Dan Strumpf
A very different story is that of Macau, which marked the 20th anniversary of its handover from Portugal to China last month. However, while Macau has experienced staggering growth and development in the past 20 years, its transition was far from peaceful (see pp16-17). In fact, when we looked back at the past decade (see pp14-15) we discovered how rare peaceful times are. Peace of mind can be elusive too, as the Wall’s Stones exhibition (see pp28-29) and our accompanying feature (see pp24-25) illustrate vividly.
Finance Committee Conveners: Tim Huxley (Treasurer), Jennifer Hughes, Kin-ming Liu
As we enter the “Roaring Twenties” let’s at least make an effort to learn to cook Indian food as well as our Club’s team of chefs, led by Pardeep Kumar Ray (see pp32-32). Pardeep generously gave the magazine his mother’s recipe for Palak Paneer, and as he said: “There must always be change in life.”
Building - Project and Maintenance Committee Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, Keith Richburg, Simon Pritchard
Here’s to the changes in your lives being for the better. Happy New Year!
Communications Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Keith Richburg
General Manager Didier Saugy
Constitutional Committee Conveners: Clifford Buddle, Kin-ming Liu Membership Committee Conveners: Simon Pritchard, Kristine Servando House/Food and Beverage Committee Conveners: Adam White, Genavieve Alexander, Richard Macauley
Press Freedom Committee Conveners: Eric Wishart, Emma Clark, Dan Strumpf, Tripti Lahiri
Wall Committee Conveners: Shibani Mahtani, Christopher Slaughter, Adam White
Editor, The Correspondent Sue Brattle Publisher: Artmazing! Tel: 9128 8949 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printing Elite Printing, Tel: 2558 0119 Advertising Contact FCC Front Office: Tel: 2521 1511 The Correspondent ©2020 The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong The Correspondent is published four times a year. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the club.
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3/10/2019 11:20 AM
HONG KONG PROTESTS
The Hong Kong Protests have impacted the city and its people for months. Five journalism students from the University of Hong Kong share what the unrest has revealed to them and how their lives have been changed
‘I PRAY THE STRESS WILL NOT CAUSE A TEAR IN MY FAMILY THAT NO PROTEST CAN MEND’ Hongkonger Michelle Wong is in her fourth-year studying English and translation, with journalism and media studies, at The University of Hong Kong
The protests are putting families under enormous stress
Despite my mother’s increasingly radical views, political stance is not really an issue in my family. My dad and I were both supporters of the protest when it started, until the demonstrations turned from blocking roads to throwing Molotov cocktails and beating people because they tried to take a photo. At this point I’ve seen violence on both the police and the protesters’ sides, and I can only hope that physical confrontations on the streets will stop so that investigations and discussions can start. Although everyone in my family
finds my mother’s views too extreme and one-sided most of the time, we would usually not counter her points. Home, after all, is a place not for sense but for sensibility. The problem came as she started watching Mainland property ads aimed at Hongkongers and YouTubers talking about how to buy property in the Mainland. She dragged my dad to one of those property talks. My dad came back, unusually quiet and tired, with HK$800 less – the host of the free talk said they would only bring you on tours of these flats if you join
The barricaded entrance of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus
he practicalities of our future have driven a wedge between my parents. For months, my mother has been talking about how we cannot live in Hong Kong anymore. She talks of emigration and buying a place elsewhere. The catch – we don’t have the money to move anywhere. Not anywhere overseas like Malaysia, where my dad, the only breadwinner at home, would not be able to open up a business again. He is approaching 60 and he knows absolutely no one and nothing about the rules and regulations of conducting business elsewhere. Not even anywhere in Guangzhou, where we would need to make a full payment to purchase a flat as we are not local residents and could not borrow from any Mainland banks. Yet my mother mentions it more and more often as the protests get increasingly violent. For the past few months, my mother has gone from being mildly irritated by destruction at the Legislative Council to watching YouTubers analysing the wrongdoings and ridiculousness of the “rioters” every day. “I never knew Hong Kong people can be this stupid,” she said. “The government is no good either. This has been going on for nearly half a year and they still haven’t put a stop to the violence and destruction.”
Full text available at fcchk.org
their information sessions, which cost HK$800. Only when my mum was showering did he start talking. “The way your mum was looking at me,” my dad said, “I felt like dinner would not be waiting for me at home in the foreseeable future if I didn’t pay up then and there.” He had to pay despite being highly sceptical of the talk, the organisation, the sessions and the tours. We have all heard of horror stories of scams that left Hongkongers in mounting debt after they have bought non-existent flats in the Mainland through deceitful middlemen. “I am dying here,” he said, “it is simply impossible.” He swore a couple of times. I listened to his complaints and remained silent. But my mum has her reasons. Living in Sha Tin Central, we have seen protesters running into the malls right below our building and onto our podium to throw our rubbish bins down onto the heads of armed policemen. We have watched through closed windows as black-clad people run for cover when rounds of tear gas are fired. All our CCTVs on the podium are destroyed and we need to pay for new ones. We have been cut off for at least three days as Sha Tin station was closed and no buses could come in because the Tolo Highway was blocked. My dad could not go to work for four days. I was woken up by police sirens for three days in a row. My brother and I both have our classes suspended for the rest of this semester. My brother, who is studying at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was unsure if his campus would be ready for class by the start of the next semester, while my dad, a Polytechnic graduate, seethes at the destruction. As for my mum, she takes all this to heart. Plus, she hates the confinement. “It’s one thing for me to stay at home voluntarily,” she said, “it’s another when I am forced to stay home because of this madness. These people are downright despicable!” The reputation of my generation is tarnished in the Mainland, where the big market lies. As a fourth-year student majoring in English Studies and Translation, I am graduating this coming year, yet I have no idea if I will be able to find any jobs in this climate. I was planning to apply for a government job as an official language officer this year, but the recruitment hasn’t been announced and I fear it won’t be this year. I don’t
know if any global corporations would be hiring translators from Hong Kong. Translators are mostly hired to facilitate business between Mainland Chinese and foreigners, yet both Mainland companies and foreign companies doing business in the Mainland might be hesitant to take fresh local graduates like me. As a person born and raised in Hong Kong, of course I want to stay here as long as I can. I see the encroachment of our autonomy in Hong Kong. I see the wish and need to fight for democracy. Leaving feels like escaping and abandoning my beloved home. Yet I do fear for the future – both for Hong Kong and myself. No one can say for certain what China would do after the protest blows over. Rolling back the freedom of speech? Pushing to implement Article 23 of Basic Law, which makes treason, secession, sedition and subversion chargeable offences? More interference in our judicial system by interpreting the Basic Law? Would I
still be able to live here then? Would I still be able to live here when I have no job? Would I be able to make a living elsewhere? My mum is also partly driven by her friends and family. Everyone has a second resort, in case the situation worsens. My mum wants one for us, too. “Look at the news,” my mum said to me on more than one occasion, “How can you still say that you can live in Hong Kong? Your dad is the only one who does nothing in response.” Sitting at the dinner table, we were all eating while watching television as usual. I watched my mum talking too much and my dad staying too silent. I escaped to my room not long after dinner but kept an ear open. A comedy is on, yet the only laughter I hear is from the television. Silence seems to amplify when accompanied by canned laughter. How long is this going to last? I pray that the stress on each of our shoulders will not cause a tear in my family that no protest can mend.
Newspaper stall after protest front-line had passed. Corner of Nathan & Jordan Roads, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3.30am, 18 November 2019
The Polytechnic University had been occupied for days by protesters. On the evening of November 16, 2019, the police began an intense siege at the campus entrance, firing continuous volleys of tear gas and toxic water from cannons. At around 9pm on the following day, the police blocked all entrances into the campus, trapping protesters inside. A call to “Save PolyU” was immediately made on social media and the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan, Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok and Prince Edward saw protesters trying to break police lines and reach the PolyU by throwing Molotov cocktails, flares and stones. The police stemmed the advance with multiple rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets. The street violence in the early hours of 18 November was the worst since protests began in June. Amidst the mess, the newspaper vendors – always open 24 hours – located opposite Yue Hwa Department Store remained stoically open. – John Batten
HONG KONG PROTESTS
IT’S A TOUGH DECISION TO MAKE BETWEEN INDIA AND HONG KONG
Members of the South Asian community hand out bottles of water to people taking part in a pro-democracy march outside Chungking Mansions
t was the first time in years I’d had a crush that wasn’t a celebrity. And this time, it just felt right. He’d come to Hong Kong to work as a research assistant for the second time. He was smart, funny, handsome and mature. India wasn’t too far and he liked Hong Kong for his career. I just knew a longdistance relationship would be worth the wait because we really liked each other and both dreamed of a future in Hong Kong together. Until the protests happened. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I’ve always considered myself a third culture kid, or TCK. I can’t choose between my Indian and Hong Kong side but I embrace the fact that in different aspects of my life, one dominates another. With food, nothing changes my love for dim sum and cheung fan. On the movies and music side, I like Hollywood and Bollywood. For years I’ve liked fusion in my identity. But as things have started to shake up in Hong Kong, I’m starting to question whether the protests could be affecting my identity and awakening this inner Indian side that’s been silent all these years. Would I have to relocate? My close friends were beginning to notice changes about me. The topic of relocation would come up during conversations with my TCK friends. We also reflected on our identities
in response to recent riots. Some of those friends sensed confusion. Others patriotism towards Hong Kong. However, a few, like me, sensed exclusion. The protests made them feel like outsiders in a city that was their home. They started to shift to the other culture in their identity that was not Hong Kong. These thoughts arose when I scrolled past my playlists for the past three months. They had been full-on Bollywood. As I was watching the sunset one evening, I realised I wasn’t paying attention to the sunset. I was listening to slow songs by the soulful Indian artist Arijit Singh and looking up the meaning behind the lyrics to learn new words in Hindi. If music wasn’t enough, my Netflix recommendations were suddenly coming back as Bollywood movies. But these days I was challenging myself to watch content without subtitles and learn new words. Although it’s not the easiest or most entertaining subject, Cantonese has always been my priority. But I was beginning to question my language priorities. I wanted to improve my Hindi, and I didn’t see Cantonese as necessary if I wasn’t going to stay here. I was suddenly considering Indian food, too – both for myself and meals with friends. My best friend and I like to find affordable options in central business districts. And suddenly,
Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong’s ultimate go-to hotspot for Indians, topped the list. Was I suddenly an Indian food ambassador? Or was there a part of me that believed these Indian meals might just be a daily thing if I left Hong Kong, and it was better to get used to it now than complain about it later? It came to a point where I expanded my career horizons. My summer internship taught me a newsroom was one of the most depressing places to be in these times of protests and I simply couldn’t write stories about my home being burned to the ground. As I reflected on why I was drawn to journalism school in the first place, my answer was storytelling – something I could do anywhere. If I end up in India, Bollywood has some pretty great writers too. I tossed and turned one night as these thoughts began to dawn on me. Were these just feelings of curiosity in a relationship with a guy living in India? Or was I running away from my Hongkonger side because of political turmoil? India wouldn’t be perfect, but in fact a step back for me. I’d miss everything from the convenience of the world’s best public transport system to the simple efficiencies of opening a bank account. My boyfriend had been working so hard to graduate and pursue a career in a world-class city. If I moved back to India, would he be able to pursue his dream? Besides, I now consider Hong Kong to be my home, a city where 90 percent of the people don’t look like me. If I moved to India, 90 percent of the people would look like me. But would it feel like home? And how long would it take to have the heart to call India “my true home”? Being the TCK that likes to be rooted in one place, it’s a tough decision to make between India and Hong Kong. I’ve still got at least a year till graduation. Both a silent one watching where the situation in Hong Kong heads, and an anxious one getting myself ready to move to India should the tables turn.
Joy Pamnani is a journalism and finance student at The University of Hong Kong and says “I love storytelling and hope to inspire with the stories I tell.”
Full text available at fcchk.org
AN ESCAPE TO SHENZHEN Lucy Zhang is a Master’s student in journalism at The University of Hong Kong and hopes to contribute to a peaceful society with her skills
used to spend November 11, the Chinese Singles Day, shopping online with my college friends. But my year in the University of Hong Kong gave me a whole new experience when protesters shut down the MTR station, blocked elevators and caused the suspension of all classes that week. I did get the alert the day before that there would be disturbances on our way to school the next morning, so I got up early at 7:30am to go to campus. Students in WeChat groups were already sharing information about which station exit was closed and which road was still accessible. “Does anyone know which way is clear?” “Go to the West Gate and climb over the roadblocks set by cockroaches.” “A lot of protesters in campus, be safe.” Scrolling messages while I finally reached an elevator that still worked, I saw dozens of protesters with masks on, hiding their faces and facial expressions, moving desks and chairs to block the students. Fortunately, I strode over the barricades without being stopped, but I could see them trying to build taller roadblocks after I’d got through. I reached my classroom with other classmates successfully, only to be emailed about the suspension of all classes that day. Mixed feelings of disappointment and unease came to me. What about the next time? What if they keep doing this until next semester? The school will keep cancelling classes? Who is going to protect our right to study? Radical protesters formed small groups at 7am to disrupt citywide traffic and force shop closures, missed work attendance and class boycotts. The rush-hour disruption affected every citizens’ daily life and whoever is responsible is starting to become a pain in the butt. But not everyone believes people’s normal lives can be sacrificed for the “greater good”. Forcing people to take sides by disrupting their daily lives could be the opposite of freedom and democracy. Struggling to find my way back with other classmates, we found most roads blocked by protesters. After a desperate 30-minute tour around campus, we finally found a stair that was not completely blocked. A young boy was pulling a shelf to the stair and we sneaked through the tiny little gap just in time. Most of my classmates stayed at home that day. At 6:10pm, the Senior Management Team announced that all classes at HKU on Tuesday, November 12, would be cancelled. Intense discussions burst out in WeChat groups. “We have to raise our own voice, don’t let the world receive only the voice from them.” “We didn’t pay the tuition fee and come here to be deprived of the right to school.” Nevertheless, many were still patiently waiting for school to deal with the circumstances and resume classes soon. But protesters heightened the tension by turning CUHK into a makeshift manufacturing base
for petrol bombs and setting the campus on fire on the following day. Some students started to plan going to Shenzhen or flying home. Students who wished to leave Hong Kong were forming groups to take taxis, buses or the MTR together so they could look after each other. My parents suggested I should stay inside, but I’m tired of hiding in my small apartment and cooking by myself, so I left Hong Kong for Shenzhen by the Express Rail. For the rest of the day, I ate my fill of braised goose and Chaoshan beef hotpot. The waiters were polite and smiling. I didn’t worry about speaking Mandarin in the street and being frowned upon by others. Hong Kong is great in many ways, but it never feels like home. I was staying at a free hotel provided by Shenzhen Youth Community under the Communist Youth League. When I got there, I saw a dozen students with their suitcases in the lobby. About 130 students who left Hong Kong were staying in that hotel on Wednesday night. At 4pm on November 14 we got the message that classes on the Main Campus would be suspended for the rest of the semester and teaching and learning would be accessible online. This means a lot of things. Firstly, online teaching is less efficient than face-toface teaching and it is harder to engage with professors. Secondly, time would be wasted if students stayed in Hong Kong with no classes to attend. But if they leave, high rents and tuition fees still need to be paid. Thirdly, for students who wish to do experiments with equipment or study at campus, school facilities and public services in campus are disrupted. Angry at this decision, many students formed a group to write to school heads to raise the voice from Mainland students. Ian Holliday, vice-president of HKU, responded: “We took the decision … very reluctantly. Fortunately, we only have two weeks left in the semester, so the impact on student learning should not be too great.” For the protesters, it could be a victory; for us, it is the end of the semester with no school and more selflearning, and a feeling of losing control over our own lives.
