Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Book Excerpt: Flawed by Pavan C Lall

 

Flawed-final front

 

Title: FLAWED: The Rise and Fall of India’s Diamond Mogul Nirav Modi

Author: Pavan C. Lall

Publisher: Hachette India, 2019

Links : Amazon 

 

 

 

A BILLIONAIRE FROM NOWHERE: The Creation of a Diamond Mogul

 Nirav Modi did not leave Belgium as a successful entrepreneur, nor did he have any kind of work experience with top Western jewellery houses. While it’s not clear what he intended to do when he returned to India, what is certain is that by around 1999 Nirav Modi had arrived in Mumbai and begun his tutelage under Mehul Choksi. Why did he not, instead, join hands with his other uncle, Chetan Choksi, who was already in Europe? The answer is that there wasn’t much love lost between him and Chetan. Aside from his rapport with Mehul, another factor may have motivated his return. India was at a crossroads after the liberalization of its economy. The future was wide open and for a young entrepreneurial expatriate who had returned to start with the support of an entrenched player, India was a land of endless opportunities.

Once the die was cast, Modi learned how gems and jewellery worked in India. What he learned he would, in turn, pass on to his brother Nishal, including how to work within tight budgets and how to buddy up to midlevel employees in factories by sipping on cutting chai with them during breaks.

 

Modi has claimed that he had always planned for a luxury brand, but during the years that he was with his uncle, and shortly after, he was building up businesses of the diamond supply chain that were of lower-value and that included polishing and trading. But it was fluting, essentially the manual bagging of diamonds for other manufacturers, that gave his company the launch pad it needed, or so Modi would declare publicly. Modi first called his company Firestone, but then changed it to Firestar in 1999 because the former sounded too much like the automotive tyre company. In Modi’s own words, the company gave him consistent profits for the better part of five or six years and, by 2004, Firestar’s revenues crossed `400 crore. Read more

Pico Iyer: ‘I grew up in Britain but I am entirely Asian’

With the literary festivals season blossoming around Asia, Singapore will host its 22 nd writers’ festival from 1st to 10th November  with big names dropping in, including Pico Iyer. Pico Iyer, who has spent the last three decades in Japan will be talking on ‘Beyond Borders, Beyond Words’. Iyer will reflect on human connection and belonging. After his talk, he will be in dialogue with acclaimed novelist who has spent a large part of her life in Japan too and now lives in Singapore, Meira Chand.

This year Pico Iyer has been the writer in residence for the newly renovated Raffles Hotel in Singapore. He penned down a book on the Hotel called This could be Home. the novel was launched on 5th august. Long ago in history, this heritage hotel had housed the likes of great writers like Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham.

Pico Iyer was born Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer in 1957. His great-great-great-grand father was a Gujarati writer-reformer in the late nineteenth century, Mahipatram Nilkanth . His parents were Indian academics who moved to England to study. Iyer’s unusual name is a combination of the Buddha’s name, Siddhartha, with that of the fifteenth century Florentine neo-Platonist Pico della Mirandola and the last name is that of his father. Schooled in Oxford and Harvard, Pico Iyer is known for his brilliant essays and travel writing. He has written a few novels too. Read more

“I’d rather be a forest, THAN a street”: Nidhi Mishra, founder of Bookosmia

By Mitali Chakravarty

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Nidhi Mishra, CEO and founder of Bookosmia

Nidhi Mishra is an ex-banker who pivoted from a ten year banking career to her passion for reading and luring others to read (admittedly, at times forcibly). Nidhi studied at Lady Shri Ram College , Delhi University, to pick up an Honours in Mathematics and a feminist flair on the side. An MBA from IIM Lucknow took her to a decade long career in the financial sector, finally quitting as VP, HSBC as she wanted to do something more meaningful with her time, which led her to found Bookosmia. Bookosmia (smell of books)  is a children’s content company hoping to make children fall in love with reading, writing and everything else around Indian stories. Over the last two years, the company has built a significant spread of content, across formats- physical books, digital stories and audio stories with one common thread — to curate homegrown, relatable and fun content for Indian children. In this exclusive, Nidhi talks of their present and future, how she feels book publishing is still viable and needed…

Mitali: You have founded a publishing firm, which took up a challenge and pulled it off… selling 1000 copies of a book that was seen as a failure by others in a week. What made you take up the book?

