On this page are a selection of books with Hong Kong connections. If
you have any suggestions for other books which should feature on this
page please contact email@example.com
The Colour of the Sky After Rain by Tessa Keswick
Tessa Keswick first travelled to China in 1982 and immediately fell in love with its history, culture and landscape.
Over the next thirty years, she travelled extensively in China, visiting its temples and landmarks, the sites of its most famous battles, and the birthplaces of its best-known poets and philosophers. She also witnessed China’s transformation, as hundreds of millions were lifted out of poverty and the country emerged as an economic superpower in waiting.
Keswick’s observations of life in China are perceptive and full of insight. Her narrative is rich in microhistories of people encountered and places visited. By presenting a colourfully woven tapestry of contrasting experiences and localities, she allows the reader to glimpse the sheer diversity of China and its vast population.
A multi-textured and revealing survey of the world’s largest country, as seen through one woman’s eyes, The Colour of the Sky After Rain offers a compelling portrait of China in an age of radical change, and charts the key staging posts in its recent, remarkable history.
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Walking a Tightrope: Memories of Wu Jeiping, personal physician to China’s leaders by Olivia Cox-Fill
When Dr Wu Jieping was selected by Chinese Premier Zhou En lai as his personal physician, he had little choice in the matter though it transformed his life, not always in a positive way. Olivia Cox-Fill got to know Dr Wu Jieping following the death of Zhou En Lai and while Mao’s wife was still in prison. He had attended several of China’s leaders, including Premier Zhou En Lai, Chairman Mao, Liu Shao Chi and Madame Mao. Over a period of three years, Olivia Cox-Fill interviewed Dr Wu and gathered vivid and unique recollections of his contacts with the Chinese leadership. But Wu specified that none of these memories should be published until after his death, which occurred in 2011, since its frank revelations would leas to state repercussions. The memoir reveals the appalling conditions in China as experienced by one of its most famous doctors, who carried out research into TB and kidney cancer while attending to the health of the country’s leaders. It also shows what it took to survive in Communist China at a time when most leading intellectuals were expelled to the countryside, imprisoned or beaten to death.
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Understanding Corporate Governance in China By Bob Tricker and Gregg Li
China has traveled a unique road to reach its present economic significance in the world with corporate governance central to political and economic policy. In Understanding Corporate Governance in China, Bob Tricker and Gregg Li look at a variety of companies in China and the challenges they face. Based on in-depth interviews with business leaders, entrepreneurs, auditors, bankers, lawyers, and others closely involved in corporate governance in China, they argue that corporate governance involves more than company law, governance guidelines, and the rules of the stock exchanges and regulatory authorities. Culture and ethics lie at the core of corporate governance. In Chinese business these are still evolving, and business-government relations continue to change. It is vital to understand how business people and officials act in practice in China. They also explain how the regulatory framework of corporate governance in Hong Kong increases the sophistication. As more and more companies based in mainland China are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and increasingly dominate the Hong Kong market, the business worlds of China and Hong Kong become intertwined and grow together. After a brief introduction to the basic theories of corporate governance and the evolution of corporate governance in China, the book guides the reader through current issues and practices in both mainland China and Hong Kong. Topics like Chinese culture and ethics, the regulatory corporate governance framework in mainland China and Hong Kong, the function and practice of the board of directors in China, and the governance of Chinese companies abroad are covered.
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Below are a selection of books from Proverse Hong Kong Publishers. Visit https://www.proversepublishing.com/ for details of these and other books
A Faithful Record of the Lisbon Maru Incident by By Major (Ret’d) Brian Finch, MCIL
In the 75th anniversary year of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru, A FAITHFUL RECORD OF THE LISBON MARU INCIDENT is a recent translation from an original Chinese publication covering an important chapter in Hong Kong’s wartime history. It gives details of the Lisbon Maru Incident of 1942, seen through the eyes of the Chinese fishermen who rescued hundreds of British prisoners of war from Hong Kong, whose ship had been torpedoed. The Japanese had tried to keep them in the holds as the ship sank so that they would drown, and then shot at them as they tried to escape. These courageous fishermen not only prevented hundreds more deaths, they also hid three prisoners under the noses of the Japanese until they could be sent secretly on a journey across more than 1,000 miles of China to reach Chongqing, from where they could tell the world what had happened. The book also recounts the visit to Zhoushan in 2005 of one of the survivors of the sinking and his emotional reunion with those who saved him; as well as a visit to Hong Kong in the same year of the last few remaining fishermen who had taken part in the rescue.