HONG KONG PROTESTS
‘SOMETIMES, OUTSIDERS CAN BE THE BEST WITNESSES’
nybody who is still on campus – you should be leaving now.” I was never a fan of the on-screen banners that come with messaging apps, but I started to keep notifications on, just in case. After reading a message on WeChat, however, I thought for a while, and buried myself into work again. It was November 13, 2019, the third day of a citywide strike, and the first day that I finally had the chance to grab the popular seat that I never got to try before: a cosy, golden grandfather chair facing the tranquil sea view. There were only a few people still at Chi Wah, the main learning commons at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), which was usually rather packed. I could hear the droning siren of police cars from a distance, as well as the sounds of people flipping over papers or rapidly zipping up bags. They were leaving. I chose to stay. As a Mainlander, I came to HKU to study journalism, in hope of polishing my skills in a media environment where news is less heavily censored. Although I am not a devotee of collectivism in any form, I was slightly astounded in September when student protesters marched on campus, and shouted themselves hoarse for the first time. “CCP go to hell!” they growled with barely controlled fury, time and again. I should have taken the bitter hatred more seriously, but I held the same
view as most people at that time: this civil unrest wouldn’t last too long. One weekend in November, I gave myself a break by not reading any local news for two days. On the Monday, I woke up to the news of a citywide strike. It is rare to receive an email from school at 9am, but that morning I got five, some in full capitals and all saying, “Stay safe.” My roommates and I went out on the street, and we could feel the smell of burning rubber in the air. We tried several paths to enter the campus, only to find that they were either blocked, vandalised or both. We kept moving until we reached the entrance to the campus and were finally stopped by the protesters. “No school today!” they exclaimed repeatedly behind the barricades. “Why do you want to go to school so badly?” shouted one protester, angrily throwing a metal bucket to the ground. “Because it is my right to education!” a student replied indignantly. She tried to squeeze past a narrow gap. Realizing the lack of common ground, they soon reached a standoff. There are certain sounds that you become more and more familiar with every day. The sound of trash bins and barricades of all kinds being thrown on the road, and the noise of heavy metal poles scratching the ground, though it feels as if they are scrubbing your nerves instead. But one day, you get used to all of them. You stop reacting to what might be regarded as
“abnormality”. Frequently, I heard this accusation from both sides: you don’t understand love. While protesters would say they only conduct violence and vandalism out of their deep love for Hong Kong, anti-violence citizens condemn them for turning the city into a loveless place. For the first time, I realized how yawning a gap love can create among people. I can still remember the night before the anti-mask law came into effect in October, a demonstrator glared at me and shouted, “Give back my freedom!” as I was talking in Mandarin on my phone. Behind him, Maxim’s Cakes, (of which the founder’s daughter had made public anti-protest remarks) was being daubed with graffiti and damaged. But besides that, my encounters with Hongkongers, protesters and non-protesters alike, have been rather smooth. I came back to campus on a Saturday night, shortly after the police left. The barricades in front of all entrances were piled up even higher. I asked the protesters who guarded the gate if I could enter for work. They helped me carry my backpack and climb over the shaky roadblocks that were almost the same height as me. “Take care,” was the last thing they said to me. Every time I spoke with protesters, I could see the expression of surprise on their face. And occasionally, that was how I felt as well. As we peeled the political labels off one another, and engaged in simple communication, the hatred, fear and defence mechanisms dissipated. After classes were suspended in most Hong Kong universities, many students from the Mainland fled to Shenzhen as a temporary refuge. What the mainstream media hasn’t covered much is that there are also many who chose to stay. As a Mainlander who has her own doubts towards Beijing and yet is firmly against violence, I – as one of them – found myself an outsider on both sides. But Mainland Chinese “drifters” who are reluctant to leave have a role in the whole movement. Sometimes, outsiders can be the best witnesses.
Yang Ziyu, a Master of Journalism student at The University of Hong Kong, was born in Zhejiang Province and interned at Sixth Tone and the Shanghai Center of Photography
GOODBYE, HONG KONG Diego Mendoza is a journalism student at George Washington University in Washington DC. He studied at The University of Hong Kong last semester
Dear Hong Kong, I could tell everyone back home that it was the rows of shimmering neon signs ornamenting the streets of Mong Kok, or the sweet aromas of freshly baked char siu bao pervading the humid air. Perhaps I’ll say that it was the crisp taste of Tsingtao beer on top of roaring cascades after a hike through the jungles of the New Territories. But that would be a lie. What made me fall for you were brilliant flames on top of barricades of trash cans; the looks of intimate camaraderie among black-masked strangers. It was hearing thousands of voices chorusing Do You Hear the People Sing? along Victoria Harbour. It was even the sting of tear gas filling my lungs as I sprinted through a sea of glued-down bricks. The brutality between protesters and police – the marches, the MTR arson and Molotov cocktail explosions that so many exchange students fled from – is precisely what stole my heart. Sure, as an aspiring journalist I am someone who naturally runs towards mayhem. But more importantly, the people’s political fervour lit a spark within me to become a greater advocate of democracy – you have shown me what it means to be a steward of liberty and justice for all. Frankly speaking, I initially overlooked your glamour. Having learned Mandarin for more than a decade, and having lived in Shanghai earlier this year, I reckoned my time in Asia was over; I was yearning for some new, flavourful affair. But your programme price was incomparable, and after reading about the curriculum at university, I elected to give you a chance. When the protests began in June, I could have followed my family and friends’ advice to study abroad somewhere else. After all, if something happened, I was at risk of losing credit for the semester. But when life presents you with unparalleled opportunities, you take them. The trepidation of losing classes was tangible, but the loss of not fully understanding the intricate details of a revolution of our times was terrifying. And so, it became my goal to apprehend your wrath towards authority. After visiting Lantau Island one day, my friends and I discovered that the airport uprisings had shut down the MTR service; the only way back to our apartments was squatting on the 12-inch-wide aisle of an overcrowded bus slugging through stand-still traffic. “Wouldn’t it have been easier for you to ride the subway home, instead of trying to study right now?” I asked a 20-something student, her eyes glancing
towards me as she looked up from her law textbook. “I could have got more studying in, but then you wouldn’t have been here talking to me,” she bluntly replied. “Now you and your foreigner friends know what’s going on here. If we don’t cause havoc, Hong Kong as we know it will die.” We may live thousands of miles apart, but our stories are not much different. Living in the United States, I am too familiar with stories of police officers shooting innocent black men. I am too aware of an unresponsive, distant government that slowly chips away our democratic values. Where our stories diverge is in the means by which we express our dissatisfaction. The violence and anger I witnessed from your people forced me to weigh my ethical morals against my political values. Waking up to the news of one protester being shot, only to see the video of his allies first beating a riot officer, had me question the claims from local classmates that the police were the only instigators. And the calls to the police officer that followed – protesters telling him they’d rape his daughter, kill his wife, appalled my soul. It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand the innate fatal feedback loop that drives your revolution. Yes, there is upright fake news of police burying bodies at sea and pushing protesters from bridges that angers your people. But as a journalist, I also know that without the arson and vandalism yielded from this fury, the outside world would never hear about your battle against tyranny from a lack of coverage. I didn’t want to leave you, but under pressure from my parents and home university, I had to leave earlier than planned. Returning home, I am now more inspired than ever to join protests and rallies against a government interfering with our democratic rights. I was once afraid to be so openly political – I worried about straining relationships with others or being perceived as too biased in my writing. But my time with you has shown me that cowering behind a wall of oppression only allows the tyrants to build that wall higher. The people of Hong Kong have shown me how to tear down that wall brick by brick. Thank you for your time, Hong Kong, for your everlasting mark on me. With your memories, I know that it will never be “goodbye”, but rather “see you later”. Sincerely,
Diego Mendoza JANUARY 2020
HONG KONG PROTESTS
‘PARACHUTE JOURNALISTS’ AND THE FIXERS WHO BREAK THEIR FALL Eric Cheung
ince June, large numbers of foreign correspondents, producers, and filmmakers have flocked to cover the ongoing turbulent events in Hong Kong on the ground. Known as “parachute journalism”, newsrooms deploying reporters to cover events of which they have little knowledge is hardly new. However, critics say this approach gives rise to reports that are superficial or misleading. In particular, foreign journalists may have to rely on official sources for information, which may be biased. In June, the Hong Kong story presented a challenge for overseas media without a base here, or locally based foreign journalists who do not usually report on the city. International interest in Hong Kong had dwindled since the 2014 Umbrella Movement, so there was an urgent need to understand why a significant portion of the population opposed the extradition bill. To bridge the knowledge gap, many turned to local freelancers. Within five days of June 9, I had received emails from producers based in Canada, Australia, Britain, and France, asking to schedule interviews on why the bill was such a big deal, or seeking help in arranging a reporting trip here. At first, most foreign media reports explained the controversies surrounding the extradition bill, and why many were afraid of the new law. However, not many stories contextualised the fear of Beijing’s growing influence over the city. Several high-profile cases in recent years, including the disqualification of elected officials, the alleged abduction of the Causeway Bay booksellers, and the jailing of political activists, were catalysts for the massive turnout. As the movement went on, there were more analysis pieces. Some stories examined the movement from a socioeconomic view, explaining the high housing prices and limited social mobility felt by the young generation. Other articles looked at the role of protest art and how Chinese social media users responded to the protests. The flood of content was available partly because protesters made an effort to translate material and reach out to an international audience. For example, some volunteers set up Telegram channels to publish instant updates on the ground in English, keeping reporters informed of what was happening on the frontlines. Some users of the LIHKG forum, available only in Cantonese, translated viral threads into English. The Kwan Kung Temple, another Telegram channel set up by protesters, also assisted journalists in pairing up with interviewees. However, critics of parachute journalism found examples where reports published by overseas media showed a lack of understanding. One was when foreign media said protesters scored “a big win” when Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the extradition bill’s withdrawal following months of protests. The focus of the movement had already shifted to demands for accountability and democracy and the bill’s withdrawal was not enough to satisfy public demands. Some Hong
Kong social media platforms criticised journalists for not understanding this. Similarly, in December Chinese president Xi Jinping travelled to Macau and praised the city for its success during its 20th anniversary of the handover. Some stories attempted to compare Macau with neighbouring Hong Kong, pointing out Macau has been more “loyal” to Beijing because its residents valued economic order. This missed crucial historical context: Macau came under the firm control of China after riots in December 1967, when the Portuguese government essentially gave in to pro-Beijing trade unions. This was in stark contrast with Hong Kong, where riots orchestrated by leftist groups alienated the general public. The different outcomes have played a role in shaping the two societies today. Working as a fixer is not an easy job. In my experience, the job requires knowledge of the city’s politics, having the right contacts, and the ability to explain complicated details simply. Generally, foreign publications have limited space for Hong Kong stories. Fixers need to understand what they are looking for, then find the right sources to support the story. As an example, when clashes broke out outside LegCo on June 12, fixers were supposed to inform foreign reporters of the legislative procedure in Hong Kong and connect them with politicians across the aisle to provide opinions on the bill. When protesters started chanting the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time” in July, fixers had to understand its connotations with the city’s localist movement, and the evolution of the separatist camp since the end of the 2014 protests. For me, the most memorable experience has been working with Ben Wedeman, a veteran foreign correspondent based in Beirut. Having spent years covering the Arab Spring, he has been able to draw parallels between protests in Hong Kong and Lebanon, and how similarly their young people perceive freedom and democracy. Global perspectives help explain local events in a wider context. The social unrest has created numerous opportunities for the journalism community in Hong Kong. As the new year begins, with no end to the unrest in sight, it remains to be seen how the media will continue to tell the story to the rest of the world.
Eric Cheung is a freelance journalist in Hong Kong. His work has appeared in international outlets including CNN International, The Guardian, Reuters, and the South China Morning Post.
OPINION: THE DANGER FACING JOURNALISTS IN HONG KONG IS A THREAT TO PRESS FREEDOM EVERYWHERE This op-ed on press freedom in Hong Kong, written by Club president Jodi Schneider, appeared in the print edition of the Los Angeles Times on December 20.
