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A novel of expectations
© John Graham 2008 (1985)
Dedication To my wife, Mieke Roos, whose critical eye for words and willingness to review successive drafts of the book has turned it into a reality.
Author’s Note During the nineteenth century Britain concluded three treaties with the then Chinese Government relating to Hong Kong: o o the Treaty of Nanking, signed in 1842 under which Hong Kong Island was ceded in perpetuity; the Convention of Peking in 1860 under which the southern part of the Kowloon peninsula and Stonecutters Island were ceded in perpetuity; the Convention of 1898 under which the New Territories (comprising 92 per cent of the total land area of the territory) were leased to Britain for 99 years from July 1st 1898.
In the twentieth century, the Chinese Government consistently took the view that the whole of Hong Kong was Chinese territory, despite the Treaty of Nanking. Its position for many years was that the question of Hong Kong came into the category of unequal treaties left over from history: that it should be settled peacefully through negotiations when conditions were ripe; and that pending a settlement the status quo should be maintained. It made this position clear in a letter to the United Nations in 1972. Negotiations between Britain and China were conducted in the late 70’s and early 80’s. On September 26th, 1984 representatives of the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the People's Republic of China initialed the draft text of an agreement on the future of Hong Kong. It was then published and the People of Hong Kong were provided with the opportunity to comment. In 1985, the British Government published a White Paper on Nationality covering the prospective nationalities of various people’s of different origin who resided in Hong
Kong and the New Territories. Many were given no nationality coverage. As we all know, Hong Kong and the New Territories were given over to the control of the People’s Republic of China on July 1st 1997. The new $20-billion airport at Chep Lap Kok, off Lantau Island, was mooted in 1989 and, after some initial opposition from the People's Republic of China, was opened In April 1998.
This story deals with the expectations of certain residents of Hong Kong with different backgrounds as they approached the date when Hong Kong and the New Territories were due to be given over to the control of the People’s Republic of China. The story starts in 1985 and revisits the scene in 1991, 1995 and 1997. The story and the principal characters are fiction but the story is set within the history of the times.
Contents 1985 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Lim Yok, son of the farm Candy Rogerson, daughter of her father. Su Wu, child of the harbor Peter Marshall, activist Lim Yok asks for more Aunt Mary’s gift The typhoon harbor A serious encounter The Nationality Act John Rogerson Peter Marshall Barbara Chin The Rally Plans The streets of Hong Kong An old man’s club Rio de Janeiro The debate continues Shock The police investigate Revelations 1991 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 A new Lim Yok Diversified trading A Marshall plan A day’s sailing Terrorist at bay The storm People and politics A woman in charge The trial Hong Kong picture 1995 32 33 Reversal Consolidation
34 35 36 37 Two Chinas Death in the afternoon The Little Fish bites Votes are cast 1997 38 Handover 6 .
Part 1 – 1985 7 .
He had repaired it with twine that his father kept for the purpose hanging on an adjacent nail and cinched the belly-cord to use as purchase for the shafts of the new dredge. Every ten yards Lim Yok raised the dredge. That hadn’t appealed to Lim Yok so he had devised the idea of using the family mud-cow to pull a dredge. It was shaped like a long wooden bucket. The buffalo ahead of him was struggling to pull the dredge for the umpteenth section. He had been told to deepen the irrigation ditches on the southern side of the rice paddies where their neighbor Lu Ming ran his ducks. heaving its shoulders upwards above the muddy waters against the deadweight of the dredge. and it slipped again and again. He felt grimy. spilled its contents and dropped it back into the water. 8 . and with some friends. in such difficult conditions. The buffalo pulled it for a while and when it became an anchor he lifted it by other ropes and tipped its halfliquid contents onto the bank. At dawn that morning. Normally. digging out each ditch by hand and hauling the muck away for other fields. that would have meant draining the ditches. The buffalo moved on again along the ditch … it strained its head upwards as it lurched forward with eyes searching the sky as if for relief. Lim Yok felt a welling sympathy for the poor animal. This he had constructed from the prow of an old scow that had lain for years on the edge of the main irrigation channel. son of the farm. Lim Yok had driven the beast from the field to the tackle hut where the leather harness was kept. and he had shaved the bottom edge so that it would scoop the mud. He was standing up to his knees in a soup of mud and brown sludge.Chapter 1 – Lim Yok. All day it struggled forward. which responded so patiently to his shouts. By a combination of shafts and ropes he had been able to fasten it to the buffalo’s harness. As he had slipped the loop around the cow’s neck the thin worn leather had snapped … again.
He was proud of his fitness and he took to running when he went to the fields. His first delight was in reading … almost anything. there would still be other work. he would lift a farm implement just for the joy and ability of doing so. around his father’s smallholding. Lim Yok was a slight young man. He said that he had seen others get too many grand ideas and they had suffered for them. it was back breaking work and Lim Yok wasn’t at all sure that the efficiency was worth it. he was not an athlete. occasionally. with the typical high cheekbones of the Tang race. he had found a newspaper that looked as though it had interesting news. He would still be expected to work tomorrow. he would be taken as Mediterranean. the buffalo ahead had 9 . which had an unusual slight curliness. In fact. He cleared the whole north ditch that otherwise might have taken a week of hard labor for three of them. Also. He had stretched his muscles when they felt tired and. He was short and wiry with powerful upper shoulders that came from his years of heavy carrying and lifting. Marshall at the College that evening to get permission to attend some classes. he had never felt the need to compete against any of his friends even when they challenged him. He had not realized that in doing so he was going through a regular fitness program as sophisticated as some professional athlete’s. Still. he had persuaded his father to let him visit Mr. His father didn’t like him reading too long. equally hard. However. The week would still be filled with work whether he did the ditching now or whether it took longer. Yet. the idea of the dredge had first come to him after reading an article about deep-sea trawling. He had black hair. and after all the ditches had been deepened.The idea was a success. As he dreamed of the evening. He knew that there were many ideas in books and papers that could be useful to him. In skin color.
grasping hold of a small bush to stop slipping back into the waters. 10 . He wanted to do something technical. Lim Yok knew then that. Both the buffalo and Lim Yok were glad when the dusk deepened and stopped their work for the day. After a gasping pause he tipped the dredge on its side and the contents slid into a pile on the bank. One day he would be in charge. He climbed the bank. despite his father’s reluctance.slipped and wallowed deeper in the ditch. water ran off the smooth mud and trickled down the sides. thrashing to keep its balance against the weight of the filled dredge. he would finish school and go to college. something that needed inventions. It would dry there and by tomorrow he would be able to mark his progress by a line of piles. With another enormous heave he pulled it free of the waters onto the bank. He dropped the dredge back into the water. Then taking the wet rope he heaved the dredge off the bottom. As he stood there he could feel the mud ooze up again between his toes. As it broke surface. “Waah!” The animal had been gulping for air as it rested. For a moment it rebelled against the thought of continuing but then like a train restarting from the station. it groaned and shuddered and slowly moved forward once more. He shouted at the buffalo. He was proud of his dredge but he knew that he had a destiny for greater things than following a buffalo along a muddy ditch. Lim Yok stopped the animal and reached for the rope attached to the dredge. slipped down the bank to splash into the brown water.
but it took and effort. Half an hour after leaving his shop the breeze always rearranged his efforts into her usual disarray. The required reading: Milan Kundera’s “The Joke” was tough going. the Rogersons became 11 . each turning provocatively to the camera as they reached the diving board before going out of sight down some steps. One of the offshore islands in which he had invested later became Hong Kong. mentally congratulating Miss France on her hair. Candy was 21. This explained her half eye on the television. vaguely dismissing Miss Peru and. By attention to business. A line of young women were undulating alongside a swimming pool.Chapter 2 – Candy Rogerson. In Hong Kong. Miss Austria was in focus. Candy belonged to the Rogerson family: it was an old British trading family that had a history in the area since before Britain had been confined to Shamian Island in Canton in 1779. off today because she had no classes and she was spending some time with the required reading. had seen a need for a foothold in the area. It glowed warmly in the late afternoon gloom. she had difficulty in relating to the positions of Ludvik and Jaroslav. daughter of her Father The television was a small color set on her bookshelf. She had little experience in Europe and none in Czechoslovakia. and with a huge market for opium in China. He had bought parcels of land along the coast for growing opium. with the position of her family. always with British objectivity. She wished her own hairdresser could do something similar with her mop. Distraction was needed. The announcer was extolling their beauty in general terms and leaving it to the cameras to focus on why Miss Argentina had made it to the final with the help of her ambitious mother. She was sure however that the book was worth reading. thought Candy. the founder of the company. a student at the College. Richard Rogerson. in the next moment. Candy only had half an eye on the parade. She looked as if she had eaten slightly too much Apfel Strudel.
but the rents commanded by a mountain range of sky-scraping apartments and offices were sufficient to keep Candy in any number of different hairdressers. she was tall. the present Chairman of the Board. and even though her father thought there might be something else. in fact they tried to educate the locals with whom they dealt. With presence and well-groomed hair and skin. he humored his daughter. They had never made active use of all their land holdings until recently. She dressed well. she simply didn’t feel sexy. was no different from his predecessors. well built without being fat. Also. his only child. but she occasionally gave in to 12 . He was successful enough to ensure that Candy. She was not beautiful: her face was a little too square ever to appear on a magazine cover. passionate. mutual explorations … they had not been in any sense. adventures. His main responsibility was to his stockholders. Candy had no difficulty in attracting a host of boy friends in College circles. It wasn’t that she didn’t look sexy. Candy. wanted for nothing and could go to the best of European Universities. She had a good figure and in that respect would fit in well with the parade on the television screen. Her father. John Rogerson. Candy elected to attend College of Hong Kong. but her smile made up for that. was generally immaculate. She had been dating a variety of young men as long as she could remember although none had meant anything more than the convenience of a partner at a dance or for tennis.successful and rich. usually. When pressed for a reason she couldn’t verbalize them: the excuse had been something to do with staying close to home. She had been brought up to take care of herself. so her sexual adventures with various boy friends had been just that. even to her mop of brown hair. Sometimes she felt that she was not very sexual. but business certainly came first. He was surprised that when offered Oxford or the Sorbonne or even Cambridge (though that was not a traditional Rogerson family University). They had not been intentionally neglectful of Chinese interests.
Candy didn’t mind that too much since she was keen on her College studies (with the exception perhaps of Kundera. someone had won in a flashing of lights. Ah! Now it was ending. Candy’s present boy friend. for being a Rogerson in Hong Kong clouded other appearances. for the tenth or twentieth time. In Europe she expected to use her journalism degree to join a newspaper. a smiling of teeth. her mother was always afraid that it might happen. Fortunately. torn t-shirts. now in evening dresses. and near-punk outfits. She would have preferred to be first taken as a woman.) She saw her attachment to Jack as temporary until she could go to Europe after graduation. It was seven o’clock and she drew the curtains to signify that the evening had begun. 13 . It was Miss India whose dark skin showed off the new ‘diamond’ tiara so well. Elizabeth. groaned when Candy came back from a shopping spree. The light was getting poor. Jack Thompson. knew first that Candy was a Rogerson. The television was the only point of light in the room: the young women of the world were still parading. It would soon be dinnertime. She had in the past had to put up with antique styles. Her mother believed that her liberal arts courses would lead to her becoming a writer. Candy seemed to avoid the extremes and never sacrificed her hair to odd colors and cuts. Her mother. Nevertheless. thus converting the early evening dusk outside to darkness. Candy suddenly remembered that tomorrow she would have to go to town to buy a piece of jewelry for her Aunt Mary. shaggy dresses.current fads. As she watched the end. She rose and switched on the coffee table lamp. and a few tears. so she would have been horrified to think of her daughter as a reporter.
It was a jewelry shop in Hankow Road in Kowloon and this Friday there had been a lot of customers and it seemed as if they were all difficult but. “This Seiko is almost the exact watch you need and the price is good. rectangular or square with a sweep hand but no date marker. 200 Hong Kong dollars 14 . But when she became a saleswoman there had been something creative about each day and she enjoyed the challenge of each customer.Chapter 3 – Su Wu. Still. They cost the same but she could make one a little more attractive by pricing the second higher. She could persuade a prospective buyer to buy anything that was reasonably close to his or her original idea. child of the harbor. In the first six months. she hadn’t liked the job. The young man today had been looking for a Seiko watch for himself. both close to his description but one had Arabic numerals and the other had a date indicator. exciting. She noticed that he already wore an almost-new watch (the band looked a little worn) and she was sure that he would be satisfied with almost any watch … with the Seiko name. and very often she could persuade a customer to buy additional items because they thought they had got a good deal with the first. Each customer was a new and different challenge. She had found two Seikos. Su would be glad when her boss closed the door of the store. neither had fit the young man’s specifications and she saw that he was deciding to leave. Then she had said. He had told her exactly what the quartz watch should be like … gold. nevertheless. when she had had to follow strict guidelines and she earned only an apprentice’s pay. Su Wu was a good saleswoman even though that is not what she wanted to be. He had thanked her for her trouble.
He had paused again. yes. “for the family” as he had put it. I do like the watch. He had been one of her better buyers. Then he bought a small amethyst ring. not quite what he had originally asked for. He had said. Moreover. “Well. She liked the negotiations and working with people. Old Lee Wauk would surely have taken it out of her pay. Customers rarely do. she had quoted him a much larger discount for one than was allowed. Su was 19. She had worked in the jewelry store since she was fifteen. what price you want to pay?” He had been flustered. She was good at numbers and could always calculate discounts well ahead of anyone. He obviously didn’t want to appear too silly with too small a price but he really hadn’t thought it out. Since she worked on a commission it was important to keep the discount small and yet make the buyer feel that he had won the negotiation.” He had turned towards the door and she quickly offered a lower price to keep him in the store. She had given him 19% off the asking price.” He hesitated and she knew that she had made the sale. When everyone was 15 . “If this looks like the Seiko you want. but I will have to think about it. If she gave 20% then she had work hard to sell him something else. he had gone away pleased that he had bargained the sales woman down to a loss. I never buy straight away. first in menial jobs. The young man eventually bought one of the Seikos. She said. The additional 4% was saved in persuading him to pay in cash rather than by credit card. If she hadn’t made the full sale she would have made a loss that day. a bead necklace and a pair of jade earrings. Once.less than the other. Generally 15% was enough. Unfortunately. She had 30% to 50% of the asking price to work with but she rarely had had to go the whole way. she had sold a business man three expensive watches at quite a small discount when he had come in for only one.
Lee Wauk generally sat at the back of the store near the fish tank that held his prize golden carp.occupied one day. She had learnt the lesson well. He watched everything that went on. She was small with fine features. but she was one salesperson that he didn’t worry about. She was always neat and any man seeing her walking quickly through Kowloon would look twice. black. Sometimes she would appear almost frail. It was too easy to get used to the grime and smells of the harbor if one knew no better. her mother knew better and she had taught her daughter. Moreover it helped business … she was not sure just how much she had affected the young man buying his watch. she took pains to be so. He was always available to ‘over-rule’ one of the sellers if he thought the customer was about to leave. four boys and her. What were washed had to be cleaned in a small bowl of water and then hung on the rigging above the deck. Knowing that she had to appear neat and clean in her job. Su was pretty. and she had little time to wash clothes. She managed better than most of those living in similar conditions … most people became careless about their appearance. Her hair. She was proud that her customers came and stayed to buy. living on a junk in Typhoon Harbor. There was no luxury of regular hot showers with fine soaps and lotions. sold a watch to a customer at no discount. From then on she had been taken into the sales staff. but it was the frailty of fine bone china: delicate but strong. However. that in those surroundings. she had quickly. but that was the best her refugee family could do. She was slim in the Chinese manner. had always been cut short to sensibly frame her face. It was not easy. and quite against Wauk’s orders. 16 . She liked that. Five of them sold. she had to work even harder to be clean. Sometimes she regretted not having the breasts of those glamorous women on cinema hoardings but she also knew that she looked good in a tight Chinese dress split to her thigh.
17 .Some of the electronic watches started chirruping. Lee Wauk shifted in his chair. It was nine o’clock.
The jabiru stork standing in the shallows made them easy to see. Hey! He thought. These gnats are like damned teeny flying crocs. The first explorers thought they were alligators. He could see the escarpment so he didn’t far to go but he knew these lagoons were infested with all kinds of nasties: not the least of which were the crocs. activist Peter Marshall had spent all morning trekking through the backcountry towards the Kakadu and now he had met the swamps and lagoons east of the escarpment near the east Alligator River. I don’t want to mess with one of them. It was a good thing he was motivated otherwise I’d be back on the porch with my feet up contemplating my next Fosters. These could be half a mile from the river and be positively vicious if disturbed.Chapter 4 – Peter Marshall. Anyway. hence the names of the rivers. how did you get close enough to find out? The big ones were man killers. Some of the aboriginals didn’t want the Jabiluka mine because the ins-and-outs crossed a lot of their most sacred Song lines. Earlier that morning he had driven out to the Gagudju Hotel at Jabiru and dumped his car in the tourist car park and started out on his trek to meet his friends without being noticed by any Energy Resources’ nosey from the Ranger uranium mine. the company should take a hike … there was uranium elsewhere other 18 . The issue of course was Energy Resources of Australia’s intention to open a mine at Jabiluka. He batted away at the horde of midges and pulled his hat and its netting on tighter. ERA had hauled all they could get out of Ranger in twenty years and it was exhausted. he thought. He agreed. he thought. I’m not so good on wasps and bees so I don’t blame anyone mixing up alligators and crocs.
The ground was getting drier now and he made better time. even for just one season. he enjoyed listing them in his mind. he thought. the honeyeaters and the little grass wren. Peter Marshall was an Australian out of Sydney where he had gone to college at the University of Western Sydney. It looked like an olive-python but he didn’t want to stay around to check. Still a mine was intrusive and a new one further north than Ranger could dirty up the lagoons. Then he saw the snake before it saw him and he gave it a good wide margin. but you never know. the little kingfisher. Damn these things. He was a good teacher but he needed a cause to spark his fire. Even though the crocs were dangerous they don’t deserve to be killed off. as his boot squished down into the mud again. He had his good high-laced boots on. an ibis. Then there’s the magpie goose. but then taken a teaching job in social issues at the Darwin Community College in the Northern Territory. Not that all the Abos had anything against uranium since they had earned close to $200 million from it. the black shag. The lagoons and swamps were beautiful and full of animals and birds.than in the Kakadu. and the lotus bird that seemed to walk on the water. and the white-breasted whistler. I wouldn’t mind be able to walk on water. His parents were staid Australians of distant British stock and while recognizing 19 . None of them would be able to live and breed if the lagoons were polluted. I hope. Peter thought. he thought as he batted away at the netting and took another careful step across swamp. It hadn’t rained for a few days and so the crocs wouldn’t come up this far. and a crested plover on the drier ground. he thought. so while in Darwin he had taken up the causes of the indigenous people. He especially enjoyed the birds: the striated heron. His friends were right in this case.
There’s no body there because they hadn’t set up a dormitory but it won’t be long. Peter was introduced as an expert photographer and sympathizer. It goes a clear fifteen miles and already cuts across a number of Song lines. so not only was he having to hike all this way be he also had a truck load of cameras and lenses in his backpack. he thought. he thought.” “Is there anyone there?” asked Peter. so there were introductions all around. It was a straight line of yellow mud and shale through piles 20 . Juk Duk. Some things are worth standing up for and these Abos didn’t have much going for them. He dispensed a little good cheer … a couple of cans of Fosters … before they went any further. they didn’t understand his need to be at the center of every protest while in college. It shouldn’t be long now. They have established a camp and some buildings: a bridgehead ready for new construction. walking alongside the slash-and-burn ‘road’ that had been constructed.” They went to see the buildings. “No. It took them just over half an hour to cover the three miles. It wasn’t protest for the sake of protest. had asked that he come out and take some photographs of what the company was doing already to prepare for the mine even without having permission. afterwards he broke out onto a wider track and there sitting up against a log was Juk Duk. Shortly. There are five buildings inside a new wire fence. an aboriginal bark artist that Peter had met in Darwin. … And it wasn’t. “A gang of ERA laborers and a dozer has driven a connecting spur road in from the existing Ranger Road. Juk Duk said.that Peter had to make his own way. He had a couple of other aboriginals with him. Today.
I didn’t actually do anything. even though he knew the company would clean it up later for the heavy mining machinery that was needed. The wire fence that stopped damaging intruders now stopped anyone trying to put the fire out.of trees that had been cut down and loosely piled on either side of the ‘road. He explained quickly to Juk Duk and took off in a hurry back to his car. Marshall?” “I was trekking through the back country there … on a 21 . they were temporary trailers and Juk Duk pointed out which he thought were the store and the office. if they had wanted to. He made it before dark and drove back to Darwin without being noticed. I’m out of here. Yet. But there wasn’t anything they could do. the police came to see him. They certainly didn’t want to do anything. Mr. Then it happened … one of them through a match at the closest trailer and it dropped into a pile of dry kindling next to the wooden sidewall. But. He thought he was in the clear. Shit. it seemed like in seconds. I need to get away before the police find my car and put two and two together. yesterday. “What were you doing at Ranger. the two noisy aboriginals were now jumping around gleefully. The kindling burst into flame and Whoosh! The trailer was engulfed. They clustered around the wire looking at the buildings. There must have been some chemicals around for it to go up so fast. A local reputation for supporting lost causes and a half-identification of his Land Rover on the way to Ranger the day before was enough to bring them. he reasoned.’ Peter thought it’s not a sight to be proud of. By now the Fosters were taking affect and a couple of his aboriginal friends were getting noisy and angry. thought Peter.
Mr. He’d always had a half interest in botany. of course. They made life hell for him: with more questions at all hours. You haven’t explained anything to me. Furthermore. because as he had walked through the swampy area he had picked up a few plants and flowers. That’d serve him right for pestering me. “Yes. That’ll be all for now. Marshall. they probably weren’t edible but no one would know. but Political Science extends to Australia’s treatment of the aboriginal people so how they live also comes into it. you’d call it … looking for specimens of plant food that the Abos use.” “Did you bring any specimens back?” The police officer obviously didn’t believe him but he was fortunate.” “There was some damage to Ranger mine property and we are following leads such as you car being seen. maybe I can persuade him to eat one of them. he noticed more police as he went about his business at college and in town than he had before. but what’s this all about. “No. Don’t you teach Political Science here at the college?” “Yes. I’m not. Of course.” “That doesn’t seem like anything you might be interested in. Are you planning on any travel?” “No. Would you like to see them?” He thought. He said. We would like you to be available for further questions as they come up. they spoke to the Dean who warned him 22 . true. that’s all-right. It’s a practical connection to the land. queries about his friends and Juk Duk and then he noticed that he seemed to be followed.field trip.” But it hadn’t been. Certainly.
Get lost. The fact that more damage then occurred at the Ranger mine didn’t help. “Get a real job. he thought. he slammed the phone down. eventually made Peter look around for another post. sociology and social work. Peter. 23 . It specialized in law.” His mother would only say. He and his father had not got along well in the past and they simply quarreled on the phone. Those two Abos are simply being stupid. Peter found an opening in the International Education Weekly and moved to Hong Kong to take a position at Hong Kong’s Shue Yan College. Isn’t it time that you found a wife and settled down?” He clearly wasn’t welcome in Adelaide so after one heated exchange. “You know we want the best for you.gently that the faculty was expected to be a good citizen of Darwin and not to attract any attention from the law. So get lost. He spoke to his father and mother in Adelaide but they were not at all sympathetic. His father said. he thought. The combination of continued police attention over the next six months and increasing college awareness that all was not well. he did. He was done with Australia. Unfortunately the Jabiluka mine depends on actions in the courts. Wrecking company property will simple work against them. There was not much he could do for Juk Duk and his Aboriginal friends while the police sat on him day and night. but you do get involved with some silly groups.
If enacted into law. Since she was British. but others. and BDCs. There were provisions for British Dependent Territory citizens to become British Nationals (Overseas) for life. and he knew that after filling itself. whose meaning was not at all clear. It was not clear what would happen to succeeding generations. Lim Yok could barely see the trail to the house along the edge of the paddy as the water buffalo shuffled its way to food and rest. when the full text of the White Paper on the Nationality Act was published in the Hong Kong Standard. might be declared bankrupt or to news that a stolen revolver had been returned to the police by mail or to news that the progress of typhoon Dot now threatened Bangkok. 1985.Chapter 5 – Lim Yok asks for more The day was closing uneventfully. the act would change many things for many people in the Territory. October 16. despite having 25 . Most other readers quickly shifted their attention to the news that rock star. who were not eligible. He wanted to spend more time over it. BN (O) s. would become British Overseas Citizens. the article was a confusion of BDTCs. changes in other nationalities had no relevance to her. However. Su had not seen the paper and she might not have been interested anyway. This was Friday. momentously. However. in some people’s minds. It had started. Lim Yok had seen the newspaper when his father bought an early morning edition. the animal would immerse itself in the muddy pool for a while before lying down to sleep. The day passed without special note and it was dark now. Candy had seen the headline at breakfast and dismissed the issue as principally concerning somebody else. Chan Wi-Man. He fed the buffalo from grass that was stored on the edge of the hill pasture.
that would annoy Lim Yok and he felt that his father might be doing it intentionally. He never came in until the stars were out. Go to the college in the evening and go to some of the classes there to find out what you want to study. His father was still out in the fields. sitting relaxed and letting his aching back and arms ease themselves out of the aches and tensions of the day. He washed quickly at the sink and sat down on the long wooden trestle against the table. Occasionally. His day had been especially hard and productive. Lying still in water covering its back ensured freedom from ticks. a lecturer who had been recommended to him. There was very little money and even less time on the farm. His Mother had the food ready … a bowl of rice with a tasty mix of chicken and vegetables. However late Lim Yok was.” But when he had asked at the Shue Yan College they had told him that he would have to enroll and pay to attend or even to use the library. He couldn’t do either. He was trying to attend some course there because he felt instinctively that there were things he should know. you are bright and you can do more with your life if you learn more things. He took his time. Lim Yok’s mother always had plenty in the 26 . Lim Yok went on into the house. Before he went though he thought he would like a little more rice. his father always seemed to work a longer day. His earlier schoolteacher had encouraged him: “Lim Yok. They slipped down so easily after a hard day’s work in the fields. and it had the therapeutic advantage of relaxing its muscles … although neither the buffalo nor Lim Yok would have said it quite that way. After dinner he wanted to visit the college for an hour. Tonight he didn’t care. He always liked cabbage and mushrooms.spent its entire day in the irrigation ditch. He could only spare a few hours a week so he was going to see Peter Marshall. Today had been especially hard so the food tasted especially good.
“Let him go. He knew so little about those subjects that there was little chance that he could come up with any new ideas about them. Marshall. so she had intervened. So. which they used to power the rice thresher. he examined his idea. of belief. Sometimes though that didn’t help. he mused. but his mother. When he finished his meal. His priest only spoke of acceptance. even though she had only the minimal learning … she could barely read … knew that her son had hopes of doing better than his parents. His father wasn’t convinced that Lim Yok wasn’t really trying to visit someone else’s daughter. His father wanted him to stay and help to mend the tackle and repair their small diesel generator. She was especially liberal with the cabbage since more had been delivered to the village this morning and she had a basket full of the fresh green heads. As he walked in the dark along the track to the bus stop. and of sustaining 27 . So he read whenever he could … books and newspapers … and he enjoyed talking to people who had more experience than he had: older people. however hard they worked on the farm. he asked for permission to go to look for Mr. it took time to persuade his father.large wok that hung over the fire in the corner of their kitchen. She said. it always seemed that the market place had more effect on how much money they had for food and other things. He knew he was innovative and had no difficulty in coming up with new ideas … like the ditch dredger that he’d been using today … and his ideas generally worked. he wanted to learn about things like money and accounts. Chang. Yet. if he doesn’t learn a few things he will be as ignorant as we are.” She was his support at these times and without her he might have made less effort to read and absorb new ideas. and reported his progress to his father. he knew that to succeed he would have to know more than just farming. However.
When he rang the bell. eh? How about joining us?” But he wasn’t interested. So Lim Yok on the advice of one old man in the village who. He felt a difference between them: uncomfortable but exciting. Lim Yok knew that it WAS possible to break out of his rut with a little help. His mother was full of love and comfort but she had no political ideas at all beyond feeling that politics were a good thing to stay away from. Then in the distance he could see the headlights of the bus. They greeted him. turned to the idea of attending a college course. It creaked to a stop and leant towards him on one weak spring. many years before. while he searched for the apartment address that he had been given for Mr. while the faintest of breezes from the sea rustled the leaves around him. When they got to town. Other friends of his were aboard. all going to town. They had finished school and were now out for a good time after a day in the fields. The bus arrived. It was his home. It took him some time. not much older than he. had similar aspirations.family values. Lim Yok gave his name and explained. came to the door. getting larger and brighter as they came nearer. “I am looking for Mr. It was old. your father let you out. the frogs in the nearby irrigation canal throated their passions. His father’s friend only talked about farming and the prices that they could get for rice and beans this year. a young man. “Hi. Now he had to find a way to do it. his friends went straight to a bar. They didn’t understand why he wanted to study some more. Standing on the edge of the road in the dark he could hear the night about him: crickets chirruped in the grass. Marshall. It was a hot and muggy night. Marshall.” 28 . Lim Yok.
learning is like having the land 29 . so you won’t get any credit for the learning. Then he said. as many as you like. I have just made some?” Lim Yok thanked him and he sat down. Come in. “Now what can I do for you?” “ Mr. Would you like some tea. that won’t do you much good.“That’s me. For that you need qualifications. Without this. and said. I work on a farm for my father but I really want to extend my studies beyond what we learnt in school. but as you learn you will realize that to use those ideas you will need to convince others that you know what you do.” “I don’t need credit. There were full bookcases against every wall. I was recommended to come and see if you could help me. However. I am interested in learning about money and accounts because I don’t want to follow a buffalo around all my life. come full time and make the payments. You will not be able to take any examinations. It looked as though he would have no time for anything else but reading. books on all the tables and more on the floor. in the evenings. “That might be enough for you now. it’s a bit lighter in here. I went to Shue Yan but they explained that the only way I could use the college was to enroll. “I simply want to know more than I can in the village. Marshall had a small apartment overflowing with books. Unfortunately. I have to work and I cannot afford the fees. Then Peter warned him. to be able to show that you have read and understood such and such a book. through passing examinations. Marshall.” Peter Marshall thought for a while. Mr. they were even stacked on the floor along the corridor to the kitchen where he had gone to get the tea.” said Lim Yok. so what can we do? I could arrange for you to sit in on several courses. He came back with the tea. that you have listened to teachers and shown. that you understand. “I understand the problem and I’m all for making an effort to learn more.
but she didn’t say anything. his father was asleep and he would have to wait until the following evening to speak about it. Lim Yok knew that he had a problem. When he did get home. He went on. 30 . would not quite do it. But on the next evening when he spoke to his father.” Since arriving in Hong Kong from Adelaide Peter had been immersed in teaching.and the rice but not being able to take it to a market.300 Hong Kong dollars to start. However he was still helping others to take up the causes of underprivileged. He told his mother what had happened and what he wanted to do. She sat quietly mending stockings. He would have to return to persuade his father to let him go to college at least three evenings a week and Saturday afternoon AND he would have to pay $1. “Let’s see what might be managed. Only later did Lim Yok discover his mother’s influence in his new life. How many hours a week can you manage?” After an hour of discussion. his father had agreed fairly quickly and even said that he would lend Lim Yok the extra money until he realized how silly the idea was. Helping the indigenous Chinese to get an education was on his agenda. which he had earned from helping other families in spare time. His own savings of about $800. His bicycle and shock of brown hair were both as well known at protests as they had been in Darwin.
That’s for old people. Enough was enough however and so she announced that she would return to Britain. The gift. that won’t do. There was nothing quite suitable. Then she remembered her aunt … a lady prone to dress in bright modern clothes and to do as much as any woman thirty years her junior would do. even though a couple of antique brooches struck her fancy. Nothing new and nothing young. would take personal selection. Candy had come to know her aunt better and recognized something of herself in the independence and self-reliance of the old lady. She visited the Ocean Terminal between classes and spent the time searching fashion stores. Candy remembered seeing her aunt push away a roll of dark blue silk on a recent shopping trip. Candy went into Kowloon to look for a parting gift for her Aunt. There were a number of small jewelry shops.Chapter 6 – Aunt Mary’s gift. Aunt Mary had been staying with the Rogersons for two weeks now. She was due to leave in two days.” No. with the words. So she moved her search to Haiphong and then to Hankow Road. “No. In a fit of generosity. She couldn’t. ask her mother to bring something back as a birthday gift for so and so. In particular. She visited one or two of them and was offered the usual array of jade and pearl pieces. generally catering for the tourist but with an inventory that was very much up to date. she decided. She had revisited most of the spots on the islands that she had enjoyed. She like Hong Kong. including Noong Ping on Lantau where she remembered a particular picnic with Jimmy before the war. as she often lazily did. On this visit they had become quite close. crystal shops and antique emporiums. her gift for Aunt Mary would have to be something modern and young. She had time to try just one more shop 31 . having spent a good fraction of her girlhood in the Territory but eventually Devon would always call her back.
she said. why not a watch? There the choice might be easier because of the younger choices and the new 32 . She might even be offended. not plain settings. The sales girl thought for a while. It dealt with both jewelry and watches and she noticed that it had the sign of a red junk on its door … the sign of the Hong Kong Tourist Association of reputable dealers. That gave her some confidence. She looked as though she was enjoying the special request for help. “Yes.” So saying.before running back to the next class. Candy would have rejected the offer to help in favor of looking around on her own but something in the girl’s manner persuaded her that it was a genuine offer of assistance rather than a sales approach. “I’m not sure how my aunt would react to those pieces. ”Well. I’m looking for something unusual with a young modern touch. She said. Candy thought. brooches. “Most of the young people who come here choose pieces that you might already describe as older designs: pieces with decorative and lacy gold filigree settings. The next shop had a slightly better laid out display than the others she had visited. she might think I was choosing an old design for her.” “Well then. She would have selected something like that single good piece of jade in a plain gold clasp. on balance.” she said doubtfully. Sure enough. they did look like old pieces. and bangles. In fact. Let me show you some of the pieces that I have sold to young people recently. My old aunt does not like old-fashioned clothes and decorations. So. I’m not sure at all what to get but I’m looking at jewelry first. she reached into the showcases and collected one or two specific pieces … earrings. “Can I show you something?” Normally. which really are modern. A pretty Chinese girl of about her own age came towards her.
It was just the sort of thing she might buy for herself. “What about an Italian design? This watch is a brand new version.” 33 . I think I can offer you this watch for …” and she paused and tapped out a discount on the calculator lying on the counter top … “for $750 Hong Kong.” and she added. Aunt Mary might just go for it. Make me an offer. “if the price is right.” said the girl. We have only seen this design in the past few weeks. “No. that’s still more than I want to pay. how much do you want to pay? Perhaps we can find something else in your price range. “That’s too much. The watch lists at $1. “All-right. The girl responded with.” She got up to leave. that looks like an ideal gift.” “How would you pay?” asked the girl. She was a go-ahead character. “You are local so I would expect you to come back if you were satisfied. “I want to use my card. Candy thought.” These were the steps that Candy knew were ritual in these tourist shops and she knew the rules of the game.designs. it was such a neat design I might get one for myself later.” “Well.” She offered Candy a slim gold watch with a brown face crossed by diagonal stripes of a deeper brown.” “If you paid by cash or a local check then I can take a little more off … $720. “Well.000.” The young girl turned to the cases behind her. She said.” Candy said. It wasn’t easy to read the time but Candy though it looked a really neat modern design. I shall have to look around for something else. In fact.
you are lucky. the girl slipped into the rear of the shop where Candy could hear her chatter to someone back there. “we would make a loss with that sort of price. We must have had a good day.” The Chinese girl smiled too. she handed her a Lee Wauk Jewelers card showing that her name was Su Wu. maybe I could go as low as $600 but I would have to ask the owner. as Candy left. “Thank you. However. no.” said Candy. wrinkling her nose.” said the sales girl.” she said and she smiled. “Oh. “I really will come back here if you are always so helpful.” and.” When Candy said she was interested.“I can only spare $500 for this gift.” Candy was pleased with the sales girl: she really had been helpful and the final price was a reasonable one. “I look forward to seeing you again. 34 . “Yes. Soon she returned with a big grin on her face. For $600 it is yours.
a flapping line somewhere. Yet … the sun was persuasive. Soon it would be winter and then she’d have to fix the screen that was now stored behind the cupboards. and beetroot. It was just below the deck and it had a fine wide-open canopied window that helped the breezes cool her in the summer months. “Ni Hao. Lee shouted back. They had had too many gloomy days recently so the sun was a welcome change. She raised her head a little to look around. Lee steadily and skillfully poled her little craft. Lee polling her way down the line of junks. “Yes. It wasn’t really a room: since she was the eldest daughter she had the best compartment in the boat … next to that of her parents … in the stern castle of the junk. and not far away. lightly covered by a sheet for it was still hot. Even her alarm clock lay still … it had not rung yet.” Mrs. The day was beginning. Lee was always up early. Su was lying on her bedding mat. Su watched as Mrs. She looked out under the canopy and she could see Mrs. The night had not cooled much from the heat and humidity of yesterday. not big enough to be a sampan. She opened her eyes a crack and the sun streaming through the canopy brightened her ‘room. They look good. under the 35 .” she called. her husband had taken a job up country and she generally had to go to the market early.’ She would have to get up soon but for the moment she lay still. and some nice large gulls eggs. “Have they cabbage today?” Mrs.Chapter 7 – The Typhoon Harbor The first sounds were the usual ones. the barking of a dog and a few voices. savoring the last few moments of bed. comforting because they were recognizable: the creaking of old timbers and the slight wash of water against the sides of the boat.
she filled it from a jug against the stairway. Her sleeves were short for the summer. She liked the cheongsam. She went back to her room to wash. and it fitted her figure well. Her father was up and about. putting the big wok on the gas grill. At the thought she quickly rolled off her mattress. accusing her of being late before she could stifle it. Later on her mother would heat some water for her. It rang almost as she picked it up. It was easy to slip on and comfortable to wear. She turned. Almost simultaneously she heard her mother in the kitchen on deck. Her yellow dress had a high neck and she wore it with the collar closed. stood up. fixing something on deck. and reached for the clock on the cupboard against the wall. She took the bowl after washing and emptied it through the canopy into the water below.stern of the junk and round into the side traffic way. She opened the door and lifting down a large bowl hanging on the wall. The water was always cold and refreshing in the summer. She knew that doing that wouldn’t be thought healthy by many of her working friends who had apartments on shore but as she looked at the water below swirling down around the edge of the neighboring junk. Soon her own alarm would ring. I’m probably slowly cleaning the harbor. That had been good and she remembered the hot water and soapy lather spilling down her body. laid out the bedclothes across the mattress and quickly rolled the entire thing up against the bulkhead. Now there was room to move about. Today she had a quick lick-and-a-promise: she had showered last night at the shore communal baths. Breakfast was being prepared. the wash water looked a lot cleaner than the harbor. Rarely did she beat it to the draw. a cheongsam. She dressed in a neat yellow dress. There was someone else now stirring in the boat. This cold splash wasn’t quite the same. she thought. She buttoned the dress all up the right side and she 36 .
000 people used to live here and now there was just half that number but it didn’t seem to appear any less crowded. She could see Lantau in the distance over the typhoon harbor wall. The government was building more and more apartments. she needed time to get going. Often times. she took chopsticks and crouched in the sun right at the back of the deck well. it will happen. She admired herself coyly in the small mirror hung on the wall. she didn’t listen: her father had told her the same stories so often. Although she liked the morning and usually got up early. when she saw her parents enjoying living here. She had rice and this morning there was chicken stew for it. She was 19 and they had come from china when she was four or five. Some of her friends’ families had apartments. He father had told her about the journey and the hardships her mother and he had undergone to get to Hong Kong. Her family was on the list for one and one day they might get it. Su had lived on the junk in the typhoon shelter as long as she could remember. the typhoon shelter didn’t seem to get any smaller. It always seemed the same. She couldn’t wait to get an apartment. but at times. Breakfast was ready and Su hurried to the deck. Her mother cooked well and Su was grateful that she didn’t have to get up to cook like some of her friends. She recalled that she had heard that 10. Her mother called. It was delicious. One of these days. she realized that they must had very little before. they will get an apartment. It didn’t seem real. she thought. Today she would wear her brown shoes but she’d carry them until her father ferried her to the wharf. Yet. Taking the bowl that he mother offered. There were still many boats in the straits and the morning sun marked each one like a spotlight.could feel the fitted waist hold her while the blouse top felt nicely loose. The slits up both sides would keep her cool today and she knew they made her look feminine. The morning was often a time 37 .
letting the savors roll around her mouth before swallowing. Lu was wet … his Tshirt. Lu said. The day would rush along fast enough after breakfast. He was grumbling under his breath. As soon as Su had finished and washed her bowl and sticks. Aunt Li. she gathered her handbag and shoes and called her father. You’ll probably have to do more chores today. Down below there was a clatter. we’ll see what mamma thinks. Her father followed her to the boat. Lu.” It sounded to Su like a case of double insult. proclaiming that he came from the University of Colorado. Little Lu was vehement. that she would quickly fix things. This morning he knew that his mother was busy because she was expecting her sister.” replied Jimmy. As soon as Lu got back and told her. They were the boys from the next junk and they had been somewhere very early today. She would have to hurry to make the shop on time.” Su suspected. She ate slowly. The quarrel floated past as Jimmy rowed home smug in the knowledge that his little brother’s protests might be ignored. It was Jimmy and his little brother. tasting each mouthful carefully. and she wouldn’t take sides this morning. Now they were quarreling. It wasn’t funny.” “Oh yes it was. “You’re always acting so big and you did splash me. she might refuse Jimmy any breakfast and send him to school directly for mistreating his brother.for herself. My clothes are all wet. If she waited for 38 . was soaked. knowing their mother. She looked over the edge of the deck. Often Su would ask Jimmy to ferry her to the wharf in the morning but she had reasoned that Jimmy had enough to be going on with. It was very funny. and a clatter of oars in the water. “You’re just a little squirt and you can’t take a little water. “Well.
him she would be really late. So, she asked her father. He grumbled a little at being disturbed from what he was doing. Her father, Ngo Ling Wu had once been a prosperous man. He was trained in carpentry and in the old days in Pingxiang in China he had a shop of his own. Ten carpenters worked for him producing fine furniture. However his strongly expressed political views had brought the attention of the People’s Republic authorities. He had been held up to public ridicule and driven into poverty. Su watched her father as he sculled the boat towards the wharf. He was still grumbling: his wrinkled profile was stern in annoyance. He had a lot to do, and being disturbed in the middle of a complicated repair job didn’t help. “A craftsman has to be left to do the job alone. He can’t keep putting down his tools if he wants to keep a feel for the work. Now, when I get back, your mother will want me to do something else, and my own work will be spoiled.” Su watched his face. Although he was clothed in patched clothing, and he was poling his daughter to work like an ordinary ferryman, his eyes revealed a sharp and analytical mind. He deserved better, she thought, and if I can help, I will. His only enjoyment now appeared to be the men’s club. He disappeared there twice a week. She wasn’t sure what they did there but she remembered her mother telling her once that they talked over old and better times that existed in China before the Communists took over. Like others, she discounted her father’s real ability and tended to relegate him to an old man living on his memories. It appeared, as she watched him, that even though the boat seemed to skim between the junks as smoothly as it ever did, he was getting frailer. His eyes were a little sadder and they watered a lot, his hair was a little thinner, and his shoulders were a little more
stooped. When they reached the wharf, she jumped off swaying boat onto the lowest step and slipping on shoes she climbed the short flight of stone steps to quay. Her father held tight to a metal ring set into concrete. the her the the
She waved at him. “Don’t worry about being here this evening. I’ll get anyone who is around,” and she was off striding along the road towards another day of selling jewelry and watches.
Chapter 8 – A Serious Encounter Lim Yok’s first encounter was with economics, in particular with those notables who expounded various economic theories was hard. It took him a week to read the text by Heilbroner, sitting in a corner of the kitchen after work in the fields. The 40-watt bulb made his eyes hurt over the small type but the ideas and thoughts in the book lit his mind like never before. Lim Yok felt at ease with ‘supply and demand’ theories: he could see how they applied to his father’s life and their own economy. But, at first he was lost with the larger pictures in which the economies of nations affect those of other nations, by which the ‘value’ of the Hong Kong dollar could change even though, for a time, it bought the same amount of vegetables in the market. He began to understand Smith’s ideas of commingling of politics and international economies and he was intrigued with Marx’s gloomy predictions for the capitalist society. Hong Kong’s position relative to the People’s Republic of China made these economic ideas more that just simply academic interest. He listened to other Political Science teachers and he began to understand the connectedness of ideas and products. He attended several hours of lectures on energy, needs and supplies. It was a revelation. He had never put together the strength of his buffalo, the oil needed for their small farm generator, and their 40-watt lighting, into the overall picture of energy supply and demand with its down-line effects on economy and political standings. He grasped immediately the ideas that control of energy was possibly more powerful than the control of money, that the ability to supply oil, or to build a power station, could be worth more than real estate or other forms of trade. One Saturday afternoon, Lim Yok had, in response to a question from the lecturer, expounded on his idea. He said, “The control of electrical energy and water is central to the economy of Hong Kong and to the
administrators of the Territory. People who have this control are more important to the people of Hong Kong that any of those involved in trading.” At this he heard an annoyed snort. Turning he saw a girl fling up her hands in anger. “That’s nonsense, Sir,” she said. “This territory is founded on trade of all kinds, its existence is based on trade with one billion Chinese and without multiple-product trade there would be no reason for Hong Kong. This trade is the basis for the power and the strength of the financial houses.” Lim Yok recognized the speaker. It was Candy Rogerson. Her mop of fair-brown hair tossed with the emotion of her speaking. Lim Yok knew why she might have those views, being the daughter of one of the largest trading houses, even though he believed she was wrong. The debate went on all afternoon for the lecturer was content to let his students explore ideas. It was a change from an apathetic audience putting in time for their credit hours. Thank God there was someone as thoughtful as Lim Yok in the class, he thought. Lim then pointed out that Hong Kong wouldn’t be a great trading port without British control of the sea and shipping: the transportation energy of those days. He was arguing now that the OPEC oil cartel had more effect on the world’s economy than all of Japan’s expansion of trade in the same decade. Still, Candy stuck to her guns in saying that Lim Yok had the cart before the horse … trade was the basic human activity. Power and energy was simply one of the commodities in which trade occurred. It had no more importance than say, the supply of steel or electronic parts, and perhaps less than food. They wouldn’t get anywhere of course, mused the lecturer, but the birds were trying out their philosophical wings. After the class, Lim Yok and Candy chanced to exit from
the room together. Even though she scowled at him, she accepted his invitation to continue the discussion over coffee in the student union. He said, “Come and let me show you why you’re wrong,” and she couldn’t resist the challenge. Several other students joined them and their group in the corner of the lounge became a lively center of focus. The group was split into two factions: those following Lim Yok and those following Candy. Candy’s group was larger and they argued from the strength of tradition in the Territory. Candy used every day examples simply by opening a newspaper. Apart from tragedies: deaths, murders, and riots, that the media used to entertain their readers and sell newspapers, the most frequent news item concerned trade. The entire Sunday business section dealt with trade and there was not a single line dealing with power, except for one item on McDonnell Douglas’s future plane designs. Even international trade in hairdressing seemed to take precedent. Lim Yok could point out only one small item hidden on an inside page. It noted the start of India’s first breeder reactor at Kalpakkam near Madras. Lim Yok’s arguments were less convincing without hard examples, so he lost the debate and the group slowly diminished as others lost interest in the now unequal fight. Still, Lim Yok was unconvinced. He felt his argument had a basic truth even though the business of Hong Kong was trade in all commodities but energy. He sat, silent now, with a serious frown, while Candy, on the winning side, had regained her cheerfulness. She felt a little sorry for him since at least a couple of times his arguments sounded convincing to her. In small recompense she paid for the coffee. Later that evening, back at the farm, Lim Yok thought back to the debate. He was not satisfied. His opponent had some valid points although she was probably reacting from her position, as a Rogerson. Her
44 . with better arguments. It was a matter of filling in the gaps … there were things he didn’t know.arguments reflected the fact that she was the daughter of the most powerful Hong Kong trading house … she ‘knew’ that whatever they did was right. It’s only when they break down that you need power. without energy and power the country couldn’t produce the goods that it exchanged for capital. However. Next time. he enjoyed arguing with her. Even better … he had enjoyed their coffee together. She could be right. a part … just a small part … of our standard of living. Wasn’t the country’s prime need capital. Maybe Rogerson was out of date. When people have money they can improve their standard of living. He didn’t use the idea of ‘research’. he would. vehemently arguing her case. That’s all energy and power are … a part of the economy. as Candy had pointed out? Without capital they couldn’t afford power. without the possibility of trade there would be no reason for peace. At any rate she had pointed to some information that he didn’t have and would have to research. it shone in the light of the window. Trade and international commerce come first. Or was it the other way about. What a pity she had such firm views opposite to his. Candy chose the chicken. be able to show her where she was wrong. Perhaps there would be another chance when he met her in class. Lim Yok remembered her hair as Candy had tossed it aside. but the chances were that her arguments were out of date.” He face was flushed with passion and her hair was beautiful. without the possibility of trade no nation would speak to another. He chose the egg. “But without the possibility of trade no one would have traveled here in the first place. Why should a poor country like China be more interested in power than trade? Their actions certainly showed them to be. This was a job for tomorrow and for the days after.
He hadn't seemed persuaded even when they had parted. how would he know? He was one of those New Territory people. his skin was smooth brown and his shoulders … Candy remembered his shoulders. had just about ruled the Colony (they still called it that. as people. was that it? Lim Yok had an enthusiastic face. She had never questioned the virtue of ‘trade’ before. He looked older than he was. Candy was equally puzzled. he was wrong and she would have to show him that. Still … he was presentable.She was attractive … nice body too … but wrong though… Lying on a straw mattress in his corner of the room that he still shared with his parents. or internationally. she wasn’t quite sure what she had never considered … they were not in her circle. rather than having built them like some of the students did at the fitness club. It was so obvious in this house. He didn’t have the usual full face of other young Chinese men. so certain and yet he had been wrong. Power and energy (she wasn’t sure whether there was a difference between the two) … new ideas. for a Chinese. Not muscular so much as sinewy. her father. Meanwhile in her bed at the house on Mount Austin Road. She got the impression he used his muscles. shoulders apart.) One hundred and fifty years of success couldn’t be wrong. Lim Yok slipped comfortably into sleep. and his before him. She liked that. Still. let alone what went on her in the city. what was his name? Lim something or other … he had been so definite. Maybe that’s what it was. and in her family. Candy had nothing against the Chinese people. She made a mental note to speak to her father. Anyway. He would know exactly what arguments 45 . That boy. that trade was … well. He didn’t even know Kowloon well. but she had never quite considered … well. She had once seen him in a torn t-shirt and she had noticed how strong his shoulders were. strong and aquiline. Yet.
she’d talk to her father. but she felt instinctively that his energy argument was part of a plan of action. She brushed her hair away from her face. Suddenly it seemed more important to persuade Lim Yok that he was wrong. That was a stupid thought because she was not sure what he might do. It seemed important to persuade Lim Yok else he might do something. than to show she was right. strong … tomorrow … and sleep came. Tomorrow. It was a little warm but she was too sleepy to get up and do something about it. She remembered his shoulder muscles rippling … brown and very smooth … tight.she should use. 46 . She turned and thrust her arm beneath her eider-down pillow to lift her head a little.
one to lease southern Kowloon in perpetuity. explained the proposals for Nationality in the time before the return of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic in 1997. The colony had been proclaimed as British in January 1841 when some land was leased from China. There were three contracts made soon afterwards. Ngo Ling’s face hardened. and one to lease the New Territories for 99 years. he knew: one to lease Hong Kong island in perpetuity. 47 . With today’s announcement on Nationality. He would have to speak to her mother. Now since the largest part had to return to Chinese control on July 1st 1997. Things have changed. It was almost too late already because the British Government had rushed through the White Paper. The paper yesterday. Still. He had no idea how to arrange a marriage for his daughter. which Ngo Ling had read thoroughly. It was vital that some things they were planning should be changed.Chapter 9 – The Nationality Act Ngo Ling watched his daughter Su leave. In those days women didn’t work like now and their parents had arranged his marriage to her mother a long time before. She was a pretty girl. Su. he would visit Chang this evening. the Chinese wanted the two smaller parts back too. very much like her mother at that age. Britain was intent on relieving itself of any responsibility towards Hong Kong citizens … or so it seemed. it was time that he and his friends did something. As he thought back to the old times. They wanted the whole of Hong Kong. No one had been worried until talks began with the People’s Republic in 1980 but then it became clear that the contracts would be honored and Britain was considering also giving back the land they had gained in perpetuity. or treaties. Her smile and walk were identical to her mother’s.
Ngo Ling amongst them. Britain required that no substantive changes be made for another 50 years so that investment had some certainty of profit. business changes and political statements in the newspapers until the latest world disaster took the news of the return of Hong Kong out of the headlines. who were not citizens because they entered as refugees or illegally. Immediately. his ‘offence’ in leaving could be revisited. of course. as Americans would have put it. It established a class that separated them from the billion Chinese living elsewhere. Now however there was a new twist that everyone should have expected but didn’t. could be withdrawn before the population was ‘returned’ to China. None settled much of consequence. It was. 48 . China was content with an overlord role with the local administration operating as they had done under British rule. Hong Kong citizens had always been British. to those British descendents like the Rogersons.Furthermore the change was only 12 years away. but even for the ethnic Chinese traveling abroad. there was a flurry of predictions. the return to China was all the more dangerous. There was comfort and security in this membership. an inalienable right. That didn't seem too bad. the British passport was carefully valued. this membership. They. It had now burst upon them before anything could be done. It would come in this lifetime. For those like Ngo Ling. Since then there was little but continued negotiations between Britain and China to report. knew exactly how bad an overlord ruler could be. Without papers to establish him as different from anyone in the PRC. except to those who had already escaped from the old communist regime and had built themselves a new home and a new life. Now there was a suggestion that this right.
Space was given to a verbal confrontation between members of the Legislative Council that showed they didn’t understand the proposals any better. This would bring them an interim blue hardcover passport to be followed by a soft cover version in burgundy.300 of them. He turned back to the preamble and found that of the five and a half million inhabitants in the Territory. would become British Overseas Citizens. the white paper only referred to those three and a half million who would be able to claim a new status. the BOCs. ‘found abandoned as new born. That much was clear but from that point on. What about his friends who had managed to escape from the Communists and who had made that long trek to freedom and who were still trying to become ‘settled’ in Hong Kong? What of them? It was apparent that after June 30. It was a mélange of cases: ‘born’. and there the commentary ended.’ ‘registered. Those people were now British Dependent Territory Citizens (whom the paper labeled as BDTCs) could apply to become British Nationals (Overseas) or the BN(O)s. Then. What about the others? thought Ngo Ling. Ngo Ling quickly turned to the text of the White Paper. There were only 5. What really mattered was their right to live in the area and their right to work and travel. who might not be able to apply because they had no real connection with Hong Kong. and BOCs.’ and so on. ‘adopted. interim and new passports. confusion reigned.’ ‘marriage to ….’ etc. the inhabitants would find themselves in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. BN(O)s. The article was headlined with the photographs of the old. a few people.’ ‘settled in ….Ngo Ling’s paper. Plain enough. From that point on the paper was full of legal paragraphs filled with BDTCs. which was printed in full.’ naturalized. the Hong Kong Standard. 1997. had defined three types of nationality. An entire appendix listed the Acts of the 49 . There was a small concession to a few thousand Indians and Pakistanis who might otherwise find themselves stateless. by ‘birth. without adding much more information.
that was a memorable day. the bright new passports were confused by an inside story that discussed three types of travel documents that might be needed after 1997: the BN(O) passport. Then he noticed that the new major status. Ngo Ling added under his breath. if they can get out. hadn’t managed to ‘settle. a Chinese passport. Ngo Ling smiled and wondered in passing how many BDTCs would be guilty of Inside Trading in company securities? Still nothing was said about the lost two million disenfranchised people. Their descendents would inherit the right. and a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region travel document. Su would be all right he reasoned even though she was born in China … and he thought. after which the descendents would become Chinese. ranging from the Antarctic Treaty of 1967 to the Company Securities (Inside Dealing) Act of 1985. With only 12 years to go that would be very difficult for many of his friends. Moreover. smiling. But the BOC status was limited to three generations. He and his wife were registered and would make the cut. as it stood. He would see what Chang had to say. which presumably most of the European Hong Kong residents would enjoy. but would be allowed to travel abroad on BN(O) and BOC papers. Perhaps they ought to 50 . In fact it was interesting that in the preamble it was noted that the People’s Republic had already made it clear that Chinese compatriots were considered Chinese. carried a lifetime right. His conclusion was that. hadn’t managed to marry a BDTC. Britain was shirking its responsibilities. after the fateful date those Chinese who hadn’t managed to get legalized. still it rankled that there was no real provision for the Chinese population. They had not been mentioned.’ would be thrown back to the Chinese communists.British Government that would have to be amended.
Our group is strong enough now to do quite a lot politically and we should. Ngo Ling. I was just trying to set him straight. That day Wu Ngo Ling went to the eating-house where he and his friends met and he found the place in an uproar. and passionate that they should take action. We’ve all read the White Paper and no one can make much sense of it. but there wasn’t much 51 . It was almost the same as his this morning: indignant that nothing was said of the other two million people. Even without the words the uproar was a complaint. He was usually the loudest and most passionate: Ngo Ling couldn’t yet make out the words but the tone was clear: indignant. He could hear Chang already.” He paused. a lot of our …” and Chang paused to take a breath and then noticed Wu Ngo Ling standing there. We started without you. “I’m just trying to put some sense into this group. especially greedy old Qi over there. always somebody who thought of himself first … it may not affect you and your family … It can affect a lot of others. taking a deep breath. affronted and defiant.do more than just sit back: he had never been a man content to do that. Ngo Ling did agree of course. affronted that they had so little worth in the scheme of things. but then old Qi Khan there said it didn’t matter since all his family were registered and would be protected. waiting for Ngo Ling to agree. Chang didn’t notice who it was at first. “You’re late. Putting aside his stick … he found it more comfortable with a stick since he injured his knee … he went over to Chang and touched him on the shoulder.” he smiled.” He went on. he went on shouting at another member across the room. Everyone was shouting. “Mang on. There are others who need help. “You always were selfish.
passports and titles apart. 52 . everyone sat down again.point in shouting at each other. They also elected a committee of six. The talk went on all evening. “Let’s get on with the meeting. waxing and waning with the number of bottles of Kirin that they emptied. All of them had come to regard the club as a refuge for a couple of evenings a week: somewhere quiet to drink beer and meet friends. one of their group.” Eventually. the Chairman. Ngo Ling took advantage of the delay to order a Kirin beer before taking his place next to Chang at the first table in the room. at the next election. to find out exactly what the Act meant in practical terms and in ordinary words. None were in favor of the People’s Republic of China. with a lot of shuffling of chairs. the committee was also to bring back a plan of action for the group. Together they ran this group of exChina refugees. Everyone was most interested to find out what freedom they would have after 1997. This was the first time since 1979 that they had a cause to discuss. He spoke. Ngo Ling was the First Vice-Chairman of the group and he stood to succeed his friend Chang. and still others were seeking a better and more stable life with very little political interest. Finally. Even in 1979 it had been the same matter: the registration and identity cards. Then. We won’t be able to do anything unless we agree on something together. Ngo Ling helped Chang to reopen the meeting. Now it was more serious because the ‘return’ of Hong Kong to China had been decided in the meantime. including Chang and Ngo Ling. grumbling. they decided to seek the advice of a lawyer. if need be. and everyone should have their say. Some of them had been supporters of Chiang Kai-Chek and were Nationalist. who was not there this evening. some others were just plain anticommunist.
chatting amongst themselves about their families and the problems. A few took out their Mah Jong sets and retired to quiet corners. the old men went back to enjoying themselves. The rows of empty Kirin bottles grew on the tables and at the end of the evening they would be counted for the bill.That seemed to satisfy everyone. With that. 53 . They had done something and a stone had been started rolling.
Chapter 10 – John Rogerson As the limousine emerged from the driveway onto Mount Austin Road. The original building had served the firm well when they only had a couple of hundred Chinese clerks recording their trade with China. He smiled and touched his side pocket. Even now after so many years on the Peak. if all went as expected. The early morning sun shone from a cloudless sky. it still excited John to feel the steepness of the hill and the restrained acceleration of the car. they would quickly confirm his proposals. he had remembered his gift. Then in the afternoon he could get away and see Barbara. thought John Rogerson. He had spoken extensively to his friends yesterday. Today. so he stayed silent. It was a sleek new office building abutting the shore drive. the car reached Garden Road by the tram terminal and rushing down Cotton Tree Drive. It looked like being a good day. two blocks and the car stopped in front of the Rogerson Building. It went out of the sunlight and the chauffeur swung the wheel first right and then left again. John had had the building deigned by Cuthbertson and Vietch six years ago to replace his father’s ugly stone block. Turning right. John reflected that Sidney was inclined to go a little too fast and on other days he might have said something. With now more than two thousand clerks and a variety of diversified activities they had needed the office space in one 54 . they arrived at Harcourt Road. and the Board would meet this morning and. even he felt a little reckless: the speed went with his mood. as he took the sharp curves. Very quickly. the canopy of trees gave way to open sky. The limousine reached Magazine Gap and turning left spilled sharply down hill. Yes. as he leant back on the leather cushioning. I can’t see how anything can go wrong when everything starts so well.
Mary. That was the first order of business. The Board didn’t make decisions. He had trouble with names and that was his one failing in business. his visitors always seem to expect that. John only rarely admitted that. He could see the waves of the straits reflected among swaying palm trees. but today the sun shone from the sheer glass walls and dwarfed the other blocks around. he had always felt that 31 was his lucky number so he had reserved the whole of the 31 st as his. was it? “Good morning. The limousine would have to return for his wife. even when he came in especially early. However. The doorman. Julie opened the heavy maple Board Room door for him. Julie was there. so he told Sidney to drop him outside. Perhaps he should have made his office on the 60th floor. All the senior executive offices were on his floor while the 60th was reserved for the Rogerson Club and restaurant. They were always punctual when he issued a special call because they knew that some announcement would be made and some decision would need to be ratified.” … he wasn’t sure. and he passed through into the lobby. She was a good secretary and she always seemed to be ahead of him. He felt self-conscious here since normally he would have taken the private elevator from the garage. He got out and strode quickly up the wide marble steps to the plaza and the swing doors. The Board was already there.location. Elizabeth. He took the elevator to his floor. Still all that would have to wait until after the Board meeting. the 31st. this morning. It was his building. and saluted him. Today she had several phone calls and a list of commitments for the rest of the week. but they 55 . He greeted the receptionist. The Rogerson building also satisfied his need to make his personal mark and to erase that of his grandfather’s. which might affect their own holdings. It wasn’t the top floor. opened the door.
It almost took his breath away and he enjoyed that moment each time when he took his place at this end of the room with his back to the view of the straits. this time to let the last phrase ring in its strangeness. deep rich shades of smooth finished wood.” The Board had begun its business. “You will have read the text of the White Paper on Nationality.” He took pains to recognize Lady Neil. and could always be counted upon to vote on his side.” He paused again. I have been studying the activities and history of the People’s Republic and trying to envisage conditions once this Colony (he used the old word intentionally) became a Special Administrative Region of China. “Good morning. He took his place at the head of the long table. Mr. “Lady and Gentlemen. It had been an extravagance even for Cuthbertson when he chose it. So far those decisions had resulted in a handsome profit for the firm … and for the Board members. The Board chorused their greetings: “Good Morning. The room was paneled in rose wood.” he began. It was not often that he had to resort to a vote. Chairman. and then he continued: “I would like us to decide that point today. of course. published earlier this week. You may have wondered what ‘nationality’ the Rogerson firm might assume in 1997. was amenable to flattery.were generally pleased to confirm his. as it is 56 . at least in preliminary form.” He paused to let the subject of the meeting sink in. especially when it produced such a magnificent room as this: the Rogerson Board Room. “I’ve come to the conclusion that Rogerson’s. Jones was always impressed with the Board Room. and goodness knows that architects are usually content to spend their client’s money. Lady and Gentlemen. She added color to the Board.
John Rogerson thought. John Manley nodded. His son was his natural successor but he had turned out to be something of an independent. Rogerson went on. as did a few others. Now all the Board members were nodding.’ but there could be enormous disadvantages in being subject to a nation that would not recognize the special contributions that the Rogersons have made over the years. of course. We have never made much use of it although the rents (now several million a year) contribute nicely to our bottom line. “Rogerson’s owns a great deal of real estate in Kowloon. could not operate in the same way. What might it take to get some allegiance there? John thought. Robert was son of Harry Child who had been a loyal Board member. John made a mental note to cultivate the young man to avoid embarrassment later. Only Robert Child seems to have doubts: he is frowning. “I believe we must protect our investments and our position. He continued. Under another future regime that land ownership might be frail and it represents an anchor that the Rogerson ship might want to raise after 1997.” Most of the Board was now nodding vigorously. They knew that John Rogerson was speaking of a preferential position. and in Hong Kong. We would lose out traditional … ” and he paused again. I believe that it would be better to consolidate these real estate values now in safe and productive investments. There could be advantages operating on the ‘inside’ rather than the ‘outside. they are all thinking my way.presently constituted. a friend and confident of his father’s for umpteen years. “I believe we should divest ourselves of the ownership of much of this land over the next three or 57 . except for Robert Child.” The Board understood. “… position.” Who could argue with those sentiments? he thought.
he went on. and. “I have been thinking of the best possible investments that might be made. therefore. the South African market is one that is in dire need of capital since the current government is meeting international resistance. have secured funds abroad. since we are no longer tied to Hong Kong.” Now they knew exactly what the Board had been convened for this morning. one customer is as good as another if the credit and prospects are equal. In trade. “At first sight. where in the world. “… they will buy almost anything if they reckon on current income.” He paused again.” He paused again to allow the thought that every member of the Board would. of course. In business I do not believe that we should be deterred by the opinions and policies of our customers.” “The funds of these sales will initially be invested in Swiss accounts. The decision. Unfortunately. this time for laughter. laughter that he knew would come. It did from the hearty guffaws of Manley to the slightly embarrassed titter of Lady Neil. Roger Child was studying the ceiling. The financial gnomes of Zurich make their money from stagnant funds. those investments might be made.four years. I don’t have to impress upon you that this information must remain in the Board Room. We must look ahead several decades 58 . and receiving further confirmation in the nods of several heads. had been made. we must be very discrete since we have very large holdings and we could flood the real estate market and depress prices if we are not very careful. Swiss funds should not be an end. Rogerson’s was to be realigned in the business world outside of Hong Kong. Still. “Of course. They were here simply to confirm that John Rogerson was correct and he could move ahead. here is the crux of the problem: the prospects of the South African companies are not particularly good. We can still get an excellent price for it from the entrepreneurs …” using the word disparagingly.
Robert Child knew what Rogerson’s message had been: I shall not select South Africa for investment. He wondered what Rogerson was about to reveal. if you agree with me and South America is to be the market. and I believe that it is going to be increasingly difficult beyond a decade. So far the message was innocuous … there is good and bad in South America. and recognizing that Europe is undergoing the throes and restrictions of a new and uneasy unity. It won’t be silk and bamboo in exchange for machine tools any more.for the good of Rogerson’s and while South African companies can rely on the support of their government for a few short years. He was thoughtful. He was slightly afraid of what might be in store. will continue to be volatile. Looking out of the window.” 59 . Rogerson was speaking again. He was nodding sagely. He watched Robert Child. Companies could go under in that time and invested capital would be at risk. therefore. my advisors. He went on. on balance. The man was so independent that he almost admired him.” He stopped to let these sentiments sink into the Board’s collective mind before continuing. the return on investment is not likely to be good. but that has been and by all accounts. not because of their moral position but because they are a bad risk. At a minimum. Rogerson couldn’t read Child’s expression but Manley was clearly with him. Thus. “Then.” Again he paused. … on balance our best market should be in South America. we need to decide what commodity might be in demand. She simply wanted to know where she would be investing and how much return on her family’s money she could expect. at the moment. Likewise. Lady looked bored and impatient. don’t expect me to consider the moral position of any good financial opportunity. “… the near east.
but the power brokerage business would be sufficient to enter the market for a beginning. Brazil and Argentina have already embryo power industries even to the extent of nuclear projects. We need to establish a presence and credibility in the region first. using the Swiss banking industry for the temporary security of our funds. There are any number of West German. “We are not sure of the actual customers. It is the profitable but not-quite-honest conflict of interest in which one broker enjoys competing customers. and I propose that we do. French.” “My advisors have surveyed several nations on the South American continent. many of the South American nations are on the verge of a modern economy. and this is consistent with a slow and discrete withdrawal from Hong Kong.” he continued. knowing Rogerson. at 60 . “No. “My advisors and I believe that we have to change our line radically. there must be more to it than this. All they need is the same product that China needs to emerge from the Middle Ages … useful industrial power. and American firms who would welcome the assistance of a reputable power brokerage firm with funds at their disposal.” “I don’t believe that we need to sell power station components necessarily. Despite problems with the exchange rates. A broker with several … excuse the pun … powerful customers. Chile and Columbia are far too unstable to be reliable markets.” There it is. The approach is not quite above board.They laughed. Within the next five years I believe that we should. move our business from this area to South America. The other countries have nothing more than hydroelectric and coal-fired power stations at least where mountain ranges and coal exists. Their international contacts are well established. Mexico. Child thought. Still. The Chairman continued. The Soviets too could use some help in this area. all seeking the same market must do well.
61 .” At this.” He sat down. For the moment. that the funds acquired from the sale of these lands be temporarily invested in Swiss funds. It could forebode greater problems for him in the future when decisions would be more crucial. for the morning. “I believe that Mr. Manley has a proposal to put before the Board. Rogerson called for a vote and it was given unanimously. The day continued sunny. He said.least as far as we know at present. no decision or firm recommendation has been made. and that alternative markets be established on the South American continent to replace the potentially declining involvement in the Hong Kong region. Still for the moment. and said. stroked his white hair. There are many studies to be made before we can invest.” Rogerson became more formal. The green light had been given to go ahead. Even Child surprisingly voted for the motion but Rogerson had an uneasy premonition that this did not bode well. he had got what he wanted. as is Bolivia. This action is to be conducted over the next 10 years in a manner and to a time scale conducive to the best business interests of Rogerson’s. In any case. “I move that Rogerson’s undertakes a discrete program of land divestiture. I need your approval to proceed with the general plan. There was a seconder. and for Rogerson’s to become a power broker. Guatemala is a possibility. Manley rose.
She had forty-five minutes to herself at lunchtimes. She picked up her handbag. It was as much part of the background as the periodic whoosh of cars passing the open shop door. there is an almost continuous cheeping from the digital watches throughout the day. If not this welcome. She hurried up the street to Nathan Road to catch a bus. Yet. but Ming Ue had been able to go to school longer and she was now a secretary in an export firm. myriad simultaneous chimes do not result. and she was out the door before old Lee Wauk noticed the time. Today however she had a mission that might take more time. Su regretted not going further in school because Ming Ue earned better money and seemed to meet a lot of people.Chapter 11 – Peter Marshall All watches in advertisements seemed at be set at tenminutes past ten or at ten-minutes to two. it might seem appropriate that all watches in a shop should be set together to demonstrate their accuracy. would be waiting in Kowloon Tsai Park. but that’s not so because most shopkeepers have better things to do. Su hardly noticed the sound. So when the hour arrives. It is a widearm greeting to the potential buyer. thanking her luck for not having a customer at that moment. Su never met anyone for longer than it took to make a sale. she didn’t need any alarm or reminder. Still. Ming Ue lived on a neighboring junk in the harbor and they had grown up together. on the dot. so at noon. when it came to midday. Usually she brought a sandwich or a covered bowl of rice and chicken and wandered down to a small park behind the Peninsular Hotel when it was sunny. Instead. she was ready to leave. Ming Ue and she were 62 . Ming Ue. Her friend. The time was just long enough for her to relax. she had been waiting for the hour.
Ming Ue explained that the lecture was about to start and she nudged Su into seats on the front bench. Su realized that she had never been told what the lecture was about: she suspected that if Ming Ue knew. Ming Ue had persuaded Su to listen to a lecture. Today. the movie star.” At least. She was more interested in the lecturer. because Peter would usually be lecturing at the College. “This is a special day. described by Ming Ue as “her dream. That was special because Ming Ue was not usually a walker.firm friends and they met whenever they had time off.” He was a lecturer at the Shue Yan College and. A lot of people seemed to know about it. Now they 63 . Ming Ue went on.” Wondering what the message might be. Su got off the bus at the park and scanned the lunchtime crowd for Ming Ue. the image of Chan Wai-man. There she was … running towards her waving. Ming Ue was definitely interested in this lecturer. The small arena before the stage was full and lots of people were still coming up the pathways. He hadn’t invited Ming Ue out yet but they got on well together and he wasn’t married. They kissed and hurried into the park. She said. “Because the college is so far out. now Su knew his name. Peter arranged to speak here because he knew that only by coming to town would he be able to give his message to the town people … they wouldn’t go out to the college … and his message is important. it wouldn't matter. Whatever the message was. The lecturer was a young man. Su didn’t much like the idea. It hadn’t seemed to come up before in Ming Ue’s enthusiastic descriptions. arm in arm. but she owed Ming Ue a little time because last weekend her friend had come walking with her in the hills. the publicity had been good. apparently. Su looked around her.
“Many of us. He walked to the center of the stage. “My name is Peter Marshall. She had been expecting a Chinese young man. Political Science. especially when we are young. There never seems to be a time when we are truly interested in what is going on now. “Young people are not the only ones who should be interested in what is happening now.” He continued. and that will change the future. he went on. sometimes. like us.” Su was startled to see a Westerner climb the short steps to the stage. It applies to all of us. “I try to teach the young people at Shue Yan to be interested in what is happening right now because sometimes they have a chance to change it. There’s Peter. Ming Ue nudged her. The subject is called Current Affairs or.” he said. He was a little like Chan Wi-man though: with sharp features and sharp bright eyes. and picking up a mike from the lectern. there comes a time when we become preoccupied with the past and the part that we had then. He was smiling and Su could see that Ming Ue might be right. He was attractive. will have lost the chance. “There he is. We should be interested in what we have a chance of changing … today. don’t see what is happening around us.had to sit on the steps between the benches and some had begun to stand against the fence inside the ring of trees. “I am a lecturer at Shue Yan College.” He emphasized the word. and unruly hair that hung at random across a wide forehead.” 64 . all of a sudden. If they don’t make that effort then the future will change and be defined by others. he introduced himself. We are preoccupied with the future and the part in it that we hope to play. Then. Then they.” “But. I teach students about the things that happening now. Peter was not.
Nodding towards the market. None of his audience had left and there was almost a perceptible tightening of the circle around him. each person to their companion.” he continued raising his voice through the microphone. and waving a newspaper he had taken from his pocket.” 65 . He had created an interest and they wanted to know at what he was driving. He didn’t recognize one of them: the smaller slimmer girl. now knew the subject of the rally. it is worth doing because it doesn’t refer to your future. like Su. purposely casting his eyes on different sections of the audience. he said. “Have you discovered more than the price of cabbages? Have you read the newspaper?” The audience murmured slightly. “When you read the Act. She squeezed Su’s hand and whispered. He had made the audience think. you will find that it is dry going with lots of legal language. As he looked around he caught sight of the two girls. But. “that a burglar was caught stealing for the 35th time in King’s road. “I don’t mean.He paused and looked around. “Do you know what is happening today?” and he looked around. Some might not have been interested.” A few of the audience shifted. “Isn’t he handsome?” Peter Marshall spoke again.” “I mean have you read about the new Nationality Act that has been published. You may have to read it again to make sense of it. or that the Kansas City Royals had made it to the play-offs. yet they stayed because they still wanted to hear this fervent young man’s message. or even that George Bush of the United States is visiting China and is drinking beer in Chengdu. but he recognized Ue and he slightly lifted his hand. Those that hadn’t seen the announcements. Su looked at Ue and saw that she was beaming happily.
“Or yours. no longer there as Ming Ue’s friend but as one of Marshall’s audience. She found herself listening intently to Peter Marshall. and YOU. Some other groups from India will also be taken care of.” Su was surprised. They will be given some sort of British passport and some British rights after Hong Kong becomes a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997.” “Reading between the lines. for the words have been written nowhere.” pointing to a young girl to the right. whether they like it or not. and those people will be YOU. including you. “ he said. She had heard that Hong Kong would become an SAR but she hadn’t noticed the coincidence. pointing at a man in the middle of the rows of seats.” he said. The same laws apply.” swinging around to pick out a Chinese business man standing next to the tree.” and he pointed into the crowd again. This will happen on July 1st 1997. It is interesting that the Special Administrative Region has the same initials as SemiAutonomous Regions … at least in English there will be nothing to differentiate between the two SARs. “that it refers and affects just over three million of the people who live here in Hong Kong. “Or yours.” raising his voice again. 66 . “You will find.” “There is very little difference between the five semiautonomous regions of the People’s Republic and the other twenty-two provinces. are destined to become citizens of the People’s Republic of China. these two million people. The same political system is throughout.” “Two million people are enough to populate the Republic of Ireland: they are enough to populate Nicaragua. But we all know that there are five and a half million people in Hong Kong. The same restrictions on liberty apply. “the Act doesn’t even mention over two million people or your rights in the future.“Not yours.” “So. “and YOU. they are enough to have rights of their own.
It isn’t a bus that you can board in 1997 and get off at the next stop. Then.” he said. “There will be no going back. They would have no more rights than a Guangdong peasant. “How do you choose which bus to take? Is the Nationality Act cut and dried? Is it final?” “NO!” and he shouted out the word so loud that Su was startled. the People’s Republic will treat Hong Kong very carefully for a few years before imposing their will. You have nothing to do. and it is a bus that many of you are getting on today. it will become eventually indistinguishable from Guangdong. “You can submit to the will of the Queen and the Legislative Council. the white paper is a draft Order in Council.” He paused to let this sink in. Then he went on. It rustled with murmured thoughts. which means that it must be approved both by Legco (he used the familiar term for the Legislative Council) and then by the British Parliament. “ and now shouting. “If you are content with that. “and in 1997.“I expect. Now is the time to choose the right bus whose destination is the future that you want. “then you have nothing to do but allow the present to determine the future. It is a bus from which you cannot get off. The fact that they now lived in a British Territory might have no influence. lowering voice so that the audience had to become quiet to hear him. submit to the will of the People’s Republic of China.” he said. If you don’t care no one will help you. Peter Marshall’s listeners were drawn to imagine life as an ordinary citizen of the People’s Republic (once again for many of them) and they began to see the returning in a different and dangerous light.” He paused to let the message sink in. “NO.” The crowd shifted like wheat in a breeze.” His voice slowly rose. “after the return of this territory to China in 1997. Its publication today is supposed to allow plenty of time for debate among the 67 .
