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Introducing… FCC new members, July 2019

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

Jonathan SparksJonathan Sparks

I started my working life as a sailor before settling down to 20 years working in Japan prior to coming to HK. My job in IT outsourcing as managing director of Emerge 360 HK Ltd is about as far as you can get from my passion for outdoor sport – skiing, trekking, triathlons, road cycle racing, motorbike touring – other than synchronised swimming, if it is active and outdoors, I will do it. Coming full circle, I am preparing to head back to sea in an aluminium yacht capable of sailing into icy waters in high latitudes. So learning to sail well is now occupying much of my time.

Pete KoveosPete Koveos

I moved to Hong Kong a year ago, and currently work at TVB News as a producer. I previously lived in Beijing and Vancouver, and have covered three Olympics in my journalism career. Like most journalists, I am curious by nature, yet pedantic with facts. I am in a constant battle to eat better, yet be social, and try new food hotspots. I once finished second at a high school spelling bee, but now I can’t function without spell check. When I am not working, I try to go to the gym and check out my new city. I will accept any good restaurant recommendations.

Suhas BhatSuhas Bhat

I am an Indian journalist covering corporate finance for a readership of corporate treasurers and CFOs with Haymarket Media. Previously, I wrote for a sports broadcaster (FOX Sports Asia) in Singapore. I am an alumnus of the journalism school at the University of Hong Kong (JMSC) and the National University of Singapore. I grew up in Southeast Asia and I’m looking to further my career here and find new perspectives. I am interested in South Asian affairs and I care a lot about minorities. I believe a lack of diversity over the years within most organisations in Hong Kong has contributed to a parochial understanding of South Asians. I also perform as a storyteller, write science fiction short stories and I love to watch TV shows that show the commonality of human experiences in different cultures.

Lai Sheung Louise WongLouise Lai-Sheung Wong

Having been a journalist for over 20 years, I am the publisher of Next Magazine. I spent my childhood in the rural area of Hong Kong and loved cycling to explore villages. There was no boundary in my little world. I picked lychees in summer and dug yams in winter. I had various kinds of animals as pets such as pigeons, dogs, rabbits, and silkworms. At that time, I met many foreigners who came to visit the border area in Lok Ma Chau to see what Communist China was like. When I was a teenager, I day-dreamed of travelling after reading the book Around the World in Eighty Days. Joining the FCC allows me to meet different people from around the world now.

Neil CarabineNeil Carabine

I am a partner at King & Wood Mallesons and have practised law in Melbourne, Sydney and London. My wife Bernie and I arrived in Hong Kong four years ago (spending most of it on the FCC waiting list)! We are very pleased to be joining the FCC. This is a critical time for Hong Kong. The FCC is a shining light in protecting freedom of speech and of journalism, in ensuring that the Basic Law and Bill of Rights are more than words on a page. The recent police raid on ABC headquarters in Sydney shows that eternal vigilance is needed, even in liberal Western democracies. As a public policy nerd I will be very pleased to be in the midst of robust FCC debates on issues as varied as Brexit and One Country Two Systems.

Gayatri BhaumikGayatri Bhaumik

I took my first flight at 10 days old, which perhaps explains why I’m now a travel and lifestyle writer. This is my third stint in Hong Kong and I’ve just been appointed group editor at Artemis Communications, where I oversee several publications. Before this, I worked in digital marketing in Melbourne, pursued an MSc in Economic History at the London School of Economics, and spent 12 years in Bangkok. Off-duty, I can be found reading spy novels, listening to country music and trying Hong Kong’s newest restaurants.

Mary HoMary Ho

I started my “slash” career two years ago. I am an academic, research consultant, and impact analyst. Juggling my time around these jobs is the biggest challenge but gives me the biggest joy when projects are completed and students don’t complain. What do I teach? Business ethics and social responsibility, probably the toughest course to teach at any business school. Other than my several jobs, I picked up a new hobby – Muay Thai (Thai boxing). I have trained for one year now but am definitely still an amateur.


Deepa JivanDeepa Jivan

Born in London and having spent most of my adult life in London, it was a big change to move to Hong Kong seven years ago. I am, however, very happy to call Hong Kong my home now. Like most things in Hong Kong, my husband imported me in! I have re-established my business here, where we design, develop and deliver hobby/craft/stationery products to retailers all over the world. My team and I have the best jobs in the world creating fabulous products. I am also a partner in an F&B distribution business. I am part of the Women’s Foundation Mentoring 18-19 Cohort, I enjoy hula hooping, have started playing the piano again and have a love for earrings and collect Swatch watches.

