RN Presents — The King Of Kowloon

By ABC Radio

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 May 9, 2021


He called himself the King of Kowloon and, for almost half a century, he used his misshapen Chinese characters to wage a calligraphic campaign claiming his dominion over Hong Kong. Journalist Louisa Lim grew up in Hong Kong, surrounded by traces of the king, who was first known as a crank, then an artist and finally a most unlikely icon. As she followed his trail, she uncovered a legacy of resistance, she found her city anew. Then she lost it forever.

Episode Date
Remember a time when you had one good outfit? Now, the average Australian buys 56 items of clothing a year. So how did we get here? And what is the cost? Join presenter and comedian Veronica Milsom as she tries to make sense of the fast fashion treadmill that we're on. From the marketing tricks, to the lies, it's everything fast fashion doesn't want you to know.
Oct 03, 2022
06 | The King of Kowloon — Reinvention
In this final episode of The King of Kowloon, Hong Kong is being remade at warp speed. In this national security era, its politicians have been jailed and its citizens are moving overseas into exile. Yet even in this new age, there is a resurgence in interest — and attention — in that eccentric old icon, the King of Kowloon, who still has lessons for Hong Kongers. With thanks to TED for the use of "Kacey Wang: The Art of Protest"
Aug 04, 2022
05 | The King of Kowloon — Defiance
On June 9, 2019, Hong Kong convulses, as a million people march on the streets in protest against a proposed extradition law. The King had used his misshapen calligraphy to speak of dispossession, and now his descendants are doing the same. Millions of colourful post-it notes cover the city, protesting the end of Hong Kong's autonomy and rule of law. Art is everywhere, serving as a tool of protest and a record of defiance. With thanks to Thomas DGX YHL for use of the song Glory to Hong Kong
Jul 28, 2022
04 | The King of Kowloon — Legacy
The King of Kowloon is an old man now; lying frail in a hospital bed. Outside, on the streets, there is trouble. A protest at the demolition of Queen's Pier, then another at a street famous for printing wedding cards. Popular anger coalesces around the destruction of physical sites, then shifts into a battle about ideas and values. Hong Kongers begin to discover their legacy of resistance. With thanks to South China Morning Post and Associated Press for use of news footage
Jul 21, 2022
03 | The King of Kowloon — Search
In 2000, Hong Kong has been under Chinese rule for three years. At first glance, it seems that not much has changed. The King's star continues to rise — no longer seen as a dishevelled old crank, he is an artist, a fashion muse, a star of TV advertisements. The King is now a commodity — loved by everyone. Except for those that matter most to him.
Jul 14, 2022
02 | The King of Kowloon — Transition
As Hong Kong hurtles towards the transition from British colony to Chinese territory, the king becomes an unlikely celebrity artist. Governor Chris Patten prepares to hand back Hong Kong to the Chinese, and as talks between the global powers take place, the people of Hong Kong are consigned to be spectators, powerless over their own future. Louisa continues her quest to discover the truth behind the king's claims of dominion, and meets a man who might provide some answers. With thanks to Getty for use of news footage.
Jul 07, 2022
01 | The King of Kowloon — Disappearance
The King's calligraphy once covered Hong Kong, but now it has all but disappeared. Louisa searches for traces of the King, and for any truth to his claims of dominion over Kowloon. In this quest, she goes to the heart of his kingdom — Kwun Tong is an area full of high-rise factories, churning out t-shirts and souvenirs. There she discovers the first of the King's courtiers; and begins to understand that the search for the king is the search for Hong Kong itself.
Jun 29, 2022
INTRODUCING — The King of Kowloon: A Most Unlikely Icon
He called himself the King of Kowloon and, for almost half a century, he used his misshapen Chinese characters to wage a calligraphic campaign claiming his dominion over Hong Kong. Journalist Louisa Lim follows the trail of a man who was first known as a crank, then an artist, then a most unlikely icon.