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Journeys with a Mission: Travel Journals of The Right Revd George Smith (1815-1871), first Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong (1849-1865) By: George Smith
JOURNEYS WITH A MISSION contains annotated uncut transcriptions from archival material of five original narratives or journals of travel, covering visits to China, India, Ceylon, Java and Singapore during the interesting period 1852-1858, undertaken by the Right Revd George Smith, first (Anglican) Bishop of Victoria (Hong Kong), providing a very valuable
information resource in two main areas: Protestant (and Roman Catholic) missionary, linguistic, pastoral, medical and educational activity, and the country-situations mainly in China and India at the time. They contain first-hand information about China’s internal, consular and diplomatic events; and vignettes of Indian life and culture just a few years before the Mutiny.
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As Leaves Blow by Philip Chatting
A black comedy set in Hong Kong. It explores the reactions to cultural distinctions in an international, but otherwise unremarkable, group of Hong Kong residents; namely whether to embrace, recoil, explain, attempt to change, stay oblivious, or pretend there are none.Set in a residential area of Hong Kong, where people of differing communities live, “As Leaves Blow” explores, in a darkly humorous way, the issue of how people respond to the cultural manifestations of an international city. The book has no central character other than the narrow suburban lane, the common location, where everyone in the tale lives and visits and where private games are played out. This is not a virtuous story, but is rather about human-kind’s weaknesses, stupidity and inflexibility, with a final message that we are all the product and slaves of cultural conditioning.
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Hong Kong Police: Inside the Lines By Chris Emmett
Hong Kong – a Chinese city with British-based law, a unique place with a unique police force. In his latest book, Chris Emmett, best-selling author of “Hong Kong Policeman,” puts you on the streets, alongside the Hong Kong police officers who were there during the greatest crises of the past few decades. In the 1960s, China’s Cultural Revolution came to Hong Kong and in one crazy summer, ten Hong Kong police officers lost their lives, five of them to a machinegun attack at the border village of Sha Tau Kok. In the 1970s, police stood in the front line as tens of thousands of Vietnamese streamed into Hong Kong, some were fleeing oppression and some after a better life, but hiding among them were violent criminals. In 2014, the police faced a social upheaval that even today divides the city – the Umbrella Movement. Drug-runners, refugees, illegal immigrants, violent gangs, gun-wielding robbers and umbrella-wielding students – “Hong Kong Police: Inside the Lines” tells stories never before told from a unique perspective.
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Tokkie Smith and the Colour of Rugby by John D’Eathe
Author John D’Eathe is a product of the golden years of amateur rugby. He has seen the game transform from elitist and non-inclusive into the brilliant, open Sunshine Rugby of today.
He met Tokkie Smith in 1959 in exotic Hong Kong and joined him for a decade in the waning days of the Empire and of Colonial rugby. He played regularly for the Club, a few times for Hong Kong and has a Blarney Stone Sevens tournament mug.
He lost out to concussion and took on RU Hon Sec. during the opening up of the game, leading later to the establishment of the Asia Rugby Union. He mixed with the amateur Old Toffs still running RFU from England.
He moved to Vancouver but continued rugby friendships that have helped him research this book. He looks back objectively and sees the impact his friend Tokkie Smith had upon world rugby. Many influenced change but Tokkie was special with his life totally committed to the game, progressively including different peoples and nations.
Perversely his liberal attitude caused his downfall and personal tragedy. In the crowning achievement of his life, his insistence upon the Sevens game being played and upon multi-racial inclusion produced the Hong Kong Sevens, which he organised and managed in its early years. It was this critical and exciting turning point in the international rugby paradigm for which he personally deserves the credit.
The author asserts that Tokkie Smith is an unsung hero of today’s all-welcoming game but that he was deprived of his legacy and cast into obscurity by a confused, self absorbed and elitist local rugby establishment.
The book seeks to re-establish his rightful place in rugby history.
Creating the Hong Kong Sevens
The Hong Kong Sevens produced a burst of brilliant rugby which brightens the world.
It didn’t just happen but was created through progressive inclusion.