” he asked. Then it will quickly become law. and for changes if needed.” “Now is the time for you to make your views known. sponsor a fair or even a fun run to go through every region of Hong Kong … that would bring in funds and provide publicity. So far. As she made this commitment to herself. However.” “Even today George Bush has said that his government and the United States would accept the passports for the two privileged groups. Two million votes can be very powerful among a total of only five and a half million.” 68 . this means plenty of time for the politicians to wrangle over fine details of their own positions and no one expects any substantial changes. He was right and she would be willing to help. Before you know what has happened. “Tell your friends. I would guess however that you only have a matter of months to do something. You might. the only voices that have been heard are Indian ones and they got noticed.population of Hong Kong. as politics work. You will need legal advice and as many influential friends that you can recruit to your side. Are you content to make no protest?” There was an angry murmur from the crowd and even Su shouted “No!” They should do something rather than have a new life imposed upon them. for example. this time a business meeting in the main hall at Shue Yan College for the next weekend. He had nothing to say about the two million of you who would become citizens of the People’s Republic. she heard him announce another meeting. Peter Marshall then talked about some of the things that a determined group might do: “You can form a council or an assembly of protest and then collect funds to finance proper activities to make sure that Legco understood your views. Legco will approve it and the British Parliament will be told that the people of Hong Kong agree with the Act.
you should select an organizing committee if there is enough interest. At the next meeting. “Have you a pencil?” she asked. the man. but everyone else was excited by his ideas and the fact that he had told them something that they hadn’t known before and that they might be able to do something. and from the businesses in Kowloon.” he said. and from the New Territories. thought Su.“I have contacts.” 69 . “I want to write down the place and time of the next meeting. from Aberdeen. Ue was more interested in Peter Marshall. Su turned to Ue.” He certainly had the support of the crowd. Most of your strength would come from Kowloon. “in the College and you need others from the city. Very few of his listeners had drifted away.
and the junk slipped past its stern and continued on its own direct path. As he watched. ferries. Each Captain thought well enough ahead to steer directly clear of danger. 70 . junks. He always enjoyed watching the seagoing cargo ships. They each seemed to take a direct path. another junk. The water was capped by tiny white horses as the wave tops broke in the wind. and one could steer a direct course to any chosen landing. came hurtling towards the ferry. he thought. never veering. Damn! He should have brought a raincoat.Chapter 12 – Barbara Chin John took a cab from the Rogerson building to the Star Ferry and invested 50 cents in one of the best sightseeing trips in the world. All he needed was a Board with the nerve to understand that apparent collision courses were inevitable in a crowded business waterway. yet collisions were not. the ferry swept forward. never giving way to another. a light but firm touch on the tiller. The sunny day was beginning to show signs of breaking weather and he was reminded of the forecast of a front coming through with a high chance of rain. He took the lower deck. and wallah wallahs interleaving their respective waterways. with flags and washing streaming on lines above its deck. Yet. It was just too easy to forget when you started the day with his chauffeured limousine. the trip from Hong Kong to Kowloon. apparently on a collision course. at the last moment. was accurate foresight. That’s what he was about to do with Rogerson’s. all it needed. He sat with his back to the lower engine compartment looking out across Causeway Bay … daydreaming. Yes. and yet never in difficulty. The water in the channel had a light roughness to it. Still he might just miss the worst if he made the right connections.
It was finest during a storm. it slowed as the gearing and the props reversed. twice. he thought. he mused. Yet. It was a matter of practice. Just a matter of practice in the expertise of any job and I have guided Rogerson’s for almost twenty years. 71 . apart from superlative water-level view. The job was done. hurried off to their various destinations. whether it was dawn or sunset. being hauled into its final position by hawsers inched around the worn wooden bollards. The apartment overlooked the bay. It shuddered and eased to a stop.The other nice thing about the lower deck of the ferry. The views from the 31st floor across to Plover Cove on the right and the Sai-King Peninsula on the left were magnificent. asking for Tai Po Kau. If any of his acquaintances were roughing it and were not using their cars (and this was most unlikely). They knew to an inch of the boat’s position when they could apply a little more tension to the rope and when slack needed to be left. just before it touched. which had already assembled for it. He could come and go without word. The view of the waterway disappeared as the ferry swept into its dock frighteningly fast. the sailor finished his task and wrapped the free end of the rope around the bollard: once. John followed up the gangway and out of the ferry buildings to the street. No one among the clerks. Tolo Harbor. I know what I am doing as well as that sailor. There was always a striking play of light across the water. The dark lights and monstrous waves would have challenged any old master’s view of the classic storm. He took a cab. The ramp came down and the crowd. they would be on the upper deck. was its anonymity. He watched the Chinese crew. His destination was a modern apartment building just beyond Shue Yan College. store workers. and laborers knew John Rogerson. As the boat eased to rest with its gangway exactly opposite the shore ramp.
“Tonight. I don’t want to go out anywhere. and yet she did wonders for it.It had been something of a coincidence that the apartment on the 31st floor was vacant when they were looking. as much as if he had said. They kissed: at first a long steady kiss of welcome finishing with a cuddle that said all was well. he returned the compliment. “I don’t want to go out either. Barbara has said. she was in his arms. He had bought the apartment outright for Barbara and he always felt closer when they were apart. “Barbara. In that way. Instantly. It was their home. love?” There was an answering call from the kitchen. but since it was. the view clinched the sale. she was choosing. It was too near the day to be passionate. When she was in his arms it melted away. The choice of sauce was hers. She broke away with a laugh. They had known each other for five years and their greeting was as enthusiastic as ever. He knew 72 . He let himself in and called her name. something light and something that he knew she enjoyed preparing because the choice of sauce made the dish. What taste would you like this evening?” Now. What would you like to eat?” He had chosen prawns.” He could see that she was almost embarrassed. He closed the door and she appeared. I want to stay at home and cook. It’s almost seems like the first time. He had always thought that the name was a ridiculous throwback to the war and that the dress was ugly. “It’s always so good to see you. John. Her comfort was his comfort. because of the apartment that they shared. When they had spoken earlier by phone. She was wearing what she coyly called “something comfortable” – a soft fabric cream one-piece jump suit.
“It is. Yet. She was a junior attorney working for Pang Yuk-Ling. a slim and supple body. John knew that he loved her as much for her denial of his mental superiority as for her body. Barbara had carved out for herself a successful career. Barbara was half-Chinese and half-British-colonial-white.that she was shy at heart and reluctant to reveal her feelings easily. in the Board Room. when they were together alone it was easy to let feelings show and an immense relief that he didn’t have to play a game. He took the glasses to her at the couch against the picture window and handing one to her. a smooth and unblemished skin.” Then he told her what he had decided for Rogerson’s. He cleansed his mind of the planning and exorcised his dreams. Yet with an inheritance that might have fitted her for the wharfs of Shanghai or a corner of Rue de Entre Campos in Macau. Every time is a new meeting. He chose the Chilean Pino Gris for its smoothness of taste and its pale color. nodding occasionally. He relaxed from the tensions of the day even though he admitted to no tension: he was in control and yet he was not. No successful day is complete without you. There is only the future. He smiled. Here he could relax. He played games in all the rest of his life: in the office. there are no pasts to account for. and smiling eyes. She was the one person who 73 . he said. murmuring approval a couple of times. “To you. and gently encouraging him as he spoke. Her ancestors had bequeathed long dark brown hair.” John went into the kitchen and poured two glasses of white wine. and at home. what he had done before and during the Board meeting and what the next steps that he had planned. Her ancestry was lost in a sea of English sailors far from home in a harbor of beautiful Chinese women with languid smiles and slit skirts. Barbara sat and listened silently. the Director of Housing for Hong Kong. But as he relaxed he eased into his love for Barbara. She was the continuing Eastern enigma. She was his fulfillment.
No showdown would come for years. The prawns were excellent … Barbara’s version of Kung Pao … a little spice and smooth sauce … strawberries and brown sugar … candles and wine … soft music … guitars … conversation and the touch of her hands. if ever.” John nodded.defied him: who said that occasionally he was wrong. I would watch him carefully. He said. I’ve no idea what the crisis might be but he seems to be the sort of person who might take advantage. She kept very little in its numerous pull drawers for the piece was its own display. small enameled pictures of life at the Emperor’s court glowed from a delicate etched brass-cornered chest. He sounds as though he would use evidence against you if it came to a crisis. 74 . although I would be careful of Child if what you say is true. It was dominated by Chinese antique furniture: each piece selected for modern comfort. One in shades of gray and red depicted a five-clawed dragon.” They finished their wine and ate. The apartment was essentially hers – modern but Chinese. Facing this. Against the wall on the right side of the room there was a large old wooden cupboard with a center brass array of leaf-shaped pulls surmounted by a long horizontal key. “I have already decided that my risk might be Child unless I am able to repair that weak link on the Board. but I need to think ahead to be able to continue without hindrance. referring to John’s account of what happened at the meeting. In the center of the room a variety of comfortable armchairs and a sofa in matching Chinese fabrics were set on either side of the dragon. On top there was a small seated-image of an emperor made of paper and cloth and an old-fashioned lamp carefully disguising electric convenience. “You have everything under control. Opposite the door a white and gold kimono covered the facing wall. Warm handcarved and hand-tied woolen rugs covered the polished wooden floor strategically. They invited one to stay. She said now. which welcomed one to the stone fireplace and its surrounding candles.
Soon they went to bed. It was early morning before he arrived back at Mount Austin Road by cab. 75 .
After the debate. as much a question as a greeting. while the buffalo was used in the wet. they distantly acknowledged each other: a nod or a hello. other farmers’ sons. he decided that he should ask. Both had a slight fear that the other might have been right but both were confident that the other was wrong. At home he was still working hard on the farm. whenever Candy and Lim Yok met. ambitions for an easier life and women again. They never got anywhere different. 76 . Those conversations anyway always revolved around women. but he didn’t know whether Candy knew. So he spent more time on campus. He improved some of the machinery and tools to save time and effort. One day. Then he sometimes worked 18 hours a day to free the next day for study. He never now had time to sit and talk with his old friends. but he was much more efficient because he needed time on campus. so new wide skids saved hours of frustration. He had known about Peter Marshall’s rally for some time since they were working together. Their greetings were short and. It was Lim Yok who made the first approach. if the truth be known. He had persuaded his father to buy a small diesel-driven plow for the drier fields. Different idea forced him to hone and sometimes change some of his own.Chapter 13 – The Rally Lim Yok was enthusiastic about his studies and he enjoyed meeting other students. It might be the sort of meeting in which she would be interested. farming troubles. and to confuse the issue they both acknowledged that the debate was really not over. The skids of the rice thresher were always sticking in the mud when they dragged it across the paddies. when the sun was shining through her hair as she crossed the campus green towards him. in class or around campus.
she was never concerned about nationality. Still. listening to Peter had fired his enthusiasm for getting some action underway and he had been helping to spread the word.” Of course.” he started. He had never even seen a passport. Their conversation was always challenging and. “Are you coming to the meeting this Saturday? It’s to be held on the playing fields starting at one o’clock. even Hong Kong British.” Lim Yok explained. he enjoyed looking at her. He was of course a little concerned at becoming a citizen of the People’s Republic but 1997 seemed far enough away. so Marshall’s enthusiasm had passed her by. taken aback a little by the familiar approach. However. Lim Yok realized that he was one of the two million left out of the Act. but not British either. He enjoyed her being around. not Chinese in a PRC sense.“Hi. as a bonus.” She stopped abruptly. He’s trying to help the Chinese who are left out of the Nationality Act. “I don’t know about any meeting. She rather liked the idea of meeting Lim Yok on Saturday but standing around a playing field listening 77 . Candy was doubtful. this meeting was really an excuse for him to invite Candy. He had always thought of himself as belonging to the New Territories. In listening to Marshall. His family had never traveled even in the New Territories. but he was only partly interested.” she said. Peter Marshall had talked about the Nationality Act in his Political Science class. It was easy to feel that way if you were British. “Peter Marshall has organized it. Now here was Lim Yok inviting her to come to a rally about it. let alone outside. “No. Candy wasn’t much interested. She had been brought up as British and nationality was something that concerned foreigners. What’s it about? I don’t like Saturday meetings and I shall probably be playing tennis anyway. He wants Legco to provide protection for them equivalent to the protection that the British have. A rally didn’t seem like her cup of tea at all. Candy.
during the prior days. the meeting will be quite short. It was still pretty vague in his mind. had construed all the wrong things. Peter just wants to get interested parties together so that they can decide whether to organize or not.” she said. “Afterwards. I thought we might have a Coke or go to the soccer game if you like?” The game was between the Engineering and Liberal Arts colleges and notices of the annual battle were tacked liberally to every tree and notice board on campus. Reporters knew about the meeting and they. Well. I’d like to help those Chinese but I’m not sure that I can contribute anything to a rally …” Her voice died out and it was clear to Lim Yok that she was interested in Saturday afternoon but not much in the meeting. “Well. “I know what Peter is talking about and. They asked: 78 . the afternoon was free. his phone would just not stop ringing. She did have a date for the evening with Jack but as long as she managed to squeeze in an hour to make herself presentable. I suspect everyone there will have heard one or more of his speeches. I’ll meet you at the main gates at about 1:00 p. He has spoken five times already in Kowloon.to political speeches sounded … “I don’t think I can help. However. that might not be too bad. Lim Yok. He expected about a hundred or so of his keener listeners from the previous meetings to come and he hoped that he might get a small nucleus to volunteer special abilities to form a working group. there was enthusiasm out there for.” Neither of them expected that to be difficult.” she said. He said. “That sounds fine. as usual.” He paused. Candy thought.m. Peter Marshall was also getting ready for the rally. of course. “OK.
It was not enough to be logical… emotions had to be taken into account even if they might be bigoted. Still. She had enjoyed the speech by Peter Marshall and she was expecting something of the same kind. a white AngloSaxon. so as soon as noon arrived she was on her way out of the door. Up to this time he had felt that he was doing nothing more than raising awareness. Marshall had spoken with conviction and in the past weeks. in moments between customers.” “Our newspaper has heard that you are going to march on the Legislative Council building to protest the Nationality Act. Saturday was a fine day. Robert.“We understand that you are forming a new political pressure group on behalf of illegal Chinese immigrants. She had never before heard views other than his father’s: some of Peter’s words reinforced those but some were different. Some of the things he had said about Hong Kong and its people had intrigued her. raising a concern and offering to help. His father. stirring up trouble for a bunch of illegal aliens who should be sent back to China where they belong anyway?” “Are you a Communist?” The last two questions disturbed Peter.” “Please can I get photographs of you and the Action Committee that has been formed?” “Can we interview you?” “What security have you arranged for the Saturday rally and march?” “Are the police going to allow you to meet?” “Why are you. Lee Wauk had agreed that she might have one of her half-days off today. so these last two phone calls stiffened his resolve rather than weakening it. he realized that there might be some violently opposite views. back in Adelaide. Now. she had read the Nationality Act White Paper and she found herself thinking about his ideas. Su worked all morning in the shop. to be on the safe side he called the campus police. 79 . had always taught him to stand up for what he believed. Elsewhere in Kowloon.
this rather exceeds what you told us. There were young people: students mainly. to date. Candy and Lim Yok arrived almost simultaneously and after a greeting they made their way together towards the raised platform at the end of the playing field. Ming Ue was waiting at the bus stop. In fact. She had on jeans and a bright crimson blouse: very visible on the street corner. He was standing with the Captain of the campus police. She couldn’t wait to hear what he would have to say today. jostling and chattering. They were arriving in droves as if the soccer game were starting early. 80 . “There are a lot more than a hundred people here. many people. an apartment and a family of her own were the sum total of her ambitions. Peter Marshall was standing there already. There were many. in bright T-shirts. younger men helping older relatives to cross the outer field to the stands. There were people everywhere.” Peter said. Lim Yok and Candy nearly missed each other. There were older people: all Chinese. arm-in-arm.Most of her own experience dealt with refugees and their attempts to get better housing … somewhere out of the monsoons with more room. At the gate of the sports field. just as Lim Yok and Candy turned up.” “I really don’t think we need more than that. to have a history and a future. They look like a quiet group but you can never tell.” The police officer was saying. Su ran over and kissed her on the cheek and they walked off arm-in-arm. to save. “Well. Mr. Marshall. My people are controlling the traffic outside the field but there aren’t enough of us to do more than that. looking slightly dazed. Peter’s words however had opened visions of other prospects … the right to work and the right to travel. Fortunately.
John Hu and Qing Zhen are here too.” he laughed. I don’t think we need anything more than a few traffic control points. he said.” he continued. “Welcome.” “Fortunately.” said the officer. he said. Looks like we might even need them.” “OK. They will take a box to the gate on the far side. Just be careful. “Afterwards. “the help from the faculty fund allowed me to print a thousand. “I could call in City police if you want them.“Hi. you two. it’s up to you.” “Well.” “Anyway. “No. he and Candy made for places close to the gate. People kept coming in and the stands around the platform were soon nearly full. and hoisting his box of leaflets. so they are receptive to you. you will have to get your message across without inciting a riot. I’ve brought along the leaflets I told you about … at the back of the stand there … two boxes. I’m glad to see you. Then turning to Lim Yok. However. Peter tapped the microphone nervously and was relieved to hear the distant thudding from loudspeakers in the stands. “Lim Yok. “We need a couple of people to hand them out as people leave.” said Peter. otherwise I will have to stop you.” He turned back to the officer. Just to have this number of people arrive means that you’ve already got to them. we will meet in the Union and relax over a doughnut and a Coke. I’m surprised how many have arrived for what might be quite a boring meeting. He cleared his throat and leaning closer to the microphone on its stand. Would you two hand out leaflets at this gate?” and he waved towards the gate through which they had entered.” said Lim Yok.” “OK.” 81 .
and then. We can do this better with an organized group than with uncoordinated voices. I want to listen. He summarized his basic message that most had heard before. Su and Ming Ue had taken central seats.” he 82 . He outlined the Nationality Act and its basic injustices to a huge section of the audience. the police captain must be feeling a little more relieved. This was a thoughtful group. of course they are. Down on the field. breaking the silence. That doesn’t means that thousands are unimportant. “Now. he could have been a pop singer … except there was no music … he had just words with a meaning.” he continued. even thousands of them. he thought. but we need specific expertise. and he let the question hang in the afternoon. with his microphone.” Marshall could see some of his listeners nodding. In his clean white shirt. Normally she would have enjoyed the attention.The meeting had begun. “Be quiet. Peter Marshall had taken the microphone in his hand and he moved across the platform speaking to each side of the stand in turn. Two young men had followed them into the field and were now in seats on either side. She just wanted to watch him and she didn’t mind the chatter next to her. “Now. She had been to three of his other talks so she knew the message. moving lithely about. he stopped. A long silence … anticipation … and no one stirred. we need to bring this message forcefully to the legislature so that they can act.” Ming Ue had the same problem to her left but she was content to sit and watch Peter. but today she turned and said. The boy next to Su was trying to chat and she lost the first few words of Peter Marshall’s words. “I have here a list of the kinds of people we need. She simply tuned it out. “Now what?” he shouted.
As you leave the field today you will be given a leaflet … look for them at the gates.” pointing to a man who now rose from his seat in the front row. We need legal help. who has served on the Legislative Council before coming back to teach at the College. Be careful to recommend only people who are willing to work and work hard. Kung turned and waved at the crowd before sitting down and the crowd burst into applause. a statistician. alone in the stadium. You might know them. and more. he continued. Dr. and … “ As he read his list. “we need others who might or might not be in this crowd. we are. I am. they were.said and taking a list from his jacket on the chair beside him. looking straight at him. It was a little like hearing birds on telegraph wires waiting 83 . In a yellow dress. Sitting next to her was the same young lady that he had seen before at one of the meetings. tonight. Peter noticed Ming Ue sitting in the middle of the stand and he smiled and lifted his hand to her. and here. “… Representatives of Chinese groups from the sections of the New Territories. for a moment. an accountant.” “We are too many to speak together. She smiled and as their eyes met. “we have. Please let us know if you are willing to help. an event organizer.” Dr. “Then. a communication specialist. She was leaning forward. relying on your help to find these capable people.” continued Peter Marshall. a trader. We need a working group of no more than 20 people with about 50 to 100 additional supporters. “We need first someone with legislative experience. Thomas Kung. Ask them first. He has willingly agreed to help us. There are many things to do and we need your recommendations for those who can help on the main committee. It includes a list of people that we need. It includes names and addresses and phone numbers for you to contact with suggestions. a lawyer. There was a stirring among the people in the stands. he remembered.
As Peter announced 84 . Having escaped once. “In the beginning. to speak. It wasn’t enough to eat. from truck driver to writer. Now they had children who deserved freedom to do what they wanted. and to publish their own ideas without hindrance.to move … just a slight chatter. “That’s why. But now even more freedoms were mentioned. to have somewhere to live. a minister.” he continued.” they said. Su was reminded of many of her father’s words. Peter was pleased that the process of choosing representative was starting. but they could do it. they did not want to be thrown back to the Communist Dragon. and to be left alone. some of the speakers were reiterating ideas of being able to think. and then occasionally have larger meetings like this one. The meeting ended on a high note. A graduate student in sociology. and even volunteers from the stands followed him. Listening. They were the same. Su was entranced. Now. It was more than a matter of simple economics. Dr. They were annoyed at being ignored and they wanted recognition of their rights. from artist to shopkeeper … and they all supported the basic thesis that the Nationality Act was unjust.” For the next 30 minutes a number of speakers came to the platform. Peter was surprised who came forward.” If this took a change in a piece of paper written by the Government in Britain. I expect that we will report what happens through the Kowloon Chronicle to start with. Some put it differently. Kung paid tribute to Peter Marshall’s initiative and then warned that it would be very difficult indeed to force changes in the draft Nationality Act. “we left a Chinese home in the first place. They ran the gamut from farmer to teacher. then they were willing to work to make the change. Kung and I will select a group on our own and then that group will decide on which way things will go. “Dr.
85 .the end. those who had spoken surrounded him on the platform. and there was a tremendous sustained thunder of applause.
I was proud of you. “I’m glad too that people are so responsive. standing by. even though there were plenty of people around. This crowd did not disperse. He stood watching from the platform. “I’m Su Wu. a little embarrassed at being the third person.” Peter disentangled himself and took her hand. and then he moved around the platform shaking hands with those who had come to speak from the audience. Football crowds leave quickly to the nearest bar or home. you were very good and I’m glad you got all that support from the people here.” As Ue hugged him.Chapter 14 – Plans The crowd didn’t leave the playing field easily. Peter. If I can help too I’d be very glad … proud … to do so. “Fantastic. As Marshall came down to them. “Yes. Then at last he turned to go. Ming Ue had come down from the stands with Su and they were standing quietly at the end of the stage. All the people around us were hanging onto every word. That was the best meeting yet. They stood around in the stands comparing names and experiences and suggesting whom they might nominate to the organizing committee. He shook hands with Thomas Kung and thanked him for his help. They had met for the first time and following Peter’s presentation they talked among themselves. As Peter watched he felt satisfied that he had acted as a catalyst: these people were about to start something. There were many more here than I expected and the volunteers are far 86 . reluctant to move away. She smiled.” She held out her hand. Ming Ue said.” She leant forward to kiss his cheek and hug him. Marshall looked over her shoulder and saw Su. “You were very good.
” He slumped into a deep lounge chair that they had kept for him. “God. Save the applause until we have managed to do something. I’ve been saying that all afternoon. to hear 87 . the others had captured a number of chairs in the main lounge and had created a circle in a sunny spot near the wide picture windows. while Su walked alongside. The Coke went down very well. There’s a long way to go yet. When they arrived. It was good. Peter took his and took a long drink. Candy had already got a tray full of doughnuts and a dozen cold Cokes were glistening with condensation in the middle of the table. The group went on chatting while Peter relaxed and let the others speak. It is just what I need.more ready. “Come on you lot. Originally. Su and Ming Ue took chairs on his left as Candy offered the Cokes all round. “Some of us are going over to the Students’ Union. They were all there: Lim Yok and Candy sitting next to John Hu at the table while Qing Zhen was chatting with Tom Kung on the far side. As Marshall walked over.” He smiled at them both again. Now I guess we had better discuss the next steps. he thought. He hadn’t realized how dry his throat had become. the students clapped until he raised his hands in mock horror. Ue was hanging on his arm. we had planned to go over and analyze what had gone wrong with the meeting over doughnuts and a Coke.” They left the field together. If you are not doing anything else for the rest of the afternoon why don’t you come along? We could do with some help. She had never been on campus before and she only had the vaguest idea what a Students’ Union was. happily not relinquishing him now she had managed to come into contact. I’m in a rut.” He laughed.
She could be useful. I was hoping that you all might take me for a student here. However. Candy. Do you remember? It was a very modern design for my Aunt?” Su laughed. She was as indignant as he was when she had read the White Paper on the Act. I’m found out. Then it was Candy’s voice. “Oh! I know you. The arguments were the same and sitting deep in the armchair. a written case has to be prepared. so we need to know exactly what we want and not just ask the Council to decide. I work in Lee Wauk’s jewelry store.” “First. I bought a watch from you in the Hankow Road a week ago. Yes. Su.” The discussion went on for an hour. He knew that plans couldn’t be formulated without more experienced help and they had some smart advice already … an experienced legislator. They will not. “I am not sure that we have a chance to make them do anything. It was clear from her words that he had single viewpoint: that of the immigrant refugee. Thanks. “Ah. now that they all knew each other. I enjoyed finding the right watch for your Aunt. One voice was a new one: Su’s.enthusiasm. It was a task that might discourage less enthusiastic partisans. I’ve been sitting here wondering where I had seen you before. Then we need a supporting 88 . his message was not encouraging. Marshall listened to them. I remember now. She is leaving Hong Kong shortly so it is a nice remembrance. Now she wears it all the time. Did she like it?” “Oh yes. Tom Kung told them something of the difficulties in presenting a case to the Legislative Council and then having them do something about it. and it was very strongly held. I have been there for a few years. He was glad that Ming Ue had brought her along.
the matter might be presented to the subcommittee considering the Nationality Act. at least. it wouldn’t hurt. It sounds as though a morass of detail will be required.” Tom Kung stopped and looked at the sober faces around him and he laughed. I am no use because I am not a sitting legislator. “Yes.” Marshall chipped in. a few names to call. “We will need media support. I expect most of them were here this afternoon.” Then Peter realized that one expertise had been omitted from the list that he had read out that afternoon. “Then. “We don’t have a lot of time before the Legislative Council has to pass their thinking back to the British Government so our case has to be pretty water tight from the start. We will need to find out who the legislators are.legislator to present that case to the assembly. I can help a little in this because I know many of my old colleagues. the matter might go either to an investigative sub-subcommittee to determine the level of popular support or even to a sample referendum. it would speed the process I think.” 89 .” He went on. In better times this process would take many months together with good financial backing as well as a number of friends who were owed a favor by one of the legislators. the whole cycle might then restart at the Council level. We would probably need to prepare new testimony for that. it is a morass. If they were successful. given a favorable moment and a favorable quorum. I have. If it pulled a few heartstrings at the same time. A favorable press with suitable publicity for legislators who help us will be the minimum required. with similar supporting documents. but if that step of determining support were successful. what causes they support. If we can find someone to take it up as a media cause. and then find out whether they will support ours. We would probably need further written testimony coupled with proposals and even a proposed revised Act to serve as a ‘straw man’ for the subcommittee. From all those phone calls I got last week.
“If we go now. Walking with Ue. He and Candy ran off with apologies all around.” She giggled inwardly. we might do something useful yet this evening.” Ue and Su walked together to the bus … silently. She liked Peter Marshall and she would enjoy trying to help. “No. He was right and he might be able to do things for other like her mother and father.Glancing at his watch. “a hilarious take of Queen Elizabeth in the market. Su went over the afternoon in her mind. He seemed to have a fund of student jokes and he had the knack of telling them: they were always soft keyed at the last moment. Lim Yok saw that the soccer match had started. Su is right. Why don’t you have another Coke?” At this. Kung had business to attend to. don’t go yet I don’t think Ue is ready to leave.” Peter got up quickly.” and she added with a touch of bad temper. Ming Ue realized that there wasn’t much prospect of having time alone with Peter that evening. Su felt quite alone since her friend was preoccupied. They shouldn’t be left out. I have some shopping to do before going home. “No. so she said. left with Peter and Ue. Then the group split up. so she rose with an apology. Dr. It was quite a contrast to the busy crowds when they had arrived. All the students must be at the game. We might as well go now as later. Qing’s 90 . She could sense that Ming Ue was dying for her to leave as well.” she remembered. “He had told. Zhen and Hu had other fish to fry … something to do with a test on Monday. The campus was almost empty. Then she liked the others they had met at the Union. and with promises to help. All of a sudden. “I think I must go. Qing was funny. Su had become a third person again.
He was nice though a bit quiet. He must work with Peter Marshall. Su wondered what she had to do with the Chinese. He was like one of her cousins but he seemed to know more: probably because he was a student. in silence. She wouldn’t lose her nationality. she decided. She daydreamed a little: if she was able to help then they would probably meet again. 91 . “Don’t you think Lim Yok was nice?” There was only a grunt in return. She must like Lim Yok a lot. She turned to Ue and said.friend Hu was his opposite: very quiet but determined. Then there were Candy and Lim Yok. so they continued towards the bus. She had liked Candy when she sold her the watch but it was a surprise to see her in this group.
Each side street along the way seems to hold yet another market: full of people buying fish. Catching one of the trams in Hennessy Road. In tourist areas. people swarm as they do on the Island. many are tourists but in other areas of the city the crowds of those who live there are just as dense. say from Causeway Bay to the Kowloon Peninsula. The ferries continue to move the populace backwards and forwards across the Straits for eighteen hours a day. At the ferry. both upstairs and down. The best tourist diversion is to watch Hong Kong ‘life’ from the top of one of these trams. Yet. The sixty-cent fares tinkle in a continuous stream into the driver’s collection machine.Chapter 15 – The Streets of Hong Kong As one travels in Hong Kong. one comes across thousands of individuals. In traveling. The populace principally inhabits the reclaimed flats along the shore and hundreds of thousands live in high-rise buildings impaled in the sides of the hills. and almost as many more will travel by car and bus through the tunnel under the Straits. 92 . there are areas in the Territory with very few people since the area is very hilly. They have been full of buyers since dawn and people will still arrive until late in the evening. buses and ferries are small that many use them. it is always already full but the crowd moves continually to the front. The fares for trams. vegetables. of course. there can be no doubt about the overwhelming effects of overpopulation. a swarm of people wait for the barrier to fall for the next boat even though the previous one had departed full only two or three minutes ago. more getting on at each stop as others get off. The streets are crowded at any time of the day or night. In Kowloon. and meat.
While Kwok was receiving his prize later at the newspaper’s office. where there is work and housing. he was ecstatic to find that he had won eight gold coins and had become a minor celebrity to boot. 200 or more long-distance runners were converging on Gallipoli Lines near Fanling in the New Territories for a long distance cross-country race. ‘dense’ is too mild a word. and domestic second. although Mike Quinn. that morning Kwok Che had seized his newspaper only to check the Bingo game.In the new Territory there is good farming country like that of Lim Yok’s village. The commuter could legitimately believe that Hong Kong has no borders: it is simply part of the greater international whole. one reads that the Governor. Gloria Lam intended to visit the City Concert Hall that 93 . A driver for the public works department and nearing retirement. These villages have some space: they are no more crowded than in other areas of the world and they are even better off than in the Netherlands or parts of eastern China. Yet. The population density runs to over 140. Commingled with global reports. where the majority of the Hong Kong population has congealed at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula and on the Island. The team between the Phoenix and Dragon clubs was going to be keen. This would put Phoenix ahead. The morning papers provide news of ‘Life and Death in Johannesburg’ alongside a Reuters report of ‘400 missing as Cyclone flays India’ and a discussion of Visa International’s two-day meeting in London. has appointed new officials to the Legislative Council and that local lawyers are undecided on what to do about the legality of satellite reception of TV stations. However. Sir Edward Youde.000 people per square mile in Kowloon. Hong Kong is a very modern community but it has a sense of being international first. last year’s winner was expected to repeat.
” he told his wife. Her brother had just been appointed third violinist and this was to be his first appearance. He smiled as he thought. Rogerson had been busy away from the office all day 94 . Tonight they would be playing Mozart. He had no idea what their dress code was like but a desk job would do wonders for his feet … and the additional pay would help all round. and Lin Jian Yong had been on the floor for five hours. “I’m sure that this is unnecessary. She never liked his job at the best of times. to go with them. Gloria had decided. Gloria was taking her parents to hear him. Two of his friends had also been slightly injured and they had been discharged. In all other ways. Maybe it would be different in industry. Business went on much as usual in the afternoon: the stock exchange was showing gains.evening to hear the Hong Kong Chinese orchestra. so she listened to classical music without him. She failed to persuade. a woman visited the Caritas Medical Center to see her husband. I don’t think the boss would appreciate white shoes with a bright green swoosh on the side at work. John Rogerson’s secretary. closed the office for the day.” He could see how worried his wife was. He was a policeman who had been injured in the early hours of the morning: run down as he was helping to catch thieves who were breaking into a car on the Lam Tim estate. “However. In the early afternoon. Gordon Jones. He was thinking of applying for the position of Systems Accountant with the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company. he was ideal and one couldn’t have everything. trading principally in gold and oil holdings. Computer stocks were doing well as he told his brother they would. He was getting tired now and his feet were killing him. Julie. He had to stay the night for ‘surveillance’. her boy friend. He had been thinking of buying some athletic shoes to help but somehow the makers never seemed to think in terms of black to go with his business suits. He was more into jazz and couldn’t stand the historical orchestral rubbish.
Langley had to admit that they were winning in the music arena. She held important calls for tomorrow and had fended off the others. Still. there was competition between them to leave the onus for the next call with the other. Working hours are working hours. they all count. She cleared her desk. Since she only ever spoke to secretaries. once again. She opened the door and pulled it shut behind her as she headed for the elevator. He didn’t like having a pile of phone memoranda that required that he phone another company’s CEO. Taking her coat she headed for the door. He was lucky on the second since it really ricocheted off the post after he’s mis-kicked it. Tonight I have better things to do than to answer late calls. He rather enjoyed playing with his old pal. Lau Shing–Lau waited in his cab. They had been on one of the evening cruises: the one from the Aberdeen floating restaurant had just arrived. Barry was presently at the other end of the bar leading a competing song. Barry Powell of Newport. Since he had just moved out to Hong Kong from Manchester United he could do with some early successes to consolidate his position. This time she was deaf to its entreaties. locked it and locked the filing cabinets.and they had kept abreast of what was happening by car phone. Julie was pretty good at this game and when Rogerson returned there would be very few outstanding calls for him to deal with. so Julie was instructed to ask the calling secretary to call back again when John was due back in the office. In the bar. He should be able to get one more easy 95 . ‘Sospan Fach.’ and since he had managed to recruit a couple of homesick Welshmen. he thought. That evening he had scored twice for the South China team when they beat Tung Sing by 4 – 0 at the stadium. she thought to herself. when the phone rang again. Langley had started another round of ‘Knees up. Mother Brown’. Tourists were coming away from the pier. which she knew could wait. Now they would realize that he was worth the extra they had to pay to pick him up.
” Lau dropped them at the Victoria Park Lane and then he took the cab back to the garage in Hennessey Road and walked home. It had been a normal day. “I can’t remember names. it didn’t do any good to spoil it now. It had been a good day. “the … what was it.” The boy said a little uncertainly. In most cases this was no more exotic than the life of a janitor in the Mile End Road in London’s East End.” said the girl. “We need. he thought. 96 . but in the course of the day. He tripped on the curb as he looked up at the night and just saved himself from falling by catching hold of a signpost. international trade would have made a significant step forward through the work of Hong Kong traders and bankers. Its five-and-a-half inhabitants had spent twenty-four hours going about their normal occupations. One couple approached… looking the worse for wear and giggling a lot. Johnny?” She giggled again. The night was clear and cool with some stars even with the city glow behind him. Hong Kong had passed another day of International business.fare before going home for the evening. He lived only six blocks away and the walk did him good after sitting all day. “I think it was the Victoria Park Lane Hotel or something like that.
So. Chang’s old widowed sister who lived with him knew better than her brother and was intent that everyone know that she did. even by just having someone speak to the Legco. Chang told the other members of the committee that when he had spoken to Mayo. it’ll take more than advice. Nothing that they were interested in was spoken about.” He had continued. “Well. The bar was quieter. in three meetings they hadn’t settled much. He had said. but I shall not be able to do more than that as a member of the club. Steve Cho. The trouble was that although they could more or less understand what was included. They met either on Chang’s junk or at a bar. and the beer was good even though after a few beers their deliberations weren’t very productive. They really did need to have a lawyer. he was wary of the idea. The lawyer they had chosen was a member of the club too.Chapter 16 – An Old Man’s Club Ngo Ling Wu. It was mostly the latter because Chang’s junk was full of relatives who wanted to join the committee: sometimes the six of them hardly got a word in sideways. “If you want to change anything in the Act. I 97 . I will be happy to tell everyone what the law is now and what it might be if the Act is made into law. since nothing was said about it. They had read the Act several times as well as the commentary on it. The crux of their problem was the fact that they were all excluded. Simon Mayo. they weren’t at all sure about the legal standing of what was not included. printed in their Chinese newspapers. They had confirmed that a lawyer was needed. It will take cold cash. That will not be difficult. and Chang and the other three younger club members had already met three times as a committee to formulate a plan to take back to the club.
none would do it without a fee. Some of the merchants they approached might have given funds for something where they could get publicity or advertising. These kinds of actions take time and effort. but he had come away convinced that the man was in earnest and could do something.couldn’t do it voluntarily. Steve Cho. Moreover. the group he had put together. The group had not reported back to the club yet. He had seen the 98 . Chang. they were already removed from their families. Chang had been to the rally on the playing fields. Ngo Ling Wu. They had all heard by now about Peter Marshall’s crusade. They met once more to talk of other ways to protect their interests. looked capable of doing something. My practice wouldn’t stand me doing that work for nothing. but although there were plenty of highly recommended lawyers and legal firms who were willing and able to help. but supporting a political action committee didn’t qualify. the next time the group met. but after a couple of further weeks they again had to admit to failure.” They had searched diligently for another lawyer among the Chinese community because he ought to have the same background. taking their beers to a back corner of a local bar. Having become lawyers. At the beginning they had been very suspicious of an Australian working on their behalf but they had to admit that that his meetings seemed to have been well attended. They were even worse at raising funds than they were at raising lawyers. thought Ngo Ling Chin. which was well advertised in the newspapers. it was to admit failure. So. and company were turned away with sympathy – just sympathy. I couldn’t afford to be your legal counsel. They would lose face by reporting failure too soon. originally as a skeptic to pick out something wrong. They now needed funds.
