My family has always been steadfast in their supported for me as a creative, so it is my great pleasure to be able to return the favour! My dad, Chris Emmett, who is now a published author!
“Hong Kong in 1970 was the fastest expanding city in the world, a city that lived on three levels – the expatriates, nearly always British who lived in almost complete isolation; the vast mass of Chinese residents struggling to get by and improve their lot; and finally the criminal and corrupt underside which not only fought among itself but also affected the life of everyone else in the Crown Colony through fear and corruption. Fighting to hold this in check and by and large succeeding – were the Hong Kong police force. At the officer level, many were British. Into this heady and dangerous mix steps a young Merseyside policeman, Chris Emmett. His account of those times brings vividly to life the crime, prostitution, drugs, triad street gangs and corruption that was an important part of the fabric of Hong Kong of those days.”
Edit: You can read an excerpt here: [Go to SCMP feature]
He has always been a fantastic story teller and always made family dinners entertaining, so I was so glad that he took the plunge into writing a book after his retirement! He has worked hard, I am almost surprised he hasn’t just become one with his desk! =P
My dad will also be going back to Hong Kong for the first time since he retired from the force in 1998 for a small book tour, starting out with an interview on RTHK radio on 15th Sept 2014!
As well as being an extremely proud daughter, I was thrilled when my dad asked me to do a genuine illustration commission for him inspired by scenes from his book. This was a fantastic exchange and collaboration for me. Not only was it great to be able to share my creative process with my family (as it’s not something they have experienced properly before), it was also amazing to hear more stories about my dad’s time in the Hong Kong police force. He even explained in detail the proper way to wear the Hong Kong police 70’s uniform since I had to draw it! Including how the pant leg always got creased, or how far the holster was around the belt and how some of the uniforms & weapons changed throughout the years the book spans.
I’ve been dying to show this illustration publicly =D. It’s an illustration I’m really proud, it was a challenging scene and a lot of time went into the piece for sure, but I’m really happy with the outcome! I just hope that I did his book justice.
I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy of the book!
I think my dad has passed on a lovely lesson for his daughters, it is never too late to follow your dreams =).
UPDATE 21st September, 2014
I finished reading the book!
It is a fantastic blend of humour, seriousness, historically informative and an honest commentary on exparterisism and merging of cultures! I don’t normally buy and read biographies as being dyslexic I’m pretty choosy about what I put the effort into reading, yet this was a surprisingly easy read. I liked the feel that it was a collection of short stories, each focusing on a different aspect of policing.
The culture shock elements of the book definitely would resonate with anyone that has moved country. Ironically my culture shock was the other way around, born & grow up in HK to then move to the UK. I love how he doesn’t shy away from the bilingual nature of the experience. Each story I got lost in, then with injection of HK history and self reflected commentary I would be reminded this really happened!
My dad use to always say to me that HK was full of characters. Clearly that was true as the colourful array of people, both cop and crook, really made the book interesting. I am glad that he took the time to explain the different aspects of the police, as a none policeman I was worried I won’t understand anything. I will admit that I still get confused about the rankings.
I wasn’t disappointed with the comical bits. My husband often throw me funny looks when I would burst into laughter while I was ready (though now he’s reading it I’ve caught him doing the same). The pace and balance between humour, serious, action and observational is really good!
I do have a bias as a daughter, but I can honestly say I enjoyed the book, I enjoyed learning another side to HK. HK is a complex place and I think he manages to get across very well the city he will always have a special relationship with.
Listen to a very insightful & inspiring speech, with Q&A, at the The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong – Club Lunch: An Insider’s View: The Hong Kong Police and Politics: