COVER STORY Clare Hollingworth, a century of conflict Clare Hollingworth, who turns 100 in October, spent her entire working life travelling the world reporting war and conflict. Clare’s great nephew and biographer Patrick Garrett charts some of the highlights of her long life. Pictured right with fellow veteran FCC correspondent Charlie Smith, China, 1984.
Cover: Harry Harrison
25 ON THE WALL
NY 10048: the World Trade Center in early 1990s
Gretchen So’s exhibition of photographs of New York’s iconic Twin Towers taken in the 1990s commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.
Bert’s, the home of jazz in Hong Kong
Music has played a role in life at the FCC since our days in Conduit Road, when RTHK’s Ray Cordeiro led a dance band that regularly played the Club. LAW
Law reform over for China’s criminal court system A chilling account of research into the reform of China’s criminal justice system in everyday criminal cases from prosecution to verdict and sentence. MEDIA
APV:20 years of great stories
Asia Pacific Vision is not only marking 20 years of filming terrific stories, but is also celebrating its success in keeping ahead of the technology curve to stay current and competitive in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. MEDIA
Malaysia’s FCC finally opens
Despite being cleverly knocked on the head once by Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, Kuala Lumpur finally has its own Foreign Correspondents Club.
A message from the President Membership Letters Tony Lawrence’s birthday bash Club news Then and now: Western Market in 1972 and today by Bob Davis Vox pop: What will you do for your next recession? Book review: Reporter: Forty years covering Asia by John Macbeth Book review: Hadley by Nick Macfie Reciprocal clubs: Singapore Classifieds
AFP PHOTO / FILES
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Ping Pong Diplomacy strangely got the job done
Forty years ago, a bemused group of American sportsmen were told that their visit to Beijing had opened a new page in US-China relations. Ping Pong Diplomacy was born.
From the President
“Whatever you write about,” a long-term FCC member said to me at the Main Bar the other night, “don’t go on about Club politics in your president’s letter. Talk about something positive, like Tony Lawrence and Clare Hollingworth’s birthday celebrations.” No problem. BBC journalist Lawrence’s 99th birthday party on August 12 was a great success and most importantly, thoroughly enjoyed by the great man himself. It was a pleasure to meet his many charming friends, some of whom are regular and others occasional visitors to the Club. We look forward to an even bigger and better event to mark his century next year and wish him a speedy recovery from his recent stay in hospital. Hot on the heels comes the 100th birthday of the doyenne of British broadsheet the Daily Telegraph: legendary reporter Clare Hollingworth on October 10. She is renowned in history as the journalist who broke the news of the outbreak of World War II when she reported seeing German troops gathering on the Polish border and we anticipate an equally splendid celebration in her honour. 2
Much as I’d like to fill this column with undiluted tidings of joy, we face challenges on a number of fronts at the moment which need mentioning. With great sadness we will be bidding Chef George goodbye at the end of January, after six years of the best FCC food I can remember in two decades of membership. Most clubs expect a steady litany of moans about food from members, but the vast majority of comments received by the F&B committee about our food are glowingly positive. Chef George has proved himself endlessly creative, always able to come up with ideas for special promotions and festive menus. He will be a hard act to follow. Chan Hoi-lo, general manager Gilbert Cheng’s tireless no. 2, is also about to leave us for a short time on maternity leave. We wish her the best of luck with her second baby and look forward to seeing her back in the Club again soon. This brings me to the last meeting of the Board of Governors on August 20. As you probably all know by now – because it even eventually made the news pages of the SCMP – the waiting list for associate membership has been under discussion and review. Varying in length as it does from 170 to 200 applicants, it was decided to freeze new applications for a while, to give the current list a chance to reduce
to a manageable number before adding yet more names. At the same time, it was decided to raise the heavily discounted Associated Membership joining fee from HK$10,000 to HK$25,000 and by the same amount proportionally for corporate members. As anyone involved in the restaurant or bar business will understand, the Club currently faces intense competition for staff from hotels and other employers. Don’t be surprised if you are greeted warmly by familiar faces at the Kowloon Shangri-la, Grand Hyatt or Hong Kong Club – they are among the many hostelries that have recruited several of our long-serving staff. The thriving economy and Macau staff shortage are driving up wages and making the employment environment ever more difficult for clubs like ours. We are addressing this issue as a matter of urgency and it rams home how much we rely on our reliable and loyal staff to make the FCC the wonderful institution it is. In a month’s time we have the 10th anniversary FCC Charity Ball, featuring the Doobie Brothers, and hope that everyone who wants tickets has secured them because they are very nearly sold out. Anna Healy Fenton President
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB, HONG KONG
2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2521 1511 Fax: (852) 2868 4092 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fcchk.org The Board of Governors 2011-2012 President Anna Healy Fenton
First Vice President Douglas Wong Second Vice President Francis Moriaty Correspondent Governors Frederik Balfour, Keith Bradsher, Annemarie Evans, Tara Anne Joseph, Carsten Schael, Christopher Slaughter, Stephen Vines, Neil Western Journalist Governors Chow Wyng Sing, Jake Van Der Kamp Associate Governors Andy Chowrowsky, Thomas Crampton, Kevin Egan, Steve Ushiyama Goodwill Ambassadors Clare Hollingworth, Anthony Lawrence Club Secretary Francis Moriaty Professional Committee Co-Conveners: Douglas Wong, Keith Bradsher, Tara Anne Joseph Finance Committee Co-Conveners: Jake Van Der Kamp (Treasurer) Steve Ushiyama Constitutional Committee Convener: Kevin Egan Membership Committee Co-Conveners: Annemarie Evans, Steve Ushiyama House/ Food and Beverage Committee Co-Conveners: Andrew Chowrowsky (House) Stephen Vines (F&B) Sub-Committee (Wine) Convener: Anna Healy Fenton Press Freedom Committee Convener: Francis Moriarty Publications Committee Co-Conveners: Carsten Schael, Tara Anne Joseph Paul Bayfield (Editor)
The Ping Pong Diplomacy of 1971 once had great resonance. At the time it was “one of the critical developments of the late twentieth century” and an “international sensation”. It also led to Nixon’s historic visit to China which had been closed to the US since 1949 except for a small group of ping-pong players... and journalists. I remember seeing the Time cover story at the time and being intrigued by the possibilities. Talking to a group of younger journos the other day I mentioned Ping Pong Diplomacy and drew a blank. Clare Hollingworth, who turns 100 next month, has been an honoured fixture in the journalism world since 1939. Although a lot has been written about her exploits at various anniversaries through the years, what stands out in our cover story is a tribute to her courage...and her indifference to “shot and shell”. This issue also features the 20th anniversary of Asia Pacific Broadcasting. Central to the APV story is the constant need to update field and editing equipment. As new media develops, it is important not only to stay current but to evolve a new-media strategy. Dealing with new or social media was the topic of two stories in the July-August issue and one in the May-June issue. This trend will continue in future issues as traditional media continues to grapple with new media. It seems like yesterday that Bert’s opened, but it’s now been 14 years of great music. In that time it has become, arguably, the premier jazz venue in Hong Kong and has hosted most of the serious jazz or blues musicians who have worked in Hong Kong in that time – long may it continue.
Wall Committee Convener: Christopher Slaughter Charity Ball Committee Co-Conveners: Andrew Chowrowsky, Thomas Crampton
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Our regular column dedicated to the comings and goings of members. It is for you and about you. So just had a baby? Changed job? Got married? Should you wish your fellow members to know about changes in your life simply email email@example.com. An extremely warm welcome to new members Correspondents: Beh Lihyi, Asia Pacific Hong Kong; Nicola Burridge, PA News Ltd; Simon Cox, The Economist; Paul Garvey, The Australian; Scott Johnson, Financial Times; Chitra Somayaji, Bloomberg News; and Janice Wickeri, The Amity Foundation. Journalists: Sebastian Bitticks, Lexis Nexis; Caroline Chan Gar-Nin, Radio Television Hong Kong; Chen Yilun, South China Morning Post; Cheung Ka-Man, Apple Daily Limited; Zela Chin Shui-Hin, TVB News; James Porteous, South China Morning Post; Freelance writer Hans Schlaikier; and Elizabeth Wood, The Peak. Associates: Anthony Beaurain, Rainbeau International; Anthony Boddington, Belmont Interior Design; Florence Huang Fong-Yan, Rabo Bank; Lau Ka-Ming, McKinsey & Company; Lo Hing-Hung, Gaw Capital Advisors; Yvonne Ng, Lucretia Apparel Industries; Barrister Ian Pennicott; Robert Rowntree, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines; and Doulat Thakur, Force Manner. Corporate: Mark Bartlett, Strix (HK). We bid a fond farewell to members leaving Hong Kong: Correspondent: Krista La Rue Mahr, Time Asia. Associates: Malcom Humphreys, Gererali International. Bon voyage to those also leaving these shores but who wisely became Absent Members prior to their departure. Correspondents: Freelance Writer Marijke Den Ouden, Journalist: Freelancer Tim Pile Associates: Scott Curry, Epsilon Group; Dorothy Lau, SKHKH Welfare Council; David Nettleton, Vale International; William Tung Chung-Yin, W Falcon Portfolio Management; Phillip Walden, First American Title Insurance; David Walker, Chinese International School; Peter Walker; David Walsh, Eastlink Global; and Wu Gang, Royal Bank of Scotland. Welcome Back to Absent Members Correspondents: Jeannie Lee of Asian Palate Ltd; David Schlesinger, Reuters; and Bill M.Y. Wong. Associates: Stewart Elliott of Energy World International; Edward Lipman, The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation; Rodney Olsen, Mobilis and Michael Spivey, International Commerce Corporation Other Changes Congratulations on attaining Silver Associate status to Russell Jones, Expression. Correspondent to Associate: Michael Dunn now a Director at Golin/Harris International. Matched Well known and long-time (1974) Associate Member Peter Berry to Ira Narasinghe. Despatched We are sad to announce the deaths of Associate Members Ip Tak-Keung (1955-2011) and Dr Wong Kai-Fou (1930-2011). Their widows Nancy Ip Chang Fung-Fai and Kaye Wong have, as is the tradition, been granted Honorary Membership by the Board of Governors.
