Renovating the Association’s Office

Written by Cheng Wai-keung, translated by Tony Cheung


  While it is the Journalists Association’s solemn mission to serve as a platform for unity among frontline reporters, our office’s softer role should not be forgotten. It is supposed to be a fun and cosy place for all reporters to hang out, to talk about their work and everything else.


  But 16 years after we bought this place on Lockhart Road, people may not know that our furniture has turned old, the floor has got dirty, paint peeled off the walls and storage space has run out.
All these made our office less attractive, and so we decided in September to renovate it to revive some of its glory.


  First, let’s talk about why our little home is so important. Some may remember that we bought our place shortly before the handover – not just because we wanted a cosy place but because we were concerned about possible changes in the political climate after 1997. There was also the determination to pass on the torch for safeguarding press freedom in the city.


  And, as happening in Hong Kong in recent years, property prices have been skyrocketing...it has simply been hard to find another decent place.


  The association had originally resorted to asking the city’s last colonial governor Chris Patten to offer us an office..in the end we decided to raise funds among members to buy a place instead, to avoid having to keep on the move if we couldn’t afford a new lease.


  When we were planning our renovation earlier this year, money was also a major concern. We have to be accountable to our members and spend wisely since our income relies mainly on membership fees and donations.


  Another major challenge was to preserve our “brick wall” – an artefact covered in signatures and messages signed by donors who helped to make our office possible 16 years ago – including the six Chinese characters meaning “long live press freedom”, signed by late veteran journalist Lu Keng.


  After months of tendering, budgeting, designing …etc...the project has been completed, and our office – to an extent – rejuvenated finally.


  I would like to thank our re-furnishing team for their help and their effort, and I want to take this chance to invite all reporters to visit us – to hang out, have a cup of coffee, as well as joining and supporting us and our members.


  We hope that in the future, our office would be a place for press conferences, as well as workshops to foster new blood.


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