The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong

“Exploring Burma to Myanmar”
Wong How Man

Monday, 19 April 2010
2/F Olympic House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm

We are delighted to welcome again Wong How Man, China’s greatest explorer and one of our most popular lecturers, to speak on this occasion on his exciting expeditions to Burma: “Exploring Burma to Myanmar - a country at the threshold of change?”

Over ten years ago, Wong How Man took a short and stealthy exploration trip into Burma/Myanmar through the backdoor border of China’s southwest Yunnan Province.  He visited a distant Lisu village with its make-shift church.  Mr Wong turned back shortly after seeing teenage kids of the independent Kachin army waving their AK-47s at his party.

This initial attempt led to a dozen more trips through the front door of Rangoon/Yangon and Mandalay.  In the process, Mr Wong launched a unique project, repatriating Burmese cats into a country which has seen the loss of its namesake cat.  More recently, Mr Wong journeyed to the country’s far north Kachin State, quietly chartered a motorboat and began exploring the upper Irrawaddy River.  He was caught by an army of soldiers giving chase in another boat and was made to turn.  Returning in 2010, Wong chartered yet another riverboat and sailed downriver from Bhamo to Mandalay, the uppermost reaches of the former Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, in British days the largest river fleet on earth.

Fascinated by his new insight through exploration by waterways, Mr Wong went up the delta of the Arakan State to Mrauk-u and into the fringes of the Chin State.  Later he also took an island-hopping excursion at the southernmost tip of Myanmar bordering Thailand as he visited sea gypsies and fishing communities in the Andaman Sea.

In this lecture, Mr Wong shows a country possibly at the threshold of change.  At many crossroads in the past, however, the country seems to have taken the wrong turn.  Mr Wong questions whether this decade is going to provide new opportunity, also whether other countries in the region may provide a model for Myanmar to embark on its future development.

As always with Mr. Wong’s lectures, this lecture is illustrated with stunning photography and also a short film.

Wong How Man is Chairman of the China Research & Exploration Society.  Being “China’s most accomplished explorer”, Time Magazine honoured Wong How Man as one of their 25 Asian Heroes in 2002.  In a career spanning thirty years of exploration in remote China together with neighbouring countries, Wong How Man is a veteran at the National Geographic, having led six major expeditions for the magazine. In 1986, he founded the China Exploration & Research Society, which expanded his exploration work to conservation of China’s natural and cultural heritage.  He has authored many books and his work has been featured often on CNN, National Geographic Channel and many other media.

Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others.

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