If we can make headlines by what we do. We could disrupt the Legislative Council a little to show them that we are serious and then communicate through the newspapers. Another young man spoke. and couldn’t afford to approach Legco. It was Change who found fault in that approach. especially at the Capital. 99 . At this there was a violent scraping of chair legs on the stone floor as Steve Cho. Among the committee however. “No. who had already been shifting nervously in his chair at the talk of civil disobedience and squatting in roadways. despite the fact that. The talk then turned to still other ways they might do something. Since they couldn’t hire a lawyer. The other five were outspoken in doing their own thing. Otherwise. leapt to his feet. “OK. he was alone in favor of joining Marshall and lending him whatever strength they could muster. and anyway.” he said emphatically. they had achieved nothing.” He paused and they all realized the seriousness of unsuccessful agitation for anyone in their positions … especially for political work.’ It had worked well in India against the British. His chair fell over with a crash behind him. my name will be known. and your names will be known. “I’m not going to become a martyr to a cause unless there is a good chance of success and protection in 1997. in four weeks.reception that Marshall got from the Chinese community. the People’s Republic will also know our names. then. He had spoken good Cantonese too. that was the path that Marshall had chosen. A small bomb would get their attention. one of the three young men appointed to the committee suggested ‘Civil disobedience. If nothing happens for us before Hong Kong is given back. a newspaper will be glad to print anything we send them. we will do it anonymously.
The others watched him go. If you are going to speak of these things then it is better that this committee is broken up. His eyes were bright with passion at the thought of disrupting Legco.“No! No! There is no way I am going to help anything like this. People still have to work all their lives for the PRC … it’s just like being in prison … 100 . wanted the British Government to offer resettlement in Taiwan for those who chose.” With that he turned. nearly tripped over the chair in his attempt to retrieve his jacket. He argued that he had been a faithful Nationalist since he could remember and he had the right not to be turned over to the Communists. I am a peaceful man and I have no wish to bring shame on my family. He was a thin young man with sharp nose and spiky hair that seemed as agitated as he was then he moved or talked in anger. They are fooling everyone because they need tourists’ money but they haven’t changed. One. They didn’t regret his going because he had been difficult to work with and hadn’t been pulling in the same direction ever since the beginning. Guangzhou and Quilin are just show towns and things haven’t changed in the country. I shall leave it. Wang Ng. “Just because tourists can travel to Guangzhou and Quilin. They had another beer and talked some more. I only came to give this committee the benefit of my years. Chang and Ngo Ling were against anything violent.” he said. and strode rapidly out of the bar. “they think that the Communists are not communist anymore. They only knew China by what others told them. I do not need to do anything. They had seen enough violence before they had left China but the other three young men were taken with the idea of confusing the Legislative Council They were all too young to have remembered much about China although two of them were from immigrant families. Anyway.
Ngo Ling knew that one more bottle would make it very difficult for him to pole the sampan back to his junk. and if he hadn’t left he would have had to work there all his life.A friend of mind escaped to the Territory last year from Xinhua.” In the end. 101 . not even enough oil or rice. leaving the three young men still talking about life across the border and possible methods of forcing Legco to do what should be done. he said. He told me that the conditions were very bad … even though his family worked on the farm commune they never got enough food. he got into a fight with one of the brigade leaders and so he had to leave. They had more than enough beer. They talked for a long time until Chang and Ngo Ling were tired. nothing was decided. Luckily for him. in Hunan. He got up and followed Chang to the door. Ah! That was much better. They left for home. His family is still there. It was the best thing that could have happened to him. He was wavering already and his tongue was thick. It’s a bad way to live and when Hong Kong is returned it will be like that here too. he thought as he felt the fresh cool air.
Afterwards. Barbara and he had planned the coming trip. overcame him. Sometimes on occasions like this his British reserve. which he thought he had discarded in growing up. He had to hold her tight rather than let her have her way with him. It had come to a bit of a tussle to get everything in but then. grinning. He hoped it was of him. “This is a great day but you have to go back to Mount Austin to collect your luggage. After dinner they had retired almost immediately. The planning and anticipation of being together for more than an evening at a time had excited Barbara and she wouldn’t leave him alone. He remembered nothing more until she woke him very early.Chapter 17 – Rio de Janeiro On the way to the airport in the Limousine. built in 1936 in the heart of 102 . and flopped over on her stomach. Rogerson remembered the night before. he thought. and here he was on the way to Kai Tak international airport. he watched her sleep. It seemed to fit there and her warmth seeped into his consciousness. while I go back to sleep for another three hours. He laid his hand in the low cradle of her nude back.” she had said. they made love very vigorously.” He had wearily made the trek by cab. after all the joking. in the light of a candle flickering across the room. Her eyes fluttered and he guessed that she was dreaming. In the end. Then she turned. snatched an hour or so in the anteroom. “Good morning. tussling with Barbara was always fun. Kai Tak was an old airport. It was fun having to combine the things she liked to do with those he preferred.
However.Kowloon. Their first class seats were adjoining but. Their flight took them by way of Honolulu to Mexico City and then on to Rio de Janeiro.m. They had done it before and fortunately the coincidence of meeting someone that either knew was rare enough that no one remarked that they often seemed to fly together. when they reached their room at the Aeropuerto Plaza they both slept soundly until the alarm forecast the continuation of flight 104 at 9:00 a. His car arrived at the curb and he could see her waiting at the barrier. However. checking to see that he had arrived before going through to board the plane. because the planes had no approach space. She was dressed in a soft camel coat lightly tied at her waist but still somehow showing her athletic slimness. In it she looked European. In that moment she was gone. this morning was clear and take-off should be fine. Yet. 103 . The height of buildings around it had to be restricted and no flashing neon signs were allowed for fear of confusion with landing lights. They managed to sleep intermittently on the flight. which could have easily been made going around the globe the other way via Beirut and Rome. It was an 18-hour flight and one. if a colleague was taking the same flight. the risk of flying anywhere near the Middle East was too great for the head of the Rogerson’s so John usually suffered a layover at one of Mexico City’s hotels. others thought it was just plain dangerous. He saw her smile as she saw his car and as she turned to enter the departure hall her dark brown hair swung soft and loose like a TV ad for shampoo. Some described taking off and landing there as exciting. they would meet by accident. her head leaning familiarly on his shoulder.
Yet. and it has modern controls. at the same time. he wanted to throw off his responsibilities. It took two days for them to coincide with each other’s time and to begin to look around Rio. Rio is a casual town. The music was infectious and Barbara felt her walk turn into a rhythmic dance. It is modern: it has modern traffic. They spent it looking at the bathers on Copacabana beach: bronzed girls and youths sunning themselves in a Rio ritual. The people were clad in the oldest of clothes. John had started talks with his contacts there and the evening was ruined. He envied the boy with the Frisbee who might never have to worry about the control of a trading empire or its prospects a decade hence. frigideras. as if they were starring in advertising role for tourist posters. It was easy to be disassociated form problems: the day had been a good one. On the first day. and pipes. they watched a small band of people gather and march down the center of Avenida Atlantica. walking in Copacabana. Later he forgot his regrets over an excellent meal on the seafront. the local fish 104 . Yet it only takes the slightest hiccup to revert to its peasant beginnings. as if he were sitting in the corner of an arena watching tribal behavior. marching in the manner of bag ladies on New York’s Park Avenue. The fish chowder was fabulous.It wasn’t until the second day in Rio that they were able to enjoy their visit. Then the crowd warmed to the playing and a policeman stopped the main street traffic to allow the rag tag group across the intervening highways. Barbara was fresh from sleep while he just wanted to crawl beneath the sheets again. On that second day. John had a sense of looking in upon a scene of which he was not part. The afternoon had become as informal as a Country Fair day. and it has modern comforts. They were playing a variety of odd South American instruments: guitars. as the bathers seem to have done. Yet the crowd had been protesting basic living conditions that they lacked.
He had dealt with a Brazilian financial consultant acting on behalf of a major South American Bank. very successful.” he smiled. All was well with the world. that wasn’t his problem. “… will seem like peanuts.superb. he thought. They had agreed with his analysis that the whole continent was ripe for power development. Then the leaders of three juntas in the past were still being tried for their part in the murder of 9. el Banco Central do Brasil. And. They had agreed to finance Rogerson’s initial outlay into the area to cover cash flow problems as Hong Kong land was sold and reinvested. “against what is to come. “Mr. the short-term action was still in Brazil and Argentina. and the wine all encompassing.000 citizens. Still. you are quite right. Rogerson had fixed on Brazil as the first contact … and it had been a plus. The talks had resulted in Rogerson’s engaging energy consultants for the South American continent although there was still a lot of paperwork to put in place. In a business sense it was successful. Across the table. Although Rogerson’s objectives were Bolivia and Guatemala in the long term. So. The visit to Brazil was over almost as soon as it had begun. Rogerson. “ the banker boasted comfortably. He now had contacts for the South American continent … for a ‘small’ retaining fee of course. In Brazil here we are starting an immense program that will provide the means by which we will be able to develop the whole interior of this country. Argentina was still embroiled with the emotional aftermath of the Falkland’s war and the failure and public punishment of the army. Barbara was as beautiful as she had ever been. The government had little time to think about long-term trade prospects. he could afford the bill when it came. “What we have achieved so far in Brasilia will seem like …” and he searched for the word. There is a need of all kinds of capital investment and of 105 .
She got up early and had already organized her ‘stuff’ for the beach before he came out of the shower. The Brazilian market in the field was well established and well covered by other brokers. lie around in the sun.” she said.” She laughed because she knew what his response would be. And …” he continued. he needed a financially secure toehold in the continent and this was it. His advisors had been right in directing him away from points of instability towards very new developments in Guatemala and Bolivia that could pay dividends in the next few decades. I am sure that Rogerson’s will do well in this market. However. I want to bathe. You can watch all the pretty young girls. “What’s up?” he wanted to know. lotions and sunglasses. emphasizing the word as if it were the final clincher in this thesis. “And.energy guidance. and drink wine at a beach cabana like any other bum. It had limited appeal. You can get hot and sunbathe all you want but at least you don’t have all that grit and sand in everything. Barbara dragged him to the beach on their last day. They had been days full of fun.” He remembered his youth on sandy beaches quite happily at one level. He had a love-hate relationship for the sea and sandy beaches.” They had discussed the potential of other countries in passing and John felt the advice had been straight. “Do you really want to get hot and sweaty out there? There’s a neat swimming pool here in the hotel. splashing in the waves with games and good 106 . looking suspiciously at her collection of towels.” he said. “I’ve had enough of stores and avenues and before I sit down to another meal. “We can’t leave Copacabana or Ipenema without spending time at the beach. He left believing that Rogerson’s investments should be directed away from Brazil alone. right now. “Oh Christ. we won’t have to walk half a mile carrying all that stuff.
with a large cool drink on the arm of his chair. in retrospect. 107 .companions ending with small delicious cucumber sandwiches that his mother prepared. sand and sticky salt in his hair. lying in a beach chair. “Don’t be an old British fogy. John had to admit that the idea had. some merit. Perhaps he was getting old. Her eyes were closed and there was a half smile on her face. Barbara was asleep in the next lounger: lying on her stomach with her face turned towards him. and sand even in the sandwiches.” John sighed and returned to the bathroom to change into trunks. She forgot sometimes that with lawyers similar to her in the courts the law gave way on many of those occasions and she proved that it was not such an ass as it was labeled. So far he hadn’t walked far and he had no sand in his teeth. Yet. sand in his bathing costume while he struggled into it when it was still wet. Her tiny nose made her look all the more vulnerable. He regretted tomorrow’s return flight. half under a monstrous yellow striped umbrella. She wouldn’t even enter into an argument so she won.” was her guiding motto but she made use of the law to right wrongs. She advised several other traders and corporations in Hong Kong and had earned a reputation for straight dealing. She was a very good lawyer. the anonymity of the crowded beach was heady. Later. Furthermore. “The law is an ass. Gathering up a share of her belongings and thrusting the rest towards him. “Change and I’ll wait for you in the lobby.” Barbara said. she left the suite. She could argue more convincingly if she believed in the justice of the case whatever the law ruled. when he thought of going to do the same thing today he could only remember the long weary walk to the beach through shifting sand. He had managed to dunk Barbara a couple of times although she was a much better swimmer than he.
There were some brown lizards there that I fancied.” With that she was off. All in all. She knew that in Hong Kong she couldn’t appear as his wife but she apparently never missed the social life that John had to attend. She had allowed him to buy her an apartment … it had been important to him … but very rarely would she accept a gift without returning the favor. I don’t like her going out with Tom Vandelin whenever she wants to play tennis. the newspapers had described her face as ‘pertly determined’ in her final summarizations. You can stay here if you want to watch the other bodies on Copacabana. Tom was from her office and apparently married. “How’s my back? Am I in the shade?” “Yep. anyway. and he frowned. He knew from experience that when she wanted something she had bulldog tendencies in making any argument hold.” “Well. I think I better be off to change. he mused. on other cases. Barbara moved. I must have time to try them on once more. They seemed to inhabit the beach at all hours and were part of the scene here. although. Even now her expenses were her own. One might have thought that almost nude bodies flung around in reckless abandon on the sand would have roused a few sexual thoughts but here they didn’t. Yet.Looking at her now John couldn't believe that girl. He glanced at the ‘other bodies’: young boys and tanned girls wearing the slightest of gstrings playing volley ball. open one eye and smiled faintly at him. Her salary was appreciable and she had no need of his fortune. our relationship is ideal. Most of them are younger than mine. It’s getting late and I want to go back to that one shoe shop on the Avenida. could argue the legal intricacies of International law. ruefully. It was 108 . Not that that matters. you’re fine. that childish figure and defenseless face. he thought. She had never suggested marriage.
he gathered up their stuff and went to change and do some packing.all just part of the scenery. The following day they were back in Hong Kong. Later Barbara bought her shoes. 109 . They ate and celebrated their last night together on vacation in bed. swearing that she couldn’t get anything even remotely comparable in Hong Kong. So.
Slowly his background broadened and his arguments became better founded and he became more confident. musician. What must it be like to be good at such a range of things rather than a specialist in only one? Lim Yok had opened it idly one evening after his meal and he finished it in the early hours of the next morning. He might find support for an argument in a book. Feynman. and more. In the middle of an entertaining story of a first class life. was used to provide a basis for the economics class. The instructor was glad to have the focus of controversy as background for many of his topics.Chapter 18 – The debate continues Throughout the college term. national aggression. Lim Yok found that he needed to learn new ideas as well as facts and theories. artist. womanizer. So Lim Yok and Candy had many chances to debate the subject. Mr. That was difficult because a library index never seemed to include his ideas. trade or energy.” A fellow student who had enjoyed the humor and the puzzles leant him a copy. a Nobel Prize winner in theoretical physics was a Renaissance character: biologist. safecracker. Feynman had inserted gems of wisdom: about an inquiring mind. so he spent a lot of time on all three. or a lecture. responsibility. joker. The book was captivating and inspirational. His mother had shouted at him long and hard when she found he had been up all night reading. Although he was interested in technology and in engineering. Feynman. He read Feynman’s biography: “Surely you’re joking. mathematician and linguist. In the middle of a chapter that related his difficulties in 110 . or in talking to someone. the apparently irresolvable question of which came first. Very often his arguments were based on accidental discoveries rather than logical research.
silk and jade throughout the world. He wrote: “I started to say that the idea of distributing everything evenly is based on the theory that there is only X amount of stuff in the world. But this theory doesn’t take into account the real reason for the differences between countries …” And Lim Yok’s eyes flicked on down the page … “It isn’t the stuff.” Feynman was support for his argument that energy and power were more important for industrial growth than trade: than the ‘stuff. but the power to make 111 . that somehow we took it away from the poorer countries in the first place and therefore we should give it back to them.that is. and the fact that all this machinery requires the concentration of capital.” Lim Yok was delighted. and to do other things. the development of new techniques for growing food. but the power to make the stuff.’ Now Candy would argue. but the power to make the stuff that’s important. Feynman had actually said: “… the real difference between countries . pottery. China was doing this now: pouring out baskets. Lim Yok looked again at Feynman’s book. Had he addressed the same question? He was horrified to find that his eyes had flicked from one paragraph to the next missing a link in the argument. he reasoned. the development of machinery to grow food. Feynman had written about the ideas of a rabbi who had spoken of the virtues of sharing national possessions with less fortunate ones across the world. She was accumulating hard currency for modern expansion. “It’s not the stuff. that is important.attending a multi-disciplinary workshop. that trade must come first for power to be purchased. It isn’t the stuff.
since China had first opened its doors to the outside world in 1977.” he said to Candy. She stood in front of a chart showing the rising red graph of trade and smiled across the room. in their next debate. That doesn’t support my argument at all. the decision to build nuclear power stations was made. though Lim Yok. Candy’s smile had faded as she listened. back in the early 70’s. She had done her homework and she was able to quote statistics for trade. “they would have had to sell a trillion baskets and billions of yards of silk before they could have built a power 112 .” He paused for dramatic effect because he knew there was more to winning a debate than mere facts. “However. Soon after the Cultural Revolution had been abandoned. Still he’d been considering Feynman’s arguments for a few evenings now. not energy. He got up. She had it. They started in scientific and technological research then and by 1981 80% of that work had been done. That’s Candy’s argument. the power to make the stuff was capital.” Lim Yok continued. “The PRC.” he said. He smiled because they had become friends not because he had an easy rebuttal. Candy straight away raised almost the same point. if PRC had waited. Her father’s data was right on the mark. There was an impressive growth in trade.the stuff. Lim Yok smiled back. “From your own data.” Actually. has been pursuing a power program for years and it can be illustrated by the plans for nuclear power. The stimulus for the collection of capital was the need for power. “you can see that Chinese international trade barely got going in that period. year by year. Sure enough. Their debates were less heated than on the first day and they usually continued over several cups of coffee. that is important. in Feynman’s words.
” One or two of the class muttered under their breath and a few glanced angrily at Lim Yok and Candy as if their debate had incited the lecturer to penalize the class. assuming that you would continue to live here? Would this trade-versus-power chicken-and-egg argument have a bearing on your position? I would like a reasoned and supported response. What preparations would you make for that date. However. Let me have it within the next two weeks. He said. say as Governor. They didn’t need to wait for the trade.” He sat down and the class carried on with the lecturer leading them on another tack. as an industrialized nation would be able to do. Instead they could specify an ambitious power program that included the Qinshan 300 MWe plant near Shanghai as early as 1989 with as many as 14 other units in the next 20 years.” “The real advance in trade. How would I act? Would it be different from how Candy would? What would she do? 113 . raising his voice. or a legislator.program. and that you continued to have this power up to 1997. lathes. because they could …” and he paused again. or as a leader in commerce. “will come after these plants are built and their electricity is operating steel mills. I think a paper on the subject would be a good idea. “Let’s assume that you had power in the Territory. For “industrialized” read a nation with energy supplies and power to use.” said Lim Yok. they were both oblivious because they were already thinking of the idea. is a pittance compared to the billions of dollars that could be earned. Today’s trade. “… because they could borrow the money. Why hadn’t he asked the question? thought Lim Yok. despite the rising curve. and modern machinery. Peter Marshall’s ideas had been provoking a lot of discussion on campus and so the lecturer put his next question in the context of the ‘return’ of Hong Kong to Chinese control.
” Candy said. I don’t make my mind up on the spur of the moment.The class ended. Now what about this new assignment from old Chalky? It’s kind of intriguing to play Hong Kong dictator. “ they might be true. “I’m going to have to think about it. Candy was waiting for him. What would you do?” “I don’t know yet. she said. He smiled back. I don’t think you can guess that the PRC leaders are planning.” he said. How about a Coke?” 114 . Outside. “OK. Still your dramatics were good … they hid the lack of real data. “Well. I might even decide to hire you as a consultant.” She smiled up at him and punched his arm lightly. Taking his arm. but the argument was pretty superficial because you depended on a lot of supposition. I think you won that round.
Peter. Then sometimes helping a mate along helps to make life interesting. “I think your life is fascinating. first over a meal at the coffee shop in the Miramar Hotel. He had been waiting for her for nearly an hour. What matters is your curiousity not tourism.” … She found that the meeting wasn’t an accident. and of animals. His experiences in walking through the outback and through the Kakadu made her want to visit Darwin as soon as she could. to her surprise. When she left the jewelry store. by outward appearance and accent. of places. Traveling isn’t all that it is made out to be.” He replied.” 115 . and then later walking along the Salisbury Road promenade. You can do that right here without traveling. He told Su his life story as they walked along and she absorbed it hungrily as a world other than her own. Then in turn. went to meet her. They spent the evening talking. as Australian as he could be. After she had accepted his invitation to a bite of food … “You must be at least a little hungry after the day at work. He had spent the greater part of his stay in the Territory and all his friends were here. who couldn’t get Su out of his mind.Chapter 19 – Shock A week or so after the rally at the playing fields. she told him how she lived and how her father had come to the territory. sine he had come to Hong Kong his heart and soul were sympathetically Chinese. I haven’t traveled anywhere so my life is mostly the Typhoon Harbor and Lee Wauk’s shop. all with exotic names. Although Peter had been raised in Adelaide and he was. Hong Kong Chinese. she met Peter Marshall waiting on the sidewalk. Australia was a new country to her and she could hardly countenance a place with such variety of weather. She said: “I am afraid my life has been very boring compared to yours.
and partly because it affected her family. She said. He had trouble in holding his weight down and usually avoided eating lunch. She was enthusiastic for his crusade. “Oh dear. before realizing it. as she left him. Then Su glanced at her watch. The time passed very easily.” Marshall heard about it at lunch a few days later.” she replied smiling at him. He was a sympathetic listener. seeing her safely into a wallah wallah that would take her back to Typhoon Harbor. I must get home quickly. However. partly because it was right. She wanted to know how she could help.“I don’t think I’m capable of doing much. They walked along slowly as the lights shone across the straits. He had gone to the cafeteria that day. She was able to give him her own reactions to becoming PRC Chinese even though she really hadn’t thought everything through clearly enough yet. he took her hand. They were aware of each other as if their joined hands were an artery of warmth and friendship. that’s true. ”I am anxious to hear how people will react to the campaign.” “Yes. She exclaimed. When she mentioned her ambitions.” Peter walked her along to the quayside. something he rarely did. I still have to work tomorrow and I have to sleep.” “Not true … you just told me all that you were doing to get your parents an apartment. That takes a lot of meetings with officials and a lot of patience to get anywhere. that day he had a craving for soup and. he was 116 . but it’s not as exciting as walking through the outback.
One of them had seen smoke rising from behind the administrative building but when he had run over to look. They were both to the south. Some serious accident must have occurred. he remembered. he turned to see what it was.standing in line at the cafeteria. He took his tray to a table. nodding to a friend across the room. He drank his soup and left. everyone seemed to be looking in that direction and a few got up to look through the windows at that end of the hall. he thought.” he said. had been chicken and bean. Then. as everyone gave his or her views on what it might be. he would have to find out later what had happened. Then the chatter started again. The talking stopped and the only sounds to be heard were from the kitchen: a clatter of pots on pots. Shortly afterwards there was a second. As he turned to sit. from the window nearest to him. At least. It was curious. That sort of explosion could happen in the boiler room or the chemistry labs. They were stopping anyone from getting too close. He felt the sound almost as much as he heard it. and almost simultaneously the first police siren shrilled in the distance. and a third. The sound wasn’t repeated but it seemed to have come from outside the Union. a table perhaps. the campus police stopped him. “I think it was a bomb. It must be an explosion. But neither was in that direction. 117 . He had a class that afternoon and. Some of the students at his class had come through North Campus and had seen the commotion with the emergency vehicles and the police. there was a dull and powerful thud. louder now. The soup. Feeling that someone had dropped something really heavy. despite being very curious. he saw the campus ambulance tearing around the corner. Everyone was looking around. from the direction of North Campus.
It wasn’t until six o’clock that evening that he knew any more. He was thinking about them as he took a decanter of wine from the refrigerator and poured a glass. It consisted of students sitting on the steps and walking up and down with placards. A couple of them might even help him in the preparation of coming seminars. it was ugly. “Damn. the minute I sit down. By that time he was back in his apartment. The chair had no redeeming feature. Even before they spoke and offered identification Peter knew they were the 118 . “it’s always the same. Eventually. The doorbell rang. Hong Kong wasn’t directly involved so there was hardly a reason for a protest let alone violence. protesting the United States’ support of the Republic of South Africa but that had been pretty mild. At the door there were two men.” said Peter. There had been no protests for months and there had never been anything serious enough for a bomb. He put his feet up on the stool as Mozart filled the room.” He put his glass down on the side-table and hoisted himself from the chair. The student council had lead a rally at the administrative building three months ago.Most of the rest of the class didn’t think that was likely. It was old. Peter had to cut off speculation and get on with his lecture. but it was comfortable and a great solace after spending all afternoon on his feet in class. Switching on his hi-fi he put in a disc and relaxed in his big overstuffed armchair. it was covered in brown paisley print and it sagged to the floor like an abandoned wreck. It was his clarinet concerto. Taking a small sip of wine. Peter leant back and closed his eyes. He had forgotten the excitement and was preoccupied with some of the ideas that had come up in class.
“Well. nothing happened. “So. just as in the game he might have been stumped for the simplest answer. They were. fresh faced and eager. but he stayed in the background apparently learning the ropes. It was even more like the last television detective story he had seen. He began to feel embarrassed and just a little guilty. anyway. The question put that way. He knew that his car was parked in the faculty lot. The other was younger. well.police. nothing as far as he knew. Peter Marshall?” After his “Yes. sounded far too melodramatic for reality. as far as he knew legally. grey haired and distinguished looked slightly dilapidated: his suit obviously a work-a-day uniform.” Peter was surprised. everyone’s idea of television stereotypes.’ He started. we’d like to know where you were from six o’clock last night until noon today.” the older of the two asked if they might come in and ask a few questions and Peter stood aside to let them in. what’s this all about?” he asked. that had been orderly. It might have to do with a student and he stood silently racking his brains for a connection. Anyway these two were Hong Kong police not the campus officers who never went anywhere in plain clothes. Sir. six o’clock yesterday?” All of a sudden he couldn’t remember anything. if you could put your mind to it. even without raincoats. No. Instead of remembering what he had been doing. “Mr. It was like playing the game ’Detective. his mind turned to the thought that he must be guilty of something. if one can’t remember what he was doing. “Uh. One. He came back to the present: the two men were standing watching and 119 . sometimes on the tip of his tongue. What else then? He had police permission for his last public meeting and.
” “Then. Then breakfast. “Let’s see. I got up at about sixthirty and went running. “I had a new French recording of ‘Carmen’ and that took a good three hours. and I did a little more reading before my first class at ten o’clock. he continued. I finished my last class at about 3:30 in the afternoon and then came back here … No. I usually run around campus and this morning I cut through the arboretum and down to the water’s edge before returning through the middle of campus. “I don’t remember now what was on television. I went to bed after writing a couple of letters … and I paid a bill.” He was finding this morning much clearer than the night before. which I had left over. I must have got here about 4:15 or thereabouts. but he still didn’t know what for. I just read and listened to some of my music. “Well. Yes.” He moved to his chair and picked up his glass of wine … it was something to hold. “Six o’clock yesterday?” he started again. Then I had a glass of wine and I sat watching something dumb on television. I eat slowly and I read. I needed some batteries and some potato crisps.” The younger man was busy taking notes and Peter was aware now that he was establishing an alibi. “this morning. “it could have been some news and another channel that had some recorded stock-car racing. I can back here after going to the 7-Eleven on the other side of campus. that’s not true. That must have taken until about seven. He seemed to know most of the details if they 120 .” he continued. After dinner … well. then I cooked dinner: noodles and chicken hot pot. there was some car racing.waiting. He had watched enough crime movies. By then I was ready for bed.” He gestured at his new hi-fi system with its newly bought compact disc player.
I met Tom Nelson of Civil Engineering. “Then I went along to lunch in the cafeteria after a moment or two in the faculty lounge.” He paused and the said excitedly. It was very early. You could have phoned from anywhere. “No. I do remember. no one came around last night. but can you verify exactly what you did last night and where you ran this morning? Did you meet anyone who would recognize you when you went out running?” Peter considered for a moment. “They might only remember me in running clothes. He could confirm where he met me and if I know a runner he’ll be able to tell to the second where it was. “Ah. We’ll be able to check a lot of that movement. he said slowly.” Then another thought … and he said triumphantly.” “No. but I don’t know their names and I don’t know if they would remember me. No. “How about your morning run?” interjected. “Thank you. I hadn’t thought about that. I got to the cafeteria at noon and there was quite a line. Anyway. I’m sorry Sir. After lunch I had another class that lasted until three. “Did you receive any phone calls?” “Uh. Some of them I remember only because I see them most mornings.” and he smiled. They will remember the times probably.wanted to know them. I suppose not. “ the younger police man said. ignoring his questions. “Yes. It was the wrong time to go. but phone calls really don’t help unless they were made to you here. He was running with somebody … I think he was Chinese. Then …” They cut him off. you haven’t told me what this is all about.” “Let me see. the older man “There were a few runners out. I met 121 . But I did make a couple of phone calls to friends. Where do you think I might have been and why? What am I supposed to have done?” Peter was beginning to be a little worried. Sir.
go and see Tom Nelson. The caller said that such protests would now continue until the legislature. What’s wrong and why should I be telling you where I was during those hours?” They explained then. starting to get a little angry now. Yes.them on my back from the water at … let me think …” and he thought aloud. He sank into his chair since his legs didn’t seem to support him well. “Starting at 7:05. Marshall. Can we see your papers: passport. and Britain. it must have been 7:39. four and a half miles. was killed. as well as your work and residency 122 . The older police officer said. “The caller did not mention you by name. Mr. that you are Australian.” The older police officer continued. who had been leaving at the time. Someone had died. It’s about time you answered mine. but he said that their group was acting in concert with other groups working to the same ends. One other person was injured. “We understand. “Now. have been so prominent in advocating action on behalf of the “Forgotten Two Million.” Then anticipating Peter’s next question he added. “Since you. Marshall. “we were immediately led to think of you. Someone. Then a phone call was received at the Central Police Station. apparently representing a group called “The Forgotten Two-Million Chinese” claimed responsibility. His well-meant program on behalf of his Chinese friends had born disastrous fruit.”” and he emphasized the phrase. Mr. acted responsibly to change the Nationality Act to include proper protection for all of Hong Kong’s present citizenry. Was he responsible or was there a madman out there acting independently? The older policeman was speaking.” He looked from one to the other.” Peter was aghast. I’ve answered all your questions.” Some device exploded this morning at the back entrance to the Administrative Building and a clerk.
he was tied to a murderer. must seem a bit unworldly to them. and only temporarily resident in Hong Kong. “We think that the bomb would have been large enough to have been noticed in the foyer of the building. and the doorman. That’s why we are interested in everyone’s movements during that time. they asked a few more formal questions. Why was he interested? Since he was Australian. who missed the blast.” he concluded. what had it got to do with him? Was he intending to become a Hong Kong resident? Did he intend to stay here after 1997? What friends did he have in the Chinese community? Could he provide a list of those names? How about his students? What were their names? Each time they mentioned his group. it was an accusation. They were about his position at Shue Yan College and more leading questions about his role in speaking on behalf of the Chinese outside of the Nationality Act. The older man said. 123 . Each time they asked about his associates.” “Therefore. They were more involved with day-to-day actions and some pretty worldly ambitions: theft. They returned to his activity the previous evening. was certain that there was nothing there the previous evening at six o’clock. He was sure that there was nothing odd there then.” “Well. and it was nowhere near that building. saying it was just a precautionary matter. greed and violence.permits please?” After seeing his papers and taking custody of his passport. Being generally in favor of the downtrodden. “it had to have been placed within the following 18 hours. I know where I was. he thought.” said Peter. Peter was not sure that his answers satisfied them. He had searched the area with one of the students for an attaché case that the student had lost.
Most of the citizens of Hong Kong would have had the same problem. although he could account for some of the time.Unfortunately. 124 . Peter couldn’t find anything to corroborate his evening or that night.
It portrayed him as a habitual agitator. The headlines screamed at her: “WOMAN KILLED IN BOMB BLAST: FOREIGN UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR QUESTIONED. The woman who had died was found to be pregnant so the killing quickly became a double murder and the newspapers nurtured the outcry. a meddler in matters that didn’t concern him. The police came around several times that first day: checking on his testimony.” She gave a two-dollar coin to the newsvendor and stood and read about the blast and the accusations leveled at Peter’s organization. The morning following the explosion. if not the murderer. and he had to repeat his whereabouts several times to different officers. and at best. a stimulus for murder. and his work was going nowhere. The slimmest of facts embellished the reporter’s high hopes for drama and she couldn’t believe this story was about the gentle person she knew. That morning. after trying several times and risking Lee Wauk’s displeasure. his colleagues were a little distant. so that much was clear. Her words of reassurance from a friend helped Peter immeasurably. The only stable influence during this time was Su. The police were persistent. He had to go down to the Central Police Station in mid-morning to sign a statement. They reported that the Legislative Council was not about to give way to any 125 .Chapter 20 – The Police Investigate Peter’s life in the ensuing days was not pleasant. she reached him by phone. Yet still his lack of alibi for the previous hours left him as a prime suspect. she had seen Peter’s face staring from the newsstands. his students were in awe. He did learn that Tom Nelson had confirmed that he had seen him running on campus.
” Each suffered their own brand of shame and embarrassment at being connected to the killing. He had indeed changed a lot since he had been at the college. He didn’t know anything more. Neither knew what their son might have done but they feared the worst. and his father. Su had told her mother about Peter Marshall: she had been to two meetings with Ming Ue. Another policeman came to ask them questions. The young policeman who questioned her was soon satisfied that she had nothing to do with it. Su was questioned too by police who came to the shop. his friends. taking him away to answer questions at the station. They were tarred with the same stick as he since the police knew of no other organization that was working so openly for the “Two million forgotten Chinese. Then. eventually. she hadn’t mentioned his visit to meet her. He was not the son they knew. Lim Yok had not planned to attend College that day. But they were both glad that he had come back to the family … to complete the circle. including Thomas Kung and the students. “Where has your son been? Who did he meet with? What did they know of Peter Marshall? Where was their son that night and morning?” He found that they knew almost nothing. They had identified her as being in the group after the College rally but didn’t seem seriously concerned with her. Lim Yok returned and he couldn’t tell them anything more. Lim Yok’s mother gave way to tears. so the police came to the farm for him. It didn’t seem wise. was angry that he had allowed his son to go to college in the first place. He did think she was beautiful. Liu Pang Ting. However. were questioned. and 126 . No one went to see her father or mother. His father and mother suffered agonies of uncertainty.terrorist activity. Worse.
A parcel there would not have excited any attention even if it was seen. Still. sorting the bigger pieces and reserving anything they could not immediately identify. parts of desks. He spent most of the afternoon after the blast investigating the damage. apparently under a heavy wooden bench that was usually placed against the wall. She did tell her mother about the bomb explosion and what accusations were being made against Peter Marshall. The bomb had been placed just inside the foyer of the building. The bomb had blown the interior of the foyer to smithereens: totally demolishing the small wooden and glass porter’s room that had stood to the right. the signs and trophies of the school … It was a mess. “Fools.well … she wasn’t sure. books.” He didn’t spend much time with them: after dinner he quickly left to visit his friend Chang. just as she had done today. It was usual in bomb cases to be able to connect the device to its builder. The walls of the building had not been badly damaged. when her father came home he had heard of the explosion and he was angry. thought Clark. She had always run to her mother with her problems. She had grown up a little in awe of him and even though he had always been kind he was also distant. It was a laborious job. Su did not confuse her father. At the meal that night he muttered under his breath. Her mother was shocked and she warned Su not to get involved. so he was looking for physical evidence. Two police bomb technicians were sifting the debris. was the older man who had first questioned Peter Marshall. 127 . Sergeant Clark. damn fools. There were all sorts of fanatical groups around and it was better to stay clear of politics. The ceiling had fallen and debris from the room filled the space … floor rafters. The police sergeant in charge. as he picked his way through to the epicenter of the blast. because students quite often left books and cases there that they didn’t want to carry into the administrative offices. By evening they had identified the size of the bomb.
she suggested. They had identified the type of bomb. The bombers were relative novices. Kung. John. Peter didn’t know which way to turn. “that might not solve anything because the same killer might strike in support of any organization working on Chinese rights. “I’ll be happy. early in the game.verified by the extent of damage. Qing and others together just to talk about it and tell them what they might do. She offered first to help him think the problem through even though she knew he would think things out far better than she. There was strength in deciding together. There always seemed to be a uniformed officer within sight and he had the feeling of being followed by plain-clothes men wherever he went.” Peter jumped at the idea. Peter told her what had happened to him also. They also had some pieces of a casing that they might be able to identify and a small piece of the mechanism had survived.” Su could hear a thread of fear and doubt and the need for help. he thought. even though it wasn’t his fault. He was anxious because the work he had started had. apparently. He needed his friends. Perhaps he could get Dr. Su was so worried about Peter Marshall that she phoned him after her particular policeman had gone. She tried to help. He was very worried … she heard it in his voice.” he concluded. It had been a relatively inefficient but powerful ‘fertilizer’ bomb. The persistent police presence had worn him down during the past few days. There was a murderer out there supporting him! That nullified what he was doing. Clark knew that it was usually these identifiers that caught the culprits. You only have to ask. He had enough of being alone. He would have to stop working for his Chinese friends … “Although. Students and faculty on campus stared at him as if he 128 . just to tell him what questions had been asked. Lim Yok.” she said. “ to help in any way I can. resulted in a death … two deaths. We had better get them soon before they become more efficient.
They sat together on the sofa and talked about what had happened in the past few days. She had expected to see the group but only Peter was waiting on the steps at the arranged time. It was a nice feeling. “I think I brew better coffee than here and the arm-chairs are softer. They couldn’t even suppose who was involved or what they might do in the future. Afterwards. His brew was excellent. They didn’t solve anything. from one cross path to another. Unexpectedly. more a friend. Su thought irreverently. At the apartment.was a celebrity but they never stayed to talk. I hope that you don’t mind. walking to the Union.” Peter said. a light blue cotton jacket to keep off the evening chill. Peter helped her off with her coat.” she said. I wanted to see you. They had coffee and Peter was right. The 129 . I thought of phoning you to rearrange the meeting because everyone can make it tomorrow. his hand stayed in hers. He said. Where the paving stones had lifted over a tree root. He was ready for some friendly faces: so he arranged to meet the following evening. in fact she was flattered. His kiss made her feel surer of herself. he took by the shoulders and lightly kissed her on the cheek.” She didn’t mind at all. It was her best. “I’m sorry. less a student. Let’s go back to my apartment. “No. I enjoyed our chat the other day on the promenade. and I love it. but I’m selfish. she stumbled and Peter offered a hand to steady her. It was certainly more than she had hoped for. How about it?” They walked across the campus silently. After work the next day. and he held it folded in front of him as he leant to kiss her again. I called the others but none could make it tonight. Su took a bus to the College. this is becoming a habit.
She could feel his lips on hers and it felt good.” “I’ve enjoyed being here too. I’ve enjoyed talking but we weren’t very good at guessing things. We’ll let the group decide the next steps. so Peter put on some of his Mozart and they sat and listened in silence. Neither had planned for this to happen but it had happened as if it were meant to be.worst thing that could happen is that this madman would continue to support the cause violently.” She reached out her hand and touched his lying on the cushion between them. “Perhaps the group will be more productive. One moment they were looking at each other from the ends of the sofa and the next they were in each other’s arms. Peter leant over and kissed her once more on the cheek. In the end their speculations ran out. the whole week even. You’ve lighted up the whole day. I have just enjoyed being with you. “I’m glad you came. Peter.” Su was not quite sure what happened next … whether she moved towards him or the reverse. 130 . It wouldn’t help the mission at all and Peter would have to stop the work. I am very glad that no one else could come.
