David Akers-Jones

David Akers-Jones

Spoken English is uniting more and more people in its global reach and so it is apposite after studying at Oxford the origins and development of the language before the death of Chaucer that, sixty years later, I should find myself chosen for this position, one of Chaucer's pilgrims, on the doorstep of China many thousands of miles from home. Just how much further will his language travel?





Dates for your Diary!


The Play’s the Thing

The next ESU/Fringe Play-Reading will be held on Monday, 21 November. Time: 7.15-9.30pm at “Colette’s”, 2/F, The HK Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, HK. The play to read will be “No Man’s Land” by Harold Pinter (1975). Come



The English-Speaking Union's Annual General Meeting will be held at 5.30pm on Friday, 2 December, 2016 at the Shanghai Min Restaurant in Hong Kong (Central, Level 3, Man Yee Building, 68, Des Voeux Road).


ESU Annual Dinner

The English-Speaking Union's Annual Dinner will be held at 7pm on Friday, 2 December, 2016 at the Shanghai Min Restaurant in Hong Kong (Central, Level 3, Man Yee Building, 68, Des Voeux Road). Reservations may be made by contacting Ms. Venni Tam at Tel: 2186-8449 or 6903-2639; Email: esuhk@netvigator.com; Fax: 2110-1991.

The speaker and honoured guest at the dinner will be Mr Christopher Rawlings, Director of the British Council in Hong Kong. He will speak on the subject, "From Bosnia to Colombia: Reflections from the Front Line".




Volunteers are still needed urgently for our “English-in-Action” Programme. YES! You will surely want to improve your Putonghua (your Cantonese is already very good), but you may feel that you would also like to brush up your English. In this programme, small groups of three or four participants meet with ESU volunteers for four one-hour sessions at venues to be agreed between the volunteer leader and you, or at coffee shops. These sessions provide opportunities for practicing conversational English in a relaxed atmosphere with one of our volunteers.

A group will be organised for Saturdays, 11am-12noon.

Do contact Venni if you believe that you can help or if you are interested to join a group.

(Fee for ESU Members: HK$350 for four one-hour sessions.

An additional HK$150 for non-members as registration fee for this programme for one year.)




The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, in collaboration with the ESU in Hong Kong, organised, on Saturday, 20 February, 2016, the Grand Final of the annual English Public Speaking Competition for Junior Division and Senior Division contestants. 958 young people entered the Competition at the Junior Division level and 1,506 young people entered at the Senior Division level. Welcoming remarks were given by Dr Rosanna Wong Yick-ming, DBE, JP, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Dr Verner Bickley, Chairman, The English Speaking Union in Hong Kong, and Miss Ms. May Tan, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong). Welcoming remarks were also offered by the Guest of Honour, the Hon Geoffrey MA, GBM, the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal. Comments by the Judges were summarised by Mr Robert Ness, Director of the British Council in Hong Kong.




The Annual General Meeting of the English-Speaking Union was held in 216 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Europe. Flanked by the Russian Federation, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Tbilisi has been the capital of Georgia for over 1,500 years. A mix of cultures meant that Tbilisi became an inspirational place for artists, philosophers and writers, including Alexander Dumas, Pushkin and Tchaikovsky. Tbilisi is best described today as a multicultural city, home to more then 100 ethnic groups.


The AGM was held in an elegant building in the heart of Tbilisi. The weather during the ESU visit was virtually perfect and this meant that the excellent lunches provided by our hosts could be enjoyed to their full in the garden of the building.




One interesting aspect of our visit to Georgia was that we were in the country where the late Russian dictator, Stalin, was born and grew up. Stalin, or to give him his full name, Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashuili (Josep Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) was born on 18 December 1878 in the town of Gori in (the then) Tiflis Governorate of the Russian Empire. His father was a cobbler and his mother a housemaid. Stalin had many health issues as a boyand young man, including having to cope with two toes on his left foot and a face scarred by smallpox when he was seven years old. His father became an alcoholic and was abusive.


Stalin died in 1953. We can only guess how much his family background and health problems affected his character and created the dictator that he became.


Regular meetings normally held on the first Monday of each month throughout the year.

A wide variety of talks are given in English by different speakers and opportunities are provided for members of the audience to participate.

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The ESU (HK) is run by a group of enthusiastic volunteers led by our Chairman Dr Verner Bickley, MBE. Administrative support is given by Ms V. Tam, our part-time Administrator.

We have different categories of membership: corporate, educational, individual and student. Our membership number, now about 150, is increasing as more and more people identify with our aims and objectives.


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