pam williams

Apr 01, 2014

JulyBlog: Hong Kong Book Progress

Pam at Lt Col. R.M.Williams graveside, North Cerney,Glos.

The book is dedicated to my Father, Lt. Col. Ronald M. Williams, Royal East Anglian Regiment, who naturally introduced me into the British Forces lifestyle which launched me, unsuspectingly...into this venture........Responses to invitations...to contribute become more fascinating, intriguing....and surprising........from lay people to the publicly honored, all have a valuable point of view. New facts and stories unfold.

July 2017

This month has flown past. Am waiting for responses from publishers, '8 weeks they say'. Exploring more possibilities so, all thoughts are welcome. Jim Laurie, Far East corresponent and broadcaster, will contribute. it will be a fascinating contrast to Clare Hollingworth's point of view, via Patrick, her Nephew's book, 'Of Fortunes and War'.  There are plenty of pages to fill yet. It's time to get a large scanner to copy in paintings and sketches that have been hidden away in archive folders.... There's the one of the last Ghurka baby at the clinic before it closed.

The Summer is not over yet. Here's hoping for a flourish of sun and August warmth.

Be well, Pam


June 2017

Time's slipping by June has gone so, here is a note on it's coat tails. The Hong Kong Society held a celebration at the Royal Artillery Grounds in London to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover, 30th June. A perfect Summer evening, watching the Ghurka Band beat retreat was a nostalgic spectacle and enjoying champagne with friends and colleagues. There were four hundred and twenty attending. As Lord Chris Patten said,'Everyone, an entrpreneur who helped to build Hong Kong'. How brilliant is that? New friendships were made with young couples who I hope will shed a fresh point of view on the developments and moods in Hong Kong. After all, they have inherited this legacy. I wonder, 'what is it like living in a Chinese Hong Kong today'.

May your July be fresh and breezy,

Pam

May 2017

Syopsis are sent and being sent to publishers and agents. It may be wise to find out possibilities in Hong Kong too, although it IS now China and some content may not be welcomed. There is a double page spread of sketches made in Victoria Park a year after the Tiananmen Square disaster, which is essential. Patten was made Governor. The mood had dropped dramatically and the then Governor who had replaced Edward Youde had to go. He had only been in office a very short time, perhaps it was the association, I don't know. On a lighter note, a fine few hours were spent chatting with a Hong Kong resident expat who was there since the 60s. A time recovering from the Cultural revloution and open to so many innovations, that included the birth of television. There were two expat women running the childrens program, Storychat on Redifusion TV, was broadcasted from a tiny room on Gloucester Rd. With one camera and two small walls for backdrops, children's plays were put on live as well. If someone wanted to try their hand at producing a program or reporting events, they were allowed a TV broadcasting team to go with them, just one time. I suppose that was the ultimate test, whether you could pull it off or not. A far cry from TV management today. It was a time for entreprenuers. Hong Kong is still a place of innovation or should I say a prime testing ground. I remember when I arrived in 1996, mobile phones were being tested in Hotel lobbies. A very smart advertising stunt. It's time to complete the British Forces section and the Ghurka section too.

Be well and stay well, Pam


April 2017

All fit and functioning well again, It is time to explore publishing possibilities. All leads are welcome, so any leads  you have will be helpful. It is an unusual book, possibly, a coffee table book with plenty of illustrations. A fascinating snapshot documentary, historical,cultural and entertaining to a degree. Ideally, it will be good to find a traditional publisher interested. However, I am looking at online systems which have become much more sophisticated nowadays. Yet another learning curve.

England is a beautiful place to be in Springtime,

I hope you are enjoying the warmth and birdsong wherever you are.

Pam


March 2017

One does try to maintain a 'pofessional front'. However, I admit to a bizarre accident on January 11th...which rendered me useless until March 31st. No drama, nothing worthy of a feature film, just a clumsy fall off a chair, 'out of the blue'. I woke up on the floor with a fractured bone in the neck, a blocked artery and an 'irritation of a nerve,' which...seemed, apart from the neck catastrophe...as if an American truck had rolled of my left arm. (I am left handed). The National Health Service were...absolutely brilliant.

The Book: Now, god willing there is a renewed and strong focus is in hand...first to complete the business section and contact the British Forces to gather their gems of insight. I am also clearing the studio/house of all clutter, (it must be the 'Spring thing')...to primarily, have a permanent painting depot aswell, (much missed as it was replaced by the editing desk)...Both are necessary now to work in tandem. It's time to identify and complete the collection of sketches and paintings....that will be an eye opener.

Be careful, to keep warm. This is the season for catching the flu when too keen....to strip off for the warmer climes.