In the process Founder South African Tokkie Smith was caught up in the turbulent forefront of the game’s move from white domination and into the clutches of big money.
It brought him personal tragedy but gave the world Sunshine Rugby.
“The colonial rugby elite sat in stunned silence. He had been accused but not heard. Never before had they been required to make such an emotional and personal decision. Slowly, one by one, they raised their hands and his life was over.”
This book can be purchased directly from Amazon.
Tin Hats and Rice: A Diary of Life as a Hong Kong Prisoner of War, 1941-1945 by Barbara Anslow
“I can’t visualise us getting out of this, but I want to TRY to believe in a future,” wrote 23-year-old Barbara Anslow (then Redwood) in her diary on 8th December 1941, a few hours after Japan first attacked Hong Kong.
Barbara’s 1941-1945 diaries (with post-war explanations where necessary) are an invaluable source of information on the civilian experience in British Hong Kong during the second world war. The diaries record her thoughts and experiences through the fighting, the surrender, three-and-a-half years of internment, then liberation and adjustment to normal life.
The diaries have been quoted by leading historians on the subject. Now they are available in print for the first time, making them available to a wider audience.
About the author:
Barbara Anslow was born in Scotland in 1918. In 1938 her family moved to Hong Kong where Barbara and her elder sister joined the Hong Kong Government as shorthand typists.
Her father died in 1940. Despite the risk of a Japanese attack, and expatriate women and children being evacuated to Australia, Barbara and her mother and sisters decided to stay in Hong Kong; the alternative was to return to the UK which the Germans were continuously bombing. So the Redwoods were caught in Hong Kong in 1941 when Japan attacked, and after the surrender they were interned for three-and-a-half years in Stanley Camp. There, Barbara worked in the hospital office, kept her diary, taught shorthand and wrote plays for the children to enact.
After the war ended, she resumed her job with the Hong Kong Government and also became Hansard reporter for the Legislative Council until her marriage to Frank, whom she had first met in Stanley. They had five children in Hong Kong.
About ten years ago, Barbara read that war diaries were becoming popular: until then, no one but herself had seen her diaries. So she sent them to a Stanley group on the internet which posted them online. This reunited her with old friends from the camp, and their descendants asked her questions about the experience. This publicity had some incredible results: an invitation to the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace; a television interview on the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, after which she recited a war poem before Prince Charles and hundreds of Pacific War veterans; and a parade through London streets lined with cheering and waving crowds.
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The Survivors: A Period Piece by Diana Fortescue
This is not a history book. It is a personal family memoir illustrated by seventy period photographs, most of which have never before been published. It is about the author’s parents, Tim and Margery Fortescue, a young British couple from privileged but very different backgrounds who, soon after meeting at Cambridge University, become caught up in turbulent events on the other side of the world during the Second World War.
After travelling to distant Hong Kong in late 1939, the newly married couple enjoyed two years of lotus-eating, though under the shadow of the approaching Japanese army. On Christmas Day 1941, after only eighteen days of fighting, the British, Canadian and Indian troops succumbed to superior Japanese forces and the Governor of Hong Kong was forced to surrender. Within a month Tim, Margery and their seven-month-old baby Adrian were incarcerated with 3,000 other civilians behind the barbed wire of Stanley Internment Camp. They were only in their mid-twenties and were destined to remain interned for 44 months. But all three of them survived.
This is their story – told almost entirely through their own words and those of people who knew them at the time, seasoned by Margery’s often wry but crystal-clear reminiscences many years later.
Bank Role by Sandy McCardle
Sandy McCardle is a banker who has earned a great deal of interest in his story.
One reads, for example, about his amateur dramatics in Bombay, a de facto conquest of Everest, and throwing a General across a room, It is a life of privilege, dedication, travel, and adventure on a scale not experienced by many, in his time.
Fulfilling the role of an urbane banker on a world stage has its rewards and disappointments. As a strong admirer of HSBC, he is saddened at the bank’s recent well publicized wrong doings, and dismayed at their unrepentant arrogance in confiscating long service retirement benefits, especially from those who contributed so much to the bank’s success.
In this book, there are aspects of banking told, in part, as it was, as it is, and as it might be. Generously illustrated, this story was not intended to be a literary masterpiece, but it is certainly readable. If writing is all about the author conjuring up words for the reader’s imagination to translate into mental images, thus bringing the story to life, I think he has succeeded in this.