Letters to the Editor Public forum out of place The widespread acceptance of media release reporting by once proud newspapers is sadly commonplace but as journalism confronts challenges from new media on many fronts, is it appropriate for the most senior representatives of what is rapidly becoming a “one-time” bastion of sound reporting to resort to PR tactics to make a point, draw battle lines and otherwise take the internal business of the FCC to a public forum? And before the all-too easily and all-too often inappropriately deployed flag of “transparency” or “governance” is hoist it is well to remember that a board of governors and its memorandum and articles of association provide more than adequately for dealing with matters such as membership, member credentials and other member focused issues. The “How we see it” piece in the South China Morning Post, Monday 15 2011, “When the guardian blurs the lines”, smacks of opportunistic old red top or tabloid journalism, and does nothing for the cause of journalism, reporting or the standing of the FCC. If it is in the domain of fishwives, gossipmongers and dirty washing that some wish to ply their craft and sullen art then so be it, but it begs the question that if we get the leaders we vote for, do we really know for whom we vote? Andrew Dawson Hong Kong
Obsolete Training Andrew Dawson in The Correspondent (July-August, page 14) correctly noted that the line was dissolving between the public and the media. Rupert Murdoch
states that the advertising model is dead as far as media funding is concerned, and especially in regard to the print media’s former underpinning, classified advertising. Yet in many parts of the world the state-funded training schemes for would-be journalists continue unabated. The tertiary education elements seeking to preserve such a growing patch in this era of self-expression claim that the jobs still exist. But will they be ones that pay? Having failed over a long period to persuade those responsible to their taxpayers to investigate this area, we are now doing so ourselves and welcome contributions from all readers of The Correspondent. More details are on www.nationalpressclub.org.nz
hand many years ago because it was in financial dire straits and asked if we could help pitch in to pay the annual staff gratuity as a “temporary measure”. This continued for years until the treasurer had the astuteness to withdraw it a few years ago because the Club was on strong financial footing and able to meet its own legal requirements for paying the annual staff bonus. Inexplicably it has now returned like a bad dream. Some people have indicated a willingness to “go nuclear”, and call for an extraordinary general meeting to resolve issues left over from the shameful conduct of our membership committee. If mere favouritism warrants an EGM, imagine what taking real money out of members’ pockets might lead to!
Peter Isaac National Press Club Wellington, NZ
Michael Dunn Hong Kong
Gratuity levy is back
I was astonished and dismayed to open my July bill only to find that the board has somehow found it necessary to resurrect the $475 semi-annual levy for staff gratuity. Firstly this resumption was done with absolutely no consultation with the members. Secondly, despite the fact the Club is swimming in about HK$50 million in reserves, this was initiated, according to the last board minutes, because “the Club isn’t doing as well as last year”. I would like to point out to the members of the board who voted for this completely unjustified surcharge, that many of the Club’s members, particularly freelance writers and photographers, are not doing as well as last year, or the year before or the year before that. I remember clearly when the Club came to us members cap in
member Steve Vines replies: As ever Mr Dunn’s memory is at fault and he is confused over the Club’s statutory wage obligations and a gesture from members which goes over and above what forms part of the statutory pay for staff.
What are the reserves for? Our Club holds some HK$40$50 million in reserves, money that comes from members and is producing a tiny return. Putting these funds back into members’ hands, through lower prices, would be warmly welcomed. In addition to providing incentives to use the Club, lower prices would specifically reward those to spend their time making the FCC the best members’ club in Asia. Letters continued page 6 THE CORRESPONDENT
Tony Lawrence’s birthday Letters continued from page 5
But, any club sitting on such a pile of cash cannot in good conscience ask members to pony up an additional month’s subscription, to pay staff year-end bonuses. What are the reserves for? Why do we need to hold so much money? Is the Club so badly run that it cannot even meet its labour costs without coming hat in hand to the members for a top-up? Enough is enough. Either come up with a plausible plan for utilising these massive reserves, or put them to use for the benefit of members. David O’Rear Hong Kong
Correction In the last issue of The Correspondent, the standfirst to the photography column (page 32) by Kees Metselaar spelt Metsellar incorrectly with two ‘l’s. Apologies Kees.
FCC Special Interest Societies Golf Society
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Late Lunch Promo MAIN BAR & LOUNGE Monday to Thursday Excluding Public Holiday 2:30pm – 5:00pm Receive 10% discount off on Bar Menu
bash – 99 and counting When Anthony Lawrence turned 99 in August he was joined by many friends, old and new, in the Main Dining Room to celebrate his extraordinary longevity and career. These included Clare Hollingworth, who will celebrate her century in October, and other veteran correspondents Vernon Ram, Marvin Farkas, Jonathan Sharp, Sarah Monks, Mark Pinkstone, V.G. Kulkani and C.P. Ho. Tony gave a very sprightly speech that ended with the admonishment that he expected all of the same people to join him at the same place and time when he turns 100 next year. “My congratulations on nearing your ton. It is a great achievement. You have not only been one of the best journalists of modern times, but have also now spent a little longer at the crease than most. I hope you have a great celebration and that you now move steadily on for a really big score.” Chris Patten Governor of Hong Kong 1992-1997
Photographs by Bob Davis, Terry Duckham and FCC staff
Left to right: Henry Parwani, Kiri Sinclair, Geoffrey Sommers, Kevin Egan, Bonnie Angus Tsang, Kit Sinclair, Jenny May and Prudence Lui.
was last seen eagerly entering Courbald Park racecourse, Caloundra, in company with fellow ex-Star editor Peter Owen, himself no stranger to Shatin and Happy Valley racecourses.
An Eastern Saga Bob Davis
Marvin Fakas’ An Eastern Saga, the memoir of his life and times in Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s, looks set to become quite a success. Full of vivid stories and characters, the book covers Marvin’s experiences of events ranging from the expulsion of the Dutch from Indonesia to Malaysian
Scoops and bloopers of yesteryear got a fresh airing when a handful of old hands from the long-defunct Star tabloid gathered at the Hughes Room to join hostesses Kit and daughter Kiri Sinclair and other friends at a farewell dinner for former Star editor Geoffrey Somers and his wife Amy. They included ex-Star staffers Henry Parwani, Mark Pinkstone, Robert Chow and Anders Nelsson. Other pals of Geffo present included Kevin Egan, Annaleise O’Young and Prudence Lui of Kevin Sinclair
Associates, travel whiz Jenny May and Espen and Tiffany Larsen. While “Geffo” went on to become PRO for the Housing Authority, the Urban Council and other government bodies he unflichingly maintained his support for the Jockey Club throughout his 45 years in Hong Kong, and reputedly offered to donate to the Museum of History a sackful of losing betting tickets weighing approximately one cwt. He has retiried to the Sunshine Coast of Queensland where he
Geffo’s off to Oz
independence and the early years of the Vietnam war. Marvin was photographed at a recent book signing in Bookazine which included an interview with Time magazine and attracted a host of media and fans.
Off the wall
Hugel & Fils wine dinner A grand evening was had by all at the recent Hugel & Fils Wine Dinner. FCC Wine Committee designated host, Robin Lynam, introduced Etienne Hugel, directeur general of the centuries old family-owned company, who spoke about its extensive range of 8
classic Alsace wines. Bonnie Landers was one of the lucky draw winners and got to take home a bottle of Hugel’s Pinot Noir. Grand prize winner was Woo Ping Fok, who took home a bottle of Hugel’s luscious Selection de Grains Nobles.
Left to right: Bonnie Engel, Bonnie Landers and Etienne Hugel.
Wall Committee convener Christopher Slaughter with Richard Tsoi, chairperson of Amnesty International Hong Kong, and Wall Committee members Robin Moyer and Bob Grieves at the opening of the Greg Constantine and Amnesty International Exhibition, Exiled to nowhere, in the Main Bar in July.
Another birthday boy and putting green. Carefully considering his approach to the candles, Ray was heard to say, “This is one slice I want to make.” But when asked what his final score was on that auspicious day, Ray said that he had stopped counting quite a few fairways back.
Veteran FCC photographerturned-golfer, Ray Cranbourne, recently celebrated a hallmark birthday with wife Nida, family and friends in Manila. The highlight of the celebration was a carefully crafted cake topped with a confectionery golf fairway complete with hazards
Terry Duckham / Asiapix Studios
...and yet more birthday tunes Cary Abrams and friends celebrated his 57th birthday downstairs in Bert’s on the same evening as Tony Lawrence’s momentous birthday bash upstairs in the Main Dining Room. Cary has been a regular on vocals and guitar in Bert’s for the past six years, playing with Bert’s
resident band, Allen Youngblood and Jazbalaya. Born and raised in New York City, Cary holds a graduate degree from the renowned Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles. His unique guitar work has been described as “soulful, tasty and melodic“ and his bluesy vocals add a “down home” grit to the local music scene.
Clare Hollingworth, a century of conflict Clare Hollingworth, who turns 100 in October, spent her entire working life travelling the world reporting war and conflict. Clare’s great nephew and biographer Patrick Garrett charts some of the highlights of her long life.