CREDIT: MAY JAMES
wo deaths. Hundreds injured. More than 10,000 rounds of tear gas and half as many rubber bullets fired. More than six months of unrest. People and businesses are leaving Hong Kong as anti-government protests disrupt a city long praised for efficiency, ease of doing business and its retention of basic freedoms – including press freedom – that are non-existent across the border in mainland China. Amplifying this city’s deep-seated tensions is a surge of conspiracy theories and disinformation, which fuel the escalating violence. Public trust in the semiautonomous Chinese territory’s leaders, police and public institutions has been ruptured possibly beyond repair – as shown by the record high turn-out of voters in recent local elections supporting pro-democracy candidates. The vote was widely considered a referendum on the government’s handling of the protests. Journalists have often worked under enormous pressure and in difficult conditions to cover these rapidly unfolding events. Yet rather than being respected as impartial witnesses attempting to bring light to facts, reporters have found themselves under attack while covering the protests and the police response. The media have become part of the story as Hong Kong’s once-vaunted press freedom has been severely impaired. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong has sought to keep track of multiple incidents in recent months in which reporters were injured or obstructed by police while covering the unrest. Veby Mega Indah, a reporter for an Indonesian-language newspaper, lost sight in one eye after police shot her in the face with a rubber bullet while she was covering a protest. Police forced May James, a prominent photojournalist, to remove a gas mask and jailed her overnight after she did not show her local ID – to a policeman whose identity was obscured. A driver working for Hong Kong’s largest pay TV operator was hit by a police projectile, detained and left with a broken jaw after being beaten by police. A journalist with the online site Stand News has been diagnosed with a skin condition that has been linked to tear gas. Tear gas is often fired close to – or directly at – journalists. Press access was restricted at a major university where protesters were in a standoff with police. And police have taken to deliberately shining flashlights and flashing strobe lights at journalists to obstruct them from taking pictures and video. The attacks on the press have occurred even though journalists are clearly identified. They wear helmets and bright yellow vests emblazoned with “PRESS” and present press identification to police officers. These events, many of them documented via video or livestreamed, have made it clear that journalists – including student reporters – are being targeted. There have been too
many instances for them to be accidental or coincidence. It appears that a deliberate effort is being made to prevent independent reporting of events, and police in Hong Kong increasingly do not want their actions seen or recorded. Amid the escalating violence, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club has been trying to help journalists in the city, including local reporters and foreign correspondents. My fellow Club members and I held a series of practical workshops on things that most journalists in Hong Kong probably have not encountered – how to use milk or a saline solution to douse their eyes after being exposed to tear gas or wash away the blue dye used to identify protesters, how to resist unlawful police demands and how to secure a digital footprint so sources won’t be compromised. Videos of the workshop series have been made available online. Board members of the correspondents’ club met with Hong Kong police officials to discuss how to improve press-police relations. Our recommendations included making sure police officers are easily identifiable and asking police to refrain from shining lights directly at news photographers and camera operators. The protests present unprecedented challenges to the Hong Kong media, which have not faced this level of violence since communist-led protests against British colonial rule in the 1960s. The media are simply trying to do their job, which they have a right to do under Hong Kong law. The United Nations provides a framework for maintaining good relations between the police and the press, which says the public has a right to observe and examine police actions. Journalists are the public’s witnesses. The police have a duty to maintain public order, yet also to be subject to public scrutiny. They should expect the media to take photographs and video, and not interfere with reporting. Security forces have neither the authority nor the legitimacy to impose limits on freedom of the press, according to U.N. protocols. As U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said this year in defence of the world’s press: “Informing is not a crime.” Hong Kong press freedom has been additionally challenged in recent years since more outlets have been bought by media owners with ties to mainland China, where the press is heavily censored and controlled by the Chinese government. Still, most foreign and local media outlets maintain their independence. Historically, they have helped keep public authorities and business figures accountable without fear for their safety or interference by authorities. If that spirit slips away in Hong Kong, it could embolden other authoritarian-minded governments and world leaders to discredit the crucial role the press plays in societies around the world. The increasing danger facing journalists here is a threat to press freedom everywhere. n
THE DECADE AT THE CLUB... AND IN HONG KONG
We didn’t want to single out individual members for this look back, but one name has to be mentioned. Gilbert Cheng worked at the Club for 46 years and retired from the post of general manager in August 2018. Joining the FCC in 1972 as a summer busboy, he became GM in 2000. “Treat and respect the FCC as your home”, he told The Correspondent as he prepared for retirement and the handover to new GM, Didier Saugy.
Hong Kong introduced a minimum wage for lowpaid workers. Workers were now entitled to earn a minimum of HK$28 per hour.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowdon chose Hong Kong as a place to hide after he revealed details of U.S. cyberattacks on Hong Kong and mainland Chinese targets. He hid among a family of asylum seekers. He then moved on to Russia.
On August 23, former senior police officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus with Hong Kong tourists on board in Rizal Park, Manila. In a 10-hour siege, Mendoza claimed he had been unfairly dismissed. Eight people were killed.
Creating anguish over the decade has been the slow demise of regional print journalism and mass market magazines, and the consolidation of international newspapers. Mergers, acquisitions, closures, and redundancies continue to be familiar stories across Asia.
The safety of journalists is always a concern in conflict zones, but just being a journalist is also a hazard. The murder of writers and cartoonists at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 was as shocking as the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines that killed 34 journalists in November 2009, with the main perpetrators, the Ampatuan brothers, only being sentenced in December 2019. The FCC hosts the internationally respected yearly Human Rights Press Awards to honour journalism that exposes such outrages.
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Nicole Tung is a freelance photojournalist born and raised in Hong Kong. She graduated from New York University in 2009 and freelances for internation al publications and NGOs, primarily covering the Middle East. Her work often explores those most affected by conflict and war. She is based in Istanbul, Turkey.
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30/9/18 11:19 am
The Occupy Movement, from September 26 to December 15, 2014, was a protest lasting nearly three months. It followed a White Paper issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress with proposed changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system. Several of its leaders were later imprisoned.
Former Hong Kong Indonesian domestic helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih suffered eight months of abuse at the hands of her local employer, Law Wantung. Law was imprisoned in 2015 for six years, but released on parole after serving half the sentence.
John Batten and Annemarie Evans
On August 14, 2018, the FCC became embroiled in controversy by hosting a talk by Andy Chan Ho-tin, whose banned Hong Kong National Party advocates Hong Kong independence. Defended by the talk’s host and FCC Vice-President, Victor Mallet, as the FCC exercising its right of freedom of speech, the talk saw Mallet lose his work visa, and the FCC attacked by mainland nationalists questioning the FCC’s tenancy of its iconic home, the heritage former icehouse building on Lower Albert Road. Angst about the FCC’s government-owned club house rises at each lease renewal.
Over-arching everything is climate change with young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s call to “panic” and “if you don’t want to listen to me, then listen to the scientists”. The FCC’s plan to go green began in 2018 and is an ongoing project. Year-end prediction for the next decade? We will see Greta’s panic acted out.
Hand-in-hand with the print journalism story is the phenomenal rise of social media and instant digital forms of communication. The topic was chosen for the inaugural FCC Journalism Conference in 2016, with journalists gathering to discuss every aspect of News in the Era of Digital Disruption.
In July, the High Court disqualified four pro-democracy legislators for failing to sincerely take the oath of office. The four lawmakers – Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai, Edward Yiu and Leung Kwok-hung all changed their oaths of allegiance in some way during their swearing-in ceremony at the Legislative Council in October 2016.
The Democratic Party announced test results on drinking water in July showing samples from Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City contained lead exceeding World Health Organisation standards. This led to a health scandal as excessive lead was found in tap water in many housing estates, schools and public hospitals.
CREDIT: AFP, FCC & SUE BRATTLE
In what became known as the Fishball Revolution, hundreds of people clashed with police in Mong Kok during the Lunar New Year as the government tried to shut down the traditional night food market, where vendors are allowed to sell food rent free. More than 50 were arrested in what morphed into a demonstration and riot involving more localist participants.
Typhoon Mangkhut, Hong Kong’s most intense storm since records began in 1946, battered the city from September 6-18. It caused a record storm surge, uprooted 1,500 trees, smashed thousands of windows and left 394 people injured – another record, the highest No 10 storm signal was raised for 10 hours.
The year ended with six months of protests seeing no signs of abating. What began in June with mass protests of upwards of one million people in reaction to Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s attempts to force through amendments to an extradition law seethed into unauthorised marches, and an increase in violence by both police and protesters. Calls for an inquiry among the five demands of protesters have been ignored.
MACAU LOOKS FOR A DELICATE BALANCE RATHER THAN A ROLL OF THE DICE Macau, ‘poster child’ of the One Country Two Systems policy, celebrated the 20th anniversary of its handover to China last month. José Carlos Matias reflects on the ‘fragile but hopefully resilient’ city
The author is a Macaubased journalist and researcher. He currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of the Macau Portuguese and English Press Association
he 20th anniversary of Macau’s handover from Portugal to China came at a critical juncture for China, at the end of a challenging year for Beijing due to the seemingly never-ending crisis in Hong Kong and against the backdrop of the U.S.-China trade war. For the Central Government and for the local Macau SAR Government it was high time to affirm the success story of the implementation of the One Country Two Systems (OCTS) policy in the former Portuguese colony. Macau is lauded as the “poster child” of OCTS. The contrast with Hong Kong is conspicuous. In his speeches during the three-day visit starting December 18, President Xi Jinping highlighted the local residents’ respect and embrace of patriotism and the huge economic progress that was achieved since 1999, thanks to the full support of Beijing. In fact, Macau has experienced staggering growth and development that few could have anticipated. The city’s gross domestic product skyrocketed, posting an eight-fold increase, while the unemployment rate declined from 6.2 per cent to just 1.8 per cent and the average monthly income of
citizens more than tripled. The opening of the first post-monopoly foreign-owned casinos – Sands in 2004 – was the game and gambling changer, transforming the city’s urban landscape and socioeconomic dynamics. In 2002 Macau approved the new gaming law, paving the way for the opening up of the casino industry; in 2003 the Central Government launched the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-Speaking Countries, with the headquarters in Macau; and in 2009 the local Legislative Assembly gave the green light to the national security law, fulfilling what is spelled out in Article 23 of the Basic Law. In sharp contrast with Hong Kong, where the attempt to enact a national security act ignited large-scale protests [in 2003] that not only defeated the bill but ultimately led to the demise of the Tung Chee-hwa administration, in Macau the bill was approved without significant opposition; it in fact had wide support among local social and political groups. What we have witnessed over the past seven months in Hong Kong could not be more telling about the divergent paths
CREDIT: FCC & AFP
China’s President Xi Jinping speaks during his visit to Macau as part of its 20th anniversary handover celebrations
followed by the two cities. There was not a single rally or assembly in support of the Hong Kong movement here, as there is a broad sense of belonging to the People’s Republic of China. This is explained by significant improvement in the people’s livelihood and public security coupled with historical, sociological and demographic factors. However, another reason stands out: authorities rejected three bids for assemblies and rallies in condemnation of police violence in Hong Kong. Civil rights groups and some lawyers denounced the decisions as unfounded restrictions to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, enshrined in the Macau Basic Law. The situation in Hong Kong is starting to impact Macau’s economy; visitor arrivals saw an 11 per cent decline in November, the first year-on-year decrease of 2019. As Macau enters the third decade of the 50-year special period, the city’s stability and prosperity seem sound and solid. Still, a number of challenges loom. The most noticeable one regards the SAR’s dependence on the gaming industry, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of public revenue. The much-needed diversification is yet to take off. There have been hints that new financial services will be launched alongside other moves to bring the development of Hengqin Island more in line with Macau’s to meet the aim of turning Macau into a world tourism and leisure centre. The development of the business and cultural platform with Portuguese-speaking countries is taking shape but it is still far from being fully utilized. In the meantime, Macau’s participation in the Greater Bay Area plan is regarded as a key path to bring about a more sustainable and diversified economic model. However, the goals may not be attainable without improved governance and a more efficient government. At the same time, it is necessary to tackle the side effects of the gaming boom such as income inequality, unaffordable housing or human resources shortages. While moving forward Macau also needs to strike a delicate and crucial balance between the benefits of regional integration and the risks attached to it, namely in terms of autonomy, as the rule of law, local culture, individual freedoms and way of life are, in some ways, increasingly under pressure. The city’s distinctive features are priceless but also fragile, like porcelain, and hopefully resilient like a lotus flower (the city’s symbol) with its roots based in mud, submerged at night but re-emerging every morning without residue on its petals. n
MODEL OF STABILITY WAS ONCE IN THE VORTEX OF VIOLENCE Keith B. Richburg These days Chinese officials from Beijing are fond of holding up Macau as a role model for stability, compared to Hong Kong which has been wracked by more than six months of unrest. But in the late 1990s, as the two territories were separately preparing to revert to Chinese control, Hong Kong was largely peaceful, the only rancour being the political and legal debates about the makeup of the Legislative Council and future direct elections. In Macau, there was literally blood in the streets. In 1997, just before Hong Kong’s handover, at least 14 people were killed in Macau as the notorious 14K triad and the rival Shui Fong, or Water Room triad, battled for control of the lucrative gambling industry. One of the more sensational attacks was the May 4 ambush slaying of three 14K members gunned down in their car on one of Macau’s busiest commercial streets. Among the victims was the righthand man of 14K’s leader, Wan “Broken Tooth” Kuok-koi. In an earlier brazen assault, gambling kingpin Lam Pui-chang was killed with three bullets to the stomach close to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In a horrific attack meant to maim and not kill, 11 teenagers were slashed with knives in a video game parlour in a dispute over protection payments. Portuguese officials trying to control the chaos became targets. The chief gambling inspector was gunned down during lunch. In 1998, a bomb was placed under the car of Portuguese police chief Antonio Marques Baptista, known as “Rambo,” who was saved by his dog who sniffed out the device before his car exploded. On a single day in May 1998, two dozen firebombs exploded across Macau in retaliation for “Broken Tooth” Koi’s arrest. He was convicted in 1999 and spent 13-plus years in prison. He’s now out hawking cryptocurrency and investing in Cambodia. Chinese rule and the internationalisation of the casino business has largely sidelined the Macau triads. Chinese officials now look at Hong Kong and decry the violence and unrest, compared to staid and stable Macau. But 20 years ago, the situations were reversed. As the Hong Kong Standard wrote in a 1997 editorial: “The once sleepy hollow of Macau is waking up. To the sound of gunfire.”
‘I WILL SING AND DANCE IF I HAVE TO’
Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi photojournalist and activist whose criticism of his government landed him in jail in 2018. But that hasn’t silenced him, as Rob Gerhardt discovered when he caught up with him in New York
P His time in prison and the torture that he endured haven’t slowed the activist down or taken the everpresent smile from his face.