This is a fascinating window on the life and times of a banker in a bygone age. It is a mosaic of privilege, adventure, romance and dedication against a background of the rarefied world of international finance. A de facto conquest of Mt Everest, throwing a General across a room, a Hong Kong typhoon and civil unrest, are just some of the author’s experiences. HSBC is singled out for the highest praise as a financial institution, yet the Bank is also exposed as a long service pension confiscator, attracting widespread condemnation. Generously illustrated, the apt juxtaposition of Shakespearean quotes adds a theatrical dimension to the story..
Bank Role is available on line from Amazon Bookstore.
Through the Dragon’s Gate by Jean O’Hara
Jean O’Hara is now a prominent psychiatrist in London, but she grew up in a humble tenement flat in Hong Kong in the 1960s, the daughter of an Anglo-Burmese librarian (later a senior civil servant) and his Chinese wife. Her childhood was a simple one, sleeping on a straw mat in a tiny bedroom which she at first shared with both her grandmother and sister. As Jean grew up she developed a fascination for medicine and moved to the UK to attend medical school, eventually becoming a consultant psychiatrist. This book is her account of a childhood steeped in the culture of China, and first steps in a career in medicine. Central to the story is the character of Jean’s Chinese grandmother, a charismatic matriarch who gave her a rich understanding of Chinese culture and an oriental outlook which has never left her.
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The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds by Selina Siak Chin Yoke
Facing challenges in an increasingly colonial world, Chye Hoon, a rebellious young girl, must learn to embrace her mixed Malayan-Chinese identity as a Nyonya—and her destiny as a cook, rather than following her first dream of attending school like her brother.
Amidst the smells of chillies and garlic frying, Chye Hoon begins to appreciate the richness of her traditions, eventually marrying Wong Peng Choon, a Chinese man.
Together, they have ten children. At last, she can pass on the stories she has heard—magical tales of men from the sea—and her warrior’s courage, along with her wonderful kueh (cakes).But the cultural shift towards the West has begun. Chye Hoon finds herself afraid of losing the heritage she so prizes as her children move more and more into the modernising Western world.
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The Making of an Immigration Judge by James Hanratty MD
How does the immigration system and courts actually work?
We need immigrants but is there effective immigration control?
How are human rights applied in practice?
What should be done about migrants?
These and many other questions and problems are dealt with in this fascinating, well written and amusing book. The author was a former President of the Council of Immigration Judges for the UK. He demonstrates his vast experience of this area of law and practice.
But how was this experience acquired? How did he become an immigration judge? In a fascinating and clearly written narrative spiced by hilarious anecdotes the author describes his first experience of the law in the Royal Courts of Justice then as a lawyer in the Lord Chancellor’s Department in the House of Lords, one of the select few advisers to the Lord Chancellor.
He provides a unique history of the negotiations with China over the Handover of Hong Kong to China when he was the UK Government’s legal adviser.
After return to the UK from Hong Kong in 1997 the author was appointed an Immigration Judge. He describes the nature of the cases with examples, the difference between an asylum seeker, a refugee and an economic migrant. The numerous ways in which applicants try to get into the UK is described: some genuine, some blatantly fraudulent.
He suggests a way ahead in dealing with migrants and enforcement of decisions. He poses the questions why immigration control at all. He sets out the special qualities required to be a judge.
Many of the cases are described including heartrending cases of family reunion.
This book is a must read for all those involved in immigration matters, including politicians, lawyers, academics and indeed all those affected by the European migration crisis.
This book is available on Amazon and other book stores. Click here to purchase from Amazon
Hong Kong: Terror and Reunion by Nick Jagger
The awful fireball of an exploding man seared his mind’ – the Golden Gate Bridge was under attack!
Do you know Hong Kong? The author paints an evocative 1975 portrait of a beautiful, frenetic city-state plagued by crime and corruption.
An engineer arrives to construct the Mass Transit and stumbles across a drug and antiquities smuggling triad, funded by fixing horse racing; in a Malaysian cave he discovers a plot to demolish the Golden Gate.
British intelligence recruit a Chinese woman to infiltrate the triad; the CIA despatch an agent. The engineer is repeatedly targeted as tension builds.
An excellent sense of place and time underpin this dramatic, fast paced adventure which embraces Japan, the USA and Thailand before culminating in a thrilling chase through the Cat Street district.
Join the main characters as they become involved with gangsters and terrorists from three different cultures whilst unearthing a surprising, personal relationship.
This book is available on Amazon and other bookstores. Click here to view it on Amazon.
Entrepreneurs, SMEs and Innovators – GO ASIA
‘The Master Key to Asia packs an enormous punch! It’s inspiring, motivational and generous in its advice. It made me think more deeply about the countries in Asia I have done business, and the ones where I want to.’ Jonathan Mantle, bestselling author of Companies That Changed The World
David Clive Price really knows his Asia. He has toured, lived and worked in just about every corner of it, so he speaks from a wealth of personal experience. Better than that, he possesses the talents of a skilled negotiator and mediator. There can be no better guide to preparing the newcomer to this culturally rich and diverse region for the task of dealing with Asians on a business level.’ Peter Moss, Ex-Director of Government Information Services, Hong Kong
A Highly Informative & Powerful Resource…
In his fascinating book entitled, “The Master Key Asia: A 6-Step Guide to Unlocking New Markets,” David reveals clearly defined business secrets that are essential when expanding into Asian markets.
His invaluable personal experience clarifies regional cultural perspectives and presents solutions to alleviate common cultural blunders. Displaying an immense wealth of knowledge, David will leave you feeling empowered and excited to unlock new business opportunities throughout Asia.
Asia’s dynamic and highly differentiated markets are generating rich opportunities but also complex challenges for Western companies and entrepreneurs considering or already launching themselves in the world’s most vibrant region.
Wall Street Journal contributor David Clive Price shares his experience of advising many Asian and Western companies on their business strategies in Asia and of setting up his own company in Hong Kong and Asia.
Over 25 years of travelling and working from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, from Seoul to to Bangkok he has collaborated with companies and business people at every level in Asia. Now, he reveals the winning strategies to leverage local knowledge to create strong relationships based on trust and credibility in Asia’s diverse markets. He identifies the business etiquette, cultures and business customs of Asia’s regions and cities, provides vital networking and negotiation tools, and shows how to target global brands and products for Asia’s cities and provinces.
With this second book in his innovative Master Key Series™, David Clive Price offers a clear path to transforming your company’s abilities to seize the opportunities of the Asian Century.
David Clive Price
David Clive Price PhDis
an international revenue growth strategist, speaker and
coach-consultant on Asia’s business practices and cultures. For many
years he has travelled the region writing about its richly diverse
peoples, traditions, beliefs and history. In 1995, he took up the post
of Executive Speechwriter for Asia for the HSBC Group in preparation for
Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. After the
Handover, he set up his own company in Hong Kong, writing presentations
and advising companies on their strategic communications in China and in
Asia as a whole. His experience with many Chinese and Asia-wide
multinationals gave him the idea of marrying his business experience
with his knowledge of Chinese and Asian culture. The result was a stream
of books on Asian life, business, cuisine and cultures. David is based
in London. www.davidcliveprice.com
What does it mean to be a ‘Hong Kong person’? Hong Kong has never been an independent state, nor has it completely reverted to mainland Chinese control. Once a British colony, now a semi-autonomous Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong is something of a mystery even to itself. Although it has long had a majority Cantonese Chinese population, the presence of significant expatriate communities—Western, Indian, Filipino, and others—creates a unique cultural diversity. This is evident in Hong Kong’s literary output as well: although Cantonese is by far the majority language, English writing occupies a small but enduring niche. In this collection of short stories, eight writers explore the question of what it means to be in, from, and of the Hong Kong of the past, the present, and the future.
About the Editors
Marshall Moore is the author of seven books, including the novels Bitter Orange (2013) and The Concrete Sky (2003), and the collection The Infernal Republic (2012). A native of eastern North Carolina, he has been a resident of Hong Kong for six years. He teaches at Lingnan University.
Xu Xi (許素細) is the author of nine books of fiction and essays. Recent titles are Access: Thirteen Tales (2011), the novel Habit of a Foreign Sky (2010), and the essay collection Evanescent Isles: from my city-village (2008). She is also editor of three anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English, and in 2010 was named writer-in-residence at City University of Hong Kong, Department of English, where she founded and directs Asia’s first low-residency MFA in Creative Writing.