Clare Hollingworth archive
elatively speaking, my Great Aunt Clare is a newcomer to Hong Kong. She moved here rather late in life, just as she was turning 70. That, however, was some 30 years ago now... She’d first come to Asia to cover the Vietnam War and later spent three years based in Beijing (or Peking as she would still insist on calling it) – among the first western journalists to be accredited there since the start of the Cultural Revolution. When Clare moved to Hong Kong in 1981 it was supposed to be temporary. She was researching a book Left: Society photograph taken by noted London photographer Pearl Freeman in 1931. on The Great Helmsman Right: Clare as a freelancer in the 1950s. (Mao and the Men Against Him) and had secured a research position at HKU’s Centre of Asian Studies. The tale of Clare’s début in journalism – hanging She never planned to stay, but was intrigued by the a phone out of the window to convince her boss in negotiations over Hong Kong’s future. Finally she Warsaw that the Second World War had begun – decided to sit it out until the Handover. She never left. has been told so often that her original account of Undoubtedly one reason she opted for Hong Kong those first few hours has been largely forgotten. After was the FCC. Describing the Club as a “second the call, Clare in fact admitted that she panicked home” for some members may be an old cliché. But – fearing that she had mistaken a Polish military for Clare it soon became her first home. Widowed exercise for war. It was soon clear that the fighting in 1965 she lived for journalism, and was frankly was indeed real, but it is a lesson to anyone in obsessed with following “the story”. She lived journalism that even an event as big as a world war is modestly – university accommodation at first, later not as immediately clear to those on the ground as it an unrenovated one-room flat. But in the FCC Main may seem afterwards. Bar there was always someone – local insiders, After a break back home in England to write her out-of-towners, and reporters from the twentieth first book she pitched up in Bucharest in mid-1940. century’s wars – to exchange gossip and memories. Despite the Fascist Iron Guard’s attempt to expel or
Ministry of Defence.
Above: An RAF Shackleton crew with Clare (centre) in the 1960s when she worked for The Guardian. Below: Clare with the Commander of British Forces near Tamar in Hong Kong.
... one reason she opted for Hong Kong was the FCC. Some members describe the Club as a â€˜second homeâ€™, but for Clare it soon became her first home.
Ministry of Defence
arrest her she clung on until Britain broke off diplomatic relations in early 1941. She had a few months in Turkey, and then got herself a place on the deck of a leaky old cargo ship risking the wartime crossing to Egypt. She spent the next three years reporting from North Africa and the Middle East. When the Nazis retreated from Greece, Clare sailed straight for Athens, and found herself covering the Greek Civil War. When the war ended she went to Palestine with her future second husband, Geoffrey Hoare. Together they reported on the final violent years of the British Mandate, the foundation of the state of Israel, and the beginning of the Arab-Israeli wars. The 1950s were a quiet period for Clare. She and Geoffrey moved to Paris where she covered the relatively safe spheres of politics and economics. In France Clare also dabbled in contemporary art and THE CORRESPONDENT
Ministry of Defence
Clockwise from bottom left: Clare during the India-Pakistan war in circa 1965, also with The Guardian; Clare in the 1960s next to a RAF Hunter in Aden; Clare in Beijing – or Peking as she insisted on calling it – in the mid-80s; Clare somewhere in Palestine in the 1946-49 period; Clare next to the Suez Canal in the late 60s, now with The Daily Telegraph.
Clare Hollingworth archive
also amassed a fairly reasonable property portfolio – a cabanon on a hillside overlooking the Med near Antibes, a primitive little cottage in the countryside outside Paris, and an extensive loft (way before lofts were fashionable) in the heart of the capital overlooking the stock exchange. Her husband headed the News Chronicle’s Paris bureau until 1960 when the paper folded and Clare suddenly became the breadwinner. This (conveniently) coincided with intensified fighting in the civil war in Algeria, and so she simply returned to her speciality – conflict. The stories Clare got in Algiers, and the bravery she demonstrated, actually did more for her reputation than her Second World War scoop. Having spent the past few years researching Clare’s life for a memoir I have heard numerous tales of her bravery. She often told me that she just wasn’t frightened by “shot and shell”, and that it was only getting stuck in lifts that bothered her. That, I always thought, is easy enough to say sitting in the safety of the FCC where the only danger (albeit small) is that your glass may run dry before the next refill arrives.
Clare Hollingworth archive
Clare Hollingworth archive
But having spoken to many journalists who were actually with Clare in action, and read their contemporary accounts, it really seems to have been true. Clare is just not neurologically wired for battle fear. Evolution usually works to weed out the sort of people who don’t react when faced with clear and present danger. Kids who aren’t frightened of lions and tigers or who play hijinks at great heights often fail to make it to adulthood. But not everyone fears wild animals or great heights otherwise, I suppose, circuses could not find lion tamers and tightrope walkers. A few months before I pitched up in Hong Kong, while she was on holiday in Japan, Clare’s eyesight dramatically failed. She’d never had great vision and always peered out from behind thick glasses – which probably made her interview questions seem all the
more searching. But now she was basically blind. For many people aged 85 suddenly losing their vision might have been a cue to just give up the battle. But not Clare. She continued to trot down the steps from her flat near Government House to the FCC two or three times a day, to catch up with friends, enjoy a glass or two of wine, and hear the latest gossip. During the 1997 Handover, Clare was more often the subject of the story than the reporter. Having covered the British retreat from Palestine, Suez and Aden and the military-strategic consequences of each, she made the perfect “End of Empire” icon for visiting hacks. And it really was the end of the empire for Clare. With the departure of her next-door-neighbour, Chris Patten, there was no more free swimming pool at Government House. With the closure of HMS Tamar, the British garrison on the harbour front, she lost another of her private clubs. Clare’s nineties might have been peaceful. But unfortunately there was one more battle to come. This time, though, it would play out in the Law Courts of Hong Kong and in true Hong Kong style was all about money - Clare’s money misappropriated by a trusted ‘friend’. A battle that is still unresolved. Today, Clare lives just up from the FCC with her two (truly wonderful) maids, and remains a regular at the Club. Sadly, following a suspected stroke a couple of years ago, her memory deteriorated badly. But though she looks frail, physically she is surprisingly strong. With her court attested money troubles, Clare’s finances have become increasingly tight. Now, just maintaining her modest independent lifestyle is the THE CORRESPONDENT
Ministry of Defence
Above: Clare at Carswell air force base in 1976/77. Right: Miss Clare Hollingworth of Leicester leads the way for women in 1934.
biggest battle the retired war correspondent faces. Fortunately, she still has a handful of loyal friends who help her manage in what, for someone now hitting 100, is an increasingly complex world. Researching Clare’s century has proved to be a fascinating project, though without quite imagining the full extent of her adventures I woefully underestimated the task.
Although Patrick Garrett’s memoir is nearing completion, he would still like to hear from members with stories and memories of Clare.
In her own words... Clare reports from the Polish border in 1939.
As the first light of dawn pierced the sky over Katowice on 1 September, I was awakened by explosions. Distant gunfire created a noise like banging doors. Aircraft roared over the city. More heavy explosions. From my window – it was not even 5am – I saw the bombers riding high in the sky, and looking towards the German border less than 20 miles away I saw the flash of artillery fire. There was a lightning burst in the park, then another. So the invasion was on and Britain and France were on the brink of war through their promise to defend Poland if Hitler attacked. I woke up [British Consul General] Thwaites and then dashed off to telephone Robin Hankey, second secretary at the British Embassy in Warsaw: “Robin!” I shouted. “The war has begun!”
“Are you sure, old girl?” he asked. “Listen!” I held the telephone out of my bedroom window. The growing roar of tanks encircling Katowice was clearly audible. “Can’t you hear it?” He seemed convinced and wisely advised I got out of Katowice as soon as possible. [Later, it was time to leave town...] Later in the afternoon, Polish officials asked the British and French consuls to leave with the last of their nationals. I put my typewriter and a few possessions into Thwaites’s car. We called at the French consulate, where the consul, a charming man, insisted on my taking a case of champagne for which he had no room in his car: it was to provide me with much needed refreshment later on.
Ping Pong Diplomacy, strangely, got the job done Forty years ago, a bemused group of American sportsmen were told that their visit to Beijing had opened a new page in US-China relations. Ping Pong Diplomacy was born. Also present at that occasion – and similarly stunned – was Jonathan Sharp . fashion: Premier Zhou told the Americans that their he scene: April 14, 1971, Beijing’s Great Hall of visit to China opened a new chapter in mutual relations, the People – a suitably monumental setting for marking a “recommencement of their friendship”. The an event subsequently described as being nothing American table tennis players were lost for words. less than one of the critical developments of the late Understandably, Ping Pong Diplomacy took the twentieth century. The key player in this cavernous auditorium was also a figure of appropriately imposing world by storm. The Americans’ presence in Beijing standing: Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. But the supporting cast, mostly foreign athletes who sat with Zhou in the Great Hall on that April afternoon, seemed an odd assortment to be witnessing what was undeniably a groundbreaking event. One of the sportsmen, Glenn Cowan, was demonstrably a hippie, clearly far from his natural habitat, which was geographically and culturally remote from puritanical and xenophobic Communist China. But perhaps it was the very incongruity of US President Richard Nixon toasts with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in February, 1972, in Beijing: Zhou’s audience that an “intricate minuet” – as described by Kissinger. made the occasion such a spectacular coup de theatre. alone – they weren’t called upon to do any actual Most of Zhou’s rapt listeners were players of table diplomacy – constituted an event that was described tennis, a sport that was huge in China but hardly by Henry Kissinger, President Richard Nixon’s National overwhelmingly popular in any of the athletes’ Security Advisor, as an “international sensation; it nations. The visitors hailed from several countries captured the world’s attention.” Time magazine including – crucially – the US. called it “The ping heard round the world.” The young Americans, including floppy-haired Cowan (who sadly died in 2004) was not the only Cowan, were the first officially approved US group to person in the Great Hall that day who was feeling out come to China since the Communist revolution in 1949. of his comfort zone. I was there as well, a 26-year-old The intervening years had been ones of unblinking Reuters reporter based in Hong Kong. Reuters kept a hostility. Now, the ice had been broken in dramatic THE CORRESPONDENT
AFP PHOTO / FILES
previous reports on China had reflected reality, and some had not. Neatly put. My nerves had not been improved when one of the first people to meet me in Beijing to inform me what I was, and was not, allowed to report while in China had been the same gentleman who had formally told Anthony Grey in 1967 that he was under house arrest (although that same Chinese official was not involved in one of the more ghastly acts during Grey’s incarceration: the hanging of his kitten Ming Ming in front of his face by screaming Red Guards). So how did Ping Pong Diplomacy come to pass? All that we knew at the time was that during the World Table Tennis Championship Games in Japan in March, the irrepressible Cowan had an unplanned encounter with the Chinese team and had said he hoped to visit China. An invitation was duly issued. But, as has been chronicled by Professor Xu Guoqi in his excellent work “Olympic Dreams”, there was a lot more to the build-up to Premier Zhou’s famous pronouncement in the Great Hall. China and the US had in fact been carefully probing each other out for some years. Nixon himself, his right-wing credentials and antiCommunist reputation notwithstanding, had publicly expressed an interest in healing the US-China rift. Nixon also asked the US Ambassador in Warsaw to contact Chinese diplomats. That proved easier said than done. On one occasion of high farce, US envoys approached their Chinese counterparts at a Warsaw reception to express an interest in talks, but the Chinese diplomats fled, pursued at the run by US diplomats shouting the offer to be friends in the only mutually intelligible language – Polish. On the Chinese side, as part of what Kissinger has called an “intricate minuet” by the two powers, there had been several gestures towards the US, but they had fallen on deaf ears or were misunderstood. One myth surrounding Ping Pong Diplomacy is
24/7 watch in Hong Kong on China, where we had no correspondent. The previous Reuters incumbent in Beijing, Anthony Grey, had been locked up in his house for 26 months at the height of the Cultural Revolution madness, a retaliation for the jailing of pro-Communist journalists in Hong Kong. Grey was released in 1969. Since then, Reuters had had no representative to report on events from inside the world’s most populous nation. Heading into the Reuters office in the old Gloucester Building at midnight in early April for the overnight shift, I got wind that a precious visa to travel to China – a holy grail for foreign correspondents at that time – was in the offing. By the time the shift ended I had my marching orders: collect the visa and be on the train to the Chinese border the following morning (there being no direct flights to Beijing). There, clutching a typewriter and 300 pounds sterling of Reuters’ money to cover expenses, I walked across the small covered rail bridge at Lowu that then constituted one of the more frigid Cold War barriers. One reason why such a junior operator was chosen for this trip was that I had a degree in Chinese Studies, was able to speak and read some Mandarin and hence was assumed to know a thing or two about what was going on in the famously inscrutable People’s Republic. But there were many in Reuters vastly more experienced and far better qualified for such a momentous assignment. Premier Zhou himself put me firmly in my place when, summoning me to my feet in the Great Hall, he said that some of my 16
US ping-pong players at the Great Wall in 1971.
American and Chinese ping-pong players: a ping heard around the world according to Time magazine.
that it was masterminded by Zhou, the supposed pillar of moderation in the feuding Chinese hierarchy. But it was Mao Zedong himself who gave the seal of approval to inviting the American sportsmen, a decision confirmed by the Great Helmsman late one night when he was groggy from sleeping pills. What was in it for Mao? On the face of it, the timing of Ping Pong Diplomacy seemed odd. While the worst extremes of the Union, the former ally that was now an increasingly Cultural Revolution mayhem that Mao unleashed hostile neighbour. Anti-Soviet feeling in China had in 1966 seemed to be over, there was clearly a great reached such a pitch that when Soviet Premier Alexei deal of political ferment raging in China. How Kosygin tried to call Mao over the two countries’ would radical factions react to sending invitations to hotline, the Chinese telephone operator peremptorily representatives of a nation that was still excoriated as denounced the Soviet leader as a “revisionist”, and the epitome of Imperialist villainy? hung up. That Mao was treading a wobbly political tightrope A further crucial consideration from Mao’s point became clear five months later when, in one of the more of view was that reconciliation with America could surreal events in Chinese history, former designated help bring Taiwan back into the motherland’s heir Lin Biao tried and failed to assassinate Mao. Lin fold. China had the died when the aircraft satisfaction of seeing itself he was fleeing in ran out Premier Zhou told the Americans that replacing Taiwan as the of fuel and crashed in Chinese representative Mongolia. their visit to China opened a new in the United Nations in Apart from domestic October 1971. political considerations, chapter in mutual relations, marking a Nixon, like Mao, had what would China’s to protect his political allies think of Beijing’s “recommencement of their friendship”. flanks over the China cross-Pacific initiative? initiative. Failure could Wouldn’t North Vietnam, have prompted howls engaged in a life and of outrage from every Nixon critic in the nation, death struggle with America, feel profoundly including from his own Republican Party. betrayed that one its key backers was now cosying He needn’t have worried. up to the arch-enemy? I returned to Hong Kong – still with change from In the previous month, North Vietnamese had the 300 pounds Reuters had given me, so ludicrously scored a crushing victory over America’s South cheap was China – and was back working with the Vietnamese allies who had tried and dismally failed Reuters monitoring team. Then, one morning in July to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail, an episode I had covered during a month-long assignment to Vietnam. as I was finishing the overnight shift, I noticed that the Xinhua teleprinter, normally silent at that time I witnessed the shocking sight of South Vietnamese of day, was still running a test band, as if there was soldiers, desperate to escape the rampaging North still something to announce. And there was. A brief Vietnamese, clinging to the skids of rescuing statement clattered in, tersely reporting that Kissinger helicopters. China putting out the welcoming mat to had completed a secret trip to Beijing for negotiations the Americans at such a time looked like – and was with Zhou. And Nixon had agreed to visit Beijing the taken by Hanoi as – a stab in back. But apparently for Mao, the overriding consideration following February. Ping Pong Diplomacy had done its job. was China’s need to find a counterweight to the Soviet THE CORRESPONDENT
AFP PHOTO / FILES
US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing in November 1973.
Bert’s, the home of Jazz in Hong Kong Music has played a role in life at the FCC since our days in Conduit Road, when RTHK’s Ray Cordeiro led a dance band that regularly played the Club, writes Robin Lynam . Photographs by Terry Duckham
Resident Bert’s band, Allen Youngblood and Jazbalaya at play – featuring Mark Henderson, Tom Nunan, Blaine Whittaker and Ben Pellitier on horns with resident percussionist, Larry Hammond, on drums and Allen Youngblood on keyboard.
ur emergence as arguably Hong Kong’s premier jazz venue dates back to the 1990s, when the late Larry Allen used to play piano and sing in the Main Bar and Main Dining Room on a regular basis. When Larry reluctantly retired to the United States he was succeeded, briefly, by Australian singer/pianist Ken Bennett, who was also planning repatriation. Following a chance meeting with an FCC member at the bar of Dan Ryan’s, jazz pianist Allen Youngblood called the Club to enquire about work, and was promptly hired as Bennett’s replacement. The opening of Bert’s in 1997 gave the club, for the first time, a dedicated music venue, and it was
determined that while open to other styles of music it should be primarily a jazz club. Fortunately Youngblood, now on board as Musical Director, was well connected in the local and international jazz world. Less fortunately not long after Bert’s opened The Jazz Club in Lan Kwai Fong closed. The Jazz Club, which was popular among FCC members, had provided regular employment for most of the best jazz musicians in town, Youngblood included. Once it had gone a lot of players found themselves hard up for gigs. That meant Youngblood could get the pick of them for Bert’s. It is hard to think of a serious Hong Kong jazz or THE CORRESPONDENT
FCC MUSIC Jazz divas Ginger Kwan and Jennifer Palor perform in the Main Dining Room with Guy LeClaire on guitar.
