Years of sorrow become tears of joy

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I can’t remember when I came up with the tagline ‘The website that never sleeps’ to encapsulate the around the clock, 365 days a year nature of The Moodie Davit but I consider it one of my more inspired moments.

And most nonsensical. Semantically, it is illogical.  Personification of something non-human at its worst. As in, ‘My laptop is proving temperamental today’ or ‘That last glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is calling my name’ (as, I might point out, it tends to do).

But the mantra felt right then as it feels right now. And heck, both the website and its master do barely sleep.

We’ve published stories each day of 2023 to date and I can pretty much guarantee we’ll keep up that pace for the remaining 349 days of the year.

A star ferry reporter or a Star Ferry reporter?

Our ability to work from ‘Interim Bureaux’ has, of course, been integral to the innate insomnia that underpins our service. This week I opened, hardly for the first time, such an office on the Discovery Bay to Central ferry in Hong Kong and completed the assignment on the subsequent short Star Ferry journey to Tsim Sha Tsui. And yesterday, in breaking a big story about Shanghai Airport investing in airport and online retail, I sent out an e-alert to our readers while on a 15-minute sailing on a rickety old boat between Discovery Bay and Peng Chau.

Armed with my trusty Pokefi, I am seldom out of wi-fi contact. Trains, boats and planes, Ubers, it makes no difference. Heck, one day I might even get to post a story on a helicopter or in a submarine (though that would technically make me a sub-editor).

My office is about to open

The website that never sleeps, even at sea

These days The Moodie Davitt Report is fully virtual. Our headquarters near London are leased out, our permanent and freelance staff scattered from Hong Kong to Galway, Yorkshire to London, Manila to Shenhzen. The pandemic changed much in the business world and even though we were already largely virtual years ago – and certainly counted as one of travel retail’s earliest digital disrupters – it changed us.

It’s important to balance the virtual world with the human one, though. The purpose of that Star Ferry ride this week was a pre-Lunar New Year catch-up with my fellow team members in Hong Kong, Asia Bureau Chief and Head of Marketing Jeannie Wong and WeChat Editor Penny Zhou. They are both lovely people and outstanding talents who play a critical role in our encouraging development here.

Penny is a professional interpreter, having gained a Master’s degree in Interpreting and Translation at the University of Bath in the UK. As such, she has an acute understanding of the nuance of language, a vital element in the success of our WeChat platform, which now has 3,609 followers, up a remarkable +80.5% year-on-year.

Over an excellent Spanish lunch at Bayfare Social in Rosewood Hong Kong we talked through our exciting plans for the year, including growing our local and regional teams with two new staff members set to join in coming weeks.

We need them. The Mainland’s unexpectedly early opening, allied to similarly positive developments in Hong Kong, Macau and China, has resulted not only in a surge of travellers but also a flood of ‘good news’ stories. ‘Years of sorrow swept away on wave of emotion’ ran the South China Morning Post front page headline on 9 January, the day after the Hong Kong-Mainland border reopened. Those years of sorrow are now turning to tears of joy.

The clouds are lifting above Hong Kong

Hong Kong hasn’t been the easiest place in the world to be during much of the past three years but right now I wouldn’t swap its glories – nor its geographic location – for anywhere in the world.


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