The Correspondent, April-June 2024

Page 1



Dear Members,

It’s still too early to understand the full impact of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance on the work of journalists in Hong Kong.

Our most recent pulse check was the FCC’s 2023 Press Freedom Survey, which found that 88 percent of respondents (52 persons) said they had already found sources in Hong Kong less willing to be quoted or to discuss sensitive subjects. In addition, 65 percent of the journalists surveyed said they had practiced self-censorship in the preceding 18 months, either in the content of their reporting or by avoiding certain subjects.

More recently, the Hong Kong Journalists Association, which surveyed its members during the law’s public consultation period, found that more than 75 percent of the journalists who responded said they believed the homegrown security law would have a negative impact on press freedom in the city. For journalists working on the ground in Hong Kong, questions and uncertainties continue to loom large.

One thing we do know beyond any doubt or equivocation is that there has never been a more important time to be a journalist in Hong Kong. at’s exactly why the FCC’s Board of Governors has been working hard to bring back our Journalism Conference a er a ve-year hiatus. e theme? ‘Let’s Get to Work’.

e conference credo: detached, academic discussions on the state of press freedom in the city will only get us so far. Instead, programming will focus on helping attendees add to their skill sets and learn to master the tools they need to be a journalist in 2024. From AI to mental health, talks and workshops have been programmed to be relevant and useful to early-career journalists. e title of the conference’s rst talk in ve years: ‘How to be a Journalist in Hong Kong’.

As to the impact the new security law will have on the FCC, we’ll also likely know the answer to that critical question with a lot more certainty six months hence. As always, the Board will hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

As I wrote in my policy statement last year, while I can’t guarantee particular outcomes, I will always strive for transparency and proactive communication with Members. Behind the scenes, we continue to get the tough, unglamorous work done properly -ensuring we have the right counsel, building useful relationships and tightening our governance processes. In short, we will keep walking the new-normal tightrope; engaging in the issues and making our substantial voice count, while also securing the long-term future of our club.

e future of the FCC is inexorably tied with the future health of press freedom in the city. Both, therefore, are tied with the long-term prosperity of Hong Kong. I know that every member joins me in wanting nothing but the best for all three.

"As to the impact the new security law will have on the FCC, we’ll also likely know the answer to that critical question with a lot more certainty six months hence. As always, the Board will hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

Cover caption: Photographers work during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Brazil and Switzerland at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don on June 17, 2018. Jewel SAMAD / AFP


The Board of Governors 2023-2024

President Lee Williamson

First Vice President Jennifer Jett

Second Vice President Tim Huxley

Correspondent Member Governors Karly Cox, Morgan Davis, Karen Koh, Kari Soo Lindberg, Peter Parks, Kristie Lu Stout, Dean Napolitano, Laura Westbrook

Journalist Member Governors Zela Chin, Joe Pan

Associate Member Governors Genavieve Alexander, Liu Kin-ming, Lynne Mulholland, Christopher Slaughter

Club Treasurer Tim Huxley

Club Secretary Liu Kin-ming

Professional Committee Conveners: Lee Williamson, Jennifer Jett, Karen Koh, Joe Pan

Journalism Conference Sub-Committee Conveners: Lee Williamson, Jennifer Jett, Dean Napolitano

Press Freedom Committee Conveners: Lee Williamson, Jennifer Jett, Karen Koh

Constitutional Committee Conveners: Liu Kin-ming, Peter Parks

Membership Committee Conveners: Karly Cox, Jennifer Jett

Communications Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Zela Chin, Morgan Davis

Finance Committee Treasurer: Tim Huxley Conveners: Karen Koh, Lynne Mulholland

House/Food and Beverage Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Lynne Mulholland

Building – Project and Maintenance Committee Conveners: Liu Kin-ming, Christopher Slaughter

Wall Committee Conveners: Peter Parks, Kristie Lu Stout

Charity Committee Convener: Morgan Davis

Cricket Society Chairman: Neil Western

Bridge Society Chairman: Jenny Hsieh

Golf Society Chairman: Russell M Julseth

Pool Players Society Chairman: Tony Chan

General Manager David Brightling


Aaron Busch

Aaron studied journalism at Curtin University, Western Australia before embarking on a career in radio journalism, print, and finally radio announcing. e currently runs one X account for Hong Kong news @tripperhead with 45k followers, and a nightly Substack newsletter. He is also the X social media manager for the Kowloon Cricket Club.

Jennifer Jett

Jennifer Jett is the Asia Digital Editor at NBC News and First Vice-President at the FCC. Originally from Arizona, she has lived in Hong Kong since 2010 and has a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong.

Hugo Novales

Hugo is originally from Chicago and joined the FCC after graduating from HKU's Master of Journalism programme. As the Club’s in-house journalist, he covers events for the website and social media, contributes to The Correspondent, and also helps organise and promote workshops for early/mid-career journalists.

Bettina Wassener

Bettina worked as a business journalist for the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune and CNBC, among others, for nearly 20 years before moving into corporate communications. She has been hiking all over Hong Kong and readily admits that she’s also a bit of a transport geek.

Editor Ann Tsang Email:

Publisher Artmazing! Noel de Guzman Email:

Cover image Jewel SAMAD / AFP

Printing Elite Printing: Tel: 2558 0119

Advertising Enquiries CC ront Office el 2 2

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong

2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2521 1511

Fax: (852) 2868 4092



Helena Hu

Helena Hu graduated from The University of Hong Kong with a Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) degree in 2011. She has contributed to the Financial Times, Harvard Business Publishing, the Hong Kong Lawyer Journal and other publications.

Peter Neville-Hadley

Peter Neville-Hadley is the author of several cultural guides to China, and is a frequent contributor to the South China Morning Post and other periodicals in Asia, North America and Europe.

Christina Pantin

Christina is a alaysia-born, .S. citi en ho is uent in financial ournalism and corporate communications. She has worked for various brands, is the Founder of communications consultancy Toot, and is a Founding member of Global Commtrepreneurs Network and Web3 Women. She has lived in six countries and enjoys public speaking.

Kate Whitehead

Previously on staff at the SCMP and then editor of Discovery magazine, Kate now writes for local and international publications. She is a former FCC Correspondent Governor and a ualified and practicing psychotherapist. ate is the author of t o non-fiction crime books and andemic Minds, her book on the pandemic in Hong Kong, will be released by HKU Press in March 2024.

The Correspondent ©2024

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong

TheCorrespondent©2024ispublishedfourtimesayearbyTheForeignCorrespondents’Club, HongKong.Allviewsexpressedinallarticlesarethoseoftheauthorsandarenotnecessarily thoseofTheForeignCorrespondents’Club.AllcontentcontainedwithinTheCorrespondent magazinemaynotbereproducedinanymannerwhatsoeverwithoutauthorisation.



On July 26, Paris will take centre stage as it plays host to the Olympic Games for a third time. It has in the past, and will no doubt again, deliver a spectacular experience to athletes and spectators alike.

16 Chronicling The Scores

Peter Parks and Josh Ball recount their experiences of covering major sporting events and look ahead to Paris 2024.

22 The Art of The Olympics

e o cial Olympic posters over the years have represented the global event in a wide variety of forms and many have gone on to become highly sought-a er collectors’ items.

24 Woman of Steel

Meet ultramarathon runner Alice McLeod, the fastest woman in the 2024 Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge.

26 Conquering The High Seas

One of the favourites for this year’s Rolex China Sea Race, a 565 nautical mile o shore race from Hong Kong to the Philippines, was Philippe Grelon and his son Cosmas. We spoke to the pair just prior to the race.

24 Walk On The

Bettina Wassener encourages you to lace up your hiking boots, throw caution to the wind, and explore some of the slightly lesser-known routes among the SAR’s ridgetop world.

32 Going The Distance

Hyrox has become one of the fastest-growing tness competitions in the world. Hugo Novales documents his personal experiences since competing in Asia’s rst event in 2022.

3 THE CORRESPONDENT | APRIL 2024 CONTENTS 1 From the President 4 Club News 6 The Correspondent Podcast 8 General Manager’s Report 10 The FCC Survey Results
Let The Games
Wild Side
34 On The Wall 37 Speakers Corner 40 Feeling Bookish? 42 Obituary: David Thurston 43 Remembering Nils Horner 44 Food For Thought 47 In Vino Veritas 48 New On The Block 52 Member Movements 54 Click! 56 Don’t Beat About The Busch 12 16 26 44 54 24 THE CORRESPONDENT | APRIL 2024


Robin Moyer has donated a very special photograph to the FCC – the 1977 World Press Photo of the Year by French war photographer, Françoise Demulder (9 June 1947 – 3 September 2008) who became the rst woman to win the award.

Françoise Demulder, born in Paris in 1947, was one of the most famous women photojournalists at the end of the 20th century, working for major French and international press agencies. She began by covering the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon, then went to other crisis spots around the world, going from war to war: Angola, Lebanon, Cambodia, Ethiopia...She also covered the rst Gulf War in 1991 and the Israel-Palestine war. Her striking photograph from La Quarantaine refugee camp in Beirut in January 1976 made her the rst woman World Press Award Laureate in 1977. She returned to several countries she had known in wartime, such as Cambodia and Vietnam, for more peaceful photo reports on daily life. She died in Paris in September 2008. e FCC sincerely thanks Robin for his very generous donation, which is on display in the Bunker.

e FCC Annual Nomination Meeting was held on Wednesday, 10 April for the purpose of accepting oral nominations for the Board of Governors for the 2024 –2025 Term. A reminder that the ballot voting deadline is on 23 May, 2024 at 3:00 pm. e Annual General Meeting will be held on 30 May, 2024 at 6:00 pm.

Ballot voting deadline 23 May, 2024 at 3:00 pm


During the height of Hong Kong’s h wave of Covid-19, the FCC donated water and three square meals a day to dozens of domestic workers in need through the charity HELP for Domestic Workers.

It is with a desire to harness this spirit, to bring our members together in service of a common goal, and to do some good in our local community, that the Board has reinstated the Club’s Charity Committee.

Rather than organise one large event to raise funds for charity, the Committee will focus on community outreach, working with a number of Hong Kong NGOs to e ect change.

If you have an idea for a cause that we should support or an event that we should organise, please reach out to the Charity Committee’s Co-Convenor and Correspondent Governor Morgan Davis, either to volunteer for the Committee or to share ideas on how it can have the most impact.

18 January, 1976: La Quarantaine, Beirut, Lebanon
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Volunteer for one of the FCC’s committees if you want to get your voice heard Email:


e FCC Journalism Conference takes place on May 4.

e theme of this year’s event -- ‘Let’s Get to Work!’ -comes at a time when the world is mired in multiple armed con icts, global economies have become more complex, the e ects of a warming planet disrupt nature’s delicate balance, and new technologies both enhance and upend our lives.

Amid the continuing shi s in legacy news organisations and the technology of new media, the aim of the conference is to help journalists prepare for the changes in our industry, while o ering practical guidance on eld reporting, cultivating sources, choosing the right beat for yourself, and career advancement.

e all-day conference is now scheduled for Saturday, May 4, from a previously announced April 13. Board members have lined up journalists from local and international news organisations, as well as journalism educators, who will serve as panelists and workshop leaders, bringing their experience, expertise and insight to the table.

Panel discussions will include ‘How to Be a Journalist in Hong Kong’, ‘How to Cover Climate Change and the Environment’, and a discussion on mental health: ‘How to Cover it and How to Protect Your Own’.

Attendees of the conference will also be able to join separate workshops on the challenges of reporting on Mainland China from Hong Kong, global nancial journalism, alternative news media careers, the ethics of arti cial intelligence, and speed mentoring for early-career journalists.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the day will be provided.

Mark the date now, and we look forward to seeing you on May 4!


Aaron Busch – Tripperhead Gazette

Bao Choy –  e Collective HK

Anton L. Delgado – Freelance Journalist

Sonalie Figueiras – Green Queen

Tom Grundy – Hong Kong Free Press

William Langley – Financial Times

Hillary Leung – Hong Kong Free Press

Carol Liang – Deputy CEO at Mind HK

Kathleen Magramo – CNN

Karl Malakunas – Agence France-Presse

David Pierson –  e New York Times

Cezary Podkul – ProPublica & JMSC

Kevin Sites – Journalist and Author

Amy Sood – South China Morning Post

Alan Soon – Splice Media

Eudora Wang – DealStreetAsia

Jarrod Watt – Multiplatform Journalist

Kate Whitehead – Psychotherapist and Journalist

Jing Yang –  e Information

Chris Yeung – Freelance Journalist


09:00 – Co ee & Pastries

09:30-10:00 – Keynote Address

10:00-11:00 – Opening Panel

11:00-12:15 – Morning Workshops

12:15-13:30 – Lunch

14:00-14:50 – A ernoon Panel

15:00-16:15 – A ernoon Workshops

16:20-17:10 – Evening Panel

17:15-17:35 – Closing Address

17:45-18:30 – Cocktail Reception



In the latest FCC podcast, Christine Pantin presents an episode discussing the other great Olympics competition: to get the best photo, the best story, the best quote.

