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The Dragon and the Crown

Hong Kong Memoirs

Stanley S.K. Kwan ,Nicole Kwan

Publication Year: 2009

The book contributes to the ongoing search for Hong Kong identity in the Special Administrative Region and will resonate among people in Hong Kong as well as those interested in the fate of the former colony.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

The Dragon and the Crown - Hong Kong Memoirs

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pp. v

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pp. vii-ix

It is very gratifying to see that the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies Series has indeed become a Series since our first volume appeared in 2005. The publication of Stanley Kwan’s memoirs brings our total to six — and there are significantly more than that in various stages of consideration and production. Originally writing for his family, friends and relatives, Mr. Kwan was ...

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pp. x-xi

Some of the most influential and important people in our world are the quiet, thoughtful ones who see the need for a change or an innovation and set about bringing it into being. One of these people is Stanley Kwan, the creator of the Hang Seng Index, one of the key tools of financial information in Hong Kong, Hong Kong has evolved since the end of World War II from a colonial ...

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pp. xii-xiii

As a third-generation Hongkonger, my life and family fortune have been inexorably tied to the fate of the former British colony during the past century. We were wedged between the East and the West — the Dragon and the Crown. I was born, in 1925, into a banking family steeped in Chinese culture and tradition, but I studied at King’s College under the British colonial system. I ...


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pp. xiv-xv

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Editorial Conventions

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p. xvi-xvi

For all places, institutions, publications and well-known persons in Hong Kong with Chinese names, we have retained their prevailing (or most commonly known) Romanized forms (for example: Wing Lok Street, Tung Wah Hospital,Ta Kung Pao, Chung Sze-yuen). For all friends and relatives, we have used their Romanized names whenever we know them; otherwise, we have taken the liberty to ...

Genealogical Tables

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pp. xvii-xxi

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1. Roots

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pp. 1-28

My earliest memories of the family house were the four large characters of our household name — Kwan Chung Hao Tong — in sweeping brush strokes. Written in gold on a five-foot-long black wood panel, the characters hung high in the middle of our family hall. Household names traditionally highlighted each family’s values and aspirations, and ours were chung and hao — loyalty to ...

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2. Baptism by Fire

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pp. 29-64

During the early stages of the Anti-Japanese War, the British believed that Hong Kong, like Singapore, was “an impregnable fortress” and that as long as Britain remained neutral, Japan would not attack Hong Kong. It took the defeat of the Allied forces on the European continent and the formation of the Germany-Italy-Japan Axis in 1940 to prompt the British into bolstering the defences of ...

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3. Hong Kong after the War

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pp. 65-100

On 30 August 1945, the British Pacific Fleet under Rear Admiral Cecil Harcourt dropped anchor in Victoria Harbour, one day before Chiang Kai-shek ordered his 13th Army to march towards Hong Kong and reclaim the former British colony. The Japanese garrison offered no resistance and British marines soon took over all the strategic points on Hong Kong Island, and in Kowloon and the ...

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4. Hang Seng Bank

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pp. 101-132

On a clear Monday morning in early December 1961, I took a two-hour leave from my job at the American Consulate General and walked down Garden Road to Queen’s Road Central for an interview with Lee Quo Wei, manager of Hang Seng Bank. Wearing my best dark-grey suit with a red tie and buoyed by the cool morning breeze, I was in a good mood and felt quite confident about my ...

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5. New China

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pp. 133-168

Although my work at Hang Seng Bank did not involve China until much later, I tried to keep up with developments in New China through the news. However, throughout the 1950s and 1960s most of my friends and relatives would avoid talking about politics when we met. We had little to discuss about Hong Kong since the colonial government set all the policies and there were no elections and ...

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6. Home and Country

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pp. 169-188

I had considered the possibility of emigration during various periods in my life: first during the 1950s when political campaigns ravaged the Mainland, and later in 1967 when demonstrations turned violent in Hong Kong. On both occasions I had chosen to remain in Hong Kong, and I was able to advance my career as the economy rebounded and prospered. When Sino-British negotiations started in 1983, I again thought about ...

Appendix I: The Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society

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pp. 189-190

Appendix II: The Hang Seng Index

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pp. 191-192

Appendix III: The Teachings of Chairman Ho

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pp. 193-194

Appendix IV: Quotations, Sayings and Slogans in Chinese

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pp. 195-198


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pp. 199-204

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pp. 205-210

The contents of this book are primarily derived from my own memories, observations and reflections, which were later supplemented by my research and personal interviews over fifteen years, and more recently with the help of Nicole. We used the following sources for background information on the history of Hong Kong and China. Our sources on (1) A Borrowed Place — The History of Hong Kong, Frank Welsh, Kodansha America ...

Index [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 211-215

E-ISBN-13: 9789888052875
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622099555

Page Count: 236
Publication Year: 2009

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Kwan, Stanley S. K. (Stanley Sze Kwong), 1925-.
  • Businessmen -- China -- Hong Kong -- Biography.
  • Hong Kong (China) -- Economic conditions -- 20th century.
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