28 September 2016

What's Next for Joshua? 黃之鋒去向

A lot has happened in Hong Kong in the two years since tens of thousands of student protesters occupied the city’s major thoroughfares to demand a free vote.

The so-called Umbrella Movement, which began on 28 September 2014 and went on for 79 days, was followed by a period of protest fatigue, polarization of society and increasing intervention by the Chinese government.

But for Joshua Wong, a mainstay of that movement and a household name both at home and abroad, the past 24 months have been a chance to reflect and reassess.

Boy wonder

Earlier this year, Wong disbanded a student group he set up in 2011 and co-founded a political party with fellow protest leader Nathan Law.

In the general election three Sundays ago, Wong, who at 19 was too young to run for office, took a back seat. He campaigned for Law in a bid for one of the 40 democratically elected seats in the city’s legislature. Law went on to win the election and become one of six fresh-faced lawmakers elected on a platform of increased autonomy from China.

And so, for the first time since was catapulted to international fame – after successfully thwarting the Hong Kong government’s attempt in 2012 to introduce a patriotic curriculum in primary and secondary schools – Wong was not the center of attention.

The day after his election win, Law appeared in major newspapers around the world. It was him – and not the much more famous Wong – who took live interviews with CNN and the BBC. In one telling photograph taken at the vote counting station, a jubilant Law was pictured cradling a bouquet of flowers while surrounded by cheering supporters. Standing next to him in the image was Wong, whose face was all but eclipsed by the oversized bouquet.

Law (center) and Wong (blocked by flowers)

Wong appeared unfazed by how the spotlight had shifted to his friend.

“I don’t mind being Nathan’s sidekick,” said Wong, in a sit-down interview at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a short walk from the main protest site in 2014. “In fact, I’m relieved that someone else is in the limelight for a change.”

“During the general election, I made sure that Nathan took center stage so that voters chose him because they knew him and not because they considered him my surrogate.”

Being in someone else’s shadow seems hardly cold at all, especially if you were named one of the world’s top ten leaders by Fortune magazine – as Wong was in 2015. The teenage student leader takes three to four interviews each day and holds daily meetings with like-minded activists and politicians. His jam-packed days begin at 9am and end well past midnight.

Wong’s schedule has not changed much since he graced the cover of Time magazine shortly after the Umbrella Movement erupted. The foreign press frequently compares him to that other teenage activist, Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, in terms of charisma and name recognition.

His fame notwithstanding, Wong said he considered Law an important – and equal – partner. “We have so much on our plates: policy proposals, press interviews and community outreach. Neither of us can do it alone. As a lawmaker, Nathan will fight inside the legislature. I’ll continue my fight on the streets.”  

Part of that fight is to garner international support for the city’s pro-democracy movement. Before the recent election, he and Law toured Britain and the U.S., giving speeches at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Stanford. With Law now focusing on the upcoming parliamentary session, Wong will take up the bulk of the overseas speaking engagements. The next couple of months will see him travel to Bangkok, Washington D.C., New York and Miami.

Wong addressing students at Oxford

Wong now appears less fidgety than at the height of the 2014 protests when he spent nearly three months camped on the streets outside Hong Kong’s government headquarters. He smiles frequently and no longer checks his smartphone every 15 seconds. What hasn’t changed is his signature bowl haircut and heavy-framed spectacles. His denim shirt and cargo pants are those of a typical Hong Kong teenager.

But Wong won’t be a teenager for much longer. He turns 20 in a few weeks and will lose his status as a student leader when he graduates from university in 2018. And if he doesn’t manage his career carefully, the comparison may shift from Malala Yousafzai to Macaulay Culkin or other failed child stars.

Wong knows that time is his biggest enemy. That’s why he filed a judicial review prior to the general election to overturn the minimum age requirement for election candidates – a fight he ultimately lost. The next election is four years away.

In the meantime, his prospects remain murky.

Wong currently attends Open University, which ranks last among the nine universities in Hong Kong. While he does well in his political science classes, his grade point average has been pulled down by non-core subjects with which he struggles, such as statistics.

A lackluster transcript aside, Wong’s main career hurdle is perhaps his name. Being a high profile political activist who was recently convicted for his role in starting the Umbrella Movement means that  in the long term  a career in politics may be his only option.

Jobs in both the public and private sectors are out of reach. No bank, telecom company or property developer – by far the largest employers in the city – would want to associate its name with a thorn in Beijing’s side.  

University ranking 2016

Still, friends like Matthew Torne, the British director who shadowed Wong for months while filming a documentary that chronicles Wong’s campaign against the patriotic curriculum, have urged the teenager to think long and hard about whether a career in politics is the right move.