Christina talks with Josh Ball, News Editor, Sport & Racing for the South China Morning Post and Peter Parks, Chief Photographer for the Hong Kong bureau of Agence France Presse (AFP). Both of them have covered previous Olympic Games and major international sporting events in di erent roles.

Hear them discuss how this year’s Paris Olympics may well be overshadowed by geopolitical events, how the coverage will be vastly changed by the technology being used, and some of the momentous sporting moments they have found themselves witnessing over the years.

Duration: 29 mins 22 seconds


Gen Z Journalists/ e History of e FCC/Allen Youngblood on Jazz

FCC Journalist Member Governor Zela Chin speaks with 2024 Claire Hollingworth Fellows Mithil Aggarwal and Aruzhan Zeinulla and discusses their journey into journalism, and how GenZ media habits are changing the media landscape and thoughts on the future. In the same episode, Christina Pantin looks at the various incarnations of the FCC from its beginnings in 1949 Shanghai, its Hollywood and literature links up to the present day, while Jarrod Watt chats with Allen Youngblood; pianist, composer, bandleader and musical director of Bert’s Lounge.

Duration: 47 mins 42 seconds

Journalism, Article 23 and Hong Kong

Ronson Chan (Chairman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association), Regina Ip (Convenor of the Hong Kong Executive Council & Legislative Council Member) and Professor Simon Young (Associate Dean - Research in the Faculty of Law, the University of Hong Kong, barrister) in a panel discussion about Article 23 and its implications for journalism in Hong Kong.

Duration: 1 hour 4 mins

Women In Journalism

In another episode, three senior journalists – Jervina Lao, Caitlin Liu and Zela Chin - discuss the big issues for women in journalism. How have attitudes changed for women in newsrooms across Southeast Asia, what are the biggest challenges they face, what is the future of journalism, and what do they have to say to the upcoming generations of women entering the profession? All three are contributors to an anthology of 22 women, edited by Rita Lee and published by Penguin Random House, ‘Stories Women Journalists Tell’.

Duration: 57 minutes 7 seconds



e News Meeting

Every day in every news room a “news meeting” is held where desk editors and senior reporters pitch their latest story to  the editor, hoping to “lead” - or get the “splash” on the front of the website.

is is a podcast where you listen in to one of those meetings, with a group of reporters and editors rst delivering a one sentence summary, before taking turns at explaining their particular story - be it on Gaza, Putin, British politics, pollution or any other subject - and its many angles.

e ’cast is from Tortoise, a news start-up from the U.K., and for those of us who have participated in news meetings that are more like refereed inter-desk arguments, you might nd this outrageously polite, well-mannered and in-depth.

It doesn’t try to be all-encompassing for all major world news but it’s a must-listen each week to hear how stories are eshed out and developed under cross-examination by the senior editor.

Newsroom Robots

If you are tiring of the American-dominated discourse over generative AI and its impact on journalism, this podcast by data scientist, journalist, and Harvard-recognised AI futurist Nikita Roy is a breath of fresh air.


Roy is a genuine industry leader and an educator in AI journalism, and every fortnight puts out an in-depth interview looking at how di erent news rooms around the world are utilising generative AI, as well as discussions with deep thinkers like Je Jarvis.

You’ll hear about the Dutch Public Radio broadcaster and its cautious experiments with synthetic voices and the balancing act of innovation and maintaining public trust; how Large Language Models are being developed by Germany’s Ippen Digital as well as AI tools to track misinformation; and how the founder of Craig’s List is now a dedicated philanthropist focused on funding education in journalism ethics and security.



My sincere thanks to the 1,046 members who took the time to complete the 2024 Member Survey. e high participation rate was most gratifying and means that the results are accurate +/- 2.5%, 95 times out of 100! is high level of statistical validity makes the Survey a meaningful and useful tool for assessing Member satisfaction and for future planning. I am pleased to share these initial ndings with you and more reports will be forthcoming as the Board, its committees, management, and sta review the results, analyse them by demographic group, and consider the 5,831 comments (!) that provide context to the statistical results.

e Survey closed at the end of March, and I am writing this summary in early April to meet the (extended) deadline for this issue of e Correspondent. anks to our Editor, Ann Tsang, and our Publisher, Noel de Guzman, for the extension so that this initial Survey report could be included. Once this goes to press, the team and I will begin our detailed analysis of the results, cross-tabulated as needed with demographic information, for discussion with the various committees. Some sections have already been forwarded to the committees – the questions on Mentoring and Charity being good examples. You may expect other reports in future issues – perhaps with “greatest hits” from the many comments we received!

Until then, I leave you with my initial conclusion on the Survey results and comments. is echoes what Members have been telling me during my rst few months at the Club, which can be summarised as: “We love the Club, so please don’t change it. Just make it better.” Message received and understood! And the survey results give us a benchmark for future improvement.

Paula and Irving Klaw

Who Responded?

•64.5% of respondents were male; 35.2% were female.

• 18.2% of respondents were spouses, while 71% of members have Members registered at the Club.

• Newer members (less than ve years) had the highest participation rate, accounting for 32.9% of respondents.

• 11.9% of respondents were Correspondent members, 7.1% were Journalist members, and 71.5% were Associate members (while the categories respectively represent 10.2%, 5.6%, and 70.2% of the total membership).


Members are passionate about the FCC and genuinely love it, as the participation rate, numerical scores and thoughtprovoking comments indicate:

• 89.3% of those who hosted private functions at the Club were satis ed or very satis ed with their event.

• 87.8% of respondents said that the Club met their needs in 2023.

• 84.4% would recommend a friend for membership. (Now is a good time for your friends to join as we are just 146 from our historic waiting list level!)

• 84.3% of respondents are satis ed or very satis ed with the Front Desk sta .

• 84.3% said that the Club represents good value for money.

• 80.2% are satis ed or very satis ed with the quality and variety of food and beverage at the Club, although there were comments about the need for greater variety of menu o erings and on the need to improve consistency.

• 78.3% said they were satis ed or very satis ed with maintenance and housekeeping, while comments identi ed several areas in need of a faceli (with Bert’s being an o -cited room)! Many of the suggested improvements in the comments – painting, new carpets, reupholstery – are already on our radar!

Slight Disappointments

ere were a few scores (and supplemental comments) that were a little below expectation. ese include:

• Scores for special menus and F&B promotions are disappointing with 66.9% satis ed or very satis ed with their frequency, 65.9% satis ed or very satis ed with their variety, and just 62.4% satis ed or very satis ed with their quality. Understanding these scores is important, as these specials and promotions are meant to showcase F&B and the scores are lower than overall satisfaction with dining at the FCC.

• Similarly, Club events scores (for Quiz Nights, Wine Dinners, mixologist Guest Shi s, Guest Chefs, etc.) were disappointing, particularly considering the e ort that the Club puts into them. 66.9% were satis ed or very satis ed with the frequency of Club events while just 64.4% were satis ed or very satis ed with their quality. We are examining related comments to try to better understand the scores for these “showcase events”.

Surprises ere were a few surprises in the results and more in the

supplementary comments. Here are some of the more obvious ones:

• 53.3% of those who did not host a private function at the Club had “never thought of it” and some commented that they didn’t know they could host a private event here!

• Many Members think (erroneously) that the Workroom is for journalists only, While some didn’t know that it existed!

• Separately, several Members mentioned to me that they didn’t know we had a Health Club!

• “I did not even know there were podcasts. How can one access them?” (By the time you read this, links will have been added to the website).

Outlet Scores

Dining is important at any club, whether its core activity is golf, tennis, cricket, sailing or anything else. It is particularly important at a city club like ours, where it is the core activity. Here are the overall satisfaction scores on the quality and variety of our Food & Beverage in 2023, which we will use to benchmark our progress in the years ahead. Scores for each outlet are being shared with the House/Food and Beverage Committee and will be published in a future report.

Overall Satisfaction Scores to e Quality and Variety of Our Food & Beverage in 2023

Interesting Facts and Stats

Here are some interesting takeaways from the Survey results:

Health Club & Workroom

194 respondents have recently used the Health Club. However, 517 respondents expressed their intention to use the Health Club a er it is expanded or improved. Similarly, 202 respondents have recently used the Workroom, but 449 respondents expressed their intention to use the Workroom a er it is expanded or improved.

e ndings indicate a signi cant potential for increased usage of both the Health Club and/or the Workroom with the enhanced facilities.

0%10%20%30%40%50%60% Very satis ed Satis ed Neutral Unsatis ed Very unsatis ed 0.61% 4.7% 14.5% 55.87% 24.31%
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 e number who would use the Health Club a er it is expanded / improved e number who use the Health Club Health Club 100 200 300 400 500 600 Workroom

e number who use the Workroom

Bert’s Music

Very satis ed 137

Satis ed 319

Neutral 147

Unsatis ed 25

Very unsatis ed7

Communication Channels

e e-Newsletter, email (in addition to the e-Newsletter), and e Correspondent magazine are the top three preferred communication channels of Members. e ratings given by members to the Club’s top 6 communication channels are as follows.

Types of Charities Preferred for Club Support

As you can see, the new suggested channels – SMS and email (in addition to the e-Newsletter) have received positive feedback. 63.13% (618 responses) expressed a preference for email, while 15.93% (156 responses) indicated a preference for SMS. e Club is already exploring both channels.


Charity Responses

(e.g. SENsational, Nesbitt Centre, internship/mentorship opportunities)

Other Societies

960 members responded to the question about potential new societies to be formed at the Club.


•Hiking was the top choice with 280 interested.

•Closely followed by a book club/society with 270.

• Yoga was third with 219 expressing interest. (Where we would hold yoga classes is an interesting question!)

•264 felt that no additional societies are needed.

We are analysing the data and related comments and will report back in the future.

Family Orientation

Survey results generally reinforce the FCC’s positioning as an adult-oriented club, which is understandable with its mission and location. Half of the respondents to this question felt that no children’s activities should be o ered. However, there was some interest in family activities for the 280 families with 453 children. We are analysing the data and related comments and will report back in the future.

Other Club Memberships

• 56% of Members are also members of at least one other club in Hong Kong

• e top ve other clubs are:

Hong Kong Jockey Club

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

Ladies Recreation Club

Hong Kong Cricket Club

Hong Kong Club

• 74% felt the quality and variety of food and beverage at the FCC was about the same (38%) or better (36%) than their other club(s).

• Cross-referencing the results by each club will give us much food for thought, if you’ll pardon the pun. n

of Music
Variety of Music Responses Very satis ed 91 Satis ed 287 Neutral 195 Unsatis
41 Very unsatis
Top 6 Communication Channels Responses E-newsletter 721 *(New
618 e Correspondent magazine 470 *(New) - SMS 156 Public website 139 Member Login website 137 Interest in FCC Mentorship Programme for Professional Development and Networking Responses Yes, as a mentor 185 (19.25%) Yes, as a mentee 50 (5.20%) Yes, as both a mentor and a mentee 144 (14.98%) No 582 (60.56%) Willingness to Volunteer with Sponsored FCC Charity Responses Extremely willing 36 (3.75%) Very willing 193 (20.08%) Neutral 357 (37.15%) Slightly willing 176 (18.31%) Not willing 199 (20.71%) Willingness to Volunteer with Sponsored FCC Charity Responses Socioeconomic inequity (e.g. homelessness, food distribution, nancial literacy) 501 (52.13%) Education (e.g.
minorities, literacy for young people) 412 (42.87%) Mental health groups
277 (28.82%) Exploitation
269 (27.99%) Equality
224 (23.31%) Medical (e.g. access to needed medical care, pro bono surgeries) 180 (18.73%) Other 101 (10.51%) None 96 (9.99%) 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
- in addition to e-newsletter) - Email
language access for ethnic
(e.g. MindHK, parenting classes)
(e.g. Justice Centre Hong Kong, forced labour and human tra cking)
Health Club 0 100 200 300 400 500 600
e number who would use the Health Club a er it is
e number who use the
e number who would use the Workroom a er it is expanded / improved


From July 26 to August 11, Paris will take centre stage as it plays host to the Olympic Games for a third time and to the Paralympic Games for the rst time. And although the City of Light is far better known for romance, Michelin stars and re ned culture than sport, it has in the past, and will no doubt again, deliver a spectacular Olympics experience to athletes and spectators alike. By Helena Hu.

Exactly one hundred years a er Paris last hosted the Olympics, what has changed? In 1924, there were 3,089 athletes, including a mere 135 intrepid women, 126 events in 17 sports, and a modest 625,000 spectators. For the rst time in Olympic history, athletes lived together in an Olympic Village that boasted a hairdressing salon, a money exchange, a post o ce and a restaurant. e athletes stayed in temporary wooden houses and enjoyed the luxury of running water. At that time, the Yves-du-Manoir Stadium in Colombes, northwest of Paris (originally built as a racecourse in 1883), was refurbished to become the main Olympic Stadium, with a capacity to accommodate 45,000 spectators. e Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well the soccer, rugby, and track and eld events were

held there, while a new aquatics stadium and tennis courts were built close by. is year, the once again refurbished Yves-du-Manoir Stadium will host the eld hockey matches of the Games.