Jun 22, 2022
04 | Face Value Empowerment or exploitation?
The decision to get cosmetic enhancement is complicated. It could be triggered by childhood bullying, influenced by social media, or stem from a belief that you’re not good enough. The beauty industry encourages you to tie your self-identity to your appearance. It promises to empower you. In the final episode of Face Value, we delve further into why so many people are driven to change the way they look. Who are they doing it for? And do cosmetic procedures make people happier or more confident?
May 22, 2022
03 | Face Value — Killer curves and harsh realities
Cosmetic enhancement comes with plenty of risks. Botched surgeries, safety breaches, and in the worst-case scenario, fatal results. They've been reported for decades. Horror stories aside, chasing your aesthetic ideal is no easy task. Beneath every Insta-perfect photograph is a tonne of time, energy and money that's often glossed over. And that's not to mention the pain and prolonged recovery that can come with invasive procedures. Why are so many people willingly submitting themselves to putting this much effort into how they look?
May 14, 2022
02 | Face Value — Ethnic ambiguity and the Kardashian effect
For the longest time, Western beauty has been celebrated. The desire and pressure to look more 'Western' has led to skin whitening products, nose jobs and double eyelid surgery. But the tide is turning. Celebrities like the Kardashians are leaning into an ethnically ambiguous aesthetic. Is this cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation? What do people of colour, who've often been racially vilified for their appearance, have to say about others cherry-picking their features?
May 07, 2022
01 | Face Value — Beauty boom in the age of Zoom
COVID-19 has changed the way we do things. We're relying on video platforms to work and to connect. And it turns out that seeing our faces on-screen everyday has triggered more people to seek cosmetic enhancement than ever before. Couple that with the constant stream of impossibly beautiful — and heavily edited — people on social media, and you have the perfect storm to create appearance insecurity. Where is all this leading us to?
Apr 30, 2022
The cosmetic enhancement industry is booming. Injectables and surgical procedures promise age-defying beauty. But they come with real risks. From anti-wrinkle injections and fillers, to nose jobs and Brazilian Butt Lifts, why are so many people choosing to enhance their appearance?
Apr 27, 2022
04 | This Much Is True — Getting Out
By some estimates, 15 per cent of Americans believe in QAnon, the conspiracy movement connected to the storming of the US Capitol in January this year. QAnon can be all-consuming, ending relationships and splitting families. So what's it like to climb back out of its embrace?
Sep 10, 2021
03 | This Much Is True — Cults, QAnon and those left behind
Alex's bible classes started taking over his life — then he discovered who was really running them. Emma's mum went from crystals to a clique that believes in aliens and past lives. And Tim and his dad fell into QAnon together, but what happened when one wanted to leave? We find out how cults and conspiracy theories can isolate you from your family, friends, even flatmates. And we hear what it's like to lose a loved one to a dangerous belief system.
Sep 03, 2021
02 | This Much is True — Dream weavers
Why do people spread information that isn't true on social media? Especially when they know that's what they're doing?
Aug 27, 2021
01 | This Much Is True — Tradwife rabbit hole
Equality is for ugly losers. Feminism is cancer. #submissivehousewife. Welcome to the world of tradwives, a movement with two distinct subcultures: one wholesome, one harmful. For many, it's about cooking from scratch, caring for children, and getting back to nature. But there's also an insidious side. Scrolling #tradwife on social media exposes a loose thread in an otherwise tightly knit image of happy family life. Pull the thread, and ugly things reveal themselves
Aug 20, 2021
INTRODUCING — This Much Is True
What do you believe? There’s some very weird stuff out there. From fringe ideas to full-blown conspiracy theories, we dive into the rabbit hole to find out why it’s so human to fall for them. We hear what motivates those who spread misinformation and what is it like for the families when someone they love goes all in on a cult. We meet people who got out of QAnon and learn how to immunise against false information. 
