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financial secretary, said in March 1976,
recalling the 1973-74 turmoil. “ The line
between fact and fiction was frequently
crossed, and this should not happen again.”
Macwhinnie, addressing the AGM in
1973, said Hong Kong had become too ob-
sessed with speculation – its twin idols were
the Hang Seng Index and foreign exchange
rates. “ There has been too much emphasis
on the stock market and the money market,”
he told members, calling for a return to Hong
Kong’s traditional strength: trade.
At that point, the Society had received
a call for help, one that would encourage its
members to look beyond Hong Kong to the
fortunes of the wider world.
The autumn of 1973 had seen the Society
make its international debut in Bangkok, at-
tending the triennial Confederation of Asian
and Pacific Accountants conference. The So-
ciety’s members had agreed the new organi-
zation should be represented at this interna-
tional event but cash was hard to come by.
It was decided that members should pay
their own way: deals were struck with hotels
with members offered bargain rates of up to
HK$100 per night.
The CAPA trip was generally regarded as
a success. The Society’s delegates worked to-
gether as a team and Macwhinnie suggested
Hong Kong would host the next but one con-
ference in 1979. (Colombo had been named
as host city for the 1976 edition.)
Within a year, Sri Lanka – racked by eth-
nic strife, high inflation and food and fuel
shortages – had dropped out. The CAPA sec-
retariat, then based in New Zealand, called
the Society offices to ask if Hong Kong could
step into an emergency and take over.
The Society’s administration and finance
committee considered the request: the So-
ciety lacked funds and manpower and res-
er vations had been expressed as to whether
it could successfully hold a conference with
five years of planning, let alone two years.
Macwhinnie pointed out that the CAPA
event would do much to put Hong Kong on
the map. After some deliberation, the Coun-
cil took the plunge and agreed to be the host.
Macwhinnie’s term as president had come
to an end on the last day of 1974. Peter Poon
was elected in his stead but Macwhinnie,
assisted by Poon, Far East Stock Exchange
chairman Ronald Li and Leslie Gordon, who
became president of the Society in 1977,
oversaw the conference organization.
The event was a huge hit, despite a
brush with disaster as Typhoon Iris flicked
her tongue close to the city on the confer-
ence eve. More than 1,000 people from 22
The event was a
huge hit, despite a
brush with disaster
as Typhoon Iris
flicked her tongue
close to the city on
the conference eve.
Gordon Macwhinnie addressing the
7th CAPA conference in Bangkok.
A popular Chinese drama, The King of the Monkeys
Subdues the White-Bone Demons, was performed
to entertain participants at the 8th CAPA conference
in Hong Kong.
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