Pam


February 2017

A chance email to, Jim Laurie, (Far East correspondent and broadcaster), led to an enlightening conversation last week over Skype. I had sketched him in '99 when he was discussing 'issues' with Johnathan Miirsky, (The Spectator), at the FCC - Foreign Correspondent Club.  It was suggested.......a visit to Hong today will show a dramatic change.......'it is now a Chinese Hong Kong', he said. Could this be a seed of a fresh series of sketches.... to create an extraordinary collection of contrasts, It would definitely,,, thicken the book! We shall see.

Spring is here, the first daffodils are trumpeting.

I hope you are enjoying 'the beginnings of the lighter/longer days.

Pam

January 2017

Happy New Year to you, I hope a good holiday break was had by all. Now back in the studio, setting a steady pace once more. Patrick Garret, author of his Great Aunt's life story, 'Of Fortunes and War' has been in touch. A fine book, an insight to Clare Hollingworth's life, so essential. It really captures her extraordinary life as a war correspondent. She was a mentor and great inspiration to me while in Hong Kong. She commandeered me as her assistant...regularly. On early mornings.....I read the news to her.....as she pondered the future of China...still fascinated by world events and potential conflict...even though, well into her 80s.................................................. 

Another email from Patrick on Tuesday, 10th January. Sadly, Clare passed away.......she was 105 years.                                 The Doyen of The Foreign Correspondent Club.  She will be sadly missed at the club where she spent so much time. No doubt, her presence will continue 'to be there'. 

The 'Business' section of the book is in progress. It will be interesting to understand the point of view of

women in business with the East and West since the 50s. If anyone has any contacts or friends who maybe interested to contribute do let me know.

I hope January has been 'a rewarding month for you',

Be well,

Pam


Oct/November 2016

Thankyou all for contributing. Surprises  continue, from encouraging emails to fascinating encounters which bring hands on comments and experiences....always the best. 

I am travelling on an Amtrak train from New York to deep country, Pennsylvania now. Visiting cousins and old friends. Working while on the move...with every scrap of information at hand....this internet age is a true phenomena. Just, 2 at a table. A plug socket, on the side…..‘yes m’am, you can sit here’….I'm told, 'it’s the café car'. When boarding the train, to skip the squishy lines of travellers pushing along the train carriage ailes...desperately looking for a free seat....instead, run along the platform alongside the train to the cafe car....virtually empty..fantastic.  No, I didn't know...just followed the locals. Ok, the book...am still editing contributions to the business section. Insights of who/what and how unravel the challenges which set the foundation of business today. There is now contact with China...,which is helping to find links to Chinese visuals. An unexpected meeting with an young American lad, who spent several years studying in China.....'There are the Han, the majority of the population in mainland China. Google is banned, there is another site that 'does the job'...they don't need the rest of the world...that's the feeling encouraged. Zhong guo - Central kingdom/the centre of the earth.

However, there are at least 50 minority groups, who have developed their own cultures... .like the Xiaoshu Minzu. They disagree with the limitations of government initiatives. They are open to innovation, the freedoms of Western civilisation....The Honk Kong people are not alone....who call the Han majority, 'Bu Wen Ming'.

The influx of mainlanders....after the handover, has diluted..general respect and good manners toward fellow Hong Kong residents. Shouting, pushing........

Be well and stay warm,

Pam

If you are receiving these monthly update and would rather not please reply 'No thankyou'.

September 2016

Chasing the days, I am pretending the month has not yet finished. It was full of society returning from holidays, students signing up to coaching classes managing schedules, deleting schedules and starting again......meeting and coaching new faces....and 'a family wedding too'. At last count, the humble Victorian terrace which doubles as the studio housed 8 people with a bed! So, book commitments did dwindle. However, the Law section is complete, I think. I will send out final page samples to contributors to double check. The focus now moves to Business...to  edit, different histories and to link early days to the vibrant dips and dives of economic developments. That is the current challenge, as always, guided by contributors... thank you everyone this certainly could not happen without you.

The chill has caught the air bringing us the Autumn days.

Be warm,

Pam

If you are receiving these monthly update and would rather not please reply 'No thankyou'.


August 2016

Technical glitches have to be resolved..., text chats with experts online are the best. Wierd but effective. By this time, I tidy the studio while the tech person explores the problems on my computer remotely......unbelievable! Extraordinary. Their reliability, far outshines the paranoias of technophobes aware of potential hackers. Indesign is taking me on another learning curve...exploring, the more complicated effects facilites are fascinating. On a lighter note.... editing  notes on the traditional Chinese New Year festivities is truly enlightening. There are14 days of particular activities...and then...14 more for the Spring festivities....On the seventh day,Yun Yut, It’s everybody’s birthday. ‘Happy birthday to everyone’. “We all go out to dinner. Oh… and the family portrait…all dressed up”. On the 8th day, 'the day of millet', it is the day to celebrate the growing of crops. Children are taken to see farms in the country and encouraged to experience the farmer's work..... to understand the importance of food, very significant....a good education. It's a month of families and friends reuniting. A very wise tradition.....time to meet, time to talk and exchange. The Gods are all close by, some celebrated and some chased away.

