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Catching up?

Storms, teacups

I don't know all the background to this strange story:

ASIAN AUTHOR Nury Vittachi, co-founder of the Hong Kong Literary Festival, is to be sacked by the organization’s board in a row about racial insensitivity and improper business links.

The novelist, probably Hong Kong’s biggest literary export, alleges that the board fired him after he complained about racism and urged that “questionable business practices” be reformed.

Vittachi claims:

  • That he campaigned for years to set up a literary prize, but once sponsorship was obtained, he was cut from the project because of a Westerners-only rule.
  • That the festival board, ostensibly non-profit, limits membership to directors and authors of Paddyfield.com and Chameleon Press, companies run by board member Peter Gordon.
  • That prime slots in the festival programme were given to Chameleon Press novelists even if they paid for their own publication.

However, the long and the short of it seems to be that Peter Gordon has fallen out with Nury Vittachi.

Those with long memories may recall that one of the more celebrated claims made by that mad bloke with the big yellow blog was that Peter Gordon owned IceRed and was supressing any criticism of Nury (mostly from dear mad old George himself) on the discussion forums.  At that time Peter Gordon's Chameleon Press was indeed publishing Nury's books, but he certainly didn't own IceRed.  Now Nury has moved on to bigger and better things.

I probably shouldn't jump in and make any judgements on this, but I think I'd agree with the conclusion of the anonymous journalist who wrote the article:

People close to the board of the Hong Kong literary festival claim that personalities are a likely element in the present dispute. “Both Peter Gordon and Nury Vittachi have massive egos,” said a regular festival attendee. “But to sack the founder of the festival over a single, vague blog entry seems way out of proportion. There’s got to be more to this than meets the eye.” 

[..]  Both principal players in this drama are deeply ambitious people. Gordon is a spiky character, admired for his acumen by some but not well-liked by other booksellers and publishers in Hong Kong. Vittachi is infamous as a self-absorbed, aloof, workaholic author, but is well-connected and widely liked.

Well, I have to confess that I took an instant dislike to Peter Gordon (it saves time, you see), and Nury is a lovely bloke but he does seem to over-fond of conspiracy theories - such as the one about why he was sacked by the SCMP (published by Peter Gordon), which is only slightly spoilt by the fact that he wasn't actually sacked at all. 

Now he has been sacked, so that should be worth another book.  I'm sure Chameleon Press will publish it...

[UPDATE: In case it's not clear, this appears on Nury's own blog - he appears to have arranged with a journalist to write this account, which he has then published.  I don't think it has appeared elsewhere.]

Comments

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doug

Pardon me if I am wrong, but isn't Mr. Jam the very same Nury Vittachi? I believe Nury has a book about Mr. Jam.

Anyway..

Chris

Yes, it's Nury's own blog. Sorry if I didn't make that clear!

fumier

OG, just in case your reader does not already know, Nury is without doubt Hong Kong's funniest man.

Chris

Funnier than George Adams?

dave

Hong Kong's most *intentionally* funny man, perhaps, as opposed to Hong Kong's most laughed-at man.

Chris

Except that I fear that Fumier is being ironic (thought it is sometimes hard to tell).

fumier

If my fingers are crossed I am being ironic.

doug

that's not what i heard...

Nury

Thanks, O.G., I am very honoured to get a whole item in your blog to myself!
I've noticed over the past two years that an increasing number of news items, big and small, have been broken by on-line media first, and then followed up by mainstream media.
That news report on the little scandalette at the literary festival has only been reported on Internet lists and blogs -- it will probably be days before the printed media catches up with us.
Bloggers rock!
Rupert Murdoch, your days are numbered...

doug

be careful nury, Rupert Murdoch is not as techphobic as you think.

He supports the US$100 laptop project, blogging and social networking.

Because he can make money off it.

And he's increasingly buying stakes in electronic media all the while.

fumier

How come Nury doesn't thank me when I devote whole items to him on my organ?

doug

YOu serve items to him on your organ, do you mean?

fumier

My esteemed organ, do you mean?

dave

Steamed organs, fumier? Perhaps you are becoming a fan of Cantonese cuisine after all these years!

doug

If you steam organs, does that leave a smell?

fumier

You tell us, doug, you old sleaze.

muni

Regarding " the little scandalette at the literary festival broken by on-line media first, and then followed up by mainstream media."- about -
" racial insensitivity "

Following poem was presented during a program for the university students and local schools in Hong Kong a little while ago.
excerpts are from an old poem by one of the accused board members of the HK lit festival.

Ancestral Worship

I’ve got the blood of China in my veins
not through father, mother or distant forebears
but passed on from another’s ancient line.
Seven pints passed through the eye of a needle
the anonymous gift of life
...........
...We Chinese treasure our traditions
but whose ancestors should I worship now?
Mine, or his.
Maybe I’ll just give thanks
pay homage to an eternal mother
and the universal father.

muni

Regarding " the little scandalette at the literary festival broken by on-line media first, and then followed up by mainstream media."- about -
" racial insensitivity "

Following poem was presented during a program for the university students and local schools in Hong Kong a little while ago.
excerpts are from an old poem by one of the accused board members of the HK lit festival.

Ancestral Worship

I’ve got the blood of China in my veins
not through father, mother or distant forebears
but passed on from another’s ancient line.
Seven pints passed through the eye of a needle
the anonymous gift of life
...........
...We Chinese treasure our traditions
but whose ancestors should I worship now?
Mine, or his.
Maybe I’ll just give thanks
pay homage to an eternal mother
and the universal father.

browser

They say that humans have an incredibly inflated sense of self worth. If we didn't, we'd understand how small we are and just commit suicide. I think this blog pretty much proves it.

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