• Where Strange Gods Call: Harry Hervey’s 1920s Hong Kong, Macao and Canton Sojourns

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    By Harry Hervey, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 1 in the China Revisited series
     
    As a young man in the southern United States in the early years of the twentieth century Harry Hervey dreamt of travelling to Asia. He also dreamt of writing novels, movie scripts and travel books. He would do all these things. Eventually, in 1923, Hervey managed to find a way to get to the Far East working on a cruise liner. He was to spend time sojourning in Hong Kong, Macao and Guangzhou. His impressions of his travels through southern China, contained in his 1924 travelogue Where Strange Gods Call, is both lyrical and detailed, as well as atmospheric and informative. Walking from Central to Kennedy Town; the basement “dives” of Belcher’s Street to the private dining rooms of Queen’s Road; Macao’s Praia Grande to its infamous fan-tan houses, Hervey is a fascinating flâneur and guide. So too in Guangzhou, a city in upheaval, where Hervey encounters those fleeing warlord violence in the north and is granted an audience with Dr Sun Yat-sen.
     
    Hervey’s impressions of China would stay with him for the rest of his life, not least in his treatment for the 1932 movie Shanghai Express. Sadly, in the intervening century since the first publication of Where Strange Gods Call in 1924, Hervey’s name and work have been largely forgotten. Yet his early travel writing was to influence his later bestselling novels, popular short stories and Hollywood screenplays which, in turn, influenced American perceptions of Hong Kong, Macao and China.

    This publication of Hervey’s impressions of southern China also includes the sketches of his good friend the Savannah artist Christopher Murphy Jr., which were included in the first edition of Where Strange Gods Call and bring Hervey’s descriptions further to life.

    “Approaching Canton we were gliding past ugly, ramshackle dwellings and go-downs; grass-thatched house-boats, sampans, junks, and lighters, and millions of roofs that were flung in uneven terraces against the sky.”

     

  • Wanderings in China: Hong Kong and Canton, Christmas and New Year, 1878/1879

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    By Constance Gordon-Cumming, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 2 in the China Revisited series
     
    Inveterate Victorian traveller and prolific artist Constance Gordon-Cumming, born in Glasgow in 1837, roamed far and wide from the Scottish Highlands to the American West; the islands of Hawaii to southern China. Even among her many adventures, her 1878/1879 trip to Hong Kong was momentous. Gordon-Cumming arrived just before Christmas 1878 to inadvertently witness the terrible “Great Fire” of Hong Kong that swept devastatingly through the Central and Mid-Levels districts.
     
    She then moved on to explorations of the streets, temples and Chinese New Year festivities in Canton (Guangzhou). Her detailed descriptions of the teeming streets of the city’s commercial districts and New Year temple fairs contrast with her temporary residence in the relative calm of the foreign enclave on Shamian Island. Venturing out of the city on expeditions, Gordon-Cumming gives us perhaps one of the most complete descriptions of the now long-gone market gardens of Fa-tee with the famed nurseries that cultivated a bewildering variety of flowers and ornamental trees.

    Finally Gordon-Cumming returns to Hong Kong to observe the annual "Derby Day" races at Happy Valley in February 1879, a major event on Hong Kong’s Victorian-era social calendar. Gordon-Cumming is at one and the same time that rare travel writer who, while plunging into the throngs and crowds, manages to observe the minutiae of life around her.

    “The flames rapidly gained the mastery, suddenly bursting from fresh houses here and there, where least suspected, and spreading from street to street. That night we stood watching this appallingly magnificent scene – the flames rising and falling, leaping and dancing, now bursting from some fresh house, shooting up in tongues of fire, now rolling in dense volumes of black smoke.”

     

  • LING-NAM: Hong Kong, Canton and Hainan Island in the 1880s

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    By Benjamin Couch 'BC' Henry, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 3 in the China Revisited series
     
    Benjamin Couch “BC” Henry was a missionary in Hong Kong and southern China in the second half of the 19th century. He arrived in 1873 and remained until 1894. Yet he was much more too – a keen observer, a skilled naturalist and an intrepid explorer. His fascination with the flora and fauna of Hong Kong and southern China are obvious throughout the pages of LING-NAM.
     
    The bulk of his career in China was spent in what was then commonly known as “Ling-nam”, the Pearl River Delta and environs of Guangzhou. These excerpts of Henry’s travelogue LING-NAM, published in 1886, contain one of the most detailed walking tours of Guangzhou that has survived. Similarly so his travels through the silk, tea and market garden regions adjoining the metropolis. Abd finally, we have Henry’s ground-breaking account of his expeditions around Hainan Island in 1882, then the most extensive undertaken to date by a foreigner. He was also a keen anthropologist interested in the island’s various ethnic groups, such as the Lois, as well as the various languages and dialects of Hainan. Henry’s portrait of southern China was built up over 20 years work and exploration in the region and provides one of the most in-depth looks at southern Chinese life from the growth of Hong Kong, to the bustling streets of Guangzhou, to Hainan’s “Island of Palms”.