Definitely, good traditions to keep and maintain across the nation, building strong family ties. I wonder, if the loyalty to many traditions are fading today in modern society.......simple activities focusing on simple values....refreshing ourselves physically and mentally. The importance of time......... for the magic to unfold.

Have a lovely 'end of the Summer' wherever you are,

Pam

If you are receiving these monthly update and would rather not please reply 'No thankyou'.



July 2016

Catching the last moment of the month.....I look back at spelling mistakes in this blog.... and am appalled..please accept my apologies. Fortunately, there will be much proof reading of the book by 'other people' before going to press! Permissions have come in at last, to go ahead and use copy from contributors to 'the law section' of the book, that's a  massive relief. Transcribing tapes and editing seems to take ages. Each has offered valuable information and unique, stories. I for one, have understood so much more about this extraordinary time and how much work...was involved to reach an agreement between the UK and China. The modesty of UK experts and dignitaries has been truly impressive. I shall enjoy acknowledging the wonderful titles and references to the back history of these distinguished men. It all helps to realise, who was there..... .how much experience, trust, ideas, and respect are built upon. My initial patience tested, the promise of completing a synopsis, bringing together sketches and writing is exciting........Did you know, Maxwell....Robert Maxwell.. had a publishing company. He persuaded Deng Xiaoping to publish a book of his own words......anything that sells in China sells Billions....so that was completely.....'in character'. Oh, I have finally signed up to an online Mandarin tuition website...with a brilliant format. I can manage tuition myself and practice pronunciation..... So, while killing time, in cafes in London between coaching English to foreign businessmen and their wives, (survival income), I am tucked in a corner with coffee, tiny earphones in the ears,  mouthing new sounds and grammar that defies any latin language....... cross your fingers something sticks.

Thank you to everyone, for taking interest in this book and to everyone contributing. You are raising the benchmark which I will do my best to compliment well.

Have a very good month....and wonderful holidays if you are travelling.

Summer has come back....gently.....

Be well,

Pam

If you are receiving these monthly update and would rather not please reply 'No thankyou'.

June 2016

Law, law and more details about the rule of law..... so many people were involved to organise, manage, communicate.... I had no idea it was so intricate. Last week at the East India Club, a panel of top judicial experts were discussing the importance of  'the rule of law', ....... It seems Hong Kong has one of the most fair legislative plans in the world...Fascinating to hear that international judges are invited to Hong Kong....to take part and discuss proceedures....which helps maintain a level playing field............Some words directly from Barrrister -Senior Counsel, Paul Shi who had just come back from Hong Kong.... He explained the situation today......on the whole still balanced but with always a focus on how to maintain it........some pending fears.......

The main speaker, The Honourable Mr Justice Haddon-Cave concluded on a light note......with the wit and timing which clearly laced his careeh.....after a talk that even I understood. I hope he doesn't mind my repeating it. The  Houses of Parliament......if you have been ......has wide, grand, marble corridors  with a circular area of marble flooring where corridors meet. The powerful stonework of the building is supported by multiple high pillars. Fine historic documents and paintings on the walls hang between the magnificent leaded windows.

He unexpectedly, saw a friend...... a senior member of the judiciary showing some tourists the building. "Niel", he exclaimed. So the tourists knelt!  Imagine being there.....the overwhelming grandeur of the place, the feeling of awe among the active workings of the House of Parliament....officials going here and there...........If I had been 'in amazement'....English or not......I may have knelt too.

Thank you to everyone, taking interest and to those contributing it is becoming more than I could imagine. Have a very good month, Summer seems to have taken it's leave ....

I live in hope it will bbe back soon with....sun.

Be well,

Pam

If you are receiving these monthly update and would rather not please reply 'No thankyou'.


May 2016

So much editing..and plenty more to do...My favourite exchange so far was with a young business man from Mainland China working in London. He was referring to his village, Wuhan in China. A naive British woman, myself, from a typical village of 300 people in Gloucestershire...asked, "So, how many people are in your village?"  Young man,"10 million", not a grin or a wink! The reality of China and it's history, let alone the culture can hardly be compared to that of the UK...The ideas and understandings are light years apart. There have to be other strategies to ....bring China into the modern day. I heard, a new town or city was built from scratch, populations with diverse skills were literally uproooted, moved in from existing towns.What is a priority or possibility in one place is totally different in another...on the other side of the world....

