Veteran writer and broadcaster, Anthony Lawrence, 91, remembers how his heart sank when he was appointed a BBC correspondent in 1956, but offered Singapore as his posting. He couldn't stand the heat and realised the job would involve covering all sorts of far-away places travelling on primitive aircraft held together with string. He considered turning the offer down, but he was outvoted by his wife and son. He stayed for three years, fitting Lee Kuan Yew and the communists and the complicated political situation in pre-independent Singapore into a one-and-half minute radio newsreel. He accepted the job on the understanding that he would be given something better for his next posting. I was offered New York, but I said if you're going to cover the Far East, there's no point sending an ignoramus out there for three years and then replacing him with another ignoramus. A man must stay there a long, long time and make lots of friends and contacts and only then will you get good coverage. Oh, they said, if that's how you feel about it, we can change the base to Hong Kong and then you can go into China every other weekend. It took me 12 years to get into China. So we came to Hong Kong and I enjoyed it from the first moment. It was on the doorstep of China. And I did travel on planes tied up with string. I went to northern Laos and Vietnam and Indonesia and anywhere there was trouble. But in between, I used to contribute to a programme called Today, a breakfast programme, and I realised how lucky I was working in the Far East, because it was so far away from England that the most obvious things were positively fascinating in London. You could write a feature about a shoulder pole, or about chopsticks or strange Chinese customs and you had your minute and a half. A radio producer said: 'You put Hong Kong on the map.' I thought that was a real compliment. Hong Kong is full of Chinese who are free to say what they think. In the first year here, I acquired friends in Hong Kong who told me what they thought, and they had relatives on the mainland who kept in touch. I was better informed about the mainland than watchers in Peking, despite their bylines and datelines. The 1967 riots was a time people spoke about the police with respect. I remember some of the demonstrations. It was a difficult time because sometimes when something very important was happening in Hong Kong, I'd be in Vietnam, reporting on the Vietnam war. The advantage of being a correspondent was you knew the area so well and had so many contacts that although the agencies were inevitably first with the news, the correspondent came soon after with informative background. I came to Hong Kong to report on the Chinese, so I made a great effort to make contact with the Chinese. The longer you stick around and people hear you on the radio, they speak up, so you had a very interesting kind of human resource. I had this friend who used to tell me the most outrageous things, which on checking I found to be true. One was that the triads, when you pay up, they do give you protection. Curious situation though. You'd think they would have cleared them up by now, but they haven't. There have been six governors during my time here. Chris Patten was an outstanding politician. I thought it very interesting how the people in Beijing cursed him up hill and down dale while he was governor, but when he went their as Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the European Commission, all that was forgotten. Sir Murray MacLehose was a very impressive man. He tried to do something about corruption and set up the ICAC. Sir Edward Youde, I feel, has never been given his desserts. He had a very quiet manner, but in fact he did a superb job over the Joint Declaration and eventually he gave his life for us. Sir David Wilson was a true Sinologue. He was absolutely at home with Chinese. I had less to do with Sir David Trench. He was governor when the Cultural Revolution spilled over into Hong Kong. Sir Robert Black was governor when we arrived here in 1960. I've stayed in Hong Kong all this time because home is where your friends are. Of course when you get to be 91, most of your friends die off, but my wife was very happy in Hong Kong, and it was a very good reason for staying. Irmgard Noll and I had 55 years of marriage. We met in Hamburg when I was a captain in the artillery. When the British Army entered Germany at the end of the second world war I was transferred to a unit in charge of starting up German post-war newspapers. I had to have an interpreter, and Irmgard appeared. That's how we got to know each other. We were married in England in December of 1946. Before he went away to boarding school, our son Alex went to King George V. We lived on the Peak and it was a long way. He was always tired at night. After I retired from the BBC in 1975, Nick Demuth [general manager of Commercial Radio] asked me if I would host a daily talk show. I didn't know anything about it and I made some astonishing gaffes in the opening stages. When I got no callers it became a real challenge. I remember I had to give the telephone number for people to call in and I had a mental block. After that, they put it in big figures where I couldn't miss it. If you got double figures of people calling in, that was a successful programme. I did it for two years and I've always valued the experience. It's something everybody ought to be able to do, if they're journalists - run a phone-in show. Journalism is about knowing lots of people and hearing lots of unexpected reactions to what's going on.