Rob Gerhardt is an absent Club member and a freelance photographer based in New York
hotojournalist Shahidul Alam sits in a lecture hall at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York, a long, long way from the Bangladeshi prison where he was jailed for 107 days in 2018. His time in prison and the torture that he endured haven’t slowed the activist down or taken the everpresent smile from his face. But Alam still faces the possibility of a 14-year prison sentence in Bangladesh after an interview with Al-Jazeera in which he criticized the government for its violent response to road safety protests. He was let out of prison on bail after an international backlash, but the case is still winding its way through the judicial system. The High Court in Bangladesh issued a stay on the police investigation until Alam’s petition to the High Court is concluded. When we met, he was confident the case would be dropped at a court hearing scheduled for December 18. But the Bangladeshi court did not respond to his case on that date, and
made no statement about it. Sofia Karim, his niece, told me afterwards that she thinks this is the government’s attempt to keep the case dragging on – and hanging over him. She felt it also allows the government to keep pressure on Alam without admitting that they don’t have a case against him. So, as we went to press, things remained in a state of limbo, without even a future court date. Alam’s visit to New York coincided with the first major exhibition of his work in the U.S., at the Rubin Museum of Art. Titled Truth to Power, it follows the publication of his new book, The Tide Will Turn (published by Steidl). The book is in four parts; the preface and first section, Keranigani Jail, tell the story of Alam’s arrest, his time in prison, and the work done by those both named and unnamed who worked to get him out. Sections called Art, Politics and Letters follow. The book reads like a memoir, interspersed with sections of photographs from all stages of his career. The text and photographs are tied together through telling the stories THE CORRESPONDENT
CREDIT: RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART
Shahidul Alam speaks at the opening of his show, Truth to Power, at the Rubin Museum of Art
Students protest in Dhaka, August 2018
A fellow prisoner’s sketch of Alam in his prison cell in 2018
CREDIT: SUPPLIED BY STEIDL PUBLISHERS
Singer and performer Smriti Azad at a rally at Central Shahid Minar in Dhaka, 1994
Famous image of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh by Alam’s former student Taslima Akhter
of the people involved, whether they are in the frame or not. Alam’s photographs work not just to inform the viewer, but to raise awareness of the stories he covers. Whether it is poverty, refugees or the disappeared, the formal labels of art, activism or journalism are separated only loosely. “I will show where I can, as I can, as effectively as I can, to bring about the changes my work is aimed at bringing about,” he told me. “One of my most successful exhibits, Crossfire, has been shown on museum walls, galleries specializing in photojournalism, art festivals, and hung on trees and pasted on public walls.” At his talk at Columbia and running throughout The Tide Will Turn is this intersection between journalism and activism, and his belief that you can walk the line between them without sacrificing journalistic ethics to try and drive change. “As a journalist I insist on being fair and accurate. That is also what I adhere to as an activist. However, while as a journalist my primary motive is to inform, as an activist I want to stimulate change in behaviour. These motives can co-exist.” This decision always to be truthful to the story while bringing change is the heart of Alam’s work, and the power behind it. Working within journalistic standards makes his work hard to refute. Those who don’t agree with what he is saying try to silence him, most noticeably by hacking or shutting down his social media, as happened the morning of his opening at the Rubin Museum. But Alam continues to speak out and tell the stories that others want silenced. “I want my work to have impact and I will use any method that works. I will sing and dance if I have to, but at the end, I will make sure that the audience cannot walk away unmoved.” n JANUARY 2020
AUSTRALIA PRESS FREEDOM
AUSTRALIA LOOKS TO NEW RULES IN MEDIA STRUGGLE AGAINST POLITICAL BIAS AND DIGITAL DISRUPTION Australia suffered a slight slip down the World Press Freedom Index in 2019, largely because its media ownership is concentrated in so few hands. Sian Powell explains why V1 - AUSE01Z01MA
$3.00 MONDAY October 21, 2019
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TOBY HAR NDEN
complain N News restrictions. you fear you may be about to lose, as some on the Remain side of the European debate did early in the campaign. But we’ve sensed a change in the wind this week. I’ll tempt fate by saying I now restrictions. Britain is unlikely to leave the
EU. So with no risk of sounding like bad losers, let’s ask a wider question Secrecy. one voters will face on June 23. Are referendums really the best way to settle this kind of thing? There’s teasing irony here for the Leav Jail terms for for continental contrivance and alien to what always
used to be our British idea of democracy. Traditionally we believed in what we call journalists and whistleblowers the representatives they sent to parliament) would choose their leaders, and their leaders, drawn from those representatives, would choose direction. If the people didn’t like the direction they could throw out their government and choose a new
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When the government In their defence it can be argued that they were on existential questions for which signal consent was needed. On similar reasoning, Germany (which has conflicted memories of Hitler’s
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use of the device to harness popular sentiment behind brutal change) permits a national starts hiding referendum only on the replacement of its constitution or re-drawing of internal boundaries; but local referendums are gaining currency there; and the Swiss use them all the time. Should we? Unlike most continental Europeans for whom proportional representation
makes it difficult the truth entire government, we British get a fairly binary choice at general elections. In a way we’ve always had referendums — a big one, every few years: “Yes or no: shall we throw the buggers out?” But what if an idea, popular among the people, finds no mainstream political party prepared to from Australians adopt it? And since manifestos for government must contain
scores of what are they voters express their preferences proposal by proposal? As a constitutional device the ad hoc referendum is designed to answer both those objections. Taken to its logical conclusion it would remove the need for general covering up? altogether: we could have a sort of supreme civil service, forever asking us what we wanted it to do, issue by issue, through referendums. S
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a shooting spree in December in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. Over the weekend, Islamic State-linked accounts on social media reported a message was forthcoming from the group’s al-Furqan unit, the media arm that usually releases statements from top Islamic State leadership. It caused speculation the group may be taking responsibility for the EgyptAir attack. When it arrived, however, the message instead made more general threats. “If it is indeed terrorism and there isn’t a claim, it could be because the organisation wants to give the other cell members time to go to ground,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before gro The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast
a shooting spree in December in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. Over the weekend, Islamic State-linked accounts on social media reported a message was forthcoming from the group’s al-Furqan unit, the media arm that usually releases statements from top Islamic State leadership. It caused speculation the group may be taking responsibility for the EgyptAir attack. When it arrived, however, the message instead made more general threats. “If it is indeed terrorism and there isn’t a claim, it could be because the organisation wants to give the other cell members time to go to ground,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before gro The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyp-
smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said. bus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the won’t tell you which ones. ench air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said. und contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe
a shooting spree in December in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. Over the weekend, Islamic State-linked accounts on social media reported a message was forthcoming from the group’s al-Furqan unit, the media arm that usually releases statements from top Islamic State leadership. It caused speculation the group may be taking responsibility for the EgyptAir attack. When it arrived, however, the message instead made more general threats. “If it is indeed terrorism and there isn’t a claim, it could be because the organisation wants to give the other cell members time to go to ground,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before gro The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting smoke in the nose of the plane, the French air accident investigation office involved in the Egyptian-led probe said.
TOBY HAR NDEN
CAIRO: Almost four days after the disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804 raised concern that terrorists again may have struck commercial The elderly absence of anyone taking responsibility has prompted questions about what transpired on the Airbus A320 aircraft. Hours after the EgyptAir plane disappeared from radar while flying over the eastern Mediterranean from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board, officials in Egypt said a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical fault to have led to the are being abused They did not elaborate or present evidence for the claim. Recent plane bombings were relatively q and neglected groups laying claim to having carried out the attacks. When a Russian jetliner was hit after departing Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh airport in October last year, Sinai Province, the Egyptian branch of Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attack the same day. “If the Islamic State, al-Qa’ida or a regional affiliate were behind this attack, we would have expected to see a claim of responsibility by now,” intelligence inside our Strategic Forecasting said in a report yesterday. It said other attacks not involving planes also were quickly tied to Islamic State. Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, attributed their attack to the militant group just before going on a shooting spree in December in San Bernardino, California, k nursing homes. Over the weekend, Islamic State-linked accounts on social media reported a message was forthcoming from the group’s al-Furqan unit, the media arm that usually the from top Islamic State leadership. It caused speculation the group may be taking responsibility for the EgyptAir attack. The Government ed, however, the message instead made more general threats. “If it is The government there isn’t a claim, it could be because the organisation wants to give the other cell members time to go to ground,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before gro The EgyptAir Airbus had broadcast a series of automated messages before ground contact with the plane was lost, suggesting
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TOBY HAR NDEN Government approves time to complain about the game is when you fear you may be about to lose, as some on the Remain side of the European debate did early in the campaign. But we’ve sensed a change in the wind this week. I’ll tempt fate by saying I now think Britain is unlikely to leave the EU. So with no risk of sounding like bad losers, let’s ask a wider question than the huge sale of will face on June 23. Are referendums really the best way to settle this kind of thing?
There’s teasing irony here for the Leave campaigners. The referendum is a rather continental contrivance and alien to what always used to be our British idea of democracy. Traditionally we believed in what we call “representative democracy”. The people (via the representatives they sent to parliament) would choose their leaders, and their leaders, drawn from those representatives, would choose direction. If the people didn’t like the direction they could throw out their government and choose a new one. Cand agricultural land ve an interest in promising directions more attractive to the
voters. Or theoretically, anyway. In practice it’s less perfect. Nevertheless we’ve departed only rarely from the theory, and as a united kingdom this referendum is o to r third exercise in direct democracy: once before on Europe, and once on the alternative vote system. In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland we had a series of referendums, all on constitutional issues related to devolution. The results seem to have bedded in. In their defence it can be argued that they were on existential questions for which signal consent was needed. On similar reasoning,
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reason, because the worst time The tax office when you fear you may be about to lose, as some on the Remain side of the European debate did early in the campaign. The tax office in the wind this week. I’ll tempt fate by saying I now think Britain is unlikely to leave the EU. So with no risk of sounding like bad losers, let’s ask a dfhrr r can take than the one voters will face on June 23. Are referendums really the best way to settle this kind of thing?
There’s teasing irony here for the Leave cam money The referendum is a rather continental contrivance and alien to what always used to be Traditionavsll sas directly out of believed in what we call “representative democracy”. The people (via the representatives they sent to parliament) would r leaders, and their leaders, drawn from those representatives, would choose direction. If the people didn’t like the direction they could throw out their government and choose a would have an interest in promising directions more attractive to the Or dmbjk people’s accounts. theoretically, anyway. In practice
But you’re not we’ve departed only rarely from the theory, and as a united kingdom this referendum is only our third exercise in direct democracy: once before on Europe, and once on the alternative vote system. In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotl allowed a series of referendums, all on constitutional issues related to devolution. The results seem to have bedded in. In their defence it can be argued that they were on existential questions for which signal co vdrgrr to know. On similar reasoning, Germany (which has conflicted
Germany (which has conflicted memories of Hitler’s use of the device to harness popular sentiment behind brutal change) permits to foreign countries. m only on the replacement of its constitution or re-drawing of internal boundaries; but local referendums are gaining currency there; and the Swiss use them all the time. Should we? Unlike most continental Europeans for whom proportional representation makes it difficult to eject an entire government, we British get a fairly binary choice at general elections. In a way we’ve always had referendums — a big one, every few years: “Yes or no:
shall we throw the buggers out?” But what if an idea, popular among the people, finds no mainstream political party prepared to adopt it? And since manifestos for government must contain scores of proposals, how can voters express their preferences proposal by proposal? As a constitutional device the ad hoc referendum is designed to answer both those objections. Taken to its logical conclusion it would remove the need for general elections altogether: we could have a sort of supreme civil service, forever asking us what we wanted it to do, issue by issue, through referendums.
Headlinea over 3 decks CAIRO: Almost four days after
the disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804 raised concern that terrorists again may have struck commercial aviation, the absence of anyone taking responsibility has prompted questions about what transpired on the Airbus A320 aircraft. Hours after the EgyptAir
plane disappeared from radar while flying over the eastern Mediterranean from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board, officials in Egypt said a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical fault to have led to the plane’s demise. They did not elaborate or present evidence for the claim.
CAIRO: Almost four days after
the disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804 raised concern that terrorists again may have struck commercial aviation, the absence of anyone taking responsibility has prompted questions about what transpired on the Airbus A320 aircraft. Hours after the EgyptAir
When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?
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NSW 2010 ST, SURRY HILLS MILLER , 2 HOLT BY MICHAE L
AUTHORISED BY MICHAEL MILLER, 2 HOLT ST, SURRY HILLS NSW 2010
Front page of every newspaper across Australia was blacked out on October 21 as part of a protest against media restrictions
sharpened concern that a range of laws introduced over the past 20 years had cut into the media’s ability to hold the Australian government and powerful industry figures to account. At the same time, government funding for the national public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has been cut to the bone under successive conservative governments and there is an increasing belief that “public good” journalism, particularly investigative journalism, court and local government reporting, will need public funding to continue to function adequately. Australia slipped two places in the World Press Freedom Index last year, to rank 21st; behind Surinam, Uruguay, Estonia, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, as well as the usual Scandinavian suspects. New Zealand, by contrast, was seventh. Britain was 33rd and the U.S., 48th. “Australia has good public media
Sian Powell has been at various times a reporter, an editor, an opinion writer and a leader writer for titles including The Times, The Australian, The South China Morning Post and The Sydney Morning Herald. Recently returned to Hong Kong, she is now looking for work here.