At the club his anger had not lessened but it was quieter and perhaps more dangerous. Right now though. What’s wrong? What young fool? You don’t look as though your evening meal has settled comfortably. I can’t …” Ngo Ling began. he would have taken the hill slowly. looking through a pile of papers. “I don’t know of anything that would make you so angry. Usually. Have you seen nothing in the news?” But Chang looked puzzled still. Mang on.Chapter 21 – Revelations Ngo Ling Wu was muttering under his breath as he strode along. beer close by.” he said. but at that moment he heard others come into the hall. “Do you realize what that young fool has done?” Chang looked up. He went over to Chang. Ngo wasn’t looking for Chang … his anger had a very direct and specific target: Wang Ng. Ngo Ling. but he had no idea what was wrong. The young man wasn’t there. It skittered along the ground and half the time it was being waved angrily at posts and curbs in strident concert with his angry muttered words. He was early and there were only a few members there. Chang. “Stupid youngsters. Tonight his stick was a weapon. you have to be blind not to know what has happened. stupid youngsters.” “Well. Then he let out a high-pitched scream of 131 . He attacked the hill in front of him as if it had caused his anger. “On my mother’s head. placing his stick firmly in place before each step and resting at each street corner. Sit down. He had never seen his old friend so agitated and angry before. at a table.” He was angry. “Ah. He swung around. The flow of adrenaline changed his aging step into a battle march. Chang was there. He flung his way into the room and glanced around.
this time across the head. But by now. Then at the third blow the stick hit the wall with such force that it gouged the plaster and it twisted from Ngo Ling’s grip. Wang Ng. had recovered from his surprise. Wang Ng’s coat prevented him from moving quickly or dodging so Ngo Ling’s first charge caught him. you really don’t know. It knocked him off balance and he fell against the wall next to the door. Su?” Ngo Ling turned and looked up at him. still charging. 132 . Chang spoke urgently into his ear. He was standing at the doorway with his coat half off his shoulders. Blood spurted down his face from a deep cut across the temple. He’s a murderer … a criminal …” Chang still didn’t understand what his friend was saying. and holding his stick above his head he charged at Wang Ng who had just entered. Ngo Ling. “God. I’ll tell you what he has done. He’s done exactly what he said he would do. “What on earth is the matter Ngo Ling? Have you indeed gone mad? What has Wang Ng done to deserve this? Is it to do with your daughter. He fell on all fours and rested there to get his breath. By then Chang had got to him and was holding him down. still entangled in his coat. Thrusting Ngo Ling fiercely away he jumped to his feet. The stick was brought down sharply across the side of his head. a much younger man. old man?” and turning to the others who seemed struck motionless in surprise: “What's the old fool doing? Has he gone mad?” Ngo Ling leapt forward again but this time Wang Ng jumped aside easily and with a hand pushed Ngo Ling down and away so that his momentum took him to the floor. followed and hit him again. “What in the hell’s the matter with you. Ngo Ling fell on Wang Ng with his bare hands and beat him anywhere he could reach. scraping his face and landing on his shoulder.anger. He’s killed a woman and an unborn child.
It sounded, in the noise of all the others speaking, like the ravings of an old man at the end of his sanity. He helped Ngo Ling to his feet and half carried him to the washroom. Water on his face would help, he thought. The water did help. Wu Ngo Ling calmed down and told Chang what he knew… that the younger men on their committee had made good their suggestion of violence. They had planted a bomb … “God knows where they got it.” And then announced their support for the College professor who was speaking in favor of the forgotten Chinese. The bomb had killed a woman and her unborn child. Chang was disbelieving. He pointed out that Ngo Ling had no proof, just the wild talk of a couple of enthusiastic boys. “Nothing connects Wang with the crime and the committee hasn’t even met since that day,” He said, “But you hurt him badly and so we must meet. We will meet now before this goes any further. You will shake hands. We cannot let this go on. I will get the others.” With that Change moved his friend through a second door into a smaller meeting room that they sometime used. It used the same washroom but from a different side. “Stay here, I will get everyone.” When Chang got back to the main room, he found Wang Ng surrounded by his friends all speaking at once, talking about the unprovoked attack by the old man. Wang was trying to staunch the flow of blood from his forehead with a wet handkerchief that was already bright red. Chang quickly found Steve Cho and told him that the committee was about to have an emergency meeting. Steve wanted to have no part in it, even before hearing the subject. He had left before. In the end however he was persuaded that older heads were needed this time. Then Chang went over to speak to Wang Ng to ask him and his two friends to join them. “It is important to settle this anger of Wu Ngo Ling quickly,” he said.
Wang didn’t want any part of it either at first. But, Chang managed to persuade them on condition that Chang restrained the mad old man. In the smaller room Wang Ng took a place on the side of the table furthest from Ngo Ling, who now sat silently with his head in his hands. Chang closed the door behind him. “Now Ngo Ling, what is this all about? We need an explanation.” Ngo Ling looked up and scowled across the room at Wang Ng. “I’ve told you,” he said. “That creature planted the bomb at the College and murdered an innocent woman and her child. We are involved. We heard him threaten to do it at our last meeting and,” he shouted, “We let him do it. We all let it happen.” Chang and Wu looked across at Wang Ng. “Yes, of course,” he said, the words spilling out in an angry rush, “Nothing you did worked. The woman was unlucky. It was a mistake. I left the package at the back of a bench in the foyer only while I was scouting the building. It was moved or … maybe I was lucky … anyway, it was not supposed to explode there or then. The woman was unlucky. But it had to be done. I told you.” His two friends grinned sheepishly, as if there was nothing wrong and as if they half expected to be commended for their part in what happened. Now it was Chang who exploded. “My god! I should kill you myself. You’re an animal … you have no regret. We are not part of that bombing. We told you before that we would have nothing to do with violence. I came to Hong Kong to get away from that sort of horror. This is your problem. We are not part of it.” All this time, Steve Cho had been sitting still. His face was pale and his mouth hung open in horror. He had no words. It had been he who had first objected even to ‘civil disobedience.’ A murder, for whatever cause, was
too horrible to contemplate. He still had no words when he rose, picked up his coat and stumbled away. Chang continued, “I feel that way too. I would like to walk away and say it never happened and that young woman could be alive and she could have her baby. It cannot be that way. You will have to go to the police … or we will.” One of the other young men jumped up. “Don't be silly,” he shouted. “No one will go to the police. We started the work. We have acted together in this protest and it will continue. Legco will change its mind once a few more bombs explode. This one at the College was just a trial and it has connected us with the professor, Marshall. The next one will be placed where we said at first: at the Capital. Maybe that will make them sit up.” It was Chang’s turn to be stunned. He realized that the beast that had been revealed had a life of its own. He couldn’t control it so perhaps the only way to solve the problem was to exterminate it. He said, “The police will soon prevent you. You will be in prison tonight.” The young man leant over and taking hold of Chang’s tunic, half lifted him out of his seat, hard against the edge of the table, so that Chang could feel it biting into his soft under-belly. “Listen, old man,” said the youngster. “We don’t want to hurt you, or your friend Wu here. We are on the same political side but this has to be done. We let you try your way through the lawyers and businessmen and you couldn’t do anything. Now it is our turn. We don’t want to harm you, but if you or Wu go anywhere near the police then we promise that your families … You have a daughter, Wu, and Chang, your sister … Fortunately we are not alone, we three. We have friends more powerful than this house of old men. It wouldn’t help you or your families if we were taken by the police.” He let Chang drop back into his chair. Wang spoke, “For the moment, old man,” he said to Wu
Ngo Ling, “I’ll let your attack go, at least you showed some life and spunk.” He passed his hand across his temple and its livid wound, wincing. A large swelling was beginning to discolor. “But,” he continued, “If there should ever be trouble from you again, Typhoon Harbor won’t miss one of its rats.” He gathered his coat, turned, and the three walked out. The door swung shut behind them, leaving Chang and Ngo Ling sitting silently. They sat as ghosts, lifeless, with faces drawn as if they could see already worse things to come – the end of a lifetime. In the past twenty minutes years had been added to their backs.
Part II – 1991
His father and mother still lived on the farm and since they had been able to buy adjoining paddies as well as the long strip of land down by the river. The family farm was on the plain. and half in sorrow because the simple life was gone before he had time to appreciate it. He hadn’t worked on the farm now for four years but he still remembered those days. He wondered what it would feel like to walk up that sharp gully that leads almost to the top. His father. had never quite come to 138 . His first few improvements in the basic tools and in their way of doing business. on fertile land that was occasionally flooded by the autumn rains. From here it looked like a wrinkle but there he knew that it was deep enough to hide someone. Of course that did mean that they owed money all around: a sure sign of prosperity. together with the Hong Kong development grant that he found was available. He had never lived in the mountains. had made all the difference. The family had quickly changed from a hand-to-mouth existence to being one of the more prosperous farms around. They were sunlit and they looked brown today. Lim Yok had helped the family to break out of the long tradition of owning just enough land to support their immediate needs so now his father and mother were enjoying more leisure and a more comfortable home. From the office window he could see the hills behind Kowloon. half in relief for his palms were never so sore as they had been holding the shafts of the plow all day. still pure Chinese. the farm now produced enough for them to employ an overseer/worker. Perhaps the terrorists were holed up in just such a wrinkle on that hill or on one of the other mountains of the interior.Chapter 22 – A new Lim Yok Lim Yok was daydreaming. quite unlike the smooth greens of the spring.
However. some had a cause with which he could identify. Lim Yok grinned at the thought. he had devoured all manner of philosophical. He and Su are living together now … there was some talk that she was directing the campaign. hurrying a little as it covered the wrinkles of the hills and slowing on the open slopes. After a year of part-time study he had entered She Yan College full time and graduated a semester ahead of his class. He had been interested in all types of subjects and causes and in those early days in college he had joined several different groups. He was still working with Tom Kung and his group to get a change in the legislation but it seemed slow. Peter was a great person but sometimes he felt other people’s problems too strongly. 139 . thought Lim Yok. Each one sounded interesting and he had no way of discriminating between them. He’ll never change. It didn’t help his first degree because that consisted mainly of parroting back the required paragraphs but the extra reading had helped already beyond the degree. He crossed his fingers in superstitious anticipation. even though it was more promising with the elected Legislative Council than the old appointed one. he thought. especially those dependent on the Chinese vote. and they made some progress. He realized that he had graduated with second-class honors instead of first-class because he proliferated his interests. A cloud was moving across the hills. Still they weren’t having much success. Lim Yok thought. so while other students barely read outside the prescribed texts. a spurt. It was a little like Marshall’s campaign. One was Peter Marshall’s he remembered. A shadow of a cloud really … it moved slowly across the dark brown. sometimes it seemed almost stationary and then there would be a little success. He had a world of literature to catch up. His own independence had helped too. scientific and political texts. Some of the legislators were moving their way.accept debt and always grumbled at being poor even though he lived far better than before.
He had stopped helping the group originally to devote time to one exam but that had broken the cord of involvement. They had their first spokesman. despite a hundred years during which the Governor had always appointed his minions. had been elected to the Council. it matched demand against worker income. personal acquisitions. as a measure of prosperity. it probably should be done over. There was more to it than he had thought. Now Marshall’s group had to appeal to the voter as well being a Legco supplicant and the legislators were more receptive to ground swells of change. There wasn’t any time. Eric Chan. and the claim that the bomb had been used to support Marshall’s program. there was graduate college … engineers didn’t get involved in politics. It was an analysis of historic power demand in Guangdong Province as part of the region. thought Lim Yok. A ‘Forgotten Chinese’ legislator. and despite PRC’s express wishes to keep things as they were. Then nothing happened for so long. But he had followed the campaign.They had started disastrously of course. since I’d got out of the group early to attend to studies. 140 . the woman and her child. spare and otherwise. he thought. They took all of my time. Yes. higher school enrollments. He remembered the first bomb. This work would have to be done again: there were better measures of prosperity – sales. That had changed everything they were doing. After graduation. He was frustrated sometimes at seeing such shoddy work but that’s why the company was paying him consulting fees while he was still in graduate college. He was as pleased as Peter and Su were when they made the fist big step. and more. Then Britain surprisingly has made the Legislative Council an elected body. Lim Yok turned back to his desk to look again at the report he had been studying. It hadn’t mattered to me.
benefiting and returning again for further help. Clouds had accumulated. There were almost no coal-fired power plants in the south because it would be difficult. there were very few sunlit patches on the hills. He had done his homework properly. Lim Yok turned to look out of the window again. In the past two years his consulting work had grown so much that he could turn work aside. to carry enough coal across China from the northern mines. but more importantly he had studied the energy field politically and had deduced its interrelationships with other sectors of the economy correctly. was targeted for completion in three years time. if not impossible. He reflected that the money came in handy but he was most particularly pleased that many of his clients were acting upon his advice. It wasn’t difficult to see where things were going and for knowing that he was paid well. in 1994. he had studied the energy field technically in college and was still learning. Not bad for a kid in college.They knew that he would be honest in his appraisal and they knew that he knew his job: the energy field. The Daya Bay nuclear plant. he thought. It should be producing a large amount of power for the 141 . The PRC may be resuming political power over Hong Kong in just six years time but for the moment they were totally dependent on foreign expertise through the Hong Kong pipeline for the development of power systems to drive their economy. It used very little fuel. started back in 1985. the shadows were longer … it would soon be dusk. Fortunately. the nuclear power project at Daya Bay was moving along well. His consulting fees reflected his reputation. as rapidly as a coal-fired plant used its fuel. Most of the energy in Guangdong Province is hydroelectric but the plants were very small and scattered without any coordinated planning. Lim Yok doubted that it would make it but it was certainly doing better by all accounts than equivalent US projects.
the PRC needed power and they had been very realistic about adopting foreign codes and standards. US knowhow.” The article told of the use of an artificial kidney that had previously only been used on a monkey. Consequently the work was moving ahead well. There had been some accidents. The US had changed to in the past six years. They had accumulated new medical ‘experts’ to help them. Fortunately. However. In those days. US trade restrictions in 1985 had given the job to the French. Lim Yok remembered reading something in the Sunday paper: “Hundreds arrested at the Oliford Medical Research Hospital. and materials. labor. They had even regulated the regulators to get rid of unnecessary paperwork. Lim Yok thought. Now Lim Yok knew that talks had started between utilities and reactor manufacturers with the idea of building a few new plants. of the experiments conducted by the Nazis in their camps during World War II. Then there had been the grid failures in New York and Boston. improve the market. and on San Francisco street people who were paid large sums to undergo various types of experimental surgery. Some of what was going on savored. and Chinese land. This latest protest followed others directed against genetic engineering of embryos at the Juno clinic in Rochester. 142 . The project was to have had British capital.region in 1996 or 1997. and malpractices at the Bethesda Naval Hospital and others in the east of the US. the US Congress cut off its nose to spite its face. and enable US manufacturers to support international projects as well. At least all this anti-medical research pressure took the pressure off electrical utilities. he thought. New York. Twice in that time their imported oil had been restricted and they had moved from glut to hoarding. at least so said the newspaper. Much of the lunatic fringe that had protested the US nuclear industry in the late seventies had diverted their attention to harassing the medical research community.
The skirt length was just at that awkward height that was fashionable this year. Her blouse and skirt were immaculate – a silk lavender blouse carefully matched with a split grey skirt. radically. In the past six years. “Have you forgotten that I had promised to cook tonight?” “I was just sitting here daydreaming. He wasn’t quite sure whether he had seen a glimpse of her panties. It was a little too high for the traditional cheongsam and the split was more exaggerated and positioned further forward. a striking woman. All in all.Anyway. smooth flesh-colored stockings and sensibly heeled shoes. As she swung across the room towards him the split skirt showed a long glimpse of leg. She was smiling at him. Candy. Even if you can go all day on coffee. putting it on a neat pile 143 . I have to have some solid food sometime. It’s time we had a meal. I’m not sure what brought it on. the existence of the Daya Bay project and the possibility of starting similar projects in the PRC changed the energy picture of the region. I’m not quite sure why but for a moment there I felt myself going back over the past few years and surveying how far we had come. I was just looking at those hillsides. but the split was certainly high enough. her youthful blonde prettiness had blossomed into womanly beauty.” she said. The door opened. casually crumpled. Of course all this would take place after Hong Kong became part of the People’s Republic but making a start now could influence Hong Kong’s role after the union … and those who were involved too. Candy Rogerson walked in. “Yokko. I’m ready to go. It was an odd feeling. he thought. you’ve done enough. and its prosperity. It almost reached her waist and drew his eyes to her swelling breasts. he mused as he watched the darkening hills. Her hair was well groomed.” He got up and closed the report.
” “One day. “You know this consulting work is going so well that I could leave 144 . “I’ll write up my report for Chaumont tomorrow. “You know. since it is impossible for us to get married.” said Lim Yok.” And he added laughing. Later that night. I hated the idea. I have noticed that I very rarely sleep here. “Of course. let’s go.” replied Candy. He could feel her body against his … slender and mobile … wanting him as much as he wanted her. Let’s go. for a while. Candy. “ he said when the kiss ended and they stood close together. but together. “Anyway. when you said that it would be better if we lived apart. and another where you’ve made your home and we can get together whenever we want.” he said. this is the most convenient of arrangements Dad is very straight laced and would never agree to us living together. long after their dinner (Candy had made cheese soufflé with lightly steamed Chinese cabbage covered with a wine sauce).” He looked around his office.at the front of him. They kissed for a long time. and switched on a light near the door. “Com on. one room of his apartment. “your parents will come to their senses. they lay together in bed in Candy’s apartment. “You know. He was lying on his back watching lights from the street far below flicker across the stippled plaster. It would be needed soon. She turned and folded herself into his arms.” “You know that I wanted you to have a place to work on your own so that you wouldn’t be distracted. I have never understood anyway why you just won’t …” But then he saw from her face that the old argument should not be raised tonight. one where I work and can sleep if need be. He turned to Candy and touched her on the arm. But it has worked out very well… it’s like having two parts of the house.
However.” They bridged the Chinese Anglo-Saxon gap by falling back on Shakespeare when they made love.” Her lips touched his chest.” “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” She was lying on her side watching him and she touched his face. for you it is different. He loved her all over and in many ways and he said “… in as many ways as I love thee. Many of the people I know don’t have second degrees. An education seems to take such a long time out of your life. and it never seems to harm them.” She lifted herself up on one elbow and leaned over him. better than now. I meet lots of people and my hours are what I make them. “We would have plenty of funds and we could live well.” He said. “We’re not missing anything.college right now. some don’t even have any. “And my job is doing all right. “I would like you to go on.” he whispered. Lovemaking was languid and there was time to spare. There are always plenty of customers for beauty and I enjoy being a color analyst. they were at ease. tracing his cheek down to his lips and the tip of his chin. Yokko. They made love for an hour.” “I probably will. fluttering her eyelashes against his chest. I quit after a first degree. Tonight. “I can’t handle you sometimes. kissing her hard and letting his hand drift down her shoulder to a sweetly rounded hip. no one recommended that I go on.” She smiled at the ceiling. especially the new ones. so that I could devote more time to consulting. need to see those paper credentials … they need to know that you have studied and reasonably understand the fundamentals. Yokko. He had started it on their very first night and she had 145 . You can handle it. your college is just part of everything that’s going on. Of course. I was really only thinking out aloud. I think clients.
It was a happy night.” she replied. “In less than those ways that I love thee. whether their love would be over. 146 . if they ever forgot. It was now a funny formal habit. She wondered if. nibbling at his ear.followed.
It might even raise prices in the short term. A small plane was landing and rolling as it did so. he thought. The news was going to break out sometime and a six-year silence wasn’t bad going in today’s commercial world. It was windy today. Still it is only an inconvenience … and nothing serious in the long term. That was the time for a full Press briefing. He had hoped originally for a couple of year’s headway in changing the funding balance before business found out. covered with white horses. were scudding along. Damn. Now it looked as though we had something to hide.Chapter 23 – Diversified Trading The headline read: “ROGERSON’S QUITS HONG KONG Ex-accountant reveals long-term divestiture policy Funds transferred to South American markets. flags and loose lines blown forward with their high sterns making it look as if they had their heels dug in to stop their headlong rush. Yet those going east. The account was pretty accurate. It all depended on whether you were going with the flow 147 .” The article went on to outline the policy that John Rogerson had set back in 1985 and which he had pursued for the six years since then. Their bows dug in deep throwing high waves up and over their prows. He should have realized this would happen as soon as he had fired the man. He looked directly across the straights towards the Kai Tak airport. The westbound junks were making heavy weather of it. On the other hand he would have preferred a Press Announcement from the Company itself rather than having Wang Pei Ching speak about it. The water was choppy. and they seemed to make no progress … poised in space struggling to stay in place. he thought. to his right. He threw the paper aside and swiveled his chair around to look out of the window.
I’ll have to pay more attention to that side of the business in the next few months. 148 . he thought. not only how much progress you were making but also how much you seemed to be making. The bank holdings in Switzerland were still too heavy and the encroachment into South American brokerage was still encountering heavy weather. whether that was really my fault or Wang Pei Ching’s. he thought. While they were valuable there were not too many buyers. The Kowloon Kooler soft drink franchises made their profit targets every year but they had saturated the market and expansion to take care of rising costs was not possible … they were at the mercy of general market costs. In the end. Fortunately long years in business had made John patient and he knew that the wind blew in both directions. he mused. For the past six years it had been clear sailing … a little headwind now wouldn’t harm. I’m not sure. But the wind would die down eventually. The second phase of selling involved those properties. That would not have been possible if it had been known that Rogerson’s was leaving and needed to sell. For a time as a result of Wang Pei Ching’s idle tongue Rogerson’s would probably make slower headway and would appear to have stalled. So much for Bolivia and Guatemala. The trouble is that the area is so damned unstable. Some of these ‘assets’ really weren’t and should have been disposed of before. They had started by selling off property and small interests that were on the outskirts of their business. he thought. that phase of the diversification was understandable to the market and Rogerson’s stock rose as a consequence even though the Hang Seng index stayed level. which might lose value if Rogerson’s real policy was known. through an intermediary he made a profitable sale.or against it. making a note on his pad as a reminder. Anyway.
It glistened and the movement looked like braids of blonde hair. It was disappointing to say the least. and the firm had. As a principal trading company in Hong Kong he had a clear path to the Governor’s assistance in almost anything he needed. in these recent negotiations they had gone alone. in turn. especially after this leak. is still our most profitable asset. I haven’t seen her for a long time … she was infatuated with that Chinese boy from up country … working with him too. leaving him cold. At one time it had looked as though she was about to suggest that they live together or worse. He shivered as he had an instant vision of heavy weather ahead. a few of them would do well out of his dealings and they were a great help to the firm. sun broke through the cloud and illuminated a small patch of waves. he thought. Divesting their interests in Hong Kong wasn’t something that he could broadcast as good for the Territory or its administrators. the sale of further assets in Hong Kong would have to wait until the media attention had abated. get 149 . Of course. A little wave of apprehension washed over him. In the meantime. supported the government of the Territory as needed. I’ll have to have something to show the stockholders soon. I wonder how Candy is. However. Patten and he had grown to be friends. There never had been anything that Rogerson’s couldn’t surmount. As he sat watching the waterway below him. his friends on the Legislative Council were an immense help in soothing the way. Their previous nine-month’s of work had sunk without a trace and the quetzal had sunk to an all-time low. our foothold in Brazil. he reflected. In fact. which was meant only as an inroad into the continent. John shrugged his shoulders at the chill.They had started advising the government in Guatemala and he thought they had managed to lay some longterm ties. Also. but then the government was overthrown over night.
since she had her own apartment he very rarely saw her. Rogerson?” “Have you heard the forecast today. I must give her a call and find out how she was doing.” he said aloud. “Yes. I wanted to take this afternoon off and just get away from town for a while … a couple of days. I wonder why he’s worried if it rains. “After working all week-end on that pending sale.” Julie didn’t say anything. He grinned to himself. She had an idea that John Rogerson’s principal way of “getting away from town” meant holing up with Barbara Chin. Now he was regretting that he hadn’t heard from her recently. Turning. played golf once a year and occasionally went shooting small game when business required.” “Damn. She made murmuring sounds of sympathy over the 150 . The reply came instantly. The glimpse of sun had gone and the waterway looked as turbulent as ever. He wondered whether it would rain. He hadn’t heard the forecast.” “The forecast is for overcast with a possibility of showers throughout the morning and then it’s supposed to rain fairly heavily this afternoon. Mr. It won’t be as much fun if it rains all the time. He rode a little. He knew that she was still taking courses and she must be making something for the work that she was doing since she hadn’t been around lately to ask for money. “Julie?” he called.married. he pushed a button on the intercom. Julie? What are we in for? It looks pretty dark and dreary out on the water this morning. Still. Fortunately that had all blown over. He was hardly the outdoor type that worried about the weather. He’d always been suspicious of calls from Candy because they would usually end with a request for another couple of thousand dollars.
he thought. a couple of letters that he had dictated on Friday. he thought. Then there was another procurement form. this time for 151 . He made a note on his pad to check on progress of his speech for that meeting a week from now. A couple of them were Barbara’s legal colleagues and their friends. She was half right. now that Elizabeth knew about Barbara they needn’t be so careful about being seen together in public together. but this time they were joining some of her friends on a more ambitious outing. Pei Ching had been with the firm for a long time and despite his recent lapses they were prepared to be fairly generous for a senior man.intercom. Fortunately. he wasn’t so sure. From the in-tray on his desk he picked up a folder and opened it. a few procurement forms of relatively large amounts that he needed to initial. He didn‘t know any of the others. He knew next to nothing about sailing but she had promised competent sailing friends. and an outline of next month’s stockholders’ meeting for his review and approval. He liked rough water but rain got everywhere and they would have to spend a lot of time in a stuffy cabin. One of her friends had just bought a 40-foot ketch and they planned a cruise to Lantau Island. a funds transfer request. Then there were some other forms relating to Wang Pei Ching: general instructions to various payroll and pension departments. Now. Now the rain … Damn. He put the clip of papers on one side. He would have to consult with Carasino since he wasn’t sure how far his legal commitment went. There are to be eight in the party so someone ought to know something. He’d been rather looking forward to this outing. There was another internal memorandum to employees: they needed constant reminders about time keeping. having read the newspaper. He had planned to get away to see Barbara. There were a number of things for his signature.
He just said.” She was looking forward to the trip. half turning. but it could be Thursday. This time as he walked by he didn’t volunteer. His watched beeped just before the noonday hour. “I won’t be able to get back conveniently tomorrow.” Well. 152 . His paperwork took him until noon.” he said. Barbara said. He had brought his sailing clothes with him in a large sports hold all. as she knew. I suppose I forgot to tell you. Julie had seen it earlier and carefully refrained from comment. Well. Julie. “Wednesday?” she said. and approval forms for a whole raft of staff benefits that arose out of transfers into head office from the Kowloon Kooler operation. Hopefully. closed the file for Julie and put it aside. he hated people to pry. John Rogerson was a very good boss in almost all things except. “Yes. It was mainly the shifting and gusting winds that ruined a good sail. It wasn’t quite as impressive.quite a large consignment of furniture. The weather had worsened a little but the rain was holding off. I’ll see you first thing on Wednesday. He changed into his weekend clothes in Barbara’s apartment where she was waiting. That’s the first time he’s mentioned having a day off as well … possibly two days no less. I’m off.” With that he turned and entered the elevator. “Constant heavy wind can be fun. The wind was brisk and persistent. two internal memos. though Julie. Sorry. but very effective. just cancel my appointments for tomorrow and I will pick up as many as I can before the end of the week. he thought. as the Noonday Gun at Causeway Bay. to his departing back. It was almost an obsession that he be allowed to explain rather than be asked. “Good-bye. He signed his last letter with a flourish. he must be slipping in his old age.
and we’re not even under way. the owner. They took her small sports car down to the quayside at Tolo Harbour. Bob’s wife. Barbara parked the car and they walked down the gangplank onto the deck of the yacht. sailed by adventurous couples unhampered by the cares and commitments of ‘civilization. There weren’t many of them there.’ This particular ketch now belonged to one of Barbara’s friends who would skipper the trip. Barbara told him that most of those few were passing through.“No.” the words surrounded by patterns and curlicues in bright yellow paint. I can’t seem to get Marge and Brian interested in anything more than their bunks yet. Bob. giving her a peck on the cheek. Its two masts rocked back and forth at the mooring – even the water in the marina was wind swept. Barbara. “Hello. “Hi. The ketch’s two-mast silhouette stood out on the Hong Kong waterway. He sometimes used a professional pilot but because this was a straightforward circuit to Lantau they didn’t need any specialized knowledge about the small channels along the coast. A man wearing a yachting cap greeted them. He was apparently. There stood the ketch.” she said vehemently. was a rather serene person dressed in very well worn and serviceable sailing clothes complete to rope soles. I don’t want to cancel out. They had to walk very carefully even here. reaching for the handrail and lurching to keep their footing. She was rolling up some maps and inserting them in their tubes. It was a trim boat. 153 . John liked her immediately. straining at its leash even without its sails raised. when he suggested that.” said the man.” She laughed. After shaking hands. he led them down below decks to a large kitchencum-living cabin. Deborah. I hope that you’ve come to make yourselves useful. you two. The name painted in white paint on her dark maroon bow was “The Asian Breeze.
There was just a stirring of jealousy in his heart. Tall and athletic. before returning to the main cabin to help Deborah. and. She was a pert brunette with very attractive features.Barbara and he stowed their belongings in a small cabin on the starboard. He was another John … there are always two in any party. an exceptional body. he thought. he too kissed Barbara on the cheek when they met. John noticed. 154 . By then the last couple had arrived. That was acceptable but John fancied his hand rested on her arm a little too long for the casual approach.
how nice to have a call from you. But many members don’t see any long-term benefit from that. Su. Is he available? I’m speaking for the CRA. It may still make it this session.” she announced. Yes.” 155 . A few moments of silence and then there was hearty man’s voice. I seem to have the beginnings of a cold. “I’m glad to hear that. I’ll ring through but I’m not sure that Mr. “I’m calling for Council Member Eric Chan. “Su Wu here.Chapter 24 – A Marshall Plan When John Rogerson had been working on his morning’s papers. After all.except for old Pierce who hardly votes for anything nowadays. in six years everyone is going to be much in the same boat anyway. “Hello Su. it is a dull morning and it threatens to get worse. with a unanimous vote -. Anyway. good. I was just checking on the progress of the bill – the Chinese Rights Protection Bill? Last time I heard it had got stuck in some revision committee and it was unlikely to get to the legislature this session. You light up this dreary morning for me. What can I do for you?” “Hello Eric. or might in the future come in illegally. it finally did get out of committee. Is that right? Is there anything more that we can do to break it loose?” “Yes.” He coughed.” said the voice on the other end. I’m sure. We have you to thank for getting it moving.” “Hold on please.” said Su. I hear.” “Good. Now it gets in line for the legislature. Su had been on the phone. It had got stuck in committee because there were a number of people who wanted to exclude those who could be proved to have got here illegally. with hardly any changes. and No. Chan has come in yet this morning. “Sorry. Well.
” Su was not at all sure that she liked Eric Chan.” he huffed a little. she had helped him in little ways. “Good-bye for the moment.” He was unfailingly gallant as always.” “Good-bye and thanks. it changed every day. By then they had managed to get enough funds to set up a small secretariat and she quit her job with Lee Wauk. Arranging meetings. After a first night with Peter. when Peter was having difficulty with the police over the first bomb incident. he had been useful since his election and the Assembly was getting closer to some of its objectives at last.“Well. Su had worked for the CRA full time now for four years. Su admitted to herself that she enjoyed sex and Peter was a good 156 . she thought. The Chinese Rights Assembly would continue to support him. This work was exciting.” “It can’t fail now I have heard your voice. all made her feel useful. Good luck and I hope the day brightens for you. making love together had become a habit: a pleasurable habit. buying supplies. Thank you from all of us. Still.” imagine him suppose I did least I kept an corridors. even Peter realized that she was a better policy maker than he. She understood Chinese thinking instinctively and she was an excellent negotiator. and having trouble with his own conscience over continuing the campaign. and … a big ‘and’ … it brought her closer to Peter. At eye on it and I did some talking in the know. you “I’m sure that it was a little more than that Eric. But gradually her advice was taken more and more often until finally. At the start. Su. and we hope to see you soon at one of our meetings. making telephone calls. Su could shrugging his shoulders and smiling. “I some thing towards moving it forward. and typing a few letters. he had an awful fawning style and she was sure that she didn’t trust him.
Su didn’t think there could be reconciliation. It was a curious. She put the phone down and turned to her desk. Her mother was very disappointed and thought that her daughter had been shamed. although initially as angry as her mother. The subject of marriage never came up. Her ‘office’ was part of Peter’s ‘office’: just a desk with a phone. by the window. so soon after joining the staff it seemed obvious not to make the journey back to the harbor every night. her father. so she had a tape on the 157 . She had the impression that his home life had not been the happiest and he wasn’t about to start anything that resembled a state that he remembered with distaste.partner. Su realized that he had never said. When Su explained what she was doing. However. She had “shamed her family and her ancestors” despite her. Peter’s desk was over by the wall – he didn’t like to be distracted by a view so she got the prime position. seemingly in perpetual bloom. daughter to mother. in a small brown pot. until then. attitude that Su did not quite understand. impeccable reputation.” although his body had. nonChinese. He seemed to take the position that if that took sleeping with him that was OK. She sometimes hoped in her heart that is was love but occasionally she thought it might just be convenient sex. Ngo Ling. He was teaching this morning. She had a large African violet that she cared for regularly. a filing cabinet and another table for sorting and folding pamphlets. Peter never spoke about his family. She visited the junk regularly to start with but the visits were so uncomfortable with her mother’s silence and her father’s odd encouragement that the visits had become fewer and fewer. “I love you. Peter joked that it made her side of the room feminine. there had been violent words. She had moved in with him. It sat. Even in her own mind she wasn’t sure. rather liked the idea that she was helping Marshall. The CRA was run from his apartment.
but strangely Chinese. Fortunately. It was a piece of modern jazz by the Wyndham Hill group … one of Peter’s tapes. “It will start at two in the afternoon on the fields. Su now directed the campaign. The synthesizer had the mood and tone of Chinese strings. in the past four years. leaving Peter free to provide the inspiration and leadership. she thought. The day was myriad details: times. and bills. The embarrassment to the College had been so great he was almost relieved of his post. He had less time since he was still on the full-time faculty. Su Wu here. It hadn’t been quite that simple. Sometimes the rally was not the right one to hold … it was the wrong place … it was the wrong time … it was the wrong person… and she had no hesitation in canceling or rescheduling or doing it in print rather than in person. when those first terrorist bombs had been laid. The phone rang again.hi-fi.” Her day was a made up if tens of these phone calls as they organized regular rallies with guest speakers around the Territory. She seemed to have a talent for holding it all together in her head and still coming up with the right decisions at the right time. The arrangement worked well for they had found. people. the Dean believed it needed more than just suspicion to revoke his tenure and to lose an excellent 158 .” This time it was one of the volunteer helpers wanting to know what time the rally was due to start on Saturday and when their group should be ready to act as ushers. that they worked well together – each trusting the other. places. Maybe that was why she enjoyed it. The first that killed the woman had put Peter at the center of police surveillance. but I think you should make sure everyone is in there for a final briefing at one thirty. Sometimes everything was right and it all went ahead as planned. Now she had finished the phone calls she leant forward to turn up the volume. “Hello.
with the early morning sun painting the hills far beyond Kowloon into China. It had been entrancing. First at the Capital. These two had done only a little damage to the buildings and there were no injuries. because it gave him as sense of location – he found out how the city was put together and where everything was before the day began. Even before the sun had risen he was following the winding road through Happy Valley from his hotel on the edge of Victoria Park. which had been revamped to accept the legislature in 1985. and then on foot around the stores for a start. he surmised. not wanting to miss a moment of his first day in Hong Kong. then at the old Supreme Court Building. Charlie was a photographer so the idea of riding the tram with locals was a natural. this morning. Charlie Davies was enjoying his morning. By the time he had chased back down to the hotel. Locals. He had risen early. 159 . he thought. He like to run everywhere when the traveled. The suspicions and rumors had been so strong that even she for a time wondered. then the Star Ferry to Kowloon. he was ready to tackle a day of photography. He had been pleased that he was the only tourist waiting for the tram. He’d been advised to use local transport: the tram car down Hennessey Road to the Marine Terminal. the other passengers were all Chinese. But after that first bomb there had been others. showered and had breakfast. Eventually. he had reached the top of the hill and had taken a rest to look at the view. You can see forever.lecturer.
Charlie imagined that he knew exactly what she was saying despite her 160 . leaning on the upright of his doorway. a bright yellow advertisement for cosmetics. but as people got off he eventually got a seat on the upper deck. The tram slowed. was taking a break. His products framed him. but the food shops were in full swing and doing good business by the look of things. many of them just opening. It was painted quite differently: this time in garish red-and green plaid advertising Scotch. standing in front of a stall selling Chinese cabbages and roots. a picture of defiance. He wore blue cotton shorts. Probably got a good picture of the man’s back. The street was full of small shops. Right now he was sitting watching the throngs below with his arm on the ledge of the open window and his camera at the ready. There wasn’t much room between the tracks. Now she stood with her hands on her hips. a small broad-faced man. One proprietor. She wore a blue smock and her hair was drawn back and held by a dark band. As the tram rattled on. and as he did so. he thought ruefully. an orderly chaos of colorful stalls and pedestrians. had been fairly full even at this hour. they swayed together like two old friends greeting each other and then went on their separate ways.The tram. head bent beneath the low roof. Her face was wrinkled by years of labor. He was selling dried fish and racks of smoked chickens impaled in curious un-hen-like flat pancake shapes. Charlie had been too late. swaying with the motion. carrying baskets on their arms. Charlie saw an oncoming tram on the other side of the street. and Charlie could see down a side street. glancing along the tram as it passed. a white T-shirt. It was a local market. It seemed full of old Chinese in blue smocks. As the trams passed. thought Charlie. She was quite short. Charlie raised his camera quickly. He could see one grandmother arguing with a stallholder. It was still early. the proprietor turned and went back into the shop. and a white apron that might have been clean that morning but was now smudged with food stains. He stood for a while.
ploughed into the group. almost in a dream. He would take his photographs now: Kowloon would still be there tomorrow. there were the remains of a second tram. There was bright red blood everywhere in broad leaves like Christmas Poinsettias. Down the narrow circular stairs at the front. Then he heard the explosion. but it was difficult to take pictures from the tram. it crossed the roadway to the sidewalk. got to her feet crying. There had been a group of people there waiting for the light but the explosion had knocked them flying.distance from the tram. Charlie turned to retrace the block to the market and as he did so he was knocked off his feet. These were the scenes he loved to shoot. He jumped up and made his way along the aisle clutching at supports as the tram jerked and swayed along. missed by the hurtling tram. he dropped his sixty cents in the fare receiver and stepped off at the next stop. his tram left its tracks and moved to its left. where the tram had stood. Like slow motion film. It had been coming in the opposite direction and had been blown apart. They were sprawled across the ground. Charlie could see half a body lying across the deck as he 161 . just as interesting. A little girl. There was no front and no upper deck. He could hear. and Charlie couldn’t restrain himself. The tram lurched up onto the pavement and. He felt his camera smack into the pavement. frame-by-frame. His long lens had to be held quite still. With a horrendous scream of metal. high-pitched screaming. But then the next side street was also a market. After a stunned moment he raised himself on one arm and looked around. Charlie could see bodies impaled under the wheels and crushed against the restraining steel guardrails. just as the tram came to a grinding halt against the traffic-light standard. He really ought to have a tripod so he made a note of the street so that he could return the following day. In the middle of the street.
