T H E O F F I C I A L P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E F O R E I G N C O R R E S P O N D E N T S ’ C L U B
Riding Out the Pandemic Hong Kong media organisations discover new strategies during COVID-19
Women in the media confront violence and harassment
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Stephen Vines: A love letter to the FCC
New column: Prominent editors talk life and work
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e ult d it ir .”
CONTENTS COVER STORY
14 POST-PANDEMIC MEDIA: WHAT COMES NEXT?
on R, ns
In this industry trend story, Rick Boost looks at the need to adjust and evolve as we navigate a new normal. Cover Illustration: Harry Harrison
3 From the President
25 Stephen Vines: A Farewell to the 852 The journalist, entrepreneur and former FCC President reflects on an all-too-hasty departure from the city – and club – he called home.
4 Club News Live events – music, pub quizzes, lunch talks, movie nights – are back and better than ever.
26 Hello, New Fellows: Off to a Flying Start We welcome two new Clare Hollingworth Fellows, who will be contributing their skills to the club.
8 Wine & Dine Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas and – yikes – New Year’s Eve. Meantime, enjoy a cheeky new cocktail, The Hongkonger.
30 Meet the Board: Who’s Who on High In the first of a new series, Kate Springer asks our Board members about their visions for the club.
UPFRONT 2 Editor’s Letter
12 Member Insights Cyber security expert Simon Jankowski unpacks the risks of phishing scams and hacks.
FEATURES 18 Front Line/Online: Violence Against Women in the Media It’s not just Afghanistan. Female journalists are being targeted all over the world. 22 Photo Essay: Once Upon a Time in China FCC member Nicholas Kitto’s beautifully photographed book, Trading Places, celebrates the treaty ports that once dotted China’s coast.
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THE REGULARS 34 On the Wall Ian MacNicol shoots sports, Saumya Khandelwal tracks COVID-19 across India, and Harry Harrison lifts our spirits. 38 Member Movements This issue’s who’s where and why, accompanied by a startlingly intellectual quiz, if we do say so.
43 Obituary Remembering the long and eventful life of Australian journalist Geoffrey Somers. 44 Speakers Who didn’t jump for joy at Hong Kong’s summer Olympic performance? The CEO of the Sports Institute explains the city’s record medal haul. 46 Book Review FCC member Philip Bowring was one of the contributors to The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in 10 Lives. It’s a splendid read, writes Mark Jones. 47 Reading List Whether you want to study up on Trump or learn a bit more about Venice, our speakers recommend just the right book for your enquiring mind. 48 10 Minutes With… Madeleine Lim The last page of the magazine gets a makeover, as Ed Peters puts one of Asia’s top editors in the spotlight.
40 New Members Two riveting pages introducing the FCC’s new faces and talents. Say hello if you see them around the club.
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The Foreign Correspondents’ Club 2 Lower Albert Road Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2521 1511 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fcchk.org
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB HONG KONG
The Board of Governors 2021-2022 President Keith Richburg First Vice President Hannamiina Tanninen
Dear FCC Members,
Second Vice President Tim Huxley
Another Hong Kong summer has melted away, and we’re staring down the final stretch of the year. These days, it seems there’s never a dull moment in our newsrooms or Zoom rooms.
Correspondent Member Governors Lucy Colback, Jennifer Hughes, Jennifer Jett, Kristie Lu Stout, Iain Marlow, Shai Oster, Austin Ramzy, Dan Strumpf
There have been ups, there have been downs, but many Hong Kong media operations have found ways to adapt and, ultimately, come out stronger. We explore the issue in our cover story on page 14, which the talented Harry Harrison illustrated for us.
Journalist Member Governors Clifford Buddle, Zela Chin Associate Member Governors Genavieve Alexander, Liu Kin-ming, Christopher Slaughter, Richard David Winter
We also investigate another issue of the hour: increased threats of violence and harassment against women in journalism around the world, something that’s been thrust into the spotlight once more with the patriarchal Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan. It’s with a heavy heart that we spoke with a female Afghan journalist, as well as several other women around the world, who have experienced violence or harassment online and offline (pg. 18).
Club Treasurer Tim Huxley Club Secretary Jennifer Hughes Professional Committee Conveners: Hannamiina Tanninen, Iain Marlow, Austin Ramzy, Keith Richburg
Next up, we chase down intrepid Nicholas Kitto to hear all about his photography book on China’s historic treaty ports. He captured their architectural and personal significance on dozens of trips – and nearly 2.8 million steps – across the mainland over the years (pg. 22).
Finance Committee Conveners: Tim Huxley, Lucy Colback Constitutional Committee Conveners: Jennifer Hughes, Liu Kin-ming Membership Committee Conveners: Jennifer Hughes, Clifford Buddle
We also say our goodbyes to former FCC president and Main Bar regular Stephen Vines, who rushed away to England this summer. He has explained why he left in many other publications, so here, we’ve invited him to share his love for his FCC family (pg. 25).
House/Food and Beverage Committee Conveners: Hannamiina Tanninen, Genavieve Alexander Building - Project and Maintenance Committee Conveners: Christopher Slaughter, Liu Kin-ming
Rounding out the feature well, don’t miss our introduction to this year’s Clare Hollingworth Fellows (pg. 26) and the first instalment of a new series on the Board of Governors (pg. 30), who explain their motivations, visions and favourite tipples.
Press Freedom Committee Conveners: Dan Strumpf, Hannamiina Tanninen, Austin Ramzy, Keith Richburg Communications Committee Conveners: Genavieve Alexander, Iain Marlow
In these pages, you’ll also find a buffet of new dining promotions, event news and even a Halloween cookie recipe to sneak in at home, not to mention our usual book reviews, speaker roundups and new member intros.
Wall Committee Conveners: Kristie Lu Stout, Dan Strumpf General Manager Didier Saugy
Do your best to hang on till the end, as we’ve revamped that last page to celebrate notable editors around the region, kicking off with Madeleine Lim, Senior Executive Editor for Bloomberg News, who has more than a few feathers in her cap.
Editor, The Correspondent Kate Springer, Springer Creative Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editor Ed Peters Email: email@example.com
Enjoy the magazine and, as always, feel free to share feedback, suggestions and ideas.
Publisher: Artmazing! Noel de Guzman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printing Elite Printing, Tel: 2558 0119
Advertising Contact FCC Front Office: Tel: 2521 1511
The Correspondent ©2021 The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong PHOTO: ANTHONY KWAN
Get in touch: email@example.com
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The Correspondent is published four times a year. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the club.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear FCC Members, For this column, I would like to give a shout-out and a thank you to all the interpreters, fixers, drivers and office assistants around the world who regularly risk their lives to help foreign correspondents get the story. They rarely get the bylines and the glory, but these brave media workers are journalism’s true unsung heroes. The last two weeks of August were filled with harrowing stories of international media outlets going to great lengths to get their local employees and their families out of Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover. Every report of an interpreter making it out safely with their family members has been a cause for cheer. I covered the first decade of the Afghanistan war as a correspondent for The Washington Post, starting with the American bombing and the Taliban retreat from Kabul in 2001 and making multiple trips to the country until 2010. I remember all of the Afghan interpreters and drivers who supported me on every visit. They helped me navigate the country’s byzantine tribal politics, warned me when a highway was too dangerous to travel and accompanied me on trips from Kandahar in the south to Kunduz in the north. Most left Afghanistan a long time ago and I am eternally grateful to them all. I also fondly remember my longtime interpreter and my driver from Somalia from when I was the Post’s Africa correspondent covering the 1990s US military intervention. They were always waiting for me at Mogadishu airport when I flew in from Nairobi; they waded into angry crowds with me to interview witnesses to the most recent military clash, and they dutifully went along with my boneheaded ideas to drive to faraway towns like Baidoa and Bardera in our battered white Toyota. They kept me safe, and I thank them. Some of my former interpreters and drivers I came upon by chance. In Iraq, I found my interpreter through the Red Crescent Society in Basra at the start of the 2003 US-led invasion when I drove across the border from Kuwait; he stayed with me for the next few weeks. Flying into Casablanca in 2003 to cover a series of suicide bombings, I found a taxi driver who spoke good French and hired him on the spot for the next week. In Kinshasa, adrift without a fixer, I wandered onto the university campus, found the English Department and asked a professor for his best English-speaking student, who became my regular guide. Many of the local hires I worked with were longtime Post employees, and they always showed dedication and loyalty, even though most had never set foot in the head office in Washington, DC.
The local hires I worked with were longtime Post employees, and they always showed dedication and loyalty.
In China, interpreters and fixers are called “news assistants”. They are journalists, although, under Chinese rules, they were not allowed to have bylines. I was lucky to have three of the absolute best in Beijing from late 2009 through 2013. They found scoops, accompanied me on trips and translated the Chinese papers and social media sites for me. And our longtime Post driver could somehow get me through Beijing’s notorious traffic jams in record time. Some have gone on to become journalists in their own right. One star is the intrepid Atika Shubert. She started as my interpreter and fixer in Jakarta when she was just out of university. She later became The Washington Post stringer in Indonesia, writing stories when I was back in Hong Kong, and together we covered the Jakarta riots and the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998. She covered the independence vote and the militia rampage in East Timor for the Post, among many other stories, before joining CNN, where she is now a European correspondent.
Behind every good foreign correspondent, there’s an interpreter, a driver, a fixer or a news assistant. They rarely get the recognition they are due. Let’s take a moment to sing their praises. Keith Richburg Hong Kong 6 September 2021
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The right type The FCC moved to the government’s “Type D” category in August. And guess what that meant? Live events, music, movie nights, banqueting services, longer opening hours and 12 people per table. “You’ve probably felt the buzz about the club lately,” said FCC President Keith Richburg in a statement. “We’re thrilled to bring back more of the atmosphere that has made the club such a magnet for us all.” What is a “Type D” operation? • Mandatory use of “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app • At least two-thirds of the total participants must show proof of first vaccine jab (via QR code or on paper) • Capacity up to 100 percent • Maximum 12 persons per table
Celebrate the return of quiz nights Dearest know-it-alls: The FCC’s monthly Quiz Nights are back and better than ever. Join us for two more brain-teasing evenings of obscure themes and esoteric facts this year.
Teams of six can put their heads together over a three-course meal for the Mid-Autumn Edition, which takes place on 21 October, followed by the Winter Edition on 18 November.
This October, we plan to roll out a dedicated Members’ Area on the club’s newly designed website where you can log in, manage your account, book events, and reserve a table at our restaurants. Check for updates on our official website: fcchk.org
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On the Wall: ‘Pictures Worth a Million Words’ The club’s Wall exhibit this October will be particularly poignant. Visit the FCC to appreciate “In the Moment: A Danish Siddiqui Retrospective”. The Taliban murdered Siddiqui, a 38-year-old, Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters photojournalist, in July 2021 during an ambush in a town near the border with Pakistan. After studying film at Jamia Millia Islamia University in India, the New Delhi native worked with the Hindustan Times and TV Today Network before joining Reuters in 2010. With Reuters, he covered everything from armed conflicts, natural disasters, COVID-19 challenges and political unrest all over Asia – including the 2019 Hong Kong protests. “He was our eye. He gave voice and agency to thousands whose suffering might have been lost,” Farhat Basir Khan, a professor of mass communications at Jamia Millia Islamia University, said in a statement. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, his were worth millions.” He was also on a Reuters team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for their coverage of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar. “While I enjoy covering news stories – from business to politics to sports – what I enjoy most is capturing the human face of a breaking story,” Siddiqui said in a Reuters profile. “I shoot for the common man who wants to see and feel a story from a place where he can’t be present himself.” Don’t miss this meaningful FCC exhibit, which will honour Siddiqui’s life and work by featuring a collection of his most memorable photographs.
PHOTOS: DANISH SIDDIQUI
From 1 to 31 October. Non-members are welcome from 10 am12 pm and 3-5:30 pm daily.
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Live music is back at Bert’s
After a year without live music, you can once again experience some of the best sounds in the city at Bert’s. The FCC’s basement bar and bistro – named after the late Bert Okuley, the piano-playing former FCC President – is hosting a gig every other Saturday night. It’s been a long time coming for Allen Youngblood, who oversees the club’s music programming. The FCC’s Music Director – who’s also a jazz pianist, composer, music
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teacher and event planner – has been with the club since 1997. “I wanted to stay through the handover,” he says. “My degree is in history so I didn’t want to read about history when I could see it for myself.” At the time, Youngblood was playing gigs at the Main Bar and The Peninsula Hotel. One night, the late Hugh van Es offered him a job as the musical director, taking over from all-round entertainer Larry Allen who was returning to the United States. Since then, Youngblood has created one of the city’s best live music venues. Over the years, Youngblood has performed alongside countless stars – Eddie Harris, Ernestine Anderson, Cash McCall, Eddie Clearwater, Martha and the Vandellas to name a few – and orchestrated large-scale FCC events. These include the club’s first-ever Charity Ball in 2002, two Jazz Festivals at the FCC, and a trip to Puerto Galera Jazz Festival, for which Youngblood and co-organiser Terry Duckham flew 75 club members to the Philippines. “Exactly 73 of those people behaved themselves. I won’t name the other two,” he laughs. Bert’s is not just a jazz bar, though. The club strives to showcase a wide variety of music. “We’ve had Argentinian tango dancers, a German youth group, Mongolian a cappella, blues, Latin, and Grammy award winners like Ernie Watts and David Sanchez,” says Youngblood. “We’ve also welcomed Jimmy Buffett – cool, really nice guy. The Beach Boys. Amazing. Blondie. Dennis Edwards and the Temptations. I’m telling you, there’s a lot of history down here.” Youngblood is relieved to see live music returning to the city, but can’t wait to get back to full capacity. “Through these trials and tribulations, I really appreciate how the FCC has treated me,” he says. “Since 1997, I have met so many interesting, talented people. I love that a correspondents’ club features live music – and I hope it always does.”