Readers can see a free preview and buy the print version of the book at http://www.new-ventures.net/HTM/Queen.htm. This is the cheapest source as there is no p&p charge to the UK.
The print version can also be purchased from http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/1905510438/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1412093543&sr=8-1.
An eversion (with free preview) is available from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Queen-Statue-Square-Short-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00NJ4OOJW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412270928&sr=8-1&keywords=queen+statue+square.
Free Trade’s First Missionary: Sir John Bowring in Europe and Asia – by Philip Bowring
Reformer, intellectual, colonial governor, Sir John Bowring (1792–1872) was the archetype of the ambitious men who made Britain the leading global power in the 19th century. Born to a modest trading family, he showed an aptitude for languages which led him to literature, then to radical politics in the struggles for liberty in France, Spain and Greece. Taken up by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, he became a figure in the literary world. But his emphasis was on action rather than theories. He became a high-profile advocate of free trade and a liberal foe of Karl Marx. As member of parliament he supported full suffrage and other radical causes. He modernized Britain’s public accounts, invented the florin as a first step to decimalization, and became an industrial entrepreneur. Losing his money in the 1848 slump, he took a job as consul in Canton, which led to the governorship of Hong Kong. As Britain’s plenipotentiary in East Asia he negotiated a key treaty with King Mongkut of Siam but also started a war with China. His term as Governor of Hong Kong (1854–59) was plagued with problems. But there as elsewhere he left a legacy of liberal ideas.
Bowring’s impact was spread over so many fields that his name has been eclipsed by those with a narrower focus. This book brings his life and disparate achievements together, with a particular emphasis on his role in promoting free trade and his much criticized career in Asia.
Philip Bowring is a journalist based in Asia since 1973 variously as correspondent for the Financial Times, editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, and columnist for the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal and South China Morning Post. He is distantly related to Sir John Bowring.
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UK members visit Amazon UK to order or to purchase Kindle Edition
Hong Kong Internment, 1942-1945: Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley – Geoffrey Emerson
Hong Kong Internment, 1942–1945: Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley tells the story of the more than three thousand non-Chinese civilians: British, American, Dutch and others, who were trapped in the British colony and interned behind barbed wire in Stanley Internment Camp from 1942 to 1945.
From 1970 to 1972, while researching for his MA thesis, the author interviewed twenty-three former Stanley internees. During these meetings, the internees talked about their lives in the Stanley Camp during the Japanese occupation.
Long regarded as an invaluable reference and frequently consulted as a primary source on Stanley since its completion in 1973, the study is now republished with a new introduction and fresh discussions that recognize later work and information released since the original thesis was written. Additional illustrations, including a new map and photographs, as well as an up-to-date bibliography, have also been included in the book.
Geoffrey Charles Emerson has lived in Hong Kong for more than forty years. He retired in 2000 from St Paul’s College, where he taught history and English and served as vice principal and careers master. He was president of the Hong Kong History Society and is a council member of the Royal Asiatic Society (Hong Kong Branch).
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Lorette E. Roberts
Lorette is well known in Asia for her “bestseller” sketchbooks, on Hong Kong, China and Singapore. She now lives and has a studio in Suffolk from where she holds her watercolour, sketching and mixed-media classes. She is also an experienced speaker – loves answering questions however mad or cheeky – and has lead many seminars and workshops, both at home and when she visits Hong Kong and Singapore.
A Life in Hong Kong Government – by Rachel Cartland
Rachel Cartland came to Hong Kong in 1972 as one of just two female expatriates in the Hong Kong Government’s elite administrative grade.
Before she retired in 2006, her life was shaped by the momentous events that rocked Hong Kong during those action-packed years: corruption and the police mutiny, the growth of the new towns, the currency crisis of 1983, Tiananmen Square, the change of sovereignty and the devastation of SARS. The backdrop to her story ranges from Kowloon’s infamous Walled City to Government House to the rural New Territories.
Paper Tigress is full of humour and incident and, at the same time, an accessible account of modern Hong Kong and the forces that shaped it.
