Feeling the Stones
Reminiscences by David Akers-Jones
ISBN : 978-962-209-655-4
308 pages, 6″ x 9″
Sir David Akers-Jones (Zhong Yat-kit) has been a major figure in the life and government of Hong Kong for many years. In this book he writes with a light and distinctive touch about his life, focusing more on the human than the administrative, but nonetheless providing many insights into the recent history of Hong Kong.
The story starts with his leaving the Sussex Downs to serve as a young Merchant Navy officer in the last years of World War II. As his ships tramped around the ports of South East Asia, his life-long enthusiasm for Asia was born and, talking with the seamen, his facility with Asian languages. But most of the story takes place in Hong Kong and China, and especially in the New Territories where he spent a large part of his career. There, as development spread from the packed streets of Kowloon to the paddy fields, he developed the trust and affection for the Chinese people of Hong Kong that has been such a characteristic and formative part of his attitude to Hong Kong and its future.
Growing out of his work for the Yuen Long football team, Sir David became an active participant in the international organization of soccer. This led to opportunities for wide travel in China and exceptional opportunities to learn directly about the People’s Republic, experiences that set him apart from his colleagues in the colonial administration. These experiences give a distinctive perspective to his account of the events leading up to 1997 and the controversies of that period.
This is a book for everyone with an interest in the recent history of Hong Kong and in an exceptional man who played a major part in that history as he ploughed a distinctive and individual, and sometimes controversial, path from District Officer to Acting Governor to Hong Kong Affairs Advisor.
“From his first arrival in Hong Kong in 1957, David Akers-Jones made it his business to understand and get to know the people of Hong Kong, their culture, their history and their ambitions. That deep understanding pervades this excellent, informative and fascinating book.” —Lord Wilson of Tillyorn
“Sir David Akers-Jones is a shining example of a loyal and dedicated civil servant, characterised by a heartfelt affection for Hong Kong. His book recounts an important part of Hong Kong’s recent history and provides a valuable insight to events that have had a profound influence on Hong Kong’s future development.” —Victor Fung
“This riveting personal journey spanning several decades from district administration to leadership in the centre of the Hong Kong government is set against a socio-political landscape that is constantly evolving, interpolated with well-known figures in the contemporary history of Hong Kong and Sino-British relations. The evocation of these characters and their chemistry by an ‘expatriate’ who, after retirement, adopts Hong Kong as his home, gives the book its special charm.” —Ambrose Y. C. King