Members Area

Introducing the FCC’s New Members: October 2021

One likes football, another motorbikes, and there’s a keen fisherman, a passionate golfer and an avid hiker: but all of our new members seem to relish good food and drink. They’ll fit right in.

 

David Armitage

Although my days of active sport parachuting are long behind me, I can still say I have experienced taking off in an aeroplane more times than I have experienced landing in one. Thankfully, I managed to stay on board long enough in 1996 to land in Hong Kong to commence work on the construction of what was then the new international airport. For the last 25 years I have had the good fortune and privilege to work on iconic and challenging construction projects both in Hong Kong and around the region.

 


Barrie Barlow

Originally from New Zealand (where my Malaysian wife Alison and I met as students), I am a commercial litigation barrister. Normally, we travel a lot, but Hong Kong (where we have lived most of our lives and where our two children were born and raised) is home. I have always enjoyed visiting the FCC and I should have sought membership long ago. Since last year’s dramatic changes to our law, I have taken a heightened interest in the protection of our freedoms and in particular our free media. This, plus my friends who are members, drew me to the FCC.

 


Gregory Davidson

My first trip to Hong Kong and the FCC was in 2003 and I instantly fell in love with the city’s vibrancy. I didn’t settle in Hong Kong until 2009, where I have run various commodity focused funds and trading ventures. Originally from the US, I have lived in the US, Germany and China, but now spend my time between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Puerto Rico. My interests tilt toward golf and skiing, but my passion is Old World wines. After the last several years of turmoil in Hong Kong, I am excited to be a new FCC member.

 


Li Meng de Bakker

I am an RTHK radio presenter and freelance writer covering music and subculture, with a focus on electronic dance music. On Radio 3, I have produced and presented two specialist music programmes: “Asia Soundsystem” and “The Breakdown”. Currently, I am writing my doctoral thesis on the history of Hong Kong nightlife. Though piano was my first instrument, I have been deejaying professionally since 2018 and it is a passion that has informed much of my journalistic and academic trajectory. I also write as “Mengzy” (my DJ name), for Mixmag Asia. After music, my passion in life is food!

 


Ruchir Desai

Originally from Mumbai, India, I have called Hong Kong home for the last 10 years. I am a frontier markets fund manager with a focus on Asia and my work has taken me to diverse countries ranging from Bangladesh and Iraq to Uzbekistan and Vietnam. I am a keen follower of geopolitics and enjoy listening to the diverse speakers the FCC invites for discussing important trends. Outside of work, I enjoy the Hong Kong outdoors and hopefully at some point in the future I would love to get back to exploring more countries.

 


Patrick Graham

I am a long-term British exile, who has called Asia home for more than 20 years. I’m a health insurance professional, husband to my beautiful wife, Kaoru, and father of a little girl, Rinka. It was becoming embarrassing how much time I was spending in the FCC bar freeloading off my member friends, so it was with mixed emotions I finally got membership in my own right: pleased I can sign for my own drinks; but nervous about how many people I owe drinks! You know who you are and where to find me…

 


Tamsin Heath

I’m Deputy Consul General at the British Consulate. I arrived in Hong Kong in the summer of 2019, heavily pregnant with my second child. Shortly after maternity leave, I covered as Acting Consul-General from December 2020 to July 2021. Before Hong Kong, I was posted in Beijing, Riyadh and The Hague with several short stints in Sana’a when I headed up UK policy on Yemen. I studied as an economist and worked for Royal Bank of Scotland, HM Treasury and the Dutch development bank FMO. I love being in the hills (I’m Scottish), reading, learning languages and exploring Hong Kong.

 


Nicholas Hoar

I’m originally from London and moved to Hong Kong for three years in 2011. So 10 years on, I’m still here; I am sure this is a familiar story for many of us – the longer you are here, the tougher it is to leave. I’ve worked in asset management for 30-plus years. I am a passionate motorcyclist and when I am back in Europe I’m often found at the 21-kilometre Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit where I must have completed thousands of laps over the years, posting a best time of 8.52 minutes per lap.

 


Heidi Lee Yik Shuen

I was born and educated in Hong Kong. I studied stage management at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and cultural management at Chinese University Hong Kong. I have been working in the arts management area for years and have worked for many arts organisations in Hong Kong and mainland China. My life is closely attached to the performing arts. I enjoy going to different kinds of performances as well as movies. I love spending time with friends to try out food from different countries.

 


Kevin Lee

Born in Malaysia, my family and I moved to Auckland where I received my high school and tertiary education. I am fortunate that work has allowed me to live in Singapore, Sydney and, now, Hong Kong. I enjoy watching major sports and am a staunch supporter of the All Blacks and Tottenham FC. I am married to a beautiful native Hong Kong wife. I work in the banking and finance sector specialising in infrastructure and energy and natural resources. I enjoy craft beers and all sorts of food from different cultures. My main hobby is fishing.

 


Cara Li

I grew up in Beijing, and moved to Sydney as a teenager. After graduating with a law degree, I joined a law firm in London, only to be packed off to Hong Kong. That was in 2002, and I’m still here. Nowadays, I’m a senior banker at Morgan Stanley, and Hong Kong is firmly home for me and my two children. I am an avid reader of current affairs, and enjoy balanced, thoughtful journalism. And the FCC Main Bar now has a 100-percent share of my monthly client entertainment budget.