I'd like to imagine editing was easier with sheets of paper. .... piles of content to shuffle about the studio into appropriate chapters and then rearrange into better sections of a potential book..post it notes in different colours with loud comments written with fat magic markers.With the computer as the medium, I have yet to realise short cuts and best proceedures. Pages are somewhere 'on a cloud' or in a virtual layout my brain can't see, "What is, where..", even on a large monitor. It is a massive job....However, I strongly believe something original will come out of 'this struggle'......something to enjoy.

Have you escaped to sunny climes or nipped into the garden or a park to check on a flower? I hope so, Be well,

Pam

March/April 2016

Gathering information from experts is taking time but well worth it. As different sections of the book build, a strong synopsis is evolving. Something clear and substantial to pitch and show. I will post something to show you. How a publisher produces a book maybe much more logical. So,....I hope your patience will be duly rewarded. It was an essential meeting at a Hong Kong Society Luncheon on March 17th. Her excellency, Ms. Barbara Woodward, British Ambassador for Beijing was speaking. A true inspiration to everyone. She spoke of many innovative events happening across China.....to establish and encourage business and community exchanges with Britain....and Hong Kong.... Of course business is paramount... a broader understanding of each others cultures is growing too. Exchanges on the ground level are important.... Sister Cities/Towns... building a wider education and new roads into the future. Our youngest ambassador to Beijing. The perfect Ambassodor for this particular time..... approachable .....smart...... fluent in Chinese....very encouraging.

Thank you for contributing/following this, you are my staying power!

Spring is here, in full flower, may you enjoy every moment.                   

Pam

February 2016

It has been a challenging month from all directions, hence the slide into March. However a fascinating meeting in the Midlands gave me a break from editing and desk work in London. Listening to a man who writes the laws, ie; once all has passed through the many stages of discussions and meetings. I was shown a stack of tiny booklets much like the little red book of Mao, but much thinner. "This is the one for The Joint Declaration ", he held it up, "a blue booklet, sky blue". So insignificant, yet an historical agreement, which took months and months of sweat and tears of the Sino-British declaring in clear print,  how Hong Kong was and is to be governed from 1997 until 2047......'One country 2 systems'. That was the slogan ringing in everyone's ears. Can the diverse Governments really understand and accept one another that easily?! So many diverse opinions, no doubt, many true intentions and qualities overlooked. Decisions had to be made. There is always the human condition that brings with it fears and flaws........that is the knub. There was, a popular rumour among the local Hong Kong people that once handed over the water supply would be cut off!....the crazy extremes......or not so crazy.

A kaput laptop, a short panic,....all ok... the Hong Kong Book files are saved, the flu has gone and the brain is intact.

I was advised to buy a large screen monitor, to see layouts evolve more realistically. Working on a dinky laptop has been restricting, so it is time to launch into the next phase of digiland...... have you heard of 'the Cloud'....well, everything will be saved up there. Wish me luck.

Enjoy the Spring, it promises to be here soon....

Pam

January 2016

Happy New year to one and all. It's late in the day but I hope I'm not the only one who is still establishing my dreams and plans. The first challenge for 2016, is to create a solid layout and plan for the book. There has been so much information coming in, on different levels and areas of Hong Kong life....where to start? As an early contributor pointed out, 'It is really, all about 'The Joint Declaration'. Thankyou for that, it's,.....(so easy to 'drift off!),....that is definitely the way to go.  I am patiently collecting the facts, and will test the key handover sketches in the layouts......will there be enough...how will the words and pictures create a good balance.................. 

My education is going well;  Watching films of mainland China and Hong Kong history, reading books on political facts, taking copious note to hopefully remember.., attending current, business panel discussions,...... its all fascinating.

The Hong Kong Society's New Year's feast....is coming up...It's a wonderful evening in Chinatown.

Kung Hei Fat Choy, or....is that too early?..........Pam

December 2015

Time off to cook feasts, be among friends and wonder how to move ahead with this 'idea'..........in 2016.

November 2015

Am busy editing the first chats and material gathered, currently visiting friends in France. A change of scenery helps to keep the ball rolling. The internet really has made so much possible. So, while the families of birds...mesange charbonniere, (with green breasts and a black strip down the middle), cluster about the bird table....I type away.

Here is a sample of how sketches were gathered together in Hong Kong;

A local journalist used to meet me periodically….he'd  buy me breakfast at the FCC while he read the paper on Sunday. In 1997, The right of Abode was the big issue at the time. ‘He said, "well the court case is going to be at 10 o’clock, be there. “How do I do that?’’ “Get on the phone to the governor”…..so, I would do what he told me…….and cross my fingers. “The phones over there”.’How do I go in?’, I asked,….this was all new to me…. So, I lined up with the press and walked in, my sketch pad discreetly tucked under my arm.   Barristers noticed, I maybe drawing but didn't seem to mind.