CREDIT: MEDIA, ENTERTAINMENT & ARTS ALLIANCE
ears of eroding press freedom have gripped Australian media, most recently hammered home by a respected senior journalist warning of an “unacceptable step down the road to authoritarianism”. ABC veteran Kerry O’Brien said in his speech at the prestigious Walkley awards event in November that Australia’s government, led by prime minister Scott Morrison, had resisted appeals for freedom of the press protections to be enshrined in law. Meanwhile, “the spirit of freedom of information laws, if not the letter, is being abused and there are more allegations of corruption being investigated officially than ever before”. O’Brien’s call to arms followed a concerted Your Right to Know campaign by Australian media outlets, which featured blacked-out front pages and websites across the country. Australian Federal Police raids on journalists in early 2019 had
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but the concentration of media ownership is one of the highest in the world”, Reporters Without Borders concluded. “It became even more concentrated in July 2018, when Nine Entertainment took over the Fairfax media group.” The Nine-Fairfax merger, enabled by loosened media diversity laws, resulted in a dominant media conglomerate with television, print, radio and digital interests, and the merger has not always been happy. In early September 2019, Nine, a once supremely successful television network, held a $10,000-a-head Liberal party fund-raiser, a move which infuriated print journalists working for the conglomerate’s topline daily metropolitan newspapers, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, formerly Fairfax mastheads. According to insiders, these newspapers have worked hard to maintain their impartiality and independence and to be seen as unbiased observers and reporters. Making money for the government doesn’t sit well with that aim. Paul Murphy, chief executive of Australia’s main journalism union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the MEAA), says the NineFairfax merger has been a loss for the Australian media consumer, and indirectly, for the Australian public at large. “There is no question that the Nine takeover of Fairfax will reduce diversity in Australia’s media, which is already one of the most concentrated in the democratic world”, he says. “Such concentration threatens the long-standing editorial independence of the former Fairfax newspapers. Mergers often mean cutbacks, redundancies and fewer resources, which in turn leads to a lack of proper scrutiny and investigation of the powerful.” News Ltd, another major
This increasing concentration and bias of media interests is of concern, but it pales in comparison with the sector-wide upheaval prompted by digital and social media player in the Australian media market, publishes metropolitan and regional papers, owns magazines and digital media and has subscription television interests. Between them, Nine and News Ltd call many of the shots in Australian conservative politics, media-watchers say, and they both openly favour the governing LiberalNational conservative coalition. This increasing concentration and bias of media interests is of concern, but it pales in comparison with the sector-wide upheaval prompted by digital and social media. The 2019 Digital News Report found that more than four in 10 Australians now use online sources as their primary source of news, and many turn to Facebook or Google as a primary news provider. Yet these global behemoths – social media, or online search tools or content aggregators – are, of course, not Australian, and regulating their content is fraught with difficulties. About 25 million people live in Australia, and every month about 19.2 million Australians use Google Search, 17.3 million open Facebook, 17.6 million watch YouTube (which is owned by Google) and 11.2 million look at Instagram (which is owned by Facebook). Newspaper publishers and radio and television programmers can only dream about such numbers. Meanwhile the “rivers of gold”, the classified advertisements that once paid the salaries of Australian newspaper journalists and funded
a thriving newspaper industry, have been diverted to online media, including social media, and the print and radio and television sectors continue to suffer. Terry Flew, Professor of Communication and Creative Industries at the Queensland University of Technology, says there is a role for third-party oversight of the digital platforms, in the body of a government regulatory agency. Problems arise with the definitions of what those digital platforms actually are. “To what extent are digital platforms (such as Google and Facebook) media businesses, and to what extent are they not media businesses, and what does that mean for how we reconfigure media and communications policy?” he asks. Most people who work in the traditional media, Flew says, would describe the platforms as media businesses, and most would see them eroding the foundation of their careers. There’s no doubt these platforms have won over advertisers, who appreciate the flow of information about consumers. “It’s very hard to offer a better product to advertisers, because of the way digital data from multiple sources feed back into behavioural expectations around users, and feed back into ‘bang for the buck’ for advertisers,” Flew points out. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission handed down its final report on digital platforms last July, and recommended among many other things, an overarching set of regulations; in other words a replacement for the current system whereby different rules apply to print, television and online. n JANUARY 2020
PLAY ABOUT THE SCOOP OF THE CENTURY INSPIRES CHILDREN TO #BEMORECLARE When a theatre company in the UK needed a story to introduce the Second World War to schoolchildren, Clare Hollingworth And the Scoop of the Century was born. Absent member Peter Cordingley and Sue Brattle report
here’s an inspiring new mantra in schools around the south west of England that would amuse one of the FCC’s most famous former members no end – #BeMoreClare. Tales of Clare Hollingworth’s extraordinary life of adventure and derring-do have been used to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, with a touring theatre production that has played in 54 schools and numerous theatres. Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of the Century was written around the famous moment in August 1939 when a young Clare witnessed German forces gathered on the border with Poland. Clare, a longtime member of the FCC, died in 2017 at the age of 105. She had a remarkable career that took her to some of the most dangerous war zones in the world. In 1982 she was appointed an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II for “services to journalism”. The interactive show, by the Paddleboat Theatre Company, is bursting with storytelling, songs and, of
Actress Katy Dash as Clare in a poster for the play
course, a retelling of the Scoop of the Century, in which Clare told the world – through her report in the Daily Telegraph in London – of the start of World War Two. Michael Smith, the company’s tour manager, plays the Telegraph’s editor Arthur Watson and tells the audience:
1,000 tanks massed on the Polish Border, I knew she was good when we employed her. She followed her nose to the heart of the mystery And Clare, what you’ve found, it might just change history Only time will tell us what is in store, Whether this news means we’re going to war, But in homes and in pubs, in crowds and in queues, People will be discussing this front page news!
Michael, who expects the show to be revived next year by popular demand, said: “It’s lovely to hear that word of our show has reached the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong. Sadly we only heard about Clare’s life through her obituary, but found it to be such an amazing story, and
CREDITS: MATT AUSTIN & ROBIN MOYER
Clare Hollingworth in her favourite chair at the FCC
Michael Smith as Arthur Watson, editor of the Daily Telegraph, prepares Clare’s big scoop for print. In the background, Katy Dash plays Clare
CREDITS: JACOB SUTTON & MATT AUSTIN
Clare (Katy Dash, arms outstretched) with actors Stuart Cottrell and Hattie Brown
one we couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard before. “This show has been the culmination of two years’ work across 16 primary schools around Devon, finding out what WW2 means to children all these years later, how the role of women in the workplace has changed, and what it means to be a journalist. “In a number of schools there is now a local mantra of #BeMoreClare, which we love. We’ve also been capturing feedback forms from our tour and it warms our hearts every time we see another one that reads: “Now I want to be a journalist!” In its publicity material, Paddleboat describes Clare as “one of the most important writers of our time”, adding: “We chose to create a play about her and her big scoop to inspire children to follow their dreams and be who they want to be, and to educate adults and children alike about her incredible career.” In partnership with Villages in Action, Paddleboat also secured backing from the Arts Council of England, the Lottery Fund and the Heritage Fund. n
Poster for a performance of the play in November
THE LONELY TABOO THAT WEIGHS HEAVILY ON TROUBLED MINDS One in every four of us will struggle with mental health issues at some time, and FCC members Nic and Becky Gaunt decided to raise awareness of the issue in a creative and unique way. Kate Whitehead reports
Inads CREDIT: SUPPLIED
Becky and Nic Gaunt
Kate Whitehead has lived in Hong Kong since she was seven. She is a journalist and author of two non-fiction crime books – After Suzie: Sex in South China and Hong Kong Murders.
ine art photographer Nic Gaunt and his wife Becky are hands down the club’s creative power couple. They have built a solid reputation for striking, edgy images and their recent Wall exhibition is no exception. Stones, a collection of 50 portraits that aim to raise awareness about mental health issues, is a deeply personal project. “Hong Kong can be a very overwhelming and intense place, any feelings you have can be magnified,” says Nic. “Discussing mental illness here is more of a taboo than in the UK. I experienced this firsthand and decided to undertake this project to raise awareness.” The British-born artist says he felt as though he had a huge weight on his shoulders, as though he were dragging a stone around all day. A strongly visual person, he wondered whether he could embody the notion in an actual physical stone. He shared his thoughts with friends. Some said that they had similar experiences, and so the idea for the Stones project was born. “A lot of people said they struggled or have friends or family who have struggled with mental health problems. They related to
the idea. That was 12 months ago,” says Nic. The project spread by word of mouth, as well as a social media call-out, and over the year Nic created 50 images. For some of those who posed for the photographs, it is their first public acknowledgement of a private struggle. Others are captured carrying a stone to represent the burden they share with a friend or family member. The Club’s former general manager Gilbert Cheng is pictured leaning back against a huge rock on D’Aguilar Street, in Central. He wanted to join the project in the hope of helping remove the stigma around mental illness. “We need to accept that we have among us people of all types of constitution and emotional threshold,” says Cheng. “We should educate them from a young age not to expect that life is a bed of roses, and that these beautiful flowers have fragrance but also thorns.” For another Club member, Andrew Work, the premise of the project resonated with him. “Hong Kong is made up of many people, but when you are in your head, it can be a very, very lonely place. It weighs on you,” says Work. The diversity of people who posed for
CREDIT: NIC GAUNT / SUPPLIED / CARSTEN SCHAEL / CHRIS LUSHER
the Gaunts shows that mental health issues are not bound by race, class or gender. “People posed from across the board. We’ve got almost all nationalities featured – German, Chinese, Filipino, Taiwanese, Nigerian, English, Australian, Canadian, Korean, Japanese, South American, Indian,” says Becky, who curated the project. She also collected the stories of those featured and produced a book, The Stone. Reading the personal, and often very raw and frank accounts of those pictured, makes the project even more powerful. These are people who are brave enough to stand up and say that they have struggled with a mental health issue – and by coming out Becky hopes that more people will feel comfortable about speaking up about their own struggles. Ines Laimins, an actress, has featured in some of the couple’s previous projects and said she was keen to be involved with this one. “Everyone has struggled with something at some point, everyone can relate to this project in some way. [The Gaunts] take on projects that have a social impact, and I think this one, which brings mental illness into the open, is especially important,” says Laimins. Those who volunteered to take part had seen the initial “Stone” images and many arrived at the shoot expecting to be pushing an actual rock. “One guy said, ‘Is it inflatable? Is it in your backpack?’” says Nic. In reality, the stones are only a few inches big. Nic photographed the participants quickly on the street – just six or seven frames for each person – and shot the stones separately. He then used his digital darkroom skills to meld the two. “It was a very time-consuming process, adding the shadows to make it look like the stone was really there,” says Nic.
Hongkongers’ mental health has deteriorated, with the ongoing protests adding to people’s stress. A study in October conducted by the Chinese University used the World Health Organisation Well-Being Index (WHO-5), with a range of between 0 and 100, and 52 as the passing score. An acceptable mental health level was between 52 and 68 while above 72 showed a good status. The study found Hongkongers scored 46.41, below the previous year’s score of 50.20, and well below the acceptable passing score. The Gaunts hope that the exhibition will continue to travel after its introduction on the Club’s Wall, to help remove the stigma around mental health issues. According to the WHO, one in four people in the world will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in their lives. n
l This is not a commercial project for the Gaunts, they are only interested in raising social awareness and getting people talking. If you would like to display some of the images in your office or other communal area, please contact Becky at email@example.com. If you would like to buy a copy of the book, The Stone (HK$500), please contact the Club’s reception desk. For more about the project go to www.nicgaunt.com
ON THE WALL
THE RED CORPORATION Photographs by RICHARD MARK DOBSON
he Red Corporation is the second of my quasifictional stories. I think of them as “figment series”. They are narratives based around figments of my imagination. I also call them vibe series. Neonopolis was the first. Neon splashed with a neo noir sci-fi vibe. Colourful, deep saturated colours with crunched blacks. Lots of that Blade Runner visual style and colour grading. Jordan Cronenweth and Roger Deakins are my two biggest inspirations from the world of moving pictures. Neonopolis is an imaginary city in an imaginary future. The Red Corporation by contrast is set in the Hong Kong of here and now. Where the “figment” comes into play is that I choose to walk the streets believing I’m immersed in a city of spies. And I’m really not far wrong making that assumption. Local newspaper headlines fuel
my imagination. The South China Morning Post: ‘Arrest of ex-CIA Agent fuels Hong Kong’s Reputation as Spy Hotbed’, and ‘Hong Kong Still Active as Spy Hub of the East’. The Wall Street Journal: ‘Hong Kong Riddled With British Spies’. Letting my imagination run wild as I took to the streets of this former British territory had a bizarre effect! All I had to do was walk and observe, and uncannily the world of John Le Carré appeared all around me. As with Neonopolis and more recently my Macau-focused project Puntopia, what I am finding fascinating is that my camera seems almost to have a mind of its own. The camera willingly finds the frame and vibe for me. I certainly don’t try to force anything. Certainly not the story, because a lot of what I do today is less about story and more about vibe. The vibe is the story, the narrative is the vibe.
The Eagle Has Not Landed: Originally used by Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, now used to indicate the completion of a “mission objective” asdfasdf
Cadaver Point: kə’davər noun: a corpse. origin. late Middle English: from Latin, cadere, ‘to fall’
Rule Number 1: Assume nothing and question everything
For Your Ears Only: Information that is intended for the ears of one specified person only
Man in the Grey Zone: An area intermediate between two mutually exclusive asdfasdfstates or categories, where the border between the two is fuzzy
Cat & Mouse: A contrived action involving constant pursuit, near captures, and repeated escapes
ON THE WALL
STONES Photographs by NIC GAUNT
aken from a collection of 50 photographs, this exhibition was designed by Hong Kong-based fine art photographer Nic Gaunt and his wife Becky to raise awareness about mental health. The Stones in question symbolize the weight that people living with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues carry with them in their day-to-day lives. For an interview with Nic and Becky Gaunt and full story, see pp 24-25: The Lonely Taboo That Weighs On Troubled Minds, by Kate Whitehead
Rayve: “It is through awareness and empathy that we can actually help sufferers and make the world a better place to live.”
Brenda and Vivian: “It’s so important to raise awareness of a subject so many people turn their backs on. It’s also something many people don’t know how to deal with or how to process. In addition, anyone who has ‘the problem’ is often in denial and reluctant to get help.”
Jai, Christina and Morgan: Jai says: “When I find out that family and friends have been fighting depression, crippling anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, alone, I really feel like we’ve let them down. And that is unacceptable.” Christina says: “In my 20s and early 30s there were moments when I was challenged, struggled and battled with my mind. I have had family members that have taken their own lives. It was a journey and work to overcome those mind battles and I want to help those that are struggling in silence as I felt fortunate and blessed enough to have had support.”
Rob and Wings: “My wife and I have both suffered with mental health issues for many years and have been through many ways to help us deal with the situation. Since we met, we have made it our mission to spread the word that suffering in silence is not the way forward, and that by talkingasdfasdf openly about it is the road to recovery. We cannot hide a broken bone, so why should we hide an illness that is life threatening?”
Nate: “Most people would look at me today and say I’m successful in life; I have a good job, a beautiful family, we are in a good position financially so what do I have to be depressed about? Truth is, I don’t know why I get anxiety attacks, I don’t know why I get depressed. My wife worries and that breaks my heart. She’s scared one day I’ll take my life and leave her and our beautiful kids. I’ll never let that happen, I’ll always fight for them.”
Russell: “Being depressed, I felt so dead on the inside that I thought I needed drugs and alcohol to make me feel alive. It isn’t me, but yet it is me. And that just led to it feeling worse, suicidal thoughts came more often. So many times, I was close to it. I still battle with depression and addiction but I have found things that make me feel alive and happy again, to curb those thoughts and keep them at bay.”
asdfasdf Philip: “I’m grateful that we’re beginning to understand mental illness. It’s tough to think about, but harder to watch loved ones struggle.”