PHOTOS: L AKSHMI HARILELA
Now that the FCC is a Type D venue, live music is back on the docket. We caught up with FCC Music Director Allen Youngblood for a walk down memory lane.
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It really is like one big family. Even though much of my job is done alone, I still feel like I am part of a team. – Sally Cheung
Meet Sally Cheung, FCC Head Seamstress This enthusiastic team member looks after the club’s laundry, uniform repairs and loves to cook.
PHOTO: L AKSHMI HARILELA
Tell us a little bit about what you do! Sally Cheung: I learned how to sew in my home province of Sichuan before moving to Hong Kong 16 years ago. At the FCC, I am responsible for all of the linens and uniforms. I make sure everything from blazers, shirts and trousers to tablecloths, napkins and hand towels are brought to the laundry, and freshly restocked again for the next day. I also inspect the uniforms daily to check if anything needs fixing. This is the main part of my job. I spend much of my day making alterations or repairing uniforms. It’s very important that staff members look their best – and I take pride in making sure their uniforms always look presentable and professional. What brought you to the FCC? SC: I joined the FCC about three years ago. At the time, I was playing mahjong too much, and I needed a fulltime job to give me something else to focus on and feel productive. Prior to working here, I looked after my three daughters. I had part-time jobs here and there, but this is the first full-time role I’ve ever had. What’s the most challenging part of your job? SC: No task is too hard for me; I like a challenge. During COVID-19, when we have all been a little
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less active than usual, some staff members have put on a little weight. Fixing a stressed or busted seam is very challenging. Since I am the only one who does repairs, sometimes I also feel a lot of pressure because everyone depends on me. But I also love that sense of responsibility and I am thankful that I get to do what I love to do every day. Can you share some of your favourite memories from your time at the FCC? SC: My very first year working here, 2018-2019, I won ‘Best New Employee’ at the Staff Awards. I think it was because I am good at my job, have a positive attitude, and get along well with my other teammates. It really is like one big family. Even though much of my job is done alone, I still feel like I am part of a team. Besides being a dab hand with a sewing machine, are there any other hobbies you enjoy? SC: In my free time, I like to go shopping and hiking with my daughters. I really care about my health, so we like to do active things to stay on our feet. I also love to cook Sichuanese dishes, like poached fish in chilli oil (shui zhu yu) or dried Sichuan beef, to share with my team. I have to warn anyone before they try my cooking though: I make very, very spicy food! n
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WINE & DINE
Tuck in on Turkey Day It’s said that many of the traditional foods served up at Thanksgiving dinners – turkey, potatoes, yams, pumpkin, cranberries et al – are native to the Americas. And they will all be on parade in good time to celebrate with friends and family at the FCC. Set menu available from 22 to 27 November; takeaway available from 16 to 30 November.
Ghoul’s night out
PHOTOS: L AKSHMI HARILELA
Exclusive Halloween snacks, desserts and a very special cocktail will be on offer on the night that used to be known as All Saints’ Eve. The chilling tipple, dubbed the Bloody Mummy, naturally, contains vodka and tomato juice revved up with a splash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and fiery tabasco. Only available on 31 October at Bert’s and Main Bar. HK$40 per cocktail, or HK$30 alcohol-free.
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PHOTO: L AKSHMI HARILELA
Christmas comes but once a year… The festive wheels are already in motion at the FCC. You can order a tree from the middle of October onwards, while reservations for hampers, takeaway meals and banquet packages can be placed starting mid-November. The fun kicks off in earnest with the Kids’ Party on 5 December – expect much in the way of seasonal goodies plus socially distanced time with Santa – while Christmas menus (you know the drill: turkey, mince pies, mulled wine) make their first appearance the day after. A Christmas Bazaar and carol singing will add some extra good cheer. Set menus will be provided
on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and the entire building will be engulfed by the New Year’s Eve party on 31 December. Wallop! • • • • • • •
Banquet Package: Mid-November to Mid-December Takeaway: Mid-November to 31 December Christmas Menus: 6-24 December Christmas Bazaar: 9-11 December, Hughes Room Christmas Eve Set Menu: Main Dining Room Christmas Day Buffet: All venues New Year’s Eve: Lunch, à la carte; dinner, whole club
Please check online or at the club ahead of holiday events to ascertain what COVID-19 restrictions will be in place.
Oenophile’s Corner After exhaustive tasting sessions, members selected the 2021-2022 Correspondents’ and Publishers’ wines. Tough decisions, mind you. Michael Chan, the FCC’s resident wine expert, shares his tasting notes: Villiera Chenin Blanc 2020 Correspondents’ Choice
“Abundant fruit with a hint of wood spice, pineapple, guava and citrus on the nose. On the palate – rich yet fresh. Well balanced with a long finish.” HK$145 per takeaway bottle.
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1659 Classic Red Pinotage & Shiraz NV Correspondents’ Choice
Sileni Estates Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Publishers’ Choice
Soto de Torres altos Ibericos Crianza 2017 Publishers’ Choice
“Deep and ripe dark fruit aromas with subtle undertones of spice and vanilla. The palate is soft with a bit of sweetness on the finish.”
“Aromas and flavours of ripe passion fruit and tropical fruit alongside gooseberry undertones. Balanced palate with beautiful freshness and a lengthy finish.”
“Dark cherry red colour, very opaque. Warm on the palate, with velvety, juicy tannins well rounded by oak aging.”
HK$145 per takeaway bottle.
HK$245 per takeaway bottle.
HK$245 per takeaway bottle.
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WINE & DINE
RAISE A GLASS TO ‘THE HONG KONGER’ Fancy trying a new cocktail? One FCC member has devised an ode to Hong Kong in liquid form, served straight up in a Tom Collins glass. all), and top with a splash of ginger beer. It’s robust, refreshing, spicy and satisfying. “The ingredients represent Hong Kong’s history,” he adds. It’s Goldman’s hope that The Hong Konger will forever be associated with the FCC, much the way the Singapore Sling is associated with the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. “The FCC is sort of an oasis, in that it’s this [bastion] of free speech. “And it’s fitting, now that we can hang out with people in small groups again, that we have something special like a new drink to mark that moment – so we should raise a glass and celebrate.” The Hong Konger, which is available at the Main Bar, pairs particularly well with Indian food and great conversation – two of the FCC’s many attributes.
PHOTOS: L AKSHMI HARILELA
A city as exceptional as Hong Kong deserves a cocktail all its own – especially given the city’s famed predilection for a good time. Enter Russell Goldman, a New York Times editor and FCC member who, on the cusp of his departure from Hong Kong, concocted a signature drink with the help of senior bartender, Jason Poon, as a quaffable homage to the city he’s called home for four years. “The drink had to signify Hong Kong – its flavours and people – and be reproduced at virtually any bar in the world,” says Goldman. “After tinkering with recipes at the Main Bar [in February 2021], and much patience on Jason’s part, The Hong Konger was born.” What’s in it? Start with a Hong Kong-style iced lemon tea, add a generous dram of whisky (this is the FCC, after
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HALLOWEEN COOKIE RECIPE Every successful Hallow’s Eve needs a batch of “Dracula Dentures”. Here’s how to master these devilishly delicious oat cookies at home. Instructions 1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. 2. Place butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and whip until creamy. 3. Slowly add the eggs and mix well. 4. Fold remaining ingredients into the mixture until combined. 5. Scoop the mixture into 15 equally sized balls. 6. Bake for 12 minutes. 7. Remove cookies from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 8. Cut baked cookies in half. Turn over. 9. Line marshmallows between the cookie halves to resemble teeth. 10. Add a few drops of raspberry coulis along the edge of the marshmallows to imitate gums. 11. Attach 2 quartered almonds on either side as incisors. 12. Drizzle coulis for impact.
PHOTO: L AKSHMI HARILELA
Ingredients 115g Butter 160g Brown sugar 80g White sugar 2.5g Salt 1 Egg 60g Bread flour 180g Cake flour (sieved) 2.5g Baking soda (sieved) 50g Chocolate chips 50g Raisins 50g Oats 14 pcs Small marshmallows 1 jar Raspberry coulis, compote or jam 4 Quartered almonds
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Securing Your Virtual World
PHOTO: L AKSHMI HARILELA
Simon Jankowski, a cybersecurity expert, shines a light on the internet’s dark side. By Morgan M Davis
Simon Jankowski: ‘Cyberattacks are taking place all the time.’
s long as faxes and emails have existed, so too have phishing scams. By now, most people know better than to send their bank account details to a stranger asking for financial support. But scammers are always looking for new victims, as well as increasingly sophisticated ways to access personal information – be that for financial gain, trade secrets, intellectual property or espionage. We’d all like to assume that we would never personally fall for a cybersecurity attack, however, our networks are extra vulnerable in a work-from-home world. FCC member Simon Jankowski, a security director at BT Group, a communications services company, works with customers around the world to improve security, risk and compliance standards. Jankowski spoke with The Correspondent about recent cyberattack trends and how individuals can protect themselves online.
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How did you begin your career in cybersecurity? Simon Jankowski: I have been interested in computers from a young age, pulling them apart and figuring out how they work. My first experience with security was reading Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier by Suelette Dreyfus, which covers the exploits of international hackers in the 1980s and ‘90s. What new risks have arisen during COVID-19? SJ: Before COVID-19, a lot of organisations had built a perimeter around their networks. With COVID-19 and work from home, people are sitting outside the network, so there needs to be a change in how we think about security controls. We’ve also seen more cyberattacks on VPNs [Virtual Private Networks] since more companies and individuals have started using them during the pandemic. Meanwhile, more traditional attacks are still taking place. For example, a large number of attacks still originate via
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email in the form of malicious links or phishing campaigns that try to convince people to give personal details or money. What are some ways we can protect ourselves? SJ: Both individuals and companies should use VPNs, as well as a good anti-virus application and email spam filter. VPNs are important because they encrypt the traffic between your device and the VPN provider, making it harder for people to intercept or redirect. They can also grant access to resources within your company’s networks that wouldn’t be available otherwise. However, it is important to use a trusted service, such as the one provided by your company. Be sure to research the VPN company to see who owns it and if they collect information from their users. The average person also needs to be careful about what emails they’re opening and links they’re clicking. It is also important to pay attention to networks before connecting. Is that free Wi-Fi really safe enough for you to access your work or bank accounts? How do we know if a Wi-Fi network is safe? SJ: Generally, unless you control the Wi-Fi or your company does, it is best to treat it as untrusted and use something like a VPN to protect the traffic running through it. While it is generally not necessary to avoid Wi-Fi totally if precautions are taken, there are alternatives such as using a pocket Wi-Fi with a SIM card. The next most important thing is to keep all of your devices updated across both the operating system and applications. Learn to encrypt any external media devices to protect data against theft or loss. This is especially important if your devices contain personal, identifiable information. There are commercial and free applications to encrypt data. Microsoft Windows (BitLocker) and macOS (FileVault) have options built into them as well. What can we learn from the cyberattacks we’ve seen in the headlines? SJ: Cyberattacks are taking place all the time. Within seconds of a new server going online, it is already being
probed and attacked. This is a reflection of our growing societal dependence on technology. Since governments and businesses depend on these technologies, illintentioned people will try to use them to gain an advantage financially, professionally or politically. Each attack reveals new methods and vulnerabilities. The lessons we learn from them can then be used to drive protection back into businesses. For example, ransomware has taught the importance of robust backup practices. Where do you see the greatest vulnerability? SJ: The most vulnerable targets are people. People make mistakes and can be tricked or manipulated. A large number of attacks still originate via email, where someone has replied with personal details or clicked on a link that allows a sophisticated attack to start. It is important for organisations to invest in user education around cybersecurity. One of my greatest achievements was teaching my mum how to distinguish between a fake and a real email! What are the red flags? SJ: Look at the minute details. Does the website and sender’s email address match the company it claims to be from? Or is there a discrepancy? For example, “1BM” instead of “IBM”. In addition, such emails commonly have a sense of urgency, such as “your account will be charged US$1,000 unless you cancel now.” Are governments and businesses doing enough to keep up? SJ: These threats are emerging fast. It is essential to inform people about the potential threats. You will have noticed over the years that many organisations, such as banks, send notifications and warnings regarding fake emails or phone calls about their organisations in order to help protect their customers. Globally, we are seeing regulations catch up with technology and threats, however, with the speed of cybercriminals, it’s challenging to keep pace. n
SIMON’S TOOLKIT Learn more and protect yourself with these resources.
Cyber security experts explore information security on a strategic level in this podcast.
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Security professionals post the latest news about cyber threats and technology trends.
Your source for global tech initiatives, the latest gadgets, cutting-edge engineering.
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READY, SET, RESET:
HOW COVID-19 HAS IMPACTED HONG KONG MEDIA
ILLUSTR ATION: HARRY HARRISON
As Rick Boost discovers, the pandemic has pushed many media organisations in Hong Kong to adjust workplace policies, find new revenue streams and come out stronger.