    “Drifting slowly by a large collection of flower-boats, gay with lamps and mirrors, and richly furnished with black-wood sofas and embroidered curtains… Dire confusion is often created among the slipper-boats, whose anchorage adjoins, by the surging of the steamer against their outer lines, causing them to jump, and sputter, and dart about like a swarm of ants, shell-like craft, whilst they vociferously hurl maledictions at the great steamer.”

     

  • Roving Through Southern China: An American’s Explorations of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton in the early 1920s

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    By Harry Franck, introduced and annotated by Paul French
     
    No. 4 in the China Revisited series
     
    In the 1920s the American travel writer Harry A Franck was known to readers as the “Prince of Vagabonds”. His wanderings were family affairs and he arrived in southern China in 1923 with his wife, their two young children and his mother. Franck always claimed that his travel plans were random, subject to chance encounters and whatever caught his eye.
     
    He arrives in a Hong Kong which is building modern department stores and large houses while labourers sleep on straw mats beside the harbour. In Macao he visits temples, ancient forts and, of course, casinos. And then to Canton (Guangzhou), a city in flux where new buildings are transforming the waterfront, the ancient city walls are being demolished, and the traditional rookeries of small lanes are being replaced by wide asphalt roads as the city rapidly modernises. Franck also provides us with a highly detailed description of Shamian Island a year after the tumultuous strikes and boycotts that meant naval gunboats and barbed wire still protected the small foreign enclave.
  • The Chinese Wet Market Handbook: A guide to shopping at Hong Kong’s fresh food markets

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    Have you ever wondered about that wacky-looking fruit staring back at you in the local wet market? Or did you want to know how to cook a particular Chinese vegetable, but don’t have the language skills?

    The Chinese Wet Market Handbook gives you the answers! This pocket-sized guidebook, designed to be taken out shopping with you, identifies fresh produce commonly found at Hong Kong’s food markets.

    Each item is identified by a photo, its English name, its romanised Cantonese name with tones, and its name in full-form Chinese characters. The guide explains traditional signage in Chinese characters, including weights and measures, and indicates whether a food is locally produced. Finally, it describes ten lively Hong Kong wet markets especially worth visiting and provides directions on how to find them.

    Whether you’re a Hong Kong resident who wants to shop at food markets but lacks the linguistic and culinary know-how, or a tourist who wants to explore the local culinary sights, this handy guide will help you navigate your way around one of the liveliest and most colourful parts of Hong Kong’s food scene.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the below links to view sample pages from The Chinese Wet Market Handbook. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.

    pages 2-11 (fruit)   pages 23-29 (vegetables)   pages 71-75 (dried foods)

  • Dim Sum: A Survival Guide

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    Siu mai, har gow, jar leung, sin jok guen. These are all types of dim sum. But do you know what they look like, and what’s in them? Can you pronounce their names in Cantonese, or recognize them on a menu? Can you confidently order dim sum for you and your friends — especially if any of them have dietary restrictions?

    Australian-Chinese writer Liza Chu has a part-time career as a Hong Kong dim sum guide. She has distilled her knowledge of Cantonese cuisine and Chinese dining etiquette into this practical guidebook to delicious dim sum. Each photographed dish is identified with Chinese characters and a pronunciation guide. Icons alert those with allergies or special diets, and there’s a special listing of dim sum dishes most popular with children. Master chefs explain their cooking methods, and even the art of tea drinking is covered in detail.

    Take this book to your nearest dim sum restaurant and let Liza show you how to yum cha like a local!

  • The Dragon’s Back

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    by Theadora Whittington

    Chinese fung shui tells us there is a dragon inhabiting every green valley, protective of the mountains and its route to the sea.

    Hiking into the hills of Hong Kong for a weekend picnic, Luke and his parents suddenly find their path blocked by a forest fire. Can the friendly mountain dragon help? Or is the mythical creature equally at risk from the actions of careless human beings?

    With original painted art, and a cut-out dragon for children to make themselves, The Dragon’s Back sends a gentle message of caring for the environment.

  • Hong Kong On Air

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    As the Hong Kong handover boom fizzles into the Asian economic bust, a young American couple's marriage and careers tumble into a maze of television news, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie.

    TV news veteran Muhammad Cohen's engaging, often hilarious novel captures the mood ahead of the July 1997 handover when Hong Kong reigned as the centre of the universe, a multicultural melting pot bubbling with pure gold. As the Asian crisis abruptly ends the party, mainland China emerges, eclipsing Hong Kong. For everyone whose job or business falls under China's lengthening economic shadow, Hong Kong On Air presents a fresh angle on how it all began. For media watchers, Hong Kong On Air broadcasts the backstage secrets of television news the way The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay illustrated the dark side of comic books.

