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Louis Cha asked me if The Straits Times would buy Ming Pao

20 0 18

It is well known that former Ming Pao owner and editor Louis Cha, better known as Jin Yong the celebrated writer of martial arts novels, co-founded the Shin Min Daily News in Singapore. Less well known is that he once offered to sell his Hong Kong paper to the Singapore media company that owned The Straits Times.

I know – because I was the person he sounded out through an intermediary. I had nearly forgotten about this little episode until news of his death on October 30 jolted my memory.

At that time, I was the de facto editor of Shin Min, a Chinese-language evening paper which The Straits Times acquired in 1983. I was on a three-year secondment. It was during those three years that I got to know Cha, whom I admired greatly as a novelist and journalist.

We talked, once or twice, over dinner – about China, Hong Kong, journalism and, of course, his novels. It was a great opportunity for a junior, still wet behind his ears, to learn as much as possible from a highly-respected senior in age, experience and knowledge.

Then one day, out of the blue, he asked, through an intermediary, if The Straits Times was interested in buying Ming Pao. He was planning to retire but did not want to sell his paper to just anyone with money. He thought the ST, with its financial and journalistic resources, would be in a position to take Ming Pao to a higher........

© South China Morning Post