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ILLUSTR ATION: HARRY HARRISON
hen COVID-19 swept across the globe in early 2020, it pummeled many media companies. Some slashed freelance budgets, others cut staff, closed offices and reduced nonessential spending. Here in Hong Kong, we’ve witnessed mass staff layoffs and office closures – as seen at i-Cable and Quartz, respectively – as well as radical shifts in how teams work together. Nearly two years on, media companies in Hong Kong have found some footing, but the ground continues to shift. “In early 2020, no one could have foreseen the impact that COVID would have on our personal and professional lives and changed the ways we live, work and interact,” says Atifa Silk, the Asia managing director of Haymarket Media. “We had to adapt quickly and, thankfully, most of our people were able to embrace the changes and reap the rewards that working from home can bring.” The great migration In early 2020, the government appealed to employers to allow staff to work from home to minimise social contact. Many Hong Kong media companies, including Haymarket, swiftly instated mandatory work-from-home (WFH) policies and entered a period of trial-and-error. While Haymarket identified many benefits with remote work – more efficient meetings, fewer distractions, no commutes, time with family – they encountered a fair share of hurdles, too. “The sparks of creativity that happen in face-to-face conversations are hard to replicate virtually,” says Silk. “There can be fewer opportunities for immediate support and training for young talent. And there is the pressure of feeling like you’re always on – that lack of separation between work and home life can impact wellbeing and mental health.” In September 2020, Haymarket conducted a company-wide survey on flexible work, asking staff: “Would you value the option to work from home one to two days a week?” Roughly 96 percent of staff in Asia responded positively. So, in November 2020, the company began piloting a flexible work model that encouraged employees to work from home. Since moving into a new office in Sheung Wan in August 2021, the company has refined the model. Now, all staff work in the office three days a week – two of which centre around collaborative tasks.
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Cliff Buddle, special projects editor at the South China Morning Post and FCC board member, says remote work shook up the legacy publication. “For the first time in our history, we produced a newspaper with no editorial staff in the newsroom,” he says. “This was done at very short notice when our office temporarily closed. It was an impressive achievement, given that print publication requires much collaboration.” Nick Thorpe, the East Asia director of media intelligence platform Telum Media, says many media companies in Asia had resisted the move toward remote work before the pandemic due to a “complex web of cultural and social hurdles”. “Some staff had never worked from home before and found the prospect so alien – both due to traditional workplace structures and small apartments,” he continues. “Some [people] opted to remain officebased even at the height of the pandemic, while others have barely been into the office for 18 months.” By contrast, some young, nimble companies like Liv Media have long preferred flexible work models, encouraging employees to work remotely since launching its flagship, Liv magazine, in 2015. “While there is a slight tradeoff in efficiency, we have seen great staff retention and overall employee satisfaction as people feel they have more control over their lives,” says Sarah Fung, Liv Media’s founder and publisher. “Productivity isn’t measured by a punch card – if you have good employees, you can trust them to manage their own schedules.” Revising revenue streams COVID-19 exposed the vulnerabilities of many industries – and media was not spared. In its “Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2020-2024: Hong Kong Summary”, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) reports that entertainment and media revenue in Hong Kong plummeted 11.8 percent, or US$1 billion, from US$8.5 billion in 2019 to US$7.8 billion in 2020. “Hong Kong revenue was the worsthit compared to global and Asia-Pacific markets,” states the report. The study also found that newspapers, magazines, and online advertising markets shrank, while video games, podcasts and over-the-top video services (such as Netflix or Hulu) grew. “The pandemic has created a challenging environment for news organisations around
5 MEDIA TRENDS TO WATCH • Remote Work: WFH will become an acceptable, and expected, aspect of employment. • Health and Safety: Wellbeing in all its many guises will be an essential part of any work contract. • Audiophilia: Podcasts are commanding more and more attention. • New Revenue Streams: With so much free content on offer, media must look to valueadded services. • Social Media+: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and their progeny will command ever greater importance.
Some staff had never worked from home before and found the prospect so alien – both due to traditional workplace structures and small apartments. – Nick Thorpe
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Entertainment and media revenue in Hong Kong plummeted 11.8 percent, or US$1 billion, in 2019, according to PWC.
the world,” Buddle adds. “The economic impact has hit advertising revenues, exacerbating problems newsrooms were already facing in finding new income streams and operating models. Those challenges will continue, although there are signs of improvement in Hong Kong as social-distancing restrictions are lifted.” Organisations like Liv Media also felt the squeeze. “Lifestyle media budgets have been affected massively,” says Fung. “When the pandemic hit, our core sales categories – hospitality, travel and tourism, food, beverage and gyms – completely disappeared.” During the downturn, Liv Media changed its strategy to look beyond traditional advertising. A significant portion of the brand’s revenue now comes from events, awards, guides, supplements, and bespoke content creation.
Fung also rolled out a free subscription service for readers and increased Liv magazine’s distribution network to 500 points across Hong Kong. These strategies – combined with the return of traditional ad spending – have put Liv in a stronger position for growth post-pandemic, she adds. Haymarket also regrouped and pivoted. According to Silk, the company evaluated its operations, portfolio and services. For example, Haymarket conducted market research on the finance and marketingcommunications industries, including qualitative interviews with readers and clients to better understand their needs. The company also expanded its content solutions arm, leaned into subscription models and shifted its content strategy, adopting new tools, such as the digital storytelling platform Shorthand, to boost audience engagement. “We challenged ourselves to think differently about our audiences and platforms,” says Silk. “The reset enabled us to reshape the Asia business and transform our revenue and financial profile, giving us a clear focus on building digital-first ideas and solutions.” PWC’s more recent outlook, published in July, seems more optimistic. The report anticipates a 7.65 percent rise in Hong Kong’s 2021 entertainment and media revenues, from US$7.8 billion in 2020 to a projected US$8.4 billion in 2021. Fung says she’s seen some renewed momentum on the sales front. “We’ve found that clients are starting to come back,” she says. “I think they’re tired of waiting for the pandemic to end and have realised that they need to keep marketing through the ‘new normal’.”
POST-COVID SKILL SET
• • • • • •
Video production Audio production Livestreaming Graphic design Social media skills Writing for new media formats
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Employers are increasingly seeking enhanced skills such as:
During the downturn, Liv Media publisher Sarah Fung looked to new revenue streams such as awards, supplements and content creation.
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Employers are looking for media professionals with lots of strings in their bow. – Sarah Fung
Many companies have leaned into digital-first storytelling.
Evolving career paths Though the employment market for media professionals seemed dire this time last year, job openings in the industry seem to be picking up again. Thorpe says he’s observed exponential growth in the number of roles posted across Asia on Telum’s online Jobs Board. “We’ve seen a lot of media outlets subsequently bounce back and kick-start hiring again, with digital and video journalism seeing a particular focus alongside more traditional reporting roles,” he says. But now, publishers and editors prefer new hires to be just as diverse as their new revenue streams. “There’s probably not as much of a career path for someone who is just a writer post-COVID-19,” says Fung. “Employers are looking for media professionals with lots of strings in their bow, whether that’s graphic
design, SEO, social media, photography or paid content creation.” Thorpe broadly agrees, adding that the global crisis has shaken up traditional career paths in media. The pandemic – combined with a wealth of content creation channels online – has enabled many people with multimedia skills, like podcasting or video production, to break into the industry. Thorpe expects that aspiring and existing media professionals alike will likely need to gain new skills in order to keep up. “There has been an explosion in media brands seeking experts in data, social media, video journalism, digital content creation and so on,” says Thorpe. “And of course, every media brand is looking at audio content today – there’s a gold rush in podcasting right now that shows no sign of slowing any time soon.” n
Rick Boost is a born and raised Hongkonger. He has overseen copy and multimedia content at several of the city’s media outlets, including as HK Editor of Marketing Magazine/ Interactive.
MEMBER INSIGHTS We asked a couple of members how the pandemic has impacted their work-life balance. “It’s been work-from-home-forever since early 2019: first because of COVID-19, then because Quartz got rid of its physical office. One challenge has been the collapse of time boundaries. I’ve tried putting in place some rules, like doing only non-work-related reading before bed. Still, one good thing about the blurry time boundaries is that it allows me to go for longer runs in the morning, shower quickly, and sit right down to work while having breakfast.”
“By eliminating travel clutter and sweaty handshakes, COVID-19 and working-from-home have helped us refocus on editorial housekeeping rather than just nonstop content acquisition to fly a PanAm [Pan American World Airways] flag in every destination. There is less need for people management, less stress, and more time for music, photography, friends, hikes and cooking. Journalists do march on their bellies. In many ways, oddly, the quality of life has improved.”
— Mary Hui, Quartz
— Vijay Verghese, Smart Travel Asia
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WOMEN IN JOURNALISM CONFRONT RISING TIDE OF VIOLENCE From perils in Afghanistan to incessant online abuse, female journalists navigate an increasingly dangerous profession. Emma Russell investigates.
hen Kabul fell to the Taliban at the end of August, 28-year-old Zahra Joya knew she needed to flee her newsroom. “All the women were in the streets trying to get home because the Taliban were very near,” says the journalist, who sat in heavy traffic for four hours while trying to escape. “When I arrived at home it was nearly 5 pm and my whole family was worried about me – about the situation and the future of Afghanistan.” Joya is from the oppressed Hazara community (which the Taliban has persecuted in the past) and has experienced discrimination due to her ethnicity and gender. “I was almost always the only woman in the room,” she says. It’s the reason Joya established Rukhshana Media in 2020. Named after a teenager who was stoned to death for adultery in 2015, the women-
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run news platform strives to disrupt Afghanistan’s patriarchal media landscape and society. Since its inception, Rukhshana Media’s reporters have vocally opposed the extremist Islamist group and published many sensitive articles, such as a feature on girls who have been banned from school in regional Taliban strongholds and a human interest piece on the life of a divorced woman. Rukhshana Media has also written about a female district governor, reproductive health, domestic violence and, since the takeover of Kabul, what it’s like to live in a city devoid of working women. The country’s female journalists have long faced backlash on social media, but it’s physical violence towards women in media that scares them the most. “If I were not a journalist, I would have stayed in Afghanistan,” says Joya, who escaped
PHOTO: NOORULL AH SHIRZADA / AFP
Mourners carry the coffin of female news anchor Malalai Maiwand, who was shot dead in Afghanistan in December 2020.
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PHOTO: AFP PHOTO / RIZWAN TABASSUM
to the UK and was in quarantine in Manchester during our phone interview on 3 September. “[But] I’m talking about the Taliban on my personal social media [as part of my job].” “I received some comments on my personal Twitter account from Taliban militants that say ‘America is your God’, [and that] we should stop publishing propaganda.” Joya says some of her interviews may have put in her in physical danger, too. For example, in 2018, Joya spoke with Taliban leader Abdul Salam Hanafi about women’s education and rights. “It is dangerous for myself and my family because [the Taliban militants] are still in Afghanistan. Maybe they follow [my family], I don’t know. It’s not clear yet.” She has reason to worry. Female journalists have already been subject to targeted killings in Afghanistan. In December 2020, radio and television presenter Malalai Maiwand was gunned down outside a Jalalabad news station. A few months later, three more media workers, Mursal Wahidi, Sadia Sadat and Shahnaz Raofi were shot dead, too – and such violence against women is only expected to worsen with the Taliban’s return to power. “All my female colleagues in the media are terrified. Most have managed to flee the city and are trying to find a way out of the province, but we are completely surrounded,” an anonymous 22-year-old journalist based in northern Afghanistan told The Guardian. “All of us have spoken out against the Taliban and angered them through our journalism.” According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ), only 39 female journalists were working in Kabul in early September. That’s down from 700 before the Taliban takeover, even though the militants have promised to protect women’s rights under Sharia (Islamic law). Rukhshana Media still employs a handful of women, who stayed to document what’s happening on the ground. But it’s a dangerous choice. One female journalist, who decided to remain in Afghanistan and requested anonymity, said: “If we die, we die. If we don’t, we will have survivor’s guilt.” A global issue Threats to women in journalism aren’t limited to Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
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During a protest in Karachi in April 2015, Pakistani civil society activists hold images of assassinated rights campaigner, Sabeen Mahmud, who also ran a media and technology company.
In Pakistan, female reporters face two sorts of threats, says freelance journalist Sabahat Zakariya. The first comes from the establishment, an army state that silences anti-government sentiments; the second, from readers. In the comments section of Zakariya’s online articles and videos, which cover women’s treatment and rights in Pakistan, the journalist has been called a host of derogatory names: “whore,” “bitch,” “bastard woman” and the dismissive label “auntie” (which in Pakistani culture implies a woman is old and unattractive). “As if somehow msy value lies purely in how youthful or conventionally attractive I am as a woman,” says the freelance broadcaster, who has reported for the BBC and UNICEF. Other commenters have made specific threats: one man posted that he “would like to put a gun up [her] ass and shoot it.” Zakariya tries not to take the comments to heart. However, in a country that once ranked sixth-most dangerous in the world for women with cases of rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence and murder on the rise, it’s difficult to shrug them off entirely – particularly when those threats materialise in the real world. “A friend of mine, Sabeen Mahmud, who was a activist, was killed because of her ideas and views,” says Zakariya, referring to the 2015 shooting of a prominent Pakistani female righs activist who founded a mediatechnology firm and a community space for open dialogue. “Did she think that some threats she received weren’t real? Maybe. So it’s really hard to say.” In Egypt, too, female journalists have been attacked. In 2011, on the night former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s
All my female colleagues in the media are terrified. Most have managed to flee the city and are trying to find a way out of the province, but we are completely surrounded. – Anonymous female Afghan journalist
BY THE NUMBERS
Of women in journalism have experienced online harassment
Have received threats of physical violence
Have been abused in real life following related online violence SOURCE: UNESCO
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SHOW SOLIDARITY To support women who have been targeted online or offline, media companies can: • Offer training days, guidance and in-house policies • Invest in cybersecurity software to secure communications • Establish channels for reporting abuse • Create a company culture that encourages female journalists to report abuse • Implement audience moderation strategies, such as blocking abusive posts • Stand up for female reporters by issuing statements of solidarity • Provide support for journalists, particularly women, BIPOC and LGBTQI+ reporters • Ensure access to affordable mental healthcare • Provide legal assistance
Online harassment ‘worse than normal’ A UNESCO report, “The Chilling: Global Trends in Online Violence Against Women Journalists,” released earlier this year, found that nearly three-quarters of the 901 female journalists surveyed had experienced some form of online harassment. This complements earlier findings by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which in 2017 found that journalists had received online threats before they were murdered in at least 40 percent of cases. This includes the deaths of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh. A 2021 survey conducted by the
International Center for Journalists found that 16 percent of women journalists said that online abuse was “much worse than normal” during the pandemic. Based on the report, a greater reliance on social media for newsgathering, live broadcasting and audience engagement drive the trend. For example, New York Times journalist Farnaz Fassihi has faced online attacks from Iranian opposition groups and trolls in recent months. “They circulated a death threat video against me with my picture. They doxxed [discovered and disclosed] my home address and called for people to find and attack and rape me,” Fassihi told the Overseas Press Club of America in August 2021. Zakariya, in Pakistan, blames the abuse on “anti-colonial drives or anti-imperialist sentiment.” There is a feeling, she says, that “feminism somehow symbolises a Western ideal, which has been imposed upon our culture.” The nature of the job is another factor. Today’s journalists are often expected, if not required, to use social channels like Twitter as part of their work. “I think Twitter is the worst of the social media platforms, just because of the quickened and masked flow [of abuse] that happens,” US journalist Jessica Valenti told Amnesty International. “The content feels pretty similar across the platforms but the sheer volume of it on Twitter is different.” Rappler’s Maria Ressa, in the Philippines, says Facebook should do more to protect journalists. The platform considers journalists to be public figures, which is problematic, she says. According
PHOTO: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP
SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL PRESS INSTITUTE
dictatorship fell, CBS war correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. According to an article she wrote for Women’s Media Centre, Logan said agents from the Mubarak regime who were “intent on discrediting the revolution” targeted her. “Sexual violence is a way of denying women journalists access to the story in Egypt,” Logan told the New York Daily Post after the attack. “It’s not accidental. It’s by design.” Even in countries with laws and cultural norms that seemingly protect women, female journalists still face risks. In 2017, Danish entrepreneur Peter Madsen murdered and dismembered Swedish journalist Kim Wall onboard his homemade submarine off the coast of Copenhagen. Prosecutors said Madsen deliberately targeted female journalists, inviting several women before Wall accepted.