“I’ve told Josh on more than one occasion that he needs a backup plan, such as a solid education from a reputable university overseas,” Torne said. “Josh is smart enough to know that voters are fickle and that he needs to think beyond politics.”

Wong appears to be listening to his friends counsel.

“I want to wipe the slate clean with a master’s degree aboard,” Wong mused. His ever-growing rolodex, which boasts professors at top postgraduate programs around the world, will come in handy when he is ready to take a hiatus from public life.

“I haven’t made up my mind about what I’ll do after spending a year or two overseas,” he confessed. “Outside politics, I suppose I can work for an NGO or do some freelance writing. I may even consider academia.”

For now, the protest leader gets by on a modest monthly allowance from his parents, with whom he and his brother share an apartment in a middle class neighborhood. 

When he doesn’t eat at home, his meals are paid for by politicians and reporters. Foreign trips are funded by institutions that invite him to speak.

“My biggest expense is cab fare,” the teenage activist said almost apologetically. “I’m always running from one place to the next, and I don’t have time to take the bus or the subway.” In Hong Kong, taking taxis instead of mass transit is considered a luxury for students.

“Other than that, I’m a pretty low maintenance guy.”

Director Torne (right) and Wong


An shorter version of this article was published in the 28 September edition of the Guardian.

As the article appeared on theGuardian.com

06 September 2016

Generation Shift 換代

For months, fierce political campaigns, vicious personal attacks and sporadic allegations of electoral irregularities had filled the airwaves and fuelled social media discourse in Hong Kong. One candidate was forced to drop out and flee to the U.K. after receiving threats of physical harm.

That is because the stakes had never been higher.

The Honorable Nathan Law (middle)

On Sunday, in the first election in Hong Kong since the Umbrella Movement was spawned in 2014, more than two million citizens – nearly 60% of all registered voters – went to the polls. 40 seats on the Legislative Council, or Legco, the region’s parliament, were up for grabs by candidates representing a wide spectrum of political parties. They ranged from diehard Beijing loyalists to pro-democracy veterans and younger, more radical newcomers calling for autonomy and even independence from China...

Read the rest of this article on TheGuardian.com.

As the article appeared in the 6 September 
2016 print edition of The Guardian

05 September 2016

About the Author 關於作者

Born in Hong Kong, Jason Y. Ng is a globetrotter who spent his entire adult life in Italy, the United States and Canada before returning to his birthplace to rediscover his roots. He is a full-time lawyer, a published author, a contributor to The South China Morning PostTimeOut, EJInsight, and Hong Kong Free Press. His social commentary blog As I See It and restaurant and movie review site The Real Deal have attracted a cult following in Asia and beyond.

Jason is the bestselling author of Umbrellas in Bloom (2016), No City for Slow Men (2013) and HONG KONG State of Mind (2010). Together, the three books form his Hong Kong Trilogy” that tracks the city's post-colonial development. Jason's short stories have appeared in various anthologies. He is a member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club and the Hong Kong Writers' Circle.

Jason is also a social activist. He is an ambassador for Shark Savers and an outspoken advocate for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement and the rights of foreign domestic workers and other minority groups. In September 2016, Jason was appointed President of PEN Hong Kong, the local chapter of PEN International which promotes literature and freedom of expression around the world.

Jason has been featured at, among others, the Hong Kong Book Fair, the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival, the Singapore Writers Festival, the Cooler Lumpur Literary Festival, and Raising the Bar (HK). He has been featured in the New York TimesSouth China Morning Postthe Apple Daily, City Magazine, TimeOut Hong Kong, TimeOut BeijingMing Pao Weekly, Stand News, Hong Kong Free Press, RTHK Radio 3, the Taipei Times, Epoch Times, GB Times, the China Daily, and the Volkskrant. He has been interviewed or cited by the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, BBC News, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, the Voice of America, Radio France, Breitbart News, and the Dagens Nyheter. He speaks frequently on television and radio and at universities and cultural events.

Jason earned his double degree in finance and electrical engineering from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Juris Doctor and M.B.A. from the University of Toronto. He is admitted to the New York and the Massachusetts State Bars. In 2015, Jason was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches international securities law for the Master of Laws (LLM) program. He has given guest lectures and talks at Columbia University, New York University, University of California Los Angeles, the University of Toronto, York University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Hong Kong Baptist University.

Jason’s day job and personal interests make him a frequent traveler. Over the years, he has visited over 100 cities in more than 35 countries. He speaks English, Cantonese and Mandarin and has working knowledge of Italian and French.