 


Li Shan

My leadership experience with global financial institutions and major Chinese banks spans over 25 years. I am a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, CEO of Silk Road Finance Corporation, vice chairman of the Silk Road Planning Research Centre, chairman and CEO of Chinastone Capital and the vice chairman of Chinese Financial Association of Hong Kong. I am also a director of Credit Suisse Group AG, and serve as a senior advisor to Zurich

 


Paul McGunnigle

Hailing from Glasgow, I’ve worked at the Australian International School Hong Kong with my wife, Lesley since 2004, teaching history and primary, respectively. We came for the obligatory two years, but 18 years later we’re ensconced in Sai Kung with our kids, Maia and Cai. I have a passion for football and still play for Kowloon Cricket Club, although these days it’s mainly at walking pace. Lesley and I are excited to be joining the FCC and we’re looking forward to spending time propping up the bar whilst having a few amber nectars.

 


Adesh Sarup

Hong Kong’s pulse, pace and character are each unique and my wife and I very much enjoy living and working here. We were introduced to the FCC fairly early on after our arrival from Singapore. After a few visits, it instinctively felt like a place we would want to be part of and we are thrilled to be members. I am a career banker and my wife works with an NGO that supports financial literacy for domestic migrant workers. Outside of work, we love discovering new restaurants and we also enjoy hiking Hong Kong’s beautiful country parks.

 


Ava Tang

I am a native HongKonger working in a dynamic, multi-national company as chief operating officer. I enjoy working in a diverse cultural environment, which is full of challenges and surprises. During holidays, I like meeting people and travelling and enjoy local food and drink.

 


Fionie Wong

I am a promotion designer with a love of travelling, music, arts and culture, meeting people and experiencing new adventures. I started my design career in the 1990s when I joined the Pearson group; I previously worked at a private club, providing branding and marketing design. As an avid arts and music lover (especially classical and jazz), I can’t wait to listen to live jazz at Bert’s. My other passion is travelling. I love to meet people from diverse backgrounds – something that I love about this small, multicultural city we live in. Since the pandemic, my travel bucket list is getting longer.

Meet the Board

In the first of a new series, Kate Springer invites five Governors to wax poetic about all things FCC.

Our new Board of Governors took their seats in May, and on top of their usual tasks, they have the added responsibility of steering the FCC through a particularly challenging time. In the past two years, we’ve endured a triple whammy – the 2019 protests, National Security Law, and ongoing pandemic. So how are they navigating the choppy waters? In coming issues, we’ll pass the mic to each Board member so they can introduce themselves.

 

Keith Richburg
President

 

As a Life Correspondent Member, FCC President Keith Richburg is a familiar face at the club. The former Washington Post correspondent has been a member since moving to Hong Kong in 1995.

This is not his first rodeo as president: Keith held the reins in 1997 during the Handover. Back then, Keith recalls transforming the club into a media centre. “There was an enormous buzz – the club was just jam-packed with hundreds of journalists. It was the place to be.”

The American journalist says he never predicted he’d serve as president for a second time. “Both periods have been a time of transition – particularly when it comes to relationships with the government and China. I hope my experience can help us navigate the present challenges, among them COVID-19 restrictions.”

At the time of writing [September], the club is Type D, which means it can seat larger groups, stay open past midnight and host events for up to 100 people. It’s an outstanding achievement, he says, that should enable the club to improve its financial standing by the end of the year. “Despite financial challenges, I’m also really proud that the club has not laid off any staff since 2019.”

Naturally, Keith often fields questions about the club’s future. “Everybody is concerned about whether we’re going to be able to get the lease renewed. We are doing everything in our power to be good custodians of this heritage building, good employers, and responsible members of the community. I’m fairly confident that our landlords [the government] will also see it that way, too.”

He encourages members to get in contact: “Feel free to make suggestions, ask questions, provide ideas. And bring your friends to the club, and sign them up!”

THE FINE PRINT

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan, US
Tipple: A Malbec in the evening
Day job: Director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong
Favourite dish: Chicken Vindaloo
Describe the FCC in three words: “Asia’s greatest bar”
Vision for the club: “I hope to get the club through this transition in good shape – a strong financial position, robust member lists, great events and maintaining our mission as a fierce defender of press freedom.”

 


Jennifer Hughes
Club Secretary, Correspondent Member Governor

 

Jennifer Hughes moved to Hong Kong with the Financial Times in 2012, where she embarked on a steep learning curve writing the Lex column about Asian companies – and also met her pilot husband. “We used to joke that it would be his job to get me cheap flights and mine to get him cheap drinks at the FCC.”

Marital jests apart, they both loved the club, and after a while Jennifer felt she should take on a greater role. “I wanted to give something back and the obvious place to get involved was the Board.”

Jennifer is currently Club Secretary, and sits on the professional, membership, finance and constitutional committees, contributing her expertise where it is most needed. “Take finance, for example. I know we’re a press club first and foremost, but if we cannot pay our bills, we will not even be that, so having a solid financial basis is important. And I’m a finance, business journalist so I don’t mind that nerdy stuff.”

On top of this, Jennifer is also leading a project to refresh the club’s charity outreach. “We’re looking for charities that the FCC can work with. We’re not necessarily going to give away tons of money – we don’t have tons of money – but we want to see what we could do for community organisations in Hong Kong. So we are really looking for suggestions from members.”

Like just about everybody, Jennifer regards the club as an institution. “This isn’t the easiest time to be navigating as a press club in Hong Kong, but the FCC is held in high regard and it’s got such a rich history. I don’t think I’ve ever brought guests here who have not been impressed. And the more I’m involved, the more I’m impressed with what we’ve managed to get out of this space.”