People hold placards and photos of murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia during a protest in Valletta on 3 December 2019.
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PHOTO: ENIK ASS T V/FACEBOOK
to Facebook’s policies, the platform protects private individuals from bullying and harassment, but not public figures. “Online violence against women journalists is designed to belittle, humiliate, and shame; induce fear, silence and retreat; discredit [women] professionally, undermining accountability journalism and trust in facts; and chill their active participation (along with that of their sources, colleagues and audiences) in public debate,” reads the UNESCO report, which tallies 2.5 million social media posts directed at UK-based Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr and Manila-based Filipino-American journalist Ressa. In response to an investigative series on government disinformation, Ressa received an estimated 90 hate messages per hour on Facebook. They amount to “an attack on democratic deliberation and media freedom”, says the UNESCO report. Such abuse not only impacts the public’s right to access information but also normalises abusive online discourse. Impacts on the industry Whether online or offline, harassment and violence against female journalists directly impacts employment, productivity, mental health and safety. Of the women surveyed by UNESCO, 11 percent of victims of online violence missed work, 38 percent made themselves less visible both online and in public, 4 percent quit their jobs and 2 percent left journalism altogether. And with newsrooms slashing budgets (the US has seen a 26 percent fall in employment since 2008, according to Pew Research Center), there’s even less support than usual. “Even the most open-minded media organisations are still run by men who don’t fundamentally understand the misogynistic nature of these attacks,” one American reporter, who didn’t want to be
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PHOTO: STR / AFP
Left: ISIS claimed responsibility for killing Enikass TV employees Mursal Wahidi, Saadia Sadat and Shahnaz Raofi (left to right) on 2 March 2021. Below: Police escort Philippine journalist Maria Ressa (second from rigth) through the airport in Manila on 29 March 2019.
named, told Vanity Fair. “I really feel like there’s a space here for some male allies to step up and call this what it is.” She pointed to examples of times where a story had multiple bylines, yet only the female writer was harassed online. These campaigns of abuse impact women’s emotional and psychological wellbeing, even leading to post-traumatic stress disorde in some cases. It can also drive some women to censor themselves or leave their jobs altogether. In the case of deeply patriarchal societies and political upheaval like Afghanistan, says Joya, the threat of physical violence was terrifying enough to flee the country. It’s important that “we have seen women’s voices in this crisis,” says Joya, adding that Rukhshana Media has started publishing in English to make coverage more accessible. “But now that the Taliban have taken over, women have lost their freedom of expression, their right to work and education.” “I’m very worried about journalists,” she continues. “They don’t have any safety.” n Emma Russell is a Hong Kong-based freelance journalist specialising in features and profiles that have appeared in publications like VICE, i-D, The New Republic and HKFP. She has also worked at Vogue HK and Conde Nast Traveller.
DO YOUR PART The FCC strives to provide a safe place for members to work, network, learn, attend events and socialise. Complaints about gender, racial and ethnic slurs or derogatory sexual terms or any form of bullying or harassment will be taken seriously. Any member found to be in breach of this policy is subject to disciplinary measures. Sexual harassment may also entail civil and criminal liabilities.
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ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA
PHOTO: NICHOL AS KITTO
In an epic tribute to architecture, history and photography, FCC Member Nicholas Kitto turns his lens on China’s former treaty ports in his recently published tome, Trading Places. By Ed Peters
The Astor in Tianjin dates from 1863, and famously welcomed the Last Emperor, Pu Yi, in the 1920s after his exile from Beijing. Currently under the aegis of an international chain, the hotel was sensitively restored in 2010 when old brick walls, wooden trimmings, fittings, floors and doors were preserved down to the smallest detail.
Road as a child in the 1920s,” says Kitto. “Eight years later we went back there together; it had been turned into a bar so we had a gin and tonic in what used to be the drawing room. By then, the germ of an idea had started to form in my mind.” In 2008, accompanied by historian Robert Nield, Kitto set out to photograph the best and brightest pre-Revolution buildings in more than four-dozen ports and settlements. By very good luck, many had been renovated in the runup to the Olympic Games in Beijing. Equally fortunately, rather than inciting indignation as sometimes is the case for foreign photographers on the mainland,
Trading Places was put together over a dozen years and granted Kitto many new insights into China past and present.
Kitto’s grandparents, Jack and Audrey, were married in Newchwang on 29 October 1921.
Kitto set out to photograph the best and brightest pre-Revolution buildings in more than four-dozen ports and settlements.
he sobriquet “Old China Hand” fits Nicholas Kitto like a glove. His family connections with the Middle Kingdom stretch back generations, and he has worked in Hong Kong, first as a professional accountant and more recently as a heritage photographer, since 1983. So it’s more than fitting that his magnum opus – the 396-page coffee table book, Trading Places – pays tribute to the architectural glories of China’s former treaty ports, with a particular accent on the places once inhabited by his forebears. “While I was on a business trip to Tianjin in 1996, I sought out the house where my father had lived on Racecourse
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The intricate brickwork of St Sophia Cathedral in Harbin might well explain why it took so long to build (1923-32). Designed by the Russian architect, Koyasikov, it replaced a simpler church that dates to 1912. The exterior has been elegantly restored but the interior has received no such attention.
Trade followed the flag and Customs followed trade. The Customs House at Wuhu, a hub for the rice and timber industries, was completed in 1919.
PHOTOS: NICHOLAS KITTO
Clubs were the sine qua non of treaty ports. The German Club Concordia (1907) in Tianjin was damaged during the 1976 earthquake, and only roughly patched-up.
Kiessling restaurant is housed in what used to be the Victoria Café on Racecourse Road in Tianjin. As well as serving German food it also dispenses beer brewed on the premises.
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Inevitably, Ningbo’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (1872) is dwarfed – but not totally overshadowed – by skyscrapers.
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PHOTOS: NICHOLAS KITTO
Shanghai’s Bund looks spectacular since its rejuvenation in 2012, when roads were diverted into tunnels beneath a broad pedestrian corniche. The major historic buildings were also restored, transforming the Bund into China’s most aesthetically pleasing metropolitan riverside vista.
Interior of the Shanghai Club, looking down from the first floor towards the original entrance. This, the second iteration of the club, was opened in January 1910.
Shanghai, and what had been done to preserve the Bund, was a highlight.
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It could only be the Governor’s Mansion in the one-time German treaty port of Qingdao. Mao Zedong put up here from time to time.
his Canon 5D, associated paraphernalia and outwardly eccentric peregrinations during more than 50 visits excited curiosity and admiration in equal measure among all and sundry. In all, he amassed 4,400 “keeper” images, of which 750 appear in the book. Shanghai, and what had been done to preserve the Bund, was a highlight,” says Kitto. “And of course Tianjin exercised an allure because of the family connection, likewise Yingkou – previously called Newchwang – where my grandparents Jack
and Audrey Kitto were married 100 years ago this October.” Trading Places rolled off the presses last year, to acclaim from both the public and reviewers. When asked if he had a second volume in mind, Kitto – who made it a matter of record that he took 2,784,010 steps in the course of research – groaned in mock pain. “Once was enough for this lifetime.” n Pick up a copy of Trading Places at the FCC or online from blacksmithbooks.com
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‘IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE’ The FCC was a second home to Stephen Vines, who hastily decamped to England in August after 34 years in Hong Kong. The former FCC president and veteran journalist shares a few parting words with his FCC family.
PHOTOS: SZE HON TAK & SUPPLIED
ike the Hotel California, at the FCC “you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave”. But after more than three decades of membership I have, much to my consternation, checked out. It was not easy to do so but as the “White Terror” slashes and burns through the foundations of Hong Kong, it seemed like the right time to go. I have written extensively elsewhere about why I had to leave, so this is not the place to cover that ground again. However, it is the right place to talk about what it means to leave the FCC because the club played a pivotal place in my life before a somewhat hasty departure. I am a fully paid-up member of Tribe Hack. We are a reprehensible group – overconfident, sarcastic, argumentative, arrogant, sometimes a bit shouty. Other times, rather sneaky, keeping things to ourselves in fear that they might find their way into rival outlets. But at the same time Tribe Hack offers lifelong friendships, impressive mutual assistance and, perhaps most of all, the promise of Above: Stephen Vines in England with his two rescue dogs. escaping that worst of all afflictions: Left: Vines at the FCC Hong Kong. boredom. At the FCC, all these traits come into sharp focus, among the most important in my life. making it an infuriating place but one which is simply the The club is a place of cliques, magnificently longbest journalists’ club in the world. This did not come about running feuds and, at its best, offers comfort, reassurance as a result of careful planning, or to be frank, any kind of and the kind of irreverence that stops us from taking planning. ourselves too seriously. From its early days in Chongqing to the It’s hard not to be maudlin at the prospect forced evacuation to Hong Kong, the FCC of never returning to the FCC. But having was an itinerant entity, in turn finding shelter left due to the pressures and dangers of in a grand mansion, a luxury hotel, an office pursuing the dismal trade of journalism in block and now a historic building where we I can say without Hong Kong, it would be downright myopic stay at the tender mercy of the government. not to recognise the special problems that reservation that But, of course, the club is not really about afflict an institution carrying in its title both friendships formed the buildings that house it – it is about the the words “Correspondent” and “Foreign”. at the FCC have been people. Some are rather famous, like Clare However, foreign correspondents have among the most Hollingworth. Then there was BBC stalwart survived in places where the pressures are Anthony Lawrence, a true gent in every important in my life. considerably greater and where the threat sense of the word, who had the knack of to life is hard to exaggerate. The FCC has a being extremely self-effacing. Hugh van Es, the gruff Dutch plaque memorialising colleagues who were killed in the line photographer, was always on hand to remind me that I was of duty, in case we should forget. None of them perished in “talking shit” (he was often right, darn him). Hong Kong. I have mentioned various deceased members because I am acutely aware that, for some people, the FCC is I feel that discussing my relationships with the living little more than a glorified bar. If it were only that, it would slides to the wrong side of intrusion, but I can say without never produce the strong emotions that it does. reservation that friendships formed at the FCC have been But some of us are emotional – I plead guilty. n
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GETTING TO KNOW
Chosen from a competitive pool of candidates, Hillary Leung and Amy Sood have been named the 2021-2022 Clare Hollingworth Fellows. Ed Peters shares their stories.
S MEMBER VOICES The Clare Hollingworth Fellowship supports Hong Kong-based journalists and journalism students.
omewhere in the dustier files of the British security services lies a report from early March 1939 on the activities of a fresh-faced 27-year-old who had graduated in Slavonic and Eastern European studies at University College London. Clare Hollingworth – for it was she – was running the affairs of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia in Katowice, western Poland, succouring Jews and other victims of the Nazi annexation of their native country. Something about her behaviour ruffled feathers at MI5, and Hollingworth – who by June had sped several thousand refugees to safety – was eased out of the agency. Gravitating to Warsaw, she drifted into
journalism, and the rest, as they say, is history. Rather than “Second World War Starting Soonish” the Daily Telegraph headlined her bravura 29 August scoop “1,000 Tanks Massed on Polish Border.” She’d been taken on as a stringer three days earlier. Hollingworth subsequently became the doyenne of foreign correspondents, and was a club member for more than 40 years. She died in 2017, aged 105. The FCC awards the Fellowship that bears her name annually to two early-career journalists or journalism school students in Hong Kong. The FCC’s 2021-2022 Fellows, Hillary Leung and Amy Sood, introduce themselves here.
Fellows enjoy: • Complimentary access to the FCC’s talks and conferences. • Unlimited use of FCC facilities. • A fee waiver for the term of their fellowship. • Networking opportunities with senior newsroom leaders. The fellowship runs from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022.
Learn more: fcchk.org/ clarehollingworth
Covering the 2019 protests in Hong Kong propelled rookie reporter Hillary Leung up a steep – and exhilarating – learning curve.