Nidhi: At Bookosmia, we look to not publish more than 2-3 physical books every year. A very strong driver for us is to be able to find the topic / basic storyline meaningful and one that moves us. It helps to start out being very clear to yourself and the team that book publishing is not about making great money — it is about using books as a medium to amplify reach of a certain cause. We took up this book because we were excited about the challenge of using a children’s story book as a medium to spread awareness of a dying Indian dance form in a fun way and we were confident that we would be able to tap into our steadily growing network of parents /schools/ organisations that engage with kids across India. Read more

Essay: Mapping the Culture and History of Taiwan

by Dan Bloom

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Taiwan sits on a piece of colourful and multi-splendoured island real estate, south of Japan and east of Hong Kong and China. As an independent, sovereign nation since 1945, it has produced its share of Asian literature since the beginning of the Japanese Colonial Period (1895-1945) to the present. In this brief essay, I want to introduce two Taiwanese writers; one a novelist with an international reputation, Wu Ming-yi, who writes in Chinese, and the other a short story writer based in Taipei, Jane Wu, who writes in English and has recently published a collection of nine stories about the martial law period of Taiwan history (1949 to 1987).

Nature writer and university professor Wu Ming-yi  (吳明益) wrote a popular novel titled The Man with the Compound Eyes in 2011, with translations in English and French following in 2013 and 2014. Largely ignored at first for the novel that was published in Chinese, Wu’s eco-fantasy later  attracted attention overseas in translated editions, thanks for the eagle eye and savvy marketing skills of Taipei-based literary agent Gray Tan, who took Wu under his wing and introduced the novel to agents and publishers in Europe and America. Read more

Hong Kong literary giant Liu Yichang passes away at 99

(From radiichina.com)

Born in Shanghai on December 7, 1918, and originally named Liu Tongyi, Liu Yichang first came to Hong Kong in 1948 and settled down in the city with his wife Lo Pai-wun in 1957.

In a writing career spanning more than six decades, Liu published over 30 books including novels, literary reviews, essays, poems and translated works.

He is credited with establishing modern literature in Hong Kong, with many of his works carrying the city’s unique metropolitan flavour. Liu was also known for discovering and nurturing a number of outstanding Hong Kong-based writers, including late poet Leung Ping-kwan, who went by the pen name Yesi, and author Zhang Yan, also known as Xi Xi.

If Liu’s name doesn’t ring a bell for you, the best-known adaptation of his work might: Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai’s 2000 masterpiece, In the Mood For Love. Writer and translator Eileen Chengyin Chow — who’s well worth a follow in general for fans of modern and not-so-modern Chinese literature and poetry — commemorated Liu’s passing yesterday with an instructive thread on the late novelist’s relation with Wong:

Read more at this link

HOCA Foundation presents “The World of Tintin”

Tintin

HONG KONG. – 11 October 2017 – HOCA Foundation is proud to announce a landmark exhibition exploring the adventures of global icon Tintin. The largest presentation in Hong Kong to date, it showcases 8 albums from the renowned “The Adventures of Tintin” series. The immersive experience, featuring vivid scenography, celebrates the imaginative world created by the Belgian illustrator and creator of Tintin, Hergé. Presented in collaboration with the Hergé Museum, “THE WORLD OF TINTIN,” will run from November 17 – December 26, 2017 at the new ArtisTree, venue sponsored by Swire Properties. A public two-day conference, as well as a series of educational comic art workshops will run in parallel, tailored for students in collaboration with local schools.

Created in 1929, the Tintin adventures have been translated into over 100 languages and sold more than 230 million copies worldwide. Each thematic section of the exhibition has been designed by HOCA Foundation to bring the intrepid boy reporter to life. “THE WORLD OF TINTIN” traces Hergé’s path from his first stories to his mature works, following Tintin as he crosses continents between North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and beyond.

A cultural touchstone of the 20th century, the canonical series of Tintin albums featured include Tintin in America; Cigars of the Pharaoh; The Blue Lotus; The Broken Ear; King Ottokar’s Sceptre; The Shooting Star; The Red Sea Sharks and Tintin in Tibet. Packed with gripping adventures, action and page-turning humor, the show highlights Tintin beyond the fictional narrative, offering a lens into the social and political contexts of its time. Visual art has played an important role in documenting historical events, and the series serve as vehicles to express Herge’s views on the conflicts and topics of his time. Ushering a new dimension in comic strips, the Tintin series has since been recognized as an important work of art that reflects the changing perspectives of its audience throughout the 1900s.

The welcoming exhibition also includes three specially created models of Tintin scenes, including a model of Tintin’s apartment; a large diorama of the ticker tape parade in Chicago from Tintin in America, highlighting Hergé’s sophisticated use of perspective; and a collector’s model of a street scene populated by signature Tintin cars, accurately rendered from the automobiles of the time. Flanked by colorful scenes set in vinyl throughout the space and reconstituted as the show’s wallpaper, the exhibition design transforms Hergé’s motifs into a compelling environment that befits his trademark characters and evokes the illustrator’s magical world and limitless imagination.

