• English Synopsis:

    Torrey’s Story (Hong Kong: Restoration House, 2020) draws on Ryan’s real-life experiences raising five (!!!) children through fostering and adoption. Ryan is a Hong Kong social worker, a senior consultant for local charity Mother’s Choice, and co-founded Adoptive Families of Hong Kong (AFHK).

    Raised by Christian missionaries in Taiwan, where she used to work at a local orphanage growing up, Ryan has lived in Hong Kong for 33 years. She describes Chinese as her first language. 

    Her book deals with one of her sons, Torrey’s, special needs: “Torrey is just like you and me, except he has to work harder to learn and do everything.” Through his loving surrogate family, Torrey learns to overcome some of the fears and anxieties associated with cerebral palsy, discovering that bravery – like family – can take many forms.

    Also joining me is Joey Ryan. Joey recounts a different set of difficulties : the trauma and emotional pain of coming to understand, aged 9, that he was adopted.  Though he was filled with rage at his abandonment,  Joey eventually learned to heal - helped by school, faith, friends, and the slow realisation that family is not a biological fact.


    Chinese Synopsis:

    《Torrey’s Story》是Gretchen的真實故事,取材自她寄養和領養五(!!!)個孩子的點滴,而當中的精美插圖交由插畫師Kiet Van創作。Gretchen是一名 香港 #社工,在本地慈善團體 #母親的抉擇 任高級顧問,也是 #香港領養家庭 (Adoptive Families of Hong Kong (AFHK))的聯合創辦人。


    《Torrey’s Story》關於她的兒子Torrey:「Torrey雖然有特殊需要,但與一般人無異,只是學習上和做所有事情都需要比別人付出多點。」Torrey從領養家庭給予的關愛中,學會不再因患有腦麻痺而焦慮惶恐,更慢慢發現到,勇氣──如同「家」一樣,原來有不只一種形式。

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  • Fool Me Twice: Confessions of a Perpetual Internet Dating Neophyte (Hasmark Services Publishing, 2018) is a confessional memoir from Jules Hannaford, an Australian expat who’s lived in Hong Kong for 20 years.

    She’s a bit of a Renaissance woman: a single mother, teacher, host to the show Hong Kong Confidential (ranked by Tatler as one of the top five local podcasts)... and her own adaptation of Fool Me Twice as a true-crime pod-series went viral in 2019. The series received 200,000 downloads in 8 months, whilst scoring her - and her daughter, Zara - a nomination for the internet’s highest accolade; a Webby award.

    “I am a strong, intelligent, well-educated woman,” Hannaford writes, “but there is something in my personality that allows me to be treated badly by men. Why am I missing the ability to trust my intuition and the courage to care for myself and keep safe?”

    Trying to answer this question, Hannaford delves back into her childhood memories of Wattle Vale, Adelaide: from sexual assault at the hands of a school bully, to a near-beheading on another boy's motorbike. Contradictorily, Hannaford's childhood was also idyllic, marked by loving parents and and a nurturing all-girls boarding school.

    Hannaford also gives safety tips for online daters by identifying the red flags she missed, and gleefully teases Season Two of Fool Me Twice.

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  • Dr. Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chancellor's Professor of History at UC Irvine, discusses his new book, Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink (New York: Columbia Global Reports, 2020).

    Wasserstrom frames Hong Kong's 2019/2020 protests, and the new National Security Law, in a wider historical narrative: from its colonial "founding" under the Treaty of Nanking (29 August 1842) to the 1997 Handover. The latter was itself prefaced by tense negotiations between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping in the drafting of the Basic Law. 

    Temperate and moderate, Wasserstrom makes parallels to the controversial "T"s - Taiwan, Tibet, Tiananmen - even as he traces the limits of these analogies.

    Wasserstrom also takes us through his drafting process, from revising its historical analogues to retitling the book. Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink  beautifully blends fire and water, and nearly two centuries of history, into a pocket-sized primer. 

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  • 'Gweilo' is a Cantonese racial epithet for a Westerner. It translates as 'white devil' or 'white ghost' - so, a pretty fitting title for a dying English expat recounting his Hong Kong childhood. The memoir 'Gweilo' is one of the region's most iconic books. 

    In our pilot episode, we hear about its stage adaptation, 'Gweilo, an original musical drama created by Micah Sandt and Hoi-fai Wu, presented by Pants Theatre Production, based on Martin Booth’s memoir.' We also hear from the book's editor Marianne Velmanns, who... okay, she just me sent an email. And she didn't remember *that* much (or anything) about the process! But my Mum reads it out, alongside some of Booth's book to boot. And Mum does it in her Australian accent, no less! Who doesn't love one of those? 

    Presented by Timothy Petkovic

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