Fast forward to 2024 and a whopping 10,500 athletes will compete in 329 events. It will be the rst ever genderbalanced Olympiad with 50% female and 50% male participants. ere will be 41 sports represented with four additional new sports making their debut – breaking, skateboarding, sport climbing and sur ng. It is anticipated that one billion spectators will have access to the latest feats of human sporting achievement.

As the most sustainable Games to date, only three new facilities have had to be built, with the vast majority

“It will be the rst ever gender-balanced Olympiad with 50% female and 50% male participants.”

of existing buildings being freshened, repurposed and/or renovated. One of the three new facilities is the Olympic Village in Saint-Denis, a suburb just north of Paris. e Village will comprise three sections - residential, training and commercial/entertainment. Under the watchful eye of Chef Charles Guilloy, up to 40 tonnes of food per day will be served up to nourish the athletes and as he states, “every food intolerance needs to be accounted for”. Organisers are also preparing to dish out 300,000 condoms for athletes who wish to avail themselves of them.

Air conditioning at the Olympic Village has been eschewed; instead, a series of underground, naturally cooled water systems will provide relief from the summer heat to athletes (with more than one team threatening to bring their own air

conditioners). Saint-Denis is a “working class” neighbourhood stigmatised in the past for its crime rate. A er the Games, the Olympic Village will be converted into housing for 6,000 residents with an assurance that the conversion will be made with a minimum of e ort and carbon footprint. Such is the architectural philosophy of Paris 2024 - that if grand structures are really necessary, they must also be sustainable for future use, rather than become white elephants.

In 1924, Le Stand de Tir de Versailles was the venue for the Olympic shooting events. In a bold 2024 twist, it will be none other than the former home of Louis XIV – the Château Versailles - which will host the equestrian and modern pentathlon events. Other iconic venues include the Stade de France (built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup), the Roland-


French artist Ugo Gattoni has created a duo of intricately hand-drawn posters for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The posters tell a singular story about the games via a hyperreal depiction of Paris incorporating 47 Olympic and Paralympic sports alongside various architectural landmarks.

Garros Stadium (site of the French Open tennis Grand Slam event), the Parc des Princes (home to football team Paris Saint-Germain), the Place de la Concorde, and the partially renovated Grand Palais (built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900).

For those who shudder at the thought of a blistering hot summer in Paris overrun with sporting enthusiasts and an unforgettable scent of Eau de Pissoir in the air, the village of Teahupo’o on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia o ers a slice of Paul Gauguin’s paradise. is will be the venue for the inaugural sur ng events, 15,000 short kilometres from Paris. e cities of Lyon, Nice and Marseille will play hosts to the soccer and sailing events.

But for those who wish to remain in the heart of the action in Paris, some of the swimming events will actually take place in the Seine (the subject of a monumental cleanup project) a er the innovative Opening Ceremony in which 300,000 spectators will cheer for teams arriving via a otilla of boats along six kilometres of the legendary river.

While one million tickets are priced at €24 (HK$204), the cost of attendance in 2024 does go up to an eye-watering €9500 (HK$80,707) for certain Opening Ceremony tickets. Tickets are rolled out through a series of inclusive, but not entirely egalitarian drawings. However, mega screens will be set up throughout Paris for free viewing, including at the Champs de Mars behind the Ei el Tower. Beach volleyball will also be played there, at a temporary outdoor arena. Boats with giant screens will also oat up and down the Seine, broadcasting the Olympic Games to the masses.

Paris 2024 has been relatively free of scandal up to this point, which is remarkable in and of itself. ere have been zero allegations of corruption and/or modern slavery. It is generally accepted that all the facilities and preparations will be completed within budget and on time. e nal cost of Paris 2024 has been estimated at €9-12 billion, and once adjusted for purchasing power and proportion/size, makes the Games the third cheapest Olympics since 1988. Probably the most serious of allegations took place in Tahiti, where protestors for a time decried the destruction of precious coral during the initial construction stages of the Olympic Surf Tower for judges. e protestors were apparently assuaged once modi cations to the building plans and schedule were made.

e city of Paris never needed the Olympic Games for either fame or fortune and the economic bene ts of such an endeavour are extremely di cult, if not impossible, to estimate. Nevertheless, the city will bene t from a new express Metro line to enhance the population’s mobility, the iconic Seine will be cleaned up, Parisians may be inspired to take up more sports activities, and the city will bask in the glow of goodwill generated by the grandeur of human athletic prowess, the feel good highs of friendship, humanity, teamwork, sustainability and intoxicating French wine. Whether or not a threatened transport strike destroys that goodwill remains to be seen. n

e 2024 Summer Olympics will be screened at the FCC. For speci c viewing times and event coverage, please check the Club’s website –




Sports reporting may be “sharp minds in so bodies”, but snapping that seminal photo and dashing o that vivid dispatch from e Olympics requires speed, prowess and a great deal of training. Two sports journalists recount their experiences, and look ahead to Paris 2024. By Christina Pantin.

Photographers prepare their cameras to take pictures of events on the second day of the athletics competitions at the Bird’s Nest National Stadium during the 2008 ei ing Olympic ames on ugust , 2008.
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his win over Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in their men’s gold medal tennis match at the ei ing 2008 Olympic ames on ugust 7, 2008. Spain beat Chile 6-2, 7-6, 6-3.

e stories of the storytellers are o en compelling.

So it’s no surprise that two Hong Kong-based veteran sports journalists – the South China Morning Post Sports Desk Editor Josh Ball and Peter Parks, Chief Photographer for Agence France Presse (AFP) – have plenty to share about covering global sporting events including e Olympics. Peter also serves as Correspondent Member Governor at the FCC.  ey sat down with Christina Pantin and Jarrod Watts, members of the FCC Communications Committee, to detail the hidden, o en competitive work that goes into chronicling the triumphs and trials of world athletes.

This is an excerpt from the recording of The Correspondent podcast, which augments the sports theme of this issue of e Correspondent.

Christina Pantin (CP): We’re soon going to be focusing on the Paris Olympics. But what about the other competition that happens at the same time –  getting the best shots, the best quotes, the best access, and publishing rst? Peter, as a photographer, how does your approach change when you cover the Olympics?

Peter Parks (PP): (For the 2008 Beijing Olympics) I was actually what you would call a “ reman”. Normally for agencies you don’t get put on one sport for the whole event. So by the time you nish the Olympics, you’re an absolute expert

in every sport. I would be put on di erent sports every day.

CP: Josh, you covered the 2008 Olympics, but in a very di erent way from Peter.

Josh Ball (JB): Yes. In 2008 I was actually working in Bermuda for the Royal Gazette. And the Olympics obviously was very di erent for a small island with only a couple of athletes – including triathlete Flora Du y – that was her rst time in Olympic competition (she later won gold in Tokyo). ere were also a couple of swimmers, including (Roy-Allan) Burch. It’s a very di erent experience covering it with a small contingent of athletes, rather than some of the big nations.

CP: It’s not just about the moments of human achievement and celebration. Peter, you took a very important photo that showed the tragic moment when a Georgian athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, died on the luge track at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.

PP: It was a tragedy, and only the second death at the Olympics. What happened in Vancouver was that it was actually quite warm in the daytime and then overnight it froze so early in the morning that the luge track became extremely fast because of the ice. I was le on my own to shoot the training sessions in the morning. e Georgian

AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS arcio rau o top and abio ui bottom of ra il celebrate inning against compatriots Ricardo and manuel in their men s beach olleyball semi-final match of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 20, 2008. Brazil’s Araujo and Luiz won 2-0 (22-20, 21-18).

luger came around the nish line, went high, actually exiting the track, and unfortunately hit a metal pole coming out of the track backwards. I shot this on a fairly long lens and caught the whole moment.

On the way down to the media centre, you run it – you don’t even know if it’s sharp; it’s kind of a panic. It was a shocking moment, but a piece of history.  (Spoiler Alert - it was a worldwide exclusive photo for Peter and was picked up by global media including the BBC and CNN. Hear the whole story on e Correspondent podcast).

CP: Josh, do you have your own sporting highlights reel of unforgettable memories that plays back in your head?

JB: Yes, one when I wasn’t actually working, but sitting in a bar in Melbourne, watching England win the Rugby World Cup in 2003. You’re never going to get away from the memory of (Jonny) Wilkinson kicking a drop goal…that’s never, ever going to leave my head. And locally last year, when Taichi Kho won the Asian Tour, we stood right next to the 18th green when he was putting to win. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a major event – there are lots of things which stick with you.

CP: Top moments and athletes from the Beijing Olympics, Peter?

PP: Shooting Rafael Nadal. I knew he always goes to ground, so I made sure that on the last set, I went up to the top of the stadium, and sure enough he went to ground, dropping his racquet, and I got him falling all the way down.

CP: How is the SCMP preparing to cover the Paris Olympics?

JB: Well, when Siobhan (Haughey) is swimming – and obviously going to win a gold – it’s 4:35 in the morning here, so we’re going to have to work out how we sta that from here and from Paris. I think the biggest mistake you can make is to chase everything, because you can’t cover it all.

We’ve run out of space, but you can catch the full monty on e Correspondent podcast. Find out the di erence between a picture and a photograph, which sports our experts are eyeing at the Olympics (hint: it’s not breaking), how geopolitics might shadow the Games, and Peter’s “the one that got away” image. n

e Correspondent podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Spectators sit in the rain to atch the omen s beach olleyball final at ei ing s Chaoyang ark each olleyball round on ugust 2 , 2008 during the 2008 ei ing Olympic Games. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the U.S. beat China’s Tian Jia and Wang Jie 2-0 to take gold. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS


From nude youths spinning the discus to muscular runners and wreathed winners, via Roman columns and Big Ben, the o cial Olympic posters over the years have represented the global event in a wide variety of forms and many have gone on to become highly sought a er collectors’ items.

The rst modern Olympic Games took place in Athens in 1896, but it wasn’t until 1912 that the rst o cial Olympic poster was produced. In homage to the naked athletes of ancient times, this poster was considered too “daring” by some and therefore not distributed in certain countries, even though it was translated into 16 languages. However, the poster did set a precedent for host cities which ever since, have been put in charge of promoting and advertising their Olympiad in this format.

A er the Swedes set the trend in 1912, competitions in keeping with the spirit of the Olympic Games have regularly been staged for artists to come up with promotional poster designs.

Moscow’s competition for its 1980 Games poster was entered by people from all walks of life, although wellknown artists and photographers were eventually chosen as the designers. O en artists are not given complete artistic freedom, being controlled by strict guidelines as to what the poster should contain, but many of the nal designs are nevertheless given due artistic acclaim. Tokyo’s series of four posters in 1964 received a number of prizes for their excellence and also demonstrated the advanced technology of the Japanese printing industry at the time.

Many of the rst posters harked back in imagery to the ancient Olympics and it was not until the 1928 Games in Amsterdam that the Olympic rings were rst incorporated

into the art work, having made their debut as a ag at the 1920 Games in Antwerp. e ve rings represent, according to Pierre de Coubertin, the Founder of the modern Olympic Games, “the ve parts of the world which now are won over to Olympism and are willing to accept healthy competition.” Every national ag in the world includes at least one of the ve colours: blue, yellow, black, green and red.

e poster played an important role in the early days of the modern Olympics, as it wasn’t until 1928 and 1936 respectively that radio and television arrived, so they were important in promoting the Games. Even though today the importance of the poster has somewhat diminished, tradition has travelled down through time and an o cial poster is still produced for each Olympiad, which o en re ects the styles and values of the time, as well as the social and political context of the era. Collectors’ editions are increasingly available, o en in more than one design.

e Munich Games of 1972 produced 21 sports posters to convey the scope of the sporting spectacle, each showing a separate event in pictorial form so it was intelligible to the whole world.

e o cial Olympic posters show the evolution, not only of the Games, but also of design and poster art through time, and even though perhaps not so important today with the mediums of television and the Internet, the tradition serves to remind us of each anticipated edition of the Games. n



Next time you’re in the Main Bar, look out for ultramarathon runner Alice McLeod. e 31-year-old lawyer, who was the fastest woman in the 2024 Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge, has been a regular since moving to Hong Kong in 2018. By Kate Whitehead.


The FCC plays a big part in my training – I look forward to a drink at the end of a long run,” pronounces Alice McLeod, who completed the 298-kilometre 2024 Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge in 63 hours, 58 minutes and 47 seconds.

e Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (HK4TUC) race links Hong Kong’s four main trails: the MacLehose Trail (100km), the Wilson Trail (78km), the Hong Kong Trail (50km) and the Lantau Trail (70km).

Many FCC Members rst became aware of Hong Kong’s gruelling ultra challenge when the Club screened director Robin Lee’s ‘Four Trails’ documentary in February last year, but it has been on McLeod’s radar since her rst Chinese New Year in Hong Kong in 2019.

“My social media was blowing up with people commenting on how the runners were progressing. at year was the rst year that a female became the rst ‘ nisher’. For a lot of female runners, it was an inspirational moment,” says McLeod.

e race rules classify runners who complete the race in under 60 hours as ‘ nishers’ and those who complete it in under 72 hours as ‘survivors’. In 2019, Nikki Han completed the race in 58 hours and 20 minutes. Han’s achievement sowed the seed for McLeod.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, I was so far removed from being able to, but ever since then I had that point in mind,” she says.

McLeod began trail running within weeks of arriving in Hong Kong and met airline pilot Lee Moore a couple of months later on her rst ever ultra marathon in Mongolia. She was enjoying the running, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that she had more free time and began doing longer runs.

“I was stuck here and couldn’t travel, so it was a great opportunity to explore Hong Kong and I got so much running and hiking time in on the trails. at was so valuable in the race because it meant I didn’t have to look at a map, it was built into my memory,” recalls McLeod.

In April 2023, she took second place running 188km in 28 hours along a 6.7km loop of Bowen Road in a “backyard ultra”. e following month, she decided to apply for a place in the HK4TUC 2024.

McLeod and Moore got married in her native Scotland last summer and she began her training in earnest when she got back. She managed to run 100km a week around her long

hours as a corporate lawyer, running before work, during her lunch break and in the evening. Moore was her biggest supporter and joined her on training runs at the weekend. He also acted as her support team during the race.

“He had all my kit ready, handed me the food I needed, wrapped me in a sleeping bag and drove me to the next point. I couldn’t have done it without him,” she says.

As if running Hong Kong’s four big trails back to back wasn’t hard enough, the runners have to run them in reverse. So, instead of tackling the Hong Kong Trail from the Peak to Shek O, you start at sea level at run up to the Peak. Running the trails in reverse adds up to a lot more uphill. In total, the runners ascend 14,500m of accumulative elevation.

What’s more, runners are not permitted any support on the trails. ey have to carry their food and water or stop and buy supplies. ey are not allowed pacers, friends, family or fans at any point. Support teams drive them from the nish of one to the start of the next, which is when they can change clothes, stock up on supplies, or try and catch a little shut eye.

McLeod got 15 minutes sleep on the rst night as Moore drove her from the end of the MacLehose Trail to the start of the Wilson Trail. She didn’t sleep at all on the second night, and on the third night, took a 30-minute power nap at Lantau Base Camp before taking on the Lantau Trail.

Never mind all the running, that’s a long time to go without proper sleep. And doing the Lantau Trail as the nal leg, in reverse, meant that the two big mountains – Sunset Peak (869 metres high) and Lantau Peak (934 metres high) –came towards the end of the race.

“Going up Lantau Peak, highly ca einated and sleep deprived, I was very aware I wasn’t in right frame of mind to be going along a ridge at night by myself, so I was very careful. I was basically crawling along to make sure I didn’t accidentally fall o , because it was very misty and windy up there in the dark.”

A few days a er she made it to the nish and kissed the iconic green postbox at the Mui Wo ferry pier on Lantau Island, McLeod was in the FCC toasting her success with friends and family.

“I’m a big believer in celebrating the end of a long run or race and catching up with people and letting them know how it went. And the Club’s chicken tikka masala and palak paneer have fuelled many of my races,” concludes this formidable woman. n

McLeod kissing the iconic green postbox at the Mui Wo ferry Pier


One of the favourites for this year’s Rolex China Sea Race, a 565 nautical mile o shore race from Hong Kong to the Philippines, was Philippe Grelon and his son Cosmas. e pair have been sailing together since the mid-1990s when Philippe, a keen sailor since childhood, strapped his then one-year-old son Cosmas into a baby hammock and took him sailing. By Kate Whitehead.

We caught up with sailing duo and FCC Members Philippe and Cosmas Grelon in the Main Bar a few days ahead of the Rolex China Sea Race race on March 27. As we go to print, the results are in, with the pair taking 1st place in the Double-Handed Division and the IRC Race 2 Division.

e Grelons raced double-handed on a Beneteau Figaro 3, a high-performance sailing yacht that was designed speci cally for short-handed o shore racing. e sailors are passionate about connecting people to the ocean and raising awareness of the urgent need to mitigate pollution. ey decided to partner with Hong Kong non-pro t organisation A Plastic Ocean – and have named the boat by the same name – a er a hairy start to last year’s Rolex China Sea Race.

“I was at the front of the boat and saw a huge ve-metre long plastic bag. We had no time to avoid it and went right into it. It wrapped around the boat and the keel,” says Grelon.

29-year-old Cosmas nods, “All the way to Subic Bay there was an inordinate amount of plastic; it’s almost an obstacle. We want to raise more awareness about it.”

e run-in with the plastic sheet was just one of a string of potential disasters in the 2023 race, which made the fact that they ended up coming second overall in their division especially sweet. Within a couple of minutes of the start of the race, a strong current pushed their boat towards one of the huge metal buoys in Victoria Harbour.

from the Taiwan Strait, and the wind was nally picking up,” says Cosmas. “ en we realised the boat was steering from le to right, out of control.”

e pair tried to x it, but without success, so they decided to take the last resort and reset it – turning it on and o . at didn’t work, which meant they had to steer the vessel themselves for the remainder of the race. It was another 72 hours before they got to shore. ere was no chance to prepare a meal because one person needed to be steering at all time, so they lived o energy bars. Cosmas fuelled up with Red Bull and they steamed down to Subic Bay. e wind was on their side and they could make the most of the yacht’s foils to skim through the water.

“ ere was no way we could manage the boat because there was no wind and we couldn’t start the engine, as it was forbidden. So, I went to the front of the boat, jumped on the buoy and pushed the boat away from it. en one of the foils banged into the boat, but luckily it didn’t break. e race could have been nished in 15 minutes,” recalls Philippe.

The Grelons sail double-handed – meaning with just two crew on board – and usually sleep in alternating twohour shifts at night. Because they are a double-handed team, they are permitted to use an autopilot, which can steer the boat. But on the third day of the five-day race, when they were north of the Pratas Islands, the autopilot malfunctioned.

“We’d been waiting for the northerly front to come down

“ e Figaro 3 is an absolute machine. We were ying downwind and it was the most exhilarating sailing I’ve done in years!” enthuses Cosmas.

For 12 hours, they averaged 17 knots and even reached up to 22 knots. Although it meant very little sleep, not having the autopilot meant did have its merits. “ e boat is really fun to steer. We ew the spinnaker and went extremely fast. It was designed for that angle of wind and weather; we passed a lot of the other yachts,” explains Philippe.

Sailing with these two is clearly an adventure, and their special father-son bond has been forged over many high seas dramas over the years. When they rst competed in the China Sea Race in 2018, Cosmas was less enthusiastic about the boat preparation, but for the last 18 months he has been working at Simpson Marine in Hong Kong, as a sales manager, and was fully engaged in getting the yacht ready for this year’s race. at said, they each have their own strengths. “If it’s a technical problem I’m not so bad, if it’s a human issue (injury), Cosmas is a better medic,” quips Philippe.

Cosmas recently handed in his notice to take an extended travel trip with his ancée Holly, before returning to take up a new position in the autumn.

Philippe is looking towards an epic sailing adventure with his wife, Florence De Changy, correspondent for Le Monde. e date has yet to be set, but they hope to sail around the world. Meanwhile, he is a regular at the FCC. “ e Club is our home base. I think of it as our canteen and use it all the time, usually three or four times a week.” n

Philippe Grelon and son Cosmas on board their Beneteau Figaro 3


France has the Tour de France, the U.K. has Wimbledon, the U.S., the Super Bowl, and in Hong Kong, other than the Rugby Sevens, we have our hiking trails; many of them. Bettina Wassener encourages you to lace up your hiking boots, throw caution to the wind, and explore some of the slightly lesser-known routes among the rich patchwork of trails that snake through the SAR’s ridgetop world. By Bettina Wassener

In the Hong Kong hiking world, there are the Big Four – Maclehose, Wilson, Lantau and Hong Kong – an impressive 298 kilometres in total. en there’s the semio cial Tinworth Trail, between Sha Tau Kok and Tai O, stretching for 90 kilometres; the coastal trail around Hong Kong Island at 65 kilometres; and around Tsing Yi, another 16 kilometres. Add the countless family walks and country trails, and…well, you get the idea.

I can’t claim to have hiked every single one of these routes, and I certainly haven’t come close to the hard training athletes who do the famous Oxfam Trailwalker or the Lantau 70 – let alone the Four Trails Ultra Challenge, which takes in all of the Big Four back-to-back in one go. I’ll leave that to the likes of trail-runner and FCC Member Katrina Hamlin, who regularly smashes Hong Kong trail-running races, or to Alice McLeod (see page 24), who completed the Four Trails in just under 64 hours this February.

But I have made a fair stab at exploring every single corner of Hong Kong. During the Covid years, hiking and ferry rides (the latter is another story) kept me vaguely sane. I embarked on many a solo excursion and roped in some wonderful hiking buddies too. And while I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Hong Kong’s tricky topography, and had done plenty of exploring pre-2020, it wasn’t until these last few years that I really pushed the boundaries and mapped out Hong Kong hiking options in my sleep – literally.

Pete Spurrier has written no less than three excellent books on hiking in Hong Kong, and of course there are also plenty of great online resources to help plot out new adventures. Still, in the spirit of the sports theme of this edition of e


Correspondent, I’m sharing with you some of my favourites – chosen for their quirkiness, and because they’re not on the Big Four. May they inspire you to sportiness and exploration.


is somewhat nondescript mountain sits in the Lam Tsuen Country Park, north-west of Tai Mo Shan. Seen from distance, it’s a tree-less, shade-less mass. But I love it. e hike from one end to the other takes about four hours, over eight kilometres and 600 metres of elevation. Start from the village of Kiu Tau (reachable by bus from Sheung Shui or Kam Sheung Road MTR), and keep going west over the ridge. You can’t really miss it, as the rugged trail stands out amid the sparse vegetation. e views are stunning throughout: Shenzhen to the north and west, and Tai Mo Shan to the south. You come out amidst a clutter of car repair workshops and scrap yards near Fung Kat Heung – an exploration highlight in itself.


Crest Hill, so named because it used to have a Scots Guards crest on its side, is not even 200 metres high, but its proximity to the border lends it an aura of adventure, as well as great views. From Sheung Shui MTR, walk north for 20 minutes to nd the steep military road to the top of Crest Hill. Here, an old military observation post overlooks the Lo Wu border crossing. On the other side, a steep, overgrown trail descends to a road that leads west to the village of Liu Pok where only quiet shponds lie between you and the Shenzhen skyscrapers just beyond. For even better views, keep heading west until you nd a trail that leads through a cemetery into the hills on the le . e path along the rolling green hills ends near Lok Ma Chau a er about three hours.


Despite its closeness to Hong Kong Island, the short hike

Panoramic view of Shenzhen from Crest Hill

up Mount Johnston is o most people’s radars. e slightly hidden trail head is near Lei Tung MTR station on Ap Lei Chau, just south of Aberdeen. It’s a short, steep climb to the 200-metre-high summit, from where there are picture perfect views of Aberdeen and its harbour, the adjoining small island of Ap Lei Pai, and of Lamma and its three power station chimneys. You can descend on the other side, cross to Ap Lei Pai over a spur of sand, and ultimately reach a small lighthouse at the far end.


In the far north-east of Hong Kong, a long loop around the north of Plover Cove Country Park offers a chance to see ghosts. Well, sort of. From Luk Keng, reachable by

minibus from Fanling MTR, make your way north-east along the Starling Inlet. Yantian District, China-side, and Sha Tau Kok (now accessible if you have procured an online permit), lie opposite. The trail leads past the picturesquely overgrown abandoned “ghost” Hakka villages of So Lo Pun and Yung Shue Au. Another hour’s hike beyond that is the Hakka village of Lai Chi Wo. This is well worth a visit, as a revitalisation project has prompted some residents to return and open a handful of shops and eateries. From here, it’s another two to three hours’ hike back to public transport. Alternatively, take the beautiful 90-minute ferry ride from Lai Chi Wo to Ma Liu Shui, near University MTR.

Enjoy, and follow me on Instagram @bwassener n

A deserted Hakka village in the Plover Cove Country Park


Following its 2017 debut in Hamburg, Hyrox has become one of the fastest-growing tness competitions in the world. e FCC’s in-house journalist, Hugo Novales, documents his personal experiences since competing in Asia’s rst event, held in Hong Kong in 2022.

It was Sunday, November 20th, 2022. Asia’s rst-ever Hyrox tness race was underway, and I was one of the rst 900 athletes in Hong Kong to participate.

While I was already running and weightli ing – and had completed my tenth Spartan race that past summer – I didn’t have enough time to truly prepare myself in the month le between when I had registered and race day.