Su looked out of her window on the peace of the College campus. the trees were beginning to turn to their autumn shades. Peter had simply been a light to the moths on that first occasion. After the first bomb at the college. He could see with amazing clarity that the body had no head and no side. The bomb had killed 34 people and injured scores of others on that Saturday afternoon. Yet it was theirs too. and students were wandering about. The carnage had been terrible. with its usual sensitivity. white … it shone in the sun. yet its shirt was bright. The last explosion had been almost three months before and so maybe it had all come to an end. Various leads had brought about one arrest: the man still awaited trial. all the other bombs had been on Hong Kong Island and clearly directed against the government. puking his breakfast and more. above the screams. It was also believed that the police work had driven the remaining terrorists into the hills. they said. unsoiled. The media. Their surveillance and ‘information received’ had convinced them that a more extreme group was at the back of it. It was difficult to visualize violence and horror when the grass was green. Charlie looked away. It was a different world. books under their arms. Then he heard the sirens. closer now. There were no direct clues as to the perpetrators but they suspected the same group that had planted several bombs before.registered emergency sirens in the distance. His stomach heaved and he was sick on the sidewalk. The prisoner in captivity may expose 162 . displayed pictures of dismembered bodies and pieces of arms and legs in the shambles of the two tramcars and an adjacent store. The only good to come out of that Hennessey Road disaster was that the police were convinced that Peter had nothing to do with it.
“Well. Su thought.” He paused for breath and changed his train of thought. That may be obvious for large electrical generating firms. I hope so. I gather from what he says that he is doing very well. he seems to have been putting that idea into practice. qualified workmen. to start with there are: but Lim Yok is advising Chaumont to gain a position of strength when it comes to supplying the nuclear energy field … that means higher quality materials. “Well. “So?” she prompted. and told her his news. the use of 163 . “What are we going to eat tonight?” But Su knew him well enough to know that the main news was still to come.the whole group. she heard a key turning in the lock and the apartment door opened. Su. but then there is no arguing with the success he has had. “Hello. are you there? Guess what. valves and pumps.” It was Peter. a little perfunctorily she thought. “I met with Lim Yok today. Inc. He is making a success by offering the top firms advice on their part of contributing to the energy picture. but presently he is working for Chaumont. You know that he has become an independent consultant. do you remember me telling you that as a student Lim Yok had always had this bug about controlling the supply of energy was more important than being the top trader? Well. He might not even go back for his second degree. who supply such things as piping. He kissed her. At that moment.” “How do those things control energy systems – there must be a plethora of those firms?” Su asked. I think that’s a mistake of course: too many people have single degrees.
He sees the big expansion there. Peter. and the confidence of the buyer. He has to show that what he is recommending worked elsewhere so there is a lot of research involved. Once 1997 comes then the trading firm that stays static becomes part of the PRC and loses its firm’s real attraction – its position as an outside buyer. do you think?” “I think it might. But he seems to have a knack for it. What he seems to be doing is getting these firms into a position where they are so involved with Chinese business that transition would be automatic.believe him? Do they pay him just for that advice” It seemed too easy for Su. then maybe we could make each person commercially attractive to the PRC so that they have protection from simply being absorbed as one more of the masses. he said quietly. They would already be valued and already contributing to the Chinese power economy. to Lim Yok.” “Good. “We’ll talk about it. “Perhaps that’s why I read in the newspaper that Rogerson’s is moving out of Hong Kong and into South America or South Africa.more enduring materials. and already in place. confidence in the PRC market. You see the trading companies can’t do this because the trader is in the business only acting outside China as a buyer of its goods.” said Su.” Then. He also seems to be aiming at 1997.” “Do these firms – does Chaumont . “He has to give them a little more than that. “Does what he is doing affect us. I haven’t thought it all out yet but if we can’t organize legal political protection for the Chinese. In the meantime. This is really what we are trying to do. They would be no better than any other internal Chinese seller.” “That’s great. I 164 . That means. Maybe Lim Yok had an inkling of an idea there.” Su said. I said he was aiming at 1997. but why are you so interested?” “Well.
But there’s one more thing. 165 . She is a color analyst with her own beauty parlour and is apparently doing very well.” “OK. I’d like to go out. She struggled for a degree but she seems to be doing better now in business. Candy Rogerson.” said Su knowingly. My taste buds are watering for some steamed shrimp and pork dumplings and deep-fried egg rolls. The interesting thing though – as she and Lim Yok talked to me it was obvious that they were living together.” said Peter. They seemed so far apart in my classes: always arguing against each other. Guess who was with Lim Yok.have had a hard day and I don’t want to start cooking. and their backgrounds couldn’t be any more distant.” “It’s the attraction of opposites. “That’s fine by me. She seemed more attractive than ever she was in her student days and I’m sure that helps. I’d like some dim sum.
glasses and meals because we forgot small precautions.” She showed John how each of the chairs was secured by a screwed-in line. a full-throated laugh. he 166 . You’re not here just to enjoy the ride. where’s the scurvy crew of this boat?” It was Bob. as he banged his head for the umpteenth time against an overhead pipe. As he took the wheel. “If we are to get under way then I need a little help. Bob was starting to free lines and he showed John how it was done. but it’ll be a lot more fun if we don’t break too many things from the start. move yourselves. not again. you lot. “Geez.” John went on deck. “Your head’s too unsympathetically. He helped to check that everything was in place and then went back to his and Barbara’s cabin to check on how his toilet things and her perfumes were secured. “When Bob and I started on this boating lark. “I think it’ll be fun out there today: the weather forecast is predicting a heavy chop on the water.” She laughed.Chapter 25 – A day’s sailing It took some time to sort things out – there seemed so little room and it was strange having to move around with one’s head lowered all the time. Now I check early to save grief later. “Come on. She said. big. we lost most of our crockery.” said John. Deborah was checking that everything was secure. There was a call from the deck. Come on. cushions were Velcro-ed in place and table edges were raised to stop things sliding off.” Barbara retorted They did finally get everything stowed and they returned to the main cabin to see whether they could make themselves useful.
They were assigned their part of the combined cast off. Since John could still see the other John’s hand lingering on her arm. as the ketch edged around the mole into the openness of Tolo Harbor. They would use the motor to get the boat out of the marina harbor and then raise sail when they were free of everything. Still. Ropes were cast off. The motion of the boat moving quietly along the channels under power was much more relaxing than the choppy bucking when it was tied to at the quayside. but he was sure that he would get on board. he didn’t say anything. Tolo Harbor might be a natural haven to ocean-going vessels but its natural expanse of three miles from one side to the other. Here the waves 167 . Just then the others appeared on deck.” she joked. made it open sea to small boats. pulled in and coiled. Bob didn’t want to risk sailing out in this wind. when Bob issued his instructions. “You might be spending the next couple of days back in the office. There was a certain amount of nervous joking: Barbara wasn’t sure that she and John would get the stern released before it pulled the bollard off the quay. whether John would manage to leap on board. They all felt most professional. and if they did. However. There wasn’t much room for indecision and there were a lot of expensive craft about that he didn’t want to touch. and the boat chugged efficiently into the waterway between other moored yachts. John jumped neatly onto the deck as if his heart had not been in his mouth at the time.would first need the bow freed and ropes cast off. rounded the corner and headed for the break in the enclosing sea walls of the harbor. Even Marge and Brian appeared from their cabin to see how things were going. everything worked like clockwork. and the stern could be freed just as the engine was started. The stern helper would have to jump down on the deck after he had loosened the ropes. the mood changed. while I sail off with friends.
Bob pointed the prow down Tolo Channel in the direction of Gruff Head and Tao Mum Island. the second one. he thought. It’s a little smaller than the mainsail and then we can see how the ketch sails in this wind before getting too much sail raised.” John edged his way forward on the moving deck. Bob shut down the engine and the boat slowed a little and danced on the waves. Rogerson. You’ll have to haul on the jib line and secure it. Then it surged forward again and there was a subtle difference to the motion. “I’ve un-reefed the mainsail and the jib foresail. He started issuing more commands to the others. Talbot hauled the jib into position while John shook out the Dacron sail as it rose. “That’s the sail that’s held by the after mast. Talbot was moving up front ahead of him and seemed to be doing much better. A first sea-faring task had been accomplished.were already twice as high and there wasn’t much protection from a strong South West wind. The jib is the small sail that’s held in front of the main mast. For now we’ll try sailing with just jib and mizzen. Bob?” Marge wanted to know. The wind billowed it into a wide arc away from them and the boat bucked onto a new course until Bob corrected it with the tiller. you’ve done it before. Come on Talbot (this was John 2’s name). balancing himself against the sway of the vessel. the front one. “OK. With John helping to haul up the sail.” John was glad Marge had asked. both of which would have to be turned. the mizzen mast. holding on to everything that he could. two of you go for’ard and raise the jib. It was 168 . you too.” “What’s a mizzen. the line was secured and the sheets checked to make sure that they could be operated freely from the cockpit. His legs certainly weren’t sea legs yet. Now he knew too.
This time it took four of them. Heave ho. to get the mainsail up and secured. The wind was strong but steady and as the ketch ran before it. She was balancing a tray with cups of coffee. How good that coffee is going to taste right now. the wind in their ears and the humming of the rigging. It had changed from a mechanical vehicle into something alive.no longer being driven from behind but being pulled by the wind. the boat heeled slightly. Deborah appeared. John and Barbara sat in the well. They all enjoyed it. on course to clear Gruff head and the island just beyond. As Bob tightened the jib sheet. John looked at Barbara leaning back with her head thrust back against the force of the wind. This was fun and someone started chanting “Yo-ho. She had not been part of the crew on deck up to that point. Her hair was streaming across her face and she let go of the tray with one hand to sweep her hair out of her eyes. Soon Bob judged that they could risk another sail. They would stay on this course for the next 15 to 20 minutes. His watch told him that they had cast off from the quay nearly an hour ago: time that he hadn’t noticed until the sight of that steaming coffee. with tight sails and taught windward stays. John was pleased to see her: again she had everything under control. He changed his mind: decided on the mainsail instead of the mizzen. each enclosed in its own small well in the tray. Yo-ho Heave ho. It was joy in motion. It heeled over as they veered to the starboard. hauling on lines. It was noisy silence: alive with movement and sound but silent of the usual harshness of mechanized civilization. The mind took in the rush of water against the hull. with a spirit and life of its own. It was a graceful motion. leaning back into the wind as they watched Bob clip down the wheel into position for the next run. He eyes 169 . The yacht was hurtling along with the wind on a stable course. the waves were allies. he thought. There was no point in hanging around. They were all on deck now. …” Now the boat picked up speed.
As they came up on the end of Gruff Head and were passing Tao Mun Island. It was a small measure of safety against anyone toppling overboard. which otherwise would entail having to tack back to pick up the person. They had planned to reach Lantau Island in the early evening after six hours on the water. up into the 170 . Talbot. “Anyway. Everyone would be eating a lot in the open air on this trip. Talbot had walked forward holding onto the singing stays. the yacht in the lee of the island and the force of the wind lessened.” Talbot dutifully clipped on. “Use your safety belt. Bob had issued safety belts to the men. The idea of cooking or making sandwiches in a tilting galley just didn’t appeal. She had clearly cornered the job of feeding everyone and they were all content to let her. There are probably still one or two sharks hanging around from the summer. Deborah appeared again … this time with sandwiches. He was enjoying the trip and even looking forward to more sailing tasks. The boat came upright and Bob hauled the sail in to maintain speed. equipped to clip onto stays or the wire handrail around the deck. “I’m not sure that in this wild weather I could pick you up. or I’ll confine you below decks.” he had finished. landlubber. but it lessened anyway as the run to the turn came to an end. John munched his sandwich: ham and cucumber with a touch of French mustard: just right. They were well on their way with an eighty-minute run downwind.” Now he called out. Now they would have to turn around Tap Mun Island.were closed and there was a look of peace on her face. He smiled at Deborah as she retreated into the cabin for more sandwiches.
Karen. I knew we would have to work once we got to the turn but this looks much more than I had bargained for. They could have gone around Hong Kong Island with a pilot but Bob was not sure of the navigation so he had chosen the inner course. “Well. by comparison. saw what she had seen. had been speaking: talking of previous sailing cruises along the coast in the summer during which her biggest problem seemed to be getting a suntan. “Christ! It’s rougher than I expected. Just beyond the far point of the island. “There is very little privacy. The following day it would be even easier as most of the route would be with whatever wind was blowing. Should they go on? Was it rougher than Bob could handle? Would he make the decision to go back and call it a day? The ketch sailed on. heeling over more as it began to clear the shelter of the island. at least the top. was rough water. you know. the water was in turmoil. John could feel the tension: everyone was waiting for the decision. John looked up and following her gaze.wind and make a run past numerous small islands through the straits between Kowloon and Hong Kong to reach Lantau. the one with the body. John realized. “You know. Up to now. Suddenly they were at the tip of Tap Mun Island and beyond they could see the waters of the ocean for the first time. He heard Bob say. they had been sailing on a millpond. and despite the sound of wind and waves on the hull. It was difficult to pick out individual waves in the spray breaking from their crests.” she was saying. what thinkest thou? Do we go on?” Bob 171 . Talbot’s wife. and young men on other yachts … well …” and her voice petered out quietly. It was a busy waterway but Bob expected no particular problems. I like to get an allover tan.” Then there was a pause. crew. This.
Although everyone might have gone back happily and shared an evening at dinner on shore if the first person had suggested that. She staggered a little under the control and the gale. It was driven momentarily eastwards. He thought of raising his hand in sole opposition but Talbot’s glance at Barbara silenced him. He could make one long tack on this heading before having to turn out of the sea-lanes. Marge started to say something in a querulous treble. crabbing in the water. he pulled the head up as close to the wind as he could and the ketch heeled over and leapt from one wave crest to the next.finally said. He said nothing. but Talbot cut across her protest. Bob made some rapid calculations based on the behavior of the masthead telltale. now everyone went along with Talbot’s macho enthusiasm. John thought. and then her head came around and she pointed South West around the island.” He was looking across at Barbara with a grin and John wondered what he was really speaking about. A little risk will spice the adventure. “Anyone want to retreat?” It was the wrong way to ask the question. He would have to recalculate then. 172 . For the moment. Then there would be another long tack on this heading to try to clear the island. The ketch reached the threshold of different water and the wind caught it broadside. until Bob tightened the sheets and turned the tiller to head her into the wind. “I for one don’t want to wimp out.” We are essentially herd animals. They were now headed on a course that should clear the offshore islands towards Lantau. They might get some shelter from Victoria Peak and that would change everything. Talbot continued. but his reverse tack would probably lose ground to bring him to this side of the channel. “God No! We’ve got a stout boat and we should go through with what we have planned.
leaning with the boat and seeing the boat react to the waves and to the wind. for a while. 173 . And she let it stay there. Then. sailing at its very best. Marge retired below decks almost immediately to be followed by Brian and Karen. Everything was soon soaked and the water ran off the deck in all directions. Talbot. head to the wind. The turmoil of the movement and the allenveloping rush of sound insulating them from the world were almost sexual. the spray was thrown across the cockpit. as he looked over.This was. John and Barbara stayed on deck with Bob. This wasn’t casual sailing anymore and John was aware that Marge and Karen must have been finding it very difficult and uncomfortable below decks. John looked across and loved her all over again. As the ketch bucked and leapt forward and bucked again. with her wet hair trailing behind her. on deck. Barbara’s face was bright with excitement as she held the edge of the cockpit. was exhilarating. Talbot placed his hand on her hand on the edge of the cockpit. However.
He had been out very late that night and he had got back to his room after the police. “Shit. Maybe the emergency was over. “Shit.Chapter 26 – Terrorist at Bay The headlines read: “TERRORIST THREAT CONFINED.” The reporter went on to explain that the terrorists seem to have been confined for the moment north of Kowloon. How can you rely on friends? His friends sold him out a month ago by relaying information to a police informer. There were still many people who would help him when he told them what he could do. One man didn’t believe it. Friends would look after him there. He wanted to stop because he knew that most of the hurt and aching would disappear as soon as he stopped moving. Police helicopter searches scoured the hillsides moving them even further north.” he said again. Wang Ng had trekked across Tai Mo Shan all day and he was getting pretty tired. He laughed aloud. He had to get to Kwun Yam Keng before nightfall. from where he was he couldn’t be seen from the trails. There had not been a bomb in the last three months. his left knee hurt from two falls and he ached all over. Yet he couldn’t. Still. The soles of his feet were sore from the rocks on the trail. He had seen them before they saw him. That he wasn’t afraid of killing: the police couldn’t do any more to him if he killed 174 . The police arrived early in the morning but he had beaten them. He got out of Tsuen Wan town-ship and had been moving ever since. He had kept to the hillsides just above the work trails and the rough ground made it difficult. and yet he could see anyone approaching.” he said aloud as he thought.
badly. chop. Even now they had Han Kew in jail but there must be another informer out there because Han Kew had been laying very low … his grandmother had kept him hidden for almost two years. grasping at the tall bushes. They had started with that stupid bomb at the college. Those fat pigs in the Legco would have given in and they would have paid out too. stumbling up the rough ground. Tau Chen. It was still too light … and then he heard the chop. It was too much notice at first. He would have to come down a little and follow the trail. The next bombs had worked well.” again. had been carrying the bomb to the Supreme Court. He pushed through another thicket of brush and crossed an open grassy meadow to look down at the trail as it curled around the mountain to the right. Then came that other goddamn mistake.” another helicopter and I’m in the open. The tram shaking must have set it off … he didn’t know but after the explosion In Hennessey Road the police had become very alert and difficult. Left in the wrong place. They were everywhere. “Shit. Wang stumbled again on the downhill. at the Capital and the Supreme Court. falling and recovering. They seemed to know exactly where he and his friends might be. It had been a good idea to stay with that target because they wouldn’t have been expecting another at the same place so soon. chop. poor sucker. and just because some stupid pregnant bitch had happened by. a sheer mistake. He could hear the sound of the rotor become much louder as he 175 . He would get some sneakers tomorrow.again … and again. He had stubbed a toe now. the police had nearly managed to stop them. Sandals weren’t the best shoes for hills. of another helicopter. The last six years hadn’t been easy. “Bloody shit. he thought. especially when he was in a hurry. He looked back at the bush and sprinted towards it.
he moved on. Two of them were in prison and one was waiting for trial. but he had lucked out. after the Hennessey Road explosion. one evening. He continued down the hill roughly parallel to the trail. still stumbling over the rough clods of earth. under the cover of the bush – just as the helicopter swept low over the hill. the police seemed to have better information. I’ll get someone who can move about the junks at night … or perhaps I’ll just meet his daughter. A few more steps and he threw himself down. Yes. They came to houses where he might have been staying if he hadn’t been lucky. he brushed his knuckles on the ground to push himself off again.” he said again.” he said again and sucked at the wound. panting. It would 176 .moved. POLICE was written in large orange letters on the body of the plane – and then it was gone. He wasn’t sure but the police might be getting their information from Ngo Ling Wu. Su. Then he noticed blood from his torn knuckles dripping across his hand onto the dust. When I can move back into town I’ll squash that old man. The hillside was now covered in shoulder-height bushes and saplings growing thickly together. he thought. He was so violent at the club. I should have done something about that old man right at the beginning. “Shit. Once down on one knee. The back of his left ankle really hurt badly: it must have been hurt in running away from the helicopter. I should have known that he wouldn’t be quiet. one with binoculars looking almost directly at him. he retraced his path down towards the trail and keeping it in sight on his left. “Shit. It would take him about an hour more to the village. It was so close he could see two officers. He moved as quickly as he could by pushing his way through. They caught a lot of his friends. When he was sure they had gone. He lay there for a while to make sure that they didn’t circle and hadn’t seen him.
be dark soon and he had to reach the village while there was still light – he would never find it otherwise. keeping a careful eye open for snakes at the same time. The next branch too. not daring to put his fingers through the leaves. As the light began to fail. They felt as if they were in one piece but they were swelling and they hurt like hell. maybe? He didn’t like snakes. Then. reaching forward. Now what have I done. His ankle twisted and he fell headlong through the undergrowth. missed it. felt his ankle and lower leg. Did it feel a little soft? He let the branch spring back quickly. He knew they climbed bushes and lay along branches – perhaps on the branch he was reaching for. It seemed endless.” he exploded. avoiding hurt. he sat up and. “Fucking hell. The thick bush on the hillside was a nuisance. It could have been a small animal: a rat or a snake. He caught hold of a sapling and pulled himself upright. He would just have to be more careful. He pushed one with his arm. Wang was almost running to clear this hillside section of undergrowth. it became darker quickly in the bushes and he could see no more than silhouettes. Eventually. He put out one hand to touch another branch. He broke of a bough to help him but it 177 . It hurt badly when he put his weight on his left foot but he had no option. Still nothing was broken. broken my leg? Slowly. The next branch he touched he worried about a snake. The branches all looked like snakes and the noises multiplied. He lay there gasping for breath and felt a new pain soaring through his ankle. tumbling over down the hill and finally coming to a stop in a crumpled heap. and lurched forward only to step on an unseen loose rock. as he pushed one branch aside he thought he heard something extra to the swish of the branches and the leaves.
stepping on a boulder and leaping off in his haste. He cast around for one. He got up stumbling and limped on.wasn’t firm enough to lean on. “Shit.” he said again. It was the helicopter returning for another sweep. rose in the air for a turn about a hundred yards away and came sweeping back. Then he heard the sound again: chop. His path took him directly under the helicopter and it had to sweep up and turn again before catching him once more in the searching beam. His only hope was to curl around the base of one of the larger boulders. he thought. The popping of the blades was getting much closer now. He emerged from the expanse of bushes and made better time on hillside covered only with thick grass and some boulders. But it was quick. Now he was moving faster and he seemed to have no trouble with the rough ground … he felt like a deer. which might be large enough to hide him. The word was becoming a mantra. He had abandoned thought of cover. I’ll have to do without. It bent. He leapt across rough ground. He could see the trail: there was no one on it and it would lead him directly to the village. Ignoring pain he ran directly down the hill to the trail for better running. chop. Where on earth could I hide on this hillside? he thought. very large as it rounded the corner of the hill directly ahead of him. chop. the pains shot up through his leg to his hip and he fell. It was getting darker by the minute. They had seen him immediately in the broad sweep of the floodlight. The copter swept over him. looking about. but still with twenty yards to go the helicopter appeared. The grass wasn’t thick enough to burrow into. its vehemence satisfying him for a while. the 178 . He would soon be there. The leg wouldn’t support him. He saw one boulder about fifty yards away and started running towards it. His ankle and leg were in agony.
but his hip was immobilized. He fumbled for his own weapon and found that. They were so sure that they would catch him. He sank back. It knocked him down. He scrambled sideways. Dust sprang up to one side.” he shouted. they were being careful.police could see the prey and they weren’t about to have wasted all day on the search and lose him now. both of them. rather than heard. half sliding. He ignored the warning. above your head or in front of you. you had better stop running now. Picking himself up he threw himself on towards the trail. And the force of the blades flattened the grass around him. It was only about thirty yards away when he felt. The helicopter landed on the trail a little way off and two uniformed police ran towards him with their guns drawn. “Wang Ng. He rolled and tried to get up again. “Shit. shattered by the bullet. He knew that if there had been more cover they would have shot quickly. “You should stop now or we will be forced to shoot you. legs wide apart with both hands holding the revolver pointing directly at Wang Ng’s head. There could be no fight to the death. he had dropped it. There is no cover and you cannot get away but if you try to we will be forced to fire on you. He was knocked off his balance. 179 . half rolling.” he said again. It was the end of the trail that night.” This time there was a very short pause and he felt a sharp pain in his hip. He could hear them now. “Let me see your hands. The other approached warily from above. He knew then that he had been shot. a bullet miss him by only a foot or two. One stood rigidly.” They said it first in English and then in Cantonese. thinking he had stumbled on a rock. Before her reached the trail they bore down on him. somewhere in the panic of the flight down the hillside. As they got closer they were very careful.
the police constable came up. the helicopter flew around the edge of the hill and its noise faded into the distance. aimed a vicious kick at Wang Ng’s head. “My foot slipped. The young policeman grinned. As they reported their success to headquarters.” He pulled Wang Ng up into a sitting position and forced his face down into the grass. pulled them together behind his back and snapped on handcuffs.As Wang Ng brought his hands up and laid back on the hillside. and at the last moment. which had so recently been filled with fear and hate. Another of the terrorists was in custody.” he said. “Sorry. The only sign of the capture was a circle of crushed grass and a quiet emptiness. Then kneeling on his back he reached for Wang’s hands. bundled him in. Between them the two policemen dragged Wang Ng back to the helicopter. He ducked but the boot caught him hard on the shoulder and he rolled further down the hill. and the bird rose with a whirring and a popping into the evening sky. 180 .
or concert pianist. Without Marge clinging to him he emerged as his own character. slight young man. The weather had worsened in the past thirty minutes. Seasickness was not a problem that he had to battle. with fine features and hands. it was Brian who was now able to help. judging from the moans wouldn’t come out until the boat had been safely docked – for a week. On one of her numerous visits carrying coffee. Now they were so large that the ketch couldn’t skip from one crest to the next. He could have been a dance. The ketch sailed strongly and steadily into the channel and the waves increased in size as they went. but John discovered that he was in sales for a computer software company. on the other hand. He decided that Brian must be quite successful with that soft-spoken low-key approach. Anyway.Chapter 27 – The storm John hadn’t seen Marge and Karen since the yacht had turned into the wind. He had apparently been in the Navy for three years and had played around in boats of all kinds when he was a kid back in Connecticut. The waves encompassed their world: there was nothing else to be 181 . certainly not at this eye level. Brian. Deborah (Deb he now called her) had said that they had retired to their cabins and probably. He was a soft-spoken. the motion had been exhilarating but the waves had increased to a size that John had not seen before. Each time it headed up it shuddered and water broke across its bows to stream back towards them in the well. As it reached a crest the prow pitched forward and headed into the trough before lurching up the other side. At the beginning. and help efficiently. had come back on deck. he felt sold on Brian’s sailing ability and he was comforted that when Bob had to decide what changes to make in rigging and in the course. or gay.
He reasoned hat he was being unreasonable: that every ‘sign’ he’d seen of something between them could be explained away. Talbot was standing. went down to the main cabin leaving Bob and Brian to sail the boat. Barbara and he. Barbara? What’s the secret? Did you take seasickness tablets this morning or something?” As he spoke he realized how desperate he sounded and 182 . He began to feel a little afraid. until he started to string them together. “How are you managing to look so comfortable. John had to brace himself between the table and the bulkhead but he couldn’t forecast when the boat would spill over the next wave or lurch upwards. He was looking down at Barbara and they were laughing at some joke he had just made. They could be quite natural. roll. Neither Barbara nor Talbot seemed to be affected by the motion. and yaw. There was no horizon. with his feet apart riding the motion of the boat. The sooner it was over the better. He said. It was probably the confinement in this damned boat that was making him think this way. He hated not having control over his destiny. John felt the sweat on his brow and couldn’t distinguish between jealousy and seasickness. She was curled up on the lounge bunk with her feet braced against the side and her back lodged against the cushions in the corner.seen. He tried to smile at Barbara as if he had heard the joke. In the main cabin it was hot and uncomfortable. Vaguely at the back of his mind he remembered old Pritchard lecturing in dynamics at the University … a boat can pitch. It wasn’t the fear of doing something badly. wind-driven spray filled the air. leaning on his hands against the end of the bunk. It began to rain but even without rain. Right now his stomach was doing all three and his brow was cold and wet with sweat. and Talbot. Both made him want to cringe. It was the deeper fear of having no control in the middle of forces that were letting them be for a moment only because they were insignificant.
Barbara’s smile was one usually reserved for him when she replied. John. Hanging onto it even though it was loosely secured by a loop of rope. We’re trying hard not to think about anything but conversation. Bob was fighting the wheel. Brian was leaning out over a main cleat just forward of the cockpit. Bob shouted and John could see his mouth opening but he couldn’t hear the words. He couldn’t stand it any longer.” She laughed but as she did so. and he 183 . He was having difficulty in making a secure knot. so unexpected at times. Brian is trying to tie a line to the sheet on the sail side of the jammed cleat so that he can cut the rope where it comes out of the cleat. balancing easily on his feet. John pulled himself across. she turned her face up to Talbot. Can you help him?” The sheet was taut and it snapped as each wave struck. especially as he had to lie half out of the cockpit and hang onto its rim. The boom shuddered. and the noise of the ships timbers struggling against the power of the waves was so violent and alive. Still. before it pulls the damn boat over. Shaking his head and wiping his hair from his eyes. He felt sick. The motion in the cabin was so rough. “We need to lower the mainsail. I’m not quite as calm as I’m trying to appear. he even felt refreshed after the stuffiness and the mood in the cabin. It lashed his face as if someone had thrown a bucket of water at him. He pulled himself over and put his ear close to Bob’s mouth. and John was again consumed with Jealousy. The deck was a whirlwind of water as the waves broke over the boat. It was about all he could do. As he opened the hatch a burst of spray reached the cockpit. that he went up on deck. and it’s working … a little. “Don’t fight it.how badly this must contrast to someone who was standing casually by. and cracking jokes. but the sheet has jammed. The line that Brian was using was wet and stiff. holding fast to wet and slippery woodwork.
He took out his knife and opened it.” Brian reached out again and John leaned across his legs. Now Brian and John had to lower the mainsail. I might have had my face crushed into a yellow sou’wester oilskin jacket. They crept out of the cockpit. carefully clipping onto a wire guideline that Bob had set out just before they turned into the wind. Together at the mainsail. “Let it out some more. he thought. Brian tied an acceptable knot and slipped back into the cockpit. Then he heard a snap and the sail slapped above his head. It must have been some sort of modern material: Gortex or something similar. as Brian worked.” Brian did and they could feel the boat slow and wallow considerably as the wind spilled from the sail. at the cost of a fingernail. His face was pressed against Brian’s maroon jacket.” “OK. Not so long ago. John. It looked good quality stuff. thought John. 184 . The rope is swollen. The ropes had been pulled fast into themselves around the pulley sheaves by the motion of the sail.caught hold of Brian’s legs so that he could get two hands on the job. This may take some time to saw through the sheet. and. the lines came loose and he and Brian lowered the mainsail slowly to about half height and then secured the lines again. Eventually. I can hold you. Bob shouted from behind them. Brian had cut the sheet and the line had snapped taut again taking up the slack of Brian’s additional loop. that he is really shouting obscenities but it sounds as though he is whispering. Everything is pretty wet and the deck is slippery. they struggled with wet lines. “Hold on again. Go for it. He could see where a seam had been double stitched and there was the start of a gusset under the arm. Brian was swearing under his breath. or it may be. grasping his waist and belt for additional grip. Finally. John’s eyes had nothing to look at but the weave of the cloth. It looked so thin but it was strong.
John felt warm to have been part of the action. The sail billowed out. dripping water everywhere. They scrambled forward. “You look as if you’ve been swimming. since earlier she had put up a couple of thermos flasks when it was still possible to boil water on the stove. Brian took over for Bob at the wheel and John retreated to the cabin. They were sharing a whispered confidence and laughing when he came in. Barbara said. John slipped. struggling to secure a reef. How is it out there? Are we getting anywhere?” John muttered something about it being “a hell of a storm” and that they had lowered the sail. the job was done and they both scrambled back to the cockpit. and the ketch was wallowing in the waves and beginning to turn broadside on. They could see only about fifteen feet in the thundering chaos of spray and water. Barbara and Talbot were still where he had left them: still talking. He got a thermos from Deborah and one mug. but he found that he couldn’t look into her eyes for fear of seeing guilt there. Most of the work had to be done by feel.By this time. still clipped to the lines and reefed the sail down along the length of the boom. One foot skidded across wet wood to wedge his weight in the scupper and he was glad of the safety line as he struggled to his feet again. and then groping along to the next. He was about to go out again. John thought they might have been a lot closer if Deb had not been in the cabin with them. Her foresight again. grasping wet ties. They could all do with a hot drink and Deb would surely have some. 185 . Bob had taken the force off the sail. Eventually. but the boat surged forward again but this time not at such a dangerous angle. Bob now steered back off the wind so that the shortened sail could pick it up and give the boat a little way. That would be enough. thought John. looking sadly ineffective compared to its full size. sailing into the wind.
He was holding the wheel so firmly that he could feel the edge of the wet wood biting into his hand.when he heard the cry. He would be tolerated to guide the boat until the demon 186 . so he kept it there. John hauled him back into the cockpit and. There was no Brian. her eyes widen. There was spray everywhere. relieving the strain on the rope. before the scream ended. Bob’s hands clenched into fists and they beat the deck in front of him. He was crying. got him back down into the cabin. The ketch was moving forward steadily as best as he could judge. stumbling on the threshold in his hurry. held by its rope loop. still pitching over the crests of waves and struggling back through the troughs. He could see legs on the far side of the cockpit. John had no idea what to do with the wheel. helped by Talbot who had appeared. jerking back and forth. He dropped the thermos and sprang to the hatchway. It had no words but the message was agonizingly clear: terror and desperation. There was nothing but turmoil on the deck: the sail snapping above his head and wind and waves everywhere. There was no sight of any other vessel or land in the dark ahead. John was looking at Deborah at that moment and he saw her mouth open. He heard it above the rush of the wind and above the sound of creaking timbers. He had never held one before except at a couple of cocktail parties on yachts moored in the harbor. The cockpit was empty and the wheel was swinging. and the blood drain from her face. As John got to him. The wheel was still held by its rope loop. Bob was prone with arms reaching out towards the far side of the boat just forward of the cockpit. and when he got to them he found that they were Bob’s. While the others saw to him. John went back to the deck to take care of the wheel. He felt that he only had control so far as some weather demon allowed.
fingers wrapped around the wheel’s spokes. But there was no Brian. He tossed the hair from his eyes. and he put those defeatist thoughts out of his mind.changed its mind. 187 .
the “Forgotten Two Million” fell right into this category. 50. Her work with Peter Marshall on behalf of her people. The Tiananamen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989 exacerbated Chinese worries in Hong Kong. Some abandoned Hong Kong for good while others gained citizenship in their new countries and then returned.5 million.Chapter 28 – People and Politics Su enjoyed the political scene. They had no faith at all in Hong Kong politics because. Of that number only 47. Some said that it was a start to fuller elections but others made their own plans. Some of course.000 and then 20. when a few of Legislators were elected to office for the first time. but the real trial was to persuade those who did have status to do something for those who did not. most did not have the funds to pick up their roots so there was still a large constituency for Peter and Su to worry about. She didn‘t like dealing with career politicians whose objective was to retain a seat and who swayed to any prevailing wind. back in 1985. However.000 a year began leaving the Territories for Australia and Canada.000 were eligible to vote under the new system of indirect elections. out of a population of 5. would not wait for their work. 10 percent of the total population left. only 70. Safeguarding their right would hurt no one.000 registered to vote and only about 25.000 a year even went to the United States.000 went to the polls. 10. To her mind it didn’t have to be for the majority of people as long as other groups weren’t hurt by the initiative. 188 . she did enjoy arranging for the resources and persuasive power to achieve some worthwhile objective for a group of people. Hong Kong was certainly “living on borrowed land and on borrowed time” and some had elected not to wait for the Chinese Rights Assembly. However.
who came from a farm and went to college and got a degree and even. “Hello. carved out a successful consulting niche. she thought. In the past five years she and Peter had managed to show the ‘haves’ that the ‘have-nots’ were worth having around: they were valuable citizens. Moreover. Su had been able to publicize every achievement of her people. They were established as a legitimate registered political group. Yoko. It may even help you. my age. the natural inhabitants of the territory as well as those who were originally illegal aliens. She ought to do an article on him soon. she thought. We haven’t met for a little while but there is something that you can help me with. was a case in point.With the help of Eric Chan in the legislative council. She recognized his fine high voice when he answered. No better time than now. they had a small power base. and others who were on the verge of being elected. There was someone. Lim Yok. Can I be of help to you?” He had spoken in English. an agricultural advance. she would have more time to do the article. while going on for an advanced degree. She thumbed through the directory at her elbow and picked up the phone to dial Lim Yok’s number: 3-580853. He was fulfilling a need that others had ignored or done badly.” 189 . and Peter was going to be away giving his series of lectures (they were emphasizing human relationships as part of the background of their work and the lectures did carry college credit) … now that Peter would be traveling very day throughout the territory. “Lim Associates. She sat back resting her head on the back of the lounge chair. Every week she made sure that there was some reference in the newspapers of a business success. this is Su Wu here. Now that she had got Chan moving again. That was something. or even a scientific or an artistic move. but she replied in Cantonese.
I’ll do it.She went on to explain that Peter’s campaign (it was never her campaign) included emphasizing the achievements of their people.” “There’s more to it than that. “However. I need to know the person. I didn’t understand what you were talking about. “I want to include an interview with you as an example of how people can get on and how valuable a resource you are to Hong Kong. and in a way we are both right. so he said. “So.” Lim Yok was reluctant at first. so if you interview me you may get another earful of the same subject. That’s just a framework. but I do know that you were both a bit idealistic. we were both fiercely sure that we were each right. Of course the publicity would be valuable. Why you did what you did. how you managed it.” He agreed to meet for the interview. Knowing Su he would get center page billing and he could hardly pay for that sort of advertising. and what you want to get out of it all. Whenever you met in the Union you used to sit and argue. “After all you knew me six years ago when I crawled out of the paddy fields and we worked for that crazy Australian of yours. I need to know whether you are still like that. Our arguments almost formed a cornerstone of what I want to do eventually. Yoko.” “Sure I remember. if you feel I’ll help the campaign.” Su replied. “You’re right. which comes first.” Then he thought again. That’s why we need to have time to talk. “I don’t really think I am much of an example. I seem to remember that you used to argue with Candy over something. I don’t particularly feel that I have a virtue to be written about. Beware!” 190 .” he said.” she said. “There’s not much you don’t know already.” Lim Yok laughed. otherwise you wouldn’t have called me. We still argue about trade and energy. Since then you have probably seen what I have been doing. Su.
She answered lightly. “I suppose that you know that Candy and I are very good friends?” She thought he sounded a bit apologetic about it. having parallel lives. but I heard the other day that Candy had an apartment in Jordan Valley. “OK. I want the entire low-down on this man who can eat so much salt chicken and bean curd. Both had made their way into fields usually reserved for those with a European background and both were living. Now I need the interview. Let’s meet for dinner on Thursday. They were lucky. They got on well. I don’t mind. “No way. Over coffee. people and events. places. Peter’s going to do a series of lectures: a mini-tour. “Yes. Su said. I hope that you won’t mind me being business-like and switching to my tape recorder?” “No. that’s the free meal. Both came from poorer Chinese families. Dinner was very pleasant. During the meal they found plenty to laugh about and when she thought back neither of them mentioned any difficulties in their lives. one way or another. How about the Hakka restaurant near the North Point Garden? Say at eight? Is that OK?” He was there promptly. There it all was: the sequence 191 .He paused and added. “I shall come alone. I thought you were living together. she thought.” Lim Yok replied. Where and when?” “Next week would be good for me. I admit that I just came for the meal. with a non-Chinese person. He had got a table and some tea was already waiting. You’ll have to bring her along to the interview and then I’ll get an in-depth coverage of what really makes Lim Yok tick.” She wasn’t about to pry into personal relationships but she had told him that it didn’t matter if they were living together or not. Where do you want to start?” They started with the bare bones of Lim Yok’s life: dates.
