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April 17 Zoom – Ian Gill discusses online the family mysteries unveiled in his book “Searching for Billie”, with RASBJ moderator Rianka Mohan

Posted: April 13th, 2024 | No Comments »

WHAT: Author Ian Gill unravels his family’s past and discusses his new book “Searching for Billie” with moderator Rianka Mohan (ONLINE)

WHEN: Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 7:00-8:00 PM Beijing Time (ONLINE)

MORE ABOUT THE EVENT: Ian Gill’s first visit to Hong Kong takes an unexpected turn when he meets his Chinese mother Billie’s friends, colleagues and fellow ex-prisoners of war, lifting the veil on a tumultuous past in Shanghai and Hong Kong. He moves to Asia and unravels her intriguing journey: from controversial adoption by an English postmaster in Changsha to popular radio broadcaster in wartime Shanghai, from tragedy and a doomed romance in a Japanese internment camp to being decorated by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the United Nations. He discovers a great-grandmother in a determined English farm girl who ends up owning a well-known hotel on the China coast in the 1870s – and he finally meets his father for the first time on a Canadian island in 1985. The backdrop for this fascinating family story is China’s turbulent century between the Anglo-Chinese wars and the advent of communism.

MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Because of his mother’s circumstances, Ian Gill was conceived in a Japanese prison camp in Hong Kong in 1945 and born in New Zealand after liberation. With his mother, he spent his early life in England, China and Bangkok. After boarding school, university and joining newspapers in England, he worked as a journalist in New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Hawaii (where he took a master’s degree as a grantee with the East-West Center), Hong Kong and Singapore for 14 years. In 1985, he joined the Asian Development Bank, a multilateral financing institution with headquarters in Manila. Over two decades, he travelled widely around the Asia-Pacific region, writing and producing video documentaries.

HOW MUCH: Free for RASBJ members. RMB 50 for members of RAS branches in London, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul. RMB 100 for non-members. If you experience difficulty paying via Wechat, please try Alipay instead. You can also pay by credit card. Interested in becoming an RASB member? Please sign up at

HOW TO JOIN THE EVENT: Please click “Register” or “I will attend” before April 15 and follow the instructions. After successful registration you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to join the event online. If you seem not to have received it, please check your spam folder.

Members of partner RAS Branches: Please register 72 hours in advance to allow time for membership verification. You’ll receive three emails from us: the first confirming receipt of your registration request, the second requesting payment, and the third confirming receipt of your payment. Please check your spam folder to ensure you see all RASBJ emails.

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK: Blacksmith Books will ship hard copies to purchasers in mainland China with no shipping fee. To take advantage of this offer, go to

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