ON THE WALL
SNAPSHOT TEMPTATIONS: USA 1972 – 1982 Photographs and words by ROBIN MOYER
ith a BA in Communications and Anthropology from the University of North Carolina, U.S.born Robin began his career working for Farkas Studios in Hong Kong in 1969 and as a cameraman/ soundman in Saigon covering the Cambodian Invasion for UPITN/ITV in 1970. While in Vietnam, he was drafted. As a Conscientious Objector, he worked as a photographer for two years for Environmental Action, the nice people who invented Earth Day. From 1972 through 1975 he worked as a freelance photographer in Washington, DC. He travelled throughout the American South on assignment for the Appalachian Regional Commission, and through the West for the U.S. Senate Native American Policy Review Board. In 1974 Resasdf he founded a photography school near Washington, DC – PhotoWorks at Glen Echo National Park for Creative Education is still thriving today. He began working primarily for Time-Life publications (TIME, Life, People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune) in 1978 and was TIME Magazine’s Chief Contract Photographer in Asia from 1983 to 1998. He carried out a wide range of assignments for TIME, including Cambodian Refugees in 1979, The Gwangju Uprising in
Tending the outside Horseshoe Fire late into the night at the Native American Peyote Church of South Dakota, Two Strike, a small settlement on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, September 1985
South Korea in 1980, China’s Environment (an ongoing project), Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in 1984, and leading teams of photographers during the Philippine Revolt in 1986, the Seoul Olympics in 1988, and the Tiananmen incident in Beijing in 1989. While working for TIME he received, among others, World Press Photo Premier Award, and the Robert Capa Gold Medal Citation from the Overseas Press Club of New York, both for his work for TIME during the war in Lebanon (1982). He calls himself a “Photo Generalist” and shoots a variety of subjects with many cameras, from modern digital to wooden 8 x 10. He has worked on assignment for many other publications, among them: Life, Fortune, People, Newsweek, The Far Eastern Economic Review, Paris Match, The London Sunday Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, New York Magazine, Elle, and Vanity Fair. Once a low handicapper, he has produced several books about golf in Asia. Most recently he produced an exhibit of handmade “Platinum Prints” at Pékin Fine Arts gallery in Wong Chuk Hang. He is currently working as editor with a group on a book about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Canray Fontenot (fiddle) and Alphonse Bois Sec Ardoin (accordian) at a Mardi Gras Ball near Mamou, Louisiana, March 3, 1981 asdfasdf
A game of BourrĂŠ in Eunice, Louisiana
Passing the Black Virgin Mountain in Tay Ninh Province on my first ride into a combat area on the Vietnam / Cambodia border, May 1970. Supplied by helicopter for much of the war, the Americans controlled the top of the mountain and the Vietcong controlled the bottom and surrounding foothills
A Medicine Man chants while holding the Sacred Staff during a ritual which incorporates some elements of Christianity
Folk singer and peace activist Joan Baez performs at a huge anti-Vietnam asdfasdfWar demonstration on the Mall in Washington, DC, April, 1971
FOOD & BEVERAGE
WHY IS THE CLUB’S INDIAN FOOD SO GOOD? Casey Quackenbush met up with Indian head chef Pardeep Kumar Ray to find out
Inads CREDIT: FCC
Chef Pardeep speaks at the FCC’s Diwali celebration in October
o the unseasoned vegetarian, a plant-dominant diet can seem perplexing. Preconceptions of hunger and protein-deficiency quickly set in, and the furrowed brow says it all: But what do you eat? Lucky for veggie-friendly eaters at the FCC, there’s no shortage of vegetarian options with head Indian chef Pardeep Kumar Ray around. The Punjabi-born cook started at the FCC in 2000 when the club didn’t even have an Indian kitchen, and has played a major role in building the Club’s renowned reputation for its Indian cuisine. Now, as meat-consciousness grows, Chef Pardeep is helping to transform the menu once again by incorporating more vegetarian dishes. Chef Pardeep isn’t a vegan — he enjoys his bedtime turmeric milk too much — but he’s a big fan of the club’s chickpea spinach and he dabbles in vegetarianism now that he cooks it so much. As a chef who started cooking at age 14 and has worked in kitchens all over India and Hong Kong, Chef Pardeep brings plenty of flair, authenticity, and variety to the FCC’s Indian menu, especially for vegetarians. In honour of Veganuary,
Chef Pardeep here shares some veggie recipes, the secrets to his curry, and traces the history of the club’s famous cuisine. How did the FCC gets its reputation for its Indian food? The people here are very powerful you know, it’s a media club! We take care of all the food, hygiene, everything [in the Indian kitchen]. Every year we have to change the menu, sometimes the barbecue dishes, some curry items also. This year we started Beyond Meat (the plant-based meat substitute). Every year we change something. How long did it take for the Indian kitchen to take off? I started in 2000. Three months after, it was crazy good. People loved the food. When I started the first day, I had 70 portions of curry. Some people tell me my curry is a little bit thin. I said, “Okay, I do my style okay?” Next day I do my own style and, oh my god, it was crazy good. Every day, 100, 150, nearly 200 orders. Now, with the protests, a little bit less. Where did you learn to cook Indian food?
In India, from Kashmir to Punjab, working, in small, small places. We know south Indian food, Punjabi food, Sindhi food, Nepali food, and Pakistani food. What’s your favourite Indian cuisine? Punjabi. What’s your favourite dish? Chicken tikka makhani. And onion naan. What’s the best vegetarian dish at the FCC? Chickpea spinach. This is very healthy for you. We cook with spinach so it’s more healthy. People care about that, people are healthy. Next maybe we’ll start some new buffet. Always change the food. There’s not just one thing we do here. Have you ever tried to be a vegetarian? Now, after cooking it, I start eating like a vegetarian, because my belly is too big! What’s your favourite alternative to meat? Punjabi paneer.
When did you first start to cook? When my mother was getting fat, she didn’t want to make anything! So slowly, slowly I started cooking — egg, chapati — and after that, I loved the kitchen. What’s the secret ingredient for your curry? I make a whole spicy blend. That aroma is very good for you. Like cinnamon stick, cloves — very good for the health.
coming here and seeing the same old food. There must always be change in life. n
Why did you pick these two recipes to share with us? Aloo gobi is like homemade food. And my mother made a very good palak paneer. The aroma is very good. What do you hope to bring to the FCC’s menu? I always want to bring something new. I don’t like to do the same stuff every day. I always want to change. Change is very good for life you know! I believe in surprises. I don’t want people just
Casey Quackenbush is a Hong Kong-based freelance journalist, formerly with TIME magazine but now writing mainly for Al Jazeera and The Washington Post
CHEF PARDEEP’S RECIPES TO TRY AT HOME PALAK PANEER (Vegetarian) With thanks to Chef Pardeep’s mother
To serve four people Ingredients 1kg Spinach, pureed 400g Paneer 400g Onion 20g Green chillies 10g Red chilli powder 200g Tomatoes, pureed 100g Amul butter (ghee) 8g Garam masala 4g Cumin seeds 4g White pepper 20g Turmeric 20g Coriander powder 2g Methi (fenugreek) 10g Ginger (crushed) 10g Garlic (crushed) 100g Oil (ghee, sunflower etc) Heavy cream (whipping cream) to flavour
ALOO GOBI (Vegan) To serve four people
Method 1. Add the Amul butter (or ghee) to a skillet over a medium heat. Keep back just over two tbsp of the butter/ ghee for later. 2. Add cumin seeds and stir until the seeds start to darken and smell fragrant (10 to 20 seconds). 3. Add the green chillies, onion and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onion is dark brown and soft (approx. 10 minutes). 4. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and methi, coriander powder, red chilli powder, white pepper and 1/2g garam masala. Stir for approx. two minutes, then add the pureed tomatoes, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to look dry (approx. 6 minutes). 5. Add the pureed spinach, a cup of water and the remaining garam masala (the mixture will become thick). Ingredients 400g Potatoes 400g Cauliflower florets 200g Onion 8g Red chillies 20g Green chillies 4 Garlic cloves, crushed 5g Ginger, ground 4g Garam masala 200g Tomatoes 20g Turmeric powder 20g Cumin powder 4g Cumin seeds 20g Methi (fenugreek) 4g Coriander seeds 100g Oil (ghee, sunflower etc) Coriander to garnish
6. Simmer for 8 minutes, then stir in some cream and the remaining two tbsp ghee. 7. Add the paneer cubes and cook until the paneer is warm, finish with some cream as thickening and add a few drops of Amul butter or ghee before serving.
Method 1. Pour the oil into a medium-hot skillet and add the cumin seeds. Stir until the seeds start to darken and smell fragrant (10-20 seconds). 2. Add the chillies, garlic, and ginger. Cook for approx. one minute then add onions and cook until onions are brown and soft. 3. Add the garam masala and turmeric and cook until brown for approx. one minute more. 4. Add the potatoes, cauliflower and all other ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper. 5. Turn down the heat, cover with a lid, and cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender. 6. Garnish with coriander.
WHAT THEY SAID... Featured highlights of event speakers at FCC
On The Edge | A Conversation with Motorcycle Racing Champions Michael Rutter & Peter Hickman
FIRST AND SECOND PLACE FOR CLUB SPEAKERS Held on its traditional mid-November date, the 66th Macau Grand Prix once again played host to many established stars, young hotshots and enthusiastic amateurs from the world of motor sport. Always one of the event’s most popular races, the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix was run on Saturday, November 16, with Michael Rutter and Peter Hickman, who had spoken at the FCC a few days earlier, lining up at the front. The race was stopped after three laps due to an accident. When it was restarted, it was stopped again after a single lap when six riders were involved in an accident. Fortunately, none was seriously injured, but with the light fading the race was called off and Rutter declared the winner for a record ninth time, with Hickman second. The main race the following day, the Macau Grand Prix for Formula 3 cars, is the showcase event for the next generation of Formula 1 talent and a strong performance in this race can catapult a driver to the top. Eighteen-year-old Dutch rookie Richard Verschoor managed to hold off second placed Estonian Juri Vips to take the most important victory of his career, despite touching the wall and bending his steering. But the happiest man in Macau was FCC member Philip
but you don’t want to hit them.” Hickman added: “I had a theory that if you crashed in a certain place, you can skim around the barrier and carry on. I tried it in my first year and it didn’t work.” The world’s most successful circuit racer, Valentino Rossi, presented the trophies at the Isle of Man TT races and said to the winners: “You are the true warriors”. Both riders combine the big road races with appearances on traditional British tracks. Does this require a different mindset for the two disciplines and would someone like Rossi be quick round Macau? “It’s a different style,” said Hickman. “Short circuits have more room for error and if you throw yourself down the road, 99 per cent of the time you will be OK so you can push the limits more. On road racing, the risk element is very high, so I take a couple of steps back to start with and slowly build up.” Rutter added: “The top riders would be quick, but it is a different mindset. Road racing is so
Kadoorie who came second on his Macau debut in the Greater Bay Area GT Cup, skilfully piloting his Mercedes round the tortuous track before taking his joyful place on the podium. Tim Huxley asdfasdf
CREDIT: MACAU GRAND PRIX ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Motorcycle road racing is one of the most dangerous sports on earth. Unlike racing on purpose-built circuits, road racers are faced with all manner of dangers – pavements, lampposts, ditches and in the case of the Macau Grand Prix, a tortuous 6.2 kms (3.8 miles) track lined every inch of the way by either steel barriers or brick walls. Michael Rutter and Peter Hickman are two of the greatest living exponents of the road racer’s art. Rutter was en route to Macau seeking to build on his record eight victories there whilst Hickman was out to end a successful year with a fourth win, having already won the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy and become the first man to lap the 38-mile (61 kms) Isle of Man TT circuit at an average speed of over 135 mph (217 kph). You could tell the passion these two feel for their chosen sport just by looking at their faces as they watched an onboard video of Peter’s bike threading through the streets of Macau. “You can’t afford to touch the barriers,” said Rutter. “I’ve seen people do it and get away with it,
See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events
Peter Hickman, interviewer Tim Huxley, Michael Rutter
Michael Rutter (top) and Peter Hickman (above)
special, if you win something like Macau, it’s a real honour.” The camaraderie of the elite road racers is very different from the rivalry that exists elsewhere in motorsport, and they certainly don’t do it for the money. “People think that by winning Macau you must be a millionaire, but the prize money is not much – HK$25,000 for winning, so you don’t do it for the money,” Rutter said. “We all get along and take the mickey out of each other, but the risk element is strong so we all respect each other, whilst you’re pretty safe in a car.” Both riders hail from motorcycle families, but there was
no encouragement to get into the sport after both their fathers suffered serious accidents. “I was encouraged to try every other sport, but when I was 12 I saved up my pocket money and swapped a radio controlled model plane for a Kawasaki and a barrow full of bits,” said Hickman of his start in the sport. “I hid it in the shed and only told my father when I needed his help to put it together as I hadn’t got a clue. After that he’s been great and comes to all the races.” Lunch, November 12, Tim Huxley
CREDIT: FCC & MACAU GRAND PRIX ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Responsible Tourism: How To Be More Green When You Travel
Sonalie Figueiras, Jan Latta, Dr Vincie Ho and Kristine Servando
It was a tall order for the three panellists speaking on sustainable tourism at a Club where many members fly all over Asia and the world regularly on business. However, Sonalie Figueiras, founder of Green Queen, an advocacy for social and environmental change in Hong Kong, dealt with this “elephant in the room” straightaway. “Sustainability is important, but so is travel,” she said. “We have never travelled more than we do today… but we won’t have tourism in the future if we are not sustainable.”