THE FINE PRINT

Hometown: Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
Day job: Columnist for Reuters Breakingviews
Tipple: White wine. Or rose, Or…
Favourite dish: Fish Goa
Describe the FCC in three words: “Simply the best”
Vision for the club: “A forum for great debate. With the world’s best bar.”

 


Tim Huxley
Second Vice President

Tim joined the FCC in 1998. “I had spent plenty of time in the club with friends, including Handover night. I had committed to staying in Hong Kong long-term, so being part of the FCC seemed the right thing.”

Over the years, the club has led Tim to great friendships and professional opportunities. “When people say their favourite place in Asia is the FCC, I feel quite proud. Getting to know so many people in the media has been a huge advantage – and I like to think some of them have benefited from having easy access to someone who works in a specialised field like shipping.”

He has collaborated with several photojournalists, including Basil Pao and Kees Metselaar. And he met the producers at RTHK, who hired him to host the Macau Grand Prix coverage – fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Since the FCC has given Tim so much, he wanted to give something back. “There is a lot of heavy lifting, but being able to support the staff, keep the FCC’s values and hopefully ensure a great future for our club makes it worth the effort.”

Tim says Associate members are a vital part of the club, and he strives to ensure their voices are heard. In addition, as Treasurer, Tim leads the Finance Committee keeping a strong balance sheet, maintaining the reserves and surviving COVID-19 restrictions.

“The last couple of years have been a real challenge. Coming through this whole episode without placing any additional burdens on members, many of whom have taken a hit financially during COVID-19, and protecting our staff’s jobs could be considered an accomplishment. It was a team effort.”

Now that the FCC has been able to restart events, Tim believes the club’s reserves can be rebuilt. “I hope we can replenish the coffers, build up our membership and continue to be the vibrant social hub we all know and love. I want the FCC to be a part of my life forever.

“Speaking as a businessman, if Hong Kong wants to remain ‘Asia’s World City’, it needs a vibrant and independent media, and the FCC will play an important role.”

THE FINE PRINT

Hometown: Hong Kong, but originally Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Day job: Chairman, Mandarin Shipping
Tipple: Correspondent’s Choice red wine
Favourite dish: The Chinese menu’s chicken and shallots
Describe the FCC in three words: “My second home”
Vision for the club: “I see the FCC continuing its critical role of being an independent, objective and balanced platform to hear the views of all parties, no matter what side of the spectrum they belong.”

 


Kristie Lu Stout
Correspondent Member Governor

Kristie became a member of the FCC a few years after joining CNN in 2001. “I joined for the fabulous curry and for the camaraderie forged in a world-renowned press club.”

The CNN anchor says she values the FCC’s events, luncheon talks, conferences and panels, as well as casual, spontaneous chats with friends over coffee or cocktails.

As a member, Kristie has moderated panels, given speeches and served as a panellist at several events and conferences. “For almost two decades, I have had the opportunity to share my views on digital transformation, misinformation and gender equality while speaking and learning alongside my peers on how we cover major events in the region.”

In 2020, Kristie was inspired by the club’s efforts to attract early-career journalists, visiting reporters and freelancers, and decided to run for the Board.

In her second term, Kristie is an active member of the Professional Committee, where she helps organise speaking events and panels. She also serves as a co-convener of the committee, which brings powerful exhibits to the Van Es Wall.

“While the focus of the exhibitions is usually on Asia, we also feature landmark current events outside the region as well as historical retrospectives. The exhibitions revolve every month and are open to the general public.”

As an example, she points to the mind-bending scenes of the social media phenomenon @SurrealHK, which attracted a record number of visitors to the club.

“When pandemic restrictions are further relaxed, I will help organise the club’s Journalism Day conference.” She adds that she hopes to highlight the work of younger journalists and media colleagues who work behind the scenes. “Practical workshops on new media tools and storytelling techniques will also be on offer for mid-career and veteran journalists to refresh and reboot their skills.”

THE FINE PRINT

Hometown: Monterey Peninsula, California, US
Day job: Anchor/Correspondent, CNN International
Tipple: Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Favourite dish: Palak paneer
Describe the FCC in three words: “Convivial, curious and cool”
Vision for the club: “The FCC will remain a world-renowned press hub and will continue to earn plaudits as a centre of elevated conversation for the media, business and diplomatic communities in Hong Kong.”

 


Dan Strumpf
Correspondent Member Governor

The night he touched down in Hong Kong in February 2016, Dan Strumpf made a beeline for Lower Albert Road. “I came to Hong Kong sight unseen, and my editor took me out to the FCC the very first night. I remember we got a whole spread of Indian curries, hung out at the bar. I was taken by the whole vibe of the place.”

That warm introduction motivated Dan to join and, at first, it was primarily a social place. “The club is a respected establishment, so being able to take guests there was a huge perk. And it felt like a second home.”

He was looking for a way to contribute to the club, the city and broaden his network when he first ran for the Board in 2019. In his third term, Dan says he has been able to get to know members better and get more involved with the programming.

“If there was a spark, it was probably when I saw the fallout from the Andy Chan episode [when Beijing tried to block the independence activist from speaking at the FCC in 2018]. And I registered then that press freedom and freedom of speech are not always something that can be taken for granted.”

As a member of the Press Freedom, Professional, and Wall committees, Dan plans and coordinates events, drafts and reviews press freedom statements and curates exhibits for the Van Es Wall.

“As someone who is quite passionate and cares deeply about press freedom, the Press Freedom Committee was an obvious one for me to be involved in. And as a journalist, it’s my job to talk to lots of people. So sometimes I can invite those people to speak at the club – it’s a win-win-win situation when that works out.”

Since the national security law took effect in June 2020, Dan has taken a leading role in coordinating the club’s public position on current events impacting press freedom. “Hong Kong is going through a very unique moment, right now. We’re in uncharted waters in a lot of ways, and it’s important for the club to have a voice and be vocal on the issues that matter to us, which is press freedom. We have to be true to ourselves as a club, and we have an obligation to speak out. We have a special voice in the city.”

THE FINE PRINT

Hometown:  Syracuse, New York, US
Day job: Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
Tipple: A pint of Tsing Tao, or a gin martini
Favourite dish: Chicken in a clay pot
Describe the FCC in three words: “Full of character”
Vision for the club: “At the end of the day, we’re a press club that stands up for freedom of the press and free speech. I hope we continue to stand by these principles in the long run.”

 


NEWS FLASH

You don’t have to be on the Board to join a committee. From events to dining, press freedom to communications, there are plenty of ways to support the club.

Professional Committee: Ideal for the curious and well-connected. Coordinates club speakers, press conferences and journalism events.

Finance Committee: A spreadsheet lover’s dream. Supervises the club’s accounts, investments, members’ accounts and budgets.

Constitutional Committee: Scrupulous but essential work. Turns the microscope on issues relating to the Club’s AoAs and rules.

Membership Committee: Social butterflies unite. Oversees membership applications, membership status changes, honorary memberships and drives.

F&B / House Committee: Gourmets with a knack for numbers. As the name suggests, this committee bolsters the club’s beating heart, from food prices to menus, international promos, wine tastings, and more.

Press Freedom Committee: Our moral compass. Monitors press freedom issues, issues statements and co-organises the annual Human Rights Press Awards.

Communications Committee: A linguistic playground. Supervises the quarterly production of The Correspondent, the FCC website, newsletters, branding and the archives.

Wall Committee: Visual storytelling at its best. Curates and coordinates our monthly Wall photo exhibits.

Charity Committee: Calling all empaths. Coordinates the FCC’s charitable activities and community involvement.

Interested in getting involved? Contact Joanne Chung ([email protected]) with a cover letter/CV outlining your relevant professional experience.

Getting to Know the New Clare Hollingworth Fellows

Chosen from a competitive pool of candidates, Hillary Leung and Amy Sood have been named the 2021-2022 Clare Hollingworth Fellows. Ed Peters shares their stories.

Somewhere in the dustier files of the British security services lies a report from early March 1939 on the activities of a fresh-faced 27-year-old who had graduated in Slavonic and Eastern European studies at University College London.

Clare Hollingworth – for it was she – was running the affairs of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia in Katowice, western Poland, succouring Jews and other victims of the Nazi annexation of their native country.

Something about her behaviour ruffled feathers at MI5, and Hollingworth – who by June had sped several thousand refugees to safety – was eased out of the agency. Gravitating to Warsaw, she drifted into journalism, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Rather than “Second World War Starting Soonish” the Daily Telegraph headlined her bravura 29 August scoop “1,000 Tanks Massed on Polish Border.” She’d been taken on as a stringer three days earlier.

Hollingworth subsequently became the doyenne of foreign correspondents, and was a club member for more than 40 years. She died in 2017, aged 105. The FCC awards the Fellowship that bears her name annually to two early-career journalists or journalism school students in Hong Kong.

The FCC’s 2021-2022 Fellows, Hillary Leung and Amy Sood, introduce themselves here.

 

Hillary Leung: ‘Covering the protests was an exhilarating crash course’

Leung interviews ex-lawmaker Fernando Cheung outside the Central Government Complex in Admiralty in June 2019.

“It wasn’t until taking a feature writing class in my final semester at the University of Hong Kong that I realised I wanted to be a journalist,” says Leung, 26.

“I wrote two articles for the course, both of which were published by Hong Kong Free Press. I realised I loved the process of crafting features, from finding an angle to interviewing to brainstorming a colourful intro.”

Since graduating from university in 2017, Leung has picked up a wealth of journalistic experience in Hong Kong.

“When I started my first real job at TIME in February 2019, I was relatively new to reporting – my prior roles at news verification companies Storyful and Newsflare had honed my journalistic skills, but they were purely newsdesk jobs.”

The torrid events of the summer of 2019 served as a super-charged baptism of fire. “Covering the protests four months into my first reporting gig was an exhilarating crash-course against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Hong Kong – I felt incredibly privileged to be reporting on a major political event for one of the world’s most renowned media organisations,” she says.

And in September that year Leung pulled off a truly spectacular splash. She recalls: “While scouring forums for story ideas, I noticed some buzz around what protesters were calling their new anthem – ‘Glory to Hong Kong’. I pitched the story at a morning meeting and by mid-afternoon had found the composer – just identified as ‘Thomas’ in the credits – after some extreme internet stalking.

The feature, the first about the song (which later went viral) went up the next day. “My interview was widely cited by outlets that hadn’t picked up the story yet, from Apple Daily to Radio Free Asia. That felt quite surreal. I was always looking to pick up information from other outlets – but now they were looking to me.”

Leung is now an associate editor at the news and lifestyle site, Coconuts. “I lead coverage of everything from politics to social issues to lifestyle – I’m lucky to have plenty of autonomy, so between handling news and social media, the features I produce really reflect my reporting interests,” she says.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Leung feels driven to tell nuanced stories about the city’s colours and complexities. “My pieces, including one about the gentrification of a blue-collar neighbourhood, and another on how local politics interfered with a Black Lives Matter protest, mirror that aim.”

 

Amy Sood: ‘My passion is telling stories from this region’

Sood started out in journalism producing a digital magazine featuring stories written by young New Zealanders.

Amy Sood currently works at AFP’s fact-checking desk, where she has the monumental task of monitoring misinformation across the region with a focus on India and Indonesia.

Born in India, she moved to Bandung in Java while still a youngster and later went to New Zealand to study English, Media and Communication, at the University of Canterbury. An interest in journalism took hold when she and fellow students started a digital magazine called Scroll, which published stories written by young people from across the country.

“After a stint as a production editor, I decided to return to Asia to pursue a career in journalism – believing that my passion was in telling stories from the region,” says the 22-year-old.

“I enrolled in a master’s of journalism at the University of Hong Kong, thinking that the city offered a great vantage point to cover stories across Asia.”

However COVID-19 scuppered Amy’s travel plans and she had to do the first semester of the programme online. “Every cloud has a silver lining. It was a unique opportunity to pitch and work on projects about Indonesia – looking into important social issues in the country,” she says.

“One project I really enjoyed was creating a video package about a home library which gave orphans and underprivileged children in the community access to education.”

After graduating, Amy first interned at AFP’s fact-checking and video desks, and then moved to a second internship with NBC News, covering India’s COVID-19 crisis. She also did a stint at CNN, where she reported on stories from across the region.

“I think one of my favourites was a feature on India’s illegal dowry customs and the implications it has on families throughout the country,” she says.

Now back at AFP, Amy hopes to improve her skills as a journalist to help shine a light on social issues in Asia that might otherwise remain under the radar.

 


MEMBER VOICES

The Clare Hollingworth Fellowship supports Hong Kong-based journalists and journalism students.

Fellows enjoy:

  • Complimentary access to the FCC’s talks and conferences.
  • Unlimited use of FCC facilities.
  • A fee waiver for the term of their fellowship.
  • Networking opportunities with senior newsroom leaders.

The fellowship runs from 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022.

Learn more: fcchk.org/clarehollingworth

 


FORGING THEIR PATHS

Last year’s Fellows, Jennifer Creery and Tiffany Liang, have both moved on to greater things. Creery reported that among other projects she is working on a podcast for NüVoices, a platform spotlighting women and minorities in China, while Liang is currently freelancing.

10 Minutes With Madeleine Lim, Senior Executive Editor at Bloomberg Hong Kong

Sketch a brief pen portrait of yourself.
My father was a Malaysian Chinese and my mother is Swiss. I was born in Kuala Lumpur and lived in Malaysia until I was 10. Mixed race couples were rare in the 1960s but I was blissfully oblivious to any racial issues as a child.

Only later, studying colonialism as part of my history degree, did I realise the hurdles my parents, particularly my mother, must have faced. My dad’s family owned tin mines around Ipoh, Malaysia, and he remained a proud member of the Royal Ipoh Club well into his 80s when he was already living in Switzerland. He would have loved the FCC.

 

The media landscape has done a backwards somersault of late. How does Bloomberg stay on track?

As a business and financial news organisation, we have a clear mandate: to serve our core Bloomberg Terminal [a platform for financial professionals] readers who need news that helps them understand the investment landscape and assess risk and rewards.

We have several platforms that allow us to appeal to a wide audience – whether it’s the financial professional who reads our news on the Terminal or watches Bloomberg TV, or a more consumer audience who scans our website or our streaming product, Quicktake. Whenever we write a story, we always ask ourselves: why would someone want to read this on Bloomberg? It helps us find our own approach to a theme.

 

Some media in Hong Kong have reported problems securing work visas for foreigners recently. Have you encountered any issues?

With the civil service working from home during the pandemic, we too experienced some delays to visa renewals. That said, during the pandemic, problems with work visas for foreigners have certainly not been limited to Hong Kong.

 

How thick is the glass ceiling?

I’d say cracks are emerging in our industry – think the recent appointments of women editor-in-chiefs at Reuters, the Financial Times and the Washington Post, to name just three.

At Bloomberg, my co-lead Sarah Wells in Singapore and I are responsible for news coverage in the Asia-Pacific region, and our counterpart in the Americas is also a woman, as is our Chief Content Officer.

But there’s still a ways to go – and gender is only one aspect. It’s important that we also promote local, diverse talent. After all, their understanding of the region is what global readers are interested in.

 

Time to brag. Which recent Bloomberg Hong Kong story are you most excited about right now?

I am very proud that we won the SOPA Award for Journalistic Innovation for our “Covid Resilience Ranking”, which assessed the best and worst place to be as reopening and variants faced off.

Reporters from around the world contributed to the ranking, but the team that came up with the idea and saw it through is based in Hong Kong. We were also first with the news that Nicolas Aguzin was going to be the next HKEX CEO. It’s always a great feeling when we get a Hong Kong scoop.

At the other end of the scale, I am greatly saddened that our colleague, Haze Fan, has been in detention in Beijing since last December, and hope she will soon be released.

 

Finally: you studied history at the University of Zurich – any useful lessons for today?

Studying history teaches you to pay attention to the richness and the nuances of every situation. There’s black and there’s white. And then there are many shades of grey in between. Journalism is the first draft of history… and the more space we give to the different voices, the better the draft will be.

Book Review: ‘The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives’

A group of accomplished Sinologists chronicle the experiences of 10 people to trace the CCP’s transformation. It’s an ambitious read, but Mark Jones says the authors nailed it.

Few institutions in history have mounted a more sustained attack on individualism than the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). That was especially so during the later Mao Zedong years when the government forced the populace to dress, speak and think alike or face condemnation as bourgeois separatists. Yet, the authors of this new CCP history decided that the only way they could make sense of its first hundred years was by focusing on 10 individuals.

Faced with an overwhelming body of scholarship on the CCP, German historian and sinologist Klaus Mühlhahn, one of the editors of The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in 10 Lives, proposed that they take the microscopic approach of the BBC radio series “A History of the World in a 100 Objects”.

Who to choose? The book begins with a Dutch revolutionary and ends with a hapless social media star. It’s an eclectic mix: and that’s one of the book’s strong points. Only two general secretaries get their own chapters: Zhao Ziyang  Jiang Zemin. Neither Mao nor Deng Xiaoping is singled out.

Still, the Great Helmsman steers the narrative before Deng takes control from behind the scenes (his preferred place). The editors of future editions will need to decide how much prominence Xi Jinping deserves.

The editors allow their writers to recruit whom they wish to cast light on the CCP’s fractious and triumphant history. British Modern Chinese History professor Julia Lovell travels furthest – to Peru – as she profiles the Maoist zealot Abimael Guzmán. That Mao thought only seriously threatened to take power in two geopolitically insignificant lands – Peru and Nepal – may be chalked up as one of the Party’s failures. It may also be a key to its success.

As Hong Kong-based English journalist and historian Philip Bowring points out in a far-sighted Afterword, the “never-ending road to Socialism” has taken and will take the Party down very different ideological paths as it seeks to guarantee its own survival. One signpost – marked “Democracy” – lies in splinters at Xi’s feet.

The 21st-century CCP could have been so different had the short-lived leadership of Zhao Ziyang survived the 20th. Mühlhahn’s superb essay on the reformer who briefly flourished under Deng’s patronage is in many ways the book’s pivotal chapter. Zhao was brought down by being on the conciliatory side in the debate that broke out as the 1989 protests in Beijing grew.

It’s one of the story’s big ironies: had the protestors not pushed their luck, the pragmatic Zhao may well have survived and eased China into a more tolerant, even multi-party future. Instead, they brought violence and repression down on themselves and their successors.

One particular chapter is worth noting – Elizabeth Perry’s sympathetic portrait of the actress Wang Guangmei, the sixth wife of one-time president Liu Shaoqi, who went from patriotic zealot to ridiculed hate-figure in the course of the Cultural Revolution.

Hers is just one of many stories where ultra-loyalists found themselves in the traitor’s dock. You find yourself thinking that the real legacy Mao left his Party is fear.

Pathologically fearful or not, the Party is a success story. I remember a distinguished British writer predicting in 2008 that no Chinese company would ever achieve serious scale and world dominance because the country had not been through the Enlightenment.

Well, Enlightened or not, we have Alibaba and Tencent, and as the introduction reminds us, “the CCP has produced one of the great economic miracles of our time”. And millions of Chinese, unprompted and un-coerced, are incredibly proud of their country’s rise and the Party behind it.

Pick up a copy of The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives, published by Cambridge University, on your next visit to the FCC.

Geoffrey Somers: A Tribute From His Son

By Michael Somers

Geoffrey Vincent Somers, who spent many years gracing the pages of Hong Kong newspapers – whether making the news at the punchy tabloid The Star, spinning it at the Government Information Service (GIS) or commenting on it as an independent writer – died on 13 August at the age of 93.

Born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1928, Geoff got his start at the Daily News and later moved across the country to The Truth and The Herald, both in Melbourne. He shifted to Hong Kong in the mid-1960s and made a name for himself while working on The Star when he scooped the world with news of communist party vice-chairman Lin Biao’s death in a plane crash in September 1971 in circumstances which are still shrouded in mystery.

Geoff subsequently spent many years with the GIS, covering the then Royal Hong Kong Police, the Housing Authority, the Urban Council and the government publications office. He also wrote for various publications under colourful noms de plume because, as a civil servant, he could not publish without permission. An exception was made when he authored The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club: The Story of Racing in Hong Kong which profitably combined his passion for both horses and racing.

He later worked with Henry Parwani on The China Review and at one time he was the tipster Madame X on The Star’s league of racing pundits before passing on the handle and its fine legacy of not quite breaking even. He edited at least one Hong Kong Yearbook and played a key role in several others. He started the police newspaper Offbeat, and a bilingual newspaper for the Urban Council. He also quietly helped a bunch of people start newspapers and magazines, not least the brightly blazing but short-lived Australasian Express, and Raymonde Sacklyn’s groundbreaking business newsletter Target.

Having reached retirement age, he left Hong Kong in 1989 with my mum, Luisa Somers. But rather than twiddle his thumbs, Geoff dovetailed his still considerable energies with his love of horses, using skills he had honed at Happy Valley and Sha Tin to interview trainers and jockeys for Australian racing publications.

Geoff stopped for a stint in Tokyo, where he wrote the Japan Racing Association’s annual report, then returned to Hong Kong in 1992 to run Window for Lo Tak-shing during that tycoon’s ill-fated tilt at becoming the SAR’s first chief executive.

In 2011 Geoff left Hong Kong for good, moving to Buderim in Queensland with Amy, who he had married in 2006, and publishing Ghosts of the China Coast: A Tabloid History of China with Earnshaw Books. In the years up to his death, he wrote columns in The China Daily and contributed to the South China Morning Postfrom time to time.

While Geoff was known for his keen interest in horses and generous policy of contributing his stake money to racecourses around the world, he also loved travelling and writing about the places he explored; he even reviewed music at one stage. He read voraciously, in particular about Hong Kong and southern China’s coastal history, and collected vintage maps and books.

Geoff, who made friends wherever he went and with whomever he worked, had many vigorous (but never acrimonious) exchanges and was universally respected for his professionalism. And of course, the FCC – where he was a Life Member (No. 3228) – was a favourite for many years, both at Sutherland House and Ice House Street, where our family enjoyed many meals and he and Amy held their wedding reception.

Geoffrey is survived by his wife Amy; daughter Luisa Stuart; sons Geoffrey, Howard and Michael; grandchildren Jayne, Michael, Robert, Kathleen and Michelle; and a healthy number of great-grandchildren.

Catching Up With Cartoonist Harry Harrison

Ed Peters swaps quips with Harry Harrison, who exhibited a collection of intriguing illustrations at the FCC in September.

 

For the past 20 years, Briton Harry Harrison’s cartoons have unfailingly been one of the best bits in the South China Morning Post. To celebrate the publication of Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Hong Kong, and his September exhibit at the Main Bar, The Correspondent caught up with the 60-year-old Lamma stalwart who wields his pen – and wit – to such devastating effect.

 

Any regrets missing out on a glittering career in UK supermarkets?

Harry Harrison: Parts of Hong Kong supermarkets smell exactly the same as Key Markets, my first employer. I always have a misty “What if…” moment when I wander into such pockets. I could be an area manager with a company car and a nylon tie; instead, I’m trapped in this shorts-flip-flops-and-ink-stains maelstrom.

 

You met your future wife, Helena, in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1990. Did you two hit it off immediately?

HH: I was instantly drawn to Helena, but it took her several months to realise what an absolute catch I was. She bought me a chicken tikka sandwich because I was skint. I then walked her to The Peninsula where she had been invited to afternoon tea by an American fighter pilot. I walked dejectedly back to my hostel thinking “There is no God!”

 

Which of your cartoons generated the greatest outrage?

HH: I did a few about the Second Intifada in 2001 which drew accusations of anti-Semitism. I asked a Jewish woman I was working with if she found any of my cartoons objectionable. She replied: “Yes, that one you did taking the piss out of Cathay pilots. My dad’s a Cathay pilot!”

 

Former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa’s physiognomy lent itself to your art. How about Miss Popularity?

HH: Tung was a gift, particularly as I was just finding my feet. Carrie Lam’s features are as unremarkable as everything else about her, apart from her quirky approach to “helping” Hong Kong people, and her dead-eyed stare, of course.

Harry Harrison

You were sometimes confused with late sci-fi writer Harry Max Harrison – are his books any good?

HH: I’m not a fan of the genre, so haven’t read any, but we were occasionally in contact. He used to be an illustrator before he started writing and I mentioned this to him in an email. He replied that if I promised never to write any science fiction, he promised never to do any more illustration.

 

Apart from Carl Giles and Ronald Searle, do you have any other heroes?

HH: As far as art goes, Ralph Steadman, Gerald Scarfe and Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher spring to mind. In other fields, there are many, but I would have to single out Alan Partridge.

 

You’ve put in 20 years at the Post: any plans to skedaddle?

HH: None personally, but that’s probably not in my hands, the current climate being what it is. I’ve got a boat and some tinned food hidden in the bushes on Lamma.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

HH: Buy my book.

 

Pick up Harry Harrison’s Add Ink: Cartoon Chronicles of Hong Kong at the FCC front desk.

Member Insights: How to Secure Your Virtual World

Simon Jankowski, a cybersecurity expert, shines a light on the internet’s dark side. By Morgan M Davis

 

As long as faxes and emails have existed, so too have phishing scams. By now, most people know better than to send their bank account details to a stranger asking for financial support. But scammers are always looking for new victims, as well as increasingly sophisticated ways to access personal information – be that for financial gain, trade secrets, intellectual property or espionage.

We’d all like to assume that we would never personally fall for a cybersecurity attack, however, our networks are extra vulnerable in a work-from-home world. FCC member Simon Jankowski, a security director at BT Group, a communications services company, works with customers around the world to improve security, risk and compliance standards.

Jankowski spoke with The Correspondent about recent cyberattack trends and how individuals can protect themselves online.

 

How did you begin your career in cybersecurity?

Simon Jankowski: I have been interested in computers from a young age, pulling them apart and figuring out how they work. My first experience with security was reading Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier by Suelette Dreyfus, which covers the exploits of international hackers in the 1980s and ‘90s.

 

What new risks have arisen during COVID-19?

SJ: Before COVID-19, a lot of organisations had built a perimeter around their networks. With COVID-19 and work from home, people are sitting outside the network, so there needs to be a change in how we think about security controls. We’ve also seen more cyberattacks on VPNs [Virtual Private Networks] since more companies and individuals have started using them during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, more traditional attacks are still taking place. For example, a large number of attacks still originate via email in the form of malicious links or phishing campaigns that try to convince people to give personal details or money.

 

What are some ways we can protect ourselves?

SJ: Both individuals and companies should use VPNs, as well as a good anti-virus application and email spam filter. VPNs are important because they encrypt the traffic between your device and the VPN provider, making it harder for people to intercept or redirect.