    For newspaper reporter turned TV producer Laura Wellesley, the morning show at Franklin Global Networks Asia means going to bed before dark and swallowing the first rule of broadcast news: the anchor is always right, especially when it's American-born Chinese egomaniac Deng Jiang Mao. The station's fortunes and Laura's outlook improve with the arrival of Peter Franklin, the 28-year-old son of FGN's billionaire founder. But Franklin's eye falls on mainland-born graphics drone Pussy, Laura's control room nemesis, and a butterfly emerges from the web he spins.

    For Laura's husband Jeff Golden, the production line for his Golden Beauties lingerie runs through a cagey mother minding their stores on Long Island, cookie tins stuffed with cash smuggled over the border, and hot tubs in Hong Kong's Jewish Community Club and mainland brothels. Cut out of his own multi-million dollar deal, Jeff's consolation prize is Yogi, a Japanese banker with a yen for "Jew food" and men raised on it.

    During Hong Kong's pre-handover boom, FGN Asia becomes a hit, a star is born, and mistakes are easy to overlook. But the economic crisis ripens relationships for treachery, creates opportunities for revenge, and moves China centre stage, triggering a great leap forward for some, a long march to failure for others.

  • 詠春善戰者–葉問的私徒

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    (Go to English edition)

    梁紹鴻,Duncan Leung,詠春善戰者。由兒時好友、已故電影巨星李小龍介紹去學詠春功夫。1955年,年僅十三歲的他以「三跪九叩」之禮,拜詠春第六長門代葉問為師,成為葉問的「第一私家門徒」。

    1955至1959這四年間,葉問親自上門,悉心教導梁紹鴻,傾囊相授,跟他練習,還傳授「實踐」詠春的秘訣。梁紹鴻天天練武、練功六小時;要學以致用,他就上街打架、上武館「講手」,實踐所學。他對中國武術各門各派的打鬥經驗可謂獨一無二。

    1964年,一次行俠仗義令梁紹鴻有緣遇上一位老人。那老人教他「空手入白刃」、「貼身搏擊」、「無聲殺敵」等技巧。

    1974至1976年,梁紹鴻在美國紐約設館授徒。中、外習武者上館挑戰可謂無日無之,他未嘗敗北,因此應付外國武藝的經驗也相當豐富,可謂世上絕無僅有。

    1976至2002年間,梁紹鴻在美國弗吉利亞灘 (Virginia Beach)定居,受聘於美國海軍海豹隊(U.S. Navy Seals)、美國聯邦調查局( FBI )及美國特警部隊 (SWAT)。

    2002年8月,梁紹鴻接受可能是他有生以來最大的挑戰:要在兩年內,培養六名中國少年成為世界級職業「散打」拳手。於是,他到了中國去完成這能人所不能的使命。

     

  • The Extraordinary Amazing Incredible Unbelievable Walled City of Kowloon

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      Imagine living in a high-rise mini-city that people built with their own hands. This city took up only the size of a sports stadium, but it was home to sixty thousand people! What would it be like to live in the most tightly packed place on Earth? Fiona wanted to find out, so she went there to paint, draw and meet the people of the amazing Kowloon Walled City. There was nowhere else in the world like it. The extraordinary things she discovered are inside this book… Based on Fiona Hawthorne's real-life experiences in the famous Walled City of Kowloon, this is a children's book which is also for adults. A young female artist ventures into a place that everyone tells her is dangerous, but she spends time getting to know the people, and draws and paints their everyday lives. By doing so, she discovers the truth: that the Kowloon Walled City was industrious, child-friendly and welcoming. Even though the Walled City was very much Hong Kong, this story of discovery and acceptance is universal. Vibrant, colourful, detailed artwork depicts the busy life of a unique community that no longer exists.
  • The Marvellous Adventures of Maggie and Methuselah: A Mystery in Hong Kong

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    Illustrated by Charly Cheung Maggie loves hanging out with her best friends Methuselah (her talkative African Grey parrot) and Edmund (the richest boy in Hong Kong), but she loathes attending boring parties with her high-flying mum and dad! Little does she know that a Family Fun Day at Government House will trigger a thrilling adventure involving one of Hong Kong's greatest mysteries: what happened to the immensely valuable Chater Collection, which was hidden on the eve of the Japanese invasion in World War Two? A funny, exciting story for pre-teens set in one of the world's most exotic cities, where cultures meet and risks are for the taking! For readers aged 8 to 12 who love mystery, history and adventure! With 80+ illustrations. "Sarah Brennan’s work is a meeting between traditional Asian narratives and the universal taste of children for graphic stories. The tale-telling gifts shown in these books, along with the exuberance of the language and rhymes, make them unique in children’s literature." – Thomas Keneally, Booker Prize-winning author of Schindler’s Ark
  • Welly the Wild Boar and the Quest for the Egg Puffs

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    Illustrated by Catherine Choi

    Welly the wild boar loves nothing better than eating fluffy egg puffs! He roams his home city of Hong Kong in search of his favourite snack, but he finds many other tasty foods to try along the way.