Stanley NgStanley Ng

Toronto Raptors v Golden State Warriors 4 ORACLE 105-92 is not a court case I worked on as a civil law advocate called to the Hong Kong Bar. Rather, it stands for the scores for Game 4, which I am so proud of. My strong bonding with the Jurassic town started in my teens, which eventually got me my first degree in Philosophy, and tied me (not “down”☻) to my wife Carey. If at the FCC you run into a “kidult” of my height, or even taller as he insists is the case, stomping his iPhone with his fingers, and mostly on the Fortnite screen, that is our son Sean. Though it has been a bit of a wait to be part of the FCC community, we are finally here and look forward to meeting you all. By the time this is published, the Raptors would have already made history… fingers crossed.

Laurence TanLaurence Tan

I was born and raised in Singapore and have been living in Hong Kong for almost seven years, working as a photo editor while documenting daily life through my own lens in Hong Kong and during my travels on a backpack or biking on a two-wheeler. My first visit to Hong Kong was around 16 years ago, travelling from Hong Kong to Singapore overland. I have found it fascinating touring through border towns since then, spending the past few years exploring Central Asia.


Carol LaiCarol P. Lai, PhD

I started to join the profession in the mid-1980s, covering the 1989 Beijing student movement and June 4 massacre in Beijing. I also witnessed and covered the handover of Hong Kong sovereignty in 1997, while elected as the chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association. In 2007, my book entitled Media in Hong Kong, Political Change and Press Freedom 1967-2005 was published by Routledge. Apart from hosting a weekly talk show, Good Morning HK on Radio Free Asia, teaching at the journalism centre, HKU, and writing profiles for Apple Daily, I enjoy interpreting for Buddhist masters. My interests include Tibetan Buddhism and yoga. I am currently writing on media and civil society, the case of Hong Kong and China.

Austin RamzyAustin Ramzy

I’m a reporter with The New York Times. I grew up in the midwestern United States, and first visited China as a student in 1996. I moved to Hong Kong in 2003, when I worked for TIME Asia, then spent eight years in Beijing and Taipei before returning in 2014. Cycling is my favourite pastime, but in recent years I’ve taken up running as an escape from Hong Kong traffic. I ran my first marathon this year. Lester, a Hong Kong village dog I adopted as a puppy four years ago, is my main training partner.


Siddarth ShrikanthSiddarth Shrikanth

I’m a reporter at The Financial Times, but I didn’t start out in journalism; I read biology at Oxford before making my first pivot to McKinsey & Company in London. I later went to Indonesia to set up McKinsey’s new environmental non-profit to tackle Southeast Asia’s shocking plastic pollution crisis. I moved to Hong Kong at the start of this year to try my hand at journalism, which I had been meaning to do for a long time and now realise I love. The FT has been a fantastic place to learn the ropes and work closely with colleagues far more experienced than me. I love travelling and that interest dovetails nicely with my other hobby, scuba diving, which I’ve been doing for several years now in far-flung (and warm) places across the world. n


Jodi Schneider: It’s a privilege to be FCC President

Jodi Schneider is the 2019-20 President of the FCC after taking over the post uncontested in the May elections. She has worked at Bloomberg News since 2010 and is currently Senior International Editor.

FCC President Jodi Schneider. FCC President Jodi Schneider.

How did the role of President remain uncontested?

Well, it became clear that Florence (de Changy, last year’s President) was not running again, and that Jenn (Jennifer Jett, last year’s First Vice-President) was leaving Hong Kong. I went to Bloomberg and spoke to some editors in Hong Kong and New York. Every one of them said I should do it. I am thrilled, it really is a privilege.

Eric Wishart is your uncontested First Vice-President. How was that choice made?

I got involved in the 2017 Journalism Conference soon after I moved to Hong Kong. During that time, Eric and I became friends. We talk a lot; we WhatsApp and email, and because we are friends we can say things, be honest with each other, and we don’t have to defend our positions when we have different ideas about things.

What do you think about the changes on the Board of Governors, with only four remaining from last year?

We have a great Board; it has some stability from last year, but with plenty of new faces as well.

How can the members support the Club better?

I would like it if every member based in Hong Kong was active. I’d like many more people on the committees; because people here travel so much they often aren’t here for the meetings. I’m introducing a call-in option for committees, so if people are travelling but they’re in the region they can take part. I hope people come here and have a good time, like I always have.

You were based in Washington, D.C., for many years. Why did you leave?

My children (sons Charlie, 24, and Ben, 27) were grown up and I had always wanted to work overseas. In 2015 I told various people at Bloomberg (Jodi was team leader in the Washington, D.C., bureau leading coverage of the U.S. Congress and tax policy) that I wanted to go overseas. Five weeks later I was on my way to Japan to fill in for an economics editor at the Tokyo office taking a year’s paternity leave. I had a wonderful year in Japan but I knew that learning the language would be a hurdle to staying there.

And Hong Kong was the next move?

I visited Bloomberg’s Hong Kong office for a few days in the spring of 2016 and was excited by the energy and talent here. I left Japan in September 2016 and went back to the U.S. for a few months. I sold my house in Maryland, worked on election coverage and then moved to Hong Kong on the Saturday after the presidential election.

And how did you get involved with the FCC?

I joined the Club as soon as I arrived in Hong Kong. I was active in the National Press Club in Washington, and was President of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, so I’m not new to press clubs!

What do you like doing away from work?

I am a big reader; I always have a book in my purse. I read literary fiction as I have to read non-fiction all day as part of my job. I love to cycle but you can’t really do it outdoors in most of Hong Kong, so I cycle indoors at a studio. I live in Causeway Bay, and every Saturday I do a session with a personal trainer on the track at Happy Valley racecourse. I’ve been all over Asia from here; I enjoy long weekends away. I go back to the U.S., of course. My sons are there, and my mother.

What changes would you like to see at the Club?

When people visit Hong Kong, I want the FCC to be their first choice as a place to speak. More authors, filmmakers, more panels about the stories of the day. International figures, politicians, policy makers, world leaders… I’d like Carrie Lam to come back, of course. And I’d like workshops for members. It would be nice to see baseball on the screens sometimes, too. If the Washington Nationals are playing, that would be even better. 


Human Rights Press Awards: Speaking for the voiceless

The Human Rights Press Awards are run by the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. Now in its 23rd year, HRPA presents 52 awards recognising outstanding journalism in the area of human rights across Asia. This year saw a record 468 entries,13 per cent up on last year. A total of 182 entries were submitted in Chinese-language, and 286 in English. The awards ceremony was held at the club on the evening of May 16. Reporting by Sue Brattle & Vicky Kung. 

The Correspondent spoke to some of the winners about their work, and what winning a Human Rights Press Award means to them:

Breaking News Writing (English)

Emily Feng of the Financial Times won a Merit for Forced Labour in Xinjiang.

Feng now works at NPR:

Emily Feng. Photo by Allison Shelley

“I’m honoured and humbled to have received this kind of recognition for my work on Xinjiang, especially since reporting on this topic has been a hard, uphill slog in difficult reporting conditions. This investigation in particular came about as I began questioning the claims made by Chinese state bodies regarding ongoing detentions of Uighur Muslims. Since then, many other talented journalists have followed suit, producing an astonishing body of investigative journalism that collectively has contributed greatly to our understanding of the contours of this state campaign.”



Investigative Feature Writing (English)

Clare Hammond, Victoria Milko and Kyaw Lin Htoon of Frontier Myanmar won a Merit for Conflict, Conscription and a Cover-up: The Killing of Six TNLA Medics. Kyaw said:

This is a first-ever award, so much appreciation to all of you. We were the only journalists who reached the scene of this incident. It’s very important for journalists to have access to places where stories are born. For a country like ours, most journalists and media outlets have many more barriers than other countries. The first barrier is the financial status of media outlets. Another is aggressive authorities, like the Burmese military, and outdated laws, such as the Unlawful Associations Act. There are a lot of human rights violations to be uncovered and discussed in-depth in Myanmar. Journalists in Myanmar, whether citizen or foreigner, are struggling. Please keep supporting journalism in Myanmar so that it can continue to survive.”

Student Writing (English)

Supriya Chhetri, Gianna Aquino, Janina Rika and Karrie Lam of MSS Messenger, Marymount Secondary School, won a Merit for Periods: Addressing a Taboo and a Need of the Underprivileged. Teacher Kitty Leung said: “Students chose the topic of their article as part of their response to the theme of Female Empowerment which was the focus of the first issue of the school magazine last year. There are not a lot of awards around that acknowledge students’ work on reporting at secondary level so it is encouraging to receive the award and an honour to be listed with top professionals in the field. I hope students will be inspired to continue writing about issues that touch on human rights.” 

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”8″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]Investigative Feature Writing (Chinese)

The Investigative Section of Apple Daily Hong Kong won a Merit for Series: Scandal of the Shatin to Central Link. In May 2018 reporter Anthony Leung began an investigation into construction scandals involving holes in concrete slabs at the Shatin-Central MTR link after receiving tip-offs from the public. He said: “When we first approached the MTR with evidence-supported questions regarding these problems, it denied there were holes, and accused us back. Later reportage revealed that the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre station has missing supporting structure and the Hung Hom station had its design altered without proper approval. Such safety problems point to loopholes in the monitoring and governance structure within giant companies in Hong Kong, like MTR. The way things are managed and checked is falling apart. We finished this investigation because citizens gave us evidence. We want them to continue doing so.”

Student Writing (Chinese)

Liu Dicksa Isabelle, Lam Sum Yi, Shen Qing and Cheung Tung of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK

won for Half a Century of Heavy Metal Pollution Gives Villagers Deformed Limbs. Four students from CUKH’s Journalism School went to Changtun, Guangxi, to report on heavy metal poisoning from a mine that has left people with blistered joints and severe disability, and their crops die. Kathy Shen Qing, who did a follow-up story, said: “The mining started in the 1950s and farmers started to notice deformities about 30 years ago. We found this case through an NGO. People often don’t have many channels to communicate their needs, especially when they don’t receive enough help from the government. Some get harassed because the authorities don’t want them to complain. But we in Hong Kong have freedom of speech and we have a responsibility to speak up for the voiceless there.”

Explanatory Feature Writing (Chinese)

Carson Qin Kuan of Initium Media won for Lawyers Dealing with Poisonous Milk Powder and Problematic Vaccines, What Are They Up To? He said: “It has been 10 years since the press covered poisonous milk powder and problematic vaccines on mainland China. Stories like this keep happening. The press covers it, people notice it for a while, then the victims get forgotten. Bringing up old incidents that are not solved forces people to think about the systemic problems that lie behind these cycles. It’s best to talk with human rights lawyers if you want to capture the root of problems. I am happy and surprised that my article was given an award because vaccine is an old topic. I am grateful that the award acknowledges the need to focus not just on the hot topics but also remember marginalised people who are forgotten.”

You can follow the Human Rights Press Awards at

Keynote speaker Maria Ressa of Rappler: ‘We need to hold the line and show the best of human nature’

Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of the Philippines-based news website, Rappler, was free on bail after her second arrest this year when she spoke at the awards ceremony. “Your reporting matters. Now more than ever. We need to hold the line and show the best of human nature. That is our hope for the future,” she told an audience that knew only too well what she meant.

Maria Ressa speaks at the Human Rights Press Awards 2019. Photo: FCC Maria Ressa speaks at the Human Rights Press Awards 2019. Photo: FCC

Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, freed from jail just a week before the ceremony, won the award for Best Investigative Feature Writing along with colleagues. They had spent 511 days behind bars for allegedly exposing “state secrets” in the course of reporting Myanmar Burning, a damning investigation into the massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys by security forces and armed Buddhist civilians.

Even though they were not at the ceremony, the spirit of their work and sacrifice was. Ressa said: “Even though it is difficult to work as a journalist now, there is no better time to be a journalist, because it matters.”

FCC President Florence de Changy, introducing Ressa, said: “As Asia is experiencing less freedoms all round, and several governments do not uphold human rights, the reporting of human rights abuses is all the more important.”

Simon Gardner of Reuters accepts the Investigative Feature Writing (English) Award on behalf of freed prisoners Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues. Photo: FCC Simon Gardner of Reuters accepts the Investigative Feature Writing (English) Award on behalf of freed prisoners Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues. Photo: FCC



The Correspondent, July – September, 2019

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