THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB
Protests to pandemic Journalism’s latest big challenge asdf
WANT TO BE AN FCC CLARE HOLLINGWORTH FELLOW? OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO SHOULD APPLY? Applications are invited for two 2020-2021 Fellowships named in honour of the late trailblazing journalist Clare Hollingworth, a distinguished FCC member for 40 years Candidates must: • Have at least two years’ journalism experience with a foreign or local news organisation in Hong Kong • Be 30 or under when the fellowship begins in September • Be a resident of Hong Kong at the time of application and for the duration of the Fellowship Among other benefits, the succesful two will enjoy: Complimentary access to all FCC professional talks, official gatherings and conferences Unlimited access to Club facilities, including the gym and workroom FCC monthly dues and membership fee waived for the fellowship period Mentorship by a member of the FCC Board or FCC committees For more details go to:
www.fcchk.org/clarehollingworth/ PHOTO: ROBIN MOYER
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CONTENTS COVER STORY
6 - 16
PROTESTS TO PANDEMIC Journalism’s latest big challenge Cover image: May James Protesters at Hong Kong International Airport on July 27, 2019 and empty concourse March 29, 2020
Importance of Giving Unspeakable Suffering an Accurate Voice
From the President
On The Wall
Out of Time 1972-1980; In the Room: Behind the Scenes of History
Who said what when they visited the Club
A list of new members and some of their profiles
Dr Peter Hunt Miles; Jenifer Evan-Jones
Why Working From Home Is A Pain in The Neck, by David Cain
HK Mind Media Awards
Dad Turns Daughters’ Rugby Passion Into Photo-Opp
Of Mao, Somerset Maugham And ‘Flannelled Fools’
And the Nominations are...
Looking For Light In A Dim Landscape
‘Gig Economy’ Bill Bites Back at Freelancers
Seeking a Place Where The Fallen Can Rest
City On Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong, by Antony Dapiran
FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear FCC members, I write this column to you at a difficult time for Hong Kong and the world. The coronavirus outbreak that we have been coping with in Hong Kong since January has now shut down large parts of the world, with hundreds of thousands of cases and tens of thousands of deaths so far. It is truly a global crisis.
As the gravity of the health situation became clear, we took steps to promote a safe environment in the club, with check-in procedures, temperature checks and travel declarations. We closed for 70 hours for a deep, thorough cleaning of the facilities and have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols throughout the club. More recently, with the Hong Kong government taking action to contain a second wave of the virus, we have taken other steps. These include reducing the hours of operation, closing Bert’s and the gym, cancelling banqueting and events, and expanding our takeout and delivery options for members who don’t feel comfortable visiting the Club. It’s unclear as I write this on April 1 how long these measures will be in effect. We will continue to respond as needed, and as things change in Hong Kong, we’ll make changes accordingly. Everything seems uncertain right now. It’s a time of anxiety and worry. Yet it’s also a time to support each other, and I’ve seen the FCC community come together in ways large and small. We’ve had meetings and events on screen. Our terrific staff took on the big clean-up with gusto and have used the time of lighter traffic to paint and spiff up the place – it shines. Members have been making suggestions for future programs and initiatives when things “get back to normal”, and I encourage all of us to plan ahead. A few major events at the FCC have been postponed until the fall – the Journalism Conference, and the Human Rights Press Awards (though the winners will still be announced on May 6). We look forward to holding these signature events when the time is appropriate, so stay tuned for further information.
PHOTO: MAY JAMES
The spread of the virus has changed the rhythms of daily life in our community and, of course, the FCC has been greatly affected as well. Our goal throughout this outbreak has been to continue to serve our members as well as we can, even in this period of social distancing, yet most importantly to try to protect the health and safety of the Club’s staff, members and guests.
We are going ahead with our annual elections, and all members are encouraged to vote. When the new Board of Governors is in place in late May, the committees will be re-established, so please think about serving. Now, more than ever, the FCC needs the talent, experience and wise counsel of members to help keep the Club vital and strong for years to come. On the press freedom front, we have remained active. The FCC spoke out strongly against the decision by the Chinese government to expel U.S. journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. We expressed deep concern over the decision to ban them from working as journalists in Hong Kong. The Board of Governors sent an open letter to the Chief Executive and the Director of Immigration seeking clear and definitive answers on how this decision will affect the ability of journalists to work in Hong Kong. We will continue to push, as we say in the letter, on behalf of the FCC’s membership and the journalism community in Hong Kong that we represent. On a personal note, I want to say that even though it has been a challenging time in which to be President of the FCC, it has been a pleasure and an honor to serve all of you this past year. Please continue to support the club and each other. Jodi Schneider Hong Kong April 2020
GET INVOLVED! VOTE FOR THE FCCâ€™s BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Cast your vote by post or at the Club Ballot closes 3pm on Wednesday, May 20
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB HONG KONG
EDITORIAL Hong Kong has experienced upheaval for almost a year now, starting with the protests and moving into the pandemic. Crisis, unrest and change are the stuff of journalism, and I hope you find our section on the impact of the coronavirus illuminating. I asked FCC member and photographer May James to revisit her protest images and take the same shots during these quieter times; the cover and pp8-9 were the result. A journalism student has written about being in lockdown in Hubei province (pp6-7) and a local reporter tells what it has been like on the health beat for the past few months (pp10-11). From Tokyo, a journalist quickly rewrote his contribution on preparing for the Olympic Games when they were postponed (p16). Staying with sport, there’s a Speaker Lunch about Formula One motor racing (p38), and a feature on girls rugby (I’m instructed there’s no apostrophe in the name) in Hong Kong (pp18-19). They wouldn’t have dreamt of such a sport when FCC member Jonathan Sharp arrived here, but his look back on 50 years as a journalist in Asia (pp20-21) makes a fascinating read. We all know that press freedoms come and go, and an overview of how they’re doing right now across Asia (pp24-25) is a grim but essential read. An update on the California Assembly Bill 5 which is affecting freelancers in the state clears up some of the confusion around this so-called “gig economy” law (pp26-27). New Club member David Cain has the Last Laugh (p48) on something that many of you have grappled with recently – working from home. I’m hoping to persuade him to be a regular columnist. It’s not easy finding humour in the current situation, but it’s great when we do. Stay well, everyone. Sue Brattle
The Board of Governors 2019-2020 President Jodi Schneider First Vice-President Eric Wishart Second Vice-President Tim Huxley Correspondent Member Governors 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
Finance Committee Conveners: Tim Huxley (Treasurer), Jennifer Hughes, Kin-ming Liu
General Manager Didier Saugy
Constitutional Committee Conveners: Clifford Buddle, Kin-ming Liu
Editor, The Correspondent Sue Brattle Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Committee Conveners: Simon Pritchard, Kristine Servando
Publisher: Artmazing! Tel: 9128 8949 Email: email@example.com
House/Food and Beverage Committee Conveners: Adam White, Genavieve Alexander, Richard Macauley Building - Project and Maintenance Committee Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, Keith Richburg, Simon Pritchard Press Freedom Committee Conveners: Eric Wishart, Dan Strumpf, Tripti Lahiri
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.
Communications Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Keith Richburg Wall Committee Conveners: Shibani Mahtani, Christopher Slaughter, Adam White
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W W W. L I M L O G E S M A S T E R S . C O M
A virus that began in China is now sweeping the world. Streets are emptied as countries go into lockdown and travel is grinding to a halt. The death toll from coronavirus, or COVID-19, has passed 53,000 and the number of cases had just gone over a million at the time of going to press. The Correspondent looks at a pandemic that is changing life everywhere.
‘BIRDS WERE TAKING OVER THE STREETS, AND I WONDERED WHAT THEY WOULD THINK OF THIS SUDDEN RETREAT OF BOTHERSOME HUMANS’ Like millions of Chinese, Robert Hu and his parents travelled to see their elderly relatives in Hubei province for Chinese New Year. Suddenly he was in lockdown for more than two months. They made it home to Shenzhen just as we were going to press. Robert is now considering journalism graduate school options
‘Compared with this outbreak, the peak of an epidemic called fear came much earlier’
his was supposed to be another routine family reunion during Chinese New Year in Yichang, Hubei, my hometown famous for its rivers, mountains and fried carrot dumplings. I had travelled there with my parents from Shenzhen, where we now live. Everything should have followed the same script as for generations before me. Instead, the Year of the Rat started with anything but a normal routine, for almost everyone that I know. I’m not totally unfamiliar with the notion of fear and uncertainty. From social unrests in Hong Kong, to the deadly conflicts in Jerusalem – where I was on a study abroad programme on conflict resolution – I have several times voluntarily got myself into the midst of tumultuous moments to observe and document. But nothing could fully prepare me for what happened right here in my birthplace, even though I had been following the news of a possible outbreak since the end of December. From January 20, when a civilian expert finally admitted that what is now known as COVID-19 is indeed infectious among humans, the situation went into freefall in front of our eyes. All shops ran out of masks on January 22. I saw a man lose his composure, yelling
on the phone about the seriousness of the situation according to “directives from the central government” on a near-empty street, and by January 25 everything stopped in Yichang, including any chance of making my way back to Shenzhen. Compared with this outbreak, the peak of an epidemic called fear came much earlier. On the eve of January 25, the far from merry first day of New Year and the night before my scheduled flight, I felt a sudden chill. The timing was uncanny. At the time we were not informed of the planned cancellation of all flights out of Yichang. Although we had by then realised there was a strong possibility of that eventuality, we still maintained hope that we would be able to get out. My parents and I were staying in our Yichang apartment as usual when we visited our elderly relatives, and the possibility of me infecting them plus the uncertainty of this virus filled me with dread. There was even a moment when the terrible thought that I wouldn’t make it out of this situation wormed its way into my mind. That night was the most difficult time during this whole period. Compared with this outbreak, the peak of an epidemic called fear came much earlier.
PHOTOS: ROBERT HU
When you are immersed in fear, you will try anything to stay afloat. I began to comfort myself with logic; for example, the chance of us contracting the disease and getting seriously ill was low. After all, Yichang is hundreds of kilometres away from the epicentre of Wuhan, and we were not aware of having close contact with anyone who came from there. Despite the lockdown, and increasingly draconian measures that were slowly but surely tightening, we insisted on venturing out of our residential compound every day to get some fresh air. In the early days we could still find someone on the street taking their daily walk or jogging alongside the riverbank. A few days later, all non-essential personnel in Hubei province were confined to their homes in a mandatory quarantine. Our time of total confinement began. Fortunately, all of us tried to make the best of our situation, and often joked away the tension and stress that lingered between us. We found that doing family activities such as singing and pep talks helped. Not everyone was lucky to have such company. There were many trapped in Yichang without a place to stay, quickly running out of supplies and with no one to turn to. Social media were full of chat groups and desperate pleas asking for assistance for supplies or a way out of the province. I was in one group where many did not have a stable income to weather the storm. I found it was crucial to find simple pleasures and focus on positive things that happened around me. Without mass transport and factories in operation, the usually smog-thick sky became clearer. Birds were taking over the streets, and I wondered what they would think of this sudden retreat of bothersome humans. One of them would land outside my window
‘Near every entrance to residential compounds there was a blue tent labelled as “disaster relief”, a surreal scene that I never would have imagined asdf happening so close to home.’
‘By March 20, armies of kites were in the skies. Mine eventually broke free, but I didn’t mind one bit.’
every day, linger for a few seconds and then freely fly away with a stick in its mouth. It reminded me that in nature, everything was carrying on as if nothing had happened. Soon, we created a daily routine in our confinement, fear gradually subsided, and our basic needs were being better addressed by government-sponsored deliveries and the apparent improvement of the official statistics. It is true what they say – given time we are capable of adapting in adverse situations. After nearly a month, outdoors seemed less attractive than before. We nonetheless were excited to get out of the main gate, only to find a largely deserted city crisscrossed by barricades of various kinds serving as improvised checkpoints everywhere. Near every entrance to residential compounds there was a blue tent labelled as “disaster relief”, a surreal scene that I never would have imagined happening so close to home. Gradually some shops, especially barber shops, began to open in secret. By March 20, armies of kites were in the skies. Mine eventually broke free, but I didn’t mind one bit. At the time of writing this, Hubei is gradually returning to normal on all levels. Travelling outside the province is still restricted, but this is relaxing daily. Since early March, the situation outside China has been rapidly deteriorating. As I find countries are adopting some of the draconian methods I thought would never happen outside China, I have become less critical about our earlier efforts to contain the disease. For anyone who is experiencing what we have been through, I would say this: The situation will get much worse before it gets better in the coming months. But rest assured, if we all do our bit, everything is going to be fine.
‘Fortunately, all of us tried to make the best of our situation, and often joked away the tension and stress that lingered between us. We found that doing family activities such as singing and pep talks helped’
FIRST THE STREETS WERE PACKED AND NOW THEY ARE EMPTY The Correspondent asked freelance photographer and FCC member May James to look at how coronavirus is changing Hong Kong. After months working on the front line of the city’s protests, she found a very different picture
This small, lively city is packed with 6,700 people per square kilometre – that’s an average of 160 square feet, or roughly a New York City parking space, per person. Which means social distancing is not an easy task. During last year’s protests I was safe to be with my loved ones after a good shower, and cuddling my kids was my soul food to combat the tension. Now, with this epidemic, I can’t take any chances of my asthmatic child getting infected. So I’ve sent them away. It’s the only safe way I can continue to work. – May James
March 26, 2020: A few lone walkers
December 1, 2019: March from Clock Tower, Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom
March 26, 2020: Museums and galleries are shut and few venture out
September 13, 2019: Autumn Festival climb and protest, Lion Rock
March 22, 2020: Hikers keep their distance
PHOTOS: MAY JAMES
August 18, 2019: The ‘Two Million’ march, Victoria Park, Causeway Bay
July 20, 2019: Pro-government demonstration at LegCo
March 28, 2020: Saturday afternoon and no one to be seen
December 1, 2019: Tsim Sha Tsui rally passes a Hong Kong icon
March 26, 2020: Quiet afternoon along Salisbury Road
July 27, 2019: An estimated 288,000 people march through Yuen Long
March 27, 2020: Quiet, but not empty, street scene
‘CORONAVIRUS SAVED MY LIFE’
PHOTOS: MAY JAMES
May James had an extraordinary encounter with ‘Ms. C’ while researching this project Ms. C had suffered with depression since November last year. From being a happy, chatty lady who loved to cook and eat, she lost her focus and found food repellent. She thought the only way out would be to jump off her building. Then, as the coronavirus crisis grew, the government announced schools must shut and civil servants work from home. Ms. C’s two children and her husband all had to stay home, and offered her “limitless encouragement and support”. She was reconnecting with her family and friends when the shortage of protective masks hit Hong Kong. So Ms. C. started making them by hand. “It took me two hours on each one from start to finish, but I felt I was saving someone’s life,” she says. “My life is now filled with loved and purpose.”
PRIVILEGE AND PRESSURE OF REPORTING ON A CRISIS WITH NO END IN SIGHT From taking care of their own health to making sure they get their facts straight in the middle of chaos, reporters on the frontline of the coronavirus story in Hong Kong see no let-up in their workload. Elizabeth Cheung reports
C Elizabeth Cheung has been a health reporter at the South China Morning Post since 2014. She has a master’s degree in development studies.
overing the coronavirus crisis in Hong Kong over the past two months has been daunting. Without warning, there could be sudden information about possible new infections, or a major policy shift in response to another rapid development in the epidemic, that we need to share with our readers as quickly, comprehensively and presentably as possible. Never in my 6½ years in journalism have the demands been as intense. I often start my day chasing up sources to confirm new cases of COVID-19. While waiting for replies, I browse through stories from major local newspapers to compare our coverage and check if anything has been missed. If my contacts reveal updates then, no matter where I am, I need to file a few paragraphs so we can break the
developments online. That means thumbing away on my 4.7-inch smartphone, whether I am on a bumpy bus ride to work or a crowded MTR platform. Then I will catch up with the editors on the coronavirus stories to pursue and the angles to take over the rest of the day, based on the latest developments. That can be a new study from Hong Kong scientists shedding more light on the virus, or loopholes circulating on social media for the quarantine measures introduced by the government. Apart from working on our own followups, I also constantly monitor online the unfolding developments across the city. Attending or watching the Department of Health’s daily 4.30pm press briefing has also become part of my routine. But the moment tending to trigger the biggest adrenaline rush of the day is when
PHOTOS: FCC & AFP
A passenger is surrounded by the media while showing off her quarantine tracking wrist band at Hong Kong’s international airport
PHOTO : AFP
the health department confirms how many people have been infected, which usually drops between 10.30pm and midnight and often when the print edition of the newspaper is on the verge of going to press. That brings a frenzy of last-minute updates with changes shouted across the newsroom and journalists dashing between desks. By the time I finish for the night, it may have been 12 hours or longer since my first task of the day. On December 31, when the Hong Kong government first met the media about a cluster of viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan in China, never did I imagine it would evolve into a global pandemic, with such a farreaching impact and extending over such a long period of time, with still no end in sight. The battle against the virus has been uncharted territory for everyone. Doctors and nurses have risked all on the front line caring for patients, while scientists race against time to develop vaccines and identify effective medication. Journalists are also working around the clock, chasing information in a competitive environment to keep their readers informed. The speed with which the crisis is developing means journalists are heavily reliant on their sources to stay ahead and update the public before official announcements, which usually come hours after key information starts circulating. A network of other local reporters also provides a valuable channel for crosschecking information from sources or revealed at a press conference. Drawing on a wide range of voices from Hong Kong experts to comment on COVID-19 has proven difficult. Unlike in other parts of the world where reporters have a wealth of experts on hand, in Hong Kong there are only a few to consult. The experts we speak to are some of the best in the world, but from a journalistic point of view there is a limited pool and having more diversity would offer our readers a wider perspective. Reporting on an epidemic presents health issues for individual reporters. My colleagues and I are taking extra precautions. Similar to most Hongkongers, we wear masks whenever we head out on assignments. In high-risk areas, such as quarantine centres, reporters are also asked to wear goggles. In line with calls from medical experts to adhere to social distancing, our newsroom implemented work-from-home arrangements for four weeks from late January, and again after a freelancer working in the office was confirmed as infected in mid-March. For frontline reporters like me, we still went out covering assignments, but the
lack of an office base to return to presents its own challenges. Equipment is key to avoid running out of battery on laptops and mobile phones when out in the field. Story planning with editors can be maintained through phone and video calls, instant messaging and emails, but when last-minute changes to copy are needed, you get to appreciate the value of face-toface interaction. As the relentless spread of the virus led to unprecedented interventions such as border closures, city lockdowns and travel restrictions, as well as social reactions such as panic buying, it was soon apparent reporting this crisis was no longer limited to the health beat. In our newsroom, we have an education reporter following up the closures of schools and delays to exams; economy reporters looking into how the tourism and business sectors are affected; and political reporters sniffing out what senior officials will do next. Without teamwork, it would be impossible to properly cover such a complex and multifaceted story. After the intensity of the anti-government protests in Hong Kong that dominated the latter half of 2019, the emergence of the coronavirus outbreak, which seemed to follow on seamlessly, has proved a real test. But it is also a privilege to help tell this story at this very moment in Hong Kongâ€™s history, bearing witness to a most extraordinary time.
The speed with which the crisis is developing means journalists are heavily reliant on their sources to stay ahead and update the public before official announcements, which usually come hours after key information starts circulating.
HKâ€™s Chief Executive Carrie Lam takes part in one of her daily press conferences
‘ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION’ LEAVES THE CLUB SPARKLING The FCC closed for two days last month for a “deep cleaning” after a member was confirmed with COVID-19. Swift action by the general manager and the Board’s “SWAT” team and a phenomenal effort by all the amazing staff meant that our Club managed to get ahead of the virus. Kate Whitehead reports
was no exception. The Club closed at 6pm that Tuesday evening – the very day the connection with the hospitalised member was made – and Didier briefed staff about the two-day plan to thoroughly cleanse the property. Anyone who felt uncomfortable was offered the chance to opt out. No one did – all staff were committed to the mission. I snuck in on day two of “Operation Deep Cleanse”. The club was a hive of activity – 83 staff all in casual clothes and wearing masks were industriously scrubbing, cleaning and mopping. The vibe was upbeat – Didier’s enthusiasm had turned this possibly less than desirable job into a grand team-building exercise. So, what exactly is involved in a “deep cleaning”? It is different from regular or spring cleaning because it reaches the deep grime and dirt and covers areas
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.
irst up, let’s get one thing straight – the response was a matter of acting with what the Board referred to as “an abundance of caution”. On the morning of Tuesday March 10, sharp-eyed Carman Chung, who oversees Membership, noticed that a person hospitalised with the virus was a Club member. Electronic records showed that the member, who was quarantined on March 5 after a close family member tested positive for the virus, had last been in the Club 19 days before. The risk posed to members and staff was very low, but these are days for being over-cautious and the decision was made to close the Club for the next two days for a top-to-bottom thorough cleaning. Didier Saugy has proven himself to be a hands-on, roll-up-his-shirt-sleeves team player of a general manager and this time
which aren’t covered in standard cleaning operations. It began with the entrance – two staff on ladders scrubbed the Club’s façade and the grime between lettering on the FCC signage – and extended to every nook and cranny inside the Club. All the furniture was moved, the tiled floor in the main dining room was washed with a high-pressure water jet, and all the carpets were cleaned with special carpet sanitizer. Three staff spent a whole day scrubbing the 82 chairs in the dining room. All the kitchen equipment was moved and every square inch scrubbed spotless. In the wine cellar, all the bottles were shifted, polished and replaced. In the workroom, old magazines were boxed up and put in storage and the place given a good going over. A pest control team was brought in asdf overnight, targeting the kitchen and dumb
waiters. The air-conditioners were given a professional overhaul. A UV light sanitizer was used in the staff uniform room and the gym changing rooms to disinfect the spaces. Didier even bought magnetic window cleaners to reach the stubborn patches of mildew on the Verandah windows. The Club’s new full-time handyman is a master painter and has been repainting some of the rooms, beginning with the Burton Room. “Operation Deep Cleanse” is testament to the fact that good things can come out of adversity – the Club has never been as clean. And thanks to Didier the twoday venture brought the staff even closer together. “Everyone has been very energetic and supportive. If they didn’t have their masks on you would see they are smiling,” said Didier.
Operation Deep Cleanse is testament to the fact that good things can come out of adversity – the Club has never been as clean.
HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO GET THE LOWDOWN ON FACE MASKS? When face masks sold out in Hong Kong and people started queuing round the block on the back of rumours that new supplies were available, Jack Lau decided to investigate how to reuse the ones he had. He learned a lot about science, and a few things about journalism, too
W Jack Lau is a master’s journalism student at the University of Hong Kong and says he doesn’t take trust in the media for granted
hen the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 emerged in Hong Kong, I wasn’t terribly concerned. After all, Hong Kong’s epidemic readiness and personal hygiene practices have improved over those in 2003, when SARS killed 299 people in the city. It would all be over in a few months, I thought, and for now we just need to wash our hands more often and wear masks in public places, as everyone did 17 years ago. But when people began to queue for hours for masks and their prices soared, it became clear those with few or no masks might have to stay home for months. I was one of them. So, I went looking for answers: Could I reuse a mask and still be reasonably protected from airborne droplets containing the virus? And if so, how could I disinfect one for reuse? Experts and health officials largely advised against reusing masks. Attempts to do so were laughed at and dismissed as unscientific. The most notable case was
perhaps that of lawmaker Ann Chiang, who posted a video on her Facebook page she found online detailing how to disinfect masks by steam. Those without surgical masks were told not to leave their homes. The city’s Consumer Council collaborated with the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital and made a tutorial for creating a DIY paper mask, but the result was hard to breathe through. Despite near-unanimous advice against reusing masks, most have ignored the experts. And the “expert” advice was not always convincing. Sometimes GPs, who are users of masks but not experts, were asked about their effectiveness when journalists ought to have asked researchers in environmental health or material science. More problematic was that medical experts and health officials only said in the news what they believed to be the best personal hygiene practices against the virus. Often they gave no explanation, or mixed a bit of science with public policy considerations. When Ho Pak-leung, clinical associate
People queued up for hours to purchase face masks from a makeshift stall
PHOTOS; CREATIVE COMMONS & AFP
professor at the University of Hong Kong’s microbiology department, criticised Chiang’s steam disinfection tutorial video, some Chinese-language media only quoted soundbites saying the video was “fake news” and “outrageously wrong” – but didn’t explain why. Ho’s email to AFP Fact Check was more informative. He said the crux of the matter was not if viruses can be killed during disinfection, because surgical masks are meant to be single-use. As a reader, I found this unconvincing. Whether the mask is designed to be single-use or whether they can be used multiple times are different questions. In the same AFP story, Ho added attempts to disinfect single-use masks might harm their effectiveness, without pointing to any evidence. In an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Andrew Wong, president of the Hong Kong Society for Infectious Diseases, cited a 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine in the U.S. that he said discouraged reusing masks and respirators. But that report did not provide evidence. Its authors only spoke to mask manufacturers and said they had to rely on their collective judgment due to severely limited data. Given the lack of evidence presented by experts in the news, I spent days scouring my university library and databases for literature on reusing masks and respirators. A 2015 study conducted by the United States’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene concluded short-wavelength ultraviolet light can disinfect N95 respirators with only a small decrease in effectiveness, although the masks degraded at higher doses of ultraviolet light. The study concluded the tested N95 masks could be reused a limited number of times. A study published in February from Fudan University’s molecular virology lab concluded blow-drying surgical masks for 30 minutes can significantly reduce the
Hong Kong’s epidemic readiness has improved since the SARS crisis in 2003
Screen capture of the video shared by Ann Chiang on disinfecting masks by steam
presence of virus without much damage to their ability to filter particles at 2.5 microns, which are smaller than droplets that might carry viruses. In the first few months of the epidemic, the media could have better bridged the disconnect between experts and laypeople on reusing masks. From what I have read, this area lacks research. It is inconclusive whether masks can be reused, but from reading the news I had the impression that reusing masks went against scientific evidence. I am not advocating that you reuse your masks or don’t reuse them. I am arguing that experts should not overstate how informed by science their decisions are. Health guidelines can also be informed by public policy, such as preventing panic and ensuring the health system has a steady supply of masks. And it’s important that journalists make both considerations clear. Journalists should also not write as if readers trust interviewees by virtue of their job titles and expertise. Journalists should give them the chance to justify their views, but with a healthy dose of scepticism. This means experts should be expected to produce solid evidence to support their claims. Journalists should report not only the what but also the why. Otherwise distrust between people and authorities, medical and others, can flourish. Such distrust is already a problem in Hong Kong due to months of political unrest that has soured the government’s relationship with civil society. Distrust is not exclusive to Hong Kong. Public health policies from Iran to the World Health Organization are being challenged. By being a bit more inquisitive, journalists can keep people better informed at a time when communicating science is critical.
‘I am not advocating that you reuse your masks or don’t reuse them. I am arguing that experts should not overstate how informed by science their decisions are.’
FRUSTRATIONS OF WATCHING SPORTS HISTORY BEING MADE
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces the Olympics postponement on March 24
Julian Ryall has been based in Japan since 1992 and is a correspondent for the South China Morning Post, The Daily Telegraph in London, Deutsche Welle in Germany and other publications around the world.
erious questions began to be asked in February about the wisdom of Tokyo going ahead with the Olympic Games, the world’s largest multi-discipline sporting occasion and an event that would bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Japan’s already crowded streets. And then, on March 24, it was official: with pressure growing from national Olympic federations and a number of countries declaring that they would not send athletes to Tokyo even if the International Olympic Committee went ahead with the Games, IOC President Thomas Bach and Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, announced that the event was being put back by a year. It perhaps came as no surprise – but it has thrown correspondents’ plans into chaos. “Everything was going very smoothly,” said Randy Schmidt, a cameraman and editor for CBS in the US. “Staffing decisions had been made, we had our live-shot locations set up, hotels and media passes had all been sorted out.” The anticipation was building among his colleagues, said Schmidt, who covered the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Winter Games in Nagano in 1998 and then again in Pyongcheong in 2018. “The Olympics are a coveted assignment and most everyone wants to work on them, especially if it means travelling to a city like Tokyo for a few weeks,” he said. And with the one-year delay? He shrugs.
“Who knows?” Georges Baumgartner, the correspondent in Japan for Swiss Radio and Television, says the “only story now is the coronavirus”. The Swiss national broadcaster had been putting the logistics in place to cover the games for more than a year – but began hedging on a decision on additional steps because of the uncertainty. Baumgartner had previously passed on to his editors reports that discussions were unquestionably taking place behind the scenes well before the IOC and Japan announced their decision. Rumours suggested that the local Olympic committee, the national government, the Tokyo city government and the IOC were delaying announcing a decision for as long as possible to give the crisis time to blow over. But the end of May would have been the latest they could wait before calling the whole thing off. In the event, they did not even make it to the end of March. Long before the decision was made, the options for the organisers appeared limited, journalists covering the Games concluded. Simply cancelling the Olympics appeared to be out of the question given the amount of money that Japan had lavished on preparations, so the IOC effectively had a choice between delaying until later in the year, and hoping that the virus had run its course, or postponing for a full year. Neither scenario was particularly appealing, given the complications surrounding everything from athletes’ schedules to qualifying events, television rights and schedules, accommodation, ticketing and countless other details. Ilgin Yorulmaz, a freelance journalist who contributes to the BBC World Service’s Turkish-language programming, had secured an insider’s view of the Games by volunteering to work in the main stadium media centre. “A couple of weeks ago I was doing stories about the hot and humid weather and the marathon events being moved to Sapporo,” she said. Schmidt says the announcement that the Games are on hold has already led to a flurry of new stories. “A couple of weeks ago, I would have said there was no chance that the schedule for the Olympics could change,” he said. But then this outcome became “inevitable”. n
The modern Olympic Games have been cancelled three times, in World War One and World War Two. This time, the coronavirus has postponed them. Julian Ryall reports from Tokyo on how the sports media are coping
IMPORTANCE OF GIVING UNSPEAKABLE SUFFERING AN ACCURATE VOICE Mind HK held its Media Awards 2019 ceremony at the Club on January 14, an event postponed from November due to protest activity. The awards, in their second year, were launched to “celebrate the best portrayals of mental health in the media”. Sue Brattle reports.
Lesley Chiang and Olivia Parker told their stories bravely and movingly
PHOTOS: HK MIND
ou could hear a pin drop as speakers told their personal stories to a packed Main Dining Room at the Mind HK Media Awards 2019 ceremony. The authentic voices of people either suffering from mental health issues, or from watching a loved one suffer, were almost unbearable to hear. But such stories, and the accurate telling of them, were the reason so many people had gathered at the Club. Dr Hannah Reidy, CEO of Mind HK, said: “The stigma here is huge; we found that 60 per cent of people we asked believe it is easy to tell mental health sufferers apart from the population.” Dr Reidy had good news and bad news. Mind HK has trained more than 2,000 people in Hong Kong in mental health awareness, but people diagnosed with a mental health illness are waiting up to three years for a follow-up appointment with a professional. The 2019 awards attracted more than 100 submissions, and 13 judges weighed each entry against three key criteria: it challenged perceptions of mental health; it was well-crafted and responsibly produced; and its reach and impact. The awards spanned print, digital and broadcast in both English-language and Chinese media and covered the 12-month period from July 2018 to June 2019. The judging panel included Chris Yeung, chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Candice Ling, clinical psychologist at New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association,
and Paul Yip, director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention. The English-language Journalist Award went to FCC member Kate Whitehead, for Back from the Brink and Playing with Fire published in the South China Morning Post. Kate said later: “I was raised in Hong Kong. As a 17-year-old student at German Swiss International School, I lost my best friend to suicide. In those days, there was little understanding about mental health issues or support for young people. According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in their lives. This club has about 2,500 members, which
means that roughly 625 members will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. If that isn’t you, then it’s more than likely to be someone close to you. “I’d like to give a big shout out to the editors who commission the journalists. So, a special thanks to the SCMP’s health editor Cathy Hilborn Feng, who allows journalists such as myself and fellow Club member NanHie In to write these stories.” During the evening, hosted by FCC Vice-President Eric Wishart, actress, singer-songwriter and mental health activist Lesley Chiang spoke movingly of her battle with severe depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Chiang, who two weeks later announced her marriage to engineer Pak-ho, said that after breaking up with her previous boyfriend “every single day my brain told me I was a burden”. She said: “When you are depressed you are not your own person. So I named my depression ‘Borat’.” FCC member and Mind HK board member Olivia Parker related the deeply personal tragedy of her late boyfriend, underlining the importance of sensitive and informed reporting around mental health. n
Winners of the Mind HK 2019 Media Awards Chinese-language
Lee Wai Kwan
So Moon Yuk
Karen Koh & Noreen Mir
1. Tsang Man Him, Chan Ka Wing and Lam Oi Yee 2. Yu Wing Tun and Wong Ching Yi
TWGHs Radio-i-Care team
Making a Difference Award
Lee Wai Kwan
Karen Koh & Noreen Mir
Speaking Out Award
Lam Ho Yan
Edward Gunawan & Elbert Lim
DAD TURNS DAUGHTERS’ RUGBY PASSION INTO PHOTO-OPP After weekends watching his daughters play rugby, Christopher Dillon discovered he had become the team’s unofficial photographer. He tells the story
Overseas tournaments, like this one in Singapore, are a much-anticipated part of the season
two sisters, however, embraced the game with a passion. From September through March, our free time was devoted to rugby. The girls practised during the week, and over a typical weekend we would attend two or even three matches at pitches throughout the city. I was delighted the girls found rugby, where they learned about sportsmanship, kept fit and made friends. Rugby was a welcome break from the pressures of school and the temptations of the internet. There was an active social scene for both the players and their parents, and we received preferential treatment when applying for coveted Rugby Sevens tickets. Meanwhile, I noticed similarities between the rugby community and the hockey league of my youth. The youngest kids continue to play in the earliest time slots. CEOs’ and teachers’ kids are teammates. Local businesses still sponsor the uniforms.
Christopher Dillon, photographed in the 1970s, is a writer and entrepreneur and the principal of Dillon Communications Ltd. He has been an FCC member since 1992
And like the hockey teams, volunteers are everywhere. But there were differences. Some parents had played rugby professionally, while others shared my obliviousness to the game’s finer points. Players and their families ran the gamut from locals and long-term expats to newcomers. One weekend, inspiration struck. I THE CORRESPONDENT
PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER DILLON
ow does a middle-aged, decidedly unsporty man become the unofficial photographer for a girls’ rugby team in Hong Kong? The story begins in Ottawa, when — like most Canadian males of my generation — I played amateur hockey. In the early 1970s, hockey was a social leveller. The teacher’s kid played alongside the tycoon’s son (there were no girls’ teams). Talent topped wealth or social status. Coaches were volunteers and the local gas station sponsored the uniforms. At dawn on Saturdays and Sundays, parents chauffeured their sons across the city, or to a neighbouring province, in search of ice time. Sound asleep in the back of the family car, boys dreamed of careers in the National Hockey League. Fast-forward to Hong Kong in the 2010s. I’m now a father of three. Our eldest child played some rugby, but eventually found other interests. His
Girls and boys play on mixed teams until they are 12
The New Year’s Day tournament is an all-star event for Hong Kong’s top players
Girls’ rugby in Hong Kong
Many parents are involved in girls’ rugby as fans and volunteers
took my Nikon DSLR to a match and began shooting. Predictably, most of the images were mediocre. But one or two had promise. Encouraged, I repeated the process at subsequent matches. I learned to use editing software to crop and fine-tune the images. A new camera body and a longer zoom lens helped me cover more of the pitch. I stopped shooting JPG and began using RAW, for greater creative control. Slowly, the number of passable photos increased. Time on the sidelines passed more quickly. After a half-day tournament, I’d return with 300 images. It became clear that I’d either edit the photos that day, or procrastination and Hong Kong’s hectic pace would win out and the images would gather dust. Out of necessity, the speed and decisiveness of the editing process increased. Girls’ rugby has been an ideal photographic subject. The sport is THE CORRESPONDENT
“The inclusiveness, sisterhood and quintessential team spirit that I experienced in rugby, I just didn’t feel in anything else.”
Tanya Dhar Head Coach, Under-14 Girls, HKU Sandy Bay RFU
physical, dramatic and dynamic, which makes for inherently interesting images. Regular matches in a predictable environment let me apply last week’s lessons to next week’s match. And flying hair adds a visual element that’s usually missing from boys’ rugby. Sharing photos with players and parents added a social dimension to my hobby. Through Facebook and an online photo gallery, grandparents outside Hong Kong became fans of my work. Other photographer
Protests against the Hong Kong government’s extradition bill and the COVID-19 outbreak have disrupted the 2019/20 season, but girls’ rugby remains popular in Hong Kong. More than 600 girls, or about 30 per cent of the youth rugby population, play seven- or 15-a-side rugby for 13 school and club teams throughout the city. Girls and boys play on mixed teams until they reach age 12. There are girls-only squads for under-14, under-16 and under-19. A New Year’s Day tournament showcases the best players from each age group, and Hong Kong teams compete in tournaments in Singapore, Japan and other locations. Hong Kong also hosts an annual all-girls tournament that attracts teams from across Asia for a weekend of spirited competition.
parents – including Antony, Henry and Susanna – cheerfully shared their images, enthusiasm and sometimes equipment. I contributed photos for magazine articles, calendars and slide shows at end-of-season parties. Ultimately, what began as a distraction for our kids became an opportunity to volunteer, a new group of friends and better photographic skills. And like my other passion, underwater photography, sport is one of the few subjects where mobile phones simply cannot compete with cameras. n More of Christopher Dillon’s images can be found at dilloncommunications. com/images. APRIL 2020
OF MAO, SOMERSET MAUGHAM AND ‘FLANNELLED FOOLS’ Jonathan Sharp knew Hong Kong was the place for him when he first landed at Kai Tak in February 1970, 50 years ago. Here he looks back to a time of clattering teleprinters, safari suits and Ping Pong Diplomacy
Jonathan Sharp (circled) strides out next to Deng Xiaoping during former British Prime Minister Edward Heath’s visit to China in 1974
nearby Bank of China, now overawed by the Bank’s I.M. Pei-designed masterpiece, still sported a huge Maoist banner, but not as in-your-face as hitherto. The Cultural Revolution had simmered down somewhat. The occupation of Central by the cricketers, successors to the “flannelled fools” mocked by poet Rudyard Kipling, did not end until 1975. Other features of early 1970s Hong Kong that have since disappeared or undergone radical change: the squatter settlements that carpeted large swathes of the cityscape, and the corruption that saturated the government and police. Also the Star Ferry was then virtually the only way to cross the harbour (not forgetting the walla-walla water taxis serving postmidnight owls. Fare, if memory serves, HK$1). Furthermore, in yet another image speaking volumes about a bygone world, I doubt if anybody in authority nowadays allows themselves to be interviewed, on camera, while inhaling heavily on a cigarette. But David
Jonathan Sharp joined Reuters after studying Chinese at university. That degree served him well, leading to two spells in Beijing. And it did not restrict him. A 30-year career also took him to North America, the Middle East and South Africa, covering everything from wars to the Olympics. His favourite posting was Hong Kong, where he freelances. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
t’s a marvellously evocative image of late colonial Hong Kong, gracing the cover of the 1968 book Borrowed Place, Borrowed Time by the FCC’s celebrated Dick “Cardinal” Hughes. It shows cricket players calmly putting bat to ball against a menacing backdrop of the Bank of China, adorned with giant, strident Cultural Revolution-era slogans. The late great David Bonavia elegantly captured the essence of another scene redolent of that period. Describing a confrontation between pro-Beijing demonstrators and police outside Government House during the 1967 riots, he wrote that the worlds of Mao Zedong and Somerset Maugham had come face to face – and both retired baffled. While Hong Kong was peaceful when I arrived in February 1970, that beguiling juxtaposition of polar political, social and cultural opposites was still much in evidence. The Hong Kong Cricket Club – whose top team included just one Hong Konger, named Benny Kwong Wo – still had its pitch in Central. The
Trench, Hong Kong’s governor from 1964-1971, did just that. Hong Kong was my second posting for Reuters after Singapore. The city state was a fairly easy-paced introduction to Asia – sometimes known as “Asia for beginners”. But ideal for someone as callow as myself. However, I knew soon after landing at Kai Tak following that eye-opening approach skimming over Kowloon rooftops that Hong Kong was the place for me. Like many newcomers, I was struck by the city’s indefinable buzz, the energy it exuded. By comparison Singapore was buzz-less. Hong Kong was also on the doorstep of China, a country I had studied at university and was itching to see. Thirdly, Hong Kong had a proper Foreign Correspondents’ Club,
PHOTOS: HONG KONG PUBLIC RECORDS OFFICE
‘Evocative’: Cricket in Central from the cover of Dick Hughes’ book
Sir David Trench
Beijing gathering: Zhou Enlai paid an unexpected visit to this gathering in Beijing in the 1970s. Jonathan (circled back row) said Dick Hughes (circled front row) told him: “If I’d known he was coming I’d have worn my sword and full decorations.”
which Singapore still lacks. The FCC, then housed in the now long-gone Sutherland House with its legendary “loo with the view”, was much more compact than the present premises. It also had a higher proportion of foreign correspondents. They included a heavyweight Chinawatching fraternity denied access to a still secretive People’s Republic. Other correspondent members, often safari-suited, were based in Hong Kong or were taking a breather here while relaying in and out of Indochina, where the war had no end in sight, and other Asia news centres. So I got to meet such journalistic titans as Tillman Durdin, whose China coverage stretched back to include the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, and Henry Bradsher, father of long-standing FCC member Keith Bradsher. Hong Kong was also the China listening post for Reuters, which had nobody in Beijing. China had only recently released Anthony Grey, the Reuters man thrust into house arrest in Beijing in 1967 in outright retaliation for Hong Kong jailing pro-Communist journalists. Keeping an eye and ear out for what was happening in China was a 24/7 job. The monitoring work was done by four of us in the Reuters office. Sitting between banks of clattering teleprinters, we had what now seems a brutal routine. We each worked two day shifts, followed by two evening slots, then two overnighters. We then had one blessed day off before plunging back in. After the second overnight shift, I rewarded myself with breakfast at the Mandarin. As well as China, we also had to “watch” North Vietnam, where Reuters was similarly unrepresented. This was
when Hanoi was scrutinised for any sign of a change, no matter how slight, in its stand on the war. North Korea’s rants also came pouring in, plus reports from other Asian centres. That sounds overwhelming but was in fact manageable as the bureau had a fifth and highly experienced correspondent who did much of the heavy lifting. And I was by no means tied to the Reuters desk. I had two month-long spells in Vietnam (the old Reuters office nameplate is in the FCC Bunker), initiating me into the terrors and adrenalin rush of war reporting. In this I was following in the footsteps of my BBC war correspondent father. Then in April 1971, as I ended a night shift, I had my Holy Grail moment. China invited Reuters to an event known as Ping Pong Diplomacy, so-named because American table tennis players were invited to Beijing, setting the ball rolling in stalled ChinaU.S. ties. And Reuters sent me to cover that literally game-changing event. So no time for a leisurely Mandarin breakfast as I hustled to claim the precious visa. My Hong Kong posting ended in February 1972. But I was not long gone. I was back late that year on my way to Beijing, this time to join the newly re-opened Reuters bureau. So I was finally able to explore the world of Mao at close hand, even though that world was still pretty much as opaque as ever. But having the China dateline for what was happening there – or what we thought was happening – more than compensated for having barely more access to hard facts about China than could be gleaned from clattering teleprinters in Hong Kong. n APRIL 2020
AND THE NOMINATIONS ARE… Here are the nominations for the FCC Board of Governors, 2020-2021. The usual nomination committee meeting on April 1 was cancelled due to coronavirus guidelines on non-essential gatherings. Instead, members of the election committee scrutinised the nomination forms to ensure they were in order. President Jodi Schneider and Election Committee chair Stephen Vines said: “It is our intention that in all other respects the election will proceed in the usual manner that allows members to vote either by post or by inserting a voting form into the ballot box at the FCC entrance.” Members will have received their ballot papers by now, and the ballot closes at 3pm on Wednesday, May 20. The new Board will take over during the AGM on May 28.
The posts of President, First Vice-President and Second Vice-President are uncontested. The current three incumbents are all standing for a second year: PRESIDENT: FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT: SECOND VICE-PRESIDENT:
Jodi SCHNEIDER Eric WISHART Tim HUXLEY
There are 10 candidates for eight CORRESPONDENT MEMBER GOVERNORS: Katie FORSTER Jennifer HUGHES Tripti LAHIRI Richard MACAULEY Shibani MAHTANI Keith RICHBURG Richard Blake SCHMIDT Kristine SERVANDO Kristie LU STOUT Dan STRUMPF
There are three candidates for two JOURNALIST MEMBER GOVERNORS: Clifford BUDDLE Edith TERRY Adam WHITE
There are eight candidates for four ASSOCIATE MEMBER GOVERNORS:
Genavieve ALEXANDER Olga BOLTENKO Andy CHWOROWSKY Antony DAPIRAN Tariq DENNISON Sunshine FARZAN LIU Kin-ming Christopher SLAUGHTER
* Bio & policy statements of the candidates are available at the FCC website: fcchk.org
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LOOKING FOR THE LIGHT IN A DIM LANDSCAPE Freedom of the press is backsliding across Asia as authoritarian leaders demand total control over information. Beijing is meanwhile exerting control over the media in China and outside the mainland, and governments are implementing laws that silence dissenters and motivate self-censorship. Amy Gunia reports
t’s a decade-long phenomenon, but the grasp of governments over free press has been tighter and tighter in the past five years,” says Daniel Bastard, the head of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Asia-Pacific desk. Even in the last year, press freedom has deteriorated in several Asian countries. Some experts say that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 is worsening the situation. The pandemic “has only made it worse, as governments are using the excuse of the virus to put further controls on the press,” says Steven Butler, the Asia Programme Coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Suppression of information in China, where the virus was first reported, has had global ramifications, according to RSF, who says that the public might have learned about the seriousness of the virus earlier, perhaps saving thousands of lives and possibly avoiding the current pandemic, if the Chinese press were free. “Every voice that announced the risk of the epidemic was gagged,” says Cédric Alviani, director of RSF’s East Asia bureau.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth launched their 2020 World Report at the UN in New York after he was refused entry to Hong Kong
Even before the coronavirus epidemic broke out, freedom of the press in China was in a perilous state. China ranked 177 out of 180 countries on RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index – with only Turkmenistan and North Korea ranking worse. As of December 1, China was the top jailer of journalists, with 48 behind bars, according to the CPJ. Working conditions for foreign journalists in China worsened significantly in 2019, according to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China annual report. “Chinese authorities are using visas as weapons against the foreign press like never before,” the report says. In March 2020, Beijing expelled around a dozen American journalists from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post in the largest expulsion of foreign journalists in recent history. Experts say that Beijing is attempting to exert control over the media outside of its borders. According to a report released by RSF in March 2019, the Chinese government is actively trying to
influence the global media to deter criticism and spread propaganda. Beijing’s influence appears to be growing in Hong Kong. Activists and journalists whose opinions run contrary to the party line have increasingly been stopped from entering the city, where freedom of speech and press are enshrined in the Basic Law that has governed the city since the handover. In 2020 alone, at least three people have been denied entry, including the head of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenneth Roth. He attempted to enter the city in January 2020 to launch the organisation’s annual report, which included an opening essay critical of the Chinese government’s “intensifying assault on the international rights system”. Multiple journalists covering the anti-government protests in Hong Kong also reported incidents of police violence against reporters on the front lines. Meanwhile, across Southeast Asia, press freedom is under attack. For Singapore, where civil liberties and freedom of speech are already highly
Wall Street Journal reporters Philip Wen (left) and Josh Chin, expelled from China, at Beijing Capital Airport on February 24
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is ‘weaponising laws.. to make the media docile’
restricted, 2019 brought troubling developments. In May, the government passed controversial legislation against “fake news” which HRW called a “disaster for online expression”. Since then, the government has invoked the law several times, in one case asking the opposition party to change online posts about local employment rates. Thailand passed a draconian cybersecurity law and unveiled an “anti-fake news” centre in 2019, giving authorities sweeping power over online information; HRW has criticized the government for persecuting those critical of their response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte continued his campaign against the news site Rappler by bringing further legal charges against the website’s CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa, which rights groups say are politically motivated. Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN’s franchise is due to expire in May, but its renewal has yet to be approved. The “government is weaponising laws to force the closure of a news media organization that earned the ire of the powers-that-be”, says Danilo Arao, an associate professor of journalism at the University of the Philippines Diliman. “Duterte is making an example of ABS-CBN so that other news media organizations would toe the line and asdf practise a kind of ‘journalism’ that
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘spreads hatred against journalists’
would be servile and docile.” Vietnam, where 12 journalists were imprisoned at the end of 2019, was the top jailer of journalists on a per capita basis, according to the CPJ. “Vietnam is in the running for the most dangerous country in Asia for journalists, as far as imprisonment is concerned,” Butler of the CPJ says. In Indonesia, an internet blackout was imposed following unrest in West Papua in August 2019. Journalists working in the region, which is offlimits to foreign media, reported difficulty doing their jobs. The government named human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, who posted reports about the protests on social media, a suspect for provoking unrest and spreading fake news. Officials in the country detained American environmental journalist Philip Jacobson over visa issues in late 2019 before deporting him. Jacobson had attended a meeting between the local government and an indigenous rights organisation before his detention. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promoted nationalism “that spreads hatred against journalists who don’t toe the line,” according to Bastard of RSF. There were reports of violence against journalists by police during protests late last year against the Hindu nationalist government’s Citizenship Amendment Act, and the CPJ reports that more than a dozen
journalists were harassed or physically attacked while covering riots that broke out in February 2020 over the same legislation. In August of 2019, Modi revoked Kashmir’s autonomy and implemented an unprecedented communications blackout. RSF’s Bastard calls the shutdown “history’s longest ever e-curfew”. He says this prevents “eight million people from accessing the most basic free information, which is now potentially criminal in the context of the coronavirus crisis”. In Myanmar, authorities reinstated an internet shutdown in five townships in Rakhine and Chin states in February, leaving around 1 million people in an information blackout – particularly damaging in the current pandemic. Still, there are some bright spots in an otherwise dim landscape. “Taiwan remains a beacon of press freedom, as does [South] Korea,” says Butler of the CPJ. “Hong Kong’s press freedom is still reasonably robust, even as it’s come under assault, mainly from China,” he adds. n
Amy Gunia is a reporter for TIime magazine in Hong Kong. She is a member of the FCC’s Press Freedom committee.
‘GIG ECONOMY’ BILL BITES BACK AT FREELANCERS California Assembly Bill 5 was meant to protect workers in the “gig economy”. Instead, it is driving some freelance journalists out of work, and others out of the state. Morgan M. Davis reports
O In the U.S., states like California have attempted to balance the rise of these new economy jobs with respect for workers’ rights.
n January 1, California implemented a new law regulating “gig economy” workers. The law, also known as California Assembly Bill 5 or AB5, has hit freelance journalists in the state hard. The rise of the “gig economy”, with more people opting for non-traditional jobs such as car share driver or freelance contributor, has befuddled regulators. In the U.S., states like California have attempted to balance the rise of these new economy jobs with respect for workers’ rights. California’s so-called “gig economy law” is supposed to give all workers job stability, fair wages and benefits. But somewhere between an attempt to encourage employers not to take advantage of their non-traditional workers and an effort to give freelancers employment rights, California managed to crush the gig economy. For freelance journalists, the results have been crippling. “It’s extremely important to know that
there are so many workers who are being exploited, and they should be protected. Nobody is arguing that,” said Vanessa McGrady, an author and freelance journalist, editor and content strategist. “However, as written, AB5 is overreaching and affects people who don’t want or need the bill’s ‘protection’ because we are independent businesses.” For many people, the gig economy isn’t a last resort option to use when fulltime employment isn’t available, as the lawmakers behind AB5 seem to think. As many journalists can relate, being a fulltime freelancer can offer work flexibility, independence and even better pay than a traditional job can. “I work from home and I make a good living with a high hourly rate, but I also have a flexible enough schedule so that I can be there for my child when and if she needs me during the day and when she’s not in
school,” said McGrady, who is a single mother with an eight-year-old daughter. “It’s terrifying to think that could all disappear from this unjust and callous law.” Another California-based journalist agreed. “Many of us chose this lifestyle for a reason,” said the journalist, who asked to remain anonymous because of the online trolling she has dealt with as a result of her AB5-related tweets. “We exchange some security and benefits for the freedom we enjoy.” The journalist’s main source of income was a popular content mill based in Nevada. For nearly eight years, she’s written for the site, building a reputation. But because of California’s new law, the site has cut her off, telling her that she cannot use the site to find work as long as she lives in California. McGrady predicted that talented creatives will flee California, and the quality of journalism will be eroded. This will be particularly worrisome for niche publications that can’t afford staff, such as those covering LGBTQ communities or people of colour, she said. One of the biggest criticisms of AB5 is the misunderstandings that it stirs up. There is confusion about how independent contractors are affected. Or, if a person holds more than one part-time job, it’s not clear which employer is responsible for health and other benefits, if any are even made available. For freelance writers, there is an annual 35-piece submission cap to a media organisation, which does not distinguish between 100-word content and 10,000word pieces that require months of research. Most journalists will hit the cap
asdf Joe Biden
quickly, as will editors and photographers that face a similar cap. As a result, companies like SB Nation, Vox Media’s sports news website, have cut ties with freelancers in favour of hiring a few full- and part-time staff. Companies located outside of California are on edge, concerned that they could be in trouble for violating California’s laws if they hire California-based freelancers. “There’s so much fear and misunderstanding around this bill, it’s put a chilling effect on virtually every publisher and platform in the nation that works with California freelancers,” said McGrady. “If we are forced to become employees, we give up tax deductions we use to run our business, but even more frightening is that we could lose copyright or rights to our own work,” she said, adding that she knows a person who is writing a book and plans to move to Nevada because of this issue. Despite the push back that California has received, other states are considering similar laws. U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden has come out in support of the bill as well. “When this happened, I began brainstorming other places to live. I thought about Oregon and Washington before reading that they were considering similar laws,” said the journalist. “I don’t really feel safe anywhere. It’s like everything I’ve worked so hard to build is being taken away.” n
Morgan M. Davis is a finance reporter at Euromoney’s GlobalCapital. The Illinois-transplant moved to Hong Kong two years ago by way of New York City, accompanied by her trusty sidekick Gizmo the Yorkie. Morgan has reported on multiple sectors of finance, and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University.
SEEKING A PLACE WHERE THE FALLEN CAN REST When a helicopter was shot down over Laos in 1971, four respected photojournalists and seven others on board were killed. Their remains were eventually interred in a U.S. museum. But now the museum has been shut down, and the search for a new resting place is underway. Rob Gerhardt reports
Rob Gerhardt is an absent Club member and a freelance photographer based in New York
ebruary 10, 1971 was a dark day for journalism. On that fateful day, photojournalists Larry Burrows of Life magazine, Henri Huet of AP, Kent Potter of UPI and Keisaburo Shimamoto of Newsweek were killed when the helicopter they were riding in was shot down in the skies over Laos. They were all covering the opening moves of Operation Lam Son 719 in the Vietnam War. Their deaths sent shockwaves through the Press Corps in Vietnam, and stunned those who knew them. While they were the most well-known occupants, the group on the helicopter that day numbered 11 people. Along with Burrows, Huet, Potter and Shimamoto, were South Vietnamese Combat Photographer Sgt. Tu Vu, two senior officers, and the four crew members of the helicopter. The site of the crash was first discovered in 1996, and in 1998 the site was excavated by the U.S. Joint Task Force – Full Accounting, now part of the Defense POW/ MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). After
attempts to bury them in other places failed, the few remains that were recovered were entombed in a small box under a plaque in the Newseum in Washington D.C. in 2008. Their final resting place would be the museum’s memorial to fallen journalists and was one of the centerpieces of the museum as a whole. Or, at least it was. With the closing of the Newseum on December 31, Burrows, Huet, Potter, Shimamoto and the others are once again searching for a permanent resting place. On January 14 their remains were disinterred from the Newseum and returned to DPAA custody till a new resting place can be found. For years the museum had not enjoyed a solid financial footing, having spent $450 million (approx. HK$3.5 trillion) to build its home in Washington D.C. Surrounded by the various Smithsonian museums that charge nothing to get in, the Newseum charged a $25 (HK$194) entrance fee.
PHOTOS: LARRY BURROWS, LIFE © TIME INC., COURTESY OF THE LARRY BURROWS COLLECTION
Larry Burrows (above) and one of his most famous images, published in Life on April 16, 1965. One Ride with Yankee Papa 13 followed a mission on March 31. Helicopter crew chief James C. Farley shouts to his crew as wounded pilot Lt. James E. Magel and Billy Owens lie dying
At the Journalists’ Memorial in the Newseum on January 14 when the remains were disinterred. Russell Burrows is far right. Photograph: Thanks to Michael Putzel
And even though it drew roughly 800,000 visitors a year, it was not enough to keep the museum afloat. The building has been sold to Johns Hopkins University to be used for D.C.-based graduate programmes. While the rest of the museum’s holdings are being put into storage or returned to their owners, the remains are now homeless. Russell Burrows, Burrows’s son, said that he was not sure what would happen next, but he is working on it. “Because next February will be the 50th anniversary of the shooting down, I’m treating that as a deadline to come up with a plan to satisfy the families,” he told me. “Bayeux (France), London, somewhere in Vietnam, Washington, Southern California and Texas have all been raised. Personally, I lean towards another Washington location, but even if the memorial site there, now being discussed, is approved, its completion is years away. When the artefacts were recovered from Laos, we had good information about the foreign journalists, and over the past 10 years we have come to know the Vietnamese families, too.” Russell does not believe there will be any DNA testing to further identify the remains that were found. “I don’t believe
Financial troubles forced the Newseum in Washington D.C. to shut on December 31
there will be DNA tests, the necessary level of sophistication wasn’t available in the late ‘90s at the time of the recovery, but the military closed the case based on strong circumstantial evidence. It was a group identification, and there has been no effort to reopen the case to look at the small quantity of human remains.” The four photojournalists were by no means the first to die covering the Vietnam War. They were all aware of the danger they faced in covering combat and had become familiar with witnessing death. One of Huet’s most famous photographs from the war was a photograph of photojournalist Dickey Chapelle being given last rites by a chaplain after she was mortally wounded by a booby trap. Burrows’s harrowing photo series for Life, One Ride with Yankee Papa 13, showed how the death of a friend in combat can break down even the strongest soldier. Several of his photos are on display in the FCC’s Bunker. For now, the small capsule containing the remains of the passengers on one illfated helicopter in 1971 will stay in the care of the DPAA and held at its laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. They are a long way from the mountainside in Laos, but they are still far from finding a home. n
“The color photographs of tormented Vietnamese villagers and wounded American conscripts that Larry Burrows took and Life published, starting in 1962, certainly fortified the outcry against the American presence in Vietnam. Burrows was the first important photographer to do a whole war in color— another gain in verisimilitude and shock.” – Looking At War by Susan Sontag
PHOTO: ©2020 ROBIN MOYER
A BIRTHDAY FORAY INTO COMBAT Photographer and long-time FCC member Robin Moyer remembers Larry Burrows well. He said: “Larry showed me how to use my first real camera, a Japanese Beauty Super II. That was in 1963 at his home on Headland Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong. On May 11, 1970 on my 25th birthday and my first foray into combat, I was on a helicopter headed from Saigon to the Cambodian border with Larry and John Saar from Life (and Kioichi Sawada of AP who was later killed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, October 28, 1970). Here’s a photo of that flight as we pass the Black Virgin Mountain near Tay Ninh. I had a couple of dinners later with Larry in Saigon but was never in the field with him again.”
ON THE WALL
OUT OF TIME 1972-1980 Award-winning photographer and FCC member Robin Moyer remembers two very different assignments in his distinguished career and marks a tragic anniversary
L-R: CBS cameraman and FCC member Derek Williams, AP’s Terry Anderson, John Hamill (NY Daily News), CBS correspondent Bruce Dunning and AP’s Simon Kim.
Crowds of mourners in Gwangju, South Korea, after special forces killed hundreds of citizens demonstrating against martial law, May 1980.
A family’s vigil over the coffin of a son killed in the Gwangju Massacre of May 1980.
PHOTOS: © 2020 ROBIN MOYER
Gwangju Massacre: 10 Days In May 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Gwangju Massacre, a black mark in the history of South Korea. From May 18 to 27, 1980, protests in Gwangju in Cholla Nam Do against martial law began a grassroots campaign that would assert civilian rule 10 years later. Hundreds of civilians were massacred, beaten and tortured by the military following the orders of Korean President and General Chun Doo-hwan, desperate to maintain order over students and citizens in Gwangju who defied the martial law edict. The official death toll is 170, but estimates of as many as 600 to 2,000 killed have gained credibility. Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson, his assistant Simon Kim, and I cross-referenced our individual search lists over a few days and agreed on a figure of just over 300 confirmed. But rumours claimed that truckloads of corpses had been spirited away in the earlier nights and buried in unmarked graves. Anderson and I arrived on May 21, a few days after the initial massacre. The paratroopers had pulled back and we were able to go about the job of reporting. Neither Terry nor I spoke more than a few words of Korean. Luckily Terry’s reporter, Simon Kim, had arrived and witnessed the massacre. He was our constant companion. The final night found most of the reporters who had managed to get into the city huddled in the hallways of a small hotel near the provincial offices. Around dawn, Anderson tried to take photos of soldiers on a rooftop, which brought a rain of M-16 fire through the window, hitting inches from Terry’s head. As the military consolidated their control, we were able to move out (carefully) and do some reporting. I don’t remember how we got back to Seoul. A few years later, in Lebanon, Terry was taken hostage by Hezbollah and held for six years in the Bekaa Valley.
Cowboys, Whiskey Creek, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 1991
PHOTOS: © 2020 ROBIN MOYER
1963 Chevy Impala, Tupelo, Mississippi, 1980
Chef on the Southern Crescent, an overnight long-haul passenger train operated by the Southern Railway between Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, Louisiana, with connections North and West in asdf those two cities. 1975.
A game of Bourré in Eunice, Louisiana.
ON THE WALL
IN THE ROOM: BEHIND THE SCENES OF HISTORY Photographs by David Kennerly
ormer FCC member David Hume Kennerly has been a photographer on the front lines of history for 55 years. At age 25 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for Feature Photography. His winning portfolio included images of the Vietnam and Cambodia wars, refugees escaping from East Pakistan, and the Ali v. Frazier “Fight of the Century”. Two years later Kennerly was appointed President Gerald R. Ford’s Personal White House Photographer, the third person to ever have that job. Kennerly has photographed 10 American presidents, and covered 13 presidential campaigns. He was a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine for 10 years, and a contributing photographer for Time and Life magazines for more than 15. American Photo Magazine named Kennerly “One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography”. In 2019, The University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography acquired the David Hume Kennerly Archive, which features almost one million images, prints, objects, memorabilia, correspondence and documents. University President Robert C. Robbins also appointed Kennerly the
university’s first Presidential Scholar. Kennerly has published several books of his work, Shooter, Photo Op, Seinoff: The Final Days of Seinfeld, Photo du Jour, Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford, and David Hume Kennerly On the iPhone. He was also a major contributor to the CNN 2016 book, Unprecedented: The Election that Changed Everything. His exclusive portrait of the new president is on the cover. Kennerly was executive producer of The Spymasters, a 2015 CBS/Showtime documentary about the directors of the CIA. He also produced The Presidents’ Gatekeepers, a four-hour Discovery Channel film about White House chiefs of staff. Kennerly was nominated for a Primetime Emmy as executive producer of NBC’s, The Taking of Flight 847, and was the writer and executive producer of a two-hour NBC pilot filmed in Thailand, Shooter, starring Helen Hunt. Shooter was based on Kennerly’s Vietnam experiences, and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography. In 2015 Kennerly received the prestigious Lucie Award honoring the greatest achievement in photojournalism.
President Richard Nixon in the hallway of the White House in 1974. Nixon resigned the presidency August 9, 1974.
First Lady Betty Ford strikes a playful pose on the Cabinet Room table, January 19, 1977, the day before leaving the White House in Washington D.C.
L-R: Former President George H.W. Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office at the White House, January 7, 2009.
New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy with wife Ethel at the Ambassador Hotel after winning the California primary, June 5, 1968 in Los Angeles. Moments later he was fatally shot by Sirhan Sirhan.
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat poses in front of the Pyramids of Giza in 1977 in Cairo for Time magazine’s Man of the Year issue.
The funeral procession for slain political leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. makes its way through the streets of Manila in the Philippines, August 31, 1983.
Muhammad Ali heads for the deck in the 15th round of his world championship fight after taking a left hook from Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, March 8, 1971 in New York City. Frazier won the fight.
China’s Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping in The Great Hall of the People during asdf a visit from US President Gerald R. Ford, December 1, 1975 in Peking, China
President Donald J. Trump greets former President Barack Obama immediately after being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States at the U.S. Capitol, January 20, 2017 in Washington DC.
WHAT THEY SAID... Featured highlights of event speakers at FCC
Clement Lai and Doriane Lau
Lawrence Ho and Shibani Mahtani
Hong Kong Police Force has a difficult reputation in the eyes of the public. Months of protests have led to endless images of officers, not in their familiar pale blue shirts but tooled up with an armoury of weapons – steel knee pads, helmets, riot shields, tear gas launchers, guns… you name it. You certainly wouldn’t approach any of them for directions to the nearest 7/11. But, according to Dr Lawrence Ho from the Education University of Hong Kong and an expert on Hong Kong police, they never were community officers. Ho told a full panel lunch: “This is a very complicated story. Hong Kong Police developed a paramilitary system, which is not service-oriented. If necessary, it can become military. Hong Kong police is historical and colonial, and draconian.” It is also a force of “very, very obedient officers” said Clement Lai, a former police superintendent and 22-year veteran of HKPF who now owns a private security firm. “They have been followed by cameras in recent months and dare not stray from their guidelines. Protesters are inventive; we have seen officers not sure of what to do. Officers are pretty nervous on the streets, not 100 per cent confident. And they believe they can achieve their professional objectives by using the next level of force.” It was these “next levels” of force that concerned Amnesty International’s Doriane Lau, who was working on a briefing on the need for an independent inquiry into the Hong Kong police, and what it should look like. “The reason AI thinks an independent inquiry is important right now is because the commission [Independent Police Complaints Council] isn’t working. “We and many other organisations have received a lot of evidence of police excessive use of force and adoption of aggressive tactics. People subjected to something that can amount to torture while in detention. We want these allegations to be investigated. A commission can make recommendations and can look at a bigger picture than the courts can.”
Former police officer Lai, who during his police career took charge of the Airport Security Unit and established the Counter Terrorism Response Unit, said: “You need frontline officers to manage the officers’ adrenalin. But who’s in the front to lead them? HKPF has nurtured managers rather than commanding officers, more as a social service. In peacetime this is OK. “We need operational commanders on the street rather than managers. They need to start rebuilding trust now.” Moderator Shibani Mahtani said: “We hear people are not reporting crimes because the trust has been broken. What needs to be done to bring police back to the community model?” AI’s Lau was clear: “We need to keep producing evidence. Many journalists here today have been trying really hard also to gather evidence.” Academic Ho, an honorary fellow of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Hong Kong, asked who the HKPF serve, what do they serve? “If the top leaders cannot set a clear direction, this dilemma will appear again. If they are motivated to reform, it may succeed. By that, I mean the police chief and his bosses. The police are a bureaucracy.” Lai added later: “Police officers are not trained politically; top management have a lot of confidence in themselves and are reluctant to say ‘Help me’.” In the meantime, it was felt some trust may return with correct procedures of investigation and, if necessary, punishment. Lai said: “I was once a subject of a Capo (Complaints Against Police Office) and it was an uncomfortable experience. If found guilty, it affects your promotion. Capo works in a way; it makes police officers think twice before crossing the line.” He also reminded us that in 2016, after the Mong Kok riots, officers did serve prison sentences. A day after this panel, Hong Kong announced its first coronavirus case and very suddenly the news agenda changed. Lunch, January 22, Sue Brattle
Policing Hong Kong’s Police: How to Restore Trust
See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events
Beyond the Protests: How Can We Rebuild Hong Kong?
Anson Chan and Priscilla Leung
The two eminent panellists at this FCC lunch referred to each other in first name terms. But at times in their sparring it sounded a bit like politeness with gritted teeth, such was the political chasm between the speakers, former Chief Secretary Anson Chan and LegCo member Priscilla Leung. While the fully-booked lunch was held at the height of the coronavirus emergency, the topic on which the speakers were so at odds was Hong Kong’s previous crisis, the seven-month long anti-government protests, and how to rebuild Hong Kong in their aftermath. Pro-establishment Leung, described in the media as a Beijing loyalist, set the ball rolling, speaking soothingly of the health crisis as an opportunity to be seized to calm everybody down and take stock after the unrest. We need to consider Hong Kong as one family even though members may have their differences, she said, also adding that the one-country, two systems structure was alive and well. Chan begged to differ – strongly. “I’m afraid most Hong Kong people would not agree with you. After seven months of prolonged unrest and unprecedented vandalism and violence – which I condemn – we are not one family.” She was piercingly critical of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, whom she described as being “as arrogant as ever”. She and her team had failed to set an example of inclusiveness, even refusing to reach out to winners of last November’s district council elections. She added that the bulk of the community disputed Leung’s assertion about the health of one country, two systems. Hong Kong’s young people are laying their lives on the line “because they don’t like what they see about the insidious chipping away of one country, two systems”. She accused Beijing’s Liaison Office of increasinglyblatant interference in Hong Kong affairs in contravention of the Basic Law mini-constitution. “Who is running Hong Kong?”
Chan demanded. “The Chief Executive or the Liaison Office?” Leung countered, saying she was very disappointed at her fellow-panellist, and that it was dangerous to assert that Hong Kong was not one family. “Today we are not sitting here to escalate hatred and hostility.” Encouraging violence will destroy Hong Kong, she added. Chan denied, again, that she condones violence. “But unfortunately you’re facing some youngsters who see little hope for the future.” She said many of the youngsters were reasonable people who don’t want revolution or independence for Hong Kong. “They just want Beijing to honour the promises about fundamental freedoms and maintenance of the rule of law that we all took for granted was enshrined and protected in the [Sino-British] Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.” She added: “We are supposed – we don’t of course – to elect our Chief Executive. And actually we look to our Chief Executive to explain Hong Kong people’s concerns and not give the impression that every single move of hers has to have the approval of Beijing before she can even make the move.” At least Chan and Leung had some measure of agreement on the need for an independent inquiry into the unrest. Leung suggested that such an inquest should be conducted under the auspices of the Legislative Council, where her camp has a majority. Predictably, Chan disagreed. She said that government must also be prepared to restart constitutional reform discussions. “We are not asking for the sun and the moon. We are not asking for genuine one man, one vote tomorrow.” She also warned of dire consequences if Chief Executive Lam fails to make concessions. “I’m afraid that after the coronavirus is over and done with, the protests will not stop.” Lunch, February 20, Jonathan Sharp
COVID-19: How to Deal with the Physical and Mental Challenges Facing Hong Kong
While speaking engagements across Hong Kong were cancelled, the Club ploughed on and its February 26 COVID-19 lunch panel drew a full house, spilling out onto the Verandah. Moderator Keith Richburg, director of The University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, did a stellar job of keeping the mood upbeat. “We’re in great shape here because we have two doctors and one nurse. If anything happens, you’re safe and we’ve got a journalist to record it all,” said Richburg, drawing laughter from the crowd as he introduced the panel of four: Keiji Fukuda, director and a Clinical Professor at HKU’s School of Public Health; Dr Arisina Ma, chair of the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association; Elizabeth Cheung, SCMP health reporter; and Odile Thiang, Anti-Stigma Projects Coordinator at Mind Hong Kong. The panel ran in the immediate aftermath of Hong Kong’s great toilet roll panic buying fiasco and the audience was a little jittery, so the fact that the general mood post-panel was optimistic speaks to the attitude of the panellists – they were there to inform and try to offer some perspective on COVID-19. Fukuda kicked off, framing the COVID-19 outbreak within the context of the big infectious diseases of our lifetime,
from HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, to SARS in 2003, Middle East respiratory syndrome, Ebola and Zika virus. “We’ve had a lot of experience with a variety of different outbreaks. In keeping with all of them, this virus is something which emerged in animals, got transformed and became adapted to people,” said Fukuda. He explained that those infected can infect others relatively early in their illness, drawing an important distinction with SARS. “With SARS, you would get sick, but you were largely not that infectious. But when you were very sick and got hospitalised that’s when you began infecting other people more easily and so we had big hospital outbreaks,” said Fukuda. Dr Ma was just starting out in the medical profession in 2003 and recalled the high number of healthcare professionals who lost their lives to SARS, including some of her colleagues. “In the beginning we were very worried – Will this be another episode of SARS with 10 percent of mortality and no definite efficient treatment? Now we know there are some drugs which are quite efficient in treating it, especially when you start it early,” said Dr Ma. Acknowledging the tensions in Hong Kong’s healthcare system – “the tension with the government, the strike,
From left, Keiji Fukuda, Odile Thiang, Elizabeth Cheung, Dr Arisina Ma and moderator Keith Richburg
See recordings of Speakers’ events in full: www.fcchk.org/events
the lack of protective material” – she said she was more comforted than she had been two weeks earlier. As is often the case with new and serious illnesses in Hong Kong, it’s the public rather than the private healthcare system that is going to save you. She explained that private doctors are referring suspected COVID-19 cases to public hospitals which tend to have better protective equipment as well as the tests to confirm the virus. “That is another thing that makes this better than SARS – we have developed the test kit. It is very sensitive, accurate and just takes a few hours to confirm the virus. Private practitioners, they may not have access to that kind of test,” she said. Thiang, a nurse as well as child and adolescent teaching fellow at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, addressed the anxiety in the community, driven by the sense of the unknown and further fuelled by social media. “On top of that you have a change in the way we work – a lot of us working from home, some of us are parents trying to figure out how to work from home as well as be newly minted teachers at home,” said Thiang. Cheung, the journalist on the panel, underscored the need to get information from reliable sources and shared the challenges given the complexity of the story. “When we are dealing with Hong Kong passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, that information was
actually released by the Security Bureau, so when we went to the daily presser by the health authorities, they were not able to tell us about those people,” said Cheung. Hopefully, a year from now, we will still recall Fukuda’s observation that the common pattern throughout the big infectious diseases of the last 40 years is that the panic in response to the outbreak is always followed by inertia. People are so sick and tired of talking and worrying about the outbreak that when it passes, they walk away from it. It’s the period between outbreaks, he said, when we have the time and machinery to make important changes. “The problem is that as soon as this goes down, we will go back to the other world, another crisis will come up and attention will wander and this is something that we’ve never been able to solve or get away from,” Fukuda said. But when will Hong Kong get back to normal? asked Richburg. Fukuda questioned whether a return to normal meant zero infections. Perhaps the virus will become endemic? Dr Ma qualified her sense of normalcy, drawing a distinction between her professional (“as a doctor I want to know if it will get worse”) and personal (“as a mom, I want my kid to go back to school. Home learning is painful – for me”) life. Richburg, a Correspondent governor, quipped: “Oddly, back to normal here means back to the protests.” Lunch, Kate Whitehead, February 26
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Tim and Matthew realised during the lunch they share the same tailor
When the FCC invited Fox Sports Formula One analyst Matthew Marsh to speak and share his inside knowledge, the hope was that it would provide some light relief from the main topic of conversation the past two months, COVID-19. Little did we know that by the time he spoke, the virus would have led to the first race being cancelled and the calendar for the multi-million dollar circus that is Formula One would have been thrown into chaos. Addressing the issue of the confusion that surrounded the opening event in Australia and why it seemed to take so long before a decision was made to cancel, Marsh pointed to the complexities of reaching a decision with so many different stakeholders. If one of them makes the decision to cancel, who is going to come up with the money? Would
former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone have done things differently? Probably. He would no doubt have done deals in the background, whereas current owners Liberty Media are more transparent. The idea of a race behind closed doors would certainly have appealed to Bernie – he didn’t like crowds or people clogging up the paddock. It’s easy with hindsight, but the decision should have probably been made before everyone left for Australia, just as Italy was going into lockdown. Away from the virus story, Marsh spoke glowingly of current world champion Lewis Hamilton, both as a driver and a person. “Lewis knows what is right and what is wrong and is willing to speak out”, and referred to the visit Hamilton made to the Blue Mountains on his arrival in Australia to see the wildlife rescue programme after the devastating bushfires, to which he had donated US$500,000. Hamilton “believes he is the best but is still not satisfied with himself. His work ethic is incredible. He was super talented when he first came to Macau as a youngster and should have won it and he’s not getting any slower”. After a decade at the top, Hamilton now faces challenges from the new breed of young drivers. Dutch ace Max Verstappen “is Hamilton’s real challenger, he has an amazing ability to consistently deliver super quick laps, but he’s very difficult to interview. If he can, he will only deliver one word answers because he wants to get it over with and get on with making the car faster”. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc “probably needs a bit more time”, but amongst the other youngsters, Briton George Russell has impressed Marsh. “He’s super bright and a great driver – he drove me round Suzuka (circuit in Japan) three years ago in a GT car and I’m still talking about. He also maximises every opportunity to make an impression and take a step forward, whether it be dealing with the media or with the teams he works with.” In response to a question from the floor about whether virtual racing could fill the gap left by race cancellations, Matthew felt that e-sports and virtual racing could be part of the future but it needed to get its act together and develop the product to appeal to a wider audience. As regards the sport’s wider media presence, he singled out the Netflix series Drive to Survive as being a particular example of expanding Formula One’s fan base because it emphasized the human element and personalities while steering away from the technicalities. Here’s hoping the flag drops on the new season soon. Lunch, March 18, Tim Huxley
Matthew Marsh | The View From Inside Formula One 2020
FRONTLINE WITNESS WARNS OF THE ‘LAWFARE’ AHEAD Lawyer and author Antony Dapiran, a Club member, spent countless hours observing Hong Kong’s protests from the front line. Journalist and FCC Clare Hollingworth Fellow Mary Hui was there, too, so who better to review Dapiran’s resulting book
PHOTO: MAY JAMES
rying to follow Hong Kong’s protests last year was like watching a long, continuous film reel with no end in sight. At first the protests were counted in weekends: “the second consecutive weekend… the 12th consecutive weekend” – until it no longer made sense to do so. Then it was counted in seasons: “Hong Kong’s summer of discontent.” But the protests outgrew that, too, so the moniker changed once more to “the 2019 protest”. And now of course it’s 2020, and the protest movement, while muted compared to last year, has by no means ended. Against this backdrop, Antony Dapiran’s new book, City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong, is an important resource for anyone seeking a broad understanding of Hong Kong’s ongoing protest movement. Drawing on his countless hours of observing the protests on the streets, Dapiran recounts in detail how the movement unfolded over the course of months last year. But, crucially, he also situates the protests in a broader historical and analytical framework by tracing the recent political history of Hong Kong, and by referencing a wide range of academic research. The reader comes away understanding that the protests did not happen in a vacuum, and nor were they circumscribed by clashes on the streets. Much of the trajectory of the protests, in fact, is being charted not in street-level clashes but in the courts of law. As Fu Hualing, dean of the University of Hong Kong’s law faculty, put it at a conference last year on civil unrest: “The protests started with a law, were aggravated by a law, and one way or another will end with another law.” Throughout the protests last year, the Hong Kong government and the police relied on a number
of questionable court injunctions in an attempt to restrict the protests. One was the so-called anti-doxxing injunction that was presented as an effort to protect police officers from harassment but was so vaguely worded that it put press freedom at risk. Another was an injunction that prevented the online dissemination of any information that “promotes, encourages or incites the use or threat of violence” to a person or property. But the terms of the injunction were so wide-ranging, Dapiran notes, that it “effectively gave the Hong Kong police a license to censor the internet, and was a serious incursion on freedom of expression”. And who could forget the face mask ban, rushed into existence through the controversial use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance? As Dapiran writes: “Both of these injunctions, like the anti-masking law, appeared to be examples of bad law: law that was vague, difficult to interpret, and of questionable enforceability, and that gave excessive discretion to those enforcing it.” There is a word for these legal manoeuvres, Dapiran tells us: “Lawfare... the use of Hong Kong’s legal system by the government as a tool to achieve political objectives.” We’ll only be seeing more of this lawfare in the coming months and years, and Dapiran’s sharp legal analysis serves as an invaluable guide.
The normalisation of vandalism and violence – both state violence and street violence – now hangs over Hong Kong. Dapiran does not shy away from assessing the ethics of these controversial acts. The vandalising of an MTR station, he notes, should rightfully attract legal consequences. But, importantly, he points out that state-backed violence cannot be directly equated to protester violence. On such an uneven playing field, he writes, “protester violence could be philosophically justified as a reaction against state violence, whether in the form of police brutality or the systemic violence of the political system”. Now, with a collapse of public trust in the government amid a public health crisis, large-scale protests have taken a hiatus as people turn their attention to fighting the coronavirus. But it would be recklessly foolish to think the protests are by any means over. In City on Fire, Dapiran has given us an excellent map of last year’s protests, and a framework for understanding the continuing resistance movement. City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong, by Antony Dapiran. Published by Scribe UK, www.scribepublications. co.uk, ISBN 978-1-913-348113 (UK edition) Mary Hui is a freelance journalist and writer. She likes to use the urban world as a lens through which to explore political, socioeconomic, and cultural issues. She also writes about adventures in the great outdoors, including trail running.
MEMBERSHIP Who’s joined the Club, who’s leaving and who’s turned silver! This is the column to read.
Welcome to New Members Correspondents
• Kristie Lu Stout, Anchor/Correspondent, CNN • Anindya Mukherjee, Columnist, Bloomberg • Scott Murdoch, Asia Capital Markets Correspondent, Thomson Reuters • Rachel Chang, Asia Consumer & Healthcare Team Leader, Bloomberg • Iain Marlow, Correspondent, Bloomberg • Rebecca Feng, Reporter, Euromoney Institutional Investor • Huh Dong Hyuck, Reporter, New Daily Korea • Amy Gunia, Reporter, Time • Ella Arwyn Jones, Head of Research (Apac), Acuris Company • Sue-Lin Wong, South China Correspondent, Financial Times • Ai Lyn Denise Wee, Reporter, Bloomberg • Roger Clark, Vice-President and Bureau Chief, CNN Journalists
• Roy McKenzie, Production Editor, South China Morning Post • Lok Chit Cheng, Editorial Director, Hong Kong Free Press • Wing Chung Law, Programme Host, Now TV Associates
• Fung Ham Wong, Chief Executive, Consumer Council • Richard Albuquerque, CPA (Practising), Richard Albuquerque & Co • Gary (Hang) Yu, Executive Director, Goldman Sachs Asia • Kilian Chan, Associate Director, UBS • Symon Wong, Teaching Consultant, City University of Hong Kong • Mamta Malhotra, Director, Max Trade Ltd • Harmina Warringa, Owner, Summer & Co.co • Bruce Morrison, Director, English Language Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University • Oliver Kilpatrick • Andrew Chan, Vice-President, Risk Management, PCCW • Ernest Law, Managing Director & Chief Executive, The Access Bank UK Ltd • Jonathan Katz, Executive Director, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce • Delphine Lefay, CEO & Co-Founder, OnTheList Ltd • Lulu Yu, Self-Employed • Gregory Fournier, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce • Jack Lau, Adjunct Professor, Dept of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology • Nelson Wat, Hospital Chief Executive, Hospital Authority • Jatia Anurag, Managing Director, West Pioneer Properties (HK) Ltd • Joanne Lam, Solicitor, Tanner De Witt • Sackthi Muthu, Director, ANJ Ltd • Jimmy Chan, Company Director, Kilncraft Ceramics Ltd Diplomatic
• Christian Hellstern, Consular Attaché, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany
• Charles Whiteley, First Counsellor, European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau • Shannon Tau, Deputy Consul-General, New Zealand Consulate-General Corporate Replacements
• Yi Lau, General Manager Cargo Service Delivery, Cathay Pacific Airways • Gabriel Tan, Head of Financial Communications, Hill and Knowlton Asia Ltd
On To Pastures New Au revoir to those members leaving Hong Kong who have become Absent members: Correspondents
• Ji Xiang, Programme Host & Editor, China Money Network Ltd • David McIntyre, Photographer, Zuma Press • Otis Bilodeau, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg • Angus Watson, Associate Producer, CNN • Priyanka Boghani, Senior Reporter, Asian Private Banker Journalists
• Hoi Ng, English News Reporter, Radio Television Hong Kong • Michael Connelly, Editor-in-Chief, Lifestyle Asia Associates
• Philip Channon, Chief Operating Officer, International, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Communications Ltd • Robert Blain, Executive Chairman – Apac, CBRE • Ryan Clendenny, Director, Strategic Equity Group, Citigroup Global Markets Asia Ltd • Kylie Chan, Associate Director, Custom Content Apac, The Wall Street Journal • Glenys Newall, Professional Support Lawyer, Linklaters • Michael Bentley, Managing Director, Citylife International Realty Ltd • Martin Merz • Peter Randall, Director, PR & ALL, • Alastair Monteith-Hodge, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Cancer Foundation • Miu Au, Partner, Messrs C. P. Lin & Co • Antony Fung, Managing Director, Antony Fung & Co International Property Advisers • Adrian Gornall • Chung Yin Yeung, Director, SCA (Greater China) Ltd • Richard Brown, BFIN • Ka Ming Lau, CEO, Wesure Insurance Agency Co Ltd • Michael Smith, Managing Director, GIH London Ltd • Nigel White, Executive Director, Gammon Construction Ltd • Arthur Wong, Director, Abercan Ltd • Radhika Jasuja, Executive Director, Lombard Odier (Hong Kong) Ltd • David Workman, Independent Associate, Korn Ferry
• Wayne Crossley, DFS Group Ltd • Timothy Haywood, Regional Vice-President, Walton International Group Ltd
• George Russell, Desk Editor, Financial Times • Ada Lau, Presenter, Phoenix Satellite Television • Luiza Duerte, Asia Correspondent, GloboNews • Kelly Belknap, Asia TV Newsdesk Team Leader, Bloomberg • Odiri Erheriene, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal Journalists
• Matthew Scott, Writer, Cool Hand Media Associates
• Nathan Hsu • Sir Wayne Leung, Managing Director, The Local Printing Press Ltd • Timothy Peirson-Smith, Managing Director, Executive Counsel Ltd • Calvin Quong • Paolo Danese, Vice-President, FleishmanHillard • Mark Hooper • Charles Hulac, Managing Director, Citibank • Raymond Li, Principal, Dr Raymond Li Dental Surgery • Robert Sullivan, Senior Correspondent, InterFax Corporate
• Samantha Suen, Chief Executive, The HK Institute of Chartered Secretaries • Kenneth Madsen, President, Pandora Jewellery Asia Pacific Ltd • Natalie Tang, Vice-President, Pandora Jewellery Asia Pacific Ltd
Associate to Silver Associate
• Peter Geldart, Retired Associate to Journalist
• Cathy Hilborn Feng, Health and Wellness Editor, South China Morning Post Correspondent to Associate
• Joanna Lee, Chairman, Museworks Ltd • George Wong, Managing Director, Quamnet • Lorraine Cushnie, Partner, New Narrative Ltd • Robert Sullivan, Senior Correspondent, InterFax • Graham Mackay, Multimedia Producer, HSBC Journalist to Associate
• F.S. Carline, Promotion Consultant, CK Promotion Company • Niall Donnelly, Marketing Consultant, Boase Cohen & Collins • Melissa Gecolea, Communications Manager, Philip Morris Asia Ltd • Lorraine Yeung, Writer/Interpreter, Wordsforall • Wing Kei Kung, Project Manager, Civic Exchange • Ming Yiu Wu, Associate Marketing Director, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd • Mark Regan, Part-Time English Editor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Honorary Widow
• Mrs Winnie Walker
Despatched We are extremely sad to announce the deaths of:
• Steven Walker • Jeff Heselwood • Fraser Glasgow, Director, OSK Asia Securities Ltd • Dr Peter Hunt Miles, Retired • Graham Mead
• Jing Yang, Correspondent, Bloomberg • Yoshiko Nakano, Freelance Journalists
• Timothy Pile, Freelance Journalist, South China Morning Post Associates
• Wolf Berthold, Chairman, Helicon Enterprises Company Ltd • Paul Boldy, Deputy Chairman, 9F Primasia Securities Ltd • Peter Barrett, Retired • Mahabir Mohindar, Director, Heritage Foundation Ltd • Paul Haley, Adviser/Consultant, Human Applications Ltd • Lena Wong, Divisional Manager, Fossil • Donald Meyer, Retired
Category Changes Correspondent to Silver Correspondent
A huge advantage of being a member of the FCC (in normal times) 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.
• Mark Erder, Director, Asia Pacific Vision Ltd
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. Sue-Lin Wong I am the Financial Times’ South China Correspondent covering mainland southern China, Hong Kong and Macau. I opened the FT’s Shenzhen bureau last year, after opening the Reuters Shenzhen bureau in 2018. I was previously with Reuters where I covered beats including North Korea and the Chinese economy. I was born and raised in Australia where I am admitted as a lawyer. Roy McKenzie I’m from Cape Town, South Africa, where I worked as site editor for News24, the country’s biggest news site. I am now a production editor on the Asia desk at the SCMP, and am enjoying being back in Asia, 20 years after first travelling around the region. My other half Nick works in reinsurance. We certainly picked an exciting time to move here, arriving just as the protests started and now coronavirus. Friends have joked that Hong Kong was doing just fine before we arrived, so apologies about that. When not exploring the city or region, we can probably be found at the bar in a heated discussion, so please come and interrupt. Huh Dong Hyuck I was born in Tokyo, Japan, into a Korean journalist and statesman’s family. I studied history at Yonsei University, Seoul, and have an MA degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. My career as a journalist is three-and-a-half years with the New Daily Korea; I used to work in the automotive industry, but switched to being a reporter to pursue a long-cherished dream of journalism. I speak Korean, Japanese, English, Mandarin and some Cantonese. My beat is Hong Kong and Asia Pacific. Since I am still at an early stage in journalism, I welcome any advice from FCC members! Andrew Chan I am the vice-president of Group Risk Management at PCCW Group. Apart from managing risks and opportunities in this complex and ever-changing world, I have a strong passion for Hong Kong and Asian cinema. As a longtime professional member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia, I have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in film festivals held at Venice, Jeonju, Busan, Beijing, Hong Kong and all over Australia. It is also the reason why I joined the FCC, to further continue my life-long hobby and mingle with like-minded fellow FCC members.
Kilian Chan I am a Hongkonger working in the wealth management profession. I have a strong passion for the performing arts and enjoy going to concerts and the theatre, as well as playing and organising classical music concerts. I have been playing the cello for more than 20 years and still try to practise and improve a bit every day. One of my sources of inspiration comes from nature. I love hiking a lot. Going up and down the mountains seeing the amazing work of nature is rewarding. Walking up the Peak after a salad at the FCC Lounge is one of my favourite things to do. Jatia Anurag Originally from Mumbai, I moved to Hong Kong about nine years ago with my family. I spent a year in London before moving here. Since my move to Hong Kong, I have been involved in managing a family office. Besides work, I spend a lot of time boxing and learning Muay Thai. I am very passionate about music, especially classic rock from the 80s, and I enjoy collecting vinyl records. I am interested in technology, and have a 10-year-old daughter. Dr Jack Lau My name is Jack. I have a long affiliation with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where I am currently serving as a Council member and also an Adjunct Professor in Engineering. I enjoy keeping track of the latest technologies in my blog (www.jacklau.info). I spent my adolescent years in San Francisco. I also help out on a number of HK Government technology funding committees as my public service. I am an avid golfer who has a rather serious handicap :( I enjoy yoga and reading. Bruce Morrison I started out as an English teacher nearly 40 years ago in Egypt, living in Cairo and Ismailia (on the Suez Canal), before making my way to Hong Kong in 1994 via Madrid and Tarragona, Tsing Hua University in Beijing (1986-88), Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Rome and Beijing again briefly. Mostly, I worked for the British Council as a teacher trainer and language centre director, with every destination providing its special challenges. I have worked at the HK Polytechnic University since I arrived here and am now director of the English Language Centre. I live in Sai Kung Country Park and walk in the hills, travel as much as I can and grapple with building model wooden boats.
Ernest Law I’m a professional banker, spending most of my career in Hong Kong but have also lived and worked in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. Basketball has been my favourite sport since school and I played in the local league till a serious injury. After that it became a casual weekly exercise which I still enjoy playing every weekend. My daughter started riding some five years ago and since then has fallen in love with the sport, while I am only a spectator. I am in the process of establishing a new business venture in Hong Kong. Symon Wong I am a retired magistrate of the HKSAR and teach at the School of Law of the City University of Hong Kong. Martial arts have played an important role in my life. I started practising Muay Thai and Taekwondo when I was seven. It equipped me with the skills of self-defence and, more importantly, strengthened endurance when faced with difficult times in life. I am honoured occasionally to referee or judge matches held by the Hong Kong Muay Thai Association. Given the social unrest since June 2019, I also write commentaries with the aim of neutralizing the atmosphere of hatred in Hong Kong. Gary (Hang) Yu I grew up in Hangzhou, China, and moved to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree after I finished college. I spent almost another decade in Illinois before deciding to move to HK in 2011. Growing up as a fan of TVB soap operas and Hong Kong movies, this decision couldn’t have been easier. I work for Goldman Sachs, writing computer programs to trade securities automatically. When I am not at work or tutoring my kid with maths homework, I’m cycling in Tung Chung or running on one of HK’s beautiful trails. Ella Arwyn Jones You may guess from my surname (and I’m told, lilting accent!) that I come from Wales. That, together with Irish blood and a year in Tokyo during my Edinburgh degree, may explain how at home I feel living on an island. A chance meeting on London’s Strand led me to become Head of Research, Apac, at Acuris’s Inframation news platform, covering infrastructure investment across the region. Despite the cockroach-and-Hoover-incident (a tale for a drink at the bar!) I love Hong Kong – its feng shui, sunny hikes and shopfront cats. Rebecca Feng I was born in Beijing, went to college in the U.S. and completed my master’s degree in postcolonial literature in Scotland. My dissertation focused on the literary identity of Hong Kong after 1997. And that’s why I came to Hong Kong in September 2018 – I wanted to live in the city I had read and written about. Here I cover the Chinese market opening-up process for GlobalCapital China, a publication under Euromoney. I have an identical twin but I like travelling alone and drawing what I see on the way.
Joanne Lam A matrimonial lawyer by day and a yogi and exercise enthusiast by even earlier in the day, I am known for my high-energy and bubbly personality (or so I am told). I was formerly with the South China Morning Post as assistant editor for STYLE magazine. Nowadays, you’ll find me lifting heavy things and putting them back down at the gym across from the FCC, exploring coffee shops in Hong Kong or cooking up a storm at home. Hilga Warringa Hailing from the Netherlands, I never imagined that my future would involve setting up home (and business) amongst the glittering skyscrapers of Hong Kong. But when I arrived here in 2006 to set up the Asian subsidiary of a Dutch options market making firm, I fell in love with the city. As a child, my passion was for animals and their welfare, and I have managed to combine business with that passion. In addition to my investment work, I set up a drinks brand, Animal Love, which benefits animal charities. Our Scotch whiskies support dog shelters and our Tahitian rum and gin aid sea turtle conservation. Delphine Lefay I am co-founder & CEO of OnTheList, which I founded four years ago with my husband, and it has been one of the best adventures so far. It is a members-only flash sales platform for luxury brands. I am very passionate about building a sustainable future and hope to be involved in bringing more awareness of sustainability into the fashion industry. I also love exploring different cities with friends and learning about new cultures. One of the hobbies I took on as a kid was horseback riding and to this day it is still one of my favourite activities. Kristie Lu Stout I’m a proud member of the FCC and have been an anchor/correspondent for CNN based in this beautiful city for almost two decades. I report both breaking news and features in Hong Kong and across the region. I regularly go into the field to anchor and report on major stories and also host feature shows on innovation. Warning: I am a hard-core media addict. All recommendations are welcome including art house (and lowbrow) movies, longform journalism, books, graphic novels, Instagram feeds, podcasts and Nintendo Switch games. If anyone in the Club wants to talk, please introduce yourself. Iain Marlow I’m a correspondent with Bloomberg News, mainly covering politics, security and foreign policy issues. My partner Nicole Baute is a writer who is teaching at Hong Kong University. We’re both Canadian and arrived here after three years in India, where I covered Indian politics and South Asia out of Bloomberg’s lively New Delhi bureau. Before that, I was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national paper. Our July arrival in Hong Kong brought us here at the height of the protests, and now we look forward to fine conversations at the FCC bar on the other side of “social distancing”.
anuary 10 saw the first Wine Social of the year, and Australia kicked the season off with 30 wines to taste. Argentina was next, on February 17, and connoisseurs had 20 to choose from for the wine of the month delivery service.
Member Jeffrey Black (right) with his two guests.
Breakfast with Niall Ferguson
istorian, author, filmmaker, political adviser, columnist, and academic Professor Niall Ferguson was in conversation with FCC President Jodi Schneider at a packed Club breakfast on January 9. His glittering career, which includes 15 books and award-winning film and documentary work, meant there was lots to talk about – not least the term “Chimerica” which he coined to describe the relationship between China and the U.S.
t’s good to know the Club staff will be expertly on hand in an emergency in the future, with many of them undergoing a busy few days of training in January. First came the CPR instruction on January 11, which they sailed through with flying colours. Three days later they gathered again with firefighters showing them the drill to evacuate the Club in double-quick time. Congratulations to you all.
We’re in safe hands
Member Mark Bobek (right) with his two guests.
FCC gets its own beer
ohit Dugar, founder of the Young Master Brewery, hosted the launch of the Club’s very own beer in the Main Bar on January 14 – and it’s aptly named Headline Pilsner.
It’s the Year of the Rat!
C Rich Macauley (left), Rohit Dugar and staff at the launch
hinese New Year is always a wonderful and colourful time, and the Club had fun welcoming in the Year of the Rat, even though the early arrival of the coronavirus was beginning to be felt. The lion dance and parade was held on January 30, with the staff’s New Year gathering the same day. The next day, January 31, saw Renri, which in Chinese mythology is the birth of all humans – and sadly by then the staff were celebrating from behind face masks.
Welcoming new members
n induction ceremony was held on the Verandah on January 17, and we offer a warm welcome to all of our new members.
Gift of masks
PHOTOS: FCC & ANNIE VAN ES
(From left) Tim Huxley with Stefanie and William Robbins
(From left) Philipp Koether, Wenqi Chang, and Iain Marlow
CC member Johan Nylander donated 1,000 face masks to the Club’s staff on February 21 after receiving a shipment from a relative in Sweden. The Club introduced precautionary measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, including supplying staff with masks, compulsory temperature checks for all who enter the club, and the signing of disclosure forms regarding travel to China. “I’m proud and grateful to the staff who come here everyday to make sure the club is up and running,” said Nylander, a journalist and author of the book, Shenzhen Superstars – How China’s Smartest City Is Challenging Silicon Valley. “As an Asia correspondent for Swedish media, I work from the FCC more or less every day now since my normal office is closed, reporting on the virus outbreak and its consequences. So in a way, we all help each other out in reporting for the world.”
DR PETER HUNT MILES Fine diagnostician with a bonecrushing handshake and a love of golf
Dr Miles was for years the FCC’s staff doctor and oversaw the Club’s flu jab programme.
r Peter Hunt Miles, late of Discovery Bay, passed away at North Lantau Hospital on Boxing Day, aged 88 years. Born in 1931 in Narrabri, New South Wales (NSW), Dr Miles was the last surviving of three brothers and a sister. A long-time member of the FCC, Peter served as the Club staff doctor and oversaw the club flu jab programme. Peter lived in Hong Kong for 48 years, having moved here in 1971 to take up a position at the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Charity Hospital. He soon found himself in private practice, leasing a clinic in Tak Shing House on Des Voeux Road for many years, from which he built a loyal patient following in both the expat and local communities. A fine sportsman in his younger years, “Bomber” Miles played Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW in the 1960s, as well as rugby league, tennis and squash. He was well known for his golfing prowess and won many a trophy in his capacity as a member at Discovery Bay Golf Club. He could be difficult to find on a Thursday afternoon, but those in the know knew to head for the golf course not the clinic! Known for his bonecrushing handshakes and his “playful” sparring, Peter was also a fine boxer in his youth, winning championships at the University of Sydney. Dr Miles was a specialist physician and also held a specialty in cardiology. He was a fine diagnostician and a number of his patients are alive today to attest to it. He took great pride in his ability to distil a correct diagnosis from a seemingly random set of facts, and to prescribe an effective
course of treatment. He was not all work though. The doctor liked a story and convivial company. His prescription might have included a direction to “have a glass of red” and an offer to accompany the patient in following it. Many of Peter’s patients became his friends. He enjoyed his work, assiduously kept abreast of developments in medicine and was still practising when he turned 80. Peter’s first encounters with Asia were in Vietnam in the 1960s, where he served with the civilian medical and surgical teams of the Australian army doing triage work treating injured Australian soldiers. He was also attached to the Australian commando regiment in Vietnam. For many years a regular at the FCC, Peter would regale members with stories about Australia, golf, rugby league, boxing and the army. Many of his friends and associates will recall his favourite sayings, including “never volunteer unless you have to” and “poor preparation precedes poor performance”. Challenged with the question: “What is rule Number One?”, his friends will quickly recall the mandated answer: “Don’t be greedy!” A generous man, many will recall the near impossibility of paying the bill when Peter was at dinner. After a brief spell practising in company with other doctors, Peter returned to solo practice later in his career and, fittingly, again took clinic space in Tak Shing House. Peter made many lasting friendships in Hong Kong, a number of whom were able to attend his funeral service at St Joseph’s on January 20, as well as the wake afterwards at the FCC. Peter is survived by the love of his life, Pau Yiu Chun (Barbie) and an extended Chinese family, as well as a son, Andrew, in Canberra, Australia. Fittingly checking out on Boxing Day, the doctor’s good company and wisdom will be missed by the many people he touched and cured. Andrew Miles
JENIFER EVAN-JONES Nurse, radio broadcaster, junk owner – a life lived at full speed
he FCC main bar in the 1970s and 1980s (in Sutherland House and then Lower Albert Road) was a vibrant place, often raucous and filled with personalities. This was an attractive meeting place for Jenifer Evan-Jones and her friends, such as correspondent David Bonavia, designer and cartoonist Arthur Hacker, and music broadcaster Cynthia Hydes. Jeny, who died in Hong Kong in February, was a freelancer with RTHK and other broadcasters, and in those days the main bar was the perfect place to learn what was going on, if not from her friends and other members, then from Paul, the intuitive and carefully instructive barman, not to mention Gilbert Cheng, or “Tiger”, then a young staffer. Jeny was a gregarious, glamorous and gracious FCC member who took time for everyone she met. She was also a serious reporter, after joining RTHK in the old-fashioned way of simply turning up and applying with no previous experience. It didn’t stop her from producing uplifting programmes. She co-produced a wonderful history series, Hong Kong and Company: Statements of Account in 1978. Her religionfocused series avoided obvious traps, since she was nonreligious, and her RTHK Asiafile programmes were always aimed at social issues. She won a New York radio award for the station with her series on domestic violence against women in Hong Kong. She also launched a magazine, What’s On, aimed at Hong Kong retail which lasted during tough times. Working for Commercial Radio, Jeny found herself as the only reporter/producer on duty during the assassination of Benigno Aquino in 1983 and worked around the clock to output the news alone. Earlier, with BFBS, Jeny was part of a joint English/Nepalese programme that required her to arrive at dawn – occasionally stopped by police as she drove to the radio station in her Mercedes-Benz travelling at speed. But that was only part of Jeny’s life. She was probably the only European woman of the time to attain a Hong asdf marine certificate to operate a leisure junk – which Kong
Jenifer made the most of all life’s experiences
she owned and often carried out under full sail – running her boat around Hong Kong waters as a member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. Plus, her early hours of broadcasting did not stop her from helping friends in trouble, often with humour. Jenifer (named with one “n” because her parents misspelled the birth registry) moved between countries and cultures in her early life because her father, William Parkes, was a sea captain, first with the RNVR and then commercial shipping. That informed Jeny’s outlook, inculcated her vibrant, strong personality, and her sense of involvement with similarly non-localised individuals whom she met and befriended. It also was a natural lead into her professional life, first as a registered nurse then as a broadcast journalist. From County Durham, England, where she was born, to a Welsh-speaking school, to Scotland to post-war Singapore, she had a potpourri of experiences to draw on. Twice married, Jeny was no wilting flower. She loved her daughter Kim, now a UK-based barrister, and son Moray, a video producer and film maker in Hong Kong, to distraction. She was a formidable force to her grandchildren Theo, Zoe, Daisy-Willow and Archie. From fast cars to fast boats to living life to the full, Jeny was up for it. Her last few years were particularly daunting because ill health made it impossible for her to rush around, but she was still able to present her views online – much to the exasperation of those whose ideas differed from hers. I was with Jeny for over 40 years. She was a force of nature and I will miss her for making my life much more than simply carrying through. It was always eventful and it was certainly love, by any meaning of that word. Martin Evan-Jones Martin EvanJones is a media consultant who has worked at the South China Morning Post, RTHK, Insight magazine, CNN, CNBC and HKTDC.
WHY WORKING FROM HOME IS A PAIN IN THE NECK Thousands of Hongkongers have been working from home for months, and many have found it’s not the cosy alternative to office life they had dreamt of. David Cain ignores his neighbours’ jack hammering for this light-hearted look from his sofa.
in kids and pets. Coffee table ergonomics and construction noise aside, there are upsides to working from home vs the office. For instance, commute times have almost been eliminated, neatly pressed clothes, or clothes at all, are now optional, and hangovers go unnoticed, mostly, so long as I cover my webcam during those early morning conference calls. We have also become more acquainted with our neighbours, as we pass them in the hallway going to and from the only working elevator (the other dedicated to the builders, of course). There is one neighbour that has thus far eluded me. He (or she) lives upstairs and regularly drops used tissues from an open window which glide past my window at least a dozen times a day. Needless to say, I don’t use my outdoor clothes pole, for fear of collecting the litter on freshlycleaned clothes. Fast forward and we are now no longer confined to working from home but are able to attend the office a few days a week, if we wish, via a roster. The company is split into several groups, with one group attending the office while the other groups work from home. Although this concept looks good on paper in terms of reducing risk of virus exposure, it quickly fell apart on Friday night when all groups met for a drink to see off yet another expat heading home. Worse yet, we couldn’t claim the drinks on company expenses since we’re not supposed to be “entertaining”. I do miss the social aspect of working from the office. The
interpersonal contact, the banter, the skiving off to join a yoga class midafternoon. When I find myself feeling lonely, I pop downstairs and join one of the many queues for toilet rolls or face masks and mingle with the neighbours, which kind of defeats the purpose of being solitary and confined though, ironically. Still, these times will pass, as they have before. The government is already committing financial assistance to several worthy causes, including a “corona-bonus” to locals and permanent residents. I expect I will be donating most of mine to my chiropractor to help sort out my bad neck, caused by weeks of slouching over a coffee table. Or perhaps I’ll invest in a desk, for the next inevitable pandemic. n
New Zealand-born David Cain is executive managing director, Asia, for Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions and has lived around Asia for 18 years – always coming back to Hong Kong “like a missing sock in a clothes dryer”. He’s a new member at the FCC.
ome time ago, in a rare show of compassion or panicstricken fear of a lawsuit, high management thought it best we all work from home during these contagious times, lest one of us catches the coronavirus and sues for damages due to an unsafe work environment. Visions of sleeping in, reduced personal grooming, and working in a more relaxed and peaceful space immediately sprang to mind. These visions were quickly smashed though, as not one, but two builders in my apartment building also decided to work from home, filling the building with the pervasive chorus of duelling jack hammers, reminiscent of my childhood hearing multiple lawnmowers competing for airtime on a suburban Sunday morning. I really hope the fireman on Level 3 doesn’t also decide to work from home. Clearly our human resources department hadn’t surveyed us to determine if our homes were suitable to work from, because if they had they would have learned I don’t actually have a desk to work from. Indeed, like most Hongkongers, I live sans dining table, thus take-away meals and laptop vie for space on a low coffee table. Space soon become even tighter when my wife’s company also lavished its staff with the “work-from-home scheme”, so coffee table real estate quickly became more scarce than jumbo packs of toilet roll during a pandemic. Hong Kong apartments are just not geared for working from home, and it’s harder still if you throw
The official magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong.