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Royal Asiatic Society HK Branch

November 9th, 2017 at Cafe 8, above HKMaritime Museum, Pier 8

This was a great new venue for RAS talks, as at this social-enterprise

café we enjoyed a convivial glass of something and of their tasty snacks

A review of the talk is on the RAS Newsletter Page 16

Café 8 can be found at cafe8

Under-resourced, under-supervised and ill-prepared, the three constables at the squalid Police Station on Cheung Chau stood no chance against the ruthless pirate gang in 1912.  Five more policemen lost their lives in a bloodbath in Wanchai that might have been averted by better coordination and information.  But travel forward just a little and the outcome at the hold-up in Canton Road is very different.  

Author in the Library - October 31st 2017

Out in the East with the Love of my Life:Police Family Life in 1900s Hong Kong


This Members event at The Helena May,Hong Kong took place in the elegant Blue Room -

as the library's too full of books - what a surprise.                                                 

Out in the East with the Love of my Life: European police family life in Hong Kong a hundred years ago.


Family life is always a bit of a challenge when the breadwinner is in the police - but a hundred years ago their wives and families faced all sorts of problems that aren’t encountered today.  For a start, the couple probably wouldn’t have known each other that well - the man had married during his six month leave - and now he was the only person his wife knew in this strange place.   There had been the six week sea voyage, of course - but since she likely was suffering morning sickness whilst the ship sailed down the Red Sea, with its scorching heat and then battled the rough seas of the Indian Ocean, there might not have been too much conversation.  On arrival in Hongkong she quickly learnt that her husband’s salary, which had sounded so good at home, had a very different purchasing power here, and where, oh where could she find decent potatoes?  She might have been looking forward to a few days with her husband to see round some of the island of Hongkong - only to find out that he had one day off a month.  And how was she going to cope when the baby started to come? …. 

Dublin Festival of History

Talk and book signing at Raheny Library, Dublin 5 Wednesday October 4th at 6.30pm

I had a great time at this, my first Dublin event.  I was delighted to have am been invited to give a talk as part of the Dublin Festival of History 2017, organized by Dublin City Libraries.  Events took place all over the city between 29th September and 14th October, all free, and including such luminaries as Chris Patten (Hong Kong's last Governor), Robert Service and Janina Ramirez.   At my talk I had in the audience many of the relatives of those chronicled in Policing Hong Kong - an Irish History - and many of whom I hadn't met before.   

UK launch

Waterstones, Watford 21st September
Many thanks to Amy, Melissa, Scott and Yolanda at Waterstones Watford for their help and support on 21st September.  A drizzling evening didn't deter more than 50 people coming to help celebrate finally getting the book out ... and here.  I gave three mini-talks and a rolling slideshow of pictures of both Newmarket and  Hong Kong in former times and its policemen seemed to get a lot of attention.  I was delighted that we were joined by two former members of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force, Liam Scally and Bryan Tully.  
Anne and Tom Hor added a bit of Hong Kong authenticity, too.  

photos: Úna Roughan

Back to its roots - the Irish launch in

Newmarket, Co. Cork  August 11th 2017

ScullysFest - the great annual festival of music and arts in Newmarket - hosted the Irish launchPolicing Hong Kong - an Irish History  during the 2017 Festival.  It was well advertised through the town, and the gallery at Newmarket Motors was packed with a great crowd.  Raymond O'Sullivan (no relation - but Newmarket's own local historian) gave me a great build up, and former Hong Kong policeman, Dan Daly , representing the RHKPA said some very kind words at the end.  The half hour's presentation started with the reasons for the project and then took a tour of the 20 or so Newmarket men who had made their careers in Hongkong.  The book signing afterwards was a sell-out - we'll be making more books available locally as soon as they can get here.

Enormous thank you to Éilis Hourigan, Eoin O'Sullivan and Mike Guerin of Scullysfest, and to Sean Browne of Newmarket Motors for making the great venue available.

Photo courtesy Eileen O Connor Photography
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