    This poetic and fun tale of a loveable local creature will introduce you to traditional Hong Kong snacks and persuade you to go out and try some for yourself. See how many of these hometown street foods you can find!

     

  • The Crocodile who Wanted to be Famous

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    Illustrated by Mariko Jesse, translated by Liang Yue

    Published by Sixth Finger Press, distributed by Blacksmith Books

    A television-loving crocodile named Crafty swims from his riverside village to find fame in the big city. His arrival is front-page news all around the world! But once there, he begins to question what he really wants.

    Inspired by the real-life saltwater crocodile that visited Hong Kong, The Crocodile who Wanted to be Famous blends fact, fiction and fable – a genuine classic in the making.

  • Time Tourists: Extinct mammals go on holiday

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    Everyone loves dinosaurs, but so many other groups of wonderfully weird (and often giant) animals used to roam the Earth too – they just never had as good a publicist. The planet has seen tons of bizarre-looking mammals, which were closer to us both in biology and in time.

    What if they took a holiday from being extinct?

    Take a trip around the globe with these outlandish “time tourists” as they visit the modern-day places each species once called home. Colour your way through space and time and help make their travels brilliant!

  • Wordjazz for Stevie: How a profoundly handicapped girl gave her father the gifts of pain and love

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    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
  • Tales from Victoria Park: Short stories of Indonesian women in Hong Kong

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    Victoria Park, the largest expanse of open space in Hong Kong, is the crossroads and away home for thousands of Muslim women who come from Indonesia to find their fortunes, or at least support their families, in the teeming Chinese city. Most come initially as maids, but some lose their employers and descend into the netherworld of overstayers, illegal street hawkers and disco “PR” girls. Whoever they are, they all know Dina: a woman who sells phonecards, changes money, dispenses advice and listens to their tales of exile.

    Leila and Ahmed spend the day searching for a place to make love on their one day off, but all the cheap hotels are filled with other lovers celebrating the “End of Ramadan.” Ani finds an unusual way to put a curse on a rival for her affections in “Golden Needles”, while Retno decides that if she becomes a Mormon maybe she can find a regular place to sleep at night. “Wiji” somehow manages to juggle her two Western boyfriends until she manipulates them both into helping her buy a rice field back home, then finds that they insist on accompanying her to her home village as her great benefactors. “Wati and Murtini” grew up in the same small village in Java and worked together in Hong Kong until, on one hot day in Victoria Park, friendship ended in betrayal.

    From the comic to the bizarre to the heart-breaking, these cross-cultural tales of exiles in another country build on a sensual evocation of place and character.

  • Hong Kong Sweet and Sour

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    French artist Zabo arrived in Hong Kong in 1967, and condensed his year-long stay into a book of cartoons which has come to be known as an emblem of the era.

    Hong Kong’s street scenes, people and fashions are humorously illustrated with sharp satire, covering popular pastimes, social etiquette, age-old traditions and the customs of local people as well as foreign residents.

    Even half a century later, Zabo’s portrayal of Hong Kong still rings true, and his take on local life will resonate with everyone who lived through the Swinging Sixties – or wishes they had.

  • HONG KONG State of Mind: 37 views of a city that doesn’t blink

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    with illustrations by Lee Po Ng

    Hong Kong is a mixed bag of a city. It is where Mercedes outnumber taxi cabs, partygoers count down to Christmas every December 24, and larger-than-life billboards of fortune tellers and cram school tutors compete with breathtaking skylines.

    HONG KONG State of Mind is a collection of essays by a popular blogger who zeroes in on the city’s idiosyncrasies with deadpan precision. At once an outsider looking in and an insider looking out, Ng has created something for everyone: a travel journal for the passing visitor, a user’s manual for the wide-eyed expat, and an open diary for the native Hong Konger looking for moments of reflection.

    Look inside this book
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    Kowloon Complex

  • Hong Kong Noir: Fifteen true tales from the dark side of the city

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    Hong Kong pathologist Feng Chi-shun was once part-owner of a dive bar in Kowloon City: a rough part of town which was home to the Sun Yee On triad gang. During that time, he heard a lot of stories.

    How about the street sleeper who was a secret millionaire, or the man who chose to end it all in Chungking Mansions? Do you want to know the details of Kowloon's gruesome Hello Kitty murder, or what the taxi driver from hell did to his passengers? How about Elvis of the Orient, the ancient movie star who fooled hundreds of people for his final performance, or the student who stumbled into the 1967 riots and entered the world of girlie bars? And what was the truth about the girl with the eagle tattoo?

    The 15 stories in Hong Kong Noir offer a glimpse of what happens in the shadows.