She gave a top tip for those of us who care about our impact on the environment but don’t know how to check whether a hotel or airline is genuinely doing what it can to go green: the Global Sustainable Tourism Council gives bona fide accreditation to tour operators, destinations, hotels and so on and is worth checking out before you book. Dr Vincie Ho, who represents Impact Travel Alliance in Hong Kong, recommended travelling off-peak, so the income you generate helps to sustain communities throughout the year. She added: “I understand we need to fly, but consider travelling less in business class.” Or as Figueiras put it: “Fly light, fly direct, fly less and fly economy.” She advocated pushing corporates to change their habits accordingly, as they “are the big dollars” in the travel industry. Jan Latta, author and wildlife photographer, voiced what most of us think during a hotel stay. “At home, I do my laundry once a week, so why do we need clean towels and bed linen every day?” To end on a positive note, the panel, moderated by Kristine Servando, agreed change is coming, even if it is slow. “Hotels are trying to change,” Figueiras said. “They can see the writing on the wall.” Lunch, October 23, Sue Brattle
C. Y. Leung | China: Seventy Years and My Vision for the Future
“The return of Hong Kong is not just about handing back 1,000 square kilometres of land to China”
C. Y. Leung speaks at the lunch, which packed the Club
exaggerate the gains of the democrats. We know the results but do not know the consequences. They might be far greater than we can ever imagine. Not all the stakeholders have reacted. Radicals and democrats are now joined at the hip … I hope the radicals have not bitten off more than they can chew.” ‘Hong Kong is not a country’ He went on: “China can reserve the right to change how the Chief Executive is chosen. The Sino-British Joint Declaration says the Chief Executive will be chosen by the Central People’s Government on the basis of elections or consultations to be held locally. The follies of democrats in Hong Kong and their Western allies have made consultation as the method of appointing their Chief Executive more likely. “Too often democrats in Hong Kong look to other countries for role models without regard to the fact that Hong Kong is not a country. Instead they should look to London, New York, Paris, Tokyo. They have mayors with very limited powers. Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy, not full autonomy, as can be found in many of the 160 articles of the Basic Law. “The Umbrella Movement in 2014 wanted Beijing out of the process [of choosing the Chief Executive], now the last of the five demands of the ‘black-clad movement’ is a repeat of the same. Some democrats have been trying
As an exercise in freedom of speech, November 28 at the FCC was about as good as it gets. C. Y. Leung hadn’t spoken at the Club since 2012, the year he was appointed the third Chief Executive of Hong Kong. But the two had “inter-action” in 2018 when Leung vehemently opposed the FCC hosting Andy Chan, leader of the now banned proindependence Hong Kong National Party. So it was a nice touch that the FCC invited Leung to speak, and that Leung, who has been vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference since 2017, accepted the invitation. And it was a practical win for the Club when President Jodi Schneider observed that his sell-out lunch had helped the FCC reach its year-end food and beverage revenue target for 2019 ahead of schedule. On a more serious note, she said: “This is an important day for the FCC. As you are aware, the former Chief Executive has been highly critical of our Club for a previous speaker. We need to hear from each other, and we need to keep the lines of communication open.” There was a lot of ground to cover, and softly-spoken Leung addressed an almost silent, albeit packed, room. The lunch was just four days after District Council elections in which pro-democracy candidates had achieved a landslide victory, so it was an obvious focus. Leung said: “The first past the post system has resulted in a massive loss in the pro-establishment camp. Let’s not
See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events
to force Beijing’s hand, the radicals among them want to provoke Beijing to the extent that Beijing’s reactions will be regarded as the failure of the ‘one country, two systems’ [policy].” Earlier on the same topic he’d said: “I do not expect nor see the need to move away from ‘one country, two systems’ after 2047.” As an example, he said that land leases signed in Hong Kong in 2019 have the year 2069 stamped on them, presumably indicating that they would be honoured long after 2047. “The return of Hong Kong is not just about handing back 1,000 square kilometres of land to China. It was part of China since ancient times.” Its loss to the British came at the beginning of a century of humiliation for China, Leung said. “Hong Kong is useful to China in many ways but the long-cherished common aspiration of the Chinese people for the recovery of Hong Kong is over-riding. Some of the previous speakers of FCC lunches may reflect on this.” Later on he was asked what he would do if he were on an advisory panel to the current Chief Executive, Carrie Lam. “I’m not on the inside,” he said. Holding up a copy of the Hong Kong Basic Law, he said: “Going forward the key thing is for the Hong Kong people and their foreign supporters to have a full understanding of this book.” He said the mainland spent five years drafting the Basic Law, canvassing opinion across the country. “So I think it’s senseless and irresponsible for political figures inside and outside of Hong Kong to think that bringing hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets could force China’s hand. Even without the past six months of disturbances, we have problems with our economy, with its structure and the distribution of the fruits of our economic activities.”
‘China-bashing’ and food coupons Leung had set out to make his audience see China and its achievements through his eyes. “During the past 70 years China has been on the receiving end of mostly uninvited and unwarranted criticism from the West,” he said. “Some
His signature in the guest book
C. Y. Leung arrives at the Club
of this has become China-bashing. It is still beyond me why people in the West make it a habit to open their mouths about China as if they have done better dealing with their own domestic problems.” Turning to his own family history, he said his parents were told to come to Hong Kong as teenagers, “because there was not enough food on the table”. His father worked in the Hong Kong Police Force, and his mother had her feet bound – despite being born years after the end of the Qing dynasty. This was a “reminder of how the Chinese lived their past”. “The early years of the People’s Republic were not easy. I visited Shenzhen in 1977 and took a loaf of bread to eat because I had no food coupons. Many middle-aged people now have no memory of food coupons. Since this time there have been too many reforms to count. “We should see China for what it is ... a vast country steeped in culture and custom. I am proud to be Chinese and thankful for having the opportunities to serve my country. I invite you to visit and see and feel for yourself. The high-speed rail station is less than half an hour away from this Club.” With that, he was gone. We members of the press watched from behind closed glass doors on the Club Verandah – C. Y. Leung had said he would not answer media questions after his speech. Lunch, November 28, Sue Brattle
MEMBERSHIP Who’s joined the Club, who’s leaving and who’s turned silver! This is the column to read.
Welcome to New Members
On To Pastures New
Au revoir to those members leaving Hong Kong who have become Absent Members:
• Stephanie Giry, Editor, International Opinion, The New York Times • Thomas Duffell, Managing Editor, AsiaHedge • Yuli Yang, Futures Editor, Asia Pacific, CNN • Michael Allen, Editor, Business Traveller Asia Pacific • Karl Malakunas, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Asia Pacific, AFP Journalists
• Kwok Chu Liu, Senior Reporter, Oriental Press Group Ltd • Tanja Wessels, Senior Writer, Macau Closer Magazine
Resasdf • Kenneth Zee, Director, Star Products Company Ltd • Kam Wah Woing, Partner, Edward Lau, Wong and Lou Solicitors • Ambar Mitra, Head of HR, Operations, Services and Technology, Asia Pacific, HSBC • Philip Cowley, Freelancer • Alice Li, Partner, Osborne Clarke • Robin Duxfield, Chief Operating Officer, IronBirch Capital • William Robbins, Head of Asia, IS Prime Hong Kong Ltd • David Cain, Executive Managing Director, Asia, Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions • James Ling, Managing Director, BNP Paribas Wealth Management • Philip Krichilsky, President, Innovative Directions • Shriram Chaubal, Founder and CEO, GeoClicks • Yuet Ming Tong, Associate Director, Grandtag • Pa Ning Wong, Chairman, Paning Centennial Foundation
• Jennifer Jett, Senior Staff Editor, International New York Times • Philip P. Pan, Asia Editor, The New York Times • Ammu Kannampilly, Text and Video Correspondent, AFP • Feliz Solomon, Southeast Asia Reporter, The Wall Street Journal • Jean-Francois Tremblay, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, Chemical & Engineering News • Erin Hale, Freelancer, Deutsche Presse Agentur Journalists
• Sandra Lowe, Senior Sub-Editor, South China Morning Post • Edward McDougall, Freelancer, The Flying Winemaker Associates
• Barry Debenham, Retired • Stephen Bottomley, Director, Marbury • Pearl Thompson, Service Operations Manager, Marc Jacobs International LLC • Matthew Veitch, Acting Head of Academic Studies, HKAPA • Ferdinand Stolzenberg, CEO, Stolzenberg & Associates • Ivan Strunin, Managing Director, Deloitte AP ICE • Fergus Gifford, Shipbroker, Arrow Asia Shipbrokers Ltd • Ashim Golding, General Manager, Lamma Fitness Centre Ltd • Eugina Lee, CEO, APAC Intelligence Group Ltd • Francis Ragusa, Chief Investment and Risk Officer, CMSC Partners
• Malcolm Loudon, Head of Relationship Management, Good Financial Ltd • Boon Yat Vagman Wai, Director, Regulatory Affairs and Policy, Prudential Hong Kong
• Vikas Garg, Consul, Consulate-General of India, Hong Kong • Christopher Gow, Consul, Consulate-General of the USA, Hong Kong Corporate Replacements
• Dominik Stuber, Director and Zetland Group General Manager, Zetland Corporate Services Ltd • Kuresh Sarjan, Head of Investor Relations, Asia Pacific, HSBC
• Richard Morrow, Freelancer • David Tweed, Reporter at Large, Bloomberg LP • Siddarth Shrikanth, Reporter, Financial Times • Shuli Ren, Columnist, Dow Jones • Louise Lucas, Asia Tech Correspondent, Financial Times • Sui Kee Foong, Freelancer asdfasdf
• Shuguang Yin, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Wen Wei Po Daily News
Associate to Silver Associate
• Siu Lam Ma, Partner, K. M. Lai & li Solicitors
• Edward Hung, Retired
• Shirley Tse, Associate Director, UBS Investment Bank
• Alfonso Kwong, Senior Partner, Kwong & Lam
• David Ferraris, Trainer, The Hong Kong Jockey Club • Susan Yeung, Programme Host, Cable TV
Associate to Correspondent
• James Filmer-Wilson, Director, Chelsea Securities Ltd
• Joyce Lau, Senior Manager (Communications), University of Hong Kong
• Shui Lai Ng • Tommy Chan, Director, Austpal Ltd
Correspondent to Associate
• Ralph Cunningham, Director, Sands Street Media Ltd Diplomatic
• Samuel Guthrie, Deputy Consul-General (Commercial), Australian Consulate-General, Hong Kong Corporate
• Christine Raynaud, Chief Executive Officer, Morgan Philips Hong Kong Ltd
Journalist to Associate
• Cruzanne Macalligan, Creative Director, The Quick Word Company Honorary Widow
• Rani Ashok Khemaney
Welcome Back To Correspondents
• Adrian Brown, Senior Correspondent, Aljazeera Media Network Associates
• Michael Buhre, Global COO, Harneys Fiduciary • Ellen Coetzee, Dept Wine Manager, The Dairy Farm Company Ltd • Christina Pantin, Head of Communications, Block.One • Bhagoo Hathey, Owner, Hathey International Holdings Ltd • Eric Charrington • John Burrell, Consultant, Celtic International Ltd • Michael Lam, Vice Chairman and CEO, Bauhinia Investment Group • Ruth Hunt
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Kenneth Zee I was born in Yokohama, Japan, of Chinese parents. I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Southern California, and a graduate degree in Manufacturing Engineering. I started my career with Chevron and worked in Japan and the United States. I was transferred to this never-sleeping, exciting, and glamorous city in 1993. I loved Hong Kong so much that I refused to be transferred until I took early retirement from Chevron in 2010 to pursue my long-time dream to become a photographer and an inventor. I held three photo exhibitions in 2018 and am planning another. I obtained two worldwide patents related to handwashing devices and mixing bottles and just filed my third patent for a reusable drinking bottle. My wife Natsuko and I are thrilled to join the FCC. Philip Cowley I’m the trailing spouse. Formally the professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, I’m in Hong Kong because my wife landed a great job as Group Chief Communications Officer for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. While here I’m doing some freelance writing, mostly on British politics, for The Times, Daily Mail, Prospect, Spectator, and London Evening Standard, amongst others. Having never lived outside the UK, this seemed a good time
to try it – with the prospect of escaping Brexit thrown in as a bonus. In practice Brexit has followed us and I’ve already found myself giving talks on the subject. Thomas Duffell After a few years stumbling from one profession to another I decided to go back to school and study to become a journalist. So far, so good, and after a short stint working as a freelance sports reporter in London, I found my way to finance. I now cover Asia’s financial markets as the managing editor of hedge fundfocused publication, AsiaHedge. A far cry from my undergraduate studies in Archaeology. When I’m not propping up the Main Bar or shooting pool at Bert’s, I’m usually at the beach. I’m always on the lookout for someone new to beat me at golf and I can make up the numbers at football. Tanja Wessels Born into a diplomatic family, geographic diversity has always been a constant. Sometimes I am South African, sometimes Portuguese, depending on the sports team or the topic. I studied filmmaking and art in Lisbon and London before moving to Asia in 2006. I went to Phnom Penh to make a documentary for two weeks and ended up staying four years, followed by Macau and now Hong Kong. More recently sustainability has become my focus, in particular fashion and eco-anxiety, and in 2017 I helped found Circular Community HK. I’m launching a creative company to better communicate climate change. Travel is important and recent destinations include DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Botswana. Every year I head to Nevada for Burning Man. Robin Duxfield I work as Chief Operating Officer for IronBirch Capital in hedge fund operations and Hong Kong has been my home since 2008. My wife is an indigenous resident of Lamma Island and we enjoy travel and adventure. We have explored Champagne’s wine caves, floated by hot-air balloon above
Paul Geitner I’m an editor at Bloomberg News, focused on doing explanatory journalism. I grew up in Philadelphia but soon began moving around the U.S., eventually landing in New York with the Associated Press before heading in 1996 to Berlin, then to Brussels. Around that time I made my first trip to China, finishing after a couple weeks touring in Hong Kong. I switched in 2005 to The International Herald Tribune/New York Times in Paris (and briefly Hong Kong again). I came back with The Wall Street Journal en route to Jakarta in 2016. This is my first time living here with an actual HKID (and FCC membership card). I like to explore new hiking trails, art exhibits and remote islands.
