Universiteit Leiden

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Vaudine England

PhD candidate

V.M. England
+31 71 527 2727

PhD Research


Hong Kong's place in the world was (and so is) much more than simply part of China. It was always just as much a part of South East and South Asia. Global trading routes going back at least 1,000 years determined the role of Hong Kong, the composition of its earliest settlers in the 19th century, and its continuing identity as much more than simply ‘a Chinese city’. My goal is to place Hong Kong — its origin and development — in the context of Global History, noting that it was not merely the product of European aggression on a supine East but of complex networks of trade that long pre-date Europe and of diasporas and migrations of non-Europeans as well as Europeans and the mixing thereof.

This marks a stark change from the standard histories of Hong Kong which start with the British aggression and victory in the Opium War in 1842 leading to either a British-led model of progress or the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘century of humiliation’. The Asian dimension has been ignored, and offers rich opportunities for research and analysis.


M.A. Southeast Asia Area Studies, School of Oriental & African Studies, London. Now a PhD candidate under Prof Henk Schulte Nordholt, Leiden.

1982-1987: Award-winning journalist on Hong Kong newspapers, in South East Asia for Asia Magazine, Time, Newsweek, and in Jakarta for the Far Eastern Economic Review (during Suharto’s New Order).
1987-1993: BBC World Service London; and Correspondent, the Philippines.
1993-1995: Reuters News Agency, Asia Desk, Hong Kong.
1996-1998: Researcher and Writer of Hong Kong history & biography: Published The Quest of Noel Croucher, Hong Kong’s Quiet Philanthropist.
1999-2006: South China Morning Post Indonesia Correspondent, through four presidents, vicious communal violence, Islamic activism, democratic experimentation, and East Timor's independence. Regional Correspondent in Bangkok, covering political analysis and breaking news across ten nations for the BBC, the International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, and others; contributed to the Far Eastern Economic Review from Laos and Thailand.
2006-2008: Journalist and Author: Hong Kong Reporter for BBC World Service; contributor to the International Herald Tribune. Also, Visiting Lecturer, Journalism and Media Studies Centre, University of Hong Kong.
2009-2011: BBC News, Asia-Pacific editor/reporter, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
Since 2011: Author and Student, based in Hong Kong and the Netherlands.


  • include countless journalistic articles, commentaries and long pieces over 35 years, plus ‘Zindel’s Rosary Hill - Hong Kong’s Forgotten War’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, 2017.
  • The Quest of Noel Croucher, Hong Kong’s Quiet Philanthropist, Hong Kong      University Press, 1998. (2nd edition, forthcoming)
  • Indonesia. The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, 2004.
  • The Croucher Foundation, the first 25 years. Hong Kong, 2004.
  • Chinese International School, the first 25 years. Hong Kong, 2008.
  • Kindred Spirits, A History of The Hong Kong Club. Hong Kong, 2016.
  • Arnholds, China Trader. Hong Kong, 2017.

CURRENTLY WRITING The Founding Families of Hong Kong, a book on the many, mixed families and peoples of pre-WWII Hong Kong, under the auspices of the Hong Kong History Project.

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Indonesie
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