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Friends and Teachers

Hong Kong and Its People 1953-87

James Hayes

Publication Year: 1996

The book covers several decades of Hong Kong's recent past, from the time James Hayes joined the Administrative Grade of the Hong Kong Civil Service in the 1950s to his retirement in the 1980s, thirty-two years later.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Two main themes may be discerned in this account by James Hayes of Hong Kong in the second half of this century: an autobiographical story of an unusual career and a description of the changes - increasingly rapid as the end of the century approaches - in the environment and lifestyle of most people in Hong Kong. James and I were colleagues in the Hong Kong 'Cadet Service' for well...

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Preface and Acknowledgements

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pp. ix-xiii

'What? A District Officer again!' exclaimed one of my former 'parishioners', in tones of shocked disbelief, during a chance encounter on a ferry to Lantau in 1975 when he had asked me where I was now working. I must surely have disappointed him...


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pp. xv


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pp. xix-xxiii

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Chapter 1: Starting Out; Hong Kong in the 1950s

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pp. 1-30

My military service with the British Commonwealth Division in Korea in 1953 was the true source of my life-long interest in East Asia, then known to me by the more magical-sounding name, 'the Far East'. Six months of soldiering among the Korean hills north of the Imjin River...

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Chapter 2: The Shek Pik Reservoir

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pp. 31-56

Undoubtedly the most important and time-consuming part of my responsibilities as District Officer South was the work connected with the construction of the Shek Pik Reservoir and its ancillary projects. Since it was my main single responsibility and so much hung on a successful...

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Chapter 3: The Resettlement Department

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pp. 57-83

At the end of 1962, I received notice of my posting to the Resettlement Department. After over five years in the Southern DIstrict, this came as no surprise: but I had expected to be sent to the Colonial Secretariat rather than to another department, as it was usual to alternate young 'cadets' in this way. Apparently...

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Chapter 4: The Secretariat for Chinese Affairs

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pp. 85-107

Upon my return from overseas leave in January 1966, I was given a very different posting, albeit it was to be temporary. The Chief Assistant Secretary for Chinese Affairs was to go on six months' leave and I was to take his place until his return. This was a step up the ladder as the...

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Chapter 5: Back to SCA: The 1967 Disturbances and the City District Officer Scheme

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pp. 109-136

I was shocked and perturbed when one of the three Assistant Secretaries stated that the government would not be able to rely on the Kaifongs for support. Stung into comment, I said that If this really was the likely outcome of the SCA's efforts in the last seventeen years, why had they bothered. The general carrying over of paternalistic attitudes into the City District...

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Chapter 6: Tsuen Wan and Its People in Stirring Times

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pp. 137-162

Among the structures to be demolished was a 'pagoda', the combined home and temple of a Buddhist monk. Despite its lofty-sounding name, it was but a modest hut, the sort of place that would normally have presented no difficulty at clearance time, had It not contained a large bronze bell and two tall Buddha Images that the monk insisted on taking with him...

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Chapter 7: Tsuen Wan: The District Office and Its Involvement with Festivals and Religion

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pp. 163-188

One day In 1977, I received from the managers of the Holy Mother Yiu Temple the customary red invitation card, brushed in black ink. It invited me 'to lend my presence and bestow instruction' on the occasion of the goddess' birthday, and the inauguration of the next term of the 'firecracker' or worshipping association linked to the temple. Not the least fascinating aspect...

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Chapter 8: The Government and People Relationship in Town and Country (up to 1977)

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pp. 189-217

The administrative functions of the government are discharged by more than thirty departments, most of which are organized on a functional basis and have responsibilities covering all Hong Kong. This form of organization, rather than one based on authorities with responsibilities in a limited geographical area, is suitable for this small...

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Chapter 9: The Labour and Mines Department

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pp. 219-244

In late 1981, I was informed of my impending transfer to the Labour Department, as Deputy Commissioner. This pleased me, for my preference continued to be for departmental work. I felt sure that this would be a good appointment, and in the event, was not disappointed. Owing to the...

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Chapter 10: The New Territories 1985-87

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pp. 245-275

In January 1985, I found myself back In the New Territories: though not quite literally, since the combined City and New Territories Admimstration's headquarters was situated in the World Trade Centre Building in Canton Road, Kowloon. As the Regional Secretary, New Territones, I and...

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Chapter 11: The Government and People Relationship in Town and Country (1977-87)

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pp. 277-305

This second overview chapter on the government and people relationship, following on from Chapter 8, covers the last ten years of my service, prior to my retirement in November 1987. In general terms, this decade witnessed the transition from an all-powerful bureaucracy, concerned...

Appendix: Village Representatives, Rural Committees and the New Territories Heung Yee Kuk

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pp. 307-309


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pp. 311-313


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pp. 315-320

E-ISBN-13: 9789882201392
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622093966

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 1996