Why you?” “Well. “but I found that if you have any interests outside the farm then that life can be a prison. was sorry that he couldn’t have given her more. She said.” he said. The spirit needs release. my mother too helped always. “The other person was one of my teachers. yes. and harvest the rice. However. I think. as she had said. “Yes. I can’t quite remember when I wanted to do more. That’s on television and in the newspapers: you need to be part of it. He wouldn’t have let me go without her persuasion and her wanting for it to happen. There is usually plenty of food – if the harvest is good and if there is no flood or typhoon at the wrong time. it is not enough to see what else there is. giving me the chance to go on was for my mother. He 192 . I always had that feeling I think. My father loves my mother very much and. as a framework. and that some good might come out of my study. Perhaps. “What do think triggered you. generations of your family never felt the urge to study at College. who was always encouraging students to look beyond the writing and the arithmetic that we had to do. Yan Ling.” Su murmured encouragingly. Of course. Yoko? After all. “You know. She was able to persuade my father at a crucial time that I was not trying to evade the hard farm work. She needed that. They were quite content to work the fields. You have a roof and a root.” She checked that her recorder was taking it all down. but there were two people who had great influence. it explained nothing of the whys and wherefores of his progress. One was my mother. working the fields isn’t a bad life.that had taken him from behind the mud cow to advising the executive desk of several premier Hong Kong firms. They encouraged me and made the changes smoother for me.” He paused and took a sip of coffee while he thought. especially when it knows that there is life outside of the fields. care for the buffalo.
’ It seems obvious popbut at the time it made me think and it furiously. have to read to psychology now made me read reader. I know that you are hoping to do more at a University. He had been a very old man even when he taught at the village school. worth taking.” “Then. until you get it right. she thought.” he said. “I know how you qualified and I know about your consulting work. “Now.” He laughed.” “on another occasion Yan Ling said. about six months after I started going to evening classes at college. in improving tools on the farm.” she said. That must be something because I don’t remember anything that any other teacher told me. ‘You reach the stars.” They were silent for a while. drinking coffee.’ He was speaking about my trying to draw something at the time. Have you seen him since?” “No. and in preparing my reports as a consultant.” he went on. but I have remembered it many times in trying to do my studies. I have been told that your advice is wood. ‘Never erase a trial until you get it right. There must be other young people in the Chinese communities who are waiting for a spark. Yoko. he looked sad. he died. It is very valuable to compare how well you do something against the last time you tried and failed. I can remember two things he told me. It could be worthwhile. “he told me. a small encouragement. Lim Yok had a very far away look and for the first time that evening. “I wonder if he ever realized that he had been a good teacher: that by a spark he had ignited someone. It’s the way I judge whether I am making any progress or not. What I don’t know is 193 . There could be a wealth of talent out there.” “Anyway. Su was beginning to see her article: she was forming the objectives and flow of the story. I have always been an avid Su said softly. “Maybe I was a poor listener. in seeking clients now.wanted us to know why learning was useful.
” Lim Yok felt very strongly on the subject and had apparently thought about it at length. Perhaps this is where that old argument with Candy comes in. The path he had taken had seemed worthwhile at each turn in the road and. is a good cooperative effort now in several projects. Lim Yok explained. books to read. He had never had really set a long-term goal. What is your target? I would judge that it is not just to be rich. The contrasts would be difficult – even so difficult as to cause a living wound in the side of Mother China that might require cauterizing. In the end. tell me. The links need to be forged now and I 194 . “I know the rates you charge! So. “I have never set a target but I always seem to be moving in a consistent direction. If I was given the option now of some future achievement. For a moment. he had been happy. Su waited. She stayed silent. letting the small tape recorder be her second pair of ears. and I’d certainly like to be part of it.where you are eventually going. and the Chancellor handing him a little scroll … all short-term goals. although that might happen too. looking back. Su had posed a very difficult question to answer honestly.” She laughed. so Su let him go on. Perhaps a farmer couldn’t see beyond the next harvest. It was only in looking back that you knew it was the right path. Hong Kong is different from China. reports to write. I would have to say that I would like to help Hong Kong and China in making an easy union. and as energy intensive as China is dependent on the human back. It is as rich as Guangdong Province is poor. “One thing that may help the Union. he could see the rump of the mud cow straining at the plow before him: examinations for which he had to study. just what would you like to achieve?” Lim Yok had to think. In some ways Hong Kong is so powerful that it might be as difficult for China as we seem to think it will be for Hong Kong. He drank some more coffee to give himself a few more seconds before answering. as international as China is provincial.
Tell me more about you. When we first met you were an awestruck salesgirl hanging onto Peter’s words.” he said finally. a technical one. I thought 195 . It would ease us into the union like nothing else political or commercial ever could. Another is going on now – the Daya Bay nuclear project. We just have time to initiate it. That’s what I used to argue with Candy. all the more so in person. and the better standard of living that comes with power.” “What we need. His rallying arena was the boardroom while Peter’s was the stadium. Trading agreements will simply disappear at the instant of the return of the territory. if I had seen the words written in a newspaper. It would promise a joint prosperity more equal than the harsh differences now between Hong Kong and China. That will be finished next year. the promise of sufficient power to all. One energy project that we have had all along is the supply of water to Hong Kong.” he said with fervor. that is more of a cooperative effort with Europe than Hong Kong because of the French involvement … they are jealous of everything that we do. I would have ignored the article. another emancipator.think there is time. “ is a large power project that is truly a joint venture of Hong Kong and the PRC.” As he spoke. I am tired of them. It would promise work for a large number of people. Yet it was still all about cooperation. I think they should be in the energy field. “Enough. rather than one of human relationships. she thought. but one speaking in a wholly different field. How on earth did she get tied up with these visionaries? Lim Yok has a powerful message. That’s why he is doing so well as a personal consultant rather than a writer. His rallying call was in the work ethic. such as they are. Unfortunately. He is convincing. “That’s enough about me and my hopes. of working together. Cooperation in an energy project is much more important than any common trading agreement. Su had the feeling that she was listening to another Peter Marshall.
This probably explains what I am doing here this evening. “So. “I only get people to do what they really want to do in the first place.” said Su.you were very beautiful though a little undernourished. he continued. “I understand that you are a natural politician and that you manipulate people all the time. Tell me more about you.” 196 . Right?” “You’re evading my question. Now you seem to be eating better and you’re even more beautiful.” “Not true. spilling out all my private thoughts to you.” He paused and she was aware of his eyes surveying her body. I think you probably believe an article would help a little.
This time the words were clearer as they etched themselves into Candy’s new consciousness. There was a storm. It was their boat. Slowly. “What is it mother? Take it slowly. Father wad dead. They have been looking for him because there was very urgent business at the office. holding on for consciousness. with friends.” she said. Then they found that a tanker had reported hitting something during the night. She would not forget them. I don’t know what to do. They had apparently sailed for Lantau but there was a storm. Candy was silent. you know. she awoke to the need to pick up the phone. He was dead. That would mean he could no longer talk to her. They were well away from the direction to Lantau … south of Hong Kong Island. “Yes. He went sailing two days ago. What has happened?” She began to feel afraid. what is it?” But her mother’s incoherence persisted. I didn’t know he was going. No. “Yes. That rather distant man. was dead. “It’s your father. Who. They got caught in a storm and must have been hit by the tanker. It was dark. carrying oil from Japan. they haven’t found a life raft or anything. Now they have found the wreckage. who had leant down and cuddled her when he came home … that man who played with her in the garden and who had talked to her on the phone only last week. It was her mother and in her sleepiness Candy hardly recognized her.Chapter 29 – A Woman in Charge Candy had just fallen asleep. No. and they have been searching.” She was crying again. Dead. No. at this ungodly hour? she thought. the successful man. It couldn’t 197 . No one should have been out on the ocean. raining and no one could see anything. It burbled in her ear and she reached out to shut off the alarm but the burbling continued. there’s nothing you can do. It was a terrible night out there.
mother. She just missed John and …” She broke into tears again. Her mother eventually stopped sobbing. of her father playing with her. there’s nothing to do here. Mum? Are you all-right?” “No Candy. I thought we should be together but perhaps it’s better that we sleep. are you there? I can’t hear you? Have you said anything? Candy. are you there. Have you alerted the lifeboat service? The navy? Has anyone done anything to find their boat?” “Candy. holding her hand. Her night was filled with memories: of her father talking to her on his knees against her bed.really be true because she could phone the office now and talk to him. Dad’s gone. of her father walking with her. Will you be all right? Everything here will be looked after. The lifeboats have been out all night. and somehow … in abstract. “Candy. I don’t think there is much hope … any hope. I told you. Candy was silent. The weather had changed and it would be a beautiful day. Then she remembered: Dad is dead. There wasn’t much left of the boat. Eventually. He couldn’t be dead. Her pillow was wet with tears. I’m here. She 198 . They have found wreckage. Candy?” “Yes. the sun woke her. without him there. Maybe he wouldn’t be dead if her mother had not chosen to say so. in an awful emptiness.” “Do you want me to come home tonight. The days that followed were confusion to Candy. She wasn’t expecting a death. Make one move backwards in time – let’s start this conversation again. Candy couldn’t sleep again. I don’t believe it. Your Aunt Mary arrived yesterday for a visit.
she thought. now there were everyday decisions to be taken. Strangers came to the house. About a month after the disaster. Whoever it was hadn’t appeared. However. A few were chief executives of other Hong Kong houses. and running the home. Only years later would she discover why. wordless and still. Her mother sat staring at the water below. Candy knew that it would be better if her mother really cried for her husband. That had been put on a thirty-day hold. Then she put it off until later. the Vice Chairman appeared for a decision to increase his authority. There might be someone left whom I should visit. They sat together on the veranda in the bright sun overlooking the straits and Kowloon and she could not make contact. her mother was out of touch. Poor Sir Arthur! After an uncomfortable hour with her silent mother he had taken his leave. and yet. Formal friends of the family … the Governor was one … and they paid their respects. Sir Arthur Gould. I should see a list of those who died. Aunt Mary was there quietly doing everything for her sister.packed a case and returned to the house on Mount Austin Road to help her mother. as Candy had for her father. he had been on the yacht. Others were staff of Rogerson’s: older employees who had known John Rogerson as a boy with his father. graciously accepted by the customer in view of the circumstances. It was a gathering of the family in adversity. Candy 199 . Emotionally. The Company had looked for John Rogerson urgently at first because a South American proposal had been accepted. She was in no state to pay a sympathy call. golfing and shooting friends. but it never happened. Perhaps. she found it inadequate. He didn’t seem to have many contemporaries and Candy wondered who had been her father’s best friend. It was a time for holding hands. She was not needed. Other visitors came from Rogerson’s seeking decisions from her mother.
Candy. here. There is no one of the stature of your father of course. perhaps even since his death. He was not expected to do. they had all been sworn to confidentiality but naturally he supposed that John Rogerson’s family would have known. He confided sadly that he had always been a figurehead on a par with the American Vice President. Someone had to make a decision. Sir Arthur took her outburst well. John Rogerson had acted his part well. I’ve no idea.walked him through the house.” “What change over?” Candy asked. Now. Now he would have to convene the board tom elect a new Chairman. but decisions have to be made and this is a critical time in the change over for the firm. Of course. 200 . after his death. Candy was first astounded and then angry. anything. He has always spoken of the strength of trade and the ability of their family to make the prosperity of the Colony. Sir Arthur was surprised that she didn’t know what Rogerson’s had been doing over the past few years. or even be able to do. Her father had always been loyal to the standing of Rogerson’s as a Hong Kong trading company of tradition and authority. one of his employees was speaking what amounted to blasphemy … that Rogerson’s property and ties with Hong Kong were being sold and the funds were being moved through Swiss banks to holdings in Brazil and Columbia. Sir Arthur?” “Well. She had missed the headlines in the newspapers a few days earlier. Her father had never spoken this way … it looked like the work of unfaithful employees. “Who will be head of Rogerson’s now. but he explained the intention to leave Hong Kong and to diversify their holdings into energy brokerage in South America. Candy asked.
we think. We think our competitors. One of the early British colonialists. an old firm. Perhaps he never thought her capable of understanding. “You know. It’s true.“I’m sorry. There she learnt that she was the major beneficiary under her father’s will along with her mother. and her face flushed. He visited Rio de Janeiro. Candy. She could still hardly believe that her father had abandoned Hong Kong in the face of its return to China. Her father’s solicitor. Would it have been different if she had been a boy? Two days later Candy visited the family solicitors. the Germans. and the last round of uprisings sealed of Guatemala.” Candy was staring at him. There was also a fairly substantial sum left to a Barbara 201 . she thought. Siemens. “progress hasn’t been as swift as it was. have discovered who we are and are taking our inroads seriously. an old man who seemed to have spent all his days out of the light.” He shook her hand. But it has been a long haul and right now we need some jolly good leadership to carry on. read her father’s will in a spiritless monotone. Lawson. “Lately. her mouth half open in amazement. He had never mentioned anything. We have disposed of most of our losing subsidiaries and much of Rogerson’s real estate in Kowloon already.” he continued. sometimes in these ventures.” He became serious. They stopped our negotiations in Bolivia. you can get stuck in mid-field and it’s damn difficult to make it back to either wicket. Wilkinson and Brown. She walked slowly back to her mother. who had offices both in Hong Kong and at the Inns of Court. and Bogotá about half a dozen times. La Paz. We are successful in Brazil and have just started offices in Bogotá. Your father set this course for the Company about six years ago and he has done all the negotiations in South America himself. patted her on the shoulder like a little girl and left in his Rolls.
She idly wondered what the court would do when they died together.” he said patronizingly. For the moment I have power of attorney. Her inheritance. He had been sitting looking out of the window. It was a picture of prosperity. she recognized it. my dear. She met him in his office on the 31st floor. Her father must have known Barbara Chin well. and the sun shone on new buildings.Chin. which had just recently been completed between the space museum and the Old Clock Tower. The last derelicts of the waterfront had been replaced: from this distance the last piece of the jigsaw had been laid down. Today. It had been one of those listed in the Standard as one of the passengers on the ill-fated yacht. judging by the size of the bequest. we. at almost the same scene that she had seen whenever she visited her Father. “… So my mother and I have decided to have a say in Rogerson’s. That afternoon she was in the Rogerson Building looking for Sir Arthur. I. He had had more secrets that she had suspected. coupled with her Mother’s. of course. The water sparkled. As she heard the name. Why would Rogerson’s leave it? Sir Arthur swung his chair around and half rose to greet her. I presume that you can arrange that?” “Yes. The picture was complete. would like to call a Board meeting in the next two days and I would like to speak there. “We will need to speak of a successor to pursue your father’s 202 . gave them more than a controlling interest in Rogerson’s. The city covered the low land spreading back to the hills: back to the encircling fringe of white apartment towers. but she had already sat down and was in midsentence. Kowloon looked particularly impressive.
whom he knew. Then she hear Sir Arthur say. and in view of Ms. Sir Arthur had not reached this position without some business sense. Furthermore. He had no intention of allowing someone else to take control. Given an impulse this group could turn on her. Who did you say my father’s economic advisors were? I should meet with them before the Board meeting. Rogerson and her daughter. this board was called to discuss that policy. “I would like to hear what the Board members have to say.” Sir Arthur sat with his mouth open.objectives. The woman who sat in front of his desk acted as if she intended to be obeyed. This was not John Rogerson’s little girl. Rogerson’s reservations regarding the present Company policy. Candy watched the faces around the table. He first of all paid tribute to John Rogerson and offered the commiserations of the Board to Candy. 203 . and why the meeting had been called. a few days later.” He paused and there was a stir around the table: a cough. Sir Arthur opened the meeting and made the introductions. Candy Rogerson. How should they start? Who was about to take the lead? However. There were a few welcoming smiles but Candy detected a cool wariness that a pack of animals might show to a stranger approaching their den. Candy’s position. a shuffle and a movement here and there.” said Candy. He then explained the terms of John Rogerson’s will. As his voice droned on. Candy. Candy sat in her father’s chair at the head of the boardroom table. I have already made it known that I am not a candidate for the position. the matter of succession to the post of Chairman of this board must be considered. So. “… so in view of the shares held by Mrs.” “I don’t yet believe that the move away from Hong Kong is well advised.
He continued. “Now who would like to start us off? Ladies first perhaps. I know because that’s where I started … working with my hands. a young banker. I am not technical so I am not entirely clear what ‘power brokerage’ really is but John Rogerson had done the research and I trusted him. would you like to explain your position?” Lady Neil smiled. He had done the necessary research and investigations and taken the best financial advice for the good of the Company. “Therefore. I am pleased that we are taking the necessary steps to get Rogerson’s funds out of Hong Kong before the Communists take over. There is value in engineering.” At this he remembered the sailing disaster. Other investment opportunities would be considered as they arose. He had been right before and he had taken good advice from his consultants on this issue. Of course. went bright red and closed his mouth abruptly. Robert Child said little. and so there is no intention to do more than examine our individual ideas. “I trust the decision made by John Rogerson. I believe that it would be proper first to discuss the policy of this company. “I am all in favor of getting into some form of engineering rather than the simple trading of goods. I am not sure that private companies will be allowed to have funds of their own then. “Lady Neil. So I see no reason to change the tack that we’re on. No conclusion has to be reached. I suggest we allow 90 minutes for discussion. said “I too have faith in John Rogerson’s directions.” and he smiled. We are speaking of the policy of divesting ourselves of Rogerson’s assets in Hong Kong and the move to invest these assets in South America.” The next Board member. I am not sure that South American politicians can be trusted. Moreover. At this time there has been no suggestion that this policy be changed.” Joe Manley said. That’s my only reservation. “I had reservation originally but 204 . However.” Looking around the table.
went along with the rest of the Board. We have suffered some set backs in Columbia but, all in all, the change seems to be moving satisfactorily, especially in Brazil.” And so it continued for the full ninety minutes. There were no power experts on the Board so no one had any opinion on whether the business they had entered into had potential or not. Candy found herself contrasting their comments to the clear and reasoned arguments advanced by Lim Yok. She could do with his help here, she thought. The discussion started to go over the same points again and again. This board, Candy saw, was not a decision making group. It was a group that her father had used to endorse his decisions when he had made them. Finally, as the time expired she turned to Sir Arthur. “Thank you, Sir Arthur, and all of you,” she smiled around the table. “I think I understand the position now and I’m pleased to have met you. Now perhaps we can go to the next order of business.” Child felt a passing annoyance. This girl wasn’t on the board at all and here she was acting as if she were chairing the meeting. Still, if she hadn’t said something Sir Arthur would probably have let it drag on for another half-hour. The next order of business was very rapid. On opening the subject of a new Chairman, Sir Arthur looked across at Joe Manley who immediately proposed that Ms. Rogerson be elected to fill the void until the next Annual Meeting, which was due in a few months’ time. The proposal was quickly seconded, nominations closed, a voice vote taken and before anyone knew it, Candy Rogerson was the new Chairman of Rogerson’s. Sir Arthur was quite content to act as queen maker. Candy stood, quickly thanked everyone again for coming and said, “I will be taking advice from our old consultants and from newer firms and with the help of
other officers of the Company I expect to bring new proposals before you within the next 60 days. With that she turned and left the room.
Chapter 30 – The Trial There were no primroses in the detention center. It was a large stone building hugging the hillside beneath Victoria Peak, almost permanently in the shade. A dark gloominess pervaded the halls, even when the temperature broke records outside. The interior of the maximum-security block felt cold and dank. Wang Ng had been there since his capture. He had met twice with his court appointed lawyer. He ranted and raved – striding across his cell, spouting his well-worn message of the evil of the Communist takeover and the virtues of the Nationalist regime. He lived with his hatreds: eyes shining beneath a moving mop of black hair, his hands violently shaping the freedom that he wanted, not to live in, but to fight in. He showed no remorse. He had no concept of the evil and the human harm that he and his fellow bombers had done. There was no defense. His lawyer thought briefly of insanity but Wang Ng was clearly and articulately sane. He simply had no societal values, no human values, and society probably should not let him survive. When it came to the trial, the lawyer had done his best. Elegant and imposing in his beribboned white wig and black robe he argued that here was a man driven beyond the brink of rational behavior by a society who had decide to let two million Chinese fend for themselves in the face of oncoming PRC hordes. Standing below the judge sitting at the bench in his red and ermine robes, the young lawyer almost believed himself. He paid scant attention to the arguments of guilt. The police evidence of Wang Ng’s involvement and even his fingerprints at the scene of one bombing brooked no denial. Instead, he argued for compassion in the presence of passionate nationalism, provoked beyond limits by the Nationality Act. He had dressed Wang Ng in a conservative grey suit to fit the picture. It
did no good. Then came the surprise revelation. Almost at the end of the prosecution, the judge had asked a police witness idly: “How did you know that Wang Ng was in those hills?” The police inspector proudly explained that “a police source” had given them the information. It had been a long day for the judge. The case was over as far as he was concerned. The man was an unrepenting terrorist, and he would soon have to instruct the jury, and wait for them to bring back to obvious verdict, before sentencing the man to the gallows. Idly, he pursued the question, a side issue … “Yes, but who was this source? How did he know where the defendant was? Was he an accomplice?” The inspector replied. “It was a man named Ngo Ling Wu. His family has just qualified for an apartment in Aberdeen but until three months ago he lived on a junk in the Typhoon Harbor in Kowloon. He had, and still has, connections with the Chinese community through a man’s club in the Canton Road. Ngo Ling Wu has known Wang Ng since he was a youth and has been following the activity of the bombers for some time. In some respect, he seems to have pursued a personal vendetta. In particular, he has been able to keep well informed on the whereabouts of Wang Ng. We have been in contact for the past 18 months and just recently he was able to tell us about the prisoner’s movements in more detail.” He smiled, breaking the policeman’s usual impassive presentation. “And last week he was able to tell us almost the exact route that Wang Ng would follow in crossing Tai Mo Shan. We caught him just before he left the mountain.” During the inspector’s explanation, Wang Ng first looked surprised. His head jerked at the sound of Ngo Ling Wu’s
name and he glowered at the police inspector. Then, as the explanation went on, and as he came to know how Ngo Ling Wu had been tracking him and finally had trapped him, he gave an animal snarl that stunned the court. “That fucking bastard. I should have killed the shithead when I had his throat in my hands. Goddam him. I’ll kill him yet. He’s a dead man … as soon as I’m out. He’s a dead man,” and he mumbled on … his hands clutching the edge of the dock with white knuckles. The trial ended quickly. The testimony was concluded, the defense and prosecution gave their summaries, and the judge gave his instructions. “This is an animal that has no respect for human life. The prisoner shows no remorse for the tens of people who have died and there are no signs that he can be rehabilitated. If, you, the jury, believe him to be guilty, and the evidence, in my opinion is overwhelming, then the only verdict that you can return is ‘guilty.’ It is then my responsibility to pronounce sentence.” The verdict, after just two hours, was “Guilty.” The pronouncement by the judge, after he had donned the black cap, was “Death by hanging.” The trial was at an end. The following day, the newspapers gave the result. The terrorist ringleader had been condemned to die, and although this was likely to be commuted immediately to life imprisonment, the man was off the streets. The hero of the hour was Ngo Ling Wu, the man who had followed the terrorist and tracked him so accurately that the police could fly directly to the spot. Su was working in the city. She returned to the flat at lunchtime, collecting the newspaper and a few letters from the box on the way up. She flipped open the folded paper and read her name in the headlines … Wu. Her father’s name … NGO LING WU – CHINESE SLEUTH
Su went to see her father that afternoon in Aberdeen. He had been delegated to watch the apartment and Su was glad of that. Then she remembered her father’s reaction to the Hennessey Road massacre … she saw him standing on the deck of their junk. shaking in anger and clutching his small transistor radio as if he wanted to crush it. She stopped in the hallway to read the article. it still had more room than their old junk. This man hadn’t seemed to be her father then and for a moment she had been frightened … of him and. As she read. for him. something that she couldn’t quite make out at the time but she had recognized the hate in it. 210 . Su knew that they hated to close the door of the apartment and close out the rest of the world. even though two elderly cousins lived with them. even though they thought they had none. Her father and mother now lived on the tenth floor looking across at Lamma Island. Their new apartment block was one of a whole complex of apartment blocks perched on the cliffs above the sea. in Chinese. She took a number 7 bus from the Star Ferry and then a number 73 to Wa Fu. she was amazed that she had known nothing about what her father was doing. They had privacy before among the open noise and smells of Typhoon Harbor. When Su arrived there was a policeman at the door. The muscles in his neck had stood out … taut.TRACKS AND TRAPS TERRORIST. Her father and mother hated it. Now they had too much privacy and they missed people about them. They didn’t want this sort of privacy. Wang Ng had not been the only terrorist and some might be still out there. He had said something low. He had left quickly in the sampan and the incident was never mentioned. It was a beautiful location and the apartment was clean and. then.
After the fight he had stayed away from Wang Ng because he was frightened of the threats to his family. Ngo Ling. He got up. there was no real evidence and they had been freed. “I’m famous! Now Wang Ng is caught. On one occasion he had helped to foil a bombing. after the Hennessy Road bomb he had made an effort to find out as much as he could about Wang Ng and the boys as he could. keeping track of their movements and where they stayed. Why did you do it? How did you do it?” Then he told her about the Canton Road club. Even though Su had been there before it was still strange to see her mother standing at a sink.Her father and mother were both there … he half-dozing with a paper on his knee and she at the sink preparing rice. 211 . After that the police had more difficulty in keeping track of the group so Ngo Ling Wu’s pieces of information became more valuable. The police concentrated their efforts on the Wang Ng group. when one of the boys had been seen near the scene of an explosion. In the end they got them all.” She threw her arms around him. Once. “You could have been killed. about their efforts to do the same thing she and Peter Marshall were doing. After other bombs had exploded he went to the police and offered to help. Then in the past year with the terrorists unable to move freely his information became more accurate. One man had been arrested. However. Her father. and about the first bomb at the college. he and others were taken in for questioning. about Chang and Steve Cho and the younger men. He vision of her mother cooking was always one of her mother squatting on her heels tending the wok on the floor in front of her. He was sure that Wang Ng was the last … they really didn’t need the policeman standing outside their door. looked up and smiled. However. lifted the paper and said.
The land alone was the major value. first built by hand with bamboo scaffolding but now using all the modern techniques of support and underpinning to build vertical towers where there was no level ground.Chapter 31 – Hong Kong Picture A city is a living organism – it pulses and thrives. and yet every year new buildings appeared. Every year for the last hundred years. slower than expected. It’s growth was marked by its buildings. of course. for much of the property was old and could be torn down for new buildings. Hong Kong was no exception. The typhoon shelter was slowly being emptied as apartments were built. It had grown ever since except during the sickness of its invasion and occupation by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. They faced the new conference center and hotels on the tip of Kowloon completing the area between the Space Center and the old Post Office clock tower. It was all finished in 1991. Even before it became a British Colony in 1842 Hong Kong had been a port: a group of buildings that were rooted on the shore of a rugged island. it grows and it occasionally has a sickness and can even die. The British negotiations allowed tenancies for just over forty years. The legislative policy to place every resident in good housing was working but. There was now a slowing down as the time for the return to China got closer: it seemed as if the developers were eating up the land as rapidly as they could and committing tenancies as far into the future as they could. The land released by Rogerson’s contributed to this building boom. The flow of illegal aliens from China had slowed but it had not stopped because the lure of prosperity in Hong Kong was a greater attraction 213 . there had been no more land along this coast on which to build. Some of the buildings above Robinson Road grew 20 stories on foundations suspended in mid-air above gardens.
Thus. He said that the PRC would probably dissolve the Legislative Council and appoint a new political steering committee. The Legislative Council was now partially elected. Their representative in Hong Kong. There had been new trade agreements and Hong Kong benefited from each one. Hong Kong’s port was as active as ever. Shu. Still progress was being made. The Kowloon typhoon harbor was almost empty while Causeway Bay and Aberdeen had been halved. growing as Chinese trade expanded in all directions. Some concessions had been made to the “Forgotten Two Million” as a result of Marshall’s campaign. It seemed that silk and cotton were holding their own against the poly-organics of the world. The government had changed. The harbor continued to play host to vessels of all nations. He had managed to persuade Legco that native Chinese were a valuable resource AND that they deserved as much status as other rests. which would have the power to establish policy. A new classification for them was in the wind. PRC’s textile trade had been 40% of exports in 1985 and it had risen to 53% in 1991. Some observers saw this as a threat and one senior barrister remarked that. Mr. almost as quickly as junk dwellers like Su Wu’s family were moved out. “China has put a wrong foot forward. had observed that the British Government had guaranteed earlier than no political changes would be made. the Governor was still appointing 32 of the 56 members but now that was down to ten civil servants.than possible repercussions in six-years time were a threat. Only six years ago. especially changes towards democracy.” However. The Daya Bay nuclear project was almost complete and there was only a small amount of construction left before start-up commissioning tests would begin. It had become 214 . The People’s Republic didn’t like those democratic changes. the British Government was still moving towards a fully elected Legco … it was a priority of the Governor. more arrived to fill their places.
Lim Yok had managed a commitment from the Traders Cambrian Trust. a conglomerate of banks that had access to billions of Hong Kong dollars if the need arose. However. But in the hidden purse of traders it was now the US dollar and the Saudi Riyal that carried weight rather than the British pound. increased.a man who not only had the knowledge but also the intelligence to draw correct conclusions. No British or French banks were involved. there just wasn’t a critical financial mass to get things started. especially as it had been reprinted in other influential Pacific Rim newspapers. British influence in the Territory had steadily declined as the American influence had. The Arabs too had invested heavily. but also teenage fashions followed 215 .a showplace of cooperation. The courts and civil service were still respectably British of course: the collars of procedure were as starched as ever. Engineering firms were the next contributors and Lim Yok spent almost every waking moment in making presentations to various Hong Kong affiliates of European and American firms. Lim Yok had been very frank with Su during his interview and her article had done nothing but good. His target was to get the project firmly established before 1997. The American influence was very visible in the streets. He had pulled strings in different boardrooms to establish consortia to finance and manage two other large energy projects: one a large hydroelectric station in Guangdong and the other a second nuclear power station. Not only were there the ever-conspicuous McDonalds and 7-Eleven outlets. just as steadily. Lim Yok became well known in Hong Kong business as he had pursued his own dream of easing the transition in 1997. It was well written and it made the editorial pages. Su had portrayed him as a man of action to be trusted -. The difference this time was the cooperation was with Hong Kong. it had not all yet come together.
Yet.New York and Chicago as closely as if Hong Kong were Newark. London and Vladivostok. Hong Kong might even survive its return to China in 1997. Yokohama. The cheongsam was a rarity. with all these changes. The harbor still teemed with ships from Amsterdam. The noonday gun still tolled the days. and their crews found as much nightlife in the streets as a hundred years of sailors had found before. still Hong Kong seemed to remain the same. cheap imitations of the Rolex Oyster were still sold along Nathan Road. Indiana. New Jersey. or Gary. 216 . Sydney. and tourist flocked to buy suits and dresses tailored overnight.
Part III – 1995 217 .
Julie had briefed her on the company and her father’s part in it. more to keep her honest than for his contribution to the business. She had quickly brought Lim Yok on as a new member of the Board. Joe Manley and Lady Neil were the first to be offered leaving bonuses while Sir Arthur resigned of his own accord once he realized that his advice was not going to be used. and Julie. The first thing she had done was to renew the board: many of them were too old to stay abreast of current trends and markets. after six years. had proved invaluable to her. His ideas were too good to miss and she preferred committing him to Rogerson’s rather than consulting with him as one client among many. Julie had said.Chapter 32 – Reversal Candy had been Chairman of the Board at Rogerson’s now for four years. “Your father was a brilliant man. He never seemed to make an error. sitting behind her own desk (her father’s was too personal to keep around. He had brought a breath of fresh air to their deliberations and as a board member he also influenced the others. Robert Child. Now. He made policy. and others she didn’t trust. and then negotiated rights with external clients and contacts. Now. 218 . but his internal company talent was in finding the right people to do the job.) she knew that her first instincts had been correct. When she had first come into the job after that first board meeting. He trusted the staff to carry out the work to bring those policies into being as hard scope for the work of the company. she kept on. the Board helped her – it was her Board. Candy had followed her father’s lead over these past few years. first speaking to his advisers and then finding advisers of her own. her father’s secretary. had his ideas approved by the Board.” With that introduction to the job.
However. Her instincts had also been right in reversing the Company’s defection from Hong Kong. a plan for a new airport was developed. a small islet to the north of Lantau Island. The plan proposed a large modern airport on Chep Lap Kok. subject to horrendous delays. highways and a high-speed train line would be available to convey passengers to and from downtown Kowloon. After sixty years it had to be replaced. They had insisted that China should be consulted since Hong Kong 219 . It seemed the ideal solution to bring Hong Kong into the new millennium. and it had then seemed that he revealed more to Su as an outsider than to she. South American operations were going nowhere and Brazil and Columbia were less stable than the Territory. and it couldn’t take the larger modern planes that were flying around the world.Their private life remained private. the project had stalled because the People’s Republic of China attacked the scheme. However. The old trading opportunities had gone and soon all trading would be subservient to the PRC’s own trading brokers. More land would be reclaimed and the islet would be connected to Lantau. From the airport. It was inconvenient and dangerous. who was much closer. The article and Lim Yok’s statements had impressed her and it had provided the spark that she needed for Rogerson’s new primary business. It would boost the economy and confidence in the area. before that could be done she had spent long hours determining the business in which Rogerson’s should engage. The old Kai Tak airport had been an embarrassment to business in Hong Kong for many years. In 1989. The first cost estimate was nearly 80-billion Hong Kong dollars and completion was scheduled for 1996. Closing operations in South America and reversing the flow of funds was simplicity itself. Candy had seen Su’s article about Lim Yok those many years ago.
” he responded. they are both moving and certainly there is a good feeling among the partners on the projects. all the US firms are here because of the opportunities in China. She had called Lim Yok and he came directly to her office. It is really not a 220 . needs a good long-term business in which to invest all those funds we have brought back from South America. all clients of yours I presume. “Rogerson’s. you are right. Later that year. as we know. but the South American idea of power brokering seems to be a closed shop here.” Lim Yok had nodded in agreement. “Well. were coming along. Two years later no progress had been made. Rogerson’s with its only local reputation as a trading company would never be able to break in. “Yes.” She paused and refilled their coffee cups from her thermos jug. I would like to think that we need a business that would be good for Hong Kong as well as for the company. as had happened at other modern airports. Moreover.was to be a Special Administrative Region very soon and they didn’t want the Region saddled with enormous debts. in place and successful. “Good. It is a closed shop. The Hong Kong government found itself again at loggerheads with its future owner. Candy had an idea. I’m glad it’s working out positively. “they haven’t been quite the visible public partnerships between the PRC and ourselves that I had originally conceived.” She went on. On the whole they have and will contribute to smoothing the transfer back to PRC. She had started by asking again how his two partnerships. There are two many firms. Nevertheless. the hydroelectric station in Guangdong and the new nuclear power station. Now I have another suggestion for you before going to the whole board.
” “But. So. he thought about money sitting idle while negotiations went on and on and while the politicians’ personal ambitions were served. you know. pausing again for effect (she wanted to watch his face as she revealed her idea. we don’t have to pick up all the costs but we have to invest enough to show other investors that we believe that it is a good and workable investment for the long term. “What would you say to Rogerson’s stepping into the breach and backing the airport with the proviso that it become a joint project between Hong Kong and the PRC? Of course. It is not an investment that your father or his board would have made because it depends on time. stall. At best. He thought it was a stupid idea. None of them are small tasks. slowly and deliberately. Candy had noticed the shake of his head and her heart had sunk.) “Well. “It could be done. “you do still believe in the concept that a large partnership between Chin and Hong Kong could smooth the transition in 1997?” “Absolutely.” 221 .” she had said.Hong Kong business. Then Lim Yok had spoken. It puts funds into escrow while negotiations go on and on and then.” Candy had continued. perhaps. what do you say?” Lim Kok had sat back.” “Well. He thought about the negotiations with investors and governments. he thought of the amounts involved and the banks involved. He shook his head and wondered whether it could be done. No one is going to make any money early out of such an investment.” Then she had sprung her surprise. Moreover. the Chep Lap Kok airport is stalled for its inability to show the PRC that it will not go into vast debt. they would have no competition for the job. we have to persuade China to join in and Legco to let them.
” he concluded. Candy remembered that she had been pleased that her meeting with him over a glass of wine at the club had paid off so well.” Candy had seen that he was looking at possibilities and beginning to frame arguments for the negotiations with the other parties. not just Hong Kong and not just the Pacific area. PRC might also be persuaded to contribute funds and the labor-equivalent to funds. and which had recently abandoned the idea of power brokerage on another continent. It had taken some persuasion on Candy’s part but she had done her pre-board-meeting work well. but the whole world. “It’s a wonderful idea. No one would earn any money on his or her investment for years. So. for Hong Kong. Her part.He had paused for a sip of his coffee while she didn’t know whether he was speaking positively or negatively. objections to the project diminished. they had both gone and worked on their parts of the action. should now fund a major part of an international airport costing 80-billion Hong Kong dollars was preposterous. that Hong Kong and PRC can work together for the greater good of Hong Kong beyond 1997. and her own brand of inspiration and enlightenment. The proposal was out of this world: that a mere trading company. His eyes were shining. 222 . Robert Child had risen and made an impassioned speech for Rogerson’s. With Lim Yok’s objective assessment of the drawbacks and benefits of the project. the chief financial officer’s careful analysis of potential profits over the long term. it is a fantastic opportunity to show the world. “On the plus side. which had previously shipped millions of chop-sticks and carved junks across the world. to convince the Board had been a tumultuous affair. and for life after 1997.
the Governor. whoever funded it. Since it was Sir David who met with PRC’s Mr. 223 . Kung. Meanwhile. The schedule was back on track for completion in 1998. Future profits from airport operations were allocated for the next two decades. To cut a long story short. everyone came out a winner. In the background. Candy was free to set things in motion. They were of two minds. Candy had met with the members of Legco. The construction of the airport and its communicating roads and railway had moved on apace in full view of the world. laborers and specialists paid and equipment leased. Loans had been financed. funds had been kept flowing to complete the work. all had gone well. Rogerson’s name was now linked indelibly with the new airport. Sir David Wilson. However. the Board approved the policy without objection. and both he and they declared it a success for Hong Kong or PRC respectively. So she and Lim Kok had. Meanwhile. the Hong Kong Special Administrative Executive. The site was regularly visited by the Governor and by PRC officials. also wanted to see the airport completed quickly. Rogerson’s stock had risen well within the Hang Seng index and would do very well in the future. In the past four years. profit margins set. The delays had only put the schedule back twelve months.In the end. so his appointees fell into line behind him. the elected members could see the benefit of having part in moving the airport on again while the appointed members were wary of their position and the Governor’s opinion. Hong Kong businesses became sold on the idea and contributed significantly. Lim Yok had met with firms who might like to hold onto Rogerson’s coat tails with minimum financial risk but with great gains in publicity and visibility.
he managed to switch the alarm off after just three words for another 9 minutes of peace. 224 . Today was evaluation day. after cleaning his teeth. He met Su downstairs. he thought. he opened an eye. stood uncertainly. She never seemed to have risen from the bed that he had been in. but never many more. after some hesitation. Damn. He fell asleep immediately.Chapter 33 – Consolidation Peter Marshall reached back a hand over his head to shut off the radio alarm. wondering how much anyone could say in three words. What a face! What a mouth he tasted! Ugh! Why was it that each morning one had to clean one’s body of foul excretions and emissions? However. he thrust his legs out of bed. the day has begun. Had 9 minutes gone by so fast? This time. He hated disk jockeys and their morning cheerfulness. He would have easily throttled one if one had been close. I’m going to have to get up. Again he thrust his hand back to switch off the alarm. She was cheerful. He and Su had decided that regularly they would review what had been done: what progress had been achieved. and what had been spent. He prided himself that he could do it before the speaker had uttered another four words … sometimes five. and taking a relaxing shower. Today. Again he thrust his hand back to switch off the alarm. They would try to say whether their expenditures were worthwhile and whether they were on the right track. however small. shaving. Peter Marshall was ready for the day. and staggered to the bathroom. Had another 9 minutes gone by? This time.
