The Storyteller

In the summer of 1979, I was 14 years old. Thinking that I should be productively occupied over the school holidays, my father arranged for me to work as a copy boy at Hong Kong's English-language paper of record, the South China Morning Post. He did this through his sometime drinking companion — the paper's most famous and influential writer, Kevin Sinclair.

A hungover Sinclair greeted me on my first morning. Unable to speak coherently on account of a recent tracheotomy, he made the gesture of raising a drinking vessel to his...

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