Paul Letters

Paul Letters is a novelist, journalist and historian.
Paul Letters
Paul Letters is a novelist, journalist and historian.

Latest from Paul Letters

Opinion | From Boris Johnson to Donald Trump, leaders who habitually lie win votes by giving people the lies they want

The rising political fortunes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson – not to mention the US president, all of whom are no stranger to misleading voters – can only be understood as a product of our times.

1 Jun 2019 - 7:59AM

The rising political fortunes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson – not to mention the US president, all of whom are no stranger to misleading voters – can only be understood as a product of our times.

From Boris Johnson to Donald Trump, leaders who habitually lie win votes by giving people the lies they want
Don’t judge Serena Williams: if you don’t make a fuss as a minority, you can’t make a change

Unless you know what discrimination feels like, you won’t truly understand why the tennis star raised a rumpus at the US Open. People who are minorities sometimes have to shout to be heard, rightly or wrongly.

14 Sep 2018 - 7:05PM

Unless you know what discrimination feels like, you won’t truly understand why the tennis star raised a rumpus at the US Open. People who are minorities sometimes have to shout to be heard, rightly or wrongly.

Don’t judge Serena Williams: if you don’t make a fuss as a minority, you can’t make a change
How a Hong Kong author’s violent childhood inspired her to write books for kids

Poverty and family dysfunction became the inspiration for ‘Three Years and Eight Months’, Icy Smith’s children’s book about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong

18 Jun 2018 - 10:37AM

Poverty and family dysfunction became the inspiration for ‘Three Years and Eight Months’, Icy Smith’s children’s book about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong

How a Hong Kong author’s violent childhood inspired her to write books for kids
Trump, Putin and fake news can be resisted by seeking out alternative viewpoints to our own

The internet is helping spread falsehoods faster than truth, so people must listen to opposing views.

6 Jun 2018 - 2:03AM

The internet is helping spread falsehoods faster than truth, so people must listen to opposing views.

Trump, Putin and fake news can be resisted by seeking out alternative viewpoints to our own
Escape from communist Czechoslovakia: how one man crossed the Alps to freedom

Geologist and mountaineer Jarek Jakubec, who believes life as a refugee in the 1980s was easier than it is for today’s exiles, says leaving his parents behind was the hardest thing

16 Apr 2018 - 10:15AM

Geologist and mountaineer Jarek Jakubec, who believes life as a refugee in the 1980s was easier than it is for today’s exiles, says leaving his parents behind was the hardest thing

Escape from communist Czechoslovakia: how one man crossed the Alps to freedom
How Florida school shooting survivors are shifting the battle lines in the gun control debate

The gun control movement led by teenagers after the mass shooting at a school in Florida has gained more ground than past efforts.

26 Jun 2018 - 3:28AM

The gun control movement led by teenagers after the mass shooting at a school in Florida has gained more ground than past efforts.

How Florida school shooting survivors are shifting the battle lines in the gun control debate
The good, bad and ugly sides of international sporting events as a wheelchair user
A total oil embargo on North Korea would only lead to war, as it did with imperial Japan
Hong Kong war child, surfer, biker, barrister: John Haynes on 75 years of adventures

The 75-year-old, who lives aboard a boat in the city, recalls early life in Stanley internment camp, fleeing China’s civil war, his bratty days in Japan and making HK$133,880 at his first trial in Hong Kong in 1987

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

The 75-year-old, who lives aboard a boat in the city, recalls early life in Stanley internment camp, fleeing China’s civil war, his bratty days in Japan and making HK$133,880 at his first trial in Hong Kong in 1987

Hong Kong war child, surfer, biker, barrister: John Haynes on 75 years of adventures
How Hong Kong POW Barbara Anslow killed time in Stanley internment camp

After the terror of Japanese air raids, prison camp was a relief for Barbara Anslow, who kept busy writing or adapting plays for child prisoners to perform, doing communal work and queuing for food

12 Jan 2017 - 1:28PM

After the terror of Japanese air raids, prison camp was a relief for Barbara Anslow, who kept busy writing or adapting plays for child prisoners to perform, doing communal work and queuing for food

How Hong Kong POW Barbara Anslow killed time in Stanley internment camp
The Battle of Hong Kong through the eyes of people who survived it

There was little festive cheer 75 years ago, as the Battle of Hong Kong raged to a bloody conclusion. Some of the people who lived through the invasion recall how they suddenly found themselves in a war zone

8 Nov 2017 - 10:49AM

There was little festive cheer 75 years ago, as the Battle of Hong Kong raged to a bloody conclusion. Some of the people who lived through the invasion recall how they suddenly found themselves in a war zone

The Battle of Hong Kong through the eyes of people who survived it
As Trump, Duterte and Putin prove, respectful leaders are in short supply today
Retired US top gun on school in Kowloon, seeing Pearl Harbor bombed and thwarting Soviet attack on China

Former King George V School boy Bruce Gordon tells Paul Letters about watching Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, being inspired to join US Air Force by Victoria Harbour visit to US aircraft carrier, and buzzing Soviet warships amid China attack plan 

2 May 2016 - 12:51PM

Former King George V School boy Bruce Gordon tells Paul Letters about watching Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, being inspired to join US Air Force by Victoria Harbour visit to US aircraft carrier, and buzzing Soviet warships amid China attack plan 

Retired US top gun on school in Kowloon, seeing Pearl Harbor bombed and thwarting Soviet attack on China
Meet the Frenchman who hitchhiked from home to Hong Kong on 1 euro a day

From the warmth of Afghans to the mistrust and indifference he met in Hong Kong, ultra-budget traveller Maxime, who tries to live on HK$8.50 a day, has had a 40,000km journey full of contrasts. He tells Paul Letters why he took to the road and chooses to rely on strangers for his needs 

