Club Lunch – Hilton Cheong-Leen: First Chinese “Mayor” of Hong Kong
Date: 5 Sep 2022 12:30 PM — 02:00 PM | Venue: Dining Room
Hilton Cheong-Leen: First Chinese “Mayor” of Hong Kong
|Hilton Cheong-Leen was a legend in Hong Kong’s modern history. Born in British Guiana in 1922, he moved to Hong Kong at nine with his family. He then attended La Salle College and witnessed the city’s transformation from a regional entrepot to an international financial centre, first as a businessman and later as an advocate for civic rights, wider political participation and social justice. His contribution had once earned him the title as the “Mayor” of Hong Kong when he was elected in 1981 as the first Chinese chairman of the Urban Council since its inception almost a century ago. He co-founded the Hong Kong Civic Association in 1954, the longest surviving political organisation in town, and led the first walkout in the Urban Council to protest the government’s procrastination in implementing political reform in 1970. Former Hong Kong Governor David Wilson described him as a passionate advocate for improving the lives of Hong Kong people. Cheong-Leen passed away in early 2022 at the age of 100, using the Chinese tradition of counting age. He died just before the publication of his memoir, Hilton Cheong-Leen: First Chinese “Mayor” of Hong Kong, the autobiography he co-authored with Gary Cheung and Oliver Chou. Moderated by FCC President Keith Richburg.
Gary Cheung has covered politics, education, and integration between Hong Kong and mainland China since the early 1990s as a reporter for Sing Tao Daily, Overseas Chinese Daily, Yazhou Zhoukan, the South China Morning Post and became assistant editor-in-chief of Ming Pao Daily News in 2017. He is the author of Hong Kong’s Watershed: The 1967 Riots and its Chinese edition won the Hong Kong Book Prize co-organised by RTHK and the Hong Kong Publishing Federation in 2013. This summer, he has published two other books: Secrets from the British Archives: Hong Kong and its Post-Colonial Future and Fifty-year History of the Society for Community Organisation. He currently works at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as the chief editor of its communications and public relations office.
Oliver Chou holds a PhD in music history from the University of Hong Kong and taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He is the author of award-winning History of Central Philharmonic Orchestra (1956–1996), Music in a Bygone Era: Music Development in Hong Kong 1930s–1950s, and a biography on maestro Yan Huichang, artistic director of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. He currently serves as a member of the advisory committee of the School of Music at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and a columnist in Yazhou Zhoukan, Ta Kung Pao and Hi-Fi Review. In 2010, the Hong Kong Government conferred him with a medal for “making outstanding contributions to the development of arts and cultural activities”.