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Leung interviews ex-lawmaker Fernando Cheung outside the Central Government Complex in Admiralty in June 2019.
Hillary Leung: ‘Covering the protests was an exhilarating crash course’ “It wasn’t until taking a feature writing class in my final semester at the University of Hong Kong that I realised I wanted to be a journalist,” says Leung, 26. “I wrote two articles for the course, both of which were published by Hong Kong Free Press. I realised I loved the process of crafting features, from finding an angle to interviewing to brainstorming a colourful intro.” Since graduating from university in 2017, Leung has picked up a wealth of journalistic experience in Hong Kong. “When I started my first real job at TIME in February 2019, I was relatively new to reporting – my prior roles at news verification companies Storyful and Newsflare had honed my journalistic skills, but they were purely newsdesk jobs.” The torrid events of the summer of 2019 served as a super-charged baptism of fire. “Covering the protests four months into my first reporting gig was an exhilarating crash-course against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Hong Kong – I felt incredibly privileged to be reporting on a major political event for one of the world’s most renowned media organisations,” she says. And in September that year Leung
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pulled off a truly spectacular splash. She recalls: “While scouring forums for story ideas, I noticed some buzz around what protesters were calling their new anthem – ‘Glory to Hong Kong’. I pitched the story at a morning meeting and by mid-afternoon had found the composer – just identified as ‘Thomas’ in the credits – after some extreme internet stalking. The feature, the first about the song (which later went viral) went up the next day. “My interview was widely cited by outlets that hadn’t picked up the story yet, from Apple Daily to Radio Free Asia. That felt quite surreal. I was always looking to pick up information from other outlets – but now they were looking to me.” Leung is now an associate editor at the news and lifestyle site, Coconuts. “I lead coverage of everything from politics to social issues to lifestyle – I’m lucky to have plenty of autonomy, so between handling news and social media, the features I produce really reflect my reporting interests,” she says. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Leung feels driven to tell nuanced stories about the city’s colours and complexities. “My pieces, including one about the gentrification of a blue-collar neighbourhood, and another on how local politics interfered with a Black Lives Matter protest, mirror that aim.”
I lead coverage of everything from politics to social issues to lifestyle – I’m lucky to have plenty of autonomy, so between handling news and social media, the features I produce really reflect my reporting interests. – Hillary Leung
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I think one of my favourites was a feature on India’s illegal dowry customs and the implications it has on families throughout the country.
“After a stint as a production editor, I decided to return to Asia to pursue a career in journalism – believing that my passion was in telling stories from the region,” says the 22-year-old. “I enrolled in a master’s of journalism at the University of Hong Kong, thinking that the city offered a great vantage point to cover stories across Asia.” However COVID-19 scuppered Amy’s travel plans and she had to do the first semester of the programme online. “Every cloud has a silver lining. It was a unique opportunity to pitch and work on projects about Indonesia – looking into important social issues in the country,” she says.
PHOTO: K ATHERINE CHENG
– Amy Sood
Amy Sood: ‘My passion is telling stories from this region’ Amy Sood currently works at AFP’s fact-checking desk, where she has the monumental task of monitoring misinformation across the region with a focus on India and Indonesia. Born in India, she moved to Bandung in Java while still a youngster and later went to New Zealand to study English, Media and Communication, at the University of Canterbury. An interest in journalism took hold when she and fellow students started a digital magazine called Scroll, which published stories written by young people from across the country.
Amy Sood at HKU earlier this year.
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PHOTO: INDR ANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP
PHOTO: SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP
1 While at CNN, Sood covered India’s COVID-19 crisis. 2 Sood reported on India’s illegal custom of dowry.
3 Sood started out in journalism producing a digital magazine featuring stories written by young New Zealanders.
FORGING THEIR PATHS 3
“One project I really enjoyed was creating a video package about a home library which gave orphans and underprivileged children in the community access to education.” After graduating, Amy first interned at AFP’s fact-checking and video desks, and then moved to a second internship with NBC News, covering India’s COVID-19 crisis. She also did a stint at CNN, where
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she reported on stories from across the region. “I think one of my favourites was a feature on India’s illegal dowry customs and the implications it has on families throughout the country,” she says. Now back at AFP, Amy hopes to improve her skills as a journalist to help shine a light on social issues in Asia that might otherwise remain under the radar. n
Last year’s Fellows, Jennifer Creery and Tiffany Liang, have both moved on to greater things. Creery reported that among other projects she is working on a podcast for NüVoices, a platform spotlighting women and minorities in China, while Liang is currently freelancing.
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MEET THE BOARD
In the first of a new series, Kate Springer invites five Governors to wax poetic about all things FCC. Our new Board of Governors took their seats in May, and on top of their usual tasks, they have the added responsibility of steering the FCC through a particularly challenging time. In the past two years, we’ve endured a triple whammy – the 2019 protests, National Security Law, and ongoing pandemic. So how are they navigating the choppy waters? In coming issues, we’ll pass the mic to each Board member so they can introduce themselves.
Keith Richburg President
As a Life Correspondent Member, FCC President Keith Richburg is a familiar face at the club. The former Washington Post correspondent has been a member since moving to Hong Kong in 1995. This is not his first rodeo as president: Keith held the reins in 1997 during the Handover. Back then, Keith recalls transforming the club into a media centre. “There was an enormous buzz – the club was just jam-packed with hundreds of
journalists. It was the place to be.” The American journalist says he never predicted he’d serve as president for a second time. “Both periods have been a time of transition – particularly when it comes to relationships with the government and China. I hope my experience can help us navigate the present challenges, among them COVID-19 restrictions.” At the time of writing [September], the club is Type D, which means it can seat larger groups, stay open past midnight and host events for up to 100 people. It’s an outstanding achievement, he says, that should enable the club to improve its financial standing by the end of the year. “Despite financial challenges, I’m also really proud that the club has not laid off any staff since 2019.” Naturally, Keith often fields questions about the club’s future. “Everybody is concerned about whether we’re going to be able to get the lease renewed. We are doing everything in our power to be good custodians of this heritage building, good employers, and responsible members of the community. I’m fairly confident that our landlords [the government] will also see it that way, too.” He encourages members to get in contact: “Feel free to make suggestions, ask questions, provide ideas. And bring your friends to the club, and sign them up!”
THE FINE PRINT
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• Hometown: Detroit, Michigan, US • Tipple: A Malbec in the evening • Day job: Director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong • Favourite dish: Chicken Vindaloo • Describe the FCC in three words: “Asia’s greatest bar” • Vision for the club: “I hope to get the club through this transition in good shape – a strong financial position, robust member lists, great events and maintaining our mission as a fierce defender of press freedom.”
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Club Secretary, Correspondent Member Governor Jennifer Hughes moved to Hong Kong with the Financial Times in 2012, where she embarked on a steep learning curve writing the Lex column about Asian companies – and also met her pilot husband. “We used to joke that it would be his job to get me cheap flights and mine to get him cheap drinks at the FCC.” Marital jests apart, they both loved the club, and after a while Jennifer felt she should take on a greater role. “I wanted to give something back and the obvious place to get involved was the Board.” Jennifer is currently Club Secretary, and sits on the professional, membership, finance and constitutional committees, contributing her expertise where it is most needed. “Take finance, for example. I know we’re a press club first and foremost, but if we cannot pay our bills, we will not even be that, so having a solid financial basis is important. And I’m a finance, business journalist so I don’t mind that nerdy stuff.” On top of this, Jennifer is also leading a project to refresh the club’s charity
outreach. “We’re looking for charities that the FCC can work with. We’re not necessarily going to give away tons of money – we don’t have tons of money – but we want to see what we could do for community organisations in Hong Kong. So we are really looking for suggestions from members.” Like just about everybody, Jennifer regards the club as an institution. “This isn’t the easiest time to be navigating as a press club in Hong Kong, but the FCC is held in high regard and it’s got such a rich history. I don’t think I’ve ever brought guests here who have not been impressed. And the more I’m involved, the more I’m impressed with what we’ve managed to get out of this space.”
THE FINE PRINT
• • • • • •
Hometown: Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England Day job: Columnist for Reuters Breakingviews Tipple: White wine. Or rose, Or… Favourite dish: Fish Goa Describe the FCC in three words: “Simply the best” Vision for the club: “A forum for great debate. With the world’s best bar.”
Second Vice President Tim joined the FCC in 1998. “I had spent plenty of time in the club with friends, including Handover night. I had committed to staying in Hong Kong longterm, so being part of the FCC seemed the right thing.” Over the years, the club has led Tim to great friendships and professional opportunities. “When people say their favourite place in Asia is the FCC, I feel quite proud. Getting to know so many people in the media has been a huge advantage – and I like to think some of them have benefited from having easy access to someone who works in a
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specialised field like shipping.” He has collaborated with several photojournalists, including Basil Pao and Kees Metselaar. And he met the producers at RTHK, who hired him to host the Macau Grand Prix coverage – fulfilling a lifelong dream. Since the FCC has given Tim so much, he wanted to give something back. “There is a lot of heavy lifting, but being able to support the staff, keep the FCC’s values and hopefully ensure a great future for our club makes it worth the effort.” Tim says Associate members are a vital part of the club, and he strives to ensure their voices are heard. In addition, as Treasurer, Tim leads the Finance Committee keeping a strong balance sheet, maintaining
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the reserves and surviving COVID-19 restrictions. “The last couple of years have been a real challenge. Coming through this whole episode without placing any additional burdens on members, many of whom have taken a hit financially during COVID-19, and protecting our staff’s jobs could be considered an accomplishment. It was a team effort.” THE FINE PRINT
• • • • • •
Now that the FCC has been able to restart events, Tim believes the club’s reserves can be rebuilt. “I hope we can replenish the coffers, build up our membership and continue to be the vibrant social hub we all know and love. I want the FCC to be a part of my life forever. “Speaking as a businessman, if Hong Kong wants to remain ‘Asia’s World City’, it needs a vibrant and independent media, and the FCC will play an important role.”
Hometown: Hong Kong, but originally Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England Day job: Chairman, Mandarin Shipping Tipple: Correspondent’s Choice red wine Favourite dish: The Chinese menu’s chicken and shallots Describe the FCC in three words: “My second home” Vision for the club: “I see the FCC continuing its critical role of being an independent, objective and balanced platform to hear the views of all parties, no matter what side of the spectrum they belong.”
Kristie Lu Stout
Correspondent Member Governor Kristie became a member of the FCC a few years after joining CNN in 2001. “I joined for the fabulous curry and for the camaraderie forged in a world-renowned press club.” The CNN anchor says she values the FCC’s events, luncheon talks, conferences and panels, as well as casual, spontaneous chats with friends over coffee or cocktails. As a member, Kristie has moderated panels, given speeches and served as a panellist at several events and conferences. “For almost two decades, I have had the opportunity to share my views on digital transformation, misinformation and gender equality while speaking and learning alongside my peers on how we cover major events in the region.” In 2020, Kristie was inspired by the club’s efforts to attract early-career journalists, visiting reporters and freelancers, and decided to run for the Board.
In her second term, Kristie is an active member of the Professional Committee, where she helps organise speaking events and panels. She also serves as a co-convener of the committee, which brings powerful exhibits to the Van Es Wall. “While the focus of the exhibitions is usually on Asia, we also feature landmark current events outside the region as well as historical retrospectives. The exhibitions revolve every month and are open to the general public.” As an example, she points to the mind-bending scenes of the social media phenomenon @SurrealHK, which attracted a record number of visitors to the club. “When pandemic restrictions are further relaxed, I will help organise the club’s Journalism Day conference.” She adds that she hopes to highlight the work of younger journalists and media colleagues who work behind the scenes. “Practical workshops on new media tools and storytelling techniques will also be on offer for mid-career and veteran journalists to refresh and reboot their skills.”
THE FINE PRINT
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Hometown: Monterey Peninsula, California, US Day job: Anchor/Correspondent, CNN International Tipple: Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir Favourite dish: Palak paneer Describe the FCC in three words: “Convivial, curious and cool” Vision for the club: “The FCC will remain a world-renowned press hub and will continue to earn plaudits as a centre of elevated conversation for the media, business and diplomatic communities in Hong Kong.”
• • • • • •
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Correspondent Member Governor The night he touched down in Hong Kong in February 2016, Dan Strumpf made a beeline for Lower Albert Road. “I came to Hong Kong sight unseen, and my editor took me out to the FCC the very first night. I remember we got a whole spread of Indian curries, hung out at the bar. I was taken by the whole vibe of the place.” That warm introduction motivated Dan to join and, at first, it was primarily a social place. “The club is a respected establishment, so being able to take guests there was a huge perk. And it felt like a second home.” He was looking for a way to contribute to the club, the city and broaden his network when he first ran for the Board in 2019. In his third term, Dan says he has been able to get to know members better and get more involved with the programming. “If there was a spark, it was probably when I saw the fallout from the Andy Chan episode [when Beijing tried to block the independence activist from speaking at the FCC in 2018]. And I registered then that
press freedom and freedom of speech are not always something that can be taken for granted.” As a member of the Press Freedom, Professional, and Wall committees, Dan plans and coordinates events, drafts and reviews press freedom statements and curates exhibits for the Van Es Wall. “As someone who is quite passionate and cares deeply about press freedom, the Press Freedom Committee was an obvious one for me to be involved in. And as a journalist, it’s my job to talk to lots of people. So sometimes I can invite those people to speak at the club – it’s a win-winwin situation when that works out.” Since the national security law took effect in June 2020, Dan has taken a leading role in coordinating the club’s public position on current events impacting press freedom. “Hong Kong is going through a very unique moment, right now. We’re in uncharted waters in a lot of ways, and it’s important for the club to have a voice and be vocal on the issues that matter to us, which is press freedom. We have to be true to ourselves as a club, and we have an obligation to speak out. We have a special voice in the city.”