In addition to being a writer, Jason is an English teacher, classical singer and amateur photographer. His other interests include alpine skiing, mountain climbing, classical music and home cooking. In 2011, he was bestowed the title Man of the Year by Elle Men magazine for his diverse interests and balanced lifestyle. In 2013, Jason was the keynote speaker at the Harvard Club Book Prize awards ceremony.

Jason lives in Hong Kong and can be contacted at info@jasonyng.com. For more, visit www.jasonyng.com.

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Jason makes frequent appearances on the literary circuit and university campuses. If you would like him to speak at your school or organization, please contact him by email.

04 September 2016

Media Attention + Upcoming Events 媒體關注 + 最新動向

Upcoming events

Guest Lecturer at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Title: "The Umbrella Revolution" - Two Years On
Venue: Ignat Kaneff Building
Date: 24 October
Time: 12:30 - 2:00pm

Guest Lecturer at Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Title: "The Umbrella Revolution" - Two Years On
Venue: Falconer Hall
Date: 27 October
Time: 12:30 - 2:00pm

Moderator at Book Launch of Sarong Party Girl at Hong Kong International Literary Festival 
Featured author: Singaporean novelist Cheryl Tan
Venue: KEE Club, Central
Date: 12 November
Time: 12:00 - 2:00pm

Moderator/Panelist at Launch of PEN Hong Kong at Hong Kong International Literary Festival
Venue: Foreign Correspondents' Club, Central
Date: 13 November
Time: 12:00 - 1:00pm

Book Talk with the Kellett School Book Club
Topic: "Umbrellas in Bloom"
Venue: TBD
Date: 14 November
Time: 6:30 - 8:00pm

Guest Lecture at Centre for English and Additional Languages at Lingnan University

Topic: "Developing a writing career in Hong Kong"
Moderator: Dr. Marshall Moore
Venue: B.Y. Lam Building, Lingnan University
Date: 16 November
Time: 7:00 - 8:00pm

Moderator: David Bandurski
Venue: Main Library, University of Hong Kong
Date: 17 November
Time: 6:30 - 8:00pm

Book Launch of Hong Kong Future Perfect (2016 Anthology by the Hong Kong Writers Circle)
Venue: TBD
Date: 15 December, 6:30pm

2016 (to date)

Interviews with The Sunday Times
Publication date: 9 October

Contributed to Full Translation of Joshua Wong's Essay for The Guardian
Publication date: 7 October

Interviews with The Guardian
Article: "Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong attacks Thailand after being barred at China's request" by Tom Phillips, Eric Cheung and Oliver Holmes
Article: "Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong detained in Thailand at China's request" by Tom Phillips and Bonnie Malkin
Publication date: 5 October

Interview with Bangkok's Voice TV - World News
Broadcast date: 29 September

Article Published in The Guardian
Publication date: 28 September

Topic: "From blog to bestsellers: (part of the "Stay Young, Dream Big" series)
Venue: Jockey Club Student Village III, University of Hong Kong
Date: 26 September

Book Talk with the Hong Kong Literary Group Book Club
Venue: TBD
Date: 24 September

Interview with the China Daily
Article: "Maids of Honor" by Basu Chitralekha
Publication date: 22 September

Panel Discussion at Young China Watchers
Venue: Bar Six, Wyndham Street
Date: 21 September

Appointed President of PEN Hong Kong, the Local Chapter of PEN International
Date: 20 September

"Umbrellas in Bloom" cited in the Guardian
Publication date: 19 September
Topic: "Hong Kong's politics: post-election and the Umbrella Movement"
Moderator: Professor Pirongrong Ramasoota
Venue: Chulalongkorn University, Pathumwan, Bangkok
Date: 16 September
Topic: "Umbrellas in Bloom: Hong Kong's largest social movement explained"
Moderator: Professor Janjira Sombutpoonsiri
Venue: Thammasat University, Prachan, Bangkok
Date: 16 September

Panel Discussion at Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
Topic: "China: an ever-growing footprint"
Moderator: Jerome Taylor
Venue: Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, Lumpini, Bangkok
Date: 15 September

Talk at Raffles Institution (visiting from Singapore)
Topic: "Student activism and the Umbrella Movement"
Venue: TBD
Date: 12 September

Interview with French Newspaper Libération
Publication date: 5 September

Article Published in The Guardian
Publication date: 5 September

Interview with The Guardian
Article: "Hong Kong elections: anti-Beijing activists gain foothold in power" by Tom Phillips and Eric Cheung
Publication date: 5 September

