Bargirls and journalists have a lot in common. They are basically lazy, but work very hard for short periods of time – Arthur Hacker.
The numbers of foreign journalists in Hong Kong ebbed and flowed to the tides of the war in Vietnam so it’s fitting, and not entirely uncoincidental, that the Hong Kong Press Club was opened in Wanchai in December 1973, just months after the rock n roll war finally ended.
Its arrival sits right in the middle, between the end of old Wanchai, made famous as The World of Suzie Wong, and the new one, with its smart office blocks and trendy bars.
During the war of course Hong Kong was awash with young Boy and Girl Reporters who came from all corners of the world hoping to make their names as war correspondents. Many stayed and took jobs on local newspapers and magazines, both during and after the war. Continue reading
The path from shrinking newsrooms to the bulging corridors of corporate communications and government media units is a well-trodden one. Many journalists, your own Girl Reporter included, have sought a crust by writing press releases. Some of them may even have been poorly worded. Continue reading
In November 1969 an Australian named Francis James disappeared without trace. He was travelling by train from the southern China city of Canton, now called Guangzhou, to Hong Kong. He was last seen by his fellow passengers at the border arguing with Chinese officials.
A year had gone by with no word of James or his whereabouts when in January 1971 my father Jack Spackman, known here for literary purposes as the Big Baxter, sent a telegram to Chou En-lai, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, pleading for information.
It was the springboard for a three-part feature Bax wrote for The Age which, in their entirety, make for a pretty good masterclass in the arcane art of China Watching.