•  

    Overcoming vertigo — and countless injuries which have left him officially disabled — the 'Human Spider' has scaled nearly 100 skyscrapers worldwide: from the Petronas Towers in Malaysia to Taipei 101, from Chicago's Sears Tower to the Golden Gate Bridge. Reward and punishment have been received in equal measure — the flamboyant Frenchman has gained international fame and raised thousands of dollars for charity, but has also been arrested, beaten and prosecuted.

    Many people ask whether it is madness to undertake such perilous ascents without the use of safety equipment. But in Alain's view, it is madness not to follow your dreams! This is the inspiring story of a man who has conquered fear and exceeded his own limits: the world's greatest urban climber.

    "For Robert, tall buildings are his mountains. He eulogises the views from their summits and (police permitting) revels in the freedom." — The Guardian

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    Click on the links below to view sample pages from With Bare Hands. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Prologue  The Hatchling

  • Out of stock
    by Jonathan Chamberlain In 1986, Jonathan Chamberlain and his wife Bernadette had their first child, Stevie, a daughter. Stevie was immediately diagnosed with Down's syndrome. A few months later it became clear that she had a serious heart defect that required a `hole in the heart' operation. Something went wrong during the operation and Stevie suffered a momentary lack of oxygen that left her severely brain-damaged. For the remaining seven and a half years of her life she was blind, epileptic and unable to sit, let alone walk. She was profoundly handicapped. Wordjazz for Stevie is the story of Jonathan's life with Stevie and the deeply beneficial impact she had on his life. It is a story of great love. It is also the story of how this almost overwhelming surge of loving energy led Jonathan to found first the Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association, and then later another charity to take into China the same idea that the key to supporting children like Stevie is to support their parents - and to see the problem as one involving the whole family. The story that Jonathan tells is made even more poignant by the fact that it deals also with his wife's unsuccessful battle with cancer. In the end Jonathan is left to bring up his son Patrick as a single father. This is a short book but intense and deeply moving. "This may be the most moving story you will ever read," said Britain's Sunday Telegraph. Look inside this book Click on the following link to view sample pages from Wordjazz for Stevie. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt. Pages 7-35
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    In 1981, David Wong retired after 20 years as an administrative officer in the Hong Kong Government to chance his arm in the city’s cut-throat free market, as the managing director of a large multinational trading corporation. He soon discovered more legal and ethical boobytraps in business than he had bargained for.

    Nonetheless, he sidestepped them and in 1982, during the Sino-British negotiations to end British rule, he quickly sensed a unwarranted panic over the value of the Hong Kong dollar. He acted accordingly and made himself millions in weeks.

    Wong then visited different parts of China with friends. In the process he fell in love with a young and beautiful member of the Communist Youth League. When he tried to marry her, however, the mainland bureaucracy threw a host of obstacles in his path. After all, he was perceived as a capitalist from Hong Kong. But Wong’s friends used their collective guanxi with members of the Politburo to gain him permission to marry the girl. The title of this volume is aptly Love, Money & Friendships.

    Interlaced with Wong’s narrative are fascinating insights into aspects of China’s long and colourful history and culture.

  •  

    China – what’s not to love?

    Join longtime Hong Kong resident and Cantonese fundamentalist Cecilie Gamst Berg as she ploughs through the non-stop surreal-fest that is today’s China, stopping occasionally to ruminate about the travails of trying to make Cantonese a world language, and how the Chinese have invented a new English: Manglish.

    In this book you’ll find answers to everything you wanted to know about China, such as:

    • What does “the slippery are very crafty” really mean?
    • What’s the etiquette for hitch-hiking in really small cars?
    • What’s the best way to gatecrash a Ketamine party?
    • Indeed, what is modern party etiquette in China? And:
    • How do you win a fist-fight with a hotel security guard?

    Travelling by horse, train and sleeper bus from the deserts of Xinjiang, across the mountains of Tibet and Sichuan to the water buffalo fields of Hong Kong, Cecilie shows you how China is not only the most happening place on Earth, but also the most fun.

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    Click on this link to view sample pages from Don't Joke on the Stairs. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Smile Comes Before a Fall


  • In the depths of the 2003 SARS crisis, Mike Rowse (盧維思), a career Hong Kong civil servant, was handed the poisoned chalice of HarbourFest – intended to be (and which in many ways was) a psychological and commercial shot in the arm. Politics, as it often does, took precedence over sense, and Rowse was scapegoated for the perceived failings of this attempt to pull off a world-class entertainment festival in only three months.