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Beyond and Under Victoria’s Sway – by Joyce Stevens Smith
The author of ‘Matilda’, the history, published in the 1980s, of the Matilda Hospital in Hong Kong, and of Matilda Sharp to whom the hospital was dedicated, Joyce Stevens Smith was a sister in the hospital for many years. She has now written a fascinating book which focuses more on the lives of Matilda and Granville Sharp.
In ‘Beyond and Under – Victoria’s Sway’, she gives insights to, and chronicles the life and adventures of, the Sharps who lived as comfortable a life in Hong Kong as it was possible between their arrival in 1858 until Matilda’s death in 1893. Mrs Sharp was an indomitable person who had an exploring spirit and constant interest; as her husband’s wealth increased, their prominence and influence in Hong Kong grew. The book also looks at the lives of other members of the family who were living in Norfolk and in Australia: the Sharps travelled extensively and adventurously. It is an interesting book about a burgeoning, courageous and restless Victorian family – a way of life which was initially fairly basic and not without its risks and finished off with considerable wealth and unending activity in the Hong Kong of the second half of the 19th Century.
The advertised price is £15 plus P & P but Mrs Stevens Smith has kindly offered a discount to members of the Society at £11 plus P & P (First class £2.30, Second class £1.90). Cheques should be made to “Joyce Smith” and requests for copies sent to Mrs Joyce Stevens-Smith, 28 The Fort, Cawsand, Torpoint, Cornwall PL10 1PL.(Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mrs Stevens-Smiths will kindly dedicate and sign each copy for our members.
Hurrahs and Hammerblows – Memoirs of Lord Sandberg, Former Chairman of HSBC
This book is priced at £17.99 plus £4.50 P&P for members (£20.00 is the normal price for the general public). For those members interested in obtaining a copy, please make a cheque payable to Lord Sandberg and send to Patricia Whetnall at 23A Tollgate Avenue, Redhill, Surrey RH1 5HR, and a copy will be despatched in the post. Direct enquiries can be made by emailing Patricia at email@example.com. Patricia is the editor and distributor and formerly the PA of Lord Sandberg.
Stunning Giants- The Treats to China’s Future – by Timothy Beardson
China has grown rapidly as a low-cost manufacturer and by huge state investment into capital projects. Unfortunately, a reducing work force, rising currency and increasing labor costs prejudice the continuation of the cheap manufacturing strategy. Falling returns make capital investment less sustainable. Beijing recognises that the economy must be refocused towards domestic consumption and innovation to find a new growth path. Unfortunately, the consumer is not spending, for reasons such as concern about inadequate social security, and most Chinese high tech exports are made by foreign-invested firms. The route to continuing growth is not following the plans.
Escape from Hong Kong – By Tim Luard
On 25 December 1941, the day of Hong Kong’s surrender to the Japanese, Admiral Chan Chak – the Chinese Government’s chief agent in Hong Kong – and more than 60 Chinese, British and Danish intelligence, naval and marine personnel made a dramatic escape from the invading army. They travelled on five small motor torpedo boats – all that remained of the Royal Navy in Hong Kong – across Mirs Bay, landing at a beach near Nan’ao. Then, guided by guerrillas and villagers, they walked for four days through enemy lines to Huizhou, before flying to Chongqing or travelling by land to Burma. The breakout laid the foundations of an escape trail jointly used by the British Army Aid Group and the East River Column for the rest of the war. Chan Chak, the celebrated ‘one-legged admiral’, became Mayor of Canton after the war and was knighted by the British for his services to the Allied cause. His comrade in the escape, David MacDougall became head of the civil administration of Hong Kong in 1945. This gripping narrative account of the escape draws on a wealth of primary sources in both English and Chinese and sheds new light on the role played by the Chinese in the defence of Hong Kong, on the diplomacy behind the escape, and on the guerillas who carried the Admiral in a sedan chair as they led his party over the rivers and mountains of enemy-occupied China. Escape from Hong Kong will appeal not just to military and other historians and those with a special interest in Hong Kong and China but also to anyone who appreciates a good old-fashioned adventure story. Tim Luard is a former Beijing correspondent for the BBC World Service.
Canton Elegy: A Father’s Letter of Sacrifice, Survival, and Enduring Love – by Howard Webster
Canton Elegy is a love story, an adventure, and an intimate portrait of one family’s struggle to survive. Stephen Jin-Nom Lee, his beautiful wife, Belle, and their four young children, braved famine, flood, corruption, and the devastation of war, on their journey to America.