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    Foreword   Inside Hello Kitty's Head   The Taxi Driver from Hell

     

     

  • Diamond Hill: Memories of growing up in a Hong Kong squatter village

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    "Diamond Hill was one of the poorest and most backward of villages in Hong Kong at a time when Hong Kong itself was poor and backward. We moved there in 1956 when I was almost 10. I left when I was 19. Those were the formative years of my life. It’s a time that I remember well and cherish.

    This memoir of a native son of a Kowloon-side squatter village – the first book ever on Diamond Hill, in either Chinese or English – presents the early days of a life shaped by a now-extinct community. Penned by a high-achieving Hong Kong professional, Feng Chi-shun’s sharp recollections of his humble upbringing contain warmth, humour, and an abundance of insights into a low-income Hong Kong neighbourhood that no longer exists – but remains close to the hearts of many who lived there.

    Diamond Hill will invite comparisons with Martin Booth's Gweilo. If you enjoyed the latter, you will likely find the former similarly absorbing, because the young Feng was, for many a “gweilo”, the inaccessible yet intriguing face of an altogether edgier Hong Kong.

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following link to view sample pages from Diamond Hill. You will need a pdf reader to view this excerpt.

    Thugs and gangsters

  • The Curious Diary of Mr Jam: Official humorist for repressive regimes

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    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.

    Look inside this book
    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

  • Wing Chun Warrior: The True Tales of Kung Fu Master Duncan Leung, Bruce Lee’s Fighting Companion

    HK$118.00
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    (Go to Chinese edition)

    Duncan Leung was introduced to Wing Chun Kung Fu by his childhood friend, famed screen star Bruce Lee. At the age of 13, after the ritual of ‘three kneels, nine kowtows’ in the traditional Sifu worship ceremony, he became the formal disciple of sixth-generation Wing Chun master Yip Man. Between 1955 and 1959 he studied with his Sifu at home, where Yip taught him how to apply Wing Chun to actual fighting. Leung trained six hours a day, seven days a week for four years, and used this knowledge fighting in the streets and martial arts studios of Hong Kong.

    In 1964 Leung befriended an old man who taught him rare secrets of close fighting, including the art of disarming a knife-wielding opponent, and silencing an opponent barehanded. When he opened his Wing Chun studio in New York City in 1974, he was challenged by martial art practitioners of every school but remained undefeated. Since moving to Virginia Beach in 1976, he has taught US Navy SEALs, members of the FBI, and various SWAT teams.

    In 2002 he accepted perhaps the greatest challenge of his life: to train six Chinese teenagers to become world-class professional fighters within two years. To this end, he returned to China to accomplish what many considered an impossible mission.

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    A Mysterious Old Man  Bruce Lee and I Beaten

  • Whispers and Moans: Interviews with the men and women of Hong Kong’s sex industry

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    Hong Kong has a bewildering range of sex businesses offering services to suit all imaginable tastes: from the glitzy nightclubs of Tsim Sha Tsui East, through the saunas, karaoke lounges and one-woman brothels of Mong Kok, to the streets and short-time hotels of Sham Shui Po.

    Chinese-language sex magazines print reviews of individual prostitutes, and promote an ever-widening array of bizarre sexual practices. Even mainstream newspapers engage pimps as columnists. Business appears to be booming – but there are hungry newcomers to this underground economy. How do local prostitutes deal with the ruthless competition posed by an endless supply of girls from mainland China?

    To find out, Yeeshan Yang spent a year gaining the trust of the city's sex workers, interviewing 50 hookers, hostesses, toy boys, transsexual prostitutes, mama-sans and brothel owners. The result is an eye-opening book which shows the human side of sex for sale. Whispers and Moans contains tales of easy money, financial ruin and hopeless love affairs – and rare first-hand insights into Hong Kong's huge but hidden sex industry.

    Film adaptations: Director Herman Yau has brought this book to the big screen in two movies: Whispers and Moans, which had its premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and True Women For Sale, for which Prudence Liew won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Film Awards.

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    A rose by any other name

  • Paul’s Records: How a refugee from the Vietnam War found success selling vinyl on the streets of Hong Kong

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    As a youth in Saigon's Chinatown of the 1960s and '70s, Paul Au was greatly affected by American "hippie" culture and Rock and Roll. He was smuggled into Hong Kong in 1974 to escape the South Vietnamese military draft.

    At first living in rooftop squats, he started to trade used vinyl records on the streets of Sham Shui Po, and finally established an underground reputation for his eclectic blend and unending supply of recorded music.

    This full-colour book uses sample records and sleeve art to depict the evolution of popular music in Hong Kong since the 1970s, and describes the down-to-earth part of Kowloon, with its walk-up buildings and street markets, that Paul Au has become synonymous with.