Aug 12, 2021
08 | Patient Zero: First Outbreak
In 1789, a disease tore through Aboriginal communities around Sydney Cove, or Warrane, leaving dead bodies floating in the harbour, and scattered along the shorelines. Some think that this outbreak was a fire that was deliberately lit.
May 27, 2021
07 | Patient Zero: Back From The Brink
A six-year old boy in Papua New Guinea wakes up one day and is suddenly unable to stand by himself. Less than a year later, children in three other Asia Pacific nations are experiencing the same alarming symptoms. A disease that was eradicated from these countries is back -- and it appears to be spreading.
May 20, 2021
06 | Patient Zero: Ticking Time Bomb
You’re a doctor faced with a dilemma: your patient isn’t responding to treatment. In fact, they’re getting worse. You run through a list of what might be wrong, but nothing seems to fit. And then suddenly — whatever is wrong appears to be spreading. It’s a race against time, and a medical mystery that only a seasoned disease detective can solve.
May 13, 2021
05 | Patient Zero: Spillover In Suburbia
A sleepy suburb in Brisbane is the scene of a gruesome disease outbreak, where the streets literally run with blood.
May 06, 2021
04 | Patient Zero: How We Got Here
This is the big one. The history we’re living. From Melbourne to Munich, Lombardy to Wuhan and all the way back again: this episode is about what happened when we faced those first coronavirus cases. Where things went well, where they didn’t — and whether there’s anything we could have done to stop it.
Sep 03, 2020
03 | Patient Zero: The December Transplant
Three transplant patients die within a week of each other and alarm bells start ringing.
Aug 27, 2020
02 | Patient Zero: Basement Files
A junior doctor uncovers a mystery that rewrites the story of a famous epidemic — and we learn the troubling origins of 'patient zero' as a concept.
Aug 20, 2020
01 | Patient Zero: Something In The Water
Disease is spreading in the wake of a natural disaster on the Caribbean nation of Haiti — and everyone thinks they know where it's coming from… (Spoiler: They don't).
Aug 13, 2020
00 | Introducing... Patient Zero
Even big diseases start small.
Aug 07, 2020
06 | Section 71 — The Race Power
An extra episode in the series about High Court cases which have changed Australia. Series producer Jane Lee unpicks the origins and uses of Section 51(26) of the Australian Constitution, which gives the Federal Parliament the power to make special laws for a particular race of people.
Jul 10, 2020
05 | Section 71 — The Hindmarsh Island Bridge Affair (Part 2)
In the second part of the long running and divisive case known as the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair, the battle heads inside the High Court.
Jul 10, 2020
04 | Section 71 —The Hindmarsh Island Bridge Affair (Part 1)
Ever wondered how the term "secret women's business" entered the Australian lexicon? It's part of a bitter legal battle over land, culture and history in South Australia.
Jul 10, 2020
03 | Section 71 — Communists, Terrorists and the High Court
How much power does the Federal Government have to protect Australians from international threats?
Jul 10, 2020
02 | Section 71 — The High Court Dog-Fight on Schools Funding
The High Court showdown over religious freedom that could help you understand how schools are funded to this day.
Jul 10, 2020
01 | Section 71 — Tasmanian crime of gay sex
It might surprise you to learn that until 1997, a man could go to jail for up to 21 years for having sex with another man in Australia.
Jul 10, 2020
04 | Hot Mess — Hope
Despite all the gridlock on Australia's climate policy, there are moves towards a decarbonised economy. The exit from coal is gathering pace in the finance and insurance sectors. On the technology front, cheaper renewables are driving new green hydrogen projects that could make Australia an energy super power. And there's the kids - the Climate Strike generation will soon be voting and they want action. Perhaps there's a chance we can really change.
May 23, 2020
03 | Hot Mess — Party lines
There's more to our climate politics than the circus of losing a succession of Prime Ministers. Export earnings, donations, access, revolving doors between politics and industry mean that both sides of politics are close to the fossil fuel sector. In our tight Parliament, mining regions have become crucially important. And actions like the recent Stop Adani Convoy have only deepened climate change divisions.