blues musician who has worked in Hong Kong over the past decade and a half who hasn’t played Bert’s, and many of them are regulars. Dave Packer, Paul Candelaria, Larry Hammond, Cary Abrams, Eugene Pao, Ted Lo, Mark Henderson, Jesrael Lucero, Guy LeClaire, Davie Colquhoun, William Tang…the list goes on. Although other venues have opened which have also helped to fill something of the vacuum the closure of the Jazz Club created – Peel Fresco, Melting Pot, Gecko and the Skylark Lounge among them – Bert’s remains Hong Kong’s best jazz bar and makes a unique contribution to supporting jazz and live music in general in the city. It also commands significant loyalty from the musicians, many of whom regard an invitation to perform at the Club as a priority booking. Major international players have also appeared at the venue, whether by prior arrangement or simply because they happened
Left: Hong Kong’s iconic jazz guitarist, Eugen Pao played to a full house at the 2006 FCC Jazz Festival. Right: Allen Youngblood on keyboard in Bert’s. 20
to be in town and had Youngblood’s phone number, as was the case with Grammy award winning saxophonist David Sanchez who sat in with the band. Take a look at the photos on the wall in Bert’s and you’ll begin to get an idea of the diversity of the artists who have performed there. “When international musicians come to town they know about the FCC and they want to play here,” says Youngblood, pointing out that that was how saxophonist Blaine Whittaker, who before relocating to Hong Kong already had a strong following in Australia, became a Bert’s regular. The three regular music nights are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesdays, according to Youngblood, are the nights musicians are most likely to try new material. On Thursdays and particularly Fridays the music is geared to the enjoyment of people letting down their hair at the end of the week, with the floor often partially cleared for dancing. “There are more sets on Fridays, and the evening builds. A lot of people like to eat here, because the food’s good, they like the cosy environment, and they like the music. We play more quietly earlier on because people are eating – not lounge music, but more subdued. Later on the energy picks up and quite often people request music to dance to,” Youngblood explains. People who like jazz, and people who play it, feel right at home in Bert’s, and in the FCC in general. Jazz musicians who have joined include guitarist Skip Moy, pianist Jason Cheng, singers Ginger Kwan and Elaine Liu, and Youngblood himself, who privately took out membership as well as holding a staff position. There are artists in other fields who have also found the place inspiring. The late Hugh Van Es, whose fine black and white study of Thelonious Monk dominates the rear wall of Bert’s, introduced his friend, painter Norman MacDonald, to the Club and its jazz bar. Macdonald immediately began sketching, and his vibrant images of the house pianist now hang on the centre rear wall. Chinese painter Dr Tang Shaoyun from Xiamen heard jazz for the first time in Bert’s, and also quickly got out his sketchpad. The sketches evolved into his fine oil painting of the band “Jazz At Bert’s”, owned by Club members Danal Blessis and Marcia Barham
FCC MUSIC Jazz singer Elaine Liu and the Saturday Night Jazz Orchestra raised the roof in the Main Dinning room during the 2005 FCC Jazz Festival.
who generously loan it to us. It hangs over the stage. Other images on the walls, besides those of jazz and blues greats such as Charlie Parker and Robert Johnson, have a story to tell pertinent to the bar. One, taken in 1989, shows Larry Allen, seated at the piano, talking to the late Bert Okuley. Bert was a former FCC president – known to many as the man who mentioned to Van Es that he’d just seen a helicopter lifting people off the roof and he might like to shoot it – but also a jazz pianist of considerable talent, which is why the bar is named in his honour. There probably aren’t many – if any – members who ever heard Okuley play. It is said that he was a perfectionist, and that having decided not to pursue his piano studies past a certain point, declined to play in public. That point must have been quite advanced. One jazz musician on the record as having admired his talent is the late Elvin Jones – best known as the drummer on several of John Coltrane’s most important recordings. Many of the signed photographs have been supplied by artists who have played at the FCC Charity Ball and other FCC affiliated charity events – among them Martha Reeves, Blondie, the Beach Boys, and Jimmy Buffet, who seemed to particularly take to the Club during his sojourn here, unwinding in Bert’s after the show with a few Top: The late Hilllary Ashe-Roy Havana Club rums. performs at Bert’s. Bert’s is not the Right: Philippine Jazz pianist, Jecrael only room in the Lucerno sits in wth Skip Moy FCC to have featured and Friends. live music. The FCC jazz festivals – among the rare events for which we open the Club to the public – have featured performances on three levels of the building, and as well as soirees with live entertainment such as the New Year’s Eve party, concert events have been held in the Main Dining Room. These have ranged from a recital by the great concert violinist John Creighton Murray, to an
evening of jazz interpretations of Motown hits featuring singers Ginger Kwan and Jennifer Palor. We have occasionally lured the Saturday Night Jazz Orchestra – fronted by Elaine Liu – from its usual home next door at the Fringe Club to the Main Dining Room, and they generally fill the floor with dancers. Eugene Pao and Ted Lo, playing their own instantly recognizable brand of full-on fusion jazz, have also rocked the place to the rafters. A small number of musicians other than Youngblood have the distinction of having played on all levels of the Club at one time or another, Ginger Kwan and Skip Moy among them. Surprisingly, they all work well acoustically. Youngblood still remembers sitting down with trepidation at the keyboard in the just-aboutto-open Bert’s to find out how the room was going to sound. Much to his relief it sounded fine. “The whole building is very good acoustically because it’s old,” says Youngblood. “I don’t know what it’s made out of, but it’s good.”
ON THE WALL
NY 10048: the World Trade Center in early 1990s Images by Gretchen So
Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn, New York, 1991.
retchen So’s exhibition of photographs of New York’s iconic Twin Towers taken in the 1990s commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists in 2001. A tribute to the American Dream, the World Trade Center complex in New York was a popular photography subject. So’s photographs reveal the artist’s fascination with the monolithic symbolism of the buildings. Most images feature the towers from remote locations in New Jersey, Queens and Brooklyn, and how the farther she went from them, the more ubiquitous their presence appeared in the skyline. She portrays the buildings not so much as an engineering marvel, but rather as omnipresent witnesses of modern life in cosmopolitan New York in early 90s, when the Twin Towers were reigning as the symbol of opportunity and success.
ON THE WALL
Main/Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, New York, 1991.
Jersey City, New Jersey, 1992.
Hay/Carder Road, Governorâ€™s Island, New York, 1992. THE CORRESPONDENT
THEN and NOW
Images by Bob Davis
Western Market, just opposite the Macau Ferry Terminal, was built in 1906 and is the oldest surviving market building in Hong Kong. This classic four-storey Edwardian structure was a food market until 1988. In 1990 it was declared a historical monument, re-opening as “The Western Market” shopping complex. The original Western Market opened in 1844.
© Bob Davis. www.bobdavisphotographer.com
1972: A busy centre of commerce standing proudly among vintage buildings, trams and traffic.
2011: The market is dwarfed by high-rise buildings and the six lane Connaught Road West Flyover.
Law reform over for China’s criminal court system Professor Mike McConville, speaking at a Club lunch, gives a chilling account of his research into the reform of China’s criminal justice system in everyday criminal cases from prosecution to verdict and sentence.
judges, 96 prosecutors, and 83 defence lawyers. hina’s judicial system is often in the news, In 1999, Zhao Zuohai, a poor farmer in a remote although largely to do with trials of dissidents village in Henan province, confessed to killing a and economic corruption cases. What happens day fellow villager and cutting off his head. “He was to day at the bottom level of the criminal justice released 11 years later not for a murder he hadn’t system is limited to miscarriage of justice stories and committed, but for a murder that executions. hadn’t taken place at all – the The image of Chinese criminal alleged victim had reappeared courts before the reform era in the village 10 years later,” were that the courts performed McConville said. the last rites over cases that were predetermined. It was verdict The confession first, trial later, according to Zhao had confessed during Professor McConville, Dean interrogation by police. of the Faculty of Law of the Securing a confession is the Chinese University of Hong major focus of police even Kong. though, under the law, their job is The reforms under the to investigate crimes and collect 1996 criminal procedure evidence to prove a criminal law attempted to ensure that suspect guilty or innocent, there are a prosecution and he said. “In fact, our research defence presenting the case, showed that no efforts had been witnesses were to be produced made by police or prosecution for examination and crossto identify evidence that was examination, and judges were to become neutral arbiters. McConville: confessions are the king of evidence. consistent with the suspect’s guilt as well as innocence.” “This was to become the first McConville said this type of step towards an adversarial confession was typical. “We found that in more than system of justice well known in the common-law 95% of the cases there was a confession made by the world,” McConville said. defendant.” And the verdict after 15 years of reform: complete While the formal law prohibits the extortion failure and in some cases far worse. “Reform through of confessions, for the police there is a strong law is over,” he said. temptation because courts can use confessions McConville used a single miscarriage of justice case however obtained. as the setting for comparison of empirical data he and “Confessions in China are described always as the his research team collected between 1996 and 2006 (with a number of follow-up visits since). The research king of evidence,” McConville said. He also cited UN reports and other research that was based on 13 different court areas involving found that torture (electric shock, cigarette burns, 1,144 prosecution case files; observation of 227 trials beating, hot and cold exposure and water torture) involving 335 defendants; and interviews with 88 THE CORRESPONDENT
remained in widespread use. “Typically where torture is used, regimes develop their own argot... and in China torture techniques are variously described as using the tiger stool, taking a jet plane, circling the pig, and putting them on a meter.” Often torture is carried out, not in jails, but in socalled black jails or black hostels that are solely in the control of the police. Police also use soft torture such as putting people into stress positions for long hours or depriving them of sleep and so on, the idea being that there is no physical trace of the torture. And only torture cases that lead to serious injury or death are reported. “In the case of Zhao, he confessed after 33 days of detention during which he was tortured by five police officers,” he said. “He was handcuffed to a chair, beaten with sticks, threatened with being shot and firecrackers exploded around his head, forced to sit on a beer bottle, forced to ingest drugs and deprived of food and sleep.” Even if a confession has been extracted by torture, allegations of torture at a trial would be unlikely because of the principle of leniency for those who confess. In McConville’s research a number of defendants claimed that their confessions had been extorted under torture. “Allegations [of torture] by defendants or occasionally their lawyers were just brushed aside. And when defendants claimed they had residual scars from torture, these were simply disregarded. In no case did any judge express concern of any kind and in no case was an inquiry undertaken,” McConville said.
The pre-trial Zhao had already been in pre-trial detention for three years. Part of the delay was that prosecutors requested supplementary investigations which the police ignored. McConville found in his research that “police regularly take advantage of their legal powers of detention for 30 to 37 days. In 20% of the cases police took up to 12 months to apply for authorisations for arrests – and in a handful of cases up to two years and beyond.” Also, it is not uncommon for prosecutors to request supplementary investigations, but police simply take no action.
The forensic evidence With Zhao there was no forensic evidence of “any probity value related to the death of the headless torso, but also there was no proof how the victim had died, an identity was simply and erroneously assumed.” Scientific or forensic evidence is not a significant feature of investigation in China except for drugs or the nature of body wounds. 26
“In general, a confession is seen as disposing of the need for thorough forensic investigation,” he said.
The trial Zhao’s trial was concluded in about 30 minutes. “Trials are rapid affairs. We found that a third of the most serious are completed in less than an hour and 80% in less than two hours,” McConville said. The court in China generally consists of a panel of three judges, although only one of those is actively involved in a case. The other two just make up the numbers and are commonly working on their own case files, on the phone, walking in and out of the courtroom, occasionally smoking and falling asleep. McConville found that a disproportionate number of defendants are migrants: 55% of those charged were migrants. “When asked questions these defendants often look around in puzzlement at what was happening.” One of the main reasons that trials are so short is that the prosecution never produces a witness. Very occasionally a victim might be in court, but usually because they are pursuing a parallel case in a suit for compensation. There are no witnesses for the defence. Requests by defence lawyers to call a witness were occasionally made, according to the research, but in all cases were dismissed by the judge.
The judge The judge does not assume the neutral arbiter role that was contemplated in 1996. “Instead the judges openly ally themselves to the prosecution; admonishing the defendants to speak louder or not to speak at all; stopping lawyers in there tracks; and making sure the prosecution hasn’t overlooked an important point,” he said. Judges approach a trial with a predisposition to convict, McConville says. They are often involved in the case before trial – they may even see victims or witnesses. They liaise closely with the prosecution and police. They may also collect evidence undisclosed to the defence prior to the trial. “The trial, therefore, though a procedural requirement, has little to do with the outcome of the case,” he said.
The defence The defence very often is wholly ineffective. McConville’s research found about 25% of defendants are not represented, whether for crimes like bagsnatching or more serious ones. “Where a lawyer has been engaged early enough, they are routinely denied access to the client in custody,” he said. “Generally we found defence lawyers were illprepared for trial and usually rely on a quick chat with the defendant and a casual glance at the
prosecution documents.” Where it gets really tricky for defence lawyers is under Article 306 of the criminal law. Any lawyer who wants to actively engage in the defence (like calling for a witness) could be prosecuted for malicious libel if they produce evidence that is contrary to what has already been secured by the police or prosecutor or defendant or witness. They can also be found to have enticed a witness to change their testimony or given false testimony. “A number of lawyers have been charged and prosecuted under this provision,” he said. “Clearly this has a chilling effect on all lawyers and the impact of it cannot be over-stressed, with many lawyers now not taking criminal cases.” Lawyers have also become a target. “Defence lawyers have increasingly joined the ranks of the disappeared,” he said. “And when they emerge they are effectively under house arrest and unwilling to talk about what happened to them. “Without a free press a cordon sanitaire has been thrown around the criminal justice system,” he said.
What will you do for your next recession? The recessionary periods of the past few years have had limited impact in this part of the world. Now the latest one heading our way, according to pundits, was largely induced through election posturing in Washington with little regard for the economic fallout.
David O’Rear “My” recession? This was handed to us by politicians in Europe and America who can’t see past the next election. So, I’ll be encouraging people to register to vote and to express their views of the recession we didn’t need to have.
Tim Huxley Hunker down and get ready to buy cheap assets. Property, stocks, ships, cars. There will be opportunities. There will be blood.
The verdict After these short trials are adjourned, the judge has to consult with either the adjudicative committee or more usually the political legal committee chaired by the local police chief. “The influence of that committee is direct. They simply tell the judge what the outcome will be, what the sentence will be. “Zhao’s case was a perfect example of this. The reason he was prosecuted – after the prosecution had held out because of insufficient evidence for three years – was because the political legal committee had directed it be undertaken,” McConville said. Paul Bayfield
Philip Nourse Fortunately, I am not receding so no immediate action required other than to visit the barbershop once a month.
Jake van der Kamp Enjoy it, that’s what I’ll do. There will be less frenzy wherever we turn, better conversation, more time on hand and people who are now so smug about how clever they have been on the stock market won’t want to bore us with market talk any longer.
Phil Whelan Anon Watch porn and take Viagra.
Can’t think of anything. “Recession” is a significant step UP for me !!!
Asia Pacific Vision: 20 years of great stories Asia Pacific Vision is not only marking 20 years of filming terrific stories, but is also celebrating its success in keeping ahead of the technology curve to stay current and competitive in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.
efore APV there was a two-man show of documentaries when and where we could.” cameraman Mark Erder and reporter Adrian Chris Slaughter, who joined the company in 2005, Brown, who cut their teeth as a team in the first Gulf as managing director and executive producer, said: War for UK-based TV-am. “In my mind the company has a pedigree of news Erder, who joined TV-am in 1988 from ITN, and documentaries, which we continue to do even if formed APV with Brown in 1991. The company had the audiences are different and maybe the clients are a flying start when it was able to buy field and editing different. The kind of documentaries have changed equipment from TV-am’s Hong Kong bureau. “We but they remain informed story-telling.” convinced them they For APV there have would save the cost of been a number of shipping it back to UK,” defining moments that Erder said. “So they often became turning would save money by points for the business. selling the equipment to The first of these us.” was that soon after the They started by offering company was formed, a freelance packages number of broadcasters (research, writing, wanted to set up in shooting and editing) to Hong Kong to cover the likes of CNN, Channel the lead-up years to the 9 (Australia), Sky and the 1997 handover. The early days of CNBC. “At broadcasters included Adrian Brown and Mark Erder with the Dalai Lama: defining the time there were very CNN, the AWSJ start-up, few doing this in Asia and moments. the CNBC start-up and the maybe two others in other parts of the world. And Fox start-up, “we helped in the kick-off of all those from this we built the company,” Erder said. channels until they could do it for themselves,” Erder APV was an interesting but unlikely coupling. said. A few of them still outsource occasionally so “Adrian with his love for news and mine for APV is still working with them providing crews and documentaries. We had to work on finding the equipment. balance and make it work. When the handover arrived in 1997, APV had been “The reality is this company would never selected to manage the press and broadcast centre, have come into being if it wasn’t for Adrian. His which involved 160 staff servicing some 80 to 90 involvement was crucial to the development and print and broadcast media. The two-man show had growth of the company,” Erder said. “He, as one come a long way in six years. of the best TV foreign correspondents around, “The other defining times began when after buying enabled us to get CNN, Sky and Channels 9 and 7 in the equipment from TV-am we were doing our first Australia taking our stories. work for CNN out of Atlanta,” Erder said. “Next “In those days the emphasis was on news, which was proving ourselves in Manila in 1991 [Mount provided the backbone of the company. We also did Pinatubo eruption] where we worked for competing 28
news outlets – the likes of Channel 9 and 7 in Australia, WTN and Reuters – by keeping a firewall between them without seepage. We showed it could be done and got respect for that and continued to get work on that basis.” Next were the Bangkok riots in May 1992. “We were one of the few companies that got footage of the beginning of the riots [in Sanam Luang square] and when the military opened up on the students,” he said. “So broadcasters from Australia to the UK and the US were all given access to that footage. It was an important turning point for us.” At the same time, APV began what was to be a five-year project (1992-97), filming Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and Hong Kong events throughout the period for Jonathan Dimbleby’s film The Last Governor. One of the conditions for that contract was confidentiality, which APV kept, much to the chagrin of family and friends. Mark Erder films Jimmy Lai as the first issue of Apple Daily rolls. Then there was the 1998 economic meltdown, SARS in 2003, and the Harbourfest exercise where APV was part of the Later manufacturers in the industry began to reselling of Hong Kong to the world. produce purpose-made travel-ready gear – smaller One of the more dramatic events in the life of APV and tougher cameras and editing packs. “We could was the theft of millions of dollars of production only do so much to keep up without a large capital equipment in 2006. “The thing about it is that it investment,” he said. demonstrated the loyalty of the staff,” Erder says. “The next business model we adopted came “We were on the ropes. The impact it had financially through a friend who invested in a lot of equipment. and on morale was huge. But we pulled together Through this we could tap into his resources. He and managed to deal with the loss in a remarkably would then rent out his gear through us and we had short period of time. We also had great support from this gear at our disposal. He also constantly updated friends, colleagues, former employees, freelancers and his equipment, which kept us right on the edge of rival production companies.” whatever was needed.” For Slaughter, who joined APV just before this “Video production in the past 10 years has been crisis, the theft of the equipment came at a critical hugely innovative with almost constant change,” juncture for the company. “Had there not been a sense Slaughter said. “APV dealt with this by owning of community and understanding on the part of our equipment themselves and by selective purchasing business partners we would have gone under,” he said. that enabled, for example, satellite feeds when few others had the capability at the time.” Technology curve During the second Gulf War, using a fly-away The story of APV is also about the changing face satellite disk that required a truck load of equipment of technology and striving to stay modern and – a kind of moving base station – that followed current. In fact, the whole production industry is British soldiers in Iraq enabled the APV crew to a constantly moving target, from satellite uplinks uplink stories each day. This satellite news gathering to transmission via the Internet. Then later, as the (SNG) was also used in Afghanistan. digital world evolved, the company has become “In 2004 we sold the fly-away disk equipment and increasingly involved in video feeds to websites and got out of the SNG business, although we continued various social media. to send satellite uplinks from our office in Hong When APV started out with the TV-am equipment, Kong,” Slaughter said. “It was about a year later that it was in a unique position in Asia in that it could we did our first serious transmission of a reporter’s do its own stories as well as service broadcasters’ package via the Internet. equipment needs. “As well as owning the equipment “We watched that and realised that this is where rather than hiring, the gear was almost permanently the business is going – and that is exactly where it has travel-ready to enable instant response to stories gone. And we knew we would have to keep thinking around Asia for their clients, which made a huge of that and how it was going to continue to change.” difference,” Erder said. This also highlights how the news business THE CORRESPONDENT
has changed as well. When APV started it was at opportunities – not a documentary in the strictest a different time, a different media marketplace sense but still journalism, story-telling and filmand a different media audience – people still read making. “This can mean a story may take six months newspapers and magazines and still watched TV to plan, four years to shoot with a 30-minute news. “It’s not that way any more and the entire media programme at the end of it. News is no longer a industry has fragmented as burgeoning online media 90-second package on the 6pm news. continues to eat our lunch,” he said. “What is remarkable is that much of what we “It has changed the way we do things. We still watch now is seen on a computer screen – probably work with broadcasters, shoot footage and put more than on a TV screen,” he said. together packages, but not as much as we used to. We used to talk about multi-media and convergent The days of putting together story packages from all media. It’s now just media with no differentiation over Asia where half a dozen media outlets would whether its text, or video, or music or film, it all lives snap up the stories are gone,” now on your computer Slaughter said. screen. The media outlets have scaled back further, The people according to Erder, and we Doing big stories and see one-man bands (writing, dealing with technology presenting, filming, editing) are one side. The other is being hired not just by the about the people. “APV channels, but organisations has been very fortunate that have their own news. over the years in that we This has happened with hired really great people,” many of the channels. Erder said. “We have had “It’s not a problem, it’s a number of cameramen, just different from what it reporters, editors, used to be,” Slaughter said. production people who Chris Slaughter, who joined APV in 2005, with Chris Patten. “There used to be a market have come through our for an independent news agency like APV, and now doors over the years. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to know the market has changed.” you have worked with these people and then see them To illustrate how much the market has changed, move on to interesting things.” Erder talked about the casual freelance market. In People like Justine Fong, who started as an intern, years gone by, if a tourist saw a plane crash off the went on to become production coordinator, then coast of Africa and filmed it, and then sold exclusive production manager, then general manager. She is now rights to the video to a TV channel, you could be paid running production services for Bloomberg in Asia. US$15,000-$20,000. Today, there are so many other Erder referred to a business friend who criticised ways of getting images from phones and other devices APV by saying the company was based on a lifestyle that go out on the Internet long before it would reach proposition rather than a financial proposition a TV channel – and have no economic value. and that it was not a good model for a successful “News channels are using images from those business. “However, in many ways it was a good devices that 10 years ago they would not dream of model,” he said. using such footage,” Slaughter said. “And now even “APV was first and foremost all about doing what I tourist cameras can produce professional quality. enjoyed doing, with people I enjoyed doing it with. This is the reality of the change we have learned It was much more about that – and the stories, the to accommodate with new media. At the same travel and the interaction. It was not about creating time there is still no substitute for the quality of a company that I could flip – that was never what I professionalism, whether using an amateur camera or was about and certainly not what Adrian is about. the full deal IMAX film camera.” We wanted a company whose work we were proud Re-invention is the name of the game, but it needs of and made us comfortable – not just economically, to be kept in balance in the types of work APV does, but comfortable in our skins.” according to Erder. “News is being redefined, the For Slaughter, “It’s about passion. We consistently business model is redefined, and so are we,” he said. adhere to the values APV stands for: doing it the right “So we might do news one day for Channel 9 or 7 way and doing it well whatever the project, whether in Australia, and next day do internal news for a it’s a web video or a major documentary. We are not corporate client, and the next day media training for a the hippest kids on the block, but we are dedicated government body, and the next day a documentary.” to our craft and that always shows.” For Slaughter the biggest change for APV has been the growth of long-form factual entertainment Paul Bayfield 30
Malaysia’s long-delayed FCC finally opens It’s been in the planning for decades. And despite being cleverly knocked on the head once by Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, Kuala Lumpur finally has its own Foreign Correspondents Club, writes Luke Hunt .
alaysia is experiencing something of a media renaissance, the club’s first president, Romen Bose of Agence France-Presse, said after the inaugural meeting was held at the Equatorial Hotel. “The idea of a foreign correspondents club in Malaysia is not new in that several groups had tried over the years to get one set up and many had gone as far as having initial meetings and an executive committee drawn up, but were unable to get permission from the authorities. “The last time a group of journalists tried to set one up was in 1992 when then AFP bureau chief Mervin Nambiar and a group of very senior correspondents had banded together to push for the club to be set up, but the powers that be refused to allow its formation,” he said. Online media is flourishing in this country and challenging a repressed mainstream press, and Prime Minister Najib Razak more recently has bowed to media reports and announced an inquiry into alleged electoral irregularities, the source of violent rallies in the capital in early July. In doing this he conceded the government’s censorship of an article in The Economist
AFP PHOTO / FILES
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wants to engage foreign media.
Foreign correspondents have traditionally found this country difficult territory in which to operate and are often widely disliked by local journalists who are coerced into toeing a management line
on the Bersih protest rally was ineffective and promised to review his country’s censorship methods. “If the international media wants to criticise us, let them. If we need to, we engage them. We give our side of story, and if they have crossed the line, then we have to resort to legal means,” he said. Foreign correspondents have traditionally found this country difficult territory in which to operate and are often widely disliked by local journalists who are coerced into toeing a management line while the outsiders are free to report as they see fit. This is largely because newspaper owners require a licence to publish which must be renewed each year, resulting in coverage which is heavily selfcensored and primarily used to support government policies. “For too long, it was an easy out to say that the foreign media were not reporting the ‘real story’ or were ‘twisting facts’ or were ‘pro-opposition’, when the reality of the matter was that the government newsmakers were unwilling or unable to engage foreign correspondents to provide their side of the story,” Bose said. As the paperwork from THE CORRESPONDENT
previous FCC bids languished on the mahogany desks of bureaucrats, one senior journalist was once pulled aside by Mahathir. Dismayed, the then prime minister asked: “Why do you want to establish a Foreign Correspondents Club here, when if you have any problems you can always come and talk to me personally.” It possibly never dawned on the leader that such cosy relations between the media and the executive arm of government were considered an anathema to foreign journalists who were also disturbed by the sycophantic relations encouraged by the government and state-linked press. Clubs elsewhere have been well established in Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and even Cambodia for decades and have emerged as an integral force within their local communities. Bose said the FCCM would provide a conduit to government and opposition leaders to get their views across to the international community and to help foreign media in Malaysia get a better and more comprehensive understanding of issues facing the country. “I am heartened by the prime minister’s commitment to engaging the foreign media by allowing the formation of the FCC and what we want to see now are greater steps by officials in his administration to fully utilise this new conduit to the majority of foreign correspondents in the country,” he added. This change in attitude is refreshing. Najib has also shifted his country closer to the West, establishing ties with the Vatican, moved to support US sanctions against Iran, entered a deal on refugees with Australia and attempted to improve relations with its former colonizers in Britain. Malaysia, however, has also sent mixed signals to the international community in recent months after the country’s bureaucracy deported two lawyers. William Bourdan, who was representing a Malaysian human rights group in a French investigation into the US$1.1 billion sale of two submarines to Malaysia, was sent back to Paris after arriving here to meet with clients. This was followed by the deportation of British lawyer Imran Khan who had arrived here to defend a group of ethnic Indian activists who claimed they were being discriminated against. His stay lasted 12 hours. “Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in how the FCC will engage the government,” Bose added. “What we are hoping for is a good relationship with all sides so that the FCC is seen as a foundation upon which a frank and open exchange of views and ideas can take place and where everyone develops a better understanding of the other side.” Luke Hunt is a founding member of the FCCM. 32
McBeth and the old guard Candid and refreshing storytelling from one of the old guard of journalism, writes Luke Hunt .
or the past four decades New Zealand journalist John McBeth has been a familiar face on the region’s media landscape. As a reporter he earned his stripes the old fashioned way, starting out on his hometown newspaper before making his way to the mastheads of Asia. Throughout, the affable Kiwi covered Thai coups, North Korea’s nuclear programme, Cambodian refugees and terrorist plots in Indonesia, earning himself a reputation as a frank and more than able journalist. In Reporter: Forty Years Covering Asia, McBeth’s storytelling is as candid and refreshing as it is honest. He sees himself as very much a part of the region’s old guard of journalism, spinning tales that go handin-hand with the great friendships he struck up along the way. People like Australian combat cameraman Neil Davis, New Zealand reporter Kate Webb, Dutch photographer Hugh van Es and English scribe Donald Wise are familiar names to many who have worked Southeast Asia whether inside the media or not. He deals with politically correct American media bosses, the whims of insufferable political autocrats who rule this region and those who must endure them. McBeth also takes a steady aim at celebrity journalist John Pilger – who as an Australian working in London has scored himself a regular meal ticket by writing about Asia. McBeth caught a ship to Southeast Asia in 1970 where he initially worked for the Bangkok Post then the Far Eastern Economic Review during its heyday as a correspondent from Bangkok, Seoul, Manila and finally Jakarta. The Review closed six years ago, and since then he has been a regular columnist for The Straits Times in Singapore. Many of McBeth’s best efforts come from Thailand. Of the strife of recent years, he says the power-
holders have relied on the monarchy as convenient arbiter for far too long. “As a result, a country that has historically prided itself on compromise and bending with the wind to fend off colonial powers has never developed the sort of institutional mechanisms to deal with its own internal problems,” he wrote. “Given the dramatic events of early 2010, the myth of a united people, so central to the ideology of the Thai state, has dissolved into the reality of serious social and ethnic divisions.” Among his most engaging stories was the crash of a Cathay Pacific flight over Vietnam in 1972, with 81 people on board. McBeth’s account is tremendously convincing, piecing together the evidence that persistently pointed to one man, Thai police lieutenant Somchai Chaiyasut. All the forensic evidence supported the theory that the blast came from a seat occupied by a pretty coffee shop hostess Somwang Prompin who was travelling with the seven-year-old daughter of the police officer, Sonthoya Chaiyasut. The pair were on their way to Hong Kong for a shopping trip. In court Somchai would deny he had loaded C4 into Somwang’s cosmetic case and argued: “How could I kill my own daughter?” He had taken out two insurance policies on both girls shortly before the flight took off. The court accepted a bomb was placed on board but stunned all by finding Somchai not guilty, probably because a Thai judge simply could not believe a Thai would do that to his own daughter. Somchai collected millions off the insurance company and moved to the US. Two years later he returned, with terminal cancer and died. For him this may have been a good thing. According to McBeth: “...bringing belated closure for airline staff and relatives, some of whom had seriously toyed with the idea of hiring a hitman to kill him.” In comparison to Thailand, McBeth says Indonesia has done well in its transition to a democracy over the past 10 years. But reservations persist particularly in regards to the impunity enjoyed by the country’s elite families and those linked to the military. “While the new legislators are generally younger and better educated they have shown by their behaviour that they are little different from their predecessors. To me that is the most disturbing trend of all,” he adds. He also singles out academics and journalists who were disbelieving of the carnage being committed by Pol Pot after his band of ultra-Maoists took control of Phnom Penh in 1975, despite the overwhelming evidence of atrocities committed. “Some journalists, particularly Der Spiegel correspondent Tiziano Terzani and the Far Eastern Economic Review’s Nayan Chanda, took the view that what we were hearing were gross exaggerations,
John McBeth with AFP reporter and close friend Joe di Rienzo and his Vietnamese-born wife, Wandee, on the set of Academy-Awardwinning The Deer Hunter in 1977.
as did a whole school of Western academics headed by Ben Kiernan, Gareth Porter and Michael Vickery,“ McBeth wrote. Terzani later apologized for being wrong. The first journalists to go out on a limb and report the true extent of the atrocities were Australian journalist Bruce Louden, who was then working for The Daily Telegraph in London, and Anthony Paul, who was a roving editor for the US edition of Reader’s Digest. Neil Davis was also well versed in what the Khmer Rouge were capable of. Much of the information gleaned came from Cambodian refugee camps established near the Thai border and from the French embassy in Bangkok. “Looking back now I wish the sceptics had been present at our hour-long interview with sun-wrinkled peasant farmer Lamout Chhoun and his wife, who lost five of their eight children on a desperate fourday trek to Thailand,” McBeth writes. My only criticism of Reporter is McBeth’s stereotyping and his assumptions of young journalists as being of not quite the same calibre as he and his peers. That and his distaste for the digital era had him sounding a bit too much like a grumpy old man, which he is not. In his own words: “I’ve always frowned on the common perception of a reporter as hard-nosed and cynical. Lose your humanity, lose your ability to shed a few tears and you also forget how to empathise. We should all be able to write from the heart.” Touché. Reporter will find an instant audience for anyone interested in Southeast Asia and the media, but it should also find wider interest among the many who consider themselves students of the region. Reporter: Forty Years Covering Asia John McBeth ISBN-10: 9810873646 ISBN-13: 978-9810873646 400 pages price US$28.96 THE CORRESPONDENT
Funny, surreal and sometimes sober Hadley, newsroom hack and friend of aspirant James Bond, knows Hong Kong from top to bottom, writes
Jonathan Sharp .
ou get a hint of what’s in store in Hadley, Nick Macfie’s hugely entertaining debut novel, in the book’s first paragraph: the word “hangover” appears three times. And one of those hangovers is “Lion Rock-sized”, so we know where the book is set. Then there’s this: “…the FCC is full of lawyers, fund managers and middle-aged women wearing lots of jewelry, with the odd, old hack propping up the bar, pressing his claim that he was one of the characters in The Honourable Schoolboy,” the John Le Carre novel that immortalised the old FCC home in Sutherland House. So is Hadley a weary tale about drunken hacks in Hong Kong? Macfie has certainly known a few. He spent 14 years based here, starting at The South China Morning Post and ending up at Reuters. (He is now with Reuters in Singapore following a six-year stint in Beijing). The novel’s hero, if that’s the right word, is a cynical, careworn British journalist, Hadley Arnold. Like many in his profession, he is consumed with self-doubt, fed up with the ignorance of his peers and the crassness of his superiors. Nevertheless he clings on, albeit sometimes tenuously, to what he regards as ethical journalistic practices. He toils at the Hong Kong desk of a news agency with the improbable name of Shrubs. The book’s episodes set in the Shrubs newsroom may strike a chord or two among FCC members. So is Shrubs a lightly warmed over version of Reuters? Not really – although one of the more priceless cock-ups in Reuters’ recent history does get a mention: a computer spellchecker transformed the name of the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, into “Jingo Semen”. The novel’s storyline ranges far beyond Hong Kong and a seedy newsroom, It’s a zany, sometimes surreal, but very funny tale that sends us to eastern England’s Fen country (the book makes it sound utterly disagreeable) and to war-torn Sri Lanka, which 34
Macfie also knows well as he was Reuters’ bureau chief there. Outside the newsroom, Hadley is employed by a sinister, pony-tailed American who calls himself a “casting agent” and who is utterly determined to destroy the reputation of an actor thought likely to be the next movie James Bond. The link with Hadley is that the actor happened to be Hadley’s schoolmate, although by no means a chum. So there are lots of references to Bond and other movies. The book truly is, as one of the book cover blurbs says, “a must for any film buff”. Author Macfie shows he knows his Hong Kong well, from the otherworldly atmosphere of The Peak to Wanchai sleaze bars. Hong Kong from top to bottom, so to speak. But the book’s great pleasure is the dialogue, which is often hilarious and is spot on in catching people’s strangled inarticulacy: the chronic inability of so many to communicate adequately – even when sober. Incidentally, I gather from Graham Earnshaw, Macfie’s former boss and now his publisher, that it is unusual for journalist authors to write good dialogue; it’s not something they often have to do in their day job. So I warmly recommend Hadley. It has had a long gestation period, with much re-working. But the jokes and wit are still fresh, the atmospherics authentic, so the wait has been entirely worthwhile.
Hadley By Nick Macfie Earnshaw Books ISBN 978-988-19090-9-1 200 pages HK$156
George P. Landow
Reciprocal clubs in Singapore By Robin Lynam
was chatting recently in the Main Bar with a friend and fellow club member about a visit to Singapore I made in July. I mentioned how extraordinarily welcome Karin and I had been made to feel by the general manager, staff, and several members of the Singapore Cricket Club. All were total strangers, who once we had been identified as visitors nevertheless made it their business to make us feel at home, and I was wondering what the odds were of a visitor to the FCC from an overseas reciprocal club getting the same sort of treatment. “I travel all the time,” he said, “but it never occurs to me to check out what reciprocal clubs there are where I’m going. I suppose I really should.” So should we all. It is always worth asking the office for an introduction card to the clubs with which we have reciprocal arrangements in so many cities and towns worldwide. Apart from the opportunity they often afford to make friends quickly in an unfamiliar environment, they often offer – as do we – much better value and service in their bars and restaurants than outlets not geared to looking after a membership card-carrying clientele. I have written about the Singapore Cricket Club in this column before, so I won’t dwell on it except to say that walking in with no special expectations I had as good a Friday night at their bar as on any FCC Zoo Night I can remember. You should go, but it is not by any means the only reciprocal facility in the city open to us.
Altogether there are five – not counting two journalists’ associations which have no premises of their own, but which organise functions which visiting Journalist and Correspondent members are welcome to attend, and which can help effect introductions to professional colleagues. The Aranda Country Club offers luxurious hotel-standard accommodation as well as a range of bar, restaurant, and sports and recreational facilities, including a swimming pool and an outdoor jacuzzi. The Ceylon Sports Club was established in the 1920s for immigrants from what is now Sri Lanka, and retains the field-sports focus that provided its original raison d’etre. The club’s very modestly priced South Indian and Singaporean menu is another attraction, if you happen to be in the Balestier Road area. The Hollandse Club, like the Aranda Country Club, offers very comfortable accommodation, and its centrepiece is a magnificent half-Olympic sized swimming pool, with bar facilities. There are five other bars and restaurants to choose from. If your trip is for business rather than leisure you could well find the Executives’ Club useful, if not as a home away from home, as an office away from your office. In the heart of the business district – also just a short walk from the Cricket Club – it provides conference room and business centre facilities as well as food and beverage services. Among the other advantages they confer, the range of reciprocal
clubs available in Singapore – and given the usual three days notice the office will issue you with introduction cards for all of them if you so wish – mean it is perfectly possible to enjoy the sort of facilities most travellers pay for in expensive hotels while staying in much more modestly priced accommodation. Book early enough and you might even be able to stay at the Aranda or Hollandse club. Thoughts to bear in mind when you plan your next trip. And shouldn’t we try to make our overseas reciprocal visitors feel just as welcome at our bar?
Singapore Cricket Club Connaught Dr.,Singapore 179681 Tel: 65 6338 9271 www.scc.org.sg Aranda Country Club 60 Pasir Ris Dr. 3, Singapore 519497 Tel: 65 6584 6811 www.arandaclub.org.sg Ceylon Sports Club Singapore 101 Balestier Rd., Singapore 329678 Tel: 65 6297 1009 www.cscsingapore.org.sg Hollandse Club 22 Camden Park, Singapore 299814 Tel: 65 6464 5225 / 65 6461 1139 www.hollandseclub.org.sg The Executives’ Club 65 Chulia Street, OCBC Centre #33-01, Singapore 049513 Tel: 65 6532 4827/8 www.the-executives-club.org.sg
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