Committed to art education and enabling access to art for the wider public, HOCA Foundation also presents a 2-day public conference exploring the importance of comic art in contemporary society. The free event will feature panels exploring Tintin’s legacy, as well as a keynote lecture by Michael Farr, the world’s foremost ‘Tintinologist’. In collaboration with local schools, a series of comic art workshops, led by local illustrators will also activate families and students to engage with and be inspired by Tintin stories. All educational events are generously sponsored by blueprint and Semeiotics, with additional support from the ticket sales of Freespace at Taikoo Place, co-presented by Swire Properties and West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. (Please refer to Appendix I for full details of Educational Program)

To celebrate the first full-scale exhibition of Tintin in Hong Kong, 3 pop-up shops will also be presented around Hong Kong, at ArtisTree, CityPlaza and Central, presenting a wide range of Tintin gifts, books and memorabilia.

Read more

All fun and games at the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival

By Chris Wood

Rickshaw is a proud, vain and extremely noisy rooster living in the backstreets of 1920s Shanghai. In the annual race along the Bund, winning is a matter of national pride for contestants representing Shanghai’s international concessions. Will the foreigners win again, or will a local hero carry the day?

Find out when Sarah Brennan, locally based author of the best-selling Chinese Calendar Tales and the Dirty Story series for children, introduces The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster as part of the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival next Sunday.

“The festival is designed to encourage young people to engage with the literary arts, improve English language skills and support cultural exchange,” says festival manager Phillipa Milne. “We aim to promote the benefits of reading and instil a lifelong love of reading.” Read more

Source: scmp.com

‘Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers’: Portraits of lives transformed by war

By Stephen Mansfield

It’s staggering to think that, at the end of the Pacific War, almost 7 million Japanese servicemen and civilians were awaiting repatriation in various parts of Asia.

That figure makes sense in light of the considerable size of the Japanese empire, which then stretched from New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, from Burma to Manchuria and Hong Kong.

Reintegration into everyday life proved far easier for those Japanese soldiers who returned immediately from overseas. Prisoners of war who were detained for years in Siberian and Chinese camps, however, or stragglers who held out in the jungles on Pacific islands, would find that many of their remembered landscapes, particularly where bombed-out cities were concerned, had been erased.

Yoshikuni Igarashi divides his scrupulously researched book on this topic into three sections: First is the mass media’s representation of returning soldiers and the efforts of writers from their ranks to refute these characterizations; second is a portrait of those who returned alive from Soviet internment camps and a chronicle of their subsequent lives; and the last chapters examine the belated return of soldiers from the South Pacific in the 1970s. Read more

Source: The Japan Times

 

Book Review: Collected Hong Kong Stories – love, shattered dreams and pursuit of wealth in the vertical city

By Tessa Chan

Collected Hong Kong Stories

by David T.K. Wong

Blacksmith Books

4 stars

While most authors build a following in their home country before venturing abroad, Hong Kong’s limited outlets for literary fiction led to local author David T.K. Wong taking his work to the US, Europe and Southeast Asia before publishing them here.

Now, however, he brings us 30 years worth of his short stories in one book, a rich and complex portrait of Hong Kong told through the lens of its varied inhabitants, their relationships with the city and each other.

Drawing on his own broad experience and knowledge – he studied political science and journalism, worked as a journalist, educator and government official – Wong conjures characters from all levels of society, from wealthy businessmen to migrant workers. He takes us on a vivid tour through Hong Kong’s back alleys, and abroad, whether to London’s Embankment or the traditional tea houses of Kyoto, Japan. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post

2017 set to be landmark year for Chinese poetry

By Wen Zongduo/Li Wenfang

Many Chinese poets say that this year will be special for them, a view echoed by Wang Guoqin, a poet and critic who said “poetry is the light ahead in the dark tunnel of my life”, after receiving the Creation Award of the Year at the Third Spring Festival Poetry Gala for his book Talking About Poetry From Zhishi Studio.

The gala in Beijing organized over Jan 13-14 by the Qu Yuan Society of China brought together poetry enthusiasts from Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing, Kaifeng and Shenyang.

Coincidentally, just over 100 years ago, Chinese poetry underwent a drastic change with poetry collections being published in new styles, free in rhythm and lines, com-pared with traditional verses often preset with tones, rhymes and the numbers of characters.

But questions still abound a century later.

At an event in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, on Jan 8 in the presence of guests from the province, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, Qiu Shuhong, whose latest honor is the World Chinese Poetry Award’s gold prize, proposed that 2017 be made the Year of Chinese Poetry to celebrate the birth of “new poems”. Read more

Source: China Daily

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