May 16, 2020
02 | Hot Mess — Spin Cycle
The fossil fuel industries ignored their own research as far back as the 1960s and then denied climate change was going on. We hear how a small group of think tanks and a compliant media pushed our buttons, undermined the science, and turned it into a controversy.
May 09, 2020
01 | Hot Mess — Human frailties
What it is about us, all of us, that makes climate change hard to get our heads around and even harder to do something about? We talk to people who understand that climate change is a real danger and people who don’t. And we hear from researchers looking at why we are the way we are.
May 02, 2020
INTRODUCING Hot Mess — Why haven’t we fixed climate change?
It’s been over three decades since most of us first heard about global warming. Meanwhile, the 20 hottest years on record have all occurred in the last quarter century. We’re had heatwaves, storms, drought and bushfires on an unprecedented scale. Why has it been so hard to agree and take action on climate change? How can we rise to meet the challenge?
Apr 25, 2020
04 | Shifting Cultures: Vanuatu's stolen generation
150 years ago thousands of young men were taken from the Pacific Islands. Today the scars are still being felt.
Feb 22, 2020
03 | Shifting Cultures: Polygamous marriage in modern Malaysia
Muslim Malaysians often have complex and tangled views about polygamy. Their feelings and beliefs aren’t always mirrored by their actions.  What role does pragmatism play? What role does faith play?
Feb 15, 2020
02 | Shifting Cultures: Survival and revival in the Torres Strait
The island of Poruma is a shrinking tropical paradise — battered by king tides and eaten by coastal erosion. Meet the locals fighting for survival, in more ways than one.
Feb 08, 2020
01 | Shifting Cultures: South Korea's hope in hell
Expectation and competition are pushing young South Koreans to give up on marriage and kids.
Feb 01, 2020
08 | Myths of War — Vietnam: the war's forgotten supporters
Why do we remember the demonstrators but forget the supporters?
Jan 20, 2020
07 | Myths of War: Gay servicemen in Vietnam
No poofters? They shouldn’t have been there — but they were.
Jan 13, 2020
06| Myths of War — The Thai-Burma railway and the myth of the river Kwai
It’s not just Aussies who have mates.
Jan 06, 2020
05| Myths Of War — Was there a battle for Australia?
Why do we commemorate an event that probably didn’t happen?
Dec 30, 2019
04 | Myths of War — Changi and the POWs behind the wire
Why some prisoners of war were happiest in Singapore.
Dec 23, 2019
03 | Myths of War — General Sir John Monash: a flattering self portrait
A great general — but was he really the greatest?
Dec 16, 2019
02 | Myths of War— Gallipoli: ANZAC misremembered
Ataturk never said his famous words and Bert Facey wasn’t there for the landing. Gallipoli stripped bare.
Dec 09, 2019
01 | Myths Of War — The white feather women and their unwelcome gifts
Would you take a white feather from this woman? Giving unwelcome gifts in the First World War.
Dec 01, 2019
04 | Why the Cold War still matters — The year no-one saw coming
In January 1989, East German leader Erich Honecker declared that the Berlin Wall would still be standing in 50 or even 100 years. By November that same year the Wall was down and the Cold War was over. 1989 was a year that no-one saw coming. Head back to 1989 and learn about the luck that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire.
Nov 09, 2019
03 | Why the Cold War still matters — The fall of an empire
How did a committed communist become an accidentally revolutionary Soviet leader? Take a closer look at the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev and discover how his approach to economic and political reform opened up a Pandora's box of free speech and criticism. Find out how Gorbachev earned himself a seat at the negotiating table with the West and learn why he was no longer willing to hold on to empire by force
Nov 02, 2019
02 | Why the Cold War still matters — Repression and dissent
The Cold War is often referred to as the 'War of Words'. Meet the people who tore down the Iron Curtain from within the Soviet Union through protest and dissent. Hear the stories of a Romanian radio repairman and his buried typewriter and the Polish scientist who swam for freedom.