A er nishing, I limped over to the recovery area and sat in a chair. For the next 30 minutes, I couldn’t move or speak. One of my friends showed up to watch me race and resorted to yes-or-no questions to communicate with me. I barely managed to nod or shake my head.

When I was nally able to get up, I looked at him and said, “I’m going to vomit…”

And that’s exactly what I did before going home and lying in bed for the rest of the day. at rst race was one of the hardest beatdowns my body had ever been through, and I knew immediately that Hyrox was no joke and that I had a lot of room for improvement.

What Is It?

A er its 2017 debut in Hamburg, Hyrox has become one of the fastest-growing tness competitions in the world. Last year alone, over 40 events took place across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia.

e race is an indoor, 8-kilometre run with an exercise station a er each kilometre. e stations include sled pushes and pulls, sandbag lunges, kettlebell carries, rowing, and others.

Hyrox was founded by experienced race organiser Christian Toetzke and three-time Olympic medallist in eld hockey, Moritz Fürste, who together aimed to design a tness competition that anyone could participate in. ere are no time restrictions or quali cations needed to participate, and athletes of any age can opt to run solo, with a partner, or in a team of four.

Back For More

My second Hyrox was scheduled for May 2023. I had injured my le ankle while visiting my family in Chicago for the winter holidays, but I didn’t want to take a break to let it heal. When I landed back in Hong Kong, I dropped my luggage and went for a run as if it was just another day.

Over the next ve months of running, weightli ing and karate classes, the pain and swelling eventually disappeared and I ended up running my second Hyrox 20 minutes faster than the rst. What made that race even better was watching athletes compete in the Pro Men’s race, some for the rst time.

“It turned out to be just as painful as I expected it to

be,” recalls Adrian Li, Co-Founder of Vigilante Fitness, where he coaches martial arts, obstacle course racing, and now Hyrox.

A er seeing it online and nally being able to try it out himself, Li walked away from his rst Hyrox with new ideas on how to improve his performance. “Experience is key; you learn more from a race than any training you can do.”

What I took away from this race was that despite my improved performance, there was still much more I believed I could accomplish.

ere were two more events scheduled for the fall, one in Singapore and the nal one in Hong Kong again. I gured if I did well at the next two races, I’d be setting myself up for an even better season in 2024.

Both ended up being disasters.


Hyrox Singapore was held in October 2023 at the National Stadium. Unlike all other Hyrox events which are completely indoors, the stadium is partially uncovered, and Singapore’s relentless heat and humidity was palpable.

I nished with a worse time than my rst outing. I had never felt so frustrated a er a race and forgot that tness races are supposed to be – above all else – fun. “Fitness is all about having fun and working on your health,” says Sohee Kim, a trainer who specialises in Pilates, strength training and Hyrox.

I still had one more chance to end the year on a high note, but unfortunately at the last competition in Hong Kong last November, something about the sled push didn’t feel right. It’s the second exercise station and the sled weighs 152 kgs. is has always been one of the easier stations for me, but for some reason I ended up burning out early and was unable to pick up speed for the remainder of the race. is, combined with poorly-timed hydration, resulted in me nishing with an identical start time to my very rst Hyrox and back at square one.

But I wasn’t the only athlete who didn’t perform well during this race. “One single poor performance can happen to anyone,” said Rayda Kezaz, a Hyrox pro athlete. “[I] just stay positive because if you have the tness, at some point it will pay o .”

At the rst Hyrox Hong Kong, Kezaz came in 2nd place and quali ed for the 2023 World Championships in Manchester – all while working full-time as a senior project manager at an international railway equipment manufacturer. He had consistently improved his nishing time and placed in the top 5 at each Hong Kong race since then, but in November he came in 7th place with a slower time than his rst race.

“For me, I just analyse everything and try not to be too


a ected. It’s ok, the next one is in 2-3 months. Just get back to work, and that’s it,” he concluded.

A er November’s race, the holidays quickly passed and my next Hyrox was scheduled for February 2024, this time in Songdo, a quiet town located on the outskirts of Seoul.

Feeling energised by my desire to make up for the last two races, I woke up on race day determined that I was going to cross the nish line with a better time.

I broke a personal record and nished nearly 30 minutes faster than November’s event and six minutes faster than my record from May.

Success found my friends as well. Adrian and Rayda ran their fastest Pro Men’s races to date, Sohee quali ed for the 2024 World Championships in France in the Mixed Doubles and Mixed Team Relay categories, and Kaity Zhu, Adrian’s wife and the other Co-Founder of Vigilante Fitness, completed her rst Pro Women’s race – seven months a er

giving birth to their daughter.

“When I was done, I felt invincible! My body’s mine now; it’s still performing, even postpartum,” she said.

e bigger truth behind this story was that my training leading up to February’s Hyrox was disrupted by personal issues, including the untimely passing of my uncle. Being able to nally bounce back a er two bad races while simultaneously dealing with these issues was a win that I truly needed.

is entire experience reminds me of a quote from my favourite endurance athlete, David Goggins: “Life is the most brutal endurance sport of all time.”

Indeed, life can be challenging, but continuously pushing myself beyond my body’s limits helps to prepare my mind for whatever comes my way.

My next Hyrox is scheduled for May 25 in Taipei, and I can’t wait! n




David Gray began his career as a cadet photographer at e Australian newspaper in 1989.

Since joining Reuters in 1995, he has extensively covered news and sporting events in Asia, the South Paci c region, North and South America, Europe and Africa. In 2003, Gray was appointed Chief Photographer Australia/ e Paci c, until 2007 when he moved to Beijing, China as a Specialist Photographer.

In April 2009, he spent two months in Sri Lanka to oversee coverage of the ending of the 25-year civil war between government troops and the Tamil Tigers.

Gray has also covered six Summer Olympic Games and

This image depicts the consequences of one of the most severe droughts Australia has ever endured. The harsh results of this almost decade-long drought are best shown from above: the devastating lack of water on the landscape, and the harsh reality that farmers had to deal with.

four Winter Olympic Games, more than 25 Australian Open tennis tournaments, over a dozen World Cup tournaments for football, cricket and rugby, plus numerous world athletics and swimming championships.

He moved back to Australia in 2013, covering news and sport in the Australia and Asia Paci c region. In 2019, he became a freelance photographer until July 2023, when he joined Agence France Presse in Sydney.

e images in this exhibition highlight Australia’s treatment of its indigenous population, as well as the drought across New South Wales, which was declared as the worst on record.

Members of the Australian Aboriginal community of Ramingining stand next to a machine used to pay for fuel in East Arnhem Land, located east of the Northern Territory city of Darwin, Australia. November 2014. CREDIT: DAVE GRAY A windmill stands next to a dried-up dam in the view through the kitchen window of farmer Ash Whitney’s house on his drought-affected property in the Goolhi area near the north-western New South Wales town of Gunnedah on October 3, 2019. CREDIT: DAVE GRAY


In the seventh edition of the FCCs annual series showcasing the work of Hong Kong’s student photographers, we bring you a snapshot of how they view the lives, livelihoods and changes unfolding in our city.

With their images, these budding photographers capture pivotal moments of Hong Kong - in the news, on the streets, and life as it happens.

Centred on the theme of ‘Hong Kong, My Home!’, these images o er multifaceted viewpoints. ey capture news reportage of life post-COVID and portraits of Hongkongers, young and old, holding onto their traditions and way of life.

rough this, they are documenting a period of tremendous and transformative change.

In the photo captioned Rubber Duck by Justin Fung of Hong Kong University (HKU), the scale of the bright yellow ducks is given poignancy and contrast by the minusculelooking workman in the adjacent boat. For a brief and fun week in June 2023, Hong Kong was featured in the frontpage news of the world’s media, thanks to the absurd and surreal image of two gigantic yellow rubber ducks bobbing in Victoria Harbour.

Never Give Up Your Dream by Chun Yu Kwok of HKUST captures life in this crowded city from the viewpoint of those nding ways to continue their passions.

e quiet dignity of the musician playing amongst the bustling street crowds in Sham Shui Po shows how people nd ways to make themselves seen and heard wherever it is possible.

Ngan Chuk Lau of e Chinese University Hong Kong (CUHK) showcases the visual beauty found in something as ordinary as the side of a building in Shek Kip Mei Estate in the photo Wandering through Public Housing

Xinyue Hu of HKBU provides a historical timestamp with his 1st October 2023 photo of people at the Golden Bauhinia Square in National Day reworks return to Victoria Harbour a er ve years.

Make a time to enjoy these and other works throughout the month of May.

e FCC Wall Committee would like to thank Robin Ewing of HKBU, Monique Leung of CUHK, Birdy Chu of HKUST and AJ Libunao of HKU for their assistance with this exhibition.

‘Rubber Ducks’, Victoria Harbour, June 2023 by Justin Fung (HKU)


ABrit of Welsh and English stock, Peter is the chief photographer at the AFP Hong Kong bureau. He rst arrived in Hong Kong in 1993 as a freelancer before working for newspapers. He joined AFP in 1996 and remained in Hong Kong until 2004, a er which he spent seven years in the Beijing AFP bureau and then three years in the Shanghai AFP bureau. He covered the rise of the middle class in China,

the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the Sichuan earthquake of the same year. During the decade that he lived and worked in Mainland China, he visited every province in the country except one, and this exhibition is a curated selection of the thousands of images he captured during that time. In 2014, he moved to the Sydney AFP bureau before returning to Hong Kong in 2020 when he became a Member of the FCC. n

A steam train driver takes a break before the start of his morning shift in the Dongcheng train yard in Jixi in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province 03 June, 2006. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha (L) and Malia (R) look at the Terracotta Warriors in China’s central Shaanxi province of Xian on 24 March 2014.
Models parade on a catwalk in the desert of Whistling Sand Mountain on the outskirts of Dunhuang in China’s northwest Gansu province for iconic French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, 20 October, 2007. Cardin launched his Spring-Summer 2008 collection in the desert on the edge of the Silk Road, almost 30 years after he first launched a collection in China.


At a recent Club Lunch, activists and authors Steve Willis and Genevieve Hilton explained why they chose ction to propose climate change solutions. By Hugo Novales

Novels have captured the imagination of readers for centuries. Fantasy, horror, science ction, and mysteries are just a few popular genres, but now a new one is emerging: climate ction, or “cli- ” for short.

The rise of this new genre coincides with the increasing awareness of climate change across the world. In February, Climate Copernicus – the European Union climate monitor – reported that the average worldwide temperature over the past 12 months was 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than at the dawn of the Industrial Age.

While activists and non-pro t organisations can certainly spread awareness, authors of the latest addition to the cliliterary canon argue that ctional characters and scenarios can be more e ective in motivating people to take action.

“Nobody reads a boring report,” said Steve Willis, coauthor of Fairhaven – A Novel of Climate Optimism. “A story is far more engaging than that.”

Willis, along with his co-author Genevieve Hilton, spoke at an FCC Club Lunch on the day of their book’s debut. Moderating the discussion was FCC Correspondent Member Governor Karen Koh.

Willis is the Director of Herculean Climate Solutions, an environmental consulting agency based in Malaysia, while Hilton is a full-time sustainability activist and writer under the pen name Jan Lee. e duo initially connected on LinkedIn and brainstormed their ideas for Fairhaven and continued to meet and discuss online while cra ing their

novel. eir recent trip to Hong Kong for their book launch marked the rst time they had actually met in person.

Hilton also shared her thoughts on why she as an activist thought that a novel might be a better approach in terms of the message she wants to share.

“ ere’s a whole ‘scared straight’ phenomenon. If I give you all the evidence and show you how horrible it could be, you will do something about it [climate change],” Hilton said.

Fairhaven is set in 2036 in Penang, Malaysia. e main character, Grace Chan, is about to take o ce as President of the newly-formed Ocean Independent State, but crashes into a dyke and begins reviewing the life she has lived as the tide rises.

Despite being ction, the novel roots itself into the environmental history of Malaysia – and the rest of the world – and proposes two solutions: the restoration of ocean ecosystems and the refreezing of the Arctic. e authors believe that both of these solutions are possible, but it would take the right people to step forward and make it happen.

“It feels absolutely hopeless, but when you actually have your hand on something and you think, ‘ is would actually work – we just need to keep pushing,’ you’re determined to make it otherwise,” said Willis.

inking about a climate change solution that doesn’t currently exist – but could – is what Hilton also nds to be instrumental in inspiring climate action. “You can’t work towards something if you don’t know what it looks like,” she concluded.

Karen Koh, Genevieve Hilton and Steve Willis


e People’s Liberation Army, China’s massive yet untested military force since the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, is prepared, but will not take rush actions despite heightened tension along China’s borders, according to renowned PRC observer Professor Jean-Pierre Cabestan. By Hugo Novales

Professor Jean-Pierre Cabestan, author of the new book Facing China: e Prospect for War and Peace, shared his insights with nearly 100 FCC Members during his lunch talk at the Club, digging into China’s military strategies over the past decade. e talk was moderated by William Zheng, an FCC Professional Committee Member who works full-time as a Senior Correspondent on the SCMP’s China desk.

e talk came just days a er Mainland China and Taiwan’s government representatives traded accusations over the death of two Mainland shermen, causing a new round of tension.

Besides Taiwan, the East and South China Seas, the Sino-Indian border, and the Taiwan Strait, are the main geographical locations where China’s military stands. Across the world, diplomats, generals, scholars, and journalists analyse China’s military strategies and attempt to predict how the country would fare in any potential con icts.

“Nuclear powers have to think twice about starting a military confrontation,” Cabestan noted.

China, as well as eight other countries, have nuclear capabilities, and in order to avoid nuclear warfare (or any form of warfare), Cabestan explained that China’s military strategy consists of “grey zone” tactics — movements and operations that stay under the threshold of o cial combat. According to him, these tactics are fuelled by China’s growing military capabilities and nationalist passion.

“China has become more assertive, more risk-taking than before, but up to a point,” he said, noting how each of China’s moves are carefully calculated.

China views Taiwan as a “renegade province” that must be reunited with the Mainland — by force if necessary. A er the Chinese Civil War in 1949 in which the Communist Party succeeded in gaining control over the Mainland, the

Kuomintang Party relocated to Taiwan and established a defacto state with its own currency, political system, military, and infrastructure.

e rest of the world now must follow the One-China Policy and establish o cial ties with either the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or the Republic of China (ROC). As of 2024, the ROC has only 11 diplomatic allies.

“ e clear admission in Taiwan itself is that the island may be part of China for some, but it is not controlled by the Communist Party,” Cabestan said.

Cabestan clari ed that while a war between China and Taiwan would result in devastating consequences for Asia and the rest of the world, he remains optimistic that such a con ict is unlikely to happen, whilst noting that even more unworried about the risk of con ict are the people of Taiwan themselves.

A trip to Taiwan, Cabestan says, can show that the average citizen is not perturbed by the threat of con ict and can still go about their daily life in peace. “If you go to Taiwan, there’s no sense of panic or fear. It [war] is still far away from a ecting the morale of the citizens.”

Still, countries including Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the U.S. are committed to defending Taiwan if the PRC were to launch an attack on the island. e U.S., while establishing ties with the PRC in 1979, simultaneously passed the Taiwan Relations Act which solidi es its commitment to helping defend Taiwan should it be necessary.

e U.S., like China, has nuclear capabilities, yet this fact is precisely why Cabestan predicts peace for the region — instead of war.

“We have to bear in mind that we have two nuclear powers here [the U.S. and China] which are involved in the security of Taiwan and its future. I think the Chinese will think twice before starting a war.”

IMAGE: FCCHK Jean-Pierre Cabestan and William Zheng


Following up on his vow to pass Article 23 of the Basic Law, Chief Executive John Lee and the HKSAR government announced a four-week public consultation period for the bill in late January. Article 23, originally shelved in 2003 a er mass protests against it, enables the city to enact laws prohibiting seven o enses – including treason, espionage, and the of state secrets.

The government claims that Article 23 will “plug the gaps” that aren’t covered by the National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the city in June 2020. Various sectors have urged the government to clarify terms like “national security” and “state secrets”, as well as to lengthen the public consultation period, which ended on February 28.

On February 19, the FCC held a Club Lunch moderated by President Lee Williamson, during which a panel of government, journalism, and legal experts shared their thoughts on the bill.

“I think the proposals are actually less broad or ‘sweeping’ than a lot of the similar proposals introduced by other common law jurisdictions,” said Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Convenor of the Executive Council.

Sitting alongside Ip was Ronson Chan, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA). When asked about Article 23’s impact on journalism, Chan referenced a recent HKJA survey in which 75% of respondents indicated that the law would negatively a ect their work.

“It is very easy for journalists to feel [in danger] in their work, and I think that it may a ect the atmosphere for the freedom of press. So that’s why we are highly concerned about the legislation,” remarked Chan.

Chan also emphasised the need for the government to clarify the de nition of state secrets, otherwise journalists may inadvertently violate Article 23 while waiting for the government’s o cial response for a story.

“It still has to be a secret,” noted Professor Simon Young, the Ian Davies Professor of Ethics at e University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law, who also sat on the panel. “I would think it is something you would reasonably expect to be con dential.”

Young further elaborated that the acquisition, possession, and disclosure of a state secret all need to meet the same mens rea – knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe it is a state secret and intending to endanger national security by sharing it.

“It’s not just any kind of knowledge or disclosure; you have to show that a person really intended to endanger national security. If they’re doing legitimate journalism business, then it’s unlikely that they would have that intention,” Young concluded.

Ip, on the other hand, didn’t believe Article 23 would harm the work of Hong Kong’s journalists. “I don’t think the media really needs to worry,” she said early on in the discussion, but later emphasised that there is “no absolute freedom of speech” when asked if people in Hong Kong should worry about Article 23 criminalising free speech.

Chan agreed with Ip that there is no absolute freedom of speech, but that e orts should still be made in order to clarify what free speech means in Hong Kong.

“ e red line is oating and moving,” he commented. “I think we need to distinguish the di erences [of free speech] between Hong Kong and the outside world.” n

IMAGE: FCCHK Simon Young, Regina Ip, Ronson Chan and Lee Williamson


Peter Neville-Hadley reviews e Mountains are High—a year of escape and discovery in rural China, by Alec Ash. Scribe Publications.

Turn on, tune in, drop out. e 1960s are still with us and Timothy Leary is alive and well and living in the historic Yunnan mountain town of Dali, or so it seems in Alec Ash’s new memoir.

In e Mountains are High, the author of the well-received Wish Lanterns (2017) compresses three years of early 2020s residence there into one cycle of the seasons which forms the frame on which his story of retiring to the rural countryside is hung and le to dry.

He marks the year’s changes through long traipses around the mountainside, and the appearance of local festivals ranging from those familiarly pan-Chinese, to Bai minority ceremonies sometimes speci c to individual villages, and the full moon raves and annual psychedelic trance party of the modern arrivals.

In the 80s, when independent travel by foreigners in China was new and still a considerable struggle, the backpacker bush telegraph hummed with the improbable news of a Big Rock Candy Mountain town where pizza could be found a-plenty and marijuana grew wild, although it had to be reached by a bumpy overnight bus journey on largely unmade roads from Kunming.

Budget travel bibles went on to laud Dali as a hip place to hang out, and by Ash’s arrival, not only had the road to heaven long been paved, but it was also joined by a railway line.

So the former backwater is now full of crowds who have come to see those trying to nd peace, and consequent modernisation has mostly driven the spiritual and the spiritualist, the kombucha brewers and sourdough bread-makers, to more a ordable and less-visited villages out of town.

Ash forms a jazz band and joins an expat improv comedy group, but foreign residents and visitors are kept in the background of his story, and the book’s strength lies not in chronicling the high jinks of the foreign hipster class and their high-priced, single-origin co ee brews, but in its observation of the Chinese who’ve come to Dali’s mountainside villages in great variety.

Just as Beijing retains a thriving guitar-thrashing punk rock scene more than 40 years a er the music genre peaked

elsewhere, so in Dali, attitudes and lifestyles that took root in the West’s 1960s seem have been pulled up, pickled and preserved.

Ash divides the “new Dali people”, as they call themselves, into two categories: hippies, who’ve sometimes been around for decades, doing little but smoke marijuana and live communally; and the yuppies who have brought their citymade savings and invested in start-up businesses and the refurbishment of old courtyards, and who represent creeping gentri cation.

Ramshackle rural charm must be authentic, but nevertheless feature reliable Wi-Fi, and private rather than primitive communal lavatories. ese are Chinese whose bedside reading is both the Daoist Zhuangzi and oreau’s Walden

“ e valley,” writes Ash, “attracted a bohemian sensibility in particular—the kind of yoga-pretzeled, macramé-weaving, hemp-wearing vegan with an investment portfolio, roughly mapping onto the Western coinage of ‘bourgeois bohemian’ or ‘Bobo’.”

Nevertheless, he gives a lively account of a very varied population with backgrounds ranging from escapee teachers of yoga or lucid dreamers, to those pursuing monastic immersion in one religious sect or another. ere are parents merely seeking fresh air and an independent education for their children, but also disillusioned ex-soldiers and e-commerce exiles.

ey have in common a desire to avoid notice by the state. Ash quotes the Zhuangzi. “Everyone knows how useful usefulness is, but no one seems to know how useful uselessness is.”

e useless are le alone to go their own way. ey pose no threat, something the poet Liao Yiwu, a former Dali resident, con rms. “In Dali everyone drinks all the time, what will they change? Are booze ends going to change the nation, bring in democracy? Democratic meetings can’t be held in bars.”

But nothing independent in China avoids attention for long, and, despite its title, Ash’s book is full of hints that the mountains are getting lower, and the emperor closer.



During World War II, neutral Macau was a haven for refugees and home to the only senior Allied representative for thousands of miles around. In his new work of historical ction, ‘ e Good War of Consul Reeves’, FCC Member Peter Rose tells the story of John Reeves, the real-life British Consul who became an unlikely hero in the Portuguese colony. Rose, a former managing director of Goldman Sachs who lived in Hong Kong with his family from 1998 to 2003, spoke with FCC VicePresident Jennifer Jett.

Jennifer Jett: How did you become interested in Macau?

Peter Rose: I think two factors, one of which – being of a certain generation – my father had served in the Paci c during the war. We grew up on stories of the fall of Hong Kong, the fall of Singapore, the fall of Malaya, as it was then in the Dutch East Indies, and Burma.

Secondly, we loved to go over and visit Macau. And then someone mentioned that it had never been occupied by the Japanese, and it stayed neutral as an “Asian Casablanca”. And I thought, I wonder if anyone has ever written about that? So when I retired, I decided to do it.

JJ: What kind of person was John Reeves and how did he end up in this remarkable situation?

PR : It’s a little unclear how he ended up in Macau. Certainly, he was a member of the China consular service, in which he was in disfavour. His rst two postings had not been signi cant ones – there was no British settlement to administer in either Hankow or Mukden. And the one phrase I found in a document is that he was sent to Macau for a “rescue”. So something was going on with him.

In June of 1941 when he arrived, Macau was of little importance. e Japanese were certainly investing in it; they had merchants there, they had made visits to Macau, and a Japanese Consul had arrived. So he was sent there simply for balance, without really any speci c clear mission. And then of course, six months later, there was Pearl Harbour and the invasion of Hong Kong, and within a few months he found himself as the only senior Allied representative within thousands of miles of Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia.

JJ: What did he do to help refugees in Macau?

PR : What’s interesting about him is that despite the fact he was in disfavour with the Foreign Office, he really rose to the occasion. He suddenly found thousands of British subjects who had fled to Macau from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Canton, and he had to take care of them. He borrowed money from a local merchant, Y.C. Liang, which I’m sure wasn’t permitted. And then suddenly, 1.7

million pounds arrived from the Colonial Office. He had to feed them, house them, provide medical care, and there wasn’t a blueprint for doing that. It was an astounding feat of organisation.

e most amazing thing in his book, e Lone Flag, is that he points out that at the end of the war, he and his team accounted for all except a few pennies of that money.

JJ: How did the British government react to this?

PR : Part of it you can say was his fault, because he was deliberately provocative. ey were perfectly happy to have him take care of the refugees, but he attempted to set up spy rings. He began to keep track of potential collaborators with the Japanese and he started to draw up plans for what post-war Hong Kong would look like, and this horri ed the Foreign O ce. At one stage, they were looking to see if they could get a plane into Macau to extract him and put a new consul in there.

JJ: What happened to Reeves a er the war?

PR : Under the rules of the consular service, it’s almost impossible to be red. So my reading of this is they tried to force him out. ey gave him a lousy position in Rome, with the poorest parts of Italy, the outlying islands, and then they transferred him to Surabaya, the capital of Java, which was an impossible place for a British diplomat or consul to be, because in November 1945, a er the end of the war, British troops had gone in and suppressed an uprising by Indonesian rebels who were ghting against the Dutch colonial government for independence. So you can imagine the reception that a British consul would have received. Within a few months he le and moved to South Africa, never to return to England or see his wife and daughter again – and never to see Macau again, for that matter.

JJ: What has been the reaction to your book?

PR : People are very interested in the topic. Even people in Hong Kong who are very aware of this said they had no idea that this had happened… n


DAVID THURSTON (1944-2024)

David urston, photojournalist and former Vice-President of the FCC, died on February 1, 2024, at the age of 79.

Born on March 1st, 1944, in Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, David grew up in England’s West Country, attended Wycli e College and graduated from the London School of Economics in 1966. His journalism career began in 1967 as a sub-editor on the Western Morning News. He worked as a studio assistant to Swiss fashion photographer Hans Feurer before leaving Swinging London to go “back to the land” on a smallholding with his then-wife Rosalind, where I was born. While tending to the vegetables, goats, and sheep, David continued to work shi s at the Western Morning News and to develop his cra as a photographer.

It was later that decade that David became seriously interested in China, and speci cally the farming techniques that enabled the Chinese people to feed themselves. He visited the country in 1979 and a er completing an intensive Mandarin course at Cambridge University, he was among rst foreign students to enrol at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, on a British Council scholarship.

Having returned to London and a job on the Evening Standard, he moved to Hong Kong in 1985 as a roving reporter for Asia Magazine, the South China Morning Post’s Sunday supplement. He was subsequently deputy editor and picture editor of the Sunday Post Magazine. It was a ne time to be a photojournalist in Asia, and ‘ ursty’, as he was known by all at the FCC, made the most of the opportunities. He photographed the shoes of Imelda Marcos and the feet of the Dalai Lama; a young actor named Chow Yun-fat and opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti; a gang of peasant women building a golf course and Sony founder Akio Morita playing on one. His images have appeared in the Sunday Times, e Observer, Time, Newsweek , National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, and Fortune magazines.

A regular assignment was to photograph Ted Marr and Espen Harbitz’s China Coast and Bela Vista Balls, rst in Macau and later all around the world, from Vietnam to Argentina, from Russia to Zimbabwe. David’s love of people and parties, plus the stamina required to be the last man standing, made him a perfect t as ‘court photographer’ at those glamorous, frivolous and madcap extravaganzas.

David and his Singaporean wife Angelina le Hong Kong in 1999 and lived for ve years in Phuket in ailand. In 2004 they moved back to the U.K. and made their home in Totnes in South Devon. David regularly exhibited his work, had photographs in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and was a regular nalist in national photographic competitions. Describing his work, David said, “I am a journalist, but I’m not out to shock or show the grizzly side of life. Others can do that if they wish.” e core of his archive, which runs to many thousands of images, documents the China of the early 1980s, on the cusp of its headlong rush to modernise.

He loved Hong Kong and he loved the FCC. His last visit was in 2013, while on a quest to revisit Shaoxing in Zhejiang province, where 30 years previously, he had photographed local children going to school on a canal boat (pictured). His arrival with the photograph caused a stir, and his meeting with several of the now grown-up schoolchildren was covered by local television news.

In the late 1990s David was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a condition he lived with for 25 years. Despite its inexorable e ects, his creativity, adventurous spirit and love of life were undimmed. In 2021, and by now con ned to a wheelchair, he and Angelina made one last international move, across the border to Wales, to spend his last years closer to me, my wife Sarah, and his two young grandchildren.

Jack urston



On March 11th, friends of Nils Horner, a Swedish reporter and FCC Member, gathered at Bert’s for a memorial event marking the 10th anniversary of his death in Afghanistan. By Jennifer Jett.

Just inside the front door of the FCC, there’s a plaque on the wall with a very special set of names – those of Club members who have died in the line of duty as journalists. e list stretches back decades, but the most recent entry reads “Nils Horner, Afghanistan 2014”.

Horner, the South Asia correspondent for Swedish Radio, was shot and killed while reporting in Kabul on March 11, 2014, at age 51. No arrests were ever made in connection with his murder.

“He was the voice of Asia for a generation…two generations of Swedish people,” Horner’s friend and fellow Swedish journalist Johan Nylander said at a memorial event in Bert’s on the 10th anniversary of Horner’s death. “And for Swedish journalists, he was a legend – we all wanted to be like him.”

During his storied career in Asia, Horner was seemingly everywhere news was happening, covering the fall of the Taliban, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“You didn’t know his face but you knew his voice, and when you heard this calm but con dent voice on the radio,

you knew something dramatic had happened in Asia,” Nylander said.

Because he was always on the road, for many years Horner didn’t really live anywhere. But not long before his death, he arrived in Hong Kong.

“He liked Hong Kong and he decided that it was going to be his home,” added Nylander. “So he put down his suitcases here, became a Member of the FCC and started to make friends here; and some of those friends are here today.”

e last time he and Horner met, Nylander recalled: “It was here – surprise, surprise – having drinks in the Main Bar,” noting that it was the same for other friends of Horner at the event.

Shirley Lau, a correspondent with the Spanish news agency EFE who met Horner at the FCC, said she remembered him for his humility.

“He was more interested in listening to people than talking about himself,” she said. “He never ponti cated, he never let people know how much he knew about the world, which I think is a very rare quality in journalists and also in human beings.” n



The Main Dining Room à la carte menu has been enhanced with the introduction of Head Indian Chef Ray Pardeep Kumar’s innovative new curry dishes, in uenced by western cooking style and presentation. Chef Kumar’s avourful o erings include Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chop Tikka with Okra Pilau, Makhanwala Sauce and Mint Raita; Sous-Vide Chicken Breast Korma with Avocado Pani-Piri, Spiced Cashew and Pulao Rice; Tandoori Norwegian Salmon with Grilled Asparagus & Lemon, Papadums and Cucumber Raita; Chana Samosa Balls in Saag Paneer with Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Okra Pilau; and more.


Eating chilli o ers a myriad of bene ts for both the body and mind. Firstly, chilies are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, and potassium, which support overall health and immune function. Additionally, the active component in chillies, capsaicin, has been linked to numerous health bene ts, including pain relief, improved digestion, and increased metabolism. Consuming chilli peppers can also promote heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of blood clots. Furthermore, the spicy kick of chillies can stimulate the release of endorphins, enhancing mood and providing a natural energy boost. Incorporating chilli peppers into your diet can add avour and depth to meals while o ering a range of health-boosting bene ts.



In the spirit of e All England Lawn Tennis Club Championships, aka Wimbledon, being played from July 1 to 14 July, a special Wimbledon Menu will be served in both the Main Lounge and Bert’s from 12 noon until 10:30pm. Alongside the ubiquitous Fresh Strawberries with Whipped Cream ($68) and Scones with Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam ($25), Members can indulge in British

favourites including Deep-fried Beer Battered Cod Fish Fillet with Fries ($128), Baked Macaroni with Bacon and Cabbage with English Cheese ($98), Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie ($98), Smoked Salmon Boxty with Potato Pancakes, Crème Fraiche and Chives ($88), and Pork Sausage Rolls ($58-4pcs).

Eat your heart out as you watch the top men’s and women’s players battle it out on grass for the coveted Grand Slam trophies on the big screen at the FCC.



Domaine Guillaman Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc

Côtes de Gascogne, France 2021

e most familiar blend in Côtes de Gascogne, this young wine is bright and vivid with herbal avours and white currant acidity. Pale yellow with beautiful glints of green, and brilliantly clear, the bouquet is fresh with notes of grapefruit, lychee, passionfruit and a hint of acacia.

Glass $40/Bottle $200

Stony Bank Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand 2022

A pale straw colour with bright hues highlighting the edges. e fragrant nose exhibits pleasing aromas supported by mineral notes. e tight and savoury palate shows avours of grapefruit, lemon and lime citrus, coupled with tropical fruit nuances.

Glass $40/Bottle $200

Marius by M Chapoutier, Vermentino

Languedoc, France 2021

A lively Vermentino made by whole bunch pressing of the grapes without sulphur addition. Grapefruit and ripe citrus fruit characters jump out of the glass, with the broad and fruity palate. e bright acidity and aromas of ripe fruit give a great persistency in nish.

Glass $40/Bottle $200

Marius by M Chapoutier, Syrah Grenache Languedoc, France 2022

Red, dense and clear with deep purple glints. Powerful, complex, dark and spicy on the nose with red berries and a delicate oral touch. A powerful, concentrated and structured attack on the palate with a tinge of silky tannins.

Glass $40/Bottle $200

Bonnievale e River Collection, Shiraz

Robertson, South Africa 2021

Spice and earthiness meet dark fruit and butterscotch with a whisper of co ee in this complex and well-structured River Collection Shiraz. It ows onto the palate, lingering, before extending into a long and memorable nish.

Glass $40 / Bottle $200

Altozano, Tempranillo

Toledo, Spain 2022

A bright ruby red colour in the glass, this wine reveals all kinds of blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries and mulberries to the nose. Additional aromas such as oriental spices, cinnamon and dark chocolate are added through the aging in small wooden barrels.

Glass $40 / Bottle $200 n



e FCC is delighted to welcome its new Members who come from a range of sectors, further adding to the diversity of our Club. Here’s a summary of who they are and what they do.





BBC World Service Hong Kong

As an IT student, I never imagined I would become a journalist. en I had the rare opportunity to travel to Taiwan and my journal went viral online. People thanked me for my honest documentation that changed their views of Taiwan, and so I thought I could make a living doing it.

Ten years into it, the profession hasn’t let me down. I’ve worked for Chinese media, which took me to the remotest corner of Tibet; then for the BBC, which got me into the most powerdense room at the G20 summit.

During the pandemic, to counter all the negativity, I trained and ran a marathon all by myself. My son is very proud.





e Economist

I moved to Hong Kong in September, and was delighted to stumble across the FCC almost immediately. It’s lovely to have found somewhere that feels like a real home from home - thanks in no small part to the excellent and reasonably priced bars!

I joined e Economist in London two years ago and had always hoped to move abroad, so I was delighted when an opportunity on the digital news desk in Asia came up. I had to choose between relocating to Singapore or Hong Kong, having never visited either city. e FCC has only strengthened my conviction that I made the right choice.

My family comes from Bute, an island o the west coast of Scotland, which feels like a world away from Hong Kong. I look forward to discovering which other far- ung places Members hail from over a glass of wine or three in due course.




Lifestyle Asia

I was born in Hong Kong and have lived here my whole life, until recently. Now I split my time between Hong Kong and Taipei, where my family lives. I graduated with a degree in architecture, but switched lanes soon a er to pursue my one true passion, writing. A er getting a Master’s degree in journalism, I began working in media as an editor at Hong Kong Living and Lifestyle Asia. Outside of my day job, I’m an ‘in uencer’, something I don’t usually bring up because there’s still some stigma when it comes to social media creators. But anyway, I love trying new things and keeping up with trends, which is perfect because this little side hustle encourages me to do just that!




Digital Producer


I am a British-Iranian journalist currently working as a Digital Producer at Reuters in Hong Kong. Most of my career so far has been spent at the BBC in London working for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service for ve years.

Since moving to Hong Kong in October 2020, I have also worked as a Planning Producer for CNN, recently planning its New Year’s Eve special live from Hong Kong, and a Segment Producer for Bloomberg

I am originally from Nottingham in the U.K. and moved to Hong Kong with my boyfriend at the time, as he was o ered a transfer with his company. Despite multiple rounds of hotel quarantine, I am pleased to say that it was all worth it – notably because he is now my husband, a er a Covid-a ected wedding at Cotton Tree Drive in Hong Kong, and we are now very happy residents of this great city!



Assistant Editor

Prestige Magazine Hong Kong

Madelaine moved to Hong Kong from London in 2021 and now lives in Central. A er studying French and Italian at university, she worked in the luxury goods sector, with roles at e Estée Lauder Companies, Tom Ford and Chanel. Madelaine made the move into journalism in 2023, joining Prestige magazine as assistant editor. She covers art, fashion, beauty and culture and is always looking for the next budding artist, entrepreneur or designer to interview.




Ganymede Productions Ltd.

I recently clocked up 14 years in Hong Kong, having previously lived in Sydney, Australia. I have a background in nance and I am the Co-Owner of MOOON, a Hong Kong events and technical production company.



Native English Teacher

Buddhist Wong Fung Ling College

I’m a South African-born teacher and Chairperson of the Southern African Association of Hong Kong. While I dearly miss African sunsets and Highveld thunderstorms, I’m constantly amazed by the energy, lights and many faces of the city I’ve called my second home for more than a decade. I am passionate about connecting people and communities to promote crosscultural engagement, and fostering unity within my local and broader community. Outside of work, I enjoy anything to do with food, travelling, hiking (as long as there aren’t too many stairs involved) and discovering new corners of the city.




Film Critic / Travel Author/ Event Speaker


I rst arrived in Hong Kong back in 1990 and was fortunate to meet my future wife three days a er landing at Kai Tak. Needless to say, my original six-month assignment here turned out to be much longer than expected. We have two grown children living and working in the city, as well as a 13-year-old who keeps us young.

I wear several “hats” as an educator, lm critic, travel writer, and Christian minister. I’m an experienced “pilgrim” having completed numerous cross-country journeys including the 800 km Camino de Santiago in Spain as well as the 2,000 km Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. I am also the author of Our Coast-to-Coast Adventure: An Ordinary Father and Son’s Extraordinary Walk Across England.

A er being invited guests to the FCC for far too long, Tammy and I are delighted to now be members and look forward to meeting you.



Architects and Planning Consultants

KPF (Hong Kong) Ltd.

For more than two decades, I have practiced architecture in San Francisco, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China. My portfolio encompasses a wide range of building types, including residential, o ce, retail, hospitality, institutional, infrastructure, and urban design projects. As a partner in a global rm, I have had the privilege of serving as the design architect for developments like Victoria Dockside, Hysan Place and the ICC. I consider Hong Kong my home city a er many years of studying, working and living in the United States. In 2001, I moved back to Hong Kong from New York. It was a poignant experience watching the 9/11 attacks, particularly for architects whose goal is to create buildings and cities that ourish for future generations. While we cannot predict all disasters, I strongly believe in the importance of environmental awareness, particularly in relation to global warming and its impact on our city. As a new member of the FCC, I am eager to hear the perspectives of fellow members and collectively advocate for a more sustainable and livable Hong Kong.



Extracurricular Program Manager e Harbour School

I’m Simon Pang. I have been immersed in the world of education for over a decade, starting my teaching career in Kinshasa, DR Congo, and eventually making my way to China, where I spent the past decade. I am an ESF alumni and I have also attended university and boarding schools in the U.K. When I’m not shaping young minds, you’ll likely nd me indulging in my love for cra beer - I even used to own a bottle shop in Shanghai! And let’s not forget my a nity for a good Japanese highball. I’m also deeply passionate about service projects and charity work. Recently I was supporting sports for development projects with Laureus Sport for Good in Hong Kong. I am currently the Extracurricular Program Manager at e Harbour School in Ap Lei Chau.




Sunbird Engineering Ltd

I am Bill Pike, a long-time resident of Hong Kong, having moved here with my wife and baby daughter in 1995. I am originally from United States and I moved to my wife’s home country of Japan in 1991 when I was still a graduate student. ere I studied Japanese business and language.

I have always had an entrepreneurial passion and I started my rst business in the watch and jewellery industries while living in Japan.

In 1995, I decided to relocate to Hong Kong to expand my business. Hong Kong quickly became our home, and just a few years later, and now with three children, I had an unexpected chance to pivot to a di erent industry, creating an engineering company that specialises in aerospace and automotive component manufacturing, and which is now expanding into the electric vehicle industry.

I am an avid motorcyclist and spend each Sunday on the roads of Hong Kong together with members of my motorcycle club.

A er being guests of FCC members over the years, my wife and I are excited to be new members, and we look forward to getting to know more of you and making new friends.



Consultant/ Advisor technology


I was educated in England, where alums of my schools include JRR Tolkien, Kingsley Amis, and Inspector Morse, and in the U.S., where they include George W. Bush and Robert McNamara (no comment).

A er school I worked on privatisation projects in the former Soviet Union and launched communications products for Microso . at landed me in jail in Ukraine and had me presenting technology to the National Security Agency.

Today I split my time between advising early-stage companies around the world and writing ction woven around my experiences.

I have been visiting Hong Kong since 1993 and am thrilled to be living here now. Since arriving I have, somewhat against the advice of my aging knees, taken up playing cricket again.



Private Banker

Standard Chartered Bank

Hello everyone, I’m Florence Wong and I have been an o cial FCC member since January 1st this year. I am very much looking forward to meeting all of you!

I’m a Private Banker, working in an international bank based in Hong Kong and have been in the industry for over 20 years.

I was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to Toronto, Canada with my family when I was young. I returned to Hong Kong 20 years ago and started my nancial career, travelling between Taiwan, Mainland China and Hong Kong. I speak uent Putonghua, English and Cantonese. I am married and with two little rescue doggies, a Shiba Inu and a French Bulldog, who are 6 and 3 years old respectively. I love sports, travelling and meeting people.





MSK Investments Ltd

Born in Tokyo, I started reading English literature in Japanese at the age of 10 and learned how to speak English by the age of 16.

A er graduating from Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo in 1973, I worked for a patent rm as a translator for one year, then travelled to London, where I started working as a secretary for the Management HQ of the European & African O ces of Marubeni Corporation for two-and -a-half years before I started working in nance.

First at Nomura Europe N.V., I was responsible for the documentation of new bond issues for eight years until 1985. I was then employed by the M & A department of Baring Brothers Co. Ltd. in London for nine years, including the last three years when I was based in the company’s Tokyo o ce.

I was employed by Jardine Fleming in Hong Kong in 1995, however, I quickly decided to start a hedge fund business vis-a-vis equities. Fortunately, I successfully managed my hedge fund business as a Responsible O cer with three SFC licenses (Type 1, 4 & 9) in Hong Kong for 20 years until 2016 when I sold my business to a Mainland Chinese conglomerate. I no longer manage my clients’ money, but I still manage my own assets primarily in precious metals, hedge funds and equities.


May Ti any Yuet Ying New York Times Reporter Correspondent

Ahamed Nazvi Careem

Chan Shing Tak

Chang Hsiang

Ruby Chong

Television Broadcasts Ltd Principal Sub Editor Journalist

New World Development Co. LtdDirector - Investment Management Associate

Silverhorn Investment Advisors Ltd Associate Associate

Estee Lauder Companies Senior Creative Manager Associate

Jonathan Scott HammondSimmons & Simmons Solicitor (Partner & Head of Asia) Associate

Patrick Henri M HermansStarbit Solutions Ltd Hong Kong Managing Director Associate

King John Kelly

Joerg Walter Schappei

Szeto On Vann Teresa

Geo rey Tang

Headwin International Logistics Director Associate

Wangfoong Transportation Ltd

Retired lawyer Associate

Executive Director Associate

PricewaterhouseCooper Director, Capital Market Service Associate

Wong Ngao San Marcus AIA Premier Senior District Director Associate

Yu Ah Ting Vanessa

Wang Ji Ti Jim

Broadridge Asia Paci c Ltd Sales Director Associate

Main Life Corporation Ltd General Manager Associate



Himanshu Gupta Consulate General of India Diplomat Diplomatic

Michael A Stans eld

Jaydeep Kundu

Yang Ruby Lui Bik

Lonnie Jay Frisby

Jame Sylvester-Evans


Credit Research Analyst Corporate

UBS AG Executive Director Corporate

e University of Hong Kong Profesor Corporate

FIL Asia Holdings Pte Ltd Director, ISS Communications APAC Corporate

HSBC Program Trader Corporate



Ip Yu Ting


FTLife Insurance Company Ltd Technology Management Corporate

Song Dan Northstandard Ltd

James Martin Moran Northstandard Ltd

Sharon Gay Manuel Taylor Zetland Corporate Services Ltd


Marine Insurance Corporate

Marine Insurance Corporate

Legal Counsel & Group GM, Corporate HK Managing Director

Chan Lam Rudy Tai Wah Hong Travel Service Ltd Manager Associate

Chan Yiu Tung Tai Wah Hong Travel Service Ltd Managing Director Associate

David Glen Pierce HQ Capital

Managing Director & Head of Asia Associate

Charles Maxwell Goddard e Economist Editorial Director, Asia Paci c Correspondent

Lam Wui See Sally Linklaters Associate Associate

Alexander Ross Daniel DTV Asia Ltd Regional Managing Director Associate

Aisha Eliza Speirs e Wall Street Journal, Executive Editor Associate Barron’s Group

Yip Wing Hang International Chamber of Founding Chairman Associate Sustainable Development (ICSD)

Etienne Charles Maccario SCMP Senior Vice President, Technology Associate

Jack Cumming Liquid Inspiration HK Ltd Director Associate

Jason Hughes Wincuinas e Economist Intelligence UnitSenior Editor Correspondent

Elizabeth Case Retired Associate

Brett Anthony Rohrsheim Retired Associate

Paulus Johannes ZimmermanDesigning Hong Kong LtdChief Executive O cer Associate

Wong Shirley Sheung Ling Tristyle Sourcing Ltd Retired Associate

Guo Ge Invesco Hong Kong Ltd Portfolio Manager Associate

Ho Yu Chu Retired Associate

Gabriel Shen Warren Engineering Ltd Executive Manager Associate

Lam Yan Fong, Flora Lam & Co. Solicitor Associate

Lim Graham Guan Aun Jones Day Partner Associate

Jennifer Nicole Cosco LSEG Globalhead of govtrel Associate

Lau Pui Wing e Advocate Director Associate

Henryk Jazdzewski In nity Transport Consultancy Managing Director Associate

Tsoi Man Cheong Retired Associate

MA Man Shun MansonBerkley Insurance Company (Asia)Head of Marine Associate


Tina Tucker Vantage Asia Publishing LtdAssociate Publisher Associate

Gavin John Walker Singer Asia Ltd President & CEO Associate

Jonathan Nickolas Sparks Emerge 360 HK Ltd Managing Director Associate

Gauri Narain Gauri Media Producer Director Correspondent

Marguerite Anne Walker Retired Associate

Michelle Anne GarnautM Restaurant Group CEO Associate

Law Pik Lin, Jessica Vantage Asia Publishing Consultant Associate

Dr. Bernard Joseph Murphy Howse WilliaBowers Partner Associate

Stuart Roseman Securities and Futures Commission Director Associate

Christopher D. Appleton Faye Holdings Ltd Managing Director Associate

Dr. Qiu Peter Z. H. e Center for Globalization HK Chairman Correspondent

Paul Ross Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd Executive Director Associate

Andrew J. F. Robinson Bird+Bird Consultant Associate



FCC Members tasted and rated over 25 wine brands vying to be the new FCC Correspondents’ Choice. e wine social also featured an excellent bu et dinner paired with wines from around the world, including Sauvignon Blanc from


On February 27, our Membership team held an Induction Ceremony for a fresh batch of new Members. Amongst the new inductees were young journalists beginning their career journey in Hong Kong, banking and investment

New Zealand, Shiraz from South Africa, Tempranillo from Spain, and more… anks to Houghton and Cammy for the speech of the night and stay tuned for the nal results!

professionals, educators, engineers, and various management leaders. Following an opening speech from FCC President Lee Williamson, attendees mingled with FCC Board Members who were delighted to see new faces at the Club.



Members enjoyed a Guinness or several and had a good craic at the Club’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, along with a ne feast of traditional Irish fare.



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Ahhh, the first great disaster of 2024 in our beloved SAR. Lionel Messi coming to Hong Kong and not playing. There was booing in the crowd, massive online outrage, the government and organiser Tatler Asia ducking for cover… It made for good news fodder if nothing else.

But let’s go back a bit and realise just what a sh*t show the whole thing was.

a) The organiser was a magazine publisher. Not an events company, not someone who was familiar with large-scale events. A high-brow magazine. Never bodes well.

b) The Hong Kong Government went all in looking for a W. They gave it an M. They took the L. Hindsight’s a bastard, but so is oversight.

So how did it all go wrong? Because the entire tour was marketed as ‘Messi in Hong Kong’, not ‘Inter Miami in Hong Kong’. You place all your bets on one bloke and he can’t play, that’s a pretty big risk. 100 percent risk as it turned out. The massive video billboards by a certain developer who also happened to own the hotel the team stayed at (pumping out Messi montages 18 hours a day (I know, I had to watch them from my balcony every day and night). Junks in the harbour with Messi’s enlarged head on the mainsails. A certain shoe company who was thrilled to push out endless Messi social media posts. Which was fantastic. The whole city was agog with Messi Mania.

Until he didn’t play.

Then the sh*t hit the fan. Boy oh boy, it was a big fan and a lot of sh*t! The backlash was almost instantaneous. In a world where we live and die by social media, this was instant death.

But let’s back up a minute. Honestly, the one person I felt most sorry for is Luis Suárez. A genuine superstar in his own right, also missed the game due to injury, yet no-one cared. It was all about Messi. Poor Suárez!

Both made a mistake by not doing even the bare minimum; apologising to the crowd and doing a little spectator interaction. Sure, you might have a groin strain, but if you can walk to and from the bus, you can make it to the podium and say a few words. Sure, only about 1 percent of the crowd could speak Spanish, but that’s what you do. Messi and Suárez did not.

And then footage emerged of Messi skipping shaking hands with Chief Executive John Lee. Oh boy, the camel’s back had been broken long before, but kicking the poor dead animal (with a groin strain and all!) wasn’t a good look.

Fast forward three weeks and Messi was in hot water with Chinese fans, who Messi, Inter Miami, and Argentina REALLY love, because there’s lots of money involved. Blind Freddy could see where this was heading, but apparently not Messi’s PR team.

So, we got a video from Messi (posted in 480p, don’t get me started…) on Weibo that looked more like a hostage “proofof-life” message than an apology. He also only addressed Chinese fans. Hong Kong? Meh.

In the end, everyone looked spectacularly stupid. A masterclass of how not to hold an international event. But seriously, great social media fodder for the rest of us. The AI-generated meme using Beckham’s voice as he feigned his comprehension of Cantonese was rip roaring. As he tried to say the words that when properly translated meant something that only usually comes out of the mouth of a taxi driver with severe Tourette’s, his AI voice interpreted them as “I know how much love Hong Kong people have expressed for me and my family, which I truly appreciate.”

Sure, most of Hong Kong, and now Mainland China, hates you Lionel Messi, but there are a few of us here who are very glad you came. Sort of… n

Aaron can be found online on Twitter/Threads/Instagram at @tripperhead, and the free nightly Hong Kong news Substack at



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