Book Talk with Mark O’Neill: Out of IrelandVIEW EVENT DETAILS
5:30 pm Registration
6:00 pm Opening Remarks and Presentation
6:30 pm Discussion and Q&A
7:25 pm Closing Remarks
7:30 pm End
In his book Out of Ireland, prolific author Mark O’Neill turns his talents to his own story – an exploration of his identity as Irish on his lifelong journey through England, Scotland, Belfast and Asia. Join Asia Society Hong Kong Center for a discussion between Mark and fellow Irish expatriate James Hogan of his memoir and his exploration of the impact of Irish migrants in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Japan, and how Chinese immigrants are shaping modern Ireland.
Mark O’Neill has lived and worked in Asia since 1978. He has written 14 books on Chinese history and society. Of these, eight have been published in Chinese as well as English. “Out of Ireland” is the third with an Irish theme, following biographies of his grandfather, an Irish Presbyterian missionary in Manchuria from 1897 to 1942, and of Sir Robert Hart, Director-General of the Imperial Maritime Customs of the Qing empire from 1863 to 1911. Born in London, England, Mark was educated at Marlborough College and New College, Oxford and worked in Washington D.C., Manchester and Belfast before moving to Asia. He speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, French and some Japanese.
James Hogan (moderator). Based in Hong Kong, James is currently an active board member, advisor and investor in several private companies within the biotech and fintech sectors in the Asia Pacific region. For most of his career, James was an international banker with HSBC (1987 – 2019) during which period he lived and worked in many of the world’s leading financial centres – including Hong Kong, London, New York and Sydney – as well as a number of other markets in Asia and the Middle East. In his final role with HSBC, James was the Regional Chief Operating Officer for Commercial Banking Asia Pacific. Originally from Ireland, James grew up in Dublin where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University College (UCD). He has also attended executive education programmes at Tsinghua University, London Business School, INSEAD and Harvard Business School.
Excerpt from Out of Ireland: One evening in his early teens as his family sat around the dining table, Mark O’Neill’s father suddenly dropped his English accent and spoke for the first time in his original and long hidden Irish voice. It was the start of an Irish journey for Mark that has lasted a lifetime, taking him through Scotland, to Belfast as a reporter during the Troubles in the 1970s, and from 1978, to the Far East where he continued his search for the meaning of Irishness.
In Hong Kong, China and Japan, Mark discovered deep Irish footprints – missionaries, doctors, judges, lawyers, authors and jockeys. Two Irish nuns cured Hong Kong of tuberculosis, an Irish bandmaster wrote the music for Japan’s national anthem and a nun taught English and Gaelic to the future Empress Michiko of Japan. Mark followed the footsteps of his grandfather, a Presbyterian missionary who lived in a small town in northeast China for 45 years. He was delighted to find still standing the church his grandfather had built, with a minister and her congregation happy to welcome him.
Since 1800, no country in Europe has lost as many of its citizens to emigration as Ireland. From the 19th century, the Irish started to come to Asia, and now the Chinese are going to Ireland – including Hazel Chu, elected Lord Mayor of Dublin in 2020, as well as one of Ireland’s most famous celebrity chefs and any number of IT wizards. This is a remarkable account of the Irish diaspora, touchingly personal, full of humour, anecdotes and insights.
Out of Ireland will be available to purchase during the program.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and participants and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, do not reflect the opinion, position or official policy of Asia Society Hong Kong, its members, or its committees. Asia Society Hong Kong does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for the content of the information presented.