Discussing, the pros and cons of people and paragraphs and pages of law.....around and around in circles. An impossible task.....I was told later, "lawyers will not be amused by your sketches!" I've put a couple up at  http://www.pamwilliams.co.uk/hongkongbook

Have a good November, it's fresh out there..so keep warm

Pam

October 2015

It's really, good bye to October and hello Winter.  This repeat of 'October', is an effort to keep the consist monthly review .......on target....it Has been slipping, dangerously. The daily program of Septembers' trip, drilled me into the habit of working on the book at dawn....everyday.  As so many people have already realised, the super early hours of the day are.... perfect., "almost, "in your sleep". Now back in the studio, the recent chats have been transcribed. Fresh contributions include, the beginning of an oil business established in mainland China by a ' Brit' in the 1920s. The forced closure, of the office in the 1942 due to the Japanese moving in and the revival of the office in the 1990s...building in the Far East.....and....Still 'in the family'. Also, a clear insight to behind the scenes of horse racing during  the '80s. The role of army officers in civilian life continued to match British honour to Chinese honour. The challenges and contrasts of the British and Chinese culture and personalities continue to astound and delight. I can't give away too much in these paragraphs otherwise there will be no book......!

Thankyou to everyone who has contributed and do pass on details to anyone you think maybe interested.

November, is actually here and colours are falling.....remember to go to the park and kick leaves.

Be warm and well,

Pam

September/October

My Mother at 89, invited me to go along with her on holiday. We left for Lisbon on the 12th Sept. It was a whirlwind of  action and places.....and sea air. A sketchbook was filled during the cruise. Just half an hour on the first tour, I jumped off the coach to the  guide calling,"be back on the ship before it sets sail". The architecture, the sun and the colours were all so beautiful. Old habits and the love of watching and observing were coming right back to me just as they were in the '70s. The studio was unfolded from the neatly packed shoulder bag. Everything, carefully arranged onto the wide ochre wall where I sat infront of the grand Cathedral of Cadiz. 

By the following day on board, 'time with the book'  was set in place. Everyday at 6am..the old Nokia phone was perfect as a torch to avoid waking Mum. I'd creep out of our cabin, and wander along to 'The Library'. .......a fellow passenger was already in the lounge, reading the daily newspaper with a cup of coffee and a croissant.....unbelievable! It was a far cry from the old days, when I worked for a dippy tour office in Athens, Greece. It was the 1970s, when luggage was mislaid and tourists thought death shrines on mountain roads were beehives. This was travelling and working in style. Every morning, tips and tricks were learned on 'Indesign'....it's so advanced nowadays. I remember designing my first book in the'90s, on a big box called a computer with 24 megabytes of memory. It had been 6 months of click...make breakfast...click...have another coffee break. The speed and facilities nowadays are mind blowing.

2 interviews were held with fascinating gentlemen about Hong Kong. One businessman who built up Chinese colleagues and a strong network in Asia. Something to do with oil......and an ex Army officer who...unearthed some secrets .....He also met his wife there. Both of them were lecturers on the ship. Wonderful moments of humour and attitude were filled with information, about war manoevres, cultural history...and unexpected truths. Some serious facts on Hong Kong were learned....hilarious, true stories aswell as how business was developed in the Far East.

Now at home, the Hong Kong sketches and pantings are being loaded onto book layouts. They are all tests at the moment as the learning continues. It is exciting to see the book begin to come together, to move toward the next goal. It will really help to understand how the overall book may look. It's time for some scaffolding and to balance the content.

May you have a good October

Be warm and be well, Pam


September 2015 Where did that month go?!

At 89, my Mother invited me to go on a cruise with her. What an opportunity to explore the Mediterranean. Unaware of what it would be like on board, I took all my work with me including, the laptop to learn Adobe Indesign. The ultimate book design program. Daunting and intriguing at the same time. It was a gamble whether anything be done at all.....

August 2015

The month has almost slipped by, a few hours to go and here are some notes on the book's progress.  At last I am settling to a steady flow of activity, plenty of editing conversations and Contributions are becoming more diverse.

A 'Brit', Hong Kong resident came home to 'Blighty', to celebrate her birthday with friends in London. At The Banker pub on Bankside, the city haunt was packed with local business folk on a Friday evening, inside and outside too. The place had remained as ever. The same bar and the same walls since the 1800s. So, rich in history and a warm grounded atmosphere. Typical of all Hong Kongers, initiative launched into action when it began to rain. Every seat, stool and private room was taken. We found the pool room at the top of the stairs.......empty. With a little organizing, our own spot was established where we could gaze over the balcony at the whole pub and.....above all...actually hear each other. There were kindred spirits from The Yacht Club who'd never actually met before.  Geologists, both young and a veteran. As well as, a passionate hiker/author who spends 5 months here and 5 months there. The countryside, is a whole area of Hong Kong life, so easily forgotten, especially when 'the business' conversations dominate. It is where our sanity is restored and we are surprised by the natural adventures. There are vast, dramatic areas of undisturbed beauty......I wonder how that has been affected by the changes over time ....or has it, we shall find out?