The coffee made Peter feel a little more human … he really should cut out wine too late in the evening. Each brought a bundle of files and they settled into discussion.’ Peter said.bright.” Su replied. The instability in times of terrorism are the worst. This was the best time of the day. how are we going to move forward?” Peter was quiet before answering then he said. She said. “Time is short now. She told him about her work with Eric Chan but didn’t lay much hope on getting anything more through the legislative council before the transition. clean and sweet smelling.” “Another focus I have been thinking about is ‘stability. “Everyone thrives under stability. no one is certain of what might happen at the next street corner. and Peter felt that he could even think a little clearer when it was like this. “there are lots of successful Chinese but they are in a bunch of different fields. Peter started told her about his latest round of talks and Su was able to confirm that they usually signed up a few new members every time he spoke even though 1997 was so close. 225 . so after breakfast they met on the balcony for a little more coffee. More articles like the Lim Yok one would help. Are you ready or are you going to beg for breakfast first?’ Su had her way. “It’s a good thing that we changed the primary focus of the Chinese Rights Assembly from simply complaining about the disenfranchised two million to showing their worth to the Territory.’ The sun was shining but it hadn’t got warm enough for any feeling of humidity. will do. So. “It’s our morning to discuss progress and programs. He said. I’ll look for some. That seems to be working.” “OK. The day was another of those ‘ho-hum days in paradise.
“ Su remarked. The best thing to come out of these negotiations for the SinoBritish Agreement has been the agreement that Hong Kong’s way of life would be unchanged for fifty years – that’s two generations from 1997.” “The Basic Law. that English is an official language. “We are not going to achieve a special citizenship category. both to the leaders and to the Chinese. “is something so strange to the present leaders of the PRC that I have an awful feeling that it will be overturned much sooner than in 50 years. I might have to go back to selling watches and jewelry because I am not really trained for anything else. Well. presumably since it is all registered with the UN. I shall continue with the mission until the end … hopefully not a bitter one. However. I know what you’re going to say: ‘being Secretary of the Assembly for the past 10 years gives me a résumé’ but I have no more externally saleable qualifications than when I started. That makes me happy as long as the Basic Law is unchanged.let alone at significant corners in their lives. where does the Chinese Rights Assembly go now?” “I’m sorry to say that I agree with you. the UN is the arbiters. Do you really want to stay engaged in this work? You have your lecturing position and could back out of this work with honour easily enough. Do 226 . that can only help but then you and I have a mission which lasts only another two years. Look at some of the provisos: that China’s socialist system will not be practiced in Hong Kong.” Peter said.” Su said. I do think we have a mission to fulfill. that Hong Kong gets to decide everything except foreign policy and defense. that the current legal system will remain unchanged. Yes. Anyway. to support our Chinese constituency and advocate ‘value’ and ‘stability’.” “Still. Some of these rights are so foreign to the PRC I cannot see them lasting for half a century. that residents’ have unrestricted exit and entry. “Well. I’m doubtful.” “Well.
sitting on the arm of her chair. 227 . “I was thinking of something else.” and he dropped to one knee. and he put his arm around her shoulders. I think we ought to tie the knot. I have never loved anyone but you. but I do love you deeply. I’ll marry you. they had each other. What a wonderful idea. “Where did that come from? No. Yes.” They were in each other’s arms and they knew that whatever else happened now. I accept.” Su turned to him with her mouth agape. “Would you marry me. Su? I know that being a lecturer in a small college doesn’t really qualify for the title of a major breadwinner and I can’t guarantee that I won’t find some other cause to support. of course. I don’t want to know.you think I should go to college?” He came over to her.
Candy bought a copy on her morning run and the headlines stopped her in her tracks. Lien Chan noted that the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China had been negotiating with Britain since 1984 under the mistaken impression that Hong Kong would return to their control. They had even gone so far as to demand the return of Hong Kong Island. That land belonged to Great Britain. 228 . April 3rd 1995 The newly elected Premier of the Republic of China. The Republic of China (Reuters) Thursday. The headlines blazed: THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA CLAIMS HONG-KONG’S NEW TERRITORIES She read on: Taipei. even thought these had been ceded in perpetuity by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 and the Convention of Peking in 1860. She sat down on a bench near the Cricket Ground to read. Lien Chan. The lease terminated on June 30th 1997. His government would however honor these two treaties for land that had been ceded in perpetuity. promised that his government would now enter into negotiations with the British Government for the return of the New Territories of Hong Kong. which had been leased to Britain by the Chinese Government at the Convention of 1898 for a period of 99 years.Chapter 34 – Two Chinas The morning papers had the news. the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters Island.
The Republic of China also proposes that citizens of Hong Kong who did not have alternative affiliations would receive immediate citizenship in the Republic with all the international rights and benefits presently enjoyed our citizens. “Taiwan has virtually declared war on the PRC. She rolled the newspaper and headed back to the apartment. Now she had a new mission. Running now seemed a lot easier than it had earlier. Lien Chan announced that he would be meeting with the Governor of Hong Kong shortly. led by a Cheng Kun class frigate.” Candy. and as a gesture of good will. Lim Yok was seated immobile in front of the screen. how would it affect Rogerson’s? She wanted to get back to confer with Lim Yok and then she had to get to the office quickly to talk to staff. This land would return to the Republic of China – the rightful successor to the Government of China in 1898. when she got back she found that she had been upstaged by television news. had already been dispatched to Hong Kong. They would reach Hong Kong sometime later today. The set was tuned to CNN for American viewers so they first had to explain where Hong Kong was and how it related to the PRC and Taiwan. what a clever idea it is! It does make sense because the Convention of 1898 was not made with the Communists. Then the picture showed a small flotilla of Taiwanese warships sailing south. “Did you see this?” he asked. However. sat down to watch. However.However. despite the sweat. a squadron of naval vessels. 229 . the New Territories that formed the buffer between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic was not. Candy sat back and thought.
” “Furthermore. The message was quite clear without text. The central Beijing government of China has been negotiating with the British Government since 1984 and resolution has been obtained that all areas of the New Territories and Hong Kong will return to China on July 1 st 1997 and will become a Special Administrative Region. “This is not true. they mean it. He was speaking to reporters. Taiwan has apparently dispatched warships to Hong Kong on what is said to be a good-will mission.” The picture changed to show a large number of PRC warships on trials in the South China Sea. The People’s Republic Of China is ready and able to protect all of its territories including those temporarily administered by the British Government.” Leaning forward angrily. the Kowloon peninsula and Stonecutters’ Island would all remain under British control in perpetuity. the PRC cannot afford to ignore any of them. came on framed by the red and yellow flags of China.Candy said. so it seems. and clips showing marching troops and troops firing in maneuvers. I wonder if anyone knew the announcement was coming?” A video of Li Peng. No Chinese province. at the very least. followed by clips showing fighters taking off from an aircraft carrier and from land. Of course. has any part in those negotiations. he said.” “Yes. His statement claimed that the New Territories of Hong Kong would be acceded to Taiwan after 1997 and that Hong Kong Island. the premier of the People’s Republic of China. 230 . “So. the 23rd province of our People’s Republic. The news leaves Britain in a very odd position and I suppose. not even the closest province of Guangdong. negotiations with PRC will stop for a while. but there are a few other possible interpretations. “The People’s Republic of China has learnt today of an audacious and unacceptable public comment made by the Premier of Taiwan.
” he said. It’s a clever idea. “Why is Taiwan being provocative? What do you think?” “Well.” “That’s probably part of it. Thereafter. will be considered an act of war. they are going to acquire the world’s most valuable piece of real estate and vast wealth in business.” “No. both for the handover in 1997 and the Olympics in 2008. Of course. “So.” And the screen went blank. violating the responsibility of the 23rd Province of Taiwan to its Central Government. “To change the subject a little. the CNN commentator introduced a number of Chinese ‘experts’ drawn from American Universities to discuss the events. China is not in a mood to take kindly to interveners when. or Hong Kong Island. after 156 years. “The People’s Republic of China must emphasize that any landing of troops or naval personnel of Taiwan on the New Territories of Hong Kong. but it’s a dangerous course to take. “Lien Chan is newly elected and this may be his way of unifying different factions or simply bringing his name and face forward on the world stage. it is tough to be nice when someone has a fist in your face. Candy and Lim Yok watched for a while but soon realized that the Chinese ‘experts’ had no special knowledge. China cannot appear warlike to the world even if it is in response to direct provocation.” Lim Yok said. Lim Yok got up and shut of the set. They are much more likely to strike first and ask questions afterwards. I disagree. “What does this mean to Rogerson’s?” 231 .Li Peng reappeared on the screen. Remember. or on Kowloon. and certainly no insights that might be useful to them. that it has to assume the image of good citizen.” She laughed.” replied Candy.
” “Agreed – just a thought though. I propose to carry on as we are doing and monitor what happens. if Taiwan backs off.“Well. It could be interesting. but then normal trading could benefit because our trading companies would not be immersed in the Chinese system. to the airport. then Rogerson’s would come out possibly on the plus side. if the region becomes too volatile.” “That’s undoubtedly true. “War would matter on very many different levels. However.” Candy said.” “However. nothing changes. Lim Yok butted in. and to trade. to the nuclear projects. at a minimum then would become a citizen of Taiwan. If it all happened as announced it would solve Peter Marshall’s campaign. the airport would not be so valuable because of poorer Chinese use. With a buffer zone between PRC and us. Everyone. “And if by some infinitesimal chance everything happened as Taiwan would have it.” 232 . Either way I don’t think it would matter.
Trees lined the road.Chapter 35 – Death in the afternoon Peter had another speech to give … this time in the new town of Tuen Men. He wasn’t the fiery person that she had first met … the mission just wasn’t there anymore. absent-mindedly kissed her on the cheek and then took off for the train station. urging that the Chinese show hat they were useful citizens and deserved full recognition of Hong Kong were old hat. Each side of the street was filled with shops. He had to find a small park off the Castle Peak Highway. or even as an extra room. There seemed no end to the spread of human population. was scheduled to be given in half an hour’s time. However. It was noon and his speech. sadly. He said good-bye to Su. 233 . From the window of the apartment she watched his figure. The shops were all adorned in red. Peter wasn’t in a very optimistic frame of mind when he left the train at Tuen Men. Was it her imagination or did his shoulders sag a little? She thought. to plant gardens. It was dispiriting at least. Even with new apartments several families lived with each other and expanded their balconies for extra space to hold the family chickens. He was beginning to think that the speeches he was giving. On the train he sat watching the apartment blocks go by … crowded with people. to dry clothes. Hong Kong wasn’t about to do anything special for them. From the station he crossed the street. this time at an inside hall rather than an outside rally. Peter walked listlessly. and their moving branches overhung the street making the scene a kaleidoscope of changing patterns of light and shade. the Chinese were useful citizens already and they knew it. The Chinese Rights Assembly hadn’t really fulfilled its promise. She watched him go. Of course.
that was a silly thing to do. so the possibility that he would stop and buy was exciting to the shop-holders. They were all valuable to Hong Kong society. It was a fascinating cross section of commerce: the supply of human daily needs. They shook and ruffled in the breeze and contributed to the kaleidoscope. “John! John Hu!” and he ran across the pavement to cross the street. his student from college who had helped the cause on occasions. He was just turning into a small park with a large building set back off the road. or bought hardware to repair small electrical appliances. bought ginseng. This was an area in which foreigners were rare. Peter shouted. Others were flooding into the gateway and Peter realized that was his venue. eaten a bowl of stir-friend vegetables and chicken. Peter walked along the row of small shops. Each shop’s owner sat on his or her haunches at the doorway ready to attend to the next customer. had his hair cut. and each responding hopefully to the greeting that he offered. They smiled and said a few words of welcome.yellow and blue advertising banners in Chinese script. As he neared the next crossing. He saw Peter rush across the sidewalk 234 . In succession he could have had his shoes mended. rhinoceros horn and other health foods. Each had spread on to the sidewalk. He was hidden from the traffic by the trunk of the tree next to him and as he ran into the street a van that he hadn’t noticed accelerated from the curb and hit him broadside. Peter thought. he saw John Hu. on the opposite side of the road. and blackness descended as his head hit the roadway. He was on the wrong side of the street. John Hu had turned in response to Peter’s cry and saw the whole thing. he thought.
into the street. He saw the van-driver’s horrified face as the van hit Peter and tossed his body into the air. Peter seemed to be suspended, like a rag doll thrown from one of the stalls, before crashing onto the roadway. John heard a ‘crack’. Two cyclists had difficulty in avoiding the body but leapt off to help. Before John could get across the road, the traffic had stopped and a crowd had gathered around Peter’s body. He brushed his way through the crowd saying he was a friend, but an old man who was leaning over Peter, looked up and said, “He’s dead … his skull is broken.” The van driver was talking and gesticulating to the crowd saying that he hadn’t seen the man and couldn’t do anything to avoid him. “I stopped as fast as I could.” Then a police officer arrived from where he had been directing traffic at the next crossing and took charge. He spoke rapidly into a mobile phone, obviously for assistance, and urged the crowd to move back onto the sidewalk, and then for a moment he urged traffic to move on, on the other side of the street. Then he asked the van driver some questions making careful note of the answers in his notebook. John approached the police officer and said, “The man is Peter Marshall, my friend. I can identify him. He was about to give a speech at the Community Center over there. He called me from this side of the street,” pointing, “and rushed over towards me. I saw the whole terrible thing. It wasn’t the van driver’s fault.” Then an ambulance arrived in a scream of sirens and a blaze of flashing lights. Peter’s body was quickly loaded in and the ambulance drove away. John gave the police all the details and Su’s address. The policeman took some photographs, took more notes, and then said they would be getting in touch with John later in the day.
The street resumed it kaleidoscopic movement and the sun shone just as it had half an hour ago. It was all over so quickly, John thought, and the only result was that Peter Marshall had died. Then, he realized that he had better do something about the meeting. He crossed the street, more carefully than he remembered doing before, and went to the hall. As he walked down the aisle and mounted the stage he realized that it was only a few minutes later than the time when Peter was due to speak. The last half hour has almost not happened. He told the local organizer what had happened and suggested that he tell the audience. The organizer, a busy looking woman, was glad to let him. She took him the front of the stage, and with a microphone, spoke to the expectant crowd. She said, “Something terrible has happened. This is Mr. John Hu, a good friend of Mr. Peter Marshall.” John took the microphone and found that he couldn’t say a word. His throat seemed tight and his eyes were beginning to water. He took out a handkerchief and blew his nose. ”I am John Hu, a student of Mr. Peter Marshall’s and I have helped him a little in the work of the Chinese Rights Assembly. I came here to meet him but a terrible thing has happened and Peter will not be here this afternoon. He is dead.” The crowd was still. There was not a sound. They all waited to hear what had happened. John Hu explained, “Not half an hour ago, just outside this hall, Peter was hit by a car, struck his head on the road and died instantly. His body has just been taken away by ambulance. No one was to blame, the van driver simply did not see him try to hurry across the street.”
The crowd exploded as everyone voiced their surprise and sorrow to their neighbors. The hall became uproar but instantly became quiet as the organizer raised her hand. John went on, “I know that he would have been so sorry not to have been able to speak to you this afternoon and he would have sent the message that the Chinese Rights Assembly is still trying to help the lack of Chinese citizenship following the handover in 1997. I am sure also that Su Wu would want you to know that will go on. Now we have to close this meeting because I want to go to Ms. Wu. She doesn’t yet know what has happened.” With that he walked back with the organizer and off the stage. The crowd stood around talking to each other and then they slowly filed out … many of them crying. The organizer fortunately had a car and she drove John Hu to Peter Marshall’s apartment. There he met Su and told her quickly what had happened. As John Hu spoke, Su stood silently watching him. She could feel tears welling in her eyes and her chest felt tight. When he had finished, she thanked him for taking care of the police and the meeting. He said, “ Can I do anything for you? Do you have someone I should call for you? I don’t think you should be alone. Should I try to contact Peter’s father and mother?” “That’s all-right John. I shall call the police and find out what I have to do. Then there are some things I must do for Peter and I promise that I will call his parents. Then perhaps I will go to my parents in Aberdeen today. I will be so busy that I will be OK. I will call you if I need your help … you have been so kind.” John left then and when he had gone, Su sat at the table.
She put her head in her hands but she couldn’t cry, everything was too busy. She couldn’t believe that Peter was gone. They had talked just before he left and he had kissed her cheek. She put her hand to her cheek to capture a little of him. Su was dazed and yet she knew there were things to do. She first had to call Peter’s parents in Adelaide. The call took a long time to place and while it was going through, one part of her wanted to cry and scream that she was feeling and the other was holding tight to doing something. Peter’s mother, Jean, came on the line. She knew Su. “Su said, “I don’t quite know how to tell you so I had better do it straight. Peter has had an accident and he did not recover. He’s left us. It was a car accident but no one was to blame. A friend was on the other side of the street when it happened and he saw it all. Peter didn’t suffer. He died instantaneously. The friend, John Hu, is a very good friend of Peter’s and he has helped me.” She felt that she was gibbering on, giving too much information about something of which she knew nothing. There was silence on the other end. Peter’s mother then said quietly, “We somehow knew that Peter would go before us. How are you doing dear?” She seemed far more concerned for Su. Then Su found that she could cry … and cry she did, overwhelmingly, with Peter’s mother’s comfort. Even though they were a telephone line apart, they comforted each other. Su blurted out, “Only the other day, Peter asked me to marry him and I said ‘Yes,’ but truly we are already married in fact because I’m pregnant. I will have Peter’s child in a few months.”
“I’m so glad, Sue. Bob, Peter’s father, is ill, so ill that I really can’t tell him about the accident, but I know that if I can tell him that Peter proposed to you he will be delighted and even more delighted that there is a grandchild.” Then, Jean became practical: “What about the burial, Su? Have you thought of that?” Su hadn’t. In her heart she expected Peter to come home in late afternoon, but it was late afternoon now. She said, “No … I suppose there are lots of things to do.” She added, “You know, Peter had become a Buddhist. Not, so that he would go to a temple, but just because he believed in the things that Buddhists do. I expect that he would like to be cremated in a Buddhist manner and buried here. He loved Hong Kong and had tried to do so much for the Chinese here.” “Yes, dear. We know. Unfortunately, because of Bob’s illness … it’s cancer … we will not be able to come to Hong Kong. Have you someone to help you? We will pay for everything of course.” “Yes,” answered Su, “I believe John Hu will help me. He was one of Peter’s students and saw the accident. He has already helped me with the police and I think he will help me a little more.” She realized that she was repeating herself. How stupid, but she couldn’t think very clearly. Peter wouldn’t come back this afternoon. Jean and Su promised to keep in touch and the call ended. So, a few days later, Su stood on a hillside in the rain as the urn of Peter’s ashes were interred and a Buddhist priest intoned prayers. She had told Candy and Lim Yok and some of Peter’s friends about the funeral. They were standing beside her on the hill and she loved them for that. John Hu and Qing Zhen had elected themselves her
helpers. The news had spread by word of mouth and they had all come one by one to stand in the rain to say good-bye. But there were many more at the funeral: the President of Shue Yan College and most of the faculty were there. 240 . His students from college and those who had left college all came. Peter had made so many friends. There were so many that they filled the cemetery and the roadway outside the cemetery. They were standing just behind her. but what Su had not expected were the crowds of Chinese who also came to pay their last respects.
’ and also announced that naval exercises would be held in the South China Seas soon. 241 . Both contacts rang all sorts of bells in the halls of government. Overflying planes of the People’s Republic of China surely reported the same information of the Taiwanese movements to Beijing. The commanding officer and a bodyguard then paid a ceremonial visit to the Admiralty on Harcourt Road. After cruising up and down for two days. with a formal report. he was told quickly that “the Admiralty had no mandate to discuss such matters. and telegraphed the Admiralty. the Admiralty reported the incident to Government House as a courtesy. They were received formally as any other visiting ships would be but when the Taiwanese commanding officer intimated that they wanted to discuss naval matters that might concern Hong Kong during the handover of the New Territories to the Republic of China. The People’s Republic reiterated its formal complaint about these ‘incursions. Apparently the odd video report from Taiwan had not been an error or a practical joke.Chapter 36 – The Little Fish bites The Taiwanese squadron of vessels paid a formal visit to Hong Kong and sailed up and down the straits before anchoring in Victoria Harbor. During this time British Naval offshore gunboats monitored their movements without incident. They were dressed overall with banners and flags.” They were told they were welcome within Hong Kong waters but that they would be wise not to land elsewhere in Hong Kong or the New Territory as a military group. London. When the Taiwanese had left. and approaching the islands of the New Territories on the west and even briefly entering the Tai Chek Mun channel on the east. the flotilla departed for Taiwan.
The South China Morning Post put the visit in a more realistic context. the Premier of Taiwan. the People’s Republic angrily denounced the invitation. Its headline was “Little Fish nibbles at the underbelly of Big Fish. pointedly. Thus. pleased to invite Mr. It was hoped that a lavish gala banquet would settle the matter. Four months later. both of which enjoyed a little sensationalism.Of course. acquiesced. Tung to the dinner. Tung Chee-hwa responded with the same message that Deng Xiaoping had sent to British Prime Minister. sent a formal request to confer with Governor Christopher Patten. managed to publish full front-page photographs of the Taiwanese vessels with sailors manning guns. They accompanied this with projections of liberty in the New Territory under the Republic of China. The latter found it difficult to refuse such a request and on advice from Britain. that the meeting not take place without the presence of a representative of China and that. of course. Christopher Patten relayed a message to Tung Chee-hwa that noted his comments but pointed out that the guests he might invite were his business while he held office. preferably. through Tung Chee-hwa. the Oriental Daily News and the Apple Daily News. He was.” and the Editorial proposed that the Taiwanese visit was nothing more than deliberate provocation to assist the political standing of the newly elected premier. But it didn’t stop there. The airwaves between Hong Kong and Beijing were beginning to get heated. the Premier was invited for a short formal visit as a newly elected head of Taiwan. no invitation to attend any discussions. the meeting be held with members of the Legislative Council rather than with the Governor. Immediately. Lien Chan. They demanded. There was. 242 .
“I should remind you that China can legally send troops of the People’s Liberation Army across the border the day after the expiration of the Hong Kong lease. After ceremonial tea. Lien Chan cleared his throat. Then. he thought. the Governor met with Lien Chan at Government House. Although Chris Patten could speak Chinese he felt easier with an expert translator present to catch any nuances in the conversations that he might miss. There was a pause. The following morning.” “Furthermore. he stopped and looked expectantly at his visitor. and the state of the world economy. that in 1898 the Chinese Government was not that of the 243 . Lien Chan arrived. the Governor opened the conversation with niceties: renewed congratulations on Lien’s election victory. but he was wise enough not to respond. his visitor’s health.Margaret Thatcher. during the negotiations of 1982. “at this moment sufficient troops have been moved to Guangzhou to repel any advance of troops occupying territory that is about to be returned to the People’s Republic. “You understand. In due course. the weather.” he added just before he left. and was hosted at a gala dinner. Let sleeping dogs lie.” Christopher Patten fumed at this response and his office staff felt very uncomfortable until his anger died away.’ It was a somber and slightly threatening evening. having exhausted the usual British topics of conversation. with suitable ceremony. Tung Chee-hwa attended but studiously ignored the guest and any attempt to make introductions. The two sat together with only their aides and translators present. Chinese singers and dancers in traditional dress accompanied the dinner but the atmosphere was anything but ‘gala. even though those troops may come from the 23rd Province of China.
Thus.Communist revolutionaries.” Lien Chen. Why has this issue not arisen before now?” Lien Chan laughed. “This is why.” he said. “is 244 . the undisputed return of the New Territories that were leased to Britain for 99 years should return to the Republic of China in two years’ time.” Chris Patten said. “Yes. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Chek was successor of Sun Yat-Sen in 1925. “The simple reason. Then in 1949 Dr. I am not to person to whom you should speak. He said. The Communists have occupied Mainland China since then. That is a matter for the British Government. Sun Yat-Sen became President in 1923. However. Of course.” He paused -. the other territory of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island were given to Britain in perpetuity and that should remain true. It was established in 1909 and Dr. “First. I am curious. indeed. Chiang moved the government of China from Beijing to Taipei in view of the advance of Communist troops. He was a civil servant charged with the handover process and he knew a politician when he saw one. I should explain that I have no say in the return of territory to China.to allow his claim of direct descent from the Qing dynasty to be absorbed. Secondly.” Chris Patten was the first Governor of Hong Kong not to have been a diplomat. I am simply a servant of the British Government charged with the administration of the Colony of Hong Kong. the true government of China remains in Taipei … now under my leadership. You must know that serious negotiations on the return of these lands to China have been going on with the Beijing Government for over a decade. “You are correct and the Republic of China grew out of the failing Qing dynasty shortly after 1898. the previous government was of the Qing dynasty.
“I am afraid that will not be possible since I am bound by conditions of the 1984 treaty.” Ever the politician anxious about votes.” Patten looked at him expectantly.” 245 . However. thought Patten. Time is short and there is much to be done before 1997 before we can govern the Territory effectively.that no one before me had realized the injustice that the Communist Government was perpetrating. That treaty does not allow me to give permission for an official group to tour the New Territories in the capacity that you ask. They are simply trying to steal more of Chinese territory before our eyes. “I am sorry Mr.” He continued. At best. “Now I understand that my negotiations will be with the British Government and my ambassador has already raised the issue with the Prime Minister. With your permission I would like to travel throughout the New Territories with a small support party. your personal application for an individual tourist visa would be reviewed by my immigration office but that tourist visa would not allow the flying of foreign flags or declarations of any political or nationalist nature.” Lien Chan responded. He said. Patten. I am anxious to investigate the territory that we will be acquiring and even more anxious to meet its people. Fortunately. that you cannot be more realistic.” “If your negotiations with the British Government change the situation then I will be happy to host a visit and to make everything available to you and your delegates. I realized the issue and my Government agrees. my mission here is different. We will also be submitting a bill to the United Nations to nullify the 1984 agreement between the Communist pretenders and Britain. “I am a practical man and while I am happy to leave initial negotiations to our diplomats.
watched. presumably to report back to Beijing. south of Shenzhen. Three months later. A Taiwanese general and a squad of ten soldiers boarded the truck and drove off rapidly to Fanling. a dais and lectern were lifted from the truck and the General mounted it. Tai Po was a small port and fishing village at the upper end of Tolo Harbor. This was something new.” It was the response that Lien Chan had expected. the Cheng Kun frigate reappeared again in the South China seas. in two years’ time. the meeting closed and Lien Chan shortly boarded a plane back to Taipei. In the evening. it sailed quietly into northern channel of the Tai Chek Mun inlet and moored. It took a bite. In the early morning. 246 . performing their morning tai chi along the waterfront. it sailed a further ten miles to the small town of Tai Po. The Cheng Kun moored just off shore. In the town square of Fanling. Chris Patten explained what had happened and his response. so with cordiality. That seemed to satisfy Tung Chee-hwa who left.said Chris Patten. When the crowd was sufficient the General repeated Lei Chan’s message about the return of the New Territories to the Republic of China. Although it was a busy road. the morning commuters ignored them … army trucks were not uncommon … though the Republic of China flag might have excited some comment. the little fish did more than tickle the underbelly of the big fish. An army truck was off-loaded on a landing craft as the locals. off the main road. Within the hour Tung Chee-hwa was at Government House. He called the town people around and a crowd grew rapidly. not to the People’s Republic. only a couple of miles from the Chinese border. “but until then my hands are tied. and as night closed.
his troops loaded the dais and lectern back in the truck and they took off for Tai Po and the frigate. The bite was harmless but it threatened bigger bites. Along with the crowd. The crowd applauded enthusiastically … these were all things they needed and if Taiwan could make them happen so much the better. or. Instead. Tony Blair was less patient that Chris Patten and. However. the police were captured and handcuffed. Their troops in Guangdong had been useless since the Taiwanese had come.The crowd grew and he entertained them with thoughts of immediate citizenship. Beijing. of course. Three handcuffed police were left behind to ask the crowd to release them. They had been expected of course and their capture was done so efficiently and quietly that almost no one in the crowd noticed. the Republic of China’s Ambassador in London had visited 10 Downing Street and given Lien Chan’s message and rationale to the Prime Minister. and new prosperity. Blair announced that the Ambassador 247 . and gone before any alarm was raised. essentially. they put on straight serious faces before meeting the press. The meeting went on. at gunpoint. the commotion had attracted local police who approached the group and asked for their papers. They both laughed at the audacity and futility of the idea for they were old friends. Beijing. was furious. a ready market for their goods in Taipei. At Tai Po the truck and landing craft were lifted back on board and the frigate sailed immediately. told his visitor not to be so stupid. made their point. in the manner of these things. Meanwhile. When the General had finished and answered questions. It was well on its way back up the coast to Taiwan before notice could reach Hong Kong. They had been to school together.
The motion was never presented. pulled out all stops to stop the motion even reaching the General Assembly. The People’s Republic of China. an appropriate response would be delivered to Taipei. in appropriately diplomatic language. being able to draw on more support than Taiwan.had delivered a message from the Government of Taiwan and Britain had received it. Lien Chan’s government had submitted a motion to nullify the 1842 treaty. “Don’t be so stupid. 248 . In due course. naturally. the Chinese troops on the Guangdong border were placed on alert and they stayed on alert until the handover in 1997. However. The response was delivered and it said. they succeeded. and.” At the United Nations.
The police found it difficult. It was much like the congregation in a church. First. groups walked on the sidewalks towards the park but soon the sidewalks were filled so they walked in the streets and traffic was forced to stop. John Hu and Qing Zhen waited. They had come to pay respects. Anyone would be welcome. or to. It was eerie … silent. Then the city police arrived and asked people what they were protesting.Chapter 37 – Votes are cast On the Sunday following Peter Marshall’s death. park police tried to protect the lawns and to keep people on the roads and paths. It was they who had spread the word through the Chinese communities that some of Peter Marshall’s friends would gather in the park to recognize the work that he had done and to pay respects. And still the crowds came. Files of people came down all the adjacent streets from both east and west until King’s Park began to bulge at the seams and still they came. people. No one was making a noise apart from a little conversation between individuals in the crowd and that was whispered. On the pinnacle of the park. mostly but not all Chinese. then threes and fours. just before noon. ones and twos came. started gathering in King’s Park in Kowloon. the crowd simply spilled over. They were ordered to disperse but there was nowhere to disperse from. from the silence of the crowd. 249 . At first. As the crowd got larger. the sound of the horn was out of place. The angry motorists who had started blowing horns quickly realized that this was something different and that a horn would not solve their problem and. They were told that there was no protest. but it was useless. It was a gathering to honor Peter Marshall.
Another large crowd. tourists stood and watched the crowd. as-many-ascould walked on to the Clock Tower and faced the island across the straits. As they walked down Nathan Road and the crowd filled the adjoining streets. They found themselves at the head of a crowd of people that eventually stretched backwards a mile or more. and whereas in normal days if traffic were stopped there would be a cacophony of horns. At noon. We want to show the Governor silently that Peter Marshall has been important in our lives. Portable radios held by some in the crowd reported that 250 . He simply told the person next to him. today there was eerie silence. John thought. No crowd this large could be peaceful. Will you come?” The message spread like wildfire. “Qing Zhen and I are going to walk down Nathan Road to the Clock Tower opposite Government House on the Island. The media overhead reported that every road in Kowloon from the Observatory south was full of people and estimates of the size of the crowd were already at several hundred thousand. All that could be heard was the shuffling of feet moving south. John Hu. That crowd also appeared to be several hundred thousand strong. “Will you come?” The crowd parted enough for Hu and Qing to leave the park by the Rise. shops closed. whatever the purpose. No one had planned any protest for the afternoon but the media waited for bloodshed. just as protest results in violence. Respect results in silence. coming principally from Aberdeen and south Hong Kong Island. made no announcement. had gathered at Happy Valley Racecourse on the other side of the straits.Police and media helicopters appeared overhead. When Nathan Road met Salisbury Road. The traffic here too came to a standstill.
the entire city was silent as the roads clogged to a standstill. No crowd that they had ever seen had been so silent. WE ARE VOTERS …” this time closer to Government House. WE ARE VOTERS. The Governor put the troops in Prince Charles barracks on alert but the great puzzlement to all officials was the silence of the crowd. Furthermore. WE ARE VOTERS. “WE ARE VOTERS. “Let’s go home. Then. The crowd was declaring: “WE ARE VOTERS. “We are voters. “We are voters. WE ARE VOTERS.” The next person repeated it to the next.” Soon the crowd was murmuring as the message spread like wildfire through the streets and the murmuring got louder and louder until it resounded in rhythm above the buildings: “We are voters. We have done Peter Marshall proud today. the Star Ferries had left the wharfs for security. We are voters.the police had retired to the outside edges of the crowd. John turned to those around him and said. WE ARE VOTERS …” until the media got the message and it was reported on radio and TV. and the Governor was watching through a telescope from the mansion.” That message too was spread by word-of-mouth just as the original message to meet in King’s Park had been spread by word-of-mouth and the fringes of the crowd 251 . after fifteen minutes.” The message echoed throughout Kowloon and was heard across the straits deep within the recesses of Government house and the Legislative Building. “We respect Peter Marshall.” Zhen repeated the message to the man next to him. The Happy Valley crowd took up the same refrain. John Hu waved across the straits … he knew the governor was watching … and he said to Qing Zhen.
in which elective positions were based on as little as a thousand votes. “We are voters.began to disperse. Chan submitted a bill to Legco that awarded all residents of Hong Kong and the New Territories a formal Hong Kong citizenship that provided basic human rights of work and freedom and the right to travel freely inside and outside of the colony as well as the right to reside anywhere within the colony.” was enough for any politician. In an hour the crowd had gone and traffic was back to its normal rancorous self. There had been also signs that farmers in the Territories had been gathering. As the troops were stood down and the police retired to normal duties. In a territory. Eric Chan was not a fool. Chan’s bill passed in record time. “These are solid stable valuable people who deserve the right of citizenship in the Colony. The following week. The newspaper pictures of the crowd suffocating Kowloon and the sound of their voices proclaiming in unison. The following day. the newspapers reported that the crowd had been estimated reliably by the police as numbering over one-and-a-half million and was probably only limited by the space available in downtown Kowloon. His arguments in support of his new bill were exactly those that Peter Marshall had expounded. They are our citizens and they are a powerful voting bloc as you can see. but the politicians understood. above and beyond what the People’s Republic of China might choose to provide in 1997. He saw power when it was shown to him. one-and-ahalf million voters declaiming in unison “We are Voters.” Chan acted at the right time. He knew what they wanted because he knew what Peter Marshall had wanted.” without an apparent leader other than one who had died. the authorities wondered what had happened. He said. The only half-hearted opposition voiced the concern of those with British connections: “How will this 252 . was power indeed.
The Beijing mouthpiece. Christopher Patten. made a formal protest. Tung Chee-Hwa. He was happy to approve the bill along with his other electoral reforms. 253 .dilute our position?” They were ignored. However. the People’s Communist Daily. the Governor. soundly condemned the change and PRC’s representative in Hong Kong. Peter Marshall had accomplished in death what he had been attempting to do in life. listened and said nothing.
Part IV – 1997 254 .
The Rogerson’s board members visited. that guests were forced to go from one to the next throughout the evening. where the wealthiest of British traders lived. Prince Charles and the British Prime Minister. and congratulated Candy and each other on how well Rogerson’s had fared in the center of things. and their friends. It wouldn’t be as much fun as this. hosted the Rogerson party. to watch the fireworks across the Straits. light. On Victoria’s peak and in the Mid-Level. and their friends. The pouring rain that drenched the crowds did nothing to quench their party spirits. and music. of course. Candy’s party was in full swing so the Governor looked a little reluctant to leave the warmth. However. and Candy’s Mother. Christopher Patten. Everyone who was anyone had their own ‘handover’ party … so many. Lim Yok. Elizabeth. There was no shortage of guests: Candy’s mother’s fashionable friends all arrived and gossiped about their part in the new Hong Kong to come.Chapter 38 – Handover June 30th was a little like New Year’s Eve. dropped in for a moment on his way to the formal gala celebration in order to say good-bye. as well as one of Blair’s predecessors. It attracted everybody: even the Governor. Candy’s younger friends from college brought their friends. He would host the Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Li Peng. or crowded onto terraces. lights blazed and music blared while the guests were glued to the vast picture windows. at the Convention center before yielding power and leaving Hong Kong. Official celebrations were held everywhere and in the streets spontaneous parties broke out throughout Hong Kong and Kowloon. Margaret Thatcher. Candy. The mood was infectious. Tony Blair. and 255 . On Mount Austin Road. Business leaders and their wives came by. he thought. for his final formal occasion.
He thought he had not been able to accomplish anything. Just before midnight. “Peter Ling and would both much rather stay here with you. Peter Ling was a roly-poly bundle with thick brown hair. “It’s wonderful that the legislative council finally acted after those wonderful crowds of people turned out. to Aberdeen. visited the party for a short while but they also had another engagement in Aberdeen with Su’s parents.despite their new citizenship status.” “Come back later. Peter Ling Wu.” Su replied. He entranced everyone with his curiousity and his apparent interest in everyone he met. I don’t think anyone is going to go to bed tonight. and his face would break into a new broad smile. Peter. Su whispered to Candy.” She gave Su a peck on the cheek. Candy replied. especially if Peter Ling falls asleep. That made me very proud of Peter and just a little sorry that he had been so depressed on the morning of the accident. At midnight. “How’s your father taking the handover?” “OK. “and have breakfast with us. as midnight tolled. everyone gathered around the television sets to see the handover enacted in the Convention Hall.” Candy made sure that her chauffeur and limousine took Su and her baby. the Union Jack was lowered as a British Military Band played “God Save the Queen. He would look at a person.they partied the night away. Su and her new baby son. the Red and Yellow Chinese flag was 256 . directly in the eye. How could anyone resist? Naturally he was the center of attention even without his being the son of such a celebrity as Marshall. Also I suspect that my father’s get-together will be a sober one.” and. Everyone is spoiling him rotten. with quite a few moans between old friends before the beer is opened -.
So ended 156 years of British rule. The parties continued into the rainy night. the new rulers allowed the leader of the Democratic Opposition Party. This extravaganza transformed the night and harbor into a blaze of sparkling colored light. Then. was immediately dissolved and replaced by a body appointed by the People’s Republic. and then settled down in front of the television to see what was happening. There were a few damp eyes in those watching. However. as the crowds cheered from both shores. barrister Martin Lee.raised while a Chinese Band played their anthem. skipped breakfast except for some orange juice. Chris Patten and Prince Charles boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia and sailed away in the company of HMS Chatham and two small ships of the Hong Kong flotilla. those troops occupied Prince Charles’ barracks just after the British troops had ceremoniously exited with all flags flying. The television then showed troops of the People’s Liberation Army crossing the border into the New Territories early on July 1st and traveling to Kowloon in armored personnel carriers over rain-slicked roads while villagers lined the roads. As expected the elected Legislative Council. The next morning Candy didn’t feel much like anything. They immediately boarded British troop ships. put on by the People’s Republic. She had spent the whole evening. she and Lim Yok took a quiet walk around the Peak to clear their heads. being a good hostess. to 257 . the gala atmosphere and the personalities present in Hong Kong made that evening. this time to the backdrop of a second firework show. the media event of 1997 with over eight thousand foreign journalists in tow. and the following day. with which China had not agreed. Despite these ominous moves. Now. It was the start of a new era. Later. far outdoing the earlier display. and early morning.
389 words 258 . so democracy was not entirely dead. 74.hold a rally at the Legislative Building and speak against the Chinese replacement of Legco by its own body. The future was theirs.
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