Interview with The South China Morning Post
Publication date: 4 September

Interview with The Los Angeles Times
Publication date: 2 September

Option Pricing Article Published for the Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School
Publication date: 1 September

Featured Author in A Hundred Readers《百人閱讀》by Muji 無印良品 x City Magazine 號外
Release date: 17 August

Panel Judge at Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship Program Co-organized by Wimler Foundation and Aeteno University
Venue: Migrants Empowerment Resource Center MERC, Central
Date: 14 August

Speaker at Department of Journalism, Chulalongkorn University (visiting from Thailand)
Topic: The role of new media in the Umbrella Movement
Venue: TBD
Date: 4 August

Interview with the Associated Press
Publication date: 22 July

Featured in Beijing-based Literary Site Five Books
Publication date: 7 July

Interview with Epoch Times
Publication date: 20 June

Interview with The Guardian
Publication date: 17 June

KEE Club Book Talk Presented by the Hong Kong International Literary Festival
Title: Umbrellas in Bloom
Moderator: Nick Thorpe
Venue: KEE Club, Central
Date: 7 June

Interview with Epoch Times
Publication date: 7 June

Singapore Book Launch of Umbrellas in Bloom Presented by Select Centre
Moderator: Professor Ian Chong
Venue: TheatreWorks, Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore
Date: 2 June

Featured in Stand News立場新聞
Publication date: 30 May

Umbrellas in Bloom Featured in Southside magazine
Issue: May 2016

Featured in Books4You《讀書好》
Issue: 104 (May 2016)

Lunch Talk Hosted by Latham & Watkins
Topic: Reflections on the Umbrella Movement
Venue: One Exchange Square, Central
Date: 10 May

Talk at Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC), University of Hong Kong
Topic: Tips on feature writing
Moderator: Professor David Bandurski
Venue: Eliot Hall, Pokfulam
Date: 24 April

Second printing of Umbrellas in Bloom
Date: 24 April

Book Talk with the Serious Book Club
Venue: Blue Place Cafe, Wanchai
Date: 20 April

Featured in the South China Morning Post
Publication date: 16 April

Interview with The Guardian
Publication date: 10 April

Commencement of Spring Term at Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong, LLM Program
Course: International Securities Law
Venue: Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, Pokfulam
Dates: 8 - 29 April

Hong Kong Book Launch of Umbrellas in Bloom
Venue: Bookazine, Lyndhurst Terrace
Date: 6 April

Interview with D100 Radio
Show: "Running the race 對沖人生路" with presenter Edward Chin
Broadcast date: 5 April

Interview with RTHK Radio 3
Show: "123 Show" with presenter Noreen Mir
Topic: "Umbrellas in Bloom"
Broadcast date: 5 April

Featured in Portuguese News Agency Agência de Notícias de Portugal, SA (LUSA)
Publication date: 3 April

Featured in the New York Times
Publication date: 24 March

Featured in Hong Kong Free Press

Publication date: 13 March

Featured Author at 2016 Bookworm Literary Festival
Panel 1: "The future of Hong Kong" moderated by Guardian reporter Tom Phillips 
Panel 2: "Umbrellas in Bloom" moderated by Los Angeles Times Beijing Bureau chief Julie Makinen
Venue: Sanlitun, Beijing
Date: 12 - 13 March

Release of Umbrellas in Bloom
Date: 9 March

Guest Speaker at Rotary Club
Topic: "Writing about Hong Kong -- A Decade On"
Venue: Hong Kong Bankers' Club, the Landmark
Date: 1 March

Interview with TimeOut HK
Publication date: 24 February

Joined EJInsight as a Contributor
Date: 22 February

Featured in TimeOut Beijing
Article: "8 must-see talks at the Bookworm Literary Festival" by Helen Roxburgh
Publication date: 12 February

Article Reproduced in the Wall Street Journal
Date: 10 February

Interview with Radio France Internationale
Publication date: 10 February

Interview with the Los Angeles Times
Publication date: 5 February

Volunteer Lawyer for Helpers for Domestic Helpers

Start date: 3 February

Master of Ceremony at a 1,500-guest Corporate Annual Ball

Co-host: TVB actor/present Kelly Cheung
Venue: Hong Kong Convention Centre, Wanchai
Date: 23 January

MC'ing at the annual ball

Shooting of Hollywood/UK documentary
Venue: Pokfulam
Date: 22 January
Release date: end of 2016

2008 - 2012

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If you would like Jason Y. Ng, bestselling author of Umbrellas in BloomNo City for Slow Men and HONG KONG State of Mind, to speak at your school or organization, please contact him at info@jasonyng.com.