    "Paul's Records solidifies Andrew Guthrie's status as the most perceptive, and astute, observer of the lingering appeal of recording and cassette culture in post-colonial Hong Kong." – Giorgio Biancorosso, Department of Music, The University of Hong Kong

    "Paul's Records is a gift to Hong Kong and to anyone who wants to know more about the unique worlds that thrive in its crowded spaces." – Greg Girard, author of City of Darkness: Life In Kowloon Walled City

  • South China Morning Blues

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    There’s no place quite like it. From Guangzhou to Hong Kong, the booming megalopolis of the Pearl River Delta has endless stories to tell. South China Morning Blues is filled with these tales of the postmodern East: depraved, rapidly changing, and never boring.

    Just what kinds of people find themselves in 21st-century China? There’s Marco, a crooked businessman with a penchant for call girls; Danny, a culture-shocked young traveler; Sheila, a local club girl caught up in family politics; Amber, a drug-fueled aspiring model; Terry, an alcoholic journalist; and Ting Ting, a lovable artist with a chip on her shoulder. Their lives intertwine in unexpected ways as they delve deeper into their surroundings and in the process learn more about themselves.

    China may be leading the world into the future, but its inhabitants will have to make sense of the present if that future is ever going to arrive.

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    Prologue: Shenzhen  Monkey

  • Kitchen Tiles: A Collection of Salty, Wet Stories from the Bar-Rooms of Hong Kong

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    The Cantonese call anyone lecherous, and anything salacious, harm sup — literally salty and wet. And the code word for all things harm sup is "kitchen tiles." Anyone who has stepped into a Chinese kitchen knows it is like a war zone, with broth and condiments spilt all over the place; hence the tiles are deemed salty and wet.

    Kitchen Tiles looks at the lascivious aspects of Hong Kong society. These 50 stories of gamblers, drinkers, masseuses and millionaires are based on the real-life experiences of Feng Chi-shun, author of Diamond Hill. Names and circumstances may have been changed, but the sentiment and spirit remain authentically Hong Kong.

    Look inside this book

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    Contents

  • Hong Kong Unveiled: A journey of discovery through the hidden world of Chinese customs and culture

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    Hong Kong Unveiled is an "access all areas" pass into Chinese culture and customs. Though written with a Hong Kong slant, it applies to any Chinese community worldwide.

    Invited to a Chinese wedding or business function and don’t know the correct form? This book will lead you through the minefield where an innocent mistake could see you lose your friend or your business connection. Want to change a run of bad luck? Or are your jokes falling flat with your Chinese friends? Find out how and why in this far-ranging book – which also explains how many seemingly strange customs came about.

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    Introduction   Mistranslations   At the restaurant

  • The Tiger Hunters of Tai O

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    Hong Kong, 1954. The British colony was not yet ready to hear about a Eurasian policeman having an affair with the police commissioner’s daughter. Twenty-two-year-old Simon Lee tasted swift punishment. He was banished to the outer fringes of the territory, to the far tip of a wild and distant island a stone’s throw from mainland Chinese waters — to Tai O, the ancient and murky trading post where fishermen, salt-farmers and refugees were thrown together with spies, pirates and triads. Pink dolphins swam the waters, eagles fished the sea, and some still believed that a tiger prowled the hills at night.

    It was a place haunted by history, where corpses had floated in the bay just a decade earlier when Japanese troops occupied the police station, and everybody had a secret about what they did during the war.

    Life was unpredictable for the band of beer-swilling misfits that staffed Tai O Police Station. Some said they needed reining in. But when a stranger was murdered on a beach, accused of being a Communist spy, Lee found himself on an unexpected collision course with his own masters in Central. Who had the dead man been working for? What did the secret agents know? Why was Central so eager to brush the execution aside? And who or what really was the ‘tiger’?

  • The Slightest Chance

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    In war, you can pretend to be someone you’re not. Yet, in war, people find out who you really are.

    Hong Kong, 1941. Anglo-Australian civil servant Dominic Sotherly’s colonial sojourn in Hong Kong becomes complicated by his double life in both war and love. Enigmatic Englishwoman Gwen Harmison possesses secrets of her own – plus an unrelenting desire for liberty. Inscrutable Eurasian Chester Drake is but one of Gwen’s secrets.

    From gaiety at the Peninsula Hotel to persecution both inside and outside of internment, the story journeys from war-ravaged Hong Kong to war-weary China.

    From real history, meet the one-legged Chinese admiral who led Hong Kong’s daring ‘Great Escape’ and the Japanese Christian soldier who risked his life for the enemy. And, uniquely during the occupation of Hong Kong, discover how one Englishwoman made history in her defiance of Imperial Japan.

  • Forty Nights (Eating Smoke #2)

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    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

  • The Kowloon English Club

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    Asia, 1996. What do you do when you have failed to find the meaning of life in India, your money has run out, your girlfriend has gone, and prospects at home are limited? Go further east, young man!

    Meet Joe Walsh, a backpacker who is determined to put a wayward life behind him and make it big in Hong Kong, where fortune still favours the British and opportunities are there for the taking. In the final full year of British-ruled Hong Kong, tourists and hordes of transient workers are exploiting the economy as well as the occasion.