On another note; To manage living expenses I have been coaching English to foreign business men and women. Sometimes, the last session becomes a farewell meal and a very thoughtful gift. The most recent was a large A4 book. (Title: Korea by Won-bok RHIE...ISBN:9-788934-932369). How the separation and links between China, Japan and Korea evolved over time to create the current status today. It is a truly valuable education for a Westerner, since we learn none of this at school,{well...not during my school years in the1970s.}  Fortunately for me, it is a Graphic novel.....without pictures, books usually sit waiting.... on the shelf at my home! This is a tomb of delightful cartoons and important facts. It has been read and reread again and again. Now I understand the difference between the Eastern cultures and won't be bowing Japanese style, when saying goodbye to a Korean............ 

When writing the current month's blog I saw the last ones. Oh dear, ....the spelling was atrocious. your patience pleeease...I promise, proper proof readers and editors will be necessary at a later stage!

Have an excellent September.

Thank you to everyone who has shown interest and do pass on this link to kindred spirits.

Be well,

Pam



to the book and managing the 'studio' end of production.


July 2015

This has been a fascinating month, attending Hong Kong events; The first, at 1 More London Place.  A grand but small niche of modern architecture, developing a fine area opposite the London Tower. An iconic view of the bridge is framed at the end of a walkway toward the river.  Representatives from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Shanghai and mainland China, discussed how the expectations and communications in the business world between the East and West have and are evolving and changing. Always, to do with our own cultures histories and traditions. In the West, thirty page contracts have replaced the traditional, 'my word is my bond'......but many of the powerful and successful continue to honour, 'the word'....which never loses the power of respect. In the East reactions vary, from total understanding of the signed contract in Hong Kong and Shanghai to suspicion and complications as they are translated. Especially in China where, 'there is still... a long way to go'. A visit to Gloucestershire for lunch with Hong Kong expats, organized by The London Hong Kong Society, was really enjoyable. As ever, there is always time to network. Listening to conversations about engineering works in Hong Kong was a real eyeopener. How it  was decided, to set the current airport on an island, at a distance from Hong Kong island. So many interesting meetings, including a gentleman who was involved with setting up the water system in Hong Kong. At the last minute, an introduction to a lady who was involved with founding the Hong Kong ballet.....the plot thickens......

I hope you are enjoying the Summer and avoiding the sudden splashes of rain.

Be well,

Pam 

June 2015 -very late....my apologies!

In May,  I touched on the community displacement from a forest in Mainland China. It reminded me of the 53,000 refugees from China to Hong Kong in the early 1950s. It is so disruptive to the strength of a community and family ties....yet it seems to occur again and again across the world. So many are converging on England at the moment. Many are relocating, not becaiuse they have to, to survive, but due to fake promises of a few more pennies which may create an easier life....sometimes true, often not so. Advertising has left a trail of false assumptions creating 'dream destinations'. It makes me think of 'thoughts of America' when I was 12 years old.  Hard facts were omitted! Strong, deep, traditionally rooted values are eroding...disappearing along the way.
Soon after the handover, so many mainland Chinese came to Hong Kong. Naturally, families wanted to join their loved ones, others wanted to branch out....test their own futures in a place that promised 'another way'. The first 'big issue' in Hong Kong, was the 'Right of Abode'.  How else to control a population explosion, but what a question!.....I attended a hearing at the Law Courts armed with the faithful sketchpad and a 6B pencil. Discreet and fast with the pen, there was no need....it was long and laborious..... men in wigs.....checking facts against facts, against numbers and paragraphs.....my favourite sketch......  a wonderful document of a waking judge. Hilarious, possibly......... it may not be  appreciated by everyone....

Now working in a fresh studio with new windows that open easily and a renovated stairway, I am looking forward to a productive July. My students are off on holiday for the Summer. A budget of £40 a week should be the perfect incentive to focus! As I am exploring material at hand, worries that illustrations may not be good enough.....are put aside. Fortunately, they capture forgotten information. There are details of army regiments disbanding and the spritly energy of dragon dancers is still fresh.

A fascinating talk by Philip Bowring, columnist of the SCMP.....is coming up.                  

Lovely Summer days....remember the sun cream.                                                                       Be well, Pam

May 2015

I hear those words 'Hong Kong, and my ears prick up.

The rich pattern of history, and personal stories are building. The China Visual Festival was in London this month. Film directors and authors were here, some for the very first time. My first conversations in Chinese were greeted with raised eyebrows....and....plenty of smiles.  A documentary was shown on the closing of family established shops in Hong Kong, to make way for modern buildings. Close personal community ties which took years to grow, are being broken. In China too, a community who feed on moose and take care of the moose herds in the forest, were distraught when their guns were confiscated. Just one gun to hunt with for over 100 people. (Is that incentive, to move to a purpose built settlement?) Once, a simple but happy lifestyle in the beautiful forest. Now, the men have turned to drink, the moose are almost extinct.....Tragic. 

China is investing twice as much money into developing one city, than England is investing into the whole of England. I wonder how that is reflected in Hong Kong.. The pace of life is so fast, or is that just the infrastructure?

It's time to edit the first interviews and organize visual possibilities. That should create a useful presentation to future contributors. Hopefully, it will also be easier to understand which way to publish. This is the burning question in 'the book world'.

There has been a burst of blooming colour in the garden...wonderful flowers.

Be well........

Pam...... Your comments and ideas are always welcome.

.


April 2015

Off to a London Mews...

...and a fascinating interview with a true gentleman, who was out in Hong Kong from 1952 until the 70s. He went there again later, by that time he had married and his wife accompanied him. "In the 50s, you weren't allowed to get married on your first tour and fraternizing with a Chinese girl was taboo! You'd disgrace your company and your job was on the line....it was all very serious". The only bank there in the 50s was The Hong Kong Bank. I was with 'Chartered'. The welcoming comment was, "It's been 18 months, since anyone has arrived here from England". Hard to imagine isn't it, when we think of the manic speed and turnaround of people in Hong Kong today. Then, that was it, nothing had really changed much since the war. He remembered a true story, which reveled in the power of bargaining and because of it, I am sure,  helped to change the social protocol.

The daffodils are out in full force.  The buzz of visitors and locals are promenading along the Thames.

Don't don your jackets yet....keep well.

Pam............As ever, your comments on Hong Kong are welcome

March 2015

Momentum is building. I have lifted the mandate to send update links, 'on the 5th' of every month. I am sending it out every month but the date may vary. It's extraordinary how people interested in contributing are crossing my path, regardless of where I go. A young lady from mainland China, recently located to London... was off  to 'dancing on a Sunday'. Up the stairs of an old pub in the back streets of Waterloo....".....bring out the braces!" 1940s style. "People living in Canton, close to Hong Kong speak Cantonese," she told me. "Hong Kong has always been an important part of my life, I grew up on Hong Kong tv, until it was banned before the handover. "My friends and I are all watching Hong Kong carefully today". When a handsome Londoner told her she was beautiful...., "Yes I know," she laughed. So, the lively and confident Hong Kong spirit, has certainly has a strong effect there...... There are innovative plans, to set up a branch of a British University in China. Typically, the key communications office is in Hong Kong. It is this special place with it's history of colonialism which now, as ever, is the crucial link for the motherland to move forwards.

It looks as if the sponsored trip to Beijing and Shanghai is really happening, this Summer.

Have a fine Spring.....watch out for the cold snaps......keep well.

Pam............As ever, your comments on Hong Kong are welcome

February 2015   Gung Hei Fat Choy

This month has swung into being without notice, already two weeks in.....by March, all will be in line and the link sent out before the 5th. It isn't much to ask...is it...The Hong Society will hold the annual New Year feast at The Imperial China restaurant, in China town next week. On hearing about the book and the value of learning about China today, sponsorship to Beijing was promised me last year by an enterprising businessman from Shanghai. He was head hunted in marketing and sales by a Shanghai fashion studio. He came to England, to learn how westerners work in fashion....drawing courses were taken with me, to understand what a good illustrator should know, to be better informed ...to choose the best in Shanghai. Now that, is lateral thinking. I hope to go to Beijing and Shanghai this year.....What an opportunity!......'to smell the breezes', as Clare Hollingworth, (correspondent to The Telegraph), would say. I visited Shenzen, on the border of mainland China, with Clare in 1997......before it was built up. Nothing will be the same now. We went to a book shop she knew. It was more alike a massive warehouse of 5 floors, reached by escalators, regimented book shelves were packed with books. They all looked the same at first, Colourless. Then I found a couple of children's books.... definitely........different....to what I had expected......

The latest news; Now, a much respected self publishing company, Authoright, is on board to help me with production, publishing and marketing. Their working ethics, give me total copyright which allows the book to be published in Hong Kong too. It will be available online as well. It's up to me, to make time after the day job to collect and edit material.  Ways will be found to raise funds for the final publishing, marketing and sales...........I'm sure it can be done somehow......yet another learning curve...!

Have an excellent month.....'here's to progress'.

Pam............As ever, your comments on Hong Kong are welcome


January 2015 - The Plan

All spare time this year, is dedicated to working on 'the book'. That's the promise....am hoping...'my word is my bond', holds up...it should. First, placing consistency where it belongs...challenge one. The swimming is regular now. The monthly links to send to you ...is  the next challenges.... plenty of reading and watching films are educating me on the way. Have you seen the series, 'In the Highest Tradition' on BBC 4od....exploring the idiosyncrasies of The British Army, The Ghurka Regiment....a perfect potted history to draw from.

Many thanks for following this.....the more interested....the merrier.

Pam


November, December 2014

I hope you sailed through The seasonal festivities, whichever your persuasion. The book was completely put aside. A lot of cooking was the main occupation, a favourite thing especially at Christmas time.

Sept. October

Dear oh dear, when the flu hits...its appalling. My apologies to those who are following this blog. I was knocked out. A fascinating interview was held with young Wenxuan Zhou, in London for the first time from Mainland China. Now working at HSBC, he expressed his first reactions arriving into Western society. The fears and suspicions inherited from the cultural revolution were still apparent in him. As he grew up, he was always wary of what other people thought and may report him for. I had thought, 'this is something that will disappear in the generation to come'.....clearly not. Did anyone see a documentary on BBC TV, under the title of the Storyville series. There are over 400 rehabilitation centres in China, for teenagers who are 'addicted to computer games'! The most shocking aspect, was the lack of independent initiative of the parents. Most of which it seems, had been washed out of them over the years of misplaced trust in the government and fear of retribution. Common sense had lost its place. Imagination not an option. This is tragic, as disrespect and lack of trust in authorities is being directly re-introduced into this younger generation. What has this to do with the Hong Kong Book?....not sure yet, but it is sure, that the more I am aware of China as well as Hong Kong today the better. The book will reflect this extraordinary transition of a remarkably advanced tiny island, now within an ancient culture that is struggling to grow out of stifling habits of understanding.

Pam


August 2014

The pace has been gentle, at times worrying. Now I can see how the momentum of the book will build as people from different walks of life become involved. Current news has become a must too...I hadn't thought of that! Recently, sounds on the radio have vibrated with determination as powerful demonstrations in Hong Kong insisted on democratic rule, to vote for their governor. How could China make that leap?..we shall see. Interviews with young business men and women are imminent, fresh from mainland China. Handsome youths, so quietly experiencing the dramatic contrasts of life and psychology from East to West...as if it was seamless.  Hong Kong was born from conflict with China and populated with refugees from China and China's history...no wonder, quiet observation is still often the essential characteristic in anyone who is closely linked to Chinese culture. During British rule, Hong Kong was renowned for the unique and symbiotic natures of the British and Chinese living side by side. Was it ...'Live and let live...' at its finest?

July 2014

A good swim today...

It reminded me of the waterfalls at Nathan Rd. pools in Hong Kong. My daily wake up routine in 1997, spurred on by the consistency of the Chinese locals. I am collecting memories of Hong Kong, gently building up to the dramatic changes we have seen.

A fascinating interview with Karen Luard was held in Notting Hill recently. We had originally met when she was working at The Peninsular Hotel in Hong Kong in 1997. She spoke of, the early years at school at Kowloon Junior. Moving up to live at the Peak Mansions....that 'distinct smell of government furniture'. Full of insights to the wild parties....the classic spin offs from the old colonial days........which she then took to other countries as an event manager. Gone are those days now. A wonderful splash of imagination, romance and drama, often laced with intrigue. It makes me think of 'Casablanca'. She promises to write about it ....one day. I am sure, she will share a few of gems for this book.

June 2014

I shall be meeting the Chair of The Hong Kong Society, Karen Luard, to exchange and explore the guts of what the book may gather together. Karen was a key player at The Peninsular Hotel on the tip of Kowloon when I was there in 1997. At the time and I hope still, one of the grandest and most prestigious Hotels of Hong Kong. Certainly, a classic 'British colonial' venue... for afternoon tea while listening to the piano.......a welcome refuge from the heat of the day. Since beginning work on the book, My ears and eyes have become more attuned to the words, 'Hong Kong'.  Whenever, I hear it's mention, the tape recorder of the smartphone, is switched on, to capture comments, news flashes and relevant reports. The devastating moment this year, commemorating the 4th June Tiananmen Sque. massacre. The bizarre, laying flat of the mountains in China! to make way for new building.....the truth, the propaganda. 

As I continue to keep the illustration/coaching life ticking over, more and more time is spent 'on the book'. The twists and turns becoming more fascinating each day.

As ever, your comments and suggestions of how you think Hong Kong has progressed or not since 1997 are very welcome.

Enjoy June, it looks as if the sun will be about.......someofthetime.....