Oct 26, 2019
01 | Why the Cold War still matters — The superpower standoff
The most familiar story of the Cold War is that of the superpower rivalry between the US and the USSR—two armed camps, teetering on the precipice of nuclear war. Find out how the standoff played out, whether America really won the Cold War and why personalities matter in politics.
Oct 19, 2019
05 | The Somerton Man Mystery — could DNA finally solve this puzzling case?
Could breakthroughs in DNA technology and forensic genealogy identify Adelaide's Somerton Man? And is it time to finally dig him up?
Oct 12, 2019
04 | The Somerton Man Mystery — a family connection could hold the answer
Derek Abbott has spent decades trying to identify the man found dead on Somerton Beach. If his theory is correct, he's married to the unknown man's great granddaughter. But to prove it, he needs the Somerton Man's DNA.
Oct 05, 2019
03 | The Somerton Man Mystery — a case of disguised identity
The man who died on Somerton Beach in 1948 went to great lengths to disguise his identity. But he couldn't hide the clues on his body — his peculiar ears, teeth and calves. His DNA. Modern science sheds new light on this decades-old mystery.
Sep 28, 2019
02 | The Somerton Man Mystery — a poetry book clue and an elusive young woman
A torn piece of paper from a book of Persian poetry leads to the discovery of an elusive young nurse. What was her relationship to the dead man on Somerton Beach? Does she hold the key to cracking the case?
Sep 28, 2019
01 | The Somerton Man Mystery — the strange case of the body on the beach
In post-war Adelaide, there's a feeling of optimism and relief in the air, but it's mixed with paranoia about the changing world order. And in this mix, on a summer day on Somerton Beach, a man's body is discovered.
Sep 21, 2019
04 | Who Runs This Place — The People
Union membership is a fraction of what it was but people power is finding a voice through new platforms and movements.
Jul 06, 2019
03 | Who Runs This Place — The States
The different power players in each state. All six states are led by Premiers and have cabinets — they're the same. But they're also different. In part three, we look at the industries, groups and people who have power in each state, including mining peak bodies, radio shock-jocks, the AFL and poker machine operators.
Jun 29, 2019
02 | Who Runs This Place — The Lobbyists
The industries and organisations that get what they want from government. In part two we stay in Canberra and look at the lobbyists, the industries and organisations most effective at getting what they want from the government. We also look at the revolving door between politicians and lobbyists.
Jun 22, 2019
01 | Who Runs This Place — The Triangle
More power is concentrated inside Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle than anywhere else. The Constitution doesn’t mention the Prime Minister but that office is where the power is. We look at how Prime Ministerial power has changed in the 21st Century. And, over the same time period, another part of the Canberra landscape has gained a huge range of powers: the security agencies. 
Jun 15, 2019
04 | Class Act — Don’t mention it
Why don't we talk about class directly? We recognise it when its rendered through language, dress and cultural taste. And a lot of our best comedy, drama and writing is about class. We revisit that rich cultural landscape, and hear how we talk in code about class.
Apr 05, 2018
03 | Class Act — The dark heart
Inequality has been growing in Australia for three and a half decades. It’s reinforcing class divisions and affecting our health, where we live, our levels of education and employment prospects. It's also prising generations apart. Why is this happening?  And why is social mobility not what it was?
Apr 04, 2018
02 | Class Act — How we got here?
Part two of Class Act looks at how we got here. The history of class in Australia, and how it has been shaped by immigration and structural changes to the economy.
Apr 03, 2018
01 | Class Act — Where we sit?
The idea that Australia is a classless society is widely held and very appealing. It’s just not true. Class exists — it’s determined by economic, social and cultural capital — and it has a big impact on our lives but we don’t talk about it. In this four part series, we’re going to do just that.
Apr 02, 2018