Written so that his grandchildren might one day understand the quiet man who ran the local grocery store, Canton Elegy has all the action of a Hollywood blockbuster. From the 300-mile journey Belle and the children take on foot, to the night when Stephen stands at his window watching Canton burn, Canton Elegy describes events with an artist’s sensibility and a poet’s heart.
Gweilo: Memories Of A Hong Kong Childhood – by Martin Booth
Martin Booth died in February 2004, shortly after finishing the book that would be his epitaph – this wonderfully remembered, beautifully told memoir of a childhood lived to the full in a far-flung outpost of the British Empire…
An inquisitive seven-year-old, Martin Booth found himself with the whole of Hong Kong at his feet when his father was posted there in the early 1950s. Unrestricted by parental control and blessed with bright blond hair that signified good luck to the Chinese, he had free access to hidden corners of the colony normally closed to a Gweilo, a ‘pale fellow’ like him. Befriending rickshaw coolies and local stallholders, he learnt Cantonese, sampled delicacies such as boiled water beetles and one-hundred-year-old eggs, and participated in colourful festivals. He even entered the forbidden Kowloon Walled City, wandered into the secret lair of the Triads and visited an opium den. Along the way he encountered a colourful array of people, from the plink plonk man with his dancing monkey to Nagasaki Jim, a drunken child molester, and the Queen of Kowloon, the crazed tramp who may have been a member of the Romanov family.
Shadowed by the unhappiness of his warring parents, a broad-minded mother who, like her son, was keen to embrace all things Chinese, and a bigoted father who was enraged by his family’s interest in ‘going native’, Martin Booth’s compelling memoir is a journey into Chinese culture and an extinct colonial way of life that glows with infectious curiosity and humour.
Fragrant Harbour – by John Lanchester
‘It’s Hong Kong,’ she said. ‘Heung gong. Fragrant harbour.’
Fragrant Harbour is the story of four people whose intertwined lives span Asia’s last seventy years. Tom Stewart leaves England to seek his fortune, and finds it in running Hong Kong’s best hotel. Sister Maria is a beautiful and uncompromising Chinese nun whom Stewart meets on the boat. Dawn Stone is an English journalist who becomes the public face of money and power and big business. Matthew Ho is a young Chinese entrepreneur whose life has been shaped by painful choices made long before his birth.
The complacency of colonial life in the 1930s; the horrors of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War; the post-war boom and the handover of the city to the Chinese – all these are present in Fragrant Harbour, an epic novel of one of the world’s great cities.
East and West: China, Power and the Future of Asia – Christopher Patten
Few Western political figures can answer that question as well as Christopher Patten. For five years, Patten was the governor of Hong Kong, and as China prepared to reclaim its people and its land, he struggled to put in place democratic institutions that would ensure Hong Kong’s continued vitality.
In East and West, Patten draws on those struggles to give us an intimate portrait of the real Asia, in all its diversity, and to make a vital argument for the common interest of Eastern and Western powers. The result is a startling departure from the conventional wisdom about China, power, and the future of Asia.
Starting from his own experience as governor, his attempt to introduce democracy to Hong Kong, and his often difficult relationship with both Chinese and Western business and political interests, Patten addresses some of the most vital, and often confused, issues of the coming century.
King Hui: The man who owned all the opium in Hong Kong – Jonathan Chamberlain, David Tang
Scandal and corruption, drugs and pirates, triads and flower boats; the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and the Communist takeover of Canton. Peter Hui was there. He knew everybody and saw everything. This is the real story of Hong Kong, told with the rich flavours of the street. If Peter had been only a little bit different he could have been an important man. But this is a riches to rags to riches to rags story. As we follow Peter’s life – his ups, his downs – we see in sharp focus what it was like to be a Chinese man in the British territory of Hong Kong through most of the years of the 20th century. And yet this book is not just one man’s tale. It is the story of a time and place – colonial Hong Kong, Portuguese Macau and the South China hinterland – seen from the unique point of view of a man who was at home at all levels of society. This is the bizarre story of a man who really did, for a very short time, once own all the opium in Hong Kong. If Suzie Wong had been a real person, Peter Hui would have known her.
“This is a true story but it reads like a novel. It is a cracking read.” – David Tang