31 Jan 2016 - 3:53AM

From the warmth of Afghans to the mistrust and indifference he met in Hong Kong, ultra-budget traveller Maxime, who tries to live on HK$8.50 a day, has had a 40,000km journey full of contrasts. He tells Paul Letters why he took to the road and chooses to rely on strangers for his needs 

Meet the Frenchman who hitchhiked from home to Hong Kong on 1 euro a day
How America’s own version of ‘one country, two systems’ will help choose a president
America's China-bashing Republican presidential hopefuls are full of hot air
Is the tide slowly turning for Southeast Asia's boat people?
With war commemoration, China and Russia seek a historical narrative distinct from the West's
Occupy protesters must pick their next battle wisely
At the end of the day, Hong Kong should get a better government

Unbridled democracy isn't going to happen and wouldn't work anyway. What could work is something much closer to full democracy than we were ever likely to see before the protesters asserted their case.

11 Oct 2014 - 2:48AM

Unbridled democracy isn't going to happen and wouldn't work anyway. What could work is something much closer to full democracy than we were ever likely to see before the protesters asserted their case.

At the end of the day, Hong Kong should get a better government
MH17 downing underscores world's dilemma of how to deal with Putin

I was in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, where flags flew at half mast for the victims of flight MH17 and the key terms in the media coverage seemed to be "outrage" and "damning".

23 Jul 2014 - 4:09AM

I was in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, where flags flew at half mast for the victims of flight MH17 and the key terms in the media coverage seemed to be "outrage" and "damning".

MH17 downing underscores world's dilemma of how to deal with Putin
The neo-cold-war world

The history books misinform us that the cold war finished around 1990. Last month, Western sanctions on Ukraine provoked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to compare the current situation with the cold war era.

26 Jun 2014 - 5:06AM

The history books misinform us that the cold war finished around 1990. Last month, Western sanctions on Ukraine provoked Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to compare the current situation with the cold war era.

The neo-cold-war world
Soul searching: Prague

The consequences of an assassination attempt against a senior Nazi in May 1942 still haunt parts of Prague and its surroundings, writes Paul Letters.

24 May 2014 - 11:50PM

The consequences of an assassination attempt against a senior Nazi in May 1942 still haunt parts of Prague and its surroundings, writes Paul Letters.

Soul searching: Prague
Asia’s economic rise doesn't mean it will own the 21st century

"The 21st century belongs to Asia: discuss". That was the debate for the inaugural Asian alumni event for Oxford University, recently held in Hong Kong. Oxford dons on both sides of the motion agreed on the obvious: China's military will be taken increasingly seriously and its economy, together with India's, will drive Asia's rise for some time. But, ultimately, they also agreed on the less obvious, which is far more interesting.

20 Jul 2018 - 2:53PM

"The 21st century belongs to Asia: discuss". That was the debate for the inaugural Asian alumni event for Oxford University, recently held in Hong Kong. Oxford dons on both sides of the motion agreed on the obvious: China's military will be taken increasingly seriously and its economy, together with India's, will drive Asia's rise for some time. But, ultimately, they also agreed on the less obvious, which is far more interesting.

Asia’s economic rise doesn't mean it will own the 21st century
Referendum in Crimea brings anxiety to China

Russia has taken us back to imperialism by occupying a neighbouring country, but is Moscow's support for a vote for Crimeans to determine their own destiny such a terrible idea? It is if you're the government of China.

14 Mar 2014 - 2:39AM

Russia has taken us back to imperialism by occupying a neighbouring country, but is Moscow's support for a vote for Crimeans to determine their own destiny such a terrible idea? It is if you're the government of China.

Referendum in Crimea brings anxiety to China
No echo of 1914 in China's rise
In microlending, trust is repaid
Prompted by the resolution that New Year heralds, one year ago I clicked on
www.kiva.org
and lent some money to an impoverished Cambodian farmer. By October, I had been paid back in full and Sophea had some fertiliser to boost her rice-growing and a motorbike to take her children to school.
31 Dec 2013 - 1:47AM
Prompted by the resolution that New Year heralds, one year ago I clicked on
www.kiva.org
and lent some money to an impoverished Cambodian farmer. By October, I had been paid back in full and Sophea had some fertiliser to boost her rice-growing and a motorbike to take her children to school.
In microlending, trust is repaid
Hong Kong has a long way to go on disabled rights and attitudes

Hong Kong is one of the most advanced places in the world, but not when it comes to disability. For example, from Central to Causeway Bay, skyscrapers packed with medical clinics lack entrances with ramps. This is so absurd it's almost amusing.

3 Dec 2013 - 5:27AM

Hong Kong is one of the most advanced places in the world, but not when it comes to disability. For example, from Central to Causeway Bay, skyscrapers packed with medical clinics lack entrances with ramps. This is so absurd it's almost amusing.

Hong Kong has a long way to go on disabled rights and attitudes
China extends its censorship reach

A recent report entitled "The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship" criticised the growing global reach of China's censorship and its unrestrained investment aimed at spreading state-sponsored media abroad.

2 Nov 2013 - 3:21AM

A recent report entitled "The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship" criticised the growing global reach of China's censorship and its unrestrained investment aimed at spreading state-sponsored media abroad.

China extends its censorship reach
Paralympians prove they are ready for Rio 2016

Paul Letters says more integration of disabled and able-bodied athletes should be considered.

6 Aug 2013 - 5:56AM

Paul Letters says more integration of disabled and able-bodied athletes should be considered.

Paralympians prove they are ready for Rio 2016