THE FINE PRINT
• • • • • •
Hometown: Syracuse, New York, US Day job: Reporter, The Wall Street Journal Tipple: A pint of Tsing Tao, or a gin martini Favourite dish: Chicken in a clay pot Describe the FCC in three words: “Full of character” Vision for the club: “At the end of the day, we’re a press club that stands up for freedom of the press and free speech. I hope we continue to stand by these principles in the long run.”
PHOTO: L AKSHMI HARILELA
You don’t have to be on the Board to join a committee. From events to dining, press freedom to communications, there are plenty of ways to support the club. • Professional Committee: Ideal for the curious and wellconnected. Coordinates club speakers, press conferences and journalism events. • Finance Committee: A spreadsheet lover’s dream. Supervises the club’s accounts, investments, members’ accounts and budgets. • Constitutional Committee: Scrupulous but essential work. Turns the microscope on issues relating to the Club’s AoAs and rules. • Membership Committee: Social butterflies unite. Oversees membership applications, membership status changes, honorary memberships and drives. • F&B / House Committee: Gourmets with a knack for
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• • • •
numbers. As the name suggests, this committee bolsters the club’s beating heart, from food prices to menus, international promos, wine tastings, and more. Press Freedom Committee: Our moral compass. Monitors press freedom issues, issues statements and coorganises the annual Human Rights Press Awards. Communications Committee: A linguistic playground. Supervises the quarterly production of The Correspondent, the FCC website, newsletters, branding and the archives. Wall Committee: Visual storytelling at its best. Curates and coordinates our monthly Wall photo exhibits. Charity Committee: Calling all empaths. Coordinates the FCC’s charitable activities and community involvement.
Interested in getting involved? Contact Joanne Chung (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a cover letter/CV outlining your relevant professional experience. n
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ON THE WALL
This Sporting Life
ateline: 14 April 2013 – St James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Sunderland is facing long-time rivals Newcastle on their home turf. The stands are packed with 52,000 football fans. Newly arrived Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio hovers on the touchline. And poised to capture all the action is Glasgow-based photographer Ian MacNicol with his Canon DX1. In the 27th minute, midfielder Stéphane Sessègnon drove at the Newcastle defence and squeezed a shot past keeper Tim Krul. MacNicol swung to focus on the Sunderland manager, and pressed the shutter. The result – Di Canio, immaculate in tailored suit and gleaming brogues, 10 centimetres off the ground and incandescent with joy – is pure magic.
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“I have shot a lot of football but had never seen a manager react like this,” says 56-year-old MacNicol, who spent part of this summer covering swimming and athletics at the Tokyo Olympics. “Looking back through my photographs from that match I seem to have spent the majority of the game focusing on Di Canio. This is my favourite frame as he actually looks like he is levitating. “On reflection, there are few football matches that I enjoyed photographing as much as this one.” For the record, Sunderland scored twice more, bringing the score to 3-0 at full time. Sport – as anyone who caught the glorious photographic cavalcade (with Di Canio taking centre stage) entitled
PHOTO: IAN MACNICOL
In July, the FCC presented a collection of high-energy, perfectly timed shots by sports photographer Ian MacNicol.
“This Sporting Life” in the Main Bar in July will attest – has formed the main thrust of MacNicol’s work since he took up his profession in 2003, after making the somewhat radical switch from being a gamekeeper on a country estate. Nowadays, he gets booked far in advance by the likes of Getty and Agence France-Presse. And over the years has captured a host of sparkling, vivid images from such international events on the sporting calendar as Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games and the Paralympics. He also shoots for corporate clients such as Swimming Australia. It’s no small matter to note that clicking down the list of awards on his homepage – ianmacnicol.com – takes the best part of several minutes. n
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5 1 Jump for joy: Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio heads for orbit after his side scores against Newcastle United during an English Premier League football match in April 2013. 2 Bend it: Holly Bradshaw of Great Britain competes in the Women’s Pole Vault during the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. 3 Eyes wide win: Mo Farah of Great Britain celebrates victory in the men’s 5,000-metre final during the 2012 London Olympics. 4 Olé, olé, olé: Sergio Ramos of Spain juggles the ball during a UEFA EURO 2016 match between Spain and Turkey in Nice, France.
PHOTOS: IAN MACNICOL
5 Dreaming spires: With Gaudi’s Basílica de la Sagrada Família as backdrop, Tonia Couch of Great Britain makes a spectacular leap from the Women’s 10-metre Platform at the FINA World Championships in July 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
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6 Aqua origami: Team Spain compete in the Synchronised Swimming Team Free Routine Final during the European Championships in Glasgow in August 2018.
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ON THE WALL
The Biggest Migration Since Partition Independent photojournalist Saumya Khandelwal has spent the past two years documenting devastating COVID-19 outbreaks in India.
overing the COVID-19 pandemic in India in 2020, and again this year, presented photographer Saumya Khandelwal with a number of challenges. Initially, she was shooting on her home turf in Uttar Pradesh, and petrified that she might infect her family. The scenes of hardship and devastation were harrowing. And the authorities were controlling the flow of information, so it was hard to find out what was actually going on. “The lockdown had triggered what was being called the biggest migration in India since Partition in 1947,” she recalls. “Huge numbers of migrants were making their way home – some on cycles, others hitchhiking or walking – sometimes for as much as 1,000 kilometres. “Documenting stories such as this is never easy. It makes you aware of your own privilege and also confronts you with the scale of the tragedy.” More recently, this April, Khandelwal was on the streets of Delhi, witnessing a rapidly unfolding catastrophe. “I wasn’t only confronting death and its mundanities – people were so exhausted from hospitals, bills, mortuaries and endless waiting that they weren’t even crying much,” says Khandelwal. “There was the additional burden of knowing so many people were getting infected, and everyone was struggling with the lack of resources.” International outlets such as TIME and National Geographic have published Khandelwal’s searing images, which made for an especially thought-provoking exhibit in the Main Bar in August.
1 Hemlata (who goes by first name only) is a health activists at the forefront of COVID-19 awareness. She demonstrates how to wash hands thoroughly in Khajuha, in April 2020. 2 In May 2020, despite being told to stay put, migrant workers confronted by food shortages were forced to head for their home villages by train, truck and bus, or face death by starvation. 3 Amid flames, ashes and smoke, relatives
prepare to cremate a loved one in New Delhi in April 2021.
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PHOTOS: SAUMYA KHANDELWAL
Learn more about her work: saumyakhandelwal.com. n
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Just Add Ink Ed Peters swaps quips with Harry Harrison, who exhibited a collection of intriguing illustrations at the FCC in September. a Jewish woman I was working with if she found any of my cartoons objectionable. She replied: “Yes, that one you did taking the piss out of Cathay pilots. My dad’s a Cathay pilot!” Former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa’s physiognomy lent itself to your art. How about Miss Popularity? HH: Tung was a gift, particularly as I was just finding my feet. Carrie Lam’s features are as unremarkable as everything else about her, apart from her quirky approach to “helping” Hong Kong people, and her dead-eyed stare, of course. You were sometimes confused with late sci-fi writer Harry Max Harrison – are his books any good? HH: I’m not a fan of the genre, so haven’t read any, but we were occasionally in contact. He used to be an illustrator before he started writing and I mentioned this to him in an email. He replied that if I promised never to write any science fiction, he promised never to do any more illustration.
F ILLUSTR ATIONS: HARRY HARRISON
or the past 20 years, Briton Harry Harrison’s cartoons have unfailingly been one of the best bits in the South China Morning Post. To celebrate the publication of Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Hong Kong, and his September exhibit at the Main Bar, The Correspondent caught up with the 60-year-old Lamma stalwart who wields his pen – and wit – to such devastating effect. Any regrets missing out on a glittering career in UK supermarkets? Harry Harrison: Parts of Hong Kong supermarkets smell exactly the same as Key Markets, my first employer. I always have a misty “What if…” moment when I wander into such pockets. I could be an area manager with a company car and a nylon tie;
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instead, I’m trapped in this shorts-flipflops-and-ink-stains maelstrom. You met your future wife, Helena, in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1990. Did you two hit it off immediately? HH: I was instantly drawn to Helena, but it took her several months to realise what an absolute catch I was. She bought me a chicken tikka sandwich because I was skint. I then walked her to The Peninsula where she had been invited to afternoon tea by an American fighter pilot. I walked dejectedly back to my hostel thinking “There is no God!” Which of your cartoons generated the greatest outrage? HH: I did a few about the Second Intifada in 2001 which drew accusations of anti-Semitism. I asked
Apart from Carl Giles and Ronald Searle, do you have any other heroes? HH: As far as art goes, Ralph Steadman, Gerald Scarfe and Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher spring to mind. In other fields, there are many, but I would have to single out Alan Partridge. You’ve put in 20 years at the Post: any plans to skedaddle? HH: None personally, but that’s probably not in my hands, the current climate being what it is. I’ve got a boat and some tinned food hidden in the bushes on Lamma. Anything else you’d like to add? HH: Buy my book. Pick up Harry Harrison’s Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Hong Kong at the FCC front desk. n
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“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place.”
“The beginning is always today.”
Correspondents • Brian Fidelman, Deputy Editor, International Edition, The New York Times • Elliot Wilson, China Editor, Global Private Banking, Euromoney • Terence Wong, Senior Reporter, Debtwire Journalists • Li Meng de Bakker, Freelance • Reggie Ho, Associate Content Director, South China Morning Post • Joe Pan, Head of Studio, Forkast News Associates • David Armitage, Owner & Managing Director, Waterford Projects Ltd • Gulab Assomal, Director, Watanmal Boolchand Co Ltd • Barrie Barlow, Senior Counsel, Des Voeux Chambers • Bernadette Chan, Manager, Manulife • Chris Chan, Director, River Production Ltd • William Chan Chi Wai, Director, First Edition • Shibani Chopra, Self-employed Artist • Gregory Davidson, Partner Windrose Investment Management (Asia) Ltd • Ruchir Desai, Fund Manager, Asia Frontier Capital Ltd • Patrick Graham, CEO Asia & Head of Strategy, Cigna International • Glen Hanly, Captain, Het Aviation Business Jet • Elias Heikari, Founder & Executive Director, Eliron Logistics Ltd • Nicholas Hoar, Head of International Fixed Income, Neuberger Berman • Jenny Hsieh, Head of Asia Pacific, TradingHub • Susan Hutchison, Head of Human Capital & Asia Pacific Managing Director, KKR Asia Ltd • Heidi Lee Yik Shuen, Executive Director, Hong Kong Ballet • Kevin Lee, Head of Asset Management & Portfolio, Infrastructure & Energy and Natural Resources, Asia Pacific, Natixis HK • John Leung Lai Yin, Consultant Radiologist, Swindon Medical Company Ltd • Cara Li, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley • Li Shan, Director, Silk Road Finance Corporation Ltd • Paul McGunnigle, Head of Community Service & History Teacher, Australian International School • Sara Migliorini, Researcher in Private International Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law • Oh Kuan Yu, Senior Director, Operations Value Partners Group • Albert Poon, Senior Manager (Projects), Sino Land Company Ltd • Anlibesa Pun Suk Yee, Executive Secretary, GFI (HK) Brokers Ltd
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• Adesh Sarup, Head of Transaction Banking - North Asia, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd • Bill Shum • Kim Swenson, Communications Corporate Services, HSBC • Ava Tang, Chief Operating Officer, Star Systems International Ltd • Sean Taylor, Chief Investment Officer, DWS • Candy Tong, Senior Associate, Lau, Horton & Wise LLP • Linder van Ginkel, Director, Kingfisher Insurance Brokers Ltd • Nicholas Williams, Self-employed Entertainment, Media and Arts Consultant • Fionie Wong, Self-employed Diplomatic • Tamsin Heath, Deputy Consul General, British Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau •
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” Corporate • Jacqueline Anne Powles, APAC Regional Head Network & Market Infrastructure Management, UBS AG • Henry Wong Kit Sang, Executive Director, UBS AG Diplomatic • Alexander Stephen Vincent Snow, Diplomat, US Consulate General Hong Kong • Thomas Mario Luca Gnocchi, Ambassador & Head of Office, European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau • Victor Hui Kok Wing, Consul (Political), Consulate General of the Republic of Singapore • Kate Louise Macfarlane, Deputy Consul General, New Zealand Consulate General
“Absent thee from felicity awhile…” Correspondents • Catherine Emicia Barton, Correspondent, AFP • David Crawshaw, Asia News Editor, The Washington Post • David Matthew Fox, Correspondent, AFP • Gregor Stuart Hunter, Cross-Asset Markets Reporter, Bloomberg
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• Angie Lau, CEO, Forkast News • Clara Ferreira Marques, Columnist, Bloomberg • John Patrick Lyons, Senior Reporter, The Wall Street Journal • Christian Werner Pfrang, Lex Writer, Financial Times • Daniel Joseph Powell, Staff Editor, The New York Times • Mikko Antero Takkunen, Photo Editor, The New York Times Journalists • Cheng Lok Chit, Editorial Director, Hong Kong Free Press • Michael Alan Connelly, Editor-in-chief, Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong • Thomas Warwick Hilditch, Publisher, Hong Kong Living • Tom Holland, Writer, Gavekal Dragonomics • Peter Langan, Editor, SCMP • Shirley Lau Siu Yin, Freelancer • Grace Pang Yan Yan, Freelance • Blessing Waung Chi-En, Managing Editor, American Chamber of Commerce Associates • Petra Elisabeth Carlberg, Deputy Global Purchasing & Logistics Area Manager, Ikea Supply (Hong Kong) Ltd • Serge Georges Fafalen, Managing Partner, SG Fafalen & Co Lawyers • Nicholas David Garrett, Senior Vice President, IDT Telecom Asia Pacific Ltd • Michel Oscar Jospe, Managing Director, Methong Plastics (HK) Ltd • Christopher Ian Kershaw, Managing Director Global Markets, Peak Reinsurance Company Ltd • Jeremy King, Chairman, Knight Asia Ltd • Philip Seth Krichilsky, Lead Director, Innovative Directions • Lee Kit Yu, Founder & CEO, Bespoke • Simon Lee See Kit, Head of Alliances Greater China, Workday Inc • Josephine Li Yee Wan, Senior Channel Sales Manager, Carlsberg Hong Kong Ltd • Carl Frank Modder, Retired • Benze Jacob Ninan, Associate Director Asia Pacific, Lexis Nexis Risk Solutions • Ulf Henrik Ohrling, Founder, Ohrling Advisory Ltd • Aniello Orvay, CEO, Asia Spa and Wellness Ltd • David John Rainsford, Director, IBM • Fran Alison Rittman, Self-Employed • Paul Ross, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd • Elisabeth Lucia Schardt, Managing Director, EastWestern Consulting Ltd • John Michael Whitcomb, Retired • Ida Griffiths Zee, Retired
“The gentry can never go further than well-bred resignation or indignation.” Correspondents • Finbarr Thomas Bermingham, Asia Editor, GTR Asia • Adrian Brown, Senior Correspondent, Aljazeera Media Network
• David Christopher Ing, Anchor, Bloomberg • Lam Yik Lan, Freelance • Alice Truong, Digital News Editor, Bloomberg Journalists • Ana Raquel Martins Carvalho, Asia Correspondent • James Au Shiu Hee, Freelance Associates • Nicholas Cheung Man Kit, Solicitor, Davis Polk & Wardwell • Angus Fung Wai Man, Director & General Merchandising Manager, American Phil Textiles Ltd • Catherine Mayo, Retired Teacher • Mark Thomas Panday, Head of Media Relations, UBS AG • Anneliese Schirdewahn-Baetz, Director, Lissi Dolls & Toys HK Ltd • Stuart Witchell, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group (HK) Ltd • Benson Yau, Managing Director, American Phil Textiles Ltd • Yong Choon Kong, Director, Pico International (M) Sdn Bhd
“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” Associates • Conor David Greene, Managing Director, Law Alliance Recruitment Services Limited
“To change what we can, to better what we can…” Journalist to Correspondent • Matthew Marsh, Presenter, FoxSports Asia Correspondent to Journalist • Enid Tsui, Arts Editor, SCMP Journalist to Associate • Anneliese O’Young, Director Operations Transformation Asia, Manulife Financial Asia Ltd Associate to Honorary Widow • Rani Ashok Khemaney, Managing Director, AR Trading Co Ltd
Deaths We sadly announce the death of: • Jonathan Mirsky • Geoffrey Somers
Just for Fun: Take our Quote Quiz!