They can also grant access to resources within your company’s networks that wouldn’t be available otherwise. However, it is important to use a trusted service, such as the one provided by your company. Be sure to research the VPN company to see who owns it and if they collect information from their users.

The average person also needs to be careful about what emails they’re opening and links they’re clicking. It is also important to pay attention to networks before connecting. Is that free Wi-Fi really safe enough for you to access your work or bank accounts?

 

How do we know if a Wi-Fi network is safe?

SJ: Generally, unless you control the Wi-Fi or your company does, it is best to treat it as untrusted and use something like a VPN to protect the traffic running through it. While it is generally not necessary to avoid
Wi-Fi totally if precautions are taken, there are alternatives such as using a pocket Wi-Fi with a SIM card.

The next most important thing is to keep all of your devices updated across both the operating system and applications. Learn to encrypt any external media devices to protect data against theft or loss. This is especially important if your devices contain personal, identifiable information.

There are commercial and free applications to encrypt data. Microsoft Windows (BitLocker) and macOS (FileVault) have options built into them as well.

 

What can we learn from the cyberattacks we’ve seen in the headlines? 

SJ: Cyberattacks are taking place all the time. Within seconds of a new server going online, it is already being probed and attacked. This is a reflection of our growing societal dependence on technology. Since governments and businesses depend on these technologies, ill-intentioned people will try to use them to gain an advantage financially, professionally or politically.

Each attack reveals new methods and vulnerabilities. The lessons we learn from them can then be used to drive protection back into businesses. For example, ransomware has taught the importance of robust backup practices.

 

Where do you see the greatest vulnerability?

SJ: The most vulnerable targets are people. People make mistakes and can be tricked or manipulated. A large number of attacks still originate via email, where someone has replied with personal details or clicked on a link that allows a sophisticated attack to start.

It is important for organisations to invest in user education around cybersecurity. One of my greatest achievements was teaching my mum how to distinguish between a fake and a real email!

 

What are the red flags?

SJ: Look at the minute details. Does the website and sender’s email address match the company it claims to be from? Or is there a discrepancy? For example, “1BM” instead of “IBM”. In addition, such emails commonly have a sense of urgency, such as “your account will be charged US$1,000 unless you cancel now.”

 

Are governments and businesses doing enough to keep up?

SJ: These threats are emerging fast. It is essential to inform people about the potential threats. You will have noticed over the years that many organisations, such as banks, send notifications and warnings regarding fake emails or phone calls about their organisations in order to help protect their customers.

Globally, we are seeing regulations catch up with technology and threats, however, with the speed of cybercriminals, it’s challenging to keep pace.


SIMON’S TOOLKIT

Learn more and protect yourself with these resources.

 

KBKast

Cyber security experts explore information security on a strategic level in this podcast.
podcasts.apple.com:“KBKast”

 

Dark Reading

Security professionals post the latest news about cyber threats and technology trends.
darkreading.com

 

The Register

Your source for global tech initiatives, the latest gadgets, cutting-edge engineering.
theregister.com/security

FCC Recipe: Halloween Cookies

Every successful Hallow’s Eve needs a batch of “Dracula Dentures”. Here’s how to master these devilishly delicious oat cookies at home.

 

Ingredients

115g     Butter

160g    Brown sugar

80g     White sugar

2.5g     Salt

1           Egg

60g     Bread flour

180g   Cake flour (sieved)

2.5g    Baking soda (sieved)

50g     Chocolate chips

50g     Raisins

50g     Oats

14 pcs Small marshmallows 

1 jar    Raspberry coulis, compote or jam

4         Quartered almonds

 

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and whip until creamy.
  3. Slowly add the eggs and mix well.
  4. Fold remaining ingredients into the mixture until combined.
  5. Scoop the mixture into 15 equally sized balls.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Remove cookies from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Cut baked cookies in half. Turn over.
  9. Line marshmallows between the cookie halves to resemble teeth.
  10. Add a few drops of raspberry coulis along the edge of the marshmallows to imitate gums.
  11. Attach 2 quartered almonds on either side as incisors.
  12. Drizzle coulis for impact.

Raise a Glass to ‘The Hong Konger’

Fancy trying a new cocktail? One FCC member has devised an ode to Hong Kong in liquid form, served straight up in a Tom Collins glass.

A city as exceptional as Hong Kong deserves a cocktail all its own – especially given the city’s famed predilection for a good time. Enter Russell Goldman, a New York Times editor and FCC member who, on the cusp of his departure from Hong Kong, concocted a signature drink with the help of senior bartender, Jason Poon, as a quaffable homage to the city he’s called home for four years.

“The drink had to signify Hong Kong – its flavours and people – and be reproduced at virtually any bar in the world,” says Goldman. “After tinkering with recipes at the Main Bar [in February 2021], and much patience on Jason’s part, The Hong Konger was born.”

What’s in it? Start with a Hong Kong-style iced lemon tea, add a generous dram of whisky (this is the FCC, after all), and top with a splash of ginger beer. It’s robust, refreshing, spicy and satisfying. “The ingredients represent Hong Kong’s history,” he adds.

It’s Goldman’s hope that The Hong Konger will forever be associated with the FCC, much the way the Singapore Sling is associated with the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. “The FCC is sort of an oasis, in that it’s this [bastion] of free speech.

“And it’s fitting, now that we can hang out with people in small groups again, that we have something special like a new drink to mark that moment – so we should raise a glass and celebrate.”

The Hong Konger, which is available at the Main Bar, pairs particularly well with Indian food and great conversation – two of the FCC’s many attributes.

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