Op-Eds

In-depth features and interviews, and photo essays   
South China Morning Post
  1. Losing everything: My mother was born and raised in Shanghai and my father went to Shanghai in 1926 to work for the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank. They met briefly in 1931, when my mother joined the bank, but they didn’t get together until 1937, when they were both living in Hong Kong. My father was still with the bank and my mother had been evacuated because of the Japanese hostilities in China. They married and lived on Peak Road (now Mount Austin Road), which is where I was conceived. In 1940,…
  2. A mere 3,144 of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people are African, or of African descent, according to the 2016 Population By-census. But in the past five years, a massive 492 complaints of racial discrimination against them were lodged with the city’s equality watchdog.In reality, that may be a conservative measure of discrimination. A 2016 study by the Equal Opportunities Commission revealed that many members of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong would not consider filing a complaint, worried that they…
  3. Rhino horn being touted as curative is nothing new. For more than 2,000 years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has enlisted the sub­stance as a cure-all, recommended for every­thing from gout to fever and even cancer. And Africa has long been the place to procure it.But buckling under global pressure, in 1993, the Chinese government banned the domestic trade and medicinal use of rhino horn. The scientifically innocuous ingredient was largely replaced with buffalo horn, but demand continued…
  4. It was January 1999 when Richard and David met in Bali, Indonesia. Richard, who is British, was 33. David, Australian, was 30. Within a week, they realised it was going to be a long-term relationship. Early on, David told Richard there was something he needed to know.“He was very nervous,” Richard recalls. “He said, ‘I’ve always seen myself with a family’ … And I remember feeling: Wow! Me too! There was this amazing energy that we’d each found someone on the same page.”Even as a child, Richard,…
  5. Since the first reports of the novel coronavirus, the list of known symptoms has changed, as has our understanding of what the virus does to the body. Health advice, for both governments and individuals, has evolved, too. And although some countries claim to have virtually eliminated the virus, others are only now seeing cases beginning to spike and some are experiencing what looks like a “second wave” or even a “third wave” of infections. What can we learn from the countries that got it right…
  6. Late diagnosis: I was born in 1981. My parents were working as managers at a glove factory in Colombo, Sri Lanka. My mother came back to Hong Kong to give birth and a month later returned to Sri Lanka. When I was a toddler, they suspected something was wrong as my legs were weak and I’d often fall.We returned to Hong Kong a few years later and I had a lot of medical tests, but it wasn’t until I was six that I was diagnosed with (muscle-wasting disease) spinal muscular atrophy, the number one…
  7. Kevin Kwan first realised how radically his life had changed during a visit home to Houston, Texas, in the United States. Walking with his mother through the car park of a suburban supermarket, and navigating swarms of traffic, Kwan got into his car and tried to back out.“There was this SUV full of guys honking, and frantically waving their arms,” recalls Kwan. “I thought, ‘Oh, no, did I hit something?’ I rolled down my window, and said, ‘What’s the matter?’ They all smiled and said, ‘Kevin,…
  8. As the visitors entered the town, they could sense an air of tenseness and foreboding among the inhab­itants,” my great-grandfather, Dr Wu Lien-teh, wrote of his experience arriving in Harbin in December 1910. “Everywhere there were guarded talks and whispers of fever, blood-spitting and sudden deaths, of corpses abandoned by roadsides and open fields, and of unwelcome deaths.”Wu, then just 31, led the fight against a deadly pneumo­nic plague outbreak in Manchuria, northern China. Facing an…
  9. Frosty beginnings: In the late 1950s and early 60s a great famine swept across China and my paternal grandfather starved to death. Fearing hunger, my grandmother fled from Shandong province to northeast China with her three children in tow, including my mother. She would go on to meet my father in a small village in Jilin province. The village was situated in the foothills of the Changbai Mountains, a range that crosses Manchuria and North Korea. In winter, the place could freeze like ice cream…
  10. Just like Leonardo: I was born in Hong Kong in 1952, exactly 500 years after da Vinci – I think I have a similar mind to him, I enjoy solving puzzles and making designs. My father was a building contractor and my mother was a housewife. I was the fifth of six children. We were a tradi­tional family and my father expected his children to be successful, which meant becoming a doctor or a lawyer. All my brothers have PhDs except for me, but I never liked studying and wasn’t successful in exams. …