Tanzania’s great wildebeest migration and walked on a glacier in New Zealand. I climbed Kilimanjaro and ran a midnight-sun marathon within the Arctic Circle in Norway. We were lucky enough to see people voting in Burma’s 2012 historic by-elections, dolphins and whales swimming in Auckland harbour, and to walk with cheetahs in Namibia. And now we’ve embarked on the greatest adventure of all – parenthood! We’re excited to become members at FCC and look forward to many more new adventures. David Cain Born and educated in NZ, I moved as a teenager to Australia, where mum discovered to her disappointment that a Penal Colony was not a male nudist camp, and us kids swapped our traditional “Three Rs” education – reading, writing and rugby – with the more useful life skills of gambling, brawling and general chicanery. Shortly thereafter I discovered the good book; not the Bible but Lonely Planet’s South East Asia on a Shoestring which I used religiously throughout the late 80s and early 90s as I backpacked across the region. Fast forward some career changes and a few wives and I moved to HKG in early 2000. During the past 18 years I have lived and worked in Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai but always coming back, like a missing sock in a clothes dryer, to my adopted home of Hong Kong where I am executive managing director, Asia, for Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions. Philip Seth Krichilsky My name is Phil Krichilsky – father, climber, business turnaround lackey. I was born in New Jersey, U.S., own a home in Wyoming (a place with more bears and sheep than people), served in the U.S. Army Infantry for eight years, and have run troubled and challenged businesses for over 20 years. I rock and ice climb all over the world and tell grossly exaggerated stories about my skills on the high ground. For the better part of the past 12 years I have lived in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, and, as a result, I speak truly awful Mandarin that supplanted the poor French I spoke before. Education wise, I studied engineering at West Point, business at Central Michigan and, please forgive me, government at Harvard. Beyond that, I live alone in Wan Chai surrounded by honking horns and a loud market and am president of Innovative Directions. Michael Allen I came to Hong Kong in April 2016 to set up the Asia-Pacific editorial desk of Airfinance Journal, a trade publication under Euromoney covering the aircraft financing and leasing sector. I’m now the Editor of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, whose target readers are frequent business travellers. I’ve been specialising in aviation journalism for more than five years and have been privileged to witness the growth of Asia’s aviation sector with a front row seat. Before
coming to Hong Kong, I was with Euromoney in London. I received a Masters degree in Newspaper Journalism from City University in 2014. Pa Ning Wong When I was five years old, I moved to Hong Kong with my mother and five sisters. Despite working several jobs as a child to support my family, I was grateful to grow up in the prosperity of Hong Kong. I started my first business, an oil and gas company in Canada, and partnered with Caterpillar, Husky Energy, and Chinese companies like CNOOC, Sinopec, and PetroChina to further the development of the oil and gas industry in China. Later, I branched out into real estate, art collection, book publishing, and philanthropy. Today, my charitable foundation has provided financial support to over 800 schools across China, and my focus remains on giving back to the community. Malcolm Loudon I’m a social entrepreneur devoted to revolutionising financial services for foreign domestic helpers, a scandalously under-appreciated demographic that deserves better. Head of relationships at fintech startup Good Financial and relishing the journey! Edinburgh born and bred and coming up to my sixth year in Hong Kong. Away from my work I’m a huge sports fan (rugby and golf especially), Bruce Springsteen diehard and lover of all types of whisky. I’m a keen student of innovation and invention in business, sport and other areas of life. I’m thrilled to join FCC, a venue I’ve always loved visiting and where you’d always meet amazingly colourful and quirky characters. If you see me at the bar, join me for a dram! Slàinte Mhath. Boon Yat Vagman Wai I’m Director of Regulatory Affairs and Policy for Prudential Hong Kong and also a former international banker who was fortunate to work in five Asian markets across different roles over the past two decades. I’m a HK native and always believe this is the best place in the world. I love lots of travelling with my wife and closest friends during my free time, enjoy fine dining, wine appreciation and am obsessed with analysing local markets and international insights. I also enjoy discussions of conspiracy theories and ancient civilizations. n
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, email@example.com
ichuan guest chef Gu Xiao Rong returned to the Club to lead a Gala Dinner on October 8 and oversee a Firing Up Your Appetite promotion which ran from October 14-25. Chef Gu, from the Golden Valley restaurant in Hong Kong’s Emperor Hotel, was incredibly popular on his first visit to the Club and his sophisticated menu proved just as appetising this time around.
he Verandah was packed on the evening of October 9 when members and guests selflessly tasted 25 champagnes to see which will make it onto the Club’s wine list.
Baby Lucas Club executive secretary Joanne Chung shows off her son Lucas in this lovely photograph The Correspondent persuaded her to share. Below is Joanne at her baby shower at the FCC in August, just before Lucas was born.
Hindu festival of light he chefs who make the Club’s Indian food so famous came out from the kitchen on October 28 to meet guests at the Diwali Dinner Buffet in the Dining Room. With a live cooking station, Tamarind Margarita cocktails and a delicious menu, the buffet was a huge success. See page 32 for an interview with Indian head chef Pardeep Kumar Ray, who shares two of his favourite recipes.
Spanish delights A
Spanish dinner with a difference was held in the Dining Room on October 30, when the guests at the Torres Wine Dinner heard Torres’ Apac brand ambassador Ramon Cordoba talk through the wine pairings with such delicacies as grilled scallops on green pea mouse and Catalan crème brûlée.
Silicon Valley v. China
he looming tech war between the U.S. and China was the subject of Digital Standoff: The Fight for Tech Supremacy Between Silicon Valley and China, a lunchtime panel discussion on November 6. Speakers were venture capitalists Stella Ji Xin and Wei Jiang and journalist and author Rebecca Fannin, moderated by Shelly Banjo.
Through the eyes of a novelist
est-selling and award-winning novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif spoke about his troubled homeland at a Club lunch on November 13 entitled Kashmir, Karachi, and the Politics of Pakistan. Pakistan is in the midst of a political and economic crisis that has sparked mass protests, and Hanif – known for his dark comedy, wit and laser critiques – addressed these as well as discussing his new book, Red Birds.
Timely reminder of how dictators are made
uthor and historian Frank Dikötter’s new book, How To Be A Dictator, looks at the rise of eight dictators from the past century. Dikötter, Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong, entertained Club lunch guests on December 4 with his take on their similarities to modern day “non-democrats”.
Board fun and games
he Club’s board of governors took over the Verandah on December 7 for some seasonal cheer at their Christmas lunch. Santa Claus dropped by, and appropriately brought everyone a type of board game. Sorry, no gossip as our photographer was asked to leave before lunch was served.
All’s well in the world as soon as the FCC reception desk is turned into a gingerbread house, and staff worked hard on November 29 to make that magical transformation – and stayed at work till the early hours to put up the rest of the Club’s Christmas decorations.
Warming up winter
he Club’s staff got together on December 19 to celebrate the Winter Solstice with general manager Didier Saugy serving a warming dumpling soup for everyone.
Rugby winner CC member William Giles showed he knew who’s best when he won the Club’s Rugby Final Game Award on November 8. William correctly guessed, sorry analysed, that the Rugby World Cup 2019 champs would be South Africa. After they routed England 32-12, William was awarded his prize – and since the tournament had been held in Japan, it had to be an enormous bottle of sake. Presenting William’s prize, from left, were FCC staff Jack, Michael, Anthony, Gio, and Sky
Victory as planners cut hospital down to size
large, looming hospital planned to be built on historic Bishop Hill, adjacent to the FCC, has been curtailed by the Town Planning Board. In a considerable recent victory for objectors against a new 25-storey hospital proposed by the Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican church) – occupants of the site since the 1840s – the Board has now imposed a 80 metres height restriction on any newly-built structure on the northern part of the site. Importantly, any redevelopment or demolition of existing buildings will need the Board’s approval. This means any future development proposals for Bishop Hill will be publicly available and open to public comment through the Town Planning Board. – John Batten
REFORMS TO THE CLUB’S DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES
Artist’s impression of proposed hospital
Current concerns: A Q&A was held in Bert’s on November 25 to discuss proposed changes to the Club’s disciplinary procedures. Concerns include: currently the Board acts as prosecutor, judge and jury; complaints can take months to resolve; members making complaints present their case to the whole board plus some staff, a daunting prospect. It was also felt that conflicts of interest and questions around due process needed to be addressed. Proposals: It is proposed that a new Disciplinary Committee should be formed from at least three members of the Constitutional Committee plus appropriately-qualified FCC members who are not governors. This committee could issue warnings and exclude members for up to three months. Serious complaints would be decided by an independent panel, appointed by the President or First Vice-President on a case-by-case basis.
CREDIT: GHCC. DESIGN RENDITION: SUZE CHAN/JOHN BATTEN
Review: Later the Constitutional Committee reviewed points raised and consulted with the Club’s lawyer. Some minor changes were made, and the Board approved the proposal at its December meeting.
This view of Bishop Hill from the FCC will largely be preserved
What happens next? These reforms would be changes to the Club’s Articles of Association, which must be approved by the Hong Kong Companies Registry. They would then be circulated to all members ahead of the May AGM. At that point, they would be voted on. Any changes to the club’s Articles must pass with at least 75 per cent of the votes cast. Then the new process would come into operation. Sue Brattle
COLLECTOR FASCINATED BY THE UNCHANGING BEAUTY OF A SPECIAL JADE FCC member Angus Forsyth has been described as having “the eye of one of the greatest living collectors of Chinese jade”. Here he talks with his old friend Jonathan Sharp about his latest book
Nephrite jade is much harder than other jades, so much so that it cannot be carved
From the Neolithic era on, the jade’s indestructability made it popular for use in burials of important people. Unlike bronze, it doesn’t erode. One of the camels illustrated dates back to 900 BC. How the jade is formed is something of a mystery. It used to be thought that pebbles of the jade were formed by tumbling down fast-flowing rivers. “Whether or not that is a correct idea, I don’t know.” As well as being attractive, nephrite jade is now extremely expensive – “more than gold, big time,” says Angus. I didn’t ask the obvious question of how much his collection is worth, but he did offer the following: a jade camel owned by a famous collector went at Sotheby’s recently for US$600,000 (HK$4.7 million). Angus’s next project is a book about how the idea of human flight has been represented over the past 1,500 years – in jade. n
CREDIT: JONATHAN SHARP
hen I first met Angus Forsyth in Hong Kong in the early 1970s, he collected Mao badges. He had amassed a huge and varied collection. It so impressed Francis Ford Coppola that the film director offered to buy the lot for US$25,000 (HK$196,000). Nothing doing. “I turned him down because as a collector I was still forming the collection and I was not a collection seller.” And what an assiduous and eclectic collector Angus is. Being a former president of the Oriental Ceramics Society of Hong Kong and co-author of a book Jades from China speak for themselves. As does the title of his latest book, Ships of the Silk Road: The Bactrian Camel in Chinese Jade. It’s a sumptuously produced volume, many years in gestation. What inspired him? “It was a confluence of things. One was the collecting of Bactrian camels in jade, which was fascinating to me. Another is visiting various places along the Silk Road – more than once – because it’s a dynamic, beautiful and impressive area. Another is the historical association of certain peoples with the Silk Road and running the traffic along the Silk Road.” Finally, Angus knew that no other single publication about the fabled trade routes connecting China with the West, and beyond, has covered these fields. Now he has filled that void. His book is richly illustrated, displaying many of his collection of antique jade camels, and is complemented by fascinating text on the role of peoples, camels and jade in the Silk Road saga. The jade Angus writes about is not the common or garden variety, which is mostly green and comes from Myanmar. Of Angus’s collection of 75 antique jade camels, all but five are made of nephrite jade. This kind varies in colour and has what enthusiasts say is an agreeably sensuous feel to it. “If you touch it, it responds to your hand,” says Angus. Nephrite jade is also much harder than other jades, so much so that it cannot be carved. Instead it is worked into the desired form by using abrasives that are even harder. It comes from what used to be the kingdom of Khotan and what is now part of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Angus says that nephrite jade’s toughness has given rise to all sorts of linguistic synonyms for being durable, reliable and at the same time beautiful. “It’s become part of being Chinese. It’s a matter of constancy, it doesn’t change, it remains inviolate.”
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HUMAN RIGHTS PRESS AWARDS
IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO ENTER THE 24TH HUMAN RIGHTS PRESS AWARDS
lockdown in Kashmir, explosive protests in Hong Kong and a worrying misinformation law in Singapore – the past year has seen a spectrum of fresh human rights fears in Asia make the news. Reporting revealed more details about at least one million Uighurs locked up in China and the plight of Rohingya refugees stranded in Bangladeshi camps. It is against this backdrop that the Human Rights Press Awards 2020 has opened for submissions. Organised by the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the awards recognise outstanding human rights-related reporting on Asia with the aim of enhancing respect for people’s basic freedoms. “There has been a noticeable increase in attacks on the right to freedom of expression in Asia over the past year,” said Man-Kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong
and a member of the HRPA organising committee. “Human rights defenders, lawyers, artists, journalists and others found themselves the target of state repression.” Last year saw the HRPA’s home city of Hong Kong thrown into the international spotlight, and a large number of entries about the city are expected, said Shirley Yam, vice-chair of the HKJA and an awards organising committee member. “2020 will be an exceptional year for HRPA. It will be a challenging though rewarding one,” she added. Now in its 24th year, the awards are the flagship venture of the FCC’s Press Freedom Committee. There is a no-charge policy for submissions across text, video and photo. The closing date for entries is February 1 and the awards ceremony will be held on May 6. The FCC welcomes donations from members towards the cost of running
the awards. The HRPA is a non-profit group. n Journalists can apply online via the website: https:// humanrightspressawards.org/ Emma Clark
‘I BELIEVE IN EQUALITY IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO OBTAIN IT’ FCC member Dr Jenny Pu, president of the Hong Kong Neuro-oncology Society and chair of the PVW Brain Tumour Foundation, talks to Rebecca Feng about how she became the first Hong Kong-born female neurosurgeon – and why gender doesn’t matter
her job and was very organised about her work. I loved talking to her. When she passed away in the Queen Mary Hospital, I was overseas and was very upset I was not able to say goodbye to her.” Pu was the first Hong Kong-born female neurosurgeon in Hong Kong, an achievement that she tried hard to talked down during the interview. “That doesn’t matter in many, many ways,” she says. “In being able to decide your career and being able to deliver, there is no gender difference. What is required in your profession is what is required.” She shifted in her seat and continued: “I believe in equality if you have the ability to obtain it. Don’t try to make use of your minority status to attain equality if you are not able to. You have to ask yourself what your responsibilities are before you ask about your rights.” Being a doctor is a service, Pu says. And in delivering this service, male and female surgeons need to strike a balance. “As females, we are more meticulous,” she says. “We are more personal. My patients would love to hug me, just to get the warmth. “The thing is, when you write, you are the most happy,” Pu adds, smiling. “When I scrub [my hands] to do surgery, I am the most happy. So that’s how I decided to become a neurosurgeon.” n “I volunteered to become one of those who took care of the SARS patients”
New FCC member Rebecca Feng covers the Chinese market opening-up process for Euromoney Institutional Investor in Hong Kong. Before that, she wrote for Forbes Asia in New York, covering Asia start-ups and billionaires.
have always been a mediocre type of student,” Dr Jenny Pu says, taking her time to think before each sentence. “By the time I was admitted to medical school, I wanted to get away because the culture was very different from what I had experienced as an undergrad in Canada.” But she stayed, and eventually earned an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) and a Masters of Surgery from the University of Hong Kong. She decided not to apply for any jobs after her last internship because she felt that she could not handle the stress. But Pu’s last rotation had been in the Department of Neurosurgery and they were looking for a trainee. When her senior approached her, Pu agreed. That was the first pivotal point in her career, Pu says. The second came in 2003, when SARS was raging in the city. “I volunteered to become one of those who took care of the SARS patients,” she recalls. “It was a very bad year.” Afterwards, Pu decided to get away from Hong Kong for a while and she went to Edinburgh. For the next 16 months she worked as a registrar and trainee, eventually earning the Douglas Miller Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. She enjoyed watching performances of Shakespeare and meeting warm-hearted Scottish people, but also had time to think about the path she would take next. In 2006, with encouragement from her boss, Pu returned to Hong Kong and started at the Queen Mary Hospital, where she now works as a consultant in the Department of Neurosurgery. Pu attended to Marilyn Hood, membership and marketing coordinator at the FCC, until she passed away earlier this year. “She was such a sweet lady with a very strong and good character,” Pu recalls. “During her stay in MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Centre, she still loved
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The official magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong