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COVER STORY

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB

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HONG KONG

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JULY 2020

Are you blue or are you yellow? How colour-coded politics is dividing Hong Kong

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Freelance Opening: Editor of The Correspondent We are looking for a dynamic editor with ideas and creativity, who can commission original, impactful stories from Hong Kong and the region, to take the magazine to the next level. The Correspondent is one of the world’s premier press club magazines, showcasing some of Asia’s top writers and photographers, produced quarterly. If you are a freelance editor with solid editorial experience then we are interested in hearing from you. The Editor will be responsible for: n n n n n n n n

Coming up with ideas for stories Commissioning freelance writers Producing fresh content Editing stories Sourcing images Working with the production editor Liaising with the club’s social media editor, communications committee and the board Managing a budget

We are confident that we will find an excellent editor from among the ranks of the club’s freelance journalists.

Please send a cover letter with your resume to adminoffice@fcchk.org or leave it at the front desk to the attention of the Communications Committee.


CONTENTS COVER STORY

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ARE YOU BLUE OR ARE YOU YELLOW? How colour-coded politics is dividing Hong Kong

FEATURES

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Food & Beverage

Summertime Menu Means the World Can Come to Us

6 FCC Board of Governors 2020-21

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Human Rights Press Awards 2020

Fearless Storytelling In Words and Pictures

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Japan

REGULARS

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From the President

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Editorial

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On The Wall

As Strong as The War, As Soft as The Peace; Human Rights Press Awards 2020; Young Lenses: Hong Kong Life In Transition

Apology For FCCJ Magazine Cover Sparks Resignations

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Freelancers

‘Press Pause’ Leaves Freelancers Time To Think About The Future

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FCC

Happiness and Hard Work Mean it’s Business (Almost) As Usual at The Club

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Prisons

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Living With Little Chance of a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card

Who said what when they spoke via Zoom

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Speakers

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Obituaries

Bob Howlett; Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Ling

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Scuba Diving

Take A Not-So-Deep Dive To Reveal Underwater Gems

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Clare Hollingworth Fellowship

A list of new members and some of their profiles

‘Just As I Came Across A Rainbow On The Third Day Of The Polyu Siege, I Still Have Hope’

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Gym Uses Downtime To Have a Mini-Makeover

Missing For Two Months, Editor is Now a Prisoner of The Pandemic

Membership

Club News

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Last Laugh

I’m Surprised ‘Coal Mining For Kids’ And ‘Chimney Sweep’ Weren’t Offered At School, by David Cain

THE CORRESPONDENT

Bangladesh

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Partner Clubs

The ‘Rick’s Café’ of Asia and a Chronicle of Thailand’s Past

JULY 2020

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FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear FCC members, Thank you for electing me again as president of the FCC. I’m excited to serve the world’s best press Club (hands down) for the coming year with a terrific Board of Governors – many of them returning from last year’s Board. Though we have been through a most challenging year for Hong Kong and the Club, I’m pleased with what we were able to accomplish last year, even with all the disruption, and excited about what’s ahead.

The Club continues to seek ways to diversify our membership and especially to attract a younger generation of members who will be the Club’s future

As I write this in late June, we are still feeling the financial and operational effects of the restrictions imposed by the government to contain the coronavirus. We are hopeful that the gathering limits and other restrictions will be eased soon and we’ll be able to again host in-person events, have live music and hold banquets. Owing to strong reserves, the FCC will weather this storm financially – though it has obviously been a difficult period. Many of you have been asking: What can I do to help? The most important thing you can do is to use the Club as much as possible. Though happily we’re busy again at peak periods, please book your breakfasts, lunches and dinners here. Bring in guests. Introduce them to the Club and encourage them to apply for membership, whatever their category. As the restrictions ease, attend events and plan your functions here. Also, make use of our variety of takeout options, including for wine. And take out an ad in this magazine. The Club continues to seek ways to diversify our membership and especially to attract a younger generation of members who will be the Club’s future. As part of those efforts, I’m pleased to announce that we have chosen the recipients of the second Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, named in honour of the path-breaking journalist. They are Tiffany Liang, a freelance reporter with The Washington Post, and Jennifer Creery, managing editor and reporter with the Hong Kong Free Press. Please join me in welcoming them – we’ll do so at a ceremony when we’re able. Non-financial support of the Club is also important. We encourage all members to volunteer for committees. With the new Board, we are reestablishing our nine committees and welcome new faces on them. Even if you don’t have time to regularly serve on a committee, send us ideas and proposals. Recent suggestions: an FCC book club, a debating society, a poetry slam, an expanded library. Let us know what you think and offer to run with an idea. Suggest speakers and panel ideas. With travel restricted, in-person events will be limited for the foreseeable future to local panels and speakers yet there is a bevy of provocative and engaging people in Hong Kong we should encourage to speak at the Club. And as Zoom events have proven popular, we’ll continue to do some so please use your contacts around the world to help us bring in high-profile speakers for virtual events.

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THE CORRESPONDENT


A key mission of the FCC is to provide a forum for a variety of speakers spanning a range of political leanings and across fields including culture, business, sports, politics and of course, journalism. We should be “the” place to speak in Hong Kong. Help us with that. Also, support our press freedom initiatives. As the protests gear up again and the city wrestles with the impact of the national security law and other measures, the Board will work to fulfil another core mission: to uphold the rights of a free press in Hong Kong, without interference from authorities. Read, discuss and share our statements on social media. We will continue to be a leading voice for press freedom and free speech in the city, region and the world.

In closing, I’d like to say that I’ve been heartened in recent months – even as the news around the world has been grim – that the FCC has continued to be a safe haven. Though things have looked a little different around the bar and the Club as we’ve coped with social distancing, we’ve been there for each other and the journalism community in Hong Kong. We’ve kept the doors open, upheld our core missions and supported each other. I look forward to our community doing so again in the coming year.

Jodi Schneider Hong Kong June 2020 president@fcchk.org

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTO: FCC

With this issue, we sadly say goodbye and thank you to Sue Brattle – who has edited The Correspondent for the past two-and-a-half years – as she’ll be returning to the U.K. Sue has brought new energy to the magazine, expanding our journalistic focus to such issues as how Hong Kong journalists have covered the protests. She also has expanded our roster of freelance writers and photographers, helping to ensure the magazine’s future success. We plan to announce a new editor soon.

I’ve been heartened in recent months – even as the news around the world has been grim – that the FCC has continued to be a safe haven

JULY 2020

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

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB HONG KONG

The Board of Governors 2020-2021

EDITORIAL This is my last issue as editor of The Correspondent and, pandemic travel restrictions permitting, my husband and I will be leaving Hong Kong later this year. In my two-and-a-half years as editor, extraordinary events have unfolded in Hong Kong and the world. It has been a time of seismic change, and our almost-lockdown here in Hong Kong has given us all time to think, reflect, and conquer Zoom. I’ve always liked The Correspondent, and think its role is especially important at times when journalism comes under attack. Journalists in this region have stories that could fill each magazine three times over. This is a unique platform for them and should be held in high regard for the regional role it plays, as well as being somewhere we can all catch up with the comings and goings at the Club. One thing I’ve advocated is that non-journalist members of the Club should write for their magazine, and I hope that will continue. I love the idea that every single member of the Club should have a voice, and “have a go” at writing. When it’s your day job, it doesn’t seem so appealing to write yet another piece in your time off. But there’s some real writing talent among the members, and it has been a privilege to nurture that. Now for the commercial… News titles are dropping like flies as advertising evaporates during the pandemic. Life is unlikely to grow calmer in Hong Kong in the coming years and journalism that you can trust matters even more than usual. Members could help out – the magazine needs to carry more advertising to pay its way and ensure its future. It really is as simple as that. I thank the amazing team of writers I’ve been able to build during my time and thank everyone for their really moving comments since I resigned. I wish the new editor, whoever is chosen, the very best of luck. Please help The Correspondent to carry on being somewhere everyone has a voice. Sue Brattle

President Jodi Schneider First Vice-President Eric Wishart Second Vice-President Tim Huxley Correspondent Member Governors Katie Forster, Jennifer Hughes, Tripti Lahiri, Shibani Mahtani, Keith Richburg, Kristine Servando, Kristie Lu Stout, Dan Strumpf Journalist Member Governors Clifford Buddle, Adam White Associate Member Governors Genavieve Alexander, Andy Chworowsky, Liu Kin-ming, Christopher Slaughter Club Treasurer Tim Huxley Club Secretary Jennifer Hughes Professional Committee Conveners: Eric Wishart, Keith Richburg Finance Committee Conveners: Tim Huxley (Treasurer), Jennifer Hughes Constitutional Committee Conveners: Liu Kin-ming, Keith Richburg Membership Committee Conveners: Jennifer Hughes, Clifford Buddle, Kristine Servando, Katie Forster House/Food and Beverage Committee Conveners: Adam White, Andy Chworowsky, Genavieve Alexander Building - Project and Maintenance Committee Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, Liu Kin-ming Press Freedom Committee Conveners: Eric Wishart, Dan Strumpf, Tripti Lahiri, Shibani Mahtani Communications Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Kristine Servando Wall Committee Conveners: Adam White, Shibani Mahtani, Christopher Slaughter, Kristie Lu Stout General Manager Didier Saugy Editor, The Correspondent Sue Brattle Email: sue.brattle@hotmail.co.uk Publisher: Artmazing! Tel: 9128 8949 Email: artmazingcompany@gmail.com Printing Elite Printing, Tel: 2558 0119 Advertising Contact FCC Front Office: Tel: 2521 1511 The Correspondent ©2020 The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong The Correspondent is published four times a year. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the club.

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THE CORRESPONDENT


FOOD & BEVERAGE

SUMMERTIME MENU MEANS THE WORLD CAN COME TO US By MORGAN M DAVIS

PHOTOS: FCC

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he FCC kitchen and bar are gearing up for a summer of specials, with new food and drinks to meet members’ social distance socialising needs. Since we won’t be travelling far, the Club is bringing Around the World in Flavours to the menu, with different countries featured weekly. In addition, the FCC is offering a “build-your-own-burger” menu throughout July. Diners can build a burger by choosing their own bun, patty, garnishes and sides for $138. In addition to the typical FCC burger choices, which include a vegetarian option, the six patty options include a Cajun soft shell crab, breaded cod fish fillet and a Philly steak with teriyaki sauce. The burgers will come with steak fries, french fries or potato wedges, and be accompanied with one of five sauce choices. To get the full American burger experience, FCC general manager Didier Saugy recommends pairing the burger with FCC’s own beer. A summer ice cream special could round off the meal and adventurous ice cream lovers will find some alcoholic options among the flavours. The FCC’s bar menu is also getting a revival in July, with the launch of a new summer cocktail menu, to be served through the end of the summer.

THE CORRESPONDENT

The bar staff has built on last year’s winning menu to offer three new cocktails and four mocktails, sold for $40 and $38 each respectively. For those seeking a bit of a punch, the Frozen Peach Moscato mixes peach nectar and moscato, topped with a peach slice, cherry and mint. The Pineapple and Banana Punch is a thirst quencher, with rum, crème de banana and pineapple. Finally, the Frozen Watermelon Margarita serves up tequila, triple sec and lime with fresh watermelon. Saugy and the bar staff have also taken customer feedback to heart and will introduce more non-alcoholic drinks to the menu. Fruit lovers will enjoy the summer’s Persica mocktail, which mixes black tea with peach, lemon and vanilla, as well as the Very Berry mocktail, which includes a

fruit mix, Yakult and soda water. For those craving a refreshing cooldown, the Gingerman has a ginger beer base with fresh ginger, elderflower and mandarin fruit mix, while the Cumberbatch mixes cucumber, lemon and tonic water. The team is preparing a series of dinners including wine pairings and annual favourites, the Sichuan and Diwali promotions. Live events including speakers, panels and movies will be resuming following an easing of coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings. Banquets and private events can again be booked, and live music is returning to Bert’s. Some restrictions remain after the easing. Tables in private clubs must be 1.5 metres apart, and there must be no more than 16 people at a table. n

JULY 2020

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ANNOUNCEMENT

FCC BOARD OF GOVERNORS 2020-21 The new Board of Governors took office at the end of a lively AGM on the evening of May 28, with attendees practising social distancing and wearing masks. Two governors left Hong Kong during the past year and were replaced mid-term, one stepped down, and one failed to be re-elected – so there are only two new faces in the lineup. The president and both vice-presidents returned uncontested. A warm welcome to the new faces, and thanks to the outgoing members for their hard work. President

Jodi Schneider Senior International Editor at Bloomberg News Jodi took office as president last year two weeks before the antigovernment protests started in Hong Kong – and then faced different challenges in leading the FCC as the coronavirus outbreak spread. Events have been postponed and tough decisions made, with the well-being of staff and members at the centre of every action taken. In her coming year as president, once we can return to events, Jodi will again help the Club attract world-class speakers and panels, and look to continually improve its food and beverage offerings. She wants more members to serve on the Club’s committees and pledges to fulfill the FCC’s mission of speaking out for freedom of speech and of the press. First Vice-President

Eric Wishart Special editorial projects, AFP Global News Management Team Eric, who was first vice-president last year, will again focus on the professional, journalistic side of Club activities, including speaking events and organising the postponed Journalism Conference. He will work to ensure that the FCC remains a resolute defender of media freedom in the face of increasing pressure both from the Beijing government and increasing physical and other attacks against journalists in Hong Kong. He says it has been a privilege to work with such a great Board under the stewardship of president Jodi Schneider over the past year at a time of unprecedented challenges. He also pays tribute to general manager Didier Saugy and the wonderful staff who ensured the smooth functioning of the Club in difficult circumstances. Second Vice-President

Tim Huxley Chairman, Mandarin Shipping Ltd As last year’s second vice-president and treasurer, Tim was determined to ensure that whilst times have not been easy

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for the FCC, the Club recognised that times were also tough for many members. Unlike many other Clubs, fees and, wherever possible, prices have remained unchanged. With discussions regarding the renewal of the Club’s lease looming closer, he says it is more important than ever to meet its obligations in maintaining the fabric of the building. The FCC is recognised for the diversity of its membership and the events it hosts and Tim played an active role in connecting the Club with speakers from all walks of life. Often asked why he bothers being on the Board when all you seem to get is grief, he answers: “I care.” Correspondent Member Governors

Katie Forster AFP Asia-Pacific News Desk Editor Katie was voted onto the Board in March to fill an empty seat, and now wants to build on what she has learned as an enthusiastic and diligent member of a team that can steer the Club through what is likely to be another challenging year. Since joining the Press Freedom Committee she has drafted statements and letters and is involved in making sure the Human Rights Press Awards runs as smoothly as possible. Attracting a younger and more diverse membership to the Club is important to her. Holding regular open socials would help boost new sign-ups and she is keen to organise these when possible She wants to organise panels involving Hong Kong’s academic community, looking to global trends as inspiration. Jennifer Hughes Asia Finance & Markets Editor, Reuters This is Jennifer’s second year on the Board, and it isn’t a responsibility she takes lightly. She is particularly proud of the work of the Board, management and staff in keeping the Club open, with appropriate safety measures in place, during the coronavirus outbreak. For her, those efforts have reflected the FCC’s role as a professional as well as a social Club. In the past year Jennifer has helped to organise speakers, draft statements supporting press freedom and taken a close interest in the Club’s

THE CORRESPONDENT


operations and finances, all of which she intends to continue. For her, keeping the Club financially sound is part of making it a respected forum for hosting a range of discussions and being a vocal supporter of press freedom. Tripti Lahiri Asia Bureau Chief, Quartz Tripti joined the Board midway into the last governing year and now wants to build upon what she has learned. She wishes to work closely with colleagues on the Press Freedom Committee to track and issue statements on developments of concern, to help journalists in our community when they need it, and to seek answers from the government on how these developments conform to the territory’s commitment to freedom of the press and special status. Issues of particular concern to Tripti include police treatment of journalists trying to cover the protests, journalists being barred from entering Hong Kong, and the expulsions of journalists from mainland China that included banning them from working in Hong Kong. Shibani Mahtani Hong Kong & Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, The Washington Post Covering the protests was a daily reality in Shibani’s day job from June 2019 to January 2020. Through contacts she made, she was able to put together panels examining the driving force behind the protest movement and police accountability. She had on-the-ground insight into the relationship between the press and the police which, along with a vast network of other journalists in Hong Kong, helped the FCC in gaining the firsthand knowledge needed to know what to push for in statements and how better to help members. In this, her second year on the Board, Shibani wants to continue the Club’s existing efforts to support diversity and make young, female journalists feel welcome and part of the larger community. Keith Richburg Director, Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong A former president and Board member, Keith wanted another term as a governor because of what he could not do last year due to the various disruptions. He wants to launch a community initiative, already approved by the Board, to engage the FCC with local high schools to help young students know more about journalism and communications, and enhance their basic skills through a series of workshops with members. Some planned speaking events and film screenings were postponed due to coronavirus restrictions, and he wants to make sure

THE CORRESPONDENT

those come to fruition. He wants to help make sure the rescheduled Journalism Conference is the best ever, and see more student work appearing in The Correspondent. Kristine Servando Deputy head, Asia Digital, Bloomberg News Kristine returns for a second year on the Board and intends to champion and support the following initiatives: Explore new ways of generating revenue, such as onlineonly forums/skills workshops, film showings or events, while in-person events are not possible; Continue to support recruitment drives such as (virtual) meet-and-greets to attract more members and enrich the Club’s diverse membership; Initiate a “refer a candidate” or “refer a speaker” programme to leverage members’ existing networks and expertise; Include a press freedom “report an incident” feature on the FCC website to track the challenges and positive developments in our reporting environment; Continue to support sustainability initiatives by the Club, such as reducing plastic waste. Kristie Lu Stout Anchor and Correspondent, CNN Kristie is no stranger to the FCC, having been a speaker or panellist at Club events over the years. As a new member of the Board, she wants to add to the already powerful line-up of FCC events. Leveraging her contacts, she will help bring on board a diverse range of experts and newsmakers to advance discussion on a number of pressing issues. She also wants to help organise the Club’s Journalism Conference. She supports highlighting the work and achievements of younger journalists as well as media colleagues who work behind the scenes, and practical workshops for mid-career and veteran journalists to refresh and reboot their skills. She hopes to take part in organising photo and art exhibitions at the Club. Dan Strumpf The Wall Street Journal Dan returns as a member of the Board and feels that the coming year promises to be fraught, if the past is any guide. He pledges to work to make sure that the FCC remains true to its mission of speaking out forcefully on behalf of the rights of journalists. He also wants the Club to remain an appealing place for members to work. While offices have been closed during the pandemic, members have increasingly turned to the FCC as a quiet refuge away from home. He would like to see a more modern work room, a comfortable space for members to make phone calls, and an improved selection of coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages to accommodate remote workers.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Journalist Member Governors

Clifford Buddle Senior Editor, South China Morning Post Cliff enters his sixth year on the Board and is a staunch supporter of the Club’s public statements expressing concern about violence against journalists and the importance of press freedom. He feels that the Club’s strong stand fits perfectly with its principles, providing a powerful voice in support of press freedom and doing everything it can to back journalists and their right to work freely and safely. He has been a coconvenor of the Constitutional Committee for the last five years. Over the past year it has been busy preparing proposed changes to the FCC’s Articles to reform the Club’s disciplinary system to bring it into line with modern practice and to make it fairer and more efficient. Adam White Group Editor, Cedar Communications Adam enters his fourth year on the Board. He believes the Club has excelled itself in turmoil, remaining a strong and necessary voice standing up for the freedom of the press in the most challenging circumstances journalists in the city have ever had to face. More recently, he says, the Club has distinguished itself once again, working with the general manager to keep it a safe haven in times of utter uncertainty – both for its members, and also for its staff. The FCC needs its members more than ever, he believes, and in turn he hopes that members can find solace at the FCC; a place that knits them together even as the world seems to fray. Associate Member Governors

Genavieve Alexander Genavieve.Co As a communications and PR specialist, Genavieve starts her third year as a governor passionate to share what makes the Club great, attract topical and varied speakers, inject more lifestyle balance into the “what’s on” and increase female topics and members. An entrepreneur and businesswoman, she wants to grow brand partnerships, attract associates – many of whom have businesses of their own – and encourage and support young aspiring journalists. She would like to see an increase in healthy food options, using local produce where feasible, expand the number of reciprocal clubs, and even develop the FCC’s own blend of tea. PR-ing and branding the FCC are a priority for

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Genavieve, who is a keen supporter of the Club’s ongoing green initiatives. Liu Kin-ming KM & Associates Returning to the Board, Kin-ming wants once again to offer his experience and a dose of local insight to the Club. He believes that it would be helpful to have more members of the Board who can speak the local language. He was co-convenor of two committees in the past year, Constitutional and Finance. Most of the seven events he proposed and organised were sold out, including talks by Niall Ferguson and panels with Anson Chan, Regina Ip and others. Before becoming an independent public affairs consultant, he had spent more than two decades working in newsrooms with Hong Kong his only home. He is here to stay, and wants to work to ensure the FCC is here to stay, too. Andy Chworowsky Independent Consultant Veteran Board member Andy is back after a break and promises generally to do as little as possible! A Club member for 22 years, he firmly believes that the staff do the heavy lifting so that people like him can look good when things go well. That is why he pledges to lobby to maintain generous remuneration packages for the staff who provide consistency year to year, and decade to decade, and are the institutional memory of the FCC. However, he says that when serious issues arise that require reflective thought, sober analysis and spirited discussion followed by a difficult decision, he will bring the full weight of his experience, education and sense of fair play to bear on that process. Christopher Slaughter Consultant Twice a president, Chris believes the coronavirus has overshadowed many issues that the FCC must continue to champion. He says we must take a stance on press freedom issues in China and around the region, as appropriate – it’s who we are, it’s what we do. Fiscal prudence is critical. He has served on Boards when the Club scraped perilously close to the bottom of the barrel, so appreciates the efforts made by recent and past treasurers and Finance Committees to get the coffers refilled, and filling again. Fostering good relations with the landlord, and maintaining the building’s architectural heritage are obligations to ensure that the Club will be able to renew its lease, the end date of which keeps getting closer. n

THE CORRESPONDENT


FCC Committees 2020-21 CLUB SECRETARY Jennifer HUGHES PROFESSIONAL Committee Convenors Eric WISHART Keith RICHBURG PRESS FREEDOM Committee Convenors Eric WISHART Dan STRUMPF Shibani MAHTANI Tripti LAHIRI FINANCE Committee Convenors Tim HUXLEY (Treasurer) Jennifer HUGHES MEMBERSHIP Committee Convenors Jennifer HUGHES Clifford BUDDLE Kristine SERVANDO Katie FORSTER

PHOTOS: FCC

HOUSE/FOOD and BEVERAGE Committee Convenors Adam WHITE Genavieve ALEXANDER Andy CHWOROWSKY

The newly-appointed 2020-21 Board (top) celebrated with bubbly in the Hughes Room after the AGM

THE CORRESPONDENT

COMMUNICATIONS Committee Convenors Genavieve ALEXANDER Kristine SERVANDO WALL Committee Convenors Adam WHITE Christopher SLAUGHTER Kristie LU STOUT Shibani MAHTANI CONSTITUTIONAL Committee Convenors LIU Kin-ming Keith RICHBURG BUILDING - Project and Maintenance Committee Christopher SLAUGHTER LIU Kin-ming FCC Interest Societies 2020-2021 Golf Society Chairman – Russell M. JULSETH Poolplayers Society Chairman – Tony CHAN Cricket Society Chairman – Neil WESTERN

An item on the agenda is put to the vote at the AGM

JULY 2020

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POLITICS

ARE YOU BLUE OR ARE YOU YELLOW? THE COLOURS DIVIDING HONG KONG Politics has taken on a different hue in recent months and the colour of someone’s loyalty determines where they eat, meet and shop. Photographer May James and student journalist Lauren F. Lau report

H

ong Kong has always been a vibrant city, the “Pearl of the East” which lures many. But two decades on from the 1997 handover and it seems like Hong Kong’s inner glow has dimmed. The political engagement of Hongkongers has taken a turn since June 2019. Long gone are mild

protests with general demands; a new era of strong-willed sentiment has shaken the people. The two sides are more clear-cut than ever, and colourcoded. In the yellow camp are the pro-democracy supporters. They were strongly against a proposed extradition bill to China, now

withdrawn but which caused social uproar last summer, and oppose being ruled from Beijing. The blue camp is pro-government, pro-police and proBeijing. Yellow and blue are essentially the new identity politics of Hong Kong. There is no longer a space for those that don’t pick a side, even though

Café owner in blue T-shirt with ‘blue’ souvenirs for sale

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‘Blue’ customers eat between COVID-19 dividers filled with messages of support for Hong Kong police

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTOS: MAY JAMES

Restaurant’s clear ‘blue’ message to customers


Diners queue outside a café clearly signed as ‘yellow’ in Sheung Wan

PHOTOS: MAY JAMES

Torn apart: This young ‘yellow’ medic, aged 18, comes from a ‘blue’ family who are threatening to ‘kick him out’ of their home

historically politics was never that important to Hongkongers. Being the international financial centre it is, the money-driven people of Hong Kong used to seek convenience and efficiency in almost every aspect in life. Now, it has all changed. Fundamentally, the people of Hong Kong have decided to hold onto what matters – their values and virtues. Justice must prevail, for both sides. The crack has gone beyond the point of return. “Construction projects” were widely supported in the past year, when furious front-liners shattered glass panes and destroyed the premises of many businesses that expressed support for the government. This behaviour created the concept of the “yellow economic circle” – people support the pro-democracy camp by spending money only on businesses that share their politics.

THE CORRESPONDENT

Mobile apps now help people locate where “yellow” restaurants and shops are. Supporters have researched all sorts of businesses, including coffee shops, beauty brands and supermarkets, naming those that should be patronised. The blue camp has created similar platforms to promote businesses. The new pro-establishment Hong Kong Coalition is setting up a website to identify businesses that need an economic boost after the double blow from citywide protests last year and the pandemic. The tensions created from the protest have torn society apart, and personal relationships have not been spared. Marriages, families and friendships have been traumatised. Threats to kick family members out of the household have become common insults at the dinner table. One year later, these shattered bonds are breaking the city’s heart. n

Yellow symbols: Cake and coffee decorated with the pro-democracy chant of ‘Hong Kong Add Oil’ and a ‘yellow’ online protest game

FCC and Wall Committee member May James has been a freelance photographer since 2016. She documented the Hong Kong protests last year, working for Hong Kong Free Press, AFP, Bloomberg Asia and many other titles

Lauren F. Lau was born and raised in Hong Kong and is a journalism student at HKU. She has written for SCMP and The Standard and is currently a reporter at iCable News, HKIBC

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AWARDS

FEARLESS STORYTELLING IN WORDS AND PICTURES The Human Rights Press Awards winners are normally announced at a ceremony held at the FCC. This year, COVID-19 and social distancing mean the ceremony has been delayed. The organisers – the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association – named the winners online instead. Now in its 24th year, there were a record 488 submissions, driven by double the number of photographic entries over last year. Entries were dominated by coverage of the Hong Kong protests, but Kashmir, Xinjiang, the Philippines and India also featured. – Sue Brattle

2020 HUMAN RIGHTS PRESS AWARDS WINNERS Breaking News Writing (English)

Winner A Day of Violence Natasha Khan, Joyu Wang, John Lyons, Chun Han Wong, Wenxin Fan, Mike Bird, Lucy Craymer, Jing Yang and Eva Dou of The Wall Street Journal Merit Kashmir Lockdown Coverage Al Jazeera English Digital Newsdesk of Al Jazeera Online Investigative Feature Writing (English)

Winner In Hong Kong Crackdown, Police Repeatedly Broke Their Own Rules – and Faced No Consequences Shibani Mahtani, Timothy McLaughlin, Tiffany Liang and Ryan Ho Kilpatrick of The Washington Post Merit Amazon’s Troubled Asian Supply Chain Jon Emont, Alexandra Berzon, Justin Scheck and Shane Shifflett of The Wall Street Journal Abortions, IUDs and Sexual Humiliation: Muslim Women Who Fled China for Kazakhstan Recount Ordeals Amie Ferris-Rotman and Joel van Houdt of The Washington Post Explanatory Feature Writing (English)

Winner The People of Hong Kong Natasha Khan, Wenxin Fan and John Lyons of The Wall Street Journal Merit Abandoned in Assam: India Creates Its Own Rohingya, and Calls Them ‘Bangladeshi’ Debasish Roy Chowdhury of South China Morning Post Where 518 Inmates Sleep in Space for 170, and Gangs Hold It Together Aurora Almendral of The New York Times

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Commentary Writing (English)

Merit The Crackdown Has Begun: Holding Power to Account in Hong Kong Jillian Kay Melchior of The Wall Street Journal Born Illegal: Detained Rohingya Children Are Victims, Not Criminals Thomas Kean of Frontier Myanmar Short Video (English)

Winner Defending Kashmir: Anchar’s Last Stand Against India’s Control Ahmer Khan, Siddharth Bokolia, Sami Ullah, Rebecca Ratcliffe and Claudine Spera of The Guardian Merit Hong Kong Protesters: ‘If We Burn, You Burn with Us’ Marc Hofer, Michael Greenfield, Tom Cheshire, Alain Lau and Bo Chau of Sky News Documentary Video (English)

Winner Inside China’s Camps John Sudworth, Kathy Long, Wang Xiqing and Lulu Luo of BBC World News Merit In the Prisons that Don’t Exist Yvonne Tong of Radio Television Hong Kong The War on Afghan Women Karishma Vyas of 101 East, Al Jazeera English Multimedia (English)

Winner Xinjiang: China’s Drive for Control Josh Chin and Clément Bürge of The Wall Street Journal

THE CORRESPONDENT


Photography (Single Image) Winner Police Shoot Pepper Spray onto Protesters in Hong Kong, by Yu Chun Leung, HK01 Police shoot pepper spray into an MTR carriage as they try to arrest protesters inside the Prince Edward Station on August 31, 2019. The judges said: “To catch that moment is hard. The photographer shows bravery by standing right next to the police at that time.”

Tertiary Student Writing (English)

Winner Gender-based Violence against Journalists in Hong Kong Lin Zhihuai, Kwok Hiu Ching and Wong Ting Yan of Data Story, HKBU

Winner Hidden Victims — Drug Mules: Investigation of Cross Border Human Trafficking Cheng Tsz Yu, Ci Meilin, Lao Xianliang, Leung Pang Wai and Yip Ka Ho of HK01

Merit In a Leaderless Movement, Hong Kong’s Student Activists Face Local and International Threats Chow Yat Yanni and Anna Kam of The Young Reporter, HKBU

Merit Silent Extinction: Concentration Camps in Xinjiang, China Jason C.H. Liu, Chia-Ci Hsu, Kai-Heng Ma, Paris Lin, Yue Chu and Shu-Chien Shen of The Reporter

Social Workers Hopeful Looking at the Future of Ethnic Minorities Chow Yat Yanni and Woo Chun Nok King of The Young Reporter, HKBU

Investigation of Police Operation at 831 Prince Edward MTR Station Chiu Sin Fung, Lee Ka Ling and Chung Ching of FactWire News Agency

Breaking News Writing (Chinese)

Winner Fiendish Mob Beat People with Wooden Sticks: Stand News Reporter and Civilians Injured and Police Absent for the First 30 Minutes Ho Kwai Lam of Stand News PHOTO: YU CHUN LEUNG

Investigative Feature Writing (Chinese)

Merit Explosions in Jiangsu’s Xiangshui Series Ye Jiabin, Susie Wu and Xu Han of Initium Media After Effects of Tear Gas Grenades in the AntiExtradition Bill Movement Series Pun Pak Lam, Chan Siu Kai and Wong Sum Yee Esther of Apple Daily

THE CORRESPONDENT

Fact Check: 831 Police Violence in Prince Edward MTR Station Lam Yan and Leung Chun Kan of Stand News Explanatory Feature Writing (Chinese)

Winner Revisiting 612: What Happened? Leung Chun Kan, Leung Hoi Ching and Leung Tin Sum of Stand News Merit 3 Barristers Cite European Cases: STS (Special Tactical Squad) Uniforms Not Showing Police Numbers Unconstitutional Ng Yuen Ying of CitizenNews

JULY 2020

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AWARDS

Maritime Idyll of Stateless Bajau Laut: Our Border is Where Boats Could Reach Chiew Hui Yee of Initium Media Commentary Writing (Chinese)

Merit Tip-offs, Pink Terror and Non-establishment Totalitarianism Byron Chen of Initium Media Short Video (Chinese)

Winner 721 White-clad Mob Attacks in Yuen Long, and Attack on Stand News Reporter Ho Kwai Lam of Stand News Merit The Truth: 811 Police Violence Ho Hoi Ling of NowTV Express Delivery Company Embargoed Yip Chun Chun and Lo Pui Shan of Radio Television Hong Kong Documentary Video (Chinese)

Winner Hong Kong Connection: Anti-Extradition Bill Movement Series Hong Kong Connection of Radio Television Hong Kong Merit “This Week” — Black Mirror: Social Credit System and Big Data Life in China, “SkyEye”, “A Credit Score is for Life”, “The Plight of Dishonest Persons” Nabela Qoser, Cheung Kit Yan Gloria and Lui Lok of Radio Television Hong Kong 64.30 : Revelation to Asia Jovy Wong, Chui Man Kit, Rex Yung, Vykie Chin and Edith Leung of i-Cable News Audio (Chinese)

Winner The Exodus from Polytechnic University Li Tai Wai and Wang Ming Hei of Radio Television Hong Kong Merit Testimonies: Abuses in the Concentration Camps in Xinjiang Chau Chi Wing of Radio Television Hong Kong No Place to Call Home Chan Wan Ru of Radio Taiwan International Multimedia (Chinese)

Winner Land of Prisons Apple Daily Merit Interactive Page on 721 Yuen Long Terrorist Attack Cheung Hoi Kit, Egon Sung and Cherry Wong of CitizenNews 9 Memories of the Tiananmen Square: Workers, Teachers, Students, Mothers, Reporters Initium Media

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Tertiary Student Writing (Chinese)

Winner Unspoken Wounds: Secret Treatments of Volunteer Doctors Hu Meng Qi, Lin Ka Man and Li Wai Shan of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK Merit Love and Hate on the Other Shore: Interview of Jin Bianling, Wife of 709 Rights Lawyer Jiang Tianyong Suen Chak Fong Fion and Chan Cho of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK Defending Rights in the Dark: Volunteer Lawyers in the Anti-Extradition Movement Ng Chun Chun, Lo Man Lok and Gu Su Ying of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK Tertiary Student Video & Audio (Chinese)

Winner Unconscious Woman Dragged by Police Wong Man Yan of EdUHKSU Editorial Board Merit Is Being Young a Crime? Chan Ching Kei, Ko Tsz Shun, Kong Wan and Wong Tsz Wing of TV Lab, School of Communication, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong Where Have All the Helpers Gone? Leung Ka Ching, Lo Man Lok, Wong Ho Man and Wong Tin Wing of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK Photography (Single image)

Winner Police Shoot Pepper Spray onto Protesters in Hong Kong Yu Chun Leung of HK01 Merit Hong Kong Trust Crisis: Extreme Sieges at Universities Billy H.C. Kwok of Getty Images The Jade Crisis Hkun Lat of Frontier Myanmar Photography (Series)

Winner Hong Kong Protests 2019 Anthony Wallace of Agence France-Presse Merit Anti-Extradition Bill Protests in Hong Kong Lam Chun Tung of Initium Media Hong Kong Trust Crisis: Extreme Sieges at Universities Billy H.C. Kwok of Getty Images People’s Choice Photo Award

Winner Mattress Shield Lai Chun Kit of Ming Pao

*All the prize-winning photographs, including runners-up, were displayed at the Club. See On The Wall, pages 30-31

THE CORRESPONDENT


CORONAVIRUS

TOKYO

APOLOGY FOR FCCJ MAGAZINE COVER SPARKS RESIGNATIONS By JULIAN RYALL in Tokyo

President Khaldon Azhari reads out the FCCJ’s apology

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t least six journalist members of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan have resigned in a row over its board’s “craven collapse” to the Tokyo Organising Committee for the 2020 Olympic Games after it complained about the cover design of the FCCJ’s monthly magazine. The April edition of the magazine, Number 1 Shimbun, had an article with tips for journalists on reporting the coronavirus pandemic and coincided with the postponement of the 2020 Games until next summer. The cover art by designer Andrew Pothecary showed the Games’ logo, altered to incorporate the distinctive “T” of the COVID-19 molecule. Pothecary, who has since become the target of threats on social media, declined to be interviewed for this story but told the Asahi newspaper that the design was “satire” with no intention to demean Japan. The Tokyo 2020 design and the International Olympic Committee’s logo have been parodied in cartoons numerous times previously. Nevertheless, the Tokyo Organising Committee (TOC) wrote to the FCCJ on May 19 requesting the removal of the “extremely disappointing” design as it was a breach of copyright. Khaldon Azhari, FCCJ president and president of PanOrient News, claims the board was “surprised” at the reaction of the Olympic organisers and said “sources also informed some board members, including myself, TOC will go after the club on legal grounds”. Azhari said the club’s lawyers concluded that it would not win a legal challenge, although the TOC made no mention of commencing a legal case, and the club should comply. He said the board was “unanimous” in its decision not to stand its ground on freedom of expression or freedom of the press. Other copyright experts say that the FCCJ would have had a solid case if it had fought its corner. “Clearly, the cover offended some people in our host country, Japan,” Azhari said at a press conference at the FCCJ on May 21.

THE CORRESPONDENT

April’s Number 1 Shimbun with cover design removed

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games official logo

“We would like to express our sincere regret to anyone who it may have offended on all sides of the issue.” Other board members disagree that acceding was “unanimous”. One said that most “thought it was a toothless threat and not worthy of a response”. The majority also saw the matter as “a clear freedom of the press issue and that the club should take a clear stand”. The issue became big news in Japan, triggering angry calls to the front desk of the FCCJ. A number of staff received threatening calls on their mobile phones. Concerned that a legal case would cause the FCCJ financial distress, the board withdrew the image. Greg Starr, the editor of the magazine, says he and Pothecary were “thrown beneath the bus”. Both have resigned. “The fact that the board collapsed so utterly meant, to me, that there was no reason to stay around,” Starr said. He does not believe the image was a violation of copyright and is angered at Azhari’s apology. “He did not give us any chance to defend ourselves before the board,” Starr said. “People can be offended, but the FCCJ does not have to apologise every time that someone powerful complains.” Michael Penn, founder of the Shingetsu News Agency, is among the members who have resigned. “For me, defence of the freedom of the press is the core reason we have the FCCJ and it is written into our articles of association,” he said. “Until the FCCJ stands for the principles that it should stand for, I don’t want any part of it.” n

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.

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CORONAVIRUS

FREELANCING

‘PRESS PAUSE’ LEAVES FREELANCERS TIME TO THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE Freelancers are used to living precariously and they have been hit hard by the fall-out in the media industry during the coronavirus pandemic. Marianna Cerini reports

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monthly unemployment benefits, or relief initiatives like the American CARES Act, a US$2 trillion federal stimulus package that offers unemployment insurance, paid sick leave, and pay cheque protection loans to independent workers and contractors. Far from being perfect, these measures are at least providing temporary support. Things look quite different in Asia, including right here in Hong Kong. Some 700,000 people, including freelance journalists and reporters, make up the SAR’s gig economy, but studies to check how they are coping are scarce. And while the government’s latest HK$137.5 billion (US$18 billion) relief package will grant workers at least 50 per cent of their salaries for six months (capped at HK$9,000 a month), independent labour is looking at a one-off subsidy of HK$7,500 – but only if you have a Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) account and have made contributions in the past 15 months. That leaves freelancers who

haven’t set up their own business or opened an MPF account out of luck. “Contract-based workers and self-employed people are being overlooked by the government,” says Matthew Keegan, a news and features freelance journalist. “It’s highlighted how precarious freelance work is in the city.” Keegan, in Hong Kong since 2014, has also been frustrated at the fact that only permanent residents and new arrivals with low income will be eligible for the HK$10,000 cash payment scheme announced in the early days of the outbreak and expected to start rolling out this summer. “I’ve found that decision slightly unfair, considering I have been a taxpayer and resident here for six years. Many of us will miss out because we don’t have PR status yet. “I’ve had my eyes on other grants and schemes, but I’m doing OK so far – not great, but OK – mostly reporting on the virus, so I think I’ll just wait and see.”

SOME HELP IS AT HAND

Organisations offering funding for journalists during COVID-19 include: The International Press Institute: https://ipi.media The Rory Peck Trust offers grants to professional journalists who have lost commissions as a result of the pandemic. To apply you must be able to receive a grant from a British registered charity: https://rorypecktrust.org The International Women’s Media Foundation Journalism Relief Fund is open to female journalists, including freelancers. Processing times may be lengthy. Details on fund’s website. The Pulitzer Center is accepting applications for its international, data journalism, and Bringing Stories Home grants: https://pulitzercenter.org You can apply for the HK$7,500 government handout at the Hong Kong government’s website.

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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t the end of February, as the coronavirus outbreak quickened across Asia, one of the editors I regularly work for sent me an email asking to press pause on two travel stories I was working on. A few days later, another editor said a project we had discussed turning into a recurring gig had been put on hold. Now six months into what’s become a global pandemic, I don’t know when, or if, both jobs will get picked up again. I am not alone. Across the world, COVID-19 has forced millions of people out of work. Just like me, many freelancers – already a vulnerable segment of the workforce – have had assignments cancelled and their incomes cut drastically. In the UK, a survey of 5,600 people by the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) found that 71 per cent of freelancers in the creative industries are afraid they won’t be able to pay their bills. Three-quarters of more than 5,000 independent workers have lost contracts or gigs in the U.S., according to a poll by the Freelancers Union in April, with 90 per cent expecting further losses. Within this landscape, journalists have been among those hit hard. A British National Union of Journalists (NUJ) poll revealed a third of selfemployed media workers has lost all their work. A survey by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), showed that out of 1,308 staff and freelance journalists from 77 countries, 65.4 per cent of respondents had suffered pay cuts, job losses or worsening job conditions during the pandemic. As a sharp drop in advertising revenue is causing media outlets to fold, furlough or layoff their staff, the picture isn’t likely to improve any time soon. In most western countries, freelancers are now tapping into


Matthew Keegan

Edwin Lee

Edwin Lee, a freelance videojournalist and producer, shares similar views. “I am a permanent resident, and I’ve had my work cut by more than 50 per cent since January, but I don’t think I’ll apply for the handout,” he says. “Fellow freelancers have told me not to bother – there’s a fair share of paperwork and hoops to jump through to get it. I’m mostly relying on my savings.” Photojournalist Laurel Chor says: “I wish the Hong Kong government did more to support its creative community. I just spent two months in France, where the government sees the value in their independent artists and actively gives them support — that’s what’s helped create a vibrant creative scene that makes waves globally.” Instead of institution-backed financial aid, she has applied to a

Laurel Chor

grant for COVID-19 coverage – “not an emergency support one,” she says, as she, too, has been relying on her own savings – to get back to work with the right kind of resources. Many others have also done so. When the Pulitzer Center announced the Coronavirus News Collaboration Challenge programme in March – a grant for newsrooms and journalists in the U.S. and abroad to report on the underdiscussed issues of the pandemic – it received 300 applications in two weeks (the opportunity is now closed). “I think many saw it as a call to arms globally,” says the organisation’s executive editor Marina Walker. “Yes, the whole sector is suffering, but people are hungry to return to work and tell stories, and might be especially keen on getting reporting funds over

personal ones. Freelancers above all. They are still too often an invisible segment of the media world, so any funding allowing them to do their job is a lifeline right now.” It’s likely the crisis will make many rethink how sustainable freelancing is. It’s also likely governments worldwide might be forced to address the future of work. Keegan says: “Most people who go into freelancing know how unpredictable it can be, the importance of savings, of keeping expenses low, of being prepared for times of need. That is why many of us have been getting by these past months. Freelancers are resilient. “Is that a feasible way of approaching work long-term? Probably not. It would be nice to have some sort of lasting security.” n

Marianna Cerini is a freelance journalist writing about culture, travel and lifestyle. In Asia since 2010, her work has been published by CNN Style, Al Jazeera, and The Daily Beast among others

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THE CORRESPONDENT

JULY 2020

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CORONAVIRUS

FCC

HAPPINESS AND HARD WORK MEANS IT’S BUSINESS (ALMOST) AS USUAL AT THE CLUB The pandemic means nothing has been normal for months, but the FCC pulled off a miracle and kept its doors open for socially distanced socialising. Even with gatherings banned, speaker events have carried on via Zoom. Kate Whitehead and Sarah Graham report

GM Didier Saugy: ‘Transparency is important’

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Staff have spruced up the Club from top to bottom, including (clockwise) the Hughes Room, Bert’s and the Verandah

“We have sent the things that could be reused to the Salvation Army and now we have a lot of space there,” says Saugy. Although the quality of the silverware – mostly jugs, forks and spoons – wasn’t top notch, it was good enough to melt down. The roughly 30 to 40kg of silverware produced about 400g of silver, including 20g of sterling silver. This has been made into silver ingots, which are set to become collector’s items. “We want to stamp the ingots and plan to auction them,” says Saugy. The Club’s catering has taken a massive hit during coronavirus. Government regulations mean that all banqueting events – which produce a substantial revenue – have been put on hold. The number of covers served

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTOS: FCC

he Club has been open throughout the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the swift action of the general manager and the support of its staff and members. It hasn’t always been an easy ride, but open communication and an upbeat attitude have helped everyone to adjust to this “new normal”. “The dynamic of the Club has changed during coronavirus, its impact is felt on staff, members and guests,” says Didier Saugy, the Club’s general manager. The Club issued its first advisories to members about coronavirus at the end of January. Many staff were concerned that the virus might mean job losses. Saugy reassured staff that no one would lose their job unless the government directed that all F&B outlets must close. Then he put measures in place to keep the ship afloat: a freeze on salaries (the usual April 1 salary review put on ice until further notice), no more casual staff, and a focus on transparency. “The secret is open communication and letting staff know what is happening and what we are doing. The transparency of what we do is very important because staff are talking to members as well, members will want to know what is going on,” says Saugy. After a thorough deep cleaning of the entire Club in early March, there has been plenty of ongoing cleaning, reorganisation and sorting. It was a chance to overhaul the air-conditioning system, repaint tables and even clear out the warehouse in Kwai Chung. Yes, the Club has a 2,000-square-foot warehouse and it was filled with old equipment, silverware, chairs and tables that had been languishing there for 30 years.


dropped from 19,000 in April 2019 to 6,000 this April, a fall of almost 70 percent. The Club got creative to accommodate the social distancing measures. Monthly committee meetings have gone ahead with a combination of high-tech solutions (Board and committee members joining virtually) and wellspaced tables to ensure not too many people are seated together. In the Main Bar, potted plants were brought in to discourage groups from gathering – a feature that many members have commented favourably on. “The greenery gives a feeling of freshness,” says Saugy. Of course, it’s hard to please all the people all the time and there were some initial grumbles about the need to take

travel histories and temperature checks and having to wear face masks in the Club (a government directive), but once members understood the rationale most adapted quickly. “If the staff were not supportive this would never have happened, they understand why we are doing what we are doing. Happiness is infectious. If one person is happy, they can make 10 people around them happy. Just as if you have a grumpy person at the top, it will follow right down to the bottom,” says Saugy. There’s little doubt we have an upbeat general manager at the helm, his can-do attitude steering us through the protests of last summer and now the coronavirus. Kate Whitehead

NO GATHERINGS OF MORE THAN EIGHT PEOPLE? NO PROBLEM

PHOTOS: FCC

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ack in November 2016, the FCC live streamed its first event via Facebook: Lord Patten, the last colonial governor of Hong Kong. The event, viewed live by hundreds and watched back after the fact by thousands, marked a turning point for the FCC’s social media team – that’s me – and took the Club into a new era of digital. That event was streamed through an FCC mobile phone as it perched precariously atop a Gorillapod. The picture was terrible, the sound even worse. And it’s still painful to recall how, during Lord Patten’s speech, my stand was knocked over in the media scrum unfolding in the first floor Main Dining Room. We’ve come a long way since then, with the implementation of an internal audio-visual system that allows us to live stream without interruption from a mounted camera above the door leading into the Verandah on the first floor. All FCC Club lunches since then have been live streamed and are available to watch back on our Facebook page. Yet the arrival of COVID-19 and the restrictions it brought presented us with a new challenge: how could we continue to serve our members with top-class discussions on the issues of the day when we couldn’t gather in more than groups of eight? As a press club that is home to professionals from many backgrounds, the FCC was already familiar with online conferencing and regularly used Skype to accommodate committee members who could not attend meetings in person. When COVID-19 restrictions were first put in place in Hong Kong, many Board members working from home were already using a platform called Zoom in their everyday work. It didn’t take the Club long to decide to proceed with online events using Zoom, the priority being to try to continue giving members value for money, even if we couldn’t bring them the popular Club lunches. Our inaugural Zoom event was timely: a discussion in April with Professor Ben Cowling, Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics School of Public Health at Hong Kong University, on the outlook for Hong Kong in its battle against coronavirus. Hosted by Correspondent member governor and The Washington Post correspondent, Shibani Mahtani, the members-only talk was well

THE CORRESPONDENT

Lord Patten, FCC’s first Facebook live stream in November 2016

Maria Ressa, Zoom panellist

attended and the broadcast seamless. Since then, we’ve hosted a panel on how some governments are using COVID-19 to suppress press freedom, featuring Rappler’s Maria Ressa, freelance videographer Helene Franchineau, and Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif; and of course, our May 20 webinar welcoming back Lord Patten. More are in the pipeline as long as restrictions are in place. Never let it be said that the FCC isn’t in step with the latest technological developments in digital broadcasting. Sarah Graham, Social Media Editor & Events Coordinator

JULY 2020

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CORONAVIRUS

PRISONERS

LIVING WITH LITTLE CHANCE OF A ‘GET OUT OF JAIL FREE’ CARD Bruce Aitken, who spent 10 months in jail, broadcasts to prisoners in Hong Kong every Sunday night. Here he looks at how the pandemic is giving people insights into what it means to forfeit freedom

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he present world calamity caused by the COVID-19 virus has given us all a chance, wished for or not, to get off of our treadmill and take a good look around, smell the roses and reflect on what is important to us in life. It gives us all a taste of imprisonment in many ways. Social animals by nature, we have tasted the loss of freedom of movement and of choice, to meet with family and friends, for healthy affection and fulfilment of our dreams. For many it has focused attention, perhaps for the first time, on faith and the spiritual. These same losses are experienced in much more profound ways by people who are imprisoned in Hong Kong’s correctional institutions. They often face long years forgotten by a society that focuses on punishment and monotony rather than on rehabilitation. The physical environment in prisons here is good compared to most countries in terms of cleanliness and hygiene, but there is still much to be desired. A good example is access to educational opportunities. As we experience a taste of being

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Bruce in the studio while broadcasting to his ‘captive audience’

somewhat confined or even briefly in quarantine, think of what it must be like to spend 10, 15 or more years in a prison such as Stanley Prison or Shek Pik Prison for men, or Lo Wu Correctional Institution or Tai Lam Centre for Women, for the crime of being a drug mule. Day after day is the same, inmates required to work for a pittance, allowed only one 10-minute phone

call home every month, with basic food and a small selection of snacks purchased from inmate wages. The snack selection has not changed in many years. While I do not condone the crime, often committed out of poverty, it is the small fish, the mule, that pays the price while the big fish, the kingpins, often remain free. Ignorance of the laws in Hong Kong can result in serving many years in prison. Even with a third off for pleading guilty, there is little hope of remission, even for the best model prisoners. (See box) The old Monopoly game offered a “Get out of Jail Free” pass to the lucky player but in real life those securely locked down in Hong Kong prisons are there for the duration. Some respite is offered every Sunday night, for two-and-a-half hours, when they tune in, on their tiny purchased radios, to AM 1044 Metro Plus and the Hour of Love and Prison Visitation on the Air, programmes that I have produced and hosted for 16 years. Known as Brother Bruce to my captive audience, the programme

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Stanley Prison


Shek Pik Prison for men

Tai Lam Centre for Women

conjures up release from the chains that confine the soul, the spirit and the mind within the dark cocoon of prison walls. As one man writes in addressing his cell in Stanley Prison: “Physically I might never escape from you. But every Sunday from 8.30pm-11pm I will escape from you through the airwaves if you like it or not.” What is unique about the programme is that listeners in Hong Kong and around the globe have an opportunity to learn much about the lives of peoples of all nationalities in our correctional institutions. In their

‘While I do not condone the crime .. it is the small fish, the mule, that pays the price’

walled-off society, inmates come to rely on their faith, and on ways to help each other when times are tough – such as loss of a loved one, missing their children growing up without them, birthdays and holidays spent confined. On the radio programme, real letters from inmates are received and

STATISTICS TELL STORY OF SENTENCE REVIEWS

SOURCE: SECURITY BUREAU, HONG KONG

Hong Kong, which has 30-plus correctional institutions, has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the region. Its sentencing for drugs trafficking offences are also among the harshest, with an average of more than nine years and a starting point of 22 years for offences involving 1kg of a Class A drug. The Long-Term Prison Sentence Review Board may review a prisoner’s sentence every two years after the fifth year served. Here are the statistics for those reviews in Hong Kong between 19972019. An “indeterminate” sentence is for, say, 10-15 years rather than a set figure. The theory is that some prisoners rehabilitate at a faster rate than others and can be released quicker. Number of indeterminate sentences reviewed

Number of recommendations made to commute the indeterminate sentences to determinate ones

Number of determinate sentences reviewed

Number of recommendations made to remit the determinate sentences

2,869

162

8,643

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*Bruce can be contacted at: Worship Music Society, GPO Box 11685, Hong Kong, email: houroflove@gmail.com

THE CORRESPONDENT

read live into the public realm, dozens of short recorded messages are received from friends and family, and live messages from around the world are streamed on Facebook. The programme has become a critical lifeline for prisoners, especially foreigners who have no local family support. Prisoners write and their families phone in requests to read letters, play special songs and exchange greetings in many languages. With its steady diet of scripture readings, along with praise and worship music, the Hour of Love offers both a welcome tissue for isolated tears and a source of happiness and joy. There are no dull moments while on the air. As many a prisoner has said over the years Prison Visitation on the Air is not only great fun, it offers inmates a profound understanding of how good men and women can sometimes do things that society considers objectionable. Support for the programme relies on donations, and our mission has evolved into not only the hours required to produce and broadcast live every Sunday night, but also days of travel visiting inmates on a one-toone basis. Nothing makes a person happier than having a visit while in prison. A sense of self-esteem and happiness radiates, and the visiting guest comes away with a sense of purpose and peace. And it is open to everyone. n FCC member Bruce Aitken is from New Jersey, U.S., and has lived in Hong Kong since 1972. Convicted for money laundering in the late 1980s, he wrote the bestseller The Cleaner, The True Story of one of the World’s Most Successful Money Launderers about the experience

JULY 2020

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SCUBA DIVING

TAKE A NOT-SO-DEEP DIVE TO REVEAL UNDERWATER GEMS COVID-19 has grounded travellers in recent months, so Hong Kong people have been exploring closer to home. Keen diver Christopher Dillon has great tips for exploring the treasures beneath the waters around these islands

Christopher Dillon, here on a recent dive, wants others to discover the joys of diving

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and Crooked islands. With calm seas, it’s also possible to dive the Ninepin Group, which are southeast of Clear Water Bay. Sites in the northeast are near blue water, which results in visibility of up to 12 metres. From Double Haven, you can see Shenzhen’s massive Yantian Port. Divers visiting these sites pass through the Tolo Barrier, a Hong Kong police checkpoint in the Tolo Channel. Clean water, beautiful scenery and a variety of sites make Double Haven a personal favorite. The South China Diving Club (scdc. org.hk) and commercial operators such as Scuba Monster (www. scubamonster.com.hk) and Diving Adventure (www.divinghk.com) offer regular expeditions to sites throughout Hong Kong. Dives are staged from junks, dedicated dive boats and speedboats, with amenities ranging from spartan to hot lunches and showers. Operators generally provide

tanks and weights, and you can rent fins, buoyancy compensation devices, dive computers, regulators, masks and wet suits. You’ll need to show a certification card to dive with these groups. What can you see? For history buffs, there are cannon, anchors, heavy chain and the occasional piece of World War II ordinance. Accumulated silt and time mean many of these items are well hidden. Despite Hong Kong’s reputation for pollution and overfishing, there’s lots of life in our waters. Octopuses, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, crabs, eels, rays, brightly colored coral and hundreds of species of fish are common. Hong Kong Geopark’s spectacular rock formations overlook many sites in the northeast. For more than 20 years, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTO: DAN SUN

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ention Hong Kong as a potential dive location and you’ll probably hear “Why in God’s name would you want to dive there?” or “Can you actually dive in Hong Kong?” You’re unlikely to confuse Hong Kong with the Philippines, but you can dive here. And there’s plenty to see, including wrecks, reefs and marine life. Hong Kong’s main dive sites can be divided into three groups. South of Hong Kong Island, there are sites near Po Toi, and Beaufort and Waglan islands that are a short distance from Aberdeen. These locations generally have poor visibility, typically 1–5 metres, due to their proximity to the heavily populated Pearl River Delta. In the northeast, Rocky Harbor and Port Shelter are accessible from Sai Kung. Sites here include Bluff, Basalt and Shelter islands. Further north, there’s diving in and around Double Haven, including Crescent, Double


Powerful speedboats are the fastest way to reach dive sites in northeast Hong Kong

Flatworms repel predators by excreting foul-tasting mucus

Low visibility makes Hong Kong suitable for macro photography

PHOTOS: CHRISTOPHER DILLON

Conservation Department has installed and maintained nearly 700 artificial reefs. Located in and outside marine parks, the reefs are built from a variety of materials, including steel-hulled ships and old tyres. The reefs serve as feeding, spawning and nursery areas for grouper, bream, snapper, sweetlips and other species. Diving in Hong Kong is relaxed Strong currents are uncommon and most dives are less than 15 metres deep. Visibility is best in winter, when water temperatures can drop to 18–19 degrees Celsius. That calls for a 7-millimetre wet suit and hood or a dry suit. In summer, water temperatures are around 28–29 C, which is comfortable in a 3-millimetre wet suit or a shorty suit. Hong Kong dives are shallow, so there’s little call for nitrox or exotic gas blends. Compared to Australia, where visibility can reach 40 metres, Hong Kong’s turbid water isn’t ideal for shooting wide-angle photographs or video. But macro photography, with close-ups of smaller subjects, THE CORRESPONDENT

Hong Kong is home to many species of sea anemone

can work well. Point-and-shoot cameras with operating depths of up to 10 metres are available from major manufacturers. Hong Kong does have hazards, including Diadema sea urchins covered with foot-long, needle-sharp spines and weedy stingfish, which are well disguised and have toxic spines along their backs. Container ships in busy shipping channels don’t mix well with divers, nor do inattentive pleasure craft operators. Why Hong Kong? Hong Kong is a great place to learn to dive. Major industry organizations, including the British Sub Aqua Club, NAUI, PADI and SSI, are represented here and there are dozens of dive shops and indoor and outdoor pools. Through dive shops, NAUI, PADI and SSI offer inexpensive “try dives” that combine a couple of hours of classroom instruction with a pool session where you can experience the underwater world firsthand. In Hong Kong, even remote dive sites are easy to reach. We are

also near the coral triangle, which encompasses Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. One of the planet’s most important centers of biodiversity, the coral triangle is home to some of the world’s best diving. Outside the triangle, there’s excellent diving in Thailand, Japan and other destinations, including historic World War II shipwrecks in Chuuk. Whether you’re learning to dive, honing your skills for an overseas trip, or enjoying a sunny Sunday in the New Territories, Hong Kong diving is worth a peek beneath the surface. n *More of Christopher’s diving photos are available at dilloncommunications. com/images Christopher Dillon was chairman of the Hong Kong–based South China Diving club from 2018 to 2020. He has been a member of the FCC since 1992 and is principal of Dillon Communications Ltd

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CLARE HOLLINGWORTH FELLOWSHIP

‘JUST AS I CAME ACROSS A RAINBOW ON THE THIRD DAY OF THE POLYU SIEGE, I STILL HAVE HOPE’ By any standards this has been an extraordinary year for Jessie Pang and Mary Hui to be the FCC’s first Clare Hollingworth Fellows. Here they share some thoughts on protests, the pandemic and press freedom.

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t the time of writing this reflection, Hong Kong has entered another watershed moment. Some Western governments, business leaders and international rights groups say Beijing’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong is the beginning of the end for China’s freest city. I didn’t realise what it truly meant to become a Clare Hollingworth Fellow until I found myself following in her footsteps. Just as Clare Hollingworth didn’t expect to cover wars or break the news of World War Two after being a journalist for less than a week, I never thought I would be reporting in the eye of the storm and witnessing my hometown turn into a conflict zone. I was less than one year out of college when protests escalated. When I woke every morning, all I wished for was to become more experienced. Yet, here I was, covering

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the ebbs and flows of nearly daily protests and sometimes violent clashes between police and protesters on the frontlines for almost a year. Every day presented new challenges. Like many of my fellow journalists and Hongkongers, I witnessed key moments throughout the protests. Those images are still vivid in my mind and motivated me to continue to report to the world the events as they unfolded in Hong Kong. I often wonder what happened to the protester who gave me his gas mask and filters when he found out mine was broken on my way to the airport; what happened to the protester who took my number to ensure I left the No. 2 bridge at CUHK safely? I wish I had the chance to revisit some of those moments and faces and ask them: “How are you now?” or “Can you tell me your story?”

International rights groups say Beijing’s proposal to impose a national security law in Hong Kong has only exacerbated concerns over press freedom in the city and could have grave implications for civil and media liberties. Balanced and truthful reporting on Hong Kong has never been more important. Just as I came across a rainbow on the third day of the PolyU siege, I still have hope. I have met and become friends with so many talented journalists during the protests. I know that we, fellow journalists, will continue to pursue and present the truth impartially, to show the beauty and the complexities of our city, and to let people tell their story. n

Jessie Pang, Reuters

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTO: JESSIE PANG/REUTERS

A rainbow forms near the bridge where protesters escape past riot police at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) campus that had been on lockdown for a week in Hong Kong, November 19, 2019


An exhausted protester sleeping on the No. 2 bridge of Chinese University of Hong Kong on November 13, 2019

Marco Leung, 35, unfurling banners against the now withdrawn extradition bill on the rooftop of Pacific Place on June 15, 2019. He died after he fell from construction scaffolding

Lawmakers Eddie Chu and Jeremy Tam face riot police on July 1, 2019

Mary Hui as a guest speaker at an FCC lunch in July 2019

Jessie Pang walks down stairs at the entrance of PolyU

PHOTO: LEAH MILLIS & JESSIE PANG/REUTERS

SWEPT UP BY A WAVE OF DISRUPTION Like everything else this year, the Club’s inaugural Claire Hollingworth Fellowship has been swept up in the world’s wave of disruption. We were just getting into the swing of organising panels for the annual Journalism Conference when the prudent decision was made to postpone the event. Soon, social distancing regulations were tightened, and I avoided going to restaurants and bars altogether. Close contacts were also kept to a small circle of people. The handful of Club events that I did attend were lunch panels over Zoom. Such is 2020. Still, even as the fellowship draws to a close, I look forward to continuing as a member of the club and joining the Club’s Press Freedom committee. Mary Hui, Quartz

THE CORRESPONDENT

Mary Hui (left) and Jessie Pang were Fellows in a critical year

Congratulations to Jennifer Creery of Hong Kong Free Press and freelance reporter Tiffany Liang who have been named as the Clare Hollingworth Fellows, 2020-21. Interviews with the award winners will appear in October’s The Correspondent

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BANGLADESH

MISSING FOR TWO MONTHS, EDITOR IS NOW A PRISONER OF THE PANDEMIC By ROB GERHARDT

Shafiqul Kajol, handcuffed after he reappeared in May, with his son Monorom Polok

Rob Gerhardt is an absent Club member and a freelance photographer based in New York

More than 300 prominent Bangladeshi figures signed a petition calling for the release of those arrested under the Digital Securities Act

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information. It stemmed from Kajol’s posting on Facebook about the names of people associated with a sex-trafficking ring run out of an upscale Dhaka hotel. An MP, Shifuzzaman Shikhor, filed the charge under Bangladesh’s Digital Securities Act because his name appeared in the story. The officer in charge of the police present when the charges were filed stated that “the case has been filed for spreading confusion by publishing false, fabricated and defamatory news”. The Digital Securities Act was enacted in 2018 and is seen by both journalists and rights organisations as a tool used

PHOTOS: RSF/SUPPLIED

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he CCTV footage shows Shafiqul Kajol, a Bangladeshi photojournalist and editor of the newspaper Dainik Pokkhokal, pull up to his office in Dhaka and park his motorbike. It was early afternoon on March 10. As the time stamp rolls, a number of unidentified men approach the motorbike and appear to tamper with it. At the end of the video, Kajol appears from his office, and at 6.51pm drives off. According to Monorom Polok, Kajol’s son, after watching the video the police told him that they “did not find any suspicious activity or suspicious looking people from the footage … Their statement is there is nothing wrong, so they have done nothing regarding it.” Kajol surfaced on May 3. He had been found by Bangladeshi guards along the border with India, blindfolded and bound hand and foot according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He was handed over to police and escorted to court. There he appeared with his hands handcuffed behind his back, flanked by police, and was ordered to be held under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which allows the police to hold Kajol in custody under “reasonable suspicion”. He currently sits in the Jashore Central Jail. Kajol disappeared the day after an investigation began into him for publishing “false, offensive and defamatory”

Editor and photojournalist Kajol

THE CORRESPONDENT


Digital Securities Act. One of the signatories is photojournalist Shahidul Alam, who himself was held for more than three months and was tortured by authorities under the Digital Securities Act (I Will Sing and Dance If I Have To, The Correspondent, January 2020). But while Alam’s arrest and imprisonment drew worldwide attention and criticism, the case of Shafiqul Kajol has not. Kajol’s case has also been complicated by the COVID-19 outbreak in Bangladesh. While the Bangladeshi courts ordered Kajol be produced in court for his bail petition, the court was told that jails in Bangladesh are shut down because of COVID-19. So until the outbreak passes, and jails are reopened, Kajol continues to sit in his jail cell unable to either plea for bail or have his case moved forward. Monorom Polok, Kajol’s son, fears for his father’s condition in prison and is afraid that he too may get COVID-19. The virus is winding its way through the prison system and he has no idea when he will be able to see and speak to his father again. “This is one of my darkest moments in life. The amount of helplessness I feel, I cannot express.” n

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by politicians and others in power to silence the press. In the week after Kajol reappeared, at least four other people were arrested and seven others charged under the law for criticising the Bangladeshi government’s handling of its COVID-19 response. They include Didar Bhuiyan, a prominent human rights defender, Ahammed Kabir, a cartoonist, and businessman Mushtaq Ahmed. Bangladesh currently rates as 151st out of 180 countries on RSF’s Press Freedom Index, down a spot from the previous year. Local Bangladeshi human rights group Odhikar has counted 26 attacks on journalists from January to March of this year, 14 people arrested under the Digital Securities Act, and nine forced disappearances. For their 2019 report, Odhikar documented 105 incidents against journalists in the country, along with 42 people arrested under the Digital Securities Act. Since the Awami League came to power in 2009, more then 550 people have been disappeared. Despite this, more than 300 prominent Bangladeshi figures signed a petition calling for the release of those arrested under the

The pandemic means Kajol is stuck in jail and unable to get to court

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THE CORRESPONDENT

JULY 2020

27


ON THE WALL

AS STRONG AS THE WAR, AS SOFT AS THE PEACE Photographs and words by Nicole Tung

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he Hong Kong-born photojournalist and 2018 recipient of the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, Nicole Tung says: “I’d say the increased targeting of journalists around the world makes this profession much more difficult, and I have either had to stop working in one place or go about it in a different way – Syria was one example of that.”

People in Hong Kong celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China as several dozen people showed their support for the Chinese government despite concerns that anti-government protests would continue on the same day. Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Men sit in a tea house smoking and playing dominoes in east Mosul, Iraq. The tea house remained open during ISIS’s rule over the city from 2014, but no board games, dominoes, smoking, or any other entertainment was allowed. November 2017

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A woman cries while cradling her son Laith, whom she had not seen for two years, as they are finally reunited at the Hassan Sham camp for internally displaced persons near Mosul, Iraq. Laith was trapped in Mosul when it fell to ISIS in 2014. Laith’s mother, who could not go back to their home in Mosul, was forced to stay outside of ISIS territory. November 2016

THE CORRESPONDENT


Khaled Mohamed and his bride-to-be step out of the bride’s house before their wedding ceremony in Mosul, Iraq, months after the city was liberated from ISIS. November 2017

Members of the Raqqa Civil Defense pray before at least 15 bodies and remains of people they retrieved from a mass grave before reburying them in a cemetery further away from the city centre, Raqqa, Syria. June 2018

Men bathe in thermal baths in Hammam al Alil, Iraq, two days after Iraqi forces liberated the town from ISIS as they retreated further into Mosul. As the offensive to retake Mosul continued, over 40,000 civilians had been internally displaced, straining already overloaded camps in the region. November 2016

Women suspected of being ISIS family members are seen at a screening point near Baghouz, Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces asdf with the support of the US-led coalition had been in a weekslong campaign to drive out the last of the Islamic State fighters in Baghouz. February 2019

THE CORRESPONDENT

Osama Abdulmonem, 27, readies a wedding dress for display in his shop in Mosul, Iraq. Abdulmonem’s shop remained open under ISIS but he could have been imprisoned for not covering dresses with the full face robe and was banned from using mannequins. November 2017

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ON THE WALL

HUMAN RIGHTS PRESS AWARDS 2020 Photography (Single Image)

Merit Hong Kong Trust Crisis: Extreme Sieges at Universities, by Billy H.C. Kwok, Getty Images A protester escapes Hong Kong Polytechnic University through a sewer on the sixth night of a police siege of the campus on November 22, 2019. The judges said: “Strong cinematic quality in terms of light. A surreal moment in the siege. The photographer shows great journalistic skills in getting this close to the protesters.”

Merit The Jade Crisis by Hkun Lat, Frontier Myanmar 23 May 2019 Jade miners are seen on the side of a mountain digging for jade at a mining company site in Hpakant Township, Kachin State, Myanmar. The judges said: “This was clearly a challenge for the photographer to be in that position and he then made choices to frame with the space showing the insignificance of the people.”.

The People’s Choice Award 2020

The People’s Choice Award received an astounding 47,451 online votes, with the public choosing their favourite photo from a selection of six images. The winning shot, Mattress Shield by Lai Chun Kit for Ming Pao, shows a protester using a mattress from a dormitory to shield himself during clashes with police at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on November 11, 2019.

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THE CORRESPONDENT


Photography (Series)

Winner Hong Kong Protests 2019 by Anthony Wallace, Agence France-Presse A protester bleeds from his head after he was detained by police near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on November 18, 2019. (One of eight submitted) The judges said: “A strong series with good storytelling that shows a timeline of the protests. Consideration has been given to presentation of the set in a coherent series.”

Merit Anti-Extradition Bill Protests in Hong Kong by Lam Chun Tung, Initium Media High school students from the Sha Tin district form a human chain across the Shing Mun River on September 19, 2019, to reiterate the “five demands” of the protest. (One of eight submitted) The judges said: “Good variety. Different and surprising angles. Very decisive moments. Focuses well on the people and their actions.”

Merit Hong Kong Trust Crisis: Extreme Sieges at Universities by Billy H.C. Kwok, Getty Images Protesters lock themselves inside a generator room during the university siege. The room became their safe house as they hid from police. (One of eight submitted) The judges said: “The series focuses on one critical event: the PolyU siege. The difficulty for the photographer was high, joining the protesters and taking on the risks of being among them. Good behind-the-scenes angle to tell the story.”

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THE CORRESPONDENT

JULY 2020

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ON THE WALL

YOUNG LENSES: HONG KONG LIFE IN TRANSITION Photographs by students of HKU, City University and HK Baptist University

Lee Tsz Tung Cherry, Baptist University Cheung Shun-king, 66, paints a handcarved mahjong tile in his shop in Yau Ma Tei, as he has since he was a child. He says the craft is dying

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n the third of our annual series showcasing the work of Hong Kong’s student photographers, we bring you a snapshot of how they see the city

Joyce Yeung Shuk Yan, City University A bus stop near the university, November 13, 2019, during a clash between the police and citizens. Painted on the lit adverts are the words: ‘CityU revolution, liberate Hong Kong’

Chan Yin Kiu Adeline, City University We enter the world alone. We will eventually leave the world alone. So, let’s get used to being alone

HKU Siege, Malthe Hjort Mathiesen, HKU Protesters walk up an elevator at HKU. Universities were later ordered to close after protesters occupied campuses and obstructed roads

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THE CORRESPONDENT


Shoeshine, Alice Tse, HKU A man in a suit has his shoes polished in Central

Drag 02, Tiffany Ip, HKU Full-time Filipino drag performer Rye Bautista, who goes by the name La Chiquitta on stage, prepares to give a talk on gender

Dai Xiaotong, Baptist University Protesters fortify a walkway at the university on November 14, 2019. The university suspended all campus classes for the remainder of the semester

Chu Sai Lun, City University After the siege of HK PolyU. I was speechless when I stepped into the Shaw Sports Complex, a resting place for student protesters during asdf the stand-off. It made me think of refugee camps or natural disasters

Night Evacuation, Leung Chiu Wai, Baptist University Residents were evacuated from Cheung Hong Estate at 3am on February 11, 2019, where four people had COVID-19

THE CORRESPONDENT

JULY 2020

33


SPEAKERS

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

Ben Cowling | Past the Peak? What Comes Next in Hong Kong’s Battle with COVID-19

Professor Ben Cowling is an expert in how diseases spread and how they can be controlled, so on January 22 this year he found himself with a team in Beijing tasked with a rapid analysis of the situation in Wuhan, thought to be the seat of what was to become a pandemic. They concluded that the coronavirus outbreak was growing and doubling every 7.4 days. It had a reproduction number of 2.2, so each case infected 2.2 more people – higher than influenza, but “nowhere near measles”. Cowling is Division Head of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at HKU’s School of Public Health. The team was born after SARs and can react quickly. Cowling was speaking online at the FCC’s first Zoom event on April 29, by which time we were calling the disease COVID-19 and no more than four people could gather in public so the Club was unable to stage its usual speaker lunches. Cowling explained that in the early stages of COVID (as he called it), countries had to decide between containment or mitigation – reducing the surge or spreading the cases out, so avoiding unbearable pressure on healthcare. Hong Kong had four deaths at the time of his talk, and New York City had around 10,000. Hong Kong had more than 1,000 infected, “almost all imported by people coming in from overseas”. Travel restrictions had started to be successful, and he said would be particularly important in a hub like Hong Kong. So why had Hong Kong been so successful in its containment of the disease? Cowling put it down to testing, isolating, tracing contacts of people who were ill, testing everyone coming through the airport – plus what Hong Kongers did for themselves. “Up to 99 per cent have been wearing masks. I think this has helped, particularly on public transport. Who did you sit next to on the bus, who did you stand near on the MTR? Maybe you wouldn’t know,

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making tracing impossible.” People seem most infectious with COVID-19 when their symptoms start to appear, then become less so. “It is important to keep one step ahead of the virus with contact tracing. Since the end of January, the reproduction number in Hong Kong has been around 1, and as long as numbers stay low, they will not spread.” Shibani Mahtani, moderating alone in the Club’s Hughes Room, took questions messaged in from some of the 72 people signed up for this Zoom event. Q: What about using a mobile app for mitigation? A: “There are issues with privacy and personal data protection – but it would be really helpful for tracing. We need to consider this for Hong Kong. Maybe we’ll see restaurants taking personal details, so we can use them for tracing, but it’s difficult because of protecting privacy.” Q: How far can you trust numbers coming out of China? Does it make Hong Kong more vulnerable? A: “They are doing a lot of testing in China. If someone has a positive test, it will be reported through the system up to the national level.” Q: What about a vaccine? A: “There are more than 100 different approaches being tested around the world. I would not expect a vaccine for another 18 months.” Q: Could cage homes, other cramped living situations, emerge as a weak point, as with Singapore’s migrant workers? A: “I would say elderly homes are among the most vulnerable, it would be easy for infection to get into one of these, and they tend to be in densely populated areas. If we saw a spread, it would be sensible to do more testing. We may then need proactive regular testing of people.” Lunchtime online Zoom event, April 29, Sue Brattle

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTO: FCC

Professor Ben Cowling was the guest of the Club’s first speaker event via Zoom as no public gatherings were allowed at the time of his talk


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

Press Freedom in the Pandemic: Are Governments Using COVID-19 to Quash Dissent? critical of the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis were being targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Among them, a television news anchor is facing investigation for a social media post critical of the government’s handling of COVID-19. The Turkish government has released tens of thousands of people from jails due to the threat of COVID-19, but many journalists, human rights defenders and academics have been kept behind bars, Franchineau said. “People who have committed real crimes have been released, but people who are using freedom of expression are still in jail,” she said. Schneider mentioned that the United Nations Human Rights Office said in late April that disturbing details had emerged from dozens of countries about a “toxic lockdown culture”. The agency called on governments to refrain from using the COVID-19 crisis “as a pretext for repressive measures” to quash dissent, control the population or even perpetuate their time in power. She asked the journalists if they believed what had started as measures to contain the virus were being used to deliberately clamp down on voices authorities would rather not hear. Ressa said that in the Philippines problems already existed, but they have been exacerbated by the virus. One silver lining, she said, is that social media platforms are taking down false information. She hopes that might be done in the future for political disinformation. “They’ve proven that when everyone is at risk, they will do it for safety reasons,” she says. Ressa added that those who care about rights and democracy should not sit back as governments infringe on those freedoms during the pandemic. “We have to make sure we don’t let the virus infect democracy, and journalism is the first defence,” she said. n Lunchtime online Zoom event, May 6, Amy Gunia

PHOTOS: FCC AND AFP

Journalists based in the Philippines, Pakistan and Turkey joined a lunchtime Zoom panel on May 6 to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting their countries’ political environments and the ability of journalists to do their jobs. FCC president Jodi Schneider, the moderator, kicked off the talk by asking each journalist to comment on whether the government in their country has been using the coronavirus outbreak to quell dissent and restrict freedom of the press. Maria Ressa, CEO and executive director of the Philippines news website Rappler.com, discussed ABSCBN. The country’s largest broadcaster, which had been critical of the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte, went off the air on the night of May 5 due to a franchise renewal debate with the government. They, like Rappler, have become a cautionary tale about what happens if you report critically, according to Ressa. “It rings a death knell for press freedom and democracy if this continues,” she said. She added that emergency powers enacted by the Duterte administration during the pandemic gives the government wide powers to silence dissent. “We need to make sure that what we do for fighting the virus doesn’t leave more problems for us to deal with as a democracy.” Pakistan-based author and journalist Mohammed Hanif said that media in Pakistan were in crisis even before the pandemic. The government had already “launched an allout campaign to purge the media of all critical voices”, he said. Hanif said that some measures being taken now under the cover of the pandemic will outlast it. For example, a former military general was recently installed as a government media advisor. Hanif said he feared that would lead to a renewed war on the media in the country. Hélène Franchineau, an independent video journalist based in Istanbul, said journalists in Turkey who had been

Left to right: Jodi Schneider, Maria Ressa, Mohammed Hanif, Hélène Franchineau

THE CORRESPONDENT

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SPEAKERS

Lord Patten | What’s In Store for Hong Kong’s Future?

Lord Patten, Hong Kong’s last governor, is respected not just for his intellect, professionalism and depth of insight, but for his human touch. He began his recent address to the FCC – speaking by Zoom from his home in the UK – by singling out for special attention 13-year-old student reporter Luk who was harassed and threatened by police at the Mother’s Day protest on May 10. “[Journalism] is a very honourable profession. Jefferson said in a free society ‘the only security of all is in a free press’. I hope Luk will stick to his passion to become a journalist and I can assure him he won’t always find police officers, particularly in Hong Kong, who are as rude as the ones were with him the other day,” said Patten. His comments about the police were fresh on the heels of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) report a week earlier which cleared its force of misconduct during last year’s anti-government protests. Pointing to the five international experts who dropped out of the inquiry in December, Patten said he wasn’t surprised by the police watchdog’s findings and expressed disappointment that the opportunity for a transparent independent inquiry to bring calm to the city had been lost. “To finish up with an IPCC report which just divides the community even more really is a blow to the hopes we all had of a return to normality in Hong Kong,” said Patten. Throughout the 90-minute webinar, hosted by correspondent governor Keith Richburg, Patten made clear that his beef is not with China or the Chinese people, for whom he has much warmth and respect, but with the country’s ruling party. “I’m not remotely hostile to China. I am hostile to the Chinese Communist Party which is different because I think it’s a threat to all the freedoms and values I associate with dignity and a decent life. So, if that makes me a critic, if that makes me hostile to Xi Jinping, then I plead guilty,” said Patten. He said Hong Kong was, for the most part, permitted

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to get on until 2012, have the rule of law and enjoy all the freedoms associated with economic success. But the tide has turned since Xi Jinping took the helm, and the rules were changed to enable him to remain president for life. “Xi Jinping saw liberal democracy, as he would define it, as an existential threat to what he wanted to do. There was an instruction to government and party officials sent out in 2013 which said that all these things like teaching history openly, like the rule of law, like giving people greater accountability, like developing civil society … all these things are a threat to the Communist Party,” said Patten. Two days after this May 20 Zoom event, Beijing dropped the bombshell about the new national security law for Hong Kong. Patten and former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind organised a joint statement that was signed by 200 political figures around the world decrying the proposed law as a flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration that returned Hong Kong to China in 1997. Speaking to the FCC audience ahead of Beijing’s decision to impose the national security legislation, he said: “One country, two systems means what it says. It does mean that Hong Kong has a high degree of autonomy and that’s one reason why people have continued to invest in Hong Kong.” At the time of the handover, Hong Kong accounted for 19 percent of China’s GDP and now it accounts for just 3 percent. Richburg asked Patten whether this might account for the mainland’s current approach to Hong Kong. “If it is it’s profoundly foolish and suggests the people responsible for China policy don’t understand why Hong Kong is so important for China policy,” said Patten. He pointed to the many services that are imperative for the functioning of a successful modern economy – legal services, financial services and support with quality control – and said that if the CCP continued to bear down on Hong Kong many of those businesses would leave the city. “There is clearly a relationship between freedom of

THE CORRESPONDENT

PHOTOS: SUE BRATTLE

Correspondent governor Keith Richburg hosted the Chris Patten Zoom event. ‘One Country, two systems means what it says,’ Patten said


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

PHOTO: AFP

Early July 1, 1997, outgoing governor Chris Patten with Prince Charles board the Royal Yacht Britannia to leave Hong Kong

capital movement and other freedoms, not least freedom of speech,” he said. On the subject of freedom of speech, Patten pointed to the eight doctors in Wuhan who blew the whistle and tried to tell China and the world about the emerging virus which we now know as COVID-19. Rather than being supported for raising the alarm, they faced police intimidation and were silenced. “It’s a system which depends on trying to cover up the truth, that’s how they survive. And that’s why, just like SARS in 2003, they didn’t tell the world what was happening until five million people or so had left Hubei for holidays over Chinese New Year,” he said. The Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to take advantage of Ccoronavirus to push its military objectives in the South China Sea has cast it in a negative light, he said. On the upside for Hongkongers, that negative perception is pushing the UK to revisit the question of BNO [British National Overseas] passport holders. “There is a growing concern about what China is doing and a considerable sense that to have our moral bearings in the years ahead we really do owe it to people in Hong Kong to behave better towards them,” he said. If Patten had been speaking in-house rather than remotely,

THE CORRESPONDENT

that remark certainly would have received robust applause. Club member Terry Nealon, the former head of Englishlanguage news at RTHK, reminded Patten that before the handover he’d warned of Hong Kong being betrayed by its own leaders and questioned whether he saw that fear now realised. Patten answered diplomatically, saying it was clear that Hong Kong Government seemed to be the mechanism through which the Communist leadership in Beijing ran Hong Kong. “[Chief Executive] Carrie Lam will have to live with her conscience as will others; I would find it pretty difficult,” he said. Judging by the high number of views of the webinar – posted on the FCC’s YouTube channel – and the warm comments, Patten remains Hong Kong’s most popular former governor. His words seem even more poignant in light of the national security law: “If the Beijing communists continue to treat Hong Kong as though it’s just another Chinese city, the rest of the world will sooner or later start to do the same and that would be a disaster and I hope that doesn’t happen,” he said. n 6pm online Zoom event, May 20, Kate Whitehead

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PARTNER CLUBS

THE ‘RICK’S CAFÉ’ OF ASIA AND A CHRONICLE OF THAILAND’S PAST The FCC has almost 100 partner clubs around the world where members have reciprocal rights. In the first of a series written by members, Keith Richburg reports on his decades-long affection for FCC Thailand in Bangkok

I Keith Richburg is an American journalist and former foreign correspondent who spent more than 30 years working for The Washington Post. He is currently director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at HKU, and a member of the FCC Board

Bangkok then was both a backwater and a regional centre, a listening post for the isolated countries around it

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n the mid-1980s, before Southeast Asia became an economic story of Tigers and Cubs, the region was still beset by war and strife, coups and countercoups, military regimes and closed Communist states. General Ne Win was ruling Burma and General Suharto was in charge in Indonesia, Thai and Laotian troops were clashing over disputed border villages, and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge controlled large swaths of Cambodia. That was 1986, when I first moved to Asia and walked into the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, or FCCT, located then up a flight of wooden stairs beneath the ornate spire of the Dusit Thani hotel near Bangkok’s Lumpini Park. It was Rick’s Cafe transplanted from the desert of Casablanca to Asia, with everyone seeming to be waiting to go somewhere, or having just returned. A correspondent covering Asia then had to be a bit of an adventurer. Al Rockoff was there, the photojournalist made famous by the movie The Killing Fields (although I soon learned not to bring up the film he hated), and he was on the way to Cambodia. Another journalist was just back from a rare trip to Vietnam. There were whispers that maybe Burma was allowing journalists in on tourist visas, but you could still sneak in with the Karen rebels. A freelancer was heading to the

Cambodian refugee camps on the Thai border and looking to share a lift. Bangkok then was both a backwater and a regional centre, a listening post for the isolated countries around it — much like Hong Kong was the early listening post for China. Bangkok was also headquarters for United Nations aid workers, shadowy intelligence operatives, and government officials-in-exile, like the Cambodian resistance leaders holding court in a white house on a leafy soi a short tuktuk ride away. The FCCT was the place where an incoming correspondent could pick up the latest gossip, make key contacts and find out when the Vietnamese might be issuing their next batch of journalist visas. The Dusit Thani was just one of the FCCT’s many locales. It bounced around as much as some of the itinerant expats who traversed the region looking for stories and excitement. From its first location on Patpong Road well before it became known as Bangkok’s sleazy red light district, the FCCT hopscotched around the city before finding its current home in the Penthouse of the Maneeya Center, in a glittering highrise with several media outlets on top and a Häagen-Dazs ice cream parlour at ground level. Southeast Asia has changed, just as Thailand has. It’s a much more stable and

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PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

FCCT members protested the detention of Al Jazeera correspondents in Egypt


leng Sary, infamous Khmer Rouge Brother Number Three who fled Cambodia in 1979 and spoke at the FCCT

PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

staid part of the world, where a new crop of journalists spends more time monitoring the stock market than trading whispered rumours of the latest coup. Countries that were once closed are now on the backpackers’ circuit. Still, entering the FCCT today is like taking a trip through the Club’s, and the region’s, storied past. The walls are adorned with photos of past speakers whose names read like a Who’s Who of the region’s turbulent recent past. There’s Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan, Vietnam’s debonair longtime foreign minister Nguyen Co Thach, Malaysian former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim and former Thai Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda who steered the country through most of the 1980s when it went from backwater to boom.

asdfstalwart Roong Phukarbpetch FCCT

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Keith Richburg at FCCT in the late 1990s or early 2000s

A display of covers of the Club’s magazine Dateline BANGKOK herald’s some of the members’ biggest scoops, like when Nate Thayer of the Far Eastern Economic Review and Asiaworks cameraman David McKaige ventured into the Cambodian jungle and found the reclusive Pol Pot. The cover title: “Nate and Dave’s Excellent Scoop.” There is also a testament to tragedy, a tribute to the legendary Australian cameraman Neil Davis, who was killed alongside his American soundman Bill Latch during an insignificant failed coup attempt in Bangkok. Step into the FCCT and on most normal nights — before all business hours in Bangkok were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown — you would likely find a lively panel discussion, or a Monday night film screening. A few years ago while in town, I managed to see The Look of Silence, the follow-up to the award-winning documentary The Act of Killing about the Indonesian massacre of the 1960s, and also Citizenfour, about American whistleblower Ed Snowden. The club has also been a stalwart defender of press freedom around the region – not easy in a country where speaking about the King is proscribed by strict laws and where journalists have been harassed by usually spurious but criminal charges of defamation and libel. The FCCT this year went through a rough patch, forced to close temporarily because of Bangkok’s coronavirus restrictions and rely on the generous donations of members and friends to meet their large overhead costs. The club was able to reopen in June for all-day dining and events, albeit with a limited menu and no alcohol, following government guidelines. But I have no doubt the FCCT will survive and prosper. It’s been around since the mid-1950s and has survived far more turbulent times in the City of Angels and Sin. n

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand is at: Penthouse, Maneeya Center, 518/5 Ploenchit Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand, Tel: 2 652 05801. Website: www.fccthai. com For general enquiries, email: info@fccthai.com Contact general manager Chaiya Richard Holt at manager@fccthai.com or telephone the number above if you’re planning to visit once we can all travel again. For a list of FCC Hong Kong’s partner clubs, go to https://www.fcchk.org/ partner-clubs-3/

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OBITUARIES

BOB HOWLETT Genial and warm host with an award-winning turn of phrase

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an insider’s vantage point of the change in sovereignty. In early 1997, he was posted to the staff of the incoming Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa. His old paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, reported that Bob had become the first Australian to serve as a “mandarin for the People’s Republic of China”. After the handover, Bob spent four years at the Hong Kong and Economic Trade Office in London, where the current chief executive, Carrie Lam, served as director general. Bob always refused to be drawn on questions about her character and competence. When Bob retired from the government in 2009, he joined HSBC, working mainly in its global publishing network, before striking out on his own as a consultant and freelance editor. One of the duties in government Bob said he enjoyed most were the helicopter sightseeing tours of the city he hosted for foreign correspondents. The visitors were always impressed and Bob never tired of the breath-taking cityscape folded around the harbour and rugged hills. Even in his last days when cancer had robbed him of movement, he drew visitors’ attention to the view over Silvermine Bay from his bed at his home on the beach in Mui Wo. He was working on the government’s 2019 Hong Kong Yearbook until shortly before he died, aged 71. He is survived by Elaine, his four children and four grandchildren, Angus, Lottie, Xanthe and Nina. n David Lague

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PHOTO: SUPPLIED

I

In a 1999 speech to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, the then Hong Kong Financial Secretary, Donald Tsang, praised Ireland for its success in attracting investment from computing and IT multi-nationals. Without the legacy of polluting heavy industry, the country had made a “clean jump from the potato to the chip”, Tsang said to roars of laughter from his audience. “Donald loved that line and all the laughs he got,” said the man who wrote the speech, Bob Howlett, when he returned to Hong Kong with Tsang. It was one of countless brilliant lines that Bob penned in a 53-year career spanning newspapers, magazines, government public relations and corporate affairs. That inventive turn of phrase won him a Walkley Award, Australia’s most prestigious journalism prize, for headline writing in 1985. It also meant Bob’s services were always in demand ‘He was a wherever there was a story to be regular aide to written or copy to be edited. travelling senior Born in Fiji and educated in officials, writing Singapore, New Zealand and speeches and Australia, Bob started as a reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald in handling media 1967 before reporting and editing questions’ stints at The Advertiser in Adelaide, the start-up The Western Mail in Perth and The West Australian. Bob was a fine reporter but his true calling was editing. He had an eye for detail and insisted on clear writing. Like many Australian journalists of his generation, Bob was drawn to the adventure of covering pre-handover Hong Kong. He had already accepted a job offer at the Hong Kong Standard when a last-minute, whirlwind romance in Perth meant he arrived newly married in 1988. It was the beginning of two enduring loves. One for Elaine, his wife of 32 years, and the other for Hong Kong, his adopted home. The couple embraced the city and their life together with gusto. It was a whirl of dinner parties, dining out, the Hong Kong Sevens, junk trips and travel. Their home on Lyttelton Road was a social hub for new friends and a constant stream of travellers passing through. Their sons Sean and Rian were born. Bob’s daughter Briony and son Rhys from an earlier marriage were regular visitors. Always genial and relaxed, a perfect counterfoil to the sometimes fiery Elaine, Bob was a warm host and entertaining conversationalist. He had a vast reservoir of facts and trivia at his fingertips. That made him a formidable competitor at quiz nights. He left the Standard to become the managing editor of the short-lived business magazine, Hongkong, Inc. After editing economic copy for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Bob went back to the Standard as deputy editor before joining the Information Services Department where he remained for 16 years straddling the handover. He was a regular aide to travelling senior officials, writing speeches and handling media questions. He also enjoyed


RONALD ‘RONNIE’ LING Pioneering adman, passionate musician, and family man

Left: Ronnie with Anna Chennault at a press conference at the FCC Right: Ronnie at the grand reopening of the FCC Main Bar in 1996

PHOTOS: FCC/SUPPLIED

R

onald “Ronnie” Ling passed away peacefully at home on April 20, 2020, aged 87. He was an active member of the FCC, having served as second vice-president, Associate Member governor and House Committee convenor. Ronnie was born in Shanghai, China, in 1933. He was the youngest in the family, with two brothers and two sisters. The Ling family came to Hong Kong in April 1949. Ronnie was a natural born talent in advertising. Following in the footsteps of his late father, C. P. Ling, who was known as the “Father of Modern Advertising” in China, Ronnie would soon emerge as an industry leader, pioneer, and innovator. In 1963, Ronnie, along with his brother William, entered into a joint venture with New York advertising agency McCann Erickson and established Ling McCann Erickson in Hong Kong. He also became a member of the FCC. With his flair for the persuasion business, the agency would soon acquire some of the biggest corporate names as clients: Coca-Cola, Colgate, Nestlé, Kodak, British American Tobacco, the list goes on. Under his visionary leadership, Ling McCann Erickson became the most successful advertising agency in Hong Kong of the 1970s and beyond. In 1984, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Hong Kong created the Ronald Ling Life Award to be presented to an individual who made the biggest contribution to the advertising industry in a given year. The first winner was Ronnie. Ronnie was not just a legend in the business but was also a well loved and highly respected mentor. Most of his mentees (known as his “troopers”) started working with Ronnie during the early stages of their careers. They later advanced to become some of the most successful names in advertising and consumer brands in Hong Kong. They remained his lifelong close friends. Outside of advertising, Ronnie was passionate about music since he started playing the piano at the age of six. His greatest musical achievement was Jasmine, an album of original music for piano and orchestra composed and performed entirely by Ronnie himself. His years of hard work to produce the album culminated in a brilliant musical

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expression of poetry which epitomised his artistic talent. Ronnie was a family man who dedicated much love and devotion to his wife, Lily, and their four children. Whether it was a drive to the family’s favourite restaurant in Shatin, going swimming on weekends, a round of golf, a boat trip to the islands, or a simple game of Monopoly, Ronnie created the fondest memories for his children. Bob Page, UPI’s former vicepresident and general manager of ‘He was held Asia, recalls this jubilant moment in esteem and with Ronnie: “In 1974, the FCC admiration, celebrated its 25th year in Hong loved by all who Kong, following the move from knew him.’ Nanjing in 1949. It was a glorious evening, a Who’s Who of Hong Kong. A rollicking and festive evening, with wine and booze flowing freely. At some point in the late evening, for reasons which I cannot possibly explain, Ronnie, Al Webb, who was UPI’s Asia Division editor, and I decided to celebrate by standing on our tables, toasting to all, drinks in hand! We were younger then! “Ronnie ’s best pals in those days were my UPI colleague, Charlie Smith, Norm Williams, Citibank’s vice president for public affairs, and myself. We had some roaring toots on the town. In reality, every member of the FCC was Ronnie’s friend. He was held in esteem and admiration, loved by all who knew him. Ronnie was a very special friend.” Ronnie is survived by his sons Robert and Anthony, daughter Madeleine, and five grandchildren. n Joey Fan

Ronnie in Cognac in 1974 listening to air traffic control. He carried this picture with him for almost 50 years

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

Welcome to New Members Correspondents

• Adrienne Carter, Asia Editor, The New York Times • Madeleine Lim, Senior Executive Editor, Asia, Bloomberg • Yawar Tharia, Publisher, Insurance Asia News • Jérémy André, Foreign Correspondent for Asia, Le Point • James Hossack, Senior Editor, AFP

Corporate

• Hon Ping Choy, Vice-Executive Chairman, New World China Land Ltd • Shaomei Huang, Chief Executive Officer, New World China Land Ltd • Troy Modlin, Vice-President External Affairs, Philip Morris Asia Ltd Honorary

• Veby Indah, Associate Editor, Suara Hong Kong News Diplomatic Replacements

• Ryan Neelam, Deputy Consul-General, Australian Consulate General Journalists

• Man Kuen Chan, Deputy Director of Broadcasting, RTHK • Anita Chang, Head of TV Programming and Administration, RTHK • Marcy Trent Long, Producer, Sustainable Asia • Raquel Carvalho, Asia Correspondent, South China Morning Post Associates

• Maisie Wong, Head of Corporate, Citizen Thunderbird Travel Ltd • Lakshmi Laroia, Director, Media Focus Ltd • Brendan McGloin, Director, The Risk Advisory Group • Richard Darracott, Managing Director, Accenture • Thomas Rogerson, Advisor, Private Capital Ltd • Charles Scheyd, CEO, FJS Consultants Ltd • David Maitland Gardner, Quantitative Analyst, Lim Advisors Ltd • Angie Yeung, Manager, Mind Fund Studio Ltd • Minhee Han, Business Development Manager, Bollore Logistics Hong Kong Ltd • Chin Leng Lim, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • Alan Chan, Director, Contract Services, BKAsiaPacific Ltd • Mari Dhamodran, Managing Director, Aptus Prime Ltd • Dr William Lo, Board Director, TVB • Yee Man Lee, Regional Head of Professional Erthics & Investigations, Apac Compliance, BNP Paribas • Cheuk Wai Li, Partner, Messrs Li & Lai • Benny Yip, Vice-President, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd • Man Cheong Tsoi, Retired • Rory Thomson • Jeff Tse, Retired • Ying-Wai Wu, Vice-President Compliance, Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch • Vikram Singh, Managing Director, Air Logistics Ltd • Christopher Jones, Managing Director, Deutsche Bank AG • Petra Carlberg, Deputy Global Purchasing & Logistics Area Manager, IKEA Supply (Hong Kong) Ltd • Edward Beeley, Associate, Holman Fenwick Willan Diplomatic

• Rolf Frei, Consul General, Consulate General of Switzerland

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Corporate Replacements

• Sabrina van der Puetten, Head of Corporate Communications Apac, BASF East Asia Regional Headquarters Ltd • Trinni Choy, Acting Director of Communications, The University of Hong Kong • Andrew Chin, Managing Director, HSBC • Sonia Vaswani, General Manager, Zetland Corporate Services Ltd • Kin Pui Lau, Director, Columbia International Removals Ltd • Jaime Lee, Head of Public Affairs & Communications, SWIFT • Edward Duggan, Head of Sales Trading & Execution, HSBC • Anthony Pereira, Consultant, Hill & Associates Ltd

On To Pastures New

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

• Nic Gaunt, Photographer, Total Media Ltd • Elisabeth von Ortenberg, Freelancer • Rashmi Krishna Kumar, Senior Reporter, Euromoney Institutional Investor (Jersey) Ltd • Kazumi Sakurada, Staff Writer, Nikkei Quick News • Samantha Leese, Freelance Writer • Sijia Jiang, Correspondent, Reuters • Drew Wilson, Editor, Last Word Media (HK) Ltd • Caroline Malone, Freelancer • Ambika Behal, TV Producer, Bloomberg News Journalists

• Daisy Mandap, Editor, The Sun Hong Kong • Fujio Kashimura, News Writer, Nikkan Berita • Wyng Chow, Sub-Editor, The Standard • Babette Radclyffe-Thomas, Digital Editor, Cedar • Janice Leung, Freelancer • Vivek Prakash, Freelancer • Andrew Ong, Freelancer • Philip Smith, Training Editor, South China Morning Post • Stuart Heaver, Freelance Journalist and Writer

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Associates

Corporate

• Patrick Sun, Self-Employed • Iouri Simakov, Director, Info Network Ltd • Philip Skevington, Managing Director, Kinvara Capital Ltd • Brian Engelking, Key Account Director, CSL Ltd • Yan Zhang, Partner, Newgate Communications (HK) Ltd • Patrick Tuohy, Manager, Alfa Capital Partners • Vivian Leung, Assistant Manager, Bella Skin Care Centres • Dr Richard Armour, Secretary-General, University Grants Committee • Doris Pak, Group Operating Officer, Hong Kong, UBS AG • John Purnell-Webb, Chief Pilot, Hong Kong Jet • Ben Hunt, Owner and CEO, Braiform • Magnus Renfrew, Managing Director & Founder, ARTHQ Ltd • Jeffrey Chen, Partner, Dentons Hong Kong LLP • Jimmy Cheng, Self-Employed • Peter Sprogis, Chief Financial Officer, Schenker International (HK) Ltd • Darren Fitzgerald, Director, Dragon Prospect Ltd • Alexander Esmail, Self-Employed • Sanford Panitch, President, Sony Pictures International Productions • Walter Hungerbuhler, Partner, WAVE Asia Advisors • Anthony Wilson, Retired • Stephen Edwards, Managing Director, Red Rover • Corrina Tai, Retired • John Norris, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Analytics • Ricky Wong, General Manager, AIBrain, Inc • Yick Ki Tsui, Managing Director, Institutional Sales, Bocom International Securities Ltd

• Trevor Hale, Head of Global Communications, Infiniti Motor Group

Resigning Correspondents

• Alyssa Betts, Online Editor, The Wall Street Journal • Steven Russolillo, Special Writer, Dow Jones Publishing Company (Asia) Inc • Gregory Turk, Senior Editor, Bloomberg News • Thomas Duffell, Asia Editor, Pageant Media • Phani Varahabhotla, News Editor, Nikkei Newsrise Asia Pte Ltd • Stephen Spratt, Reporter, Bloomberg • Nick Ferguson, Editor-in-Chief Asia, The American Lawyer Associates

• Arthur Li, Principal, Dr Raymond Li Dental Surgery • Guy Makin, Pilot, Cathay Pacific • Robin James, VP Event Operations, Apac, IMG • Matthew Braddick, Director, Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Ltd • Ralph Ybema, Managing Director, China Law & Tax • Norman Croker, Manager, Abundance Holdings Ltd • Nikola Kemper, Self-Employed • Wilson Wu, Director, Alliance Produce Agencies Ltd • David Palmer, Chief Executive Officer, Wah Kwong Maritime Agency Company Ltd • Yuk Ming Wong, Managing Director, King’s Diamond Trading Co. • John Pym, Captain • John Marshall, Owner, ILIOS C.P.A. Ltd • John Appleby, Managing Director, WoodHamill • Jeckle Chiu, Partner, Mayer Brown • Esther Leung, Vice-President, CIC Investor Services Ltd

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Welcome Back Associate

• Rachel Pong, Regional Customer Manager, Digital Equipment Corporation

Category Changes Correspondent to Silver Correspondent

• Stuart Lawrence, Freelance Associate to Silver Associate

• Peter Witton, Director, Anthem Asia • Anthony Houghton, Barrister-at-Law • Ruedi Bischof, Director, Sir Elly Kadoorie & Sons Ltd Honorary Widow

• Mrs Kate Mead Honorary Widower

• Martin Evan-Jones, Director, Evan-Jones Limited

Despatched We are extremely sad to announce the deaths of: • Jenifer Evan-Jones • Robert (Bob) Howlett • Ms Suk Ling Lo • Timothy Cribb, Director, Brand Harmonics

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

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NEW MEMBERS

INTRODUCING... NEW MEMBERS The latest group of members to join the FCC is, as always, an interesting bunch. The membership committee meets regularly to go through applications and is always impressed by the diversity of people who want to join the Club.

Richard Albuquerque I am the founding partner of Richard Albuquerque & Co., certified public accountants. Our firm is in its 16th year. I came to Hong Kong in 1992 from Mumbai for a holiday, and it became my home. I was a bookkeeper when I decided to study accountancy. I passed my first exams before my son Liam was born in 1997; I finished my final exams before my daughter Laila was born in 2001. I thank my wife Shirley and the kids immensely for their support. I enjoy travelling, the gym (coached by my son), swimming, reading and watching movies. Jeremy Choy I am managing director of China Renaissance Securities (HK) Ltd. My first encounter with the FCC was rather difficult. One night my wife and I were in the mood for jazz, and we had heard the FCC had the best jazz in town. We walked in (in hindsight it’s more sneaking in), enjoyed a piece or two, and you can guess what happened next. I decided to join the queue for membership. What also attracts me is the spirit the FCC stands for, an open forum for all voices to be heard. This is particularly important at this critical juncture for Hong Kong. Tom Rogerson As well as joining the FCC, I’ve hit another milestone of completing my seventh year in Hong Kong. It seems like only yesterday I moved here from Manchester and have loved every one of the fast-paced, Hong Kong minutes. I joined Private Capital in 2017 and am the fourth employee to join the Club, which is on the doorstep of our office – a blessing and a curse! When I’m not helping people change the way they think about investing, you’ll find me on the golf course, running up a hill, or in my kitchen cooking pasta… Veronica Han I arrived in Hong Kong 10 years ago – single, young, ambitious, smart, skinny. Now, I am a working mum with two crazy boys, trying to find a balance with work, family

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and private life, like so many! I moved from Frankfurt, Germany, to be with my husband. I work in the logistics industry, which has given me the opportunity to meet people from so many backgrounds. I’ve been a privileged guest at the FCC on several occasions. I enjoy the atmosphere of the Club; the people, the conversation. And I’ve become a huge fan of the Indian cuisine! Brendan McGloin I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, studied in London, and have been in Hong Kong since 2012. For most of that time I’ve been the head of Asia for a UK-based risk consulting firm, but I recently took the plunge, mid-pandemic and all, to start my own research firm with a couple of partners. We’re aiming to open up later this year. In the meantime, the FCC (workroom and then Main Bar and not the other way around) is quickly becoming a second home. Chin Leng Lim I make ends meet, people laugh, though sometimes also quite cross. I teach class as Professor of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I have not unpacked some of my belongings carried around the world since I was a teenager. My wife Lyn and I met during treaty negotiations; I may have pretended to have a smattering of Arabic, but can read Malay in the Arabic script. I have been on a camel, jumped out of a Jeep at night, and am known to practise law as a member of the London Bar. I am always gleeful of company, but never of teetotallers. Lyn is a far better creature. Alan Chan I was born and educated in Hong Kong. I am a quantity surveyor for BKAsiaPacific Group. I enjoy travelling and one day early in my career I was told that Australia was looking for overseas quantity surveyors. I couldn’t wait to go

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there. I worked and stayed there until the interest rate shot up to 18 per cent to send me back home in 1990. The venture proved to be very interesting and worthwhile. At least, it gave me a full Australian accent. My subsequent ventures took me to China, India, Singapore and the Philippines. Robert Karr I spent my earlier career working in automatic identification systems such as bar codes and RFID technologies which eventually brought me to Hong Kong where my lovely wife, Adeline, had been working in the airline industry since the 1980s. In 2013 I was part of a small group that started STAR Systems International which services the world with technologies for electronic tolling, parking and electronic vehicle registration systems. I am now chief executive. I live in Tung Chung and am fluent in Spanish and can ugly my way through Portuguese. Being from Philadelphia, some may say that I mangle English quite a bit also. Mari Dhamodran I run my own firm, Aptus Prime Ltd, that specialises in trust and corporate services and I’ve been in this industry for most of my career. My profession allows me to meet people from across the world. I have lived in Burma, India, and Australia and moved to Hong Kong in the early ’90s. I’m a keen sports enthusiast and love playing tennis and cricket. I also enjoy reading and am an ardent supporter of investigative journalism. Some of my other hobbies include expanding my knowledge of different red wines, exploring the hidden gems of Hong Kong’s restaurant scene, and watching legal dramas. Dr William Lo, JP I was trained as a neuroscientist in the ’80s then moved on to the commercial world via McKinsey & Company. I have been in and out of the media and related industries a few times. I was the founder of Netvigator, the largest ISP in Hong Kong, in the mid90s and vice-chairman of South China Media at the end of the last decade. In between I was CEO of Citibank and ED of China Unicom as well as the vice-chairman of I.T and Kidsland, the fashion and toys retailer, respectively. At the moment, I chair my own digital marketing company, Captcha Media, and am a lead independent non-executive director at TVB. Marcy Trent Long I am relatively new to the field of journalism, after 20 years in the energy sector and several years with environmental non-profits. Frustrated with the complexity of recycling in Hong Kong, I began hosting a weekly RTHK3 feature called Trash Talk. One thing led to

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another, and I partnered with chinadialogue to produce a long form podcast series about China’s policies and initiatives to address the rise of ocean plastic waste. The Sustainable Asia Podcast was born – and in our first year we were nominated for Asia’s Best Podcast. The logical next step? Join the FCC community. My husband Dirk and I are excited to be a part of this historic institution. Choy Hon-Ping I am the vice-executive chairman of New World China Limited and the chairman and managing director of Hip Seng Group, the construction company of New World Development Company Ltd in Hong Kong. I have over 40 years’ experience in the property and infrastructure construction sector. I have also served as director for numerous listed property developers and construction companies. I have overseen and participated in projects in Hong Kong, Macau, and the Middle East. I have five children and five grandsons, some of whom are living overseas. I enjoy watching movies and photography. Benny Yip I serve on the Institutional Relationship Management team in the Global Client Development department at HKEX. I joined HKEX in September 2015 after holding a similar role at CME Group in Hong Kong for two years. I have 24 years of industry experience, most of them as a cash equity trader across the U.S., Europe, and Asia markets. My trading experience includes buyside trading, sellside trading, sales trading, proprietary trading, program/algo trading, and being the head of five different sales trading and trading desks. I have a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business. I grew up in New York and relocated to Hong Kong in October 2010. Man Cheong Tsoi My wife Bonnie and I are glad we can have an opportunity to meet you all at the FCC. I am retired and my wife is a doctor. We married in 2014 and our wedding was held at St Paul’s Church, which is so near to our Club. We love travelling and our most exciting moment was to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the first day of 2019! My hearing has been bad since I was young and has become worse after marriage so you will always see us together at the Club as my wife is my ears now! Jérémy André The year I was born, 1984, describes well the times we live in. My heart belongs to the shores of Brittany, where I spent my holidays as a child. I grew up in the grey and wet suburbs of Paris, into my 20s drinking, dreaming, studying and teaching history. After a six-

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NEW MEMBERS

month trip to China in 2010, I slowly became a journalist. I lived two years in Iraq, covered the battle of Mosul, the genocide in Sinjar, the invasion of Afrin by Turkey and the fall of the caliphate in Baghouz in Syria, the 2019 protests in Hong Kong and now COVID-19, being appointed Asia Correspondent of French newsmagazine Le Point in January 2020. I love exploring uncharted territories and am a guide for the forbidden parts of the catacombs of Paris. Ying-Wai Wu British born, I’ve lived in London most of my life. I decided to give Hong Kong a try in 2009. A place I was familiar with from childhood holidays (including the ’97 handover), yet not so familiar since I never stayed long. I have a soft spot for Hong Kong since my family grew up here. I’ve worked in the financial industry (buy and sell side) in London, and saw Hong Kong as an opportunity after the 2008 financial crisis. I am now vice-president, compliance, for Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong. I have an appetite for great cuisine, and a passion for the arts, music and film. I like to get away whenever time permits, whether a lazy beach holiday or more cultural offerings. Edward Beeley Dissolute work-shy freeloader seeks friendship, diversion, entertainment for self and charming wife Liane within hallowed halls of local institution. Deep passion for press freedom and self-expression combined with lethargic, pretentious snows-of-yesteryear melancholy and rapacious millennial consumerist avarice. Work: engineer turned solicitor delivering outstanding full-spectrum client service etc in Asia’s World City. Play: satire, guitar, dreadnought battleship construction and fire control, hiking. Activism: occasional; beloved chairman/ celestial leader of British Chamber of Commerce youth wing. Likes: conversation, arts, adjectives. Dislikes: writing to a word lim… Christopher Jones I climbed Mount Everest and fought off sharks while swimming the Amazon … sounds great but unfortunately

it’s not true! Part of the reason none of that is true is because I pursued a career in finance. I am managing director at Deutsche Bank AG, which I joined in 2008. I enjoy my work … hey if I did not, I would be atop Mt Everest! Well, actually in a way I am; I am blessed with a lovely wife and a beautiful 14-year-old daughter. I play field hockey and am an avid sports enthusiast. I collect South Asian art and vintage watches and would love to collect classic cars but unfortunately only have one in Hong Kong, a 1969 E-Type … I am a contented man. Vikram Singh I visited Hong Kong in the mid-80s as a student when Kai Tak was still operational but never imagined then we would move to Hong Kong. We’ve been on the move my entire airline career having lived in India, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, South Africa, the Netherlands and Qatar. I now run an airline services business, Air Logistics Ltd. Business has kept me in a plane most weeks for the past 10 years and it is surreal to have been on the ground for over two months now during the COVID-19 pandemic. And watching my team around the world stepping up to continue shipping cargo – to do our part to keep goods and essential items moving in this unprecedented crisis. Petra Carlberg Together with my husband, Anders, I was introduced to the FCC by our hiking friends. As a Swede, I enjoy outdoor life. When I moved to Hong Kong, I joined a hiking group to continue with my hobby. Pimm’s, the labrador, is a happy companion on the hikes. My background is a mix of exploration and enjoying my home ground. My past includes British boarding schools and living in the 1980s in the United Arab Emirates. I have always worked more or less connected to international business, mainly in the supply chain, with extensive travelling around the world. n

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

Invitation to all members If you have an idea for a story for The Correspondent, we would like to hear from you. Just send an email to editor@fcchk.org

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THE CORRESPONDENT


CLUB NEWS

GYM USES DOWNTIME TO HAVE A MINI-MAKEOVER A

nyone who uses the Club’s gym will know how diligent the staff have always been about cleaning. Many fitness centres leave it to visitors to wipe down treadmills and other equipment after use – something that’s not always done with much rigour. At the FCC, gym manager Dilys Hou and her assistants always kept the machines spotless, expending more energy as they did so than many of those who were there to exercise. Now, with the coronavirus threat, cleaning and hygiene have never been more important, and the FCC’s staff are rising to the challenge. The room – on the left as you head down to Bert’s – is thoroughly cleaned before it opens. Gym team members spray high-grade disinfectant on the equipment after each use. And even when the facility is closed the effort continues – ultraviolet lights attached to timers switch on automatically outside operating hours to disinfect the space. “We’re very serious about cleaning so it’s safe for members and staff,” said house manager Anthony Ong. The gym closed on March 24 in line with government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing social contact. It reopened on May 8 when the restrictions were eased, though some social distancing rules remained in force. No more than five people – a member of staff and up to four members – were allowed in the room at one time. The showers and changing rooms were open, though the sauna and steam room remained closed on government advice. The limit on numbers had a welcome upside – you were more likely to be able to use your favourite machine. The equipment includes bench press and leg press stations, treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers, a rowing machine and weights.

One of the treadmills has been replaced as part of a refurbishment programme overseen by Anthony. The walls were repainted, and maintenance work and safety improvements have been carried out. Dilys has two assistants to cover the different shifts. She joined the FCC in 1991, and previously worked on the food and beverage side before moving to the gym a year ago. After the gym reopened, members who wanted to work out were asked to book in advance, though she said walkins would be admitted provided the limit on numbers had not been reached. “We’ve had many bookings,” said Anthony. “Members have missed it.” *By the way, the team’s duties include selling Club merchandise displayed in the lobby. Dilys said the coffee mug was the most popular item, followed by the Parker rollerball pen and a shirt. Colin Simpson

PHOTOS: COLIN SIMPSON

Dilys and house manager Anthony Ong got busy on refurbishing the gym while it was closed

Gym manager Dilys Hou on the Club’s new treadmill

THE CORRESPONDENT

The spruced-up gym is a great asset for members

JULY 2020

47


LAST LAUGH

I’M SURPRISED ‘COAL MINING FOR KIDS’ AND ‘CHIMNEY SWEEP’ WEREN’T OFFERED AT SCHOOL The chaos of COVID-19 has left some with time to ponder, reflect, and turn to flatpack furniture assembly. David Cain resorts to a big hammer and bilingual foul language as he builds his new home office.

A

s Hong Kong moves from COVID-19 to Season 2 Anti-Government protests, the rest of the world moves from business as usual to corona-induced chaos, and closer to home I moved from full-time employment to zero employment and now on to semiemployment. Fair to say that this year so far has been as tumultuous as a plant hurling Legco session. With time to dwell between jobs, I reflected upon how I came to be in Hong Kong in the early 2000s, working in a corporate job, in spite of my Industrial Revolution era education. Back then subjects included metalwork; now performed mostly by robots, woodwork; soon to be performed entirely by 3D printers; cooking and needlework, mostly performed by our part-time amah... looking back at the list of educational ‘electives’ at my school, I’m surprised ‘coal mining for kids’, and ‘chimney sweep’ weren’t offered. The most useful skills in my day to day working life nowadays, of which none were taught in school, are the abilities to listen and negotiate. I wade through the corporate machine listening to white people gweilosplaining everything from COVID-19 conspiracy theories to what order to spread cream or jam on a freshly baked scone. These skills have also proven useful at home as I regularly negotiate the foreigner vs local delivery charge with my local Taobao delivery guy, who we nicknamed ‘Wharfie’ on account that he needs to dock himself on our toilet every time he delivers something. Taoboa has been a saviour as I transform my small apartment into a proper home office. Deliveries are fast, the products are generally pretty good, although the assembly instructions for flat-packed furniture could be less cryptic. But like my father before me, I turn to alcohol, or a larger hammer, and some bilingual foul language in times of furniture

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assembly crisis. By comparison, setting up a company in Hong Kong has been a breeze. Fill in some forms, provide a business plan, open a bank account, and voila. The hardest part was thinking of a company name. All of the names I wanted were already taken... Money Bags Accounting Co Ltd, Euro-Nate Tiles, The Lucky Aim Toilet company. So I chose some random letters and put ‘group’ at the end to make it sound like a larger company. With the virus mostly behind us, we look again to the future, and as expats this will likely include travel for both pleasure and business. I don’t believe I have ever spent this long, almost six months, without leaving the shores of HK, and I really hope I can remember the lock codes of my suitcases when I do finally board a flight somewhere. Suitcase stress aside, we ran out of duty-free gin recently and I’m reluctant to pay for the 750ml kiddies’ bottles from the store. It’s just not right, and what will the kids drink? So as we hit the halfway point in the Year of the Rat it’s already clear this will be a year of unprecedented change. Luckily for us some things never change in HK. Just last week the taxi driver that delivered me to

the FCC was the same old uncle that collected me from Chep Lap Kok when I initially landed in HKG in 2001. I’m pretty sure it was the exact same taxi as well, with the same used tissues in the armrest and seven handphones screwed to the dashboard. I recognised the driver by his wooden leg and associated stopstart driving technique, which seems to have rubbed off on other cabbies in Hong Kong. Some things will never change. n

New Zealand-born David Cain is a freelance project management consultant 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-ish member at the FCC.

THE CORRESPONDENT


Profile for FCCHK FCCHK

The Correspondent July - September, 2020  

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

The Correspondent July - September, 2020  

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

Profile for fcchk
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