• • • • • • •
Shakespeare Lewis Carroll Robert Louis Stevenson Ivan Turgenev Toni Morrison Mary Shelley Charlotte Brontë
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Answer Key: • Lewis Carroll - “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place.” • Mary Shelley - “The beginning is always today.” • Charlotte Brontë - “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” • Shakespeare - “Absent thee from felicity awhile…” • Ivan Turgenev - “The gentry can never go further than well-bred resignation or indignation.” • Toni Morrison - “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” • Robert Louis Stevenson - “To change what we can, to better what we can…”
We’ve got a game for you! Match the quotes at the top of each category to these famous writers.
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By way of introduction… One likes football, another motorbikes, and there’s a keen fisherman, a passionate golfer and an avid hiker: but all of our new members seem to relish good food and drink. They’ll fit right in.
Although my days of active sport parachuting are long behind me, I can still say I have experienced taking off in an aeroplane more times than I have experienced landing in one. Thankfully, I managed to stay on board long enough in 1996 to land in Hong Kong to commence work on the construction of what was then the new international airport. For the last 25 years I have had the good fortune and privilege to work on iconic and challenging construction projects both in Hong Kong and around the region. BARRIE BARLOW
Originally from New Zealand (where my Malaysian wife Alison and I met as students), I am a commercial litigation barrister. Normally, we travel a lot, but Hong Kong (where we have lived most of our lives and where our two children were born and raised) is home. I have always enjoyed visiting the FCC and I should have sought membership long ago. Since last year’s dramatic changes to our law, I have taken a heightened interest in the protection of our freedoms and in particular our free media. This, plus my friends who are members, drew me to the FCC. GREGORY DAVIDSON
My first trip to Hong Kong and the FCC was in 2003 and I instantly fell in love with the city’s vibrancy. I didn’t settle in Hong Kong until 2009, where I have run various commodity focused funds and trading ventures. Originally from the US, I have lived in the US, Germany and China, but now spend my time between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Puerto Rico. My interests tilt toward golf and skiing, but my passion is Old World wines. After the last several years of turmoil in Hong Kong, I am excited to be a new FCC member. LI MENG DE BAKKER
I am an RTHK radio presenter and freelance writer covering music and subculture, with a focus on electronic dance music. On Radio 3, I have produced and presented two specialist music programmes: “Asia Soundsystem” and “The Breakdown”. Currently, I am writing my doctoral thesis on the history of Hong Kong nightlife. Though piano was my first instrument, I have been deejaying professionally since 2018 and it is a passion that has informed much of my journalistic and academic trajectory. I also write as “Mengzy” (my DJ name), for Mixmag Asia. After music, my passion in life is food! RUCHIR DESAI
Originally from Mumbai, India, I have called Hong Kong home for the last 10 years. I am a frontier markets fund manager with a focus on Asia and my work has taken me to diverse countries ranging from Bangladesh and Iraq to Uzbekistan and Vietnam. I am a keen follower of geopolitics and enjoy listening to the diverse speakers the FCC invites for discussing important trends. Outside of work, I enjoy the Hong Kong outdoors and hopefully at some point in the future I would love to get back to exploring more countries. PATRICK GRAHAM
I am a long-term British exile, who has called Asia home for more than 20 years. I’m a health insurance professional, husband to my beautiful wife, Kaoru, and father of a little girl, Rinka. It was becoming embarrassing how much time I was spending in the FCC bar freeloading off my member friends, so it was with mixed emotions I finally got membership in my own right: pleased I can sign for my own drinks; but nervous about how many people I owe drinks! You know who you are and where to find me…
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I’m Deputy Consul General at the British Consulate. I arrived in Hong Kong in the summer of 2019, heavily pregnant with my second child. Shortly after maternity leave, I covered as Acting Consul-General from December 2020 to July 2021. Before Hong Kong, I was posted in Beijing, Riyadh and The Hague with several short stints in Sana’a when I headed up UK policy on Yemen. I studied as an economist and worked for Royal Bank of Scotland, HM Treasury and the Dutch development bank FMO. I love being in the hills (I’m Scottish), reading, learning languages and exploring Hong Kong. NICHOLAS HOAR
I’m originally from London and moved to Hong Kong for three years in 2011. So 10 years on, I’m still here; I am sure this is a familiar story for many of us – the longer you are here, the tougher it is to leave. I’ve worked in asset management for 30-plus years. I am a passionate motorcyclist and when I am back in Europe I’m often found at the 21-kilometre Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit where I must have completed thousands of laps over the years, posting a best time of 8.52 minutes per lap. HEIDI LEE YIK SHUEN
I was born and educated in Hong Kong. I studied stage management at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and cultural management at Chinese University Hong Kong. I have been working in the arts management area for years and have worked for many arts organisations in Hong Kong and mainland China. My life is closely attached to the performing arts. I enjoy going to different kinds of performances as well as movies. I love spending time with friends to try out food from different countries. KEVIN LEE
Born in Malaysia, my family and I moved to Auckland where I received my high school and tertiary education. I am fortunate that work has allowed me to live in Singapore, Sydney and, now, Hong Kong. I enjoy watching major sports and am a staunch supporter of the All Blacks and Tottenham FC. I am married to a beautiful native Hong Kong wife. I work in the banking and finance sector specialising in infrastructure and energy and natural resources. I enjoy craft beers and all sorts of food from different cultures. My main hobby is fishing. CARA LI
I grew up in Beijing, and moved to Sydney as a teenager. After graduating with a law degree, I joined a law firm in London, only to be packed off to Hong Kong. That was in 2002, and I’m still here. Nowadays, I’m a senior banker at Morgan Stanley, and Hong Kong is firmly home for me and my two children. I am an avid reader of current affairs, and enjoy balanced, thoughtful journalism. And the FCC Main Bar now has a 100-percent share of my monthly client entertainment budget. LI SHAN
My leadership experience with global financial institutions and major Chinese banks spans over 25 years. I am a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, CEO of Silk Road Finance Corporation, vice chairman of the Silk Road Planning Research Centre, chairman and CEO of Chinastone Capital and the vice chairman of Chinese Financial Association of Hong Kong. I am also a director of Credit Suisse Group AG, and serve as a senior advisor to Zurich Insurance. PAUL MCGUNNIGLE
Hailing from Glasgow, I’ve worked at the Australian International School Hong Kong with my wife, Lesley since 2004, teaching history and primary, respectively. We came for the obligatory two years, but 18 years later we’re ensconced in Sai Kung with our kids, Maia and Cai. I have a passion for football and still play for Kowloon Cricket Club, although these days it’s mainly at walking pace. Lesley and I are excited to be joining the FCC and we’re looking forward to spending time propping up the bar whilst having a few amber nectars.
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Hong Kong’s pulse, pace and character are each unique and my wife and I very much enjoy living and working here. We were introduced to the FCC fairly early on after our arrival from Singapore. After a few visits, it instinctively felt like a place we would want to be part of and we are thrilled to be members. I am a career banker and my wife works with an NGO that supports financial literacy for domestic migrant workers. Outside of work, we love discovering new restaurants and we also enjoy hiking Hong Kong’s beautiful country parks. AVA TANG
I am a native HongKonger working in a dynamic, multi-national company as chief operating officer. I enjoy working in a diverse cultural environment, which is full of challenges and surprises. During holidays, I like meeting people and travelling and enjoy local food and drink.
I am a promotion designer with a love of travelling, music, arts and culture, meeting people and experiencing new adventures. I started my design career in the 1990s when I joined the Pearson group; I previously worked at a private club, providing branding and marketing design. As an avid arts and music lover (especially classical and jazz), I can’t wait to listen to live jazz at Bert’s. My other passion is travelling. I love to meet people from diverse backgrounds – something that I love about this small, multicultural city we live in. Since the pandemic, my travel bucket list is getting longer. n
PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS PHOTOGRAPHERS CARSTENSCHAEL.COM – Award winning Photographer. People - Corporate - Stills - Food Architecture - Transport. Tel: (852) 9468 1404 Email: email@example.com JAYNE RUSSELL PHOTOGRAPHY – Editorial People - Food. 18 years Fleet St, London experience. Tel: (852) 9757 8607 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.jaynerussellphotography.com DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION ARTMAZING! – Award-winning art director and illustrator. Noel de Guzman Tel: (852) 9128 8949 Email: email@example.com Website: www.artmazingcompany.com
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GEOFFREY SOMERS: A TRIBUTE FROM HIS SON By Michael Somers
eoffrey Vincent Somers, who spent many years gracing the pages of Hong Kong newspapers – whether making the news at the punchy tabloid The Star, spinning it at the Government Information Service (GIS) or commenting on it as an independent writer – died on 13 August at the age of 93. Born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1928, Geoff got his start at the Daily News and later moved across the country to The Truth and The Herald, both in Melbourne. He shifted to Hong Kong in the mid-1960s and made a name for himself while working on The Star when he scooped the world with news of communist party vice-chairman Lin Biao’s death in a plane crash in September 1971 in circumstances which are still shrouded in mystery. Geoff subsequently spent many years with the GIS, covering the then Royal Hong Kong Police, the Housing Authority, the Urban Council and the government publications office. He also wrote for various publications under colourful noms de plume because, as a civil servant, he could not publish without permission. An exception was made when he authored The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club: The Story of Racing in Hong Kong which profitably combined his passion for both horses and racing. He later worked with Henry Parwani on The China Review and at one time he was the tipster Madame X on The Star’s league of racing pundits before passing on the handle and its fine legacy of not quite breaking even. He edited at least one Hong Kong Yearbook and played a key role in several others. He started the police newspaper Offbeat, and a bilingual newspaper for the Urban Council. He also quietly helped a bunch of people start newspapers and magazines, not least the brightly blazing but shortlived Australasian Express, and Raymonde Sacklyn’s groundbreaking business newsletter Target. Having reached retirement age, he left Hong Kong in 1989 with my mum, Luisa Somers. But rather than twiddle his thumbs, Geoff dovetailed his still considerable energies with his love of horses, using skills he had honed at Happy Valley and Sha Tin to interview trainers and jockeys for Australian racing publications. Geoff stopped for a stint in Tokyo, where he wrote the Japan Racing Association’s annual report, then returned to Hong Kong in 1992 to run Window for Lo Tak-shing during that tycoon’s ill-fated tilt at becoming the SAR’s first chief executive. In 2011 Geoff left Hong Kong for good, moving to Buderim in Queensland with Amy, who he had married in 2006, and publishing Ghosts of the China Coast: A Tabloid History of China with Earnshaw Books. In the years up to his death, he wrote columns in The China Daily and contributed to the South China Morning Post from time to time.
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Geoff and Amy at the FCC on their wedding day.
While Geoff was known for his keen interest in horses and generous policy of contributing his stake money to racecourses around the world, he also loved travelling and writing about the places he explored; he even reviewed music at one stage. He read voraciously, in particular about Hong Kong and southern China’s coastal history, and collected vintage maps and books. Geoff, who made friends wherever he went and with whomever he worked, had many vigorous (but never acrimonious) exchanges and was universally respected for his professionalism. And of course, the FCC – where he was a Life Member (No. 3228) – was a favourite for many years, both at Sutherland House and Ice House Street, where our family enjoyed many meals and he and Amy held their wedding reception. n Geoffrey is survived by his wife Amy; daughter Luisa Stuart; sons Geoffrey, Howard and Michael; grandchildren Jayne, Michael, Robert, Kathleen and Michelle; and a healthy number of great-grandchildren.
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GOING FOR GOLD:
INSIDE HONG KONG’S HISTORIC OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE
PHOTO: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Hong Kong Sports Institute CEO Dr Trisha Leahy grants a peek behind the scenes at the city’s momentous Olympic wins. By Morgan M Davis
Hong Kong’s Edgar Cheung Ka Long (left) competes against Italy’s Daniele Garozzo in the men’s individual foil gold medal bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
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the city had a strong fencing culture, let alone an international ong Kong’s record-breaking medal haul – one gold, star competing in the sport. But anyone who had been a brace of silver and three bronze – at the Tokyo following Chinese-language coverage of Hong Kong’s elite Olympics this summer galvanised the entire city athletes, would have known Cheung was among the favoured with a sense of pride and joy after months of unrest, drastic competitors, says Leahy. political changes and COVID-19 challenges. “I’d really like to see more EnglishBut the road to the Olympics was not language coverage – I’ve been complaining easy. Organisers and athletes encountered about the lack of it for years,” says Leahy. myriad challenges, from training safety to Chinese-language media has covered teambuilding to pandemic uncertainties. Cheung and his Olympic teammates for On 1 September, Dr Trisha Leahy, chief some time, making them household names executive officer of the Hong Kong Sports for Hong Kong’s athletics fans, she explains. Institute (HKSI), joined the FCC for an inBut English-language coverage of Hong person discussion about the lead-up to Hong Kong’s athletes has been lacking, creating Kong’s Olympic success. “These are the this sense of surprise when the city brought results of the system we’ve been building for home Olympic medals. the last eight to 12 years,” says Leahy. Hong Kong’s efforts to become a hub When Edgar Cheung Ka-long earned a of world-renowned athletes started a long gold medal in fencing – ending Hong Kong’s time back, says Leahy. Some factors – like 25-year gold medal hiatus – some spectators Dr Trisha Leahy, Hong Kong Sports Institute CEO population size, physiological profiles, expressed surprise. Many did not realise that
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familial support, and self-motivation – are nigh-impossible to manipulate. But funding for proper facilities, coaches, medical staff, and education support can be controlled. That’s where the government has stepped in, says Leahy. In the 2021-2022 budget, the government invested HK$737 million in HKSI via the Elite Athletes Development Fund – roughly 42 percent more than in 2017-2018. What’s more, construction workers broke ground on the Kai Tak Sports Park in 2019 and the government allocated HK$990 million in August 2021 to expand the HKSI facilities. When it comes to training, Hong Kong elite athletes start young, practising regularly and eventually train full-time to reach a goal like the Olympics. By the time athletes make it to the Games, it’s generally clear who has the potential to rank in the top tier. “We’re not surprised because we’re constantly tracking results,” says Leahy. Groups like the HKSI monitor the fouryear cycles of junior and senior competitions. Athletes who can place in the top three globally in the two years prior to the Olympics tend to have the best chance of winning a medal, says Leahy. Big data analysis of the competitions and participating athletes combined with professional judging by coaches can hint at future competition results. But this method proved unreliable during the preparation for the 2020 Olympics. “All of our data suddenly got thrown into disarray when COVID-19 hit,” says Leahy. Without the ability to travel and compete, and even go to the Olympics when they were originally scheduled in the summer of 2020, it was impossible to gauge an outcome. Leahy wasn’t surprised by the Hong Kong winners, but the organisation could not rely on its usual approach with as much confidence as previous competitions. And since nobody could say when the pandemic situation would change, or when the Olympics would ultimately be held, the issue was even more complicated. “Our mission critical was to preserve the Olympic and Paralympic preparation,” says Leahy. After lengthy negotiations with public health officials, Hong Kong’s Olympic athletes were able to continue preparing at a secure training facility where they lived in a closed camp for three long stretches over the course of the year – totalling about 175 days. Upon returning from international competitions, the athletes would train in an isolated location during the day then return to their quarantine facilities at night. The work paid off, but not without a cost. Because of the restrictive nature of the training facilities, only a limited number of people could train, leaving out junior athletes. As senior athletes return to training in preparation for the Asian Games and Gay Games next year, the HKSI hopes to bring younger athletes back into the fold. “As we go forward, we look at the next challenges,” says Leahy. Interested in the FCC’s online and offline conversations? Check our calendar of upcoming events: fcchk.org/events n
In Case You Missed It
Formula 1 2021: Two Tribes Go to War With Matthew Marsh, F1 analyst and presenter at Fox Sports Asia Like so many other sports, Formula 1 had to pivot during the pandemic. Racing expert Matthew Marsh returned to the FCC in August for a face-to-face chat about COVID-19’s effects on auto racing. Watch the conversation here: bit.ly/3yO0xcS
COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on India
With Yamini Aiyar, Chief Executive of the Centre for Policy Research; Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg Opinion columnist; Devaki Nambiar, programme head at George Institute for Global Health India’s catastrophic COVID-19 second wave generated global headlines and unforgettable images as the nation struggled to cope. But how has the virus impacted India’s political scene and its previously fast-growing economy? Three renowned experts weighed in this August. Watch the conversation here: bit.ly/3h7Z1wd
Is There a New Way Forward in the South China Sea?
With Justice Antonio T Carpio, former Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines The Philippines won sovereignty over an area of the South China Sea in 2016, but conflicts remain. As China ignores the ruling, Justice Carpio proposed a way for the Philippines to move forward without risking a naval arms race. Watch the conversation here: bit.ly/2WZ30UI
Interested in the full conversations? Watch them on YouTube at “FCC HK”.
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10 People, 100 Years A group of accomplished Sinologists chronicle the experiences of 10 people to trace the CCP’s transformation. It’s an ambitious read, but Mark Jones says the authors nailed it.
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PHOTOS: FREDERIC BROWN / AFP
ew institutions in history have mounted a more sustained attack on individualism than the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). That was especially so during the later Mao Zedong years when the government forced the populace to dress, speak and think alike or face condemnation as bourgeois separatists. Yet, the authors of this new CCP history decided that the only way they could make sense of its first hundred years was by focusing on 10 individuals. Faced with an overwhelming body of scholarship on the CCP, German historian and sinologist Klaus Mühlhahn, one of the editors of The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in 10 Lives, proposed that they take the microscopic approach of the BBC radio series “A History of the World in a 100 Objects”. Who to choose? The book begins with a Dutch revolutionary and ends with a hapless social media star. It’s Clockwise from left: The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives cover; an eclectic mix: and that’s one of the book’s strong points. former premier Zhao Ziyang; Actress Wang Guangmei punished by the Red Only two general secretaries get their own chapters: Zhao Guards in April 1967. Ziyang Jiang Zemin. Neither Mao nor Deng Xiaoping is singled out. survived and eased China into a more tolerant, even multiStill, the Great Helmsman steers the narrative before party future. Instead, they brought violence and repression Deng takes control from behind the scenes (his preferred down on themselves and their successors. place). The editors of future editions will need to decide One particular chapter is worth noting – Elizabeth how much prominence Xi Jinping deserves. The editors allow their writers to recruit whom they Perry’s sympathetic portrait of the actress Wang Guangmei, wish to cast light on the CCP’s fractious and triumphant the sixth wife of one-time president Liu Shaoqi, who went from patriotic zealot to ridiculed hate-figure history. British Modern Chinese History in the course of the Cultural Revolution. professor Julia Lovell travels furthest – to Hers is just one of many stories where Peru – as she profiles the Maoist zealot ultra-loyalists found themselves in the Abimael Guzmán. That Mao thought only seriously threatened to take power in two The CCP has produced traitor’s dock. You find yourself thinking that the real legacy Mao left his Party is fear. geopolitically insignificant lands – Peru one of the great Pathologically fearful or not, the Party is and Nepal – may be chalked up as one of economic miracles of a success story. I remember a distinguished the Party’s failures. It may also be a key to our time. British writer predicting in 2008 that no its success. Chinese company would ever achieve serious As Hong Kong-based English journalist and historian Philip Bowring points out in a far- scale and world dominance because the country had not sighted Afterword, the “never-ending road to Socialism” has been through the Enlightenment. Well, Enlightened or not, we have Alibaba and taken and will take the Party down very different ideological paths as it seeks to guarantee its own survival. One signpost Tencent, and as the introduction reminds us, “the CCP has produced one of the great economic miracles of our – marked “Democracy” – lies in splinters at Xi’s feet. time”. And millions of Chinese, unprompted and unThe 21st-century CCP could have been so different had coerced, are incredibly proud of their country’s rise and the short-lived leadership of Zhao Ziyang survived the the Party behind it. n 20th. Mühlhahn’s superb essay on the reformer who briefly flourished under Deng’s patronage is in many ways the book’s pivotal chapter. Zhao was brought down by being on the conciliatory side in the debate that broke out as the Pick up a copy of The Chinese Communist Party: A Century 1989 protests in Beijing grew. in Ten Lives, published by Cambridge University, on your next It’s one of the story’s big ironies: had the protestors visit to the FCC. not pushed their luck, the pragmatic Zhao may well have
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A DOZEN BOOKENDS Our speakers reeled off an impressive list of topics to read up on this autumn.
Former Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, who had a great deal to say about Trump, Bezos and American Journalism, recommended The Apprentice – Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy by Greg Miller and Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State by Barton Gellman.
Speaking on parallel themes (Trump, Fox News, and the “Big Lie”), CNN’s Brian Stelter gave his personal thumbs-up to Zero Fail: the Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig and Jonathan Rauch’s The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth.
Having given chapter and verse about The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives (reviewed opposite) Professor Hans van de Ven came up with an intriguing glimpse of his bedside bookshelf. Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule) and David van Reybrouck’s Revolusi (in Dutch, about the Indonesian revolution) fit firmly in the non-fiction bracket, while Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Kiran Doshi’s Jinnah Often Came to Our House rank as historical fiction.
After discussing the vicissitudes of reporting in China, Michael Smith pointed to The Beijing Bureau, edited by Trevor Watson and Melissa Roberts, a compendium of correspondents’ experiences in the PRC. Out of left field, his co-speaker Bill Birtles came up with Baby On Board by Dr Howard Chilton.
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Antonio Carpio, examining a new way forward in the South China Sea, said his essay – Defending Philippine Sovereign Rights in the West Philippine Sea – can be downloaded for free.
Ardent CCP supporter Eric X Li wins the ‘Surprise Suggestion of the Year Award’ with No Vulgar Hotel: The Desire and Pursuit of Venice, a nigh-hagiography by Judith Martin.
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10 MINUTES WITH…
Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg Hong Kong
Some media in Hong Kong have reported problems securing work visas for foreigners recently. Have you encountered any issues? With the civil service working from home during the pandemic, we too experienced some delays to visa renewals. That said, during the pandemic, problems with work visas for foreigners have certainly not been limited to Hong Kong. How thick is the glass ceiling? I’d say cracks are emerging in our industry – think the recent appointments of women editor-in-chiefs at Reuters, the Financial Times and the Washington Post, to name just three. At Bloomberg, my co-lead Sarah Wells in Singapore and I are responsible for news coverage in the Asia-Pacific region, and our counterpart in the Americas is also a woman, as is our Chief Content Officer. But there’s still a ways to go – and gender is only one aspect. It’s important that we also promote local, diverse talent. After all, their understanding of the region is what global readers are interested in.
Sketch a brief pen portrait of yourself. My father was a Malaysian Chinese and my mother is Swiss. I was born in Kuala Lumpur and lived in Malaysia until I was 10. Mixed race couples were rare in the 1960s but I was blissfully oblivious to any racial issues as a child. Only later, studying colonialism as part of my history degree, did I realise Journalism is the hurdles my parents, particularly my mother, must have faced. My dad’s family the first draft of owned tin mines around Ipoh, Malaysia, history... and the and he remained a proud member of the more space we give Royal Ipoh Club well into his 80s when he was already living in Switzerland. He to the different would have loved the FCC.
Time to brag. Which recent Bloomberg Hong Kong story are you most excited about right now? I am very proud that we won the SOPA Award for Journalistic Innovation for our “Covid Resilience Ranking”, which assessed the best and worst place to be as reopening and variants faced off. Reporters from around the world contributed to the ranking, but the team that came up with the idea and voices, the better the saw it through is based in Hong Kong. The media landscape has done a We were also first with the news that draft will be. backwards somersault of late. How Nicolas Aguzin was going to be the does Bloomberg stay on track? next HKEX CEO. It’s always a great feeling when As a business and financial news organisation, we we get a Hong Kong scoop. have a clear mandate: to serve our core Bloomberg At the other end of the scale, I am greatly Terminal [a platform for financial professionals] saddened that our colleague, Haze Fan, has been in readers who need news that helps them understand detention in Beijing since last December, and hope the investment landscape and assess risk and rewards. she will soon be released. We have several platforms that allow us to appeal to a wide audience – whether it’s the financial Finally: you studied history at the University of professional who reads our news on the Terminal Zurich – any useful lessons for today? or watches Bloomberg TV, or a more consumer Studying history teaches you to pay attention to the audience who scans our website or our streaming richness and the nuances of every situation. There’s product, Quicktake. Whenever we write a story, we black and there’s white. And then there are many always ask ourselves: why would someone want to shades of grey in between. Journalism is the first read this on Bloomberg? It helps us find our own draft of history... and the more space we give to the approach to a theme. different voices, the better the draft will be. n
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The official quarterly magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong.