25 January, 2021

When Sam Cut Asia’s Paper Veins

Asiaweek, started by two energetic journalists, was known for its feisty reportage. Its reluctant moneybag owners later scuppered it.

When Sam Cut Asia’s Paper Veins

Many have asked me, put pressure on me, to write the Asiaweek story. It is a story that ought to be written , but I am unable to do it because, 40 years after Mike O’Neill and I gave birth to it, Asiaweek is an ache in my heart. Not bec­ause it died young but bec­ause it had bec­ome an undeniable success within months of its launch and yet, in our ignorance of business, we let go of it until assassins got hold of it—and got rid of it.

Although I was the founder-editor, hapless fundraiser and chief network organiser, Mike was the genius behind Asiaweek. He was an uneducated dropout from New Zealand with a passion for journalism that made him start his career as a coffeeboy in a newspaper. He drifted to Hong Kong, then a dumping ground of the emp­ire’s castaways. In a cheap bar one night he was found with his head plopped on the counter, too drunk to say anything. Some desk editors from the Far Eastern Economic Review, out bar-crawling that night, rescued him and arranged a job for him at the...



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