    Rowse endured disciplinary hearings and ended up taking the Hong Kong Government to court. He won.

    This true story of HarbourFest is not just an insider’s account of the workings of the Hong Kong Government; it is also a thoughtful treatise on the drawbacks of the Ministerial Accountability System, a system which failed HarbourFest and Rowse, there being No Minister who ever took responsibility.

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    Wedged deep in the Himalaya between India and China, the secretive kingdom of Bhutan guards its independence while around it, Sikkim and Tibet have been swallowed by the giants and Nepal is rife with unrest. Bhutan markets itself as the last Shangri-La, but a closer look reveals the turbulence that accompanies its efforts to join the Western world.

    Murray Gunn and his French wife came to love and better understand Bhutan while living there for two years — but risked their marriage in the process. A travel memoir of discovery and change.

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    Click on this link to view sample pages from Dragon Bones. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    11-19

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    What kind of people would you meet if you decided to walk across the world's most populous country?

    The Great Walk of China is a journey into China's heartland, away from its surging coastal cities, where the ripples of prosperity are only just beginning to be felt and many find themselves left behind.

    Through his conversations with the people he meets along the way, the Chinese-speaking Earnshaw paints a portrait of a nation struggling to come to terms with its newfound identity and its place in the world. Our wandering guide never backs away from sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable topics, and captures the essential kindness and generosity of the Chinese people with brilliant clarity.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to view sample pages from The Great Walk of China. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Prologue

  • with a foreword by Howard Marks, bestselling author of Mr. Nice

    In the 1980s, Bruce Aitken became one of the world’s most successful money launderers. Discover the ingenious methods he used to shift vast sums of currency across the globe.

    From humble beginnings in New Jersey, Bruce was destined to be a baseball player until fate intervened, in the form of a knee injury, and forever changed the course of his life.

    What started innocently enough, by answering an ad in the newspaper, turned into a globe-trotting lifestyle of moving money – huge sums of money – for some of the world’s most notorious and shadiest characters. From the jungles of Vietnam to the money capitals of the world, Bruce moved in circles where people would unquestioningly hand over millions of dollars to him on a handshake, to be deposited into Swiss bank accounts.

    Learn the truth behind the Lockheed Scandal, the Cessna-Milner affair, the Nugan Hand scandal and one of the largest drug busts in US history that brought the party to an end. It all started to crash via an event in Reno, Nevada, and nearly cost Bruce the rest of his life in prison.

    A unique and perfect insight into the money-laundering world of thirty-odd years ago.” Howard Marks

  • by G. T. Reels

    Confessions of a Hong Kong Naturalist is a natural history memoir, tracing the journey from novice to expert of an aspiring naturalist, Graham Reels, as he follows a trail of discovery into the miraculously fascinating and diverse world of Hong Kong's wildlife.

    The memoir falls naturally into two parts, the first covering the seven-year period 1988-1995 in which Reels gained the knowledge and experience that qualified him to undertake the Hong Kong Biodiversity Survey in 1995-1998. Early chapters include descriptions of work as a research assistant at Hong Kong University, an M.Phil. study from a hut at Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve, a survey of Hong Kong's freshwater wetlands, and work at Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden. The territory-wide Biodiversity Survey is covered in the second half of the book.

    Throughout the memoir, different animal species that Reels encountered (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects) are named and described, and their ecological or behavioural attributes discussed in a lively and informal manner. Similarly, a range of fascinating human characters whose lives intersected with the author's in his study of Hong Kong's wildlife are introduced and engagingly portrayed.

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    In Great Leaps, Colin Flahive explores China’s rural-urban migration against the backdrop of his own transition from Colorado to southwest China. There, in Yunnan province, he partnered with three friends to open a café that became much more than simply an outpost of Western cuisine in a far-flung corner of the world.

    Over the course of a decade, Salvador’s Coffee House became home to more than fifty young women from mountain villages in the surrounding countryside. Most knew nothing about coffee or Western food, but they moved to the city to work at Salvador’s and earn their independence.

    Great Leaps follows the challenges faced by Colin, his partners and his employees as they leave their old lives behind to make a new home in a foreign land. They encounter unlikely successes, endure heartbreaks and nearly lose everything. But by taking the leap together, they all find their own places in the modern Chinese dream.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Great Leaps. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Chapter 1: From the Countryside

  •  

    The stand-alone sequel to the international bestseller Eating Smoke

    Former commando Chris Thrall returned from a year in Hong Kong suffering severe psychosis from crystal meth addiction. The medical profession said recovery was unlikely and recommended admitting him to a psychiatric hospital.

    There’s nothing wrong with me!”

    Chris refused all intervention and his life descended into a chaotic cycle of drug use that almost killed him... until salvation came in a surprising form.

    In this long-awaited follow-up to Eating Smoke, Chris tells a harrowing yet refreshing and often hilarious account of addiction and one gutsy journey to recovery.

    "After the harrowing events in Eating Smoke, if you thought Chris Thrall departed Kai Tak bound for a life of cream teas and Little England 'normality'... then you've likely not experienced the depravity and horror of drug addiction. In Forty Nights, Chris continues to confront his demons with his usual engaging honesty, side-splitting Royal Marine humour and storytelling at its finest." – Phil Whelan, RTHK

  •  

    Designing a Life tells the inspiring story of Kai-Yin Lo, a determined woman born to a wealthy Hong Kong family who had to build her own future following an abrupt change in the family's fortunes. After a first job at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, she made her way to Time Inc. in New York to establish a new life.

    Encouraged by her first collection being accepted by Cartier New York, she employed talent, innovation and determination to become a designer of international renown, respected as an ambassador for cross-cultural exchange in art, design and thought.

    “Kai-Yin is a polymath and a phenomenon, having seamlessly juggled an analytical career as a scholar, historian, teacher and editor, with the artistic and imaginative flair of an amazing jewellery, accessory designer and ceramic artist.” – Thomas Heatherwick, Founder, Heatherwick Studio, London

    “In her role as Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts London, Kai-Yin Lo has done very valuable work as an effective contributor and ambassador, promoting understanding and application of cross-culture.” – Professor Jeremy Till, Head, Central Saint Martins, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London

    “Never ceasing to learn and create, Kai-Yin has proven herself to be an outstanding artistic and intellectual entrepreneur who blends harmoniously the aesthetic and the practical. The Asia Society on both sides of the Pacific has benefited from her generosity of spirit and cultural expressions.” – Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman, Asia Society Hong Kong Center

    “Kai-Yin Lo is a creative tour de force whose jewelry designs re-interpreting Chinese traditional design principles were at the forefront of a reappraisal of traditional Chinese culture. She also seeks to share her interests with others through the philanthropic support of dialogues and talks that foster an understanding of new issues in Asian culture. These have included some of the most important cultural leaders of our time, such as Xu Bing, Tan Dun, and Shen Wei.” – Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

  •  

    “Kung Fu?” The Big Boss Loves Adventure

    Even four decades after the passing of Asian martial-arts superstar Bruce Lee (1940-73), his achievements still attract adoration from millions of movie fans. The biggest fan of all may be Jon Benn, who befriended the high-kicking hero while playing “the Big Boss”, a villain in Lee’s acclaimed 1972 movie The Way of the Dragon.

    In Remembering Bruce Lee, a tell-tale autobiography, Jon reminisces fondly about his experiences with Lee and a lifetime of other adventures. From facing Lee’s fists of fury to riding in a cowboy posse, from almost starting the Third World War to a nude scene with sex symbol Bo Derek, much has happened to Jon for the sake of appearing in movies.

    But that’s not all. From exploring ancient Mexican temples and falling into a volcano to eavesdropping on communists in Cold War Europe, from doing business with former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos to girls-in-hot-pants waving Passports to Pleasure, one heck of a lot has happened to Jon away from the cameras too.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the link to read pages from Remembering Bruce Lee. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts. 

    Contents & Introduction

     

  •  

    What do normal people in China look forward to when they get up in the morning? What is the mentor of Lang Lang like? What about the personal friend of Chairman Mao – and how does his granddaughter relate to him after the murderous Cultural Revolution? What do the numerous evangelical Americans really think of the Chinese? How does the One Country, Two Systems paradigm work for Hong Kong?

    For the last 73 years, American Book Award winner Alex Kuo has travelled back-and-forth between America and China. These letters and essays portray the private China, and provide indispensable cultural information for anyone interested in the People’s Republic in the 21st century.

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    Click on these links to read pages from My Private China. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    Introduction   Counting   The Re-Taking of Hong Kong

  •  

    In 2010, bookish 22-year-old Shannon follows her Eurasian boyfriend to Hong Kong, eager to forge a new love story in his hometown. But when work sends him to London a month later, Shannon embarks on a wide-eyed newcomer's journey through Hong Kong – alone.

    She teaches in a local school as the only foreigner, explores Asia with other young expats and discovers family history in Hong Kong, all while trying to hold on to her thwarted romance. The city enchants her, forcing her to question her plans. Soon, she must make a choice between her new life and the love that first brought her to Asia.

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    Click on the following links to view sample pages from Year of Fire Dragons. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    One  Two


  • Michael Kohn, former editor of the Mongol Messenger newspaper, is one steppe ahead of the journalistic posse in this epic Western set in the Far East.

    Kohn’s memoir of his time in Mongolia is an irresistible account of a nation where falcon poachers, cattle rustlers, exiled Buddhist leaders, death-defying child jockeys and political assassins vie for page one. A turf war between lamas, shamans, Mormon elders and ministers provides the spiritual backdrop in this nation which had only just been liberated from Soviet rule. From the reincarnated Bogd Khaan and his press spokesman to vodka-fuelled racing entrepreneurs and political leaders unclear on the concept of freedom of the press, Kohn explores one of Asia’s most fascinating, mysterious and misunderstood lands.

    “Genghis Khan may have stormed across the steppes seven centuries ago but Michael Kohn has probably covered nearly as many miles around one of the world’s most remote and untamed nations.” — Tony Wheeler, founder, Lonely Planet

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to read pages from Dateline Mongolia. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Chapter 1 - The Frozen Capital

  •  

    He tried to bring comedy to Asia, but everyone just laughed at him

    Sam Jam’s whole life had been a tragic mistake. As a humorist in Asia he had repeatedly been sacked, blacklisted and chased out of buildings.

    But he refuses to believe that his audiences of conservative Muslims, Communist officials, religious police and Asian citizens in general have no sense of humor.

    This funny, poignant tale, which the author describes as “a novel for legal reasons”, is more than just laugh-out-loud entertainment. It shines an essential light on what global culture will look like as eastern ways of thinking start to dominate.

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    Click on the link to view sample pages from The Curious Diary of Mr Jam. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt. 

    Chapter 1

  •  

    Does a man need a stint in jail to complete his life experiences?

    From Stanley Prison, corporate high-flyer John T. Hung recounts his life in a sweep of Hong Kong history over five generations – from his family roots in the 19th century through World War II to the present.

    The story tracks the richness of his mixed heritage and upbringing, his steady rise and precipitous fall from the pinnacles of corporate Hong Kong to the life-destroying court case and heartbreaking incarceration.

    With wry and subtle humour, Hung describes his colourful yet volatile life, interwoven into the social, commercial, political and sporting tapestry of Hong Kong and South East Asia.

    Master of None is a soulful exploration of human achievements, frailties, resilience in the face of adversity, and above all, the importance of family support in overcoming whatever fate may deal us.

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    Chapter 1  Chapter 32

  •  

    In 1969, at the height of China’s Cultural Revolution, a yacht sails out of Hong Kong and disappears. The world’s press takes up the story of the crew who are presumed lost at sea. But Gill and her friends are very much alive, held captive in a Chinese fishing village by Communist militia. As she faces questioning by the People’s Liberation Army, there’s a lot that Gill would rather not tell – that her crew-mates are British soldiers; her flatmates are Japanese, old adversaries of the Chinese; or that her boss, the doyen of advertising in Hong Kong, is well known for ‘firing Reds’.

    In this spirited memoir, where Mad Men meets Han Suyin’s A Many Splendoured Thing, Gill recreates a Hong Kong of the imagination. Twenty-one, attractive and naïve, wined and dined by Hong Kong’s elite, Gill learns to stand her ground at her job in an advertising agency under the directive of the narcissistic Mrs Church. Her luck changes when Paddy O’Neil-Dunne joins the firm – he is just as eccentric but much more fun. After several visits to a casino in the nearby Portuguese enclave of Macau, Paddy embarks on the longest roulette game ever played and he insists Gill join in. But Gill finds the sparkling waters of Hong Kong’s seascape more seductive than the world of business and money; she takes up sailing and falls in love.

    The backdrop is a gift. The Colony is an anachronism, a last vestige of British colonialism. Yet as Communist ideology gathers pace in neighbouring China, Hong Kong seizes every new opportunity and so does the author. Unexpected twists and a host of funny, bizarre and whimsical events are captured in her lyrical memoir.

    Carefully bundled and tied together with ribbon, Gill’s letters from Hong Kong had remained untouched for nearly fifty years. When she untied them, she remembered her father’s words: “I think there’s a book in there.”

  • Previously published, in shorter form, as Business Republic of China

    Jack Leblanc arrived in China in 1989 intending to teach for just two years. He was to spend the next two decades on a very different learning curve as he became involved in a series of business ventures in almost every part of the Middle Kingdom.

    From farmyard to factory, boardroom to banquet, Leblanc witnessed (and occasionally assisted) the transformation of China from a socialist economy into the world's greatest experiment in capitalism. Over time it dawned upon him that the key to success is to manage the differences in Chinese and Western business behaviour. To do well in China you must carefully adapt your strategies – or face ruin faster than you can learn how to use chopsticks.

    This book is rich in practical detail. Leblanc’s experiences make for instructive reading for any foreign executive doing business in China.” China Economic Review

  •  

    Reminiscences and recipes of favourite international and regional dishes from households, fancy restaurants and back lanes which you can enjoy today in Hong Kong, that classy old gal who will forever reign as the Queen of Cuisine for all who knew her when she was the jewel of the British Empire.

    Bestselling author Fred Schneiter shares a nostalgic romp back into that earlier era which has faded into treasured memories and photos. But we didn’t lose it all. The tantalizing cuisines and tempting cookpot scents of that earlier time remain. Many of them await you here.

    If you’ve ever daydreamed about what it might be like to drop back into an earlier, less hurried time in an exotic corner of the world, this is how we found the food, the friends and the fun in old Hong Kong.

  •  

    Chris Thrall left the Royal Marines to find his fortune in Hong Kong, but instead found himself homeless and hooked on crystal methamphetamine.

    Soon he began working for the 14K, Hong Kong’s largest crime family, as a doorman in one of their nightclubs in the Wan Chai red-light district.

    Dealing with psychosis, conspiracy and the ‘foreign triad’ – a secretive expat clique which, unbeknown to the world, works hand-in-hand with the Chinese mafia – he had to survive in the world’s most unforgiving city, addicted to the world’s most dangerous drug.

    “A triad-controlled nightclub is not a clever place to work if you’re addicted to a drug with a tendency to induce horrifying paranoia. A lot of bad stuff is going to happen and it’s very easy for an Ice-addled mind to imagine that even worse stuff is also going on. This is at the heart of Thrall’s nightmare and it’s a narrative device that makes Eating Smoke work so well.” – South China Morning Post

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    Click on this link to view sample pages from Eating Smoke. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Excerpt 1

  •  

    Sex, drugs, gambling, ghosts, drinking, rugby, overseas adventures – and even some police work.

    Hong Kong on the edge of empire was a place teeming with triads, smugglers, Chinese immigrants and Vietnamese refugees. Simon’s memoir of his time in the Hong Kong police force – from the 1970s until after the 1997 handover – is a fast-paced tale of his exploits. From the murky back streets of Kowloon to the open seas in the Marine division, his shocking and hilarious tales offer an alternative look back at what life was really like on the Hong Kong beat.

     

  •  

    Robert Wang fled the Chinese civil war at the age of five and came to Hong Kong with nothing. The colony was a harsh place in the 1950s and 1960s. But he was determined to rise to the top – and through hard work and resolve, he got there. The law firm he founded grew into the city’s fifth largest.

    With the clock ticking towards the handover of Hong Kong to China, and no one knowing what the end of British rule would bring, Robert hatched an audacious scheme to safeguard the fortunes of Hong Kong’s richest tycoons. He would convince Singapore to take them in.

    At last, he was walking with kings: dealing one-on-one with the most powerful businessmen and politicians of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. It was an exhilarating experience – but climbing so high has its dangers. After unwittingly offending the wrong power brokers, he was cast aside and left to defend himself against the damnation of corporate rumours.

    Robert’s rags-to-riches story offers a rare look inside the unimaginably wealthy world of Hong Kong’s property tycoons; but also, as he tells the tale of four generations of his family, we learn that it is the traditional values of tolerance, filial piety and loyalty which endure.

    "A riveting read." – Sir Run Run Shaw, Founder, Shaw Prize

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    Click on these links to view sample pages from Walking the Tycoons' Rope. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts. 

    One  Two  Three  Four

  • Curated by Benjamin Salmon

    Imagine an illegally built mini-city formed of multiple 12-storey blocks, taking up only the area of a sports stadium but home to 60,000 people. What was it like living in the most densely populated place on Earth?

    Intrepid 22-year-old artist Fiona Hawthorne spent three months inside the notorious Walled City of Kowloon, an apparent no-go area right in the heart of bustling Hong Kong. This book reveals the sensitive and extraordinary artworks she created there. It is a unique record of a time and place that no longer exists.