    Arriving almost penniless, with issues in love and life, Joe decides to make the most of this opportunity: he discovers one of the world’s most exciting cities, finds challenging new jobs, makes friends with an extraordinary cast of characters, and dates local women. He finds himself absorbed into a vibrant social scene through the communal existence of a travellers’ hostel, where drink, drugs and casual sex are a way of life. A stint selling sandwiches gives way to an English-teaching job, where he can at last start to live out his ambitions.

    But an already stressful existence worsens after a night out goes wrong. As personal relationships sour and the pressures of long hours, minimum pay, classroom clashes and abject living conditions mount, Joe is forced to confront people he wishes he’d never met, and answer important questions that cannot be put off a moment longer.

  • Hong Kong Slang

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    The classic, the comical, and plenty of rude ones too

    By Lindsay Varty and Iris Yim, illustrated by Amber Tsang

    Ever feel like a chicken talking to a duck? Ever ask a girl out, only to be forced to eat lemons? Maybe you've been told that you're a peanut guy? Or perhaps someone has warned you that you're wearing a green hat?

    No need to be confused! This little dictionary of Cantonese slang will supply you with all the appropriate knowledge to get by in Hong Kong and make you cool at office parties. With illustrations and translations, as well as English slang alternatives, both Cantonese and English speakers can learn and laugh at the joys (and vulgarities) of Hong Kong slang in a celebration of local culture.

  • Out of stock

    No Minister & No, Minister: The True Story of HarbourFest

    HK$125.00
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    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.

  • Hong Kong Noir (Akashic noir series)

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    Edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason

    Published in association with Akashic Books

    Akashic continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighbourhood or location within the city of the book.

    Hong Kong Noir features brand-new stories by Jason Y. Ng, Xu Xi, Marshall Moore, Brittani Sonnenberg, Tiffany Hawk, James Tam, Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, Christina Liang, Feng Chi-shun, Charles Philipp Martin, Shannon Young, Shen Jian, Carmen Suen and Ysabelle Cheung.

    What will Hong Kong look like in five years, ten years, or thirty years when the “one country, two systems” promise expires? It’s impossible to foresee. Hong Kong’s future may be beyond our control, but some things aren’t. We can continue to write about our beloved city and work our hardest to preserve it in words.

    When we asked our contributors to write their noir stories, we didn’t give them specific content guidelines other than to make sure their stories end on a dark note. What we received was a brilliant collection of ghost stories, murder mysteries, domestic dramas, cops-and-robbers tales, and historical thrillers that capture Hong Kong in all its dark glory. The result is every bit as eclectic, quirky, and delightful as the city they write about.

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    Contents and Introduction

  • Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman’s Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong

    HK$128.00
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    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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    One  Two

  • No City for Slow Men: Hong Kong’s quirks and quandaries laid bare

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    with illustrations by Lee Po Ng

    Author and blogger Jason Y. Ng has a knack for making the familiar both fascinating and funny. Three years after his bestselling début HONG KONG State of Mind, the razor-sharp observer returns with a sequel that is bigger and every bit as poignant.

    No City for Slow Men is a collection of 36 essays that examine some of the pressing social, cultural and existential issues facing Hong Kong. It takes us from the gravity-defying property market to the plunging depths of old age poverty, from the storied streets of Sheung Wan to the beckoning island of Cheung Chau, from the culture-shocked Western expat to the misunderstood Mainland Chinese and the disenfranchised foreign domestic worker. The result is a treatise on Hong Kong life that is thought-provoking, touching and immensely entertaining.

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    Introduction   Horo-Logic   The Storm Cometh

  • My Private China

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    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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    Introduction   Counting   The Re-Taking of Hong Kong

  • Don’t Joke on the Stairs: How I learnt to navigate China by breaking most of the rules

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    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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    Smile Comes Before a Fall

  • Collected Hong Kong Stories

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    For an arresting mosaic of the great and complex metropolis known as Hong Kong – and an insight into what the people of the city live by and die for – a reader need look no further than the Collected Hong Kong Stories of David T. K. Wong.

    Wong, a native son of this once British Crown Colony and now Special Administrative Region of China, has drawn upon his own experiences as a journalist, educator, government official and businessman to assemble a range of memorable characters for his tales. They range from barmen to labourers, from jockeys to expatriate bureaucrats, from scholars to tycoons, and each is infused with insights into the collective soul of the edgy, anomalous and perplexing place he finds himself.

    These 18 stories are carefully crafted in the grand tradition of O. Henry, Maugham and Saki. Each has been individually published in a magazine or broadcast over radio in Britain, the United States, Hong Kong or elsewhere. They can be dipped into and savoured separately or feasted upon all in one go. Either way, the result can only be satisfying.

    “David T. K. Wong is an exceptionally fluent writer whose compelling stories cover a wide range of themes. His talent sparkles, inveigles and mesmerizes.” – Sylvia Tankel, Editor of Short Stories International

    Look inside this book
    Click on the following links to read pages from Collected Hong Kong Stories. You will need a pdf reader to view these excerpts.  One  Two

  • Farewell, My Colony: Last Days in the Life of British Hong Kong

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    20th anniversary edition

    In the heart of Beijing, a large digital clock marked off the seconds until July 1, 1997, when the red, five-star flag of China would be hoisted over Hong Kong – and the grand but untried idea of “one country, two systems” would be put into practice.

    Farewell, My Colony is a real-time journal of the end of an era by an objective observer. American journalist Todd Crowell captures a unique moment in history as Britain stoically soldiers through the last months of its 156 years of colonial rule, China waits restlessly to resume its sovereignty, and Hong Kong buzzes with endless speculation.

    He tells how Hong Kong’s Chinese and expatriates, taipans and cagemen come to terms with the impending change of rule. He mingles with the rich and famous and common people alike. A long-term resident, he votes in elections controversially called by Governor Chris Patten. He then follows the selection of a rival legislature, and of Patten’s successor, shipping magnate Tung Chee-hwa, as the first chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

    The city’s pulse is charted by his pen, through to the pomp, circumstance and partying of the day of handover itself. Now, 20 years later, Crowell has updated this valuable historical record with reflections on what has happened to Hong Kong since 1997.

  • 香港二十 – 反思回歸廿載

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    香港筆會 編  (Go to English edition)

    1997年,香港從英國殖民管治順暢轉變成「一國兩制」下的共產黨管治。然而二十年過去,主權移交的真正衝擊方才降臨:香港與大陸經濟近乎全面融合,大陸遊客大量湧至,跨境衝突局勢緊張及自由被高速磨蝕。

    眾聲喧嘩力則剛,香港筆會於是邀請本港最優秀的作者來反映香港殖民地時代後的轉變,以散文、詩歌、小說及畫作去為這歷史時刻留下印記。

    Michael Braga · Mary-Jean Chan · Jennifer S. Cheng · 鄭嘉怡· Kris Cheng鄭樂捷· 周漢輝· Larry Feign方南理 · Harry Harrison · Gérard Henry敖樹克 · Louise Ho何少韻 · Oscar Ho Hing Kay何慶基 · Tammy Ho Lai-Ming · Sarah Howe · 羅樂敏· Arthur Leung · Leung Ping-Kwan秉鈞 · Louisa Lim林慕蓮 · Shirley Geok-lin Lim · 呂永佳 · William Nee倪偉平 · Jason Y. Ng · Margaret Ng · Timothy O’Leary 柯天銘· Michael O’Sullivan · Ilaria Maria Sala · Mishi Saran沙美智 · Shahilla Shariff · Shen Jian · 蘇美智 · 鄧小樺· Eddie Tay竹文 · 陶傑 · Stephen Vines安仕 · Marco Wan溫文灦 · Wawa · Kate Whitehead · Joshua Wong黃之鋒 · 黃裕邦· Xu Xi 許素細· Marco Yan · Chris Yeung楊健興 · Douglas Young 楊志超

    Kevin Lau Chun-to 劉進圖及Timothy Garton Ash 為本書作序。

    「香港是國際一大都會。在未來一個世紀,香港都會成為政治及學術討論的中心。我的推測是香港多元人口的成就會帶領本城跨越任何障礙。閱讀[《香港二十]文章讓我確認這個看法。」

    - 彭定康,末代港督

  • Remembering Bruce Lee: And Jon Benn’s Other Adventures

    HK$138.00
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    “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.

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    Contents & Introduction

     

  • Paper Tigress: A life in the Hong Kong government

    HK$138.00
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    • CNY: CN¥127.93
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    • EUR: €16.26
    • AUD: AU$26.55
    • CAD: CA$24.10
    • JPY: ¥2,776

     

    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.

    "Rachel’s remarkable recollection of an exciting era in Hong Kong not only brings back 40 years of shared memories, but is a fair and often amusing story of how colleagues in the Administrative Service worked together to build up this modern city – and, in the process, injected core values that hopefully will stand Hong Kong in good stead for years to come.” – Shelley Lee Lai-kuen, GBS, OBE, JP, former Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs

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    Early Days in Hong Kong

  • Walking the Tycoons’ Rope: How ambition drove a poor boy from Ningbo to compete with the richest men of Hong Kong and Singapore

    HK$138.00
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    • CNY: CN¥127.93
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    • EUR: €16.26
    • AUD: AU$26.55
    • CAD: CA$24.10
    • JPY: ¥2,776

     

    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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    One  Two  Three  Four

  • Eating Smoke: One man’s descent into drug psychosis in Hong Kong’s triad heartland

    HK$138.00
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    • AUD: AU$26.55
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    • JPY: ¥2,776

     

    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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