HIGHLIGHTS

  • RICHARD G. WILSON and KAYSER SUNG, and their staff produce each week a journal that is setting a standard for critical but fair examination of the complex spectrum of economic affairs. With their 40-odd colleagues in Hong Kong and 20 correspondents in Asia and the West, this editorial team, since 1960, has also published a Yearbook that is proving a reliable reference source for industrialists studying markets and government planners charting investments.
  • RICHARD G. WILSON came to the Review as editor in 1958. Trained both in law and journalism in England and the United States, he chose to apprentice on the Financial Times of London to specialize in economic journalism. Well-traveled and scholarly, his particular interests are the problems in Africa and Asia of telescoping economic and social advance into a short span of time.
  • The RMAF board of trustees recognizes “their accuracy, impartiality and continuing search for facts and insights in recording Asia’s quest for economic advancement.”

 CITATION

Within the past decade the Far Eastern Economic Review has become the most consequential journal of its kind in Asia. Providing detailed and increasingly dependable information on trade, finance, economic problems and progress, and related political trends, it has earned regard as valued reading among businessmen, government officials and scholars.

In most of Asia, the objective careful economic reporting and analysis that is vital to development is both a new and difficult craft. Statistics often are incomplete and occasionally unreliable. Preoccupation with politics in the era of new independence has sometimes led to ignoring the hard realities of economic life upon which material achievements must be based. Private businesses and governments are often reluctant to permit probing inquiry.

Despite these and other obstacles the editors of the Far Eastern Economic Review, RICHARD G. WILSON and KAYSER SUNG, and their staff produce each week a journal that is setting a standard for critical but fair examination of the complex spectrum of economic affairs. With their 40-odd colleagues in Hong Kong and 20 correspondents in Asia and the West, this editorial team, since 1960, has also published a Yearbook that is proving a reliable reference source for industrialists studying markets and government planners charting investments.

RICHARD G. WILSON came to the Review as editor in 1958. Trained both in law and journalism in England and the United States, he chose to apprentice on the Financial Times of London to specialize in economic journalism. Well-traveled and scholarly, his particular interests are the problems in Africa and Asia of telescoping economic and social advance into a short span of time.

KAYSER SUNG, who joined the Review in 1959 as Deputy Editor after 12 years with Reuters, mastered his profession during the hard years in wartime China. He was appointed concurrently Publisher and Managing Editor in 1964. His passion for research as the foundation for all reporting is becoming a distinguishing mark of the journal’s staff. An authority on such subjects as the textile industry in Asia and the terms of European trade with the Far East, he also shows himself sensitive to the human dimension.

In their editing of the Review, WILSON and SUNG have demonstrated that journalism can play a constructive role in fostering healthy growth. Both respected for their professional and personal integrity, these two editors are making economic news significant and readable.

In electing RICHARD GARRETT WILSON and KAYSER SUNG to receive the 1964 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism and Literature, the Board of Trustees recognizes their accuracy, impartiality and continuing search for facts and insights in recording Asia’s quest for economic advancement.

 RESPONSE

I feel very deeply honored by my joint election with my colleague Kayser Sung to the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism and Literature in 1964. I accept this Award with humble awareness of the honor that is done me. The Magsaysay Award is renowned throughout Asia and the world for its integrity and for the thoroughness of its selection process. This is why I feel this afternoon, along with the pleasure and pride which I take in this honor, a little bit of a burden because this is something which I will have to live up to all my life.

Ramon Magsaysay stands out in the turbulent postwar history of Asia as a man who had the courage to go into public life and to stand continuously and devotedly for what he felt to be right. He was one of the leaders of this part of the world who did not believe in compromises but who knew only that what was right had to be done. Magsaysay was a man of the people. He knew what the people needed and he did everything to use his power to provide for these needs. It was his simplicity, his directness, his integrity and his great humanity which inspired us during his dramatic career, and which continue to inspire us today.

His life and work are a proof to people, both here in the Philippines and in the countries across the sea in Asia, Africa, Europe and America, that it is possible for a private person who believes in national progress to go into public life and to achieve something without a loss of self respect or a diminution of honesty and good dealing. It is not easy in politics to continue to inspire your compatriots in this way, but Magsaysay showed that it could be done. What is most needed in this period in Asia’s history, when extraordinarily rapid social and economic change is under way, is the appearance in public political life of men and women who are prepared to sacrifice their own personal comfort, private convenience, and professional opportunities in order to establish an important precedent.

People are usually willing to be bullied or ill-treated until somebody comes along who shows that it is not necessary or pre-ordained that people should put up with such things, and that with determination and spirit, a change can be made in society. It is easy to pass laws and make speeches. The difficult thing is to establish the habit of good and incorrupt public service.

This is the light in which I, an Englishman who has lived and worked in Asia for six years, see the achievements and the importance of the late President Magsaysay.

What is now a looming threat to the values and ideals which we all intellectually share is not so much the social stagnation of individual nations, or the varying speeds of their advance, but the vastly greater opportunities of misunderstanding and prejudice which the new media of mass communication and ease of transportation make possible.

The Philippines is on the march, and so is Malaysia, and so is Indonesia. But how many Filipinos are really aware of what is happening in these neighboring countries? How many Indonesians are really aware of what is happening in their own society? How much more misunderstanding there is in these days of rapid change and of striving for a dignity, which was not always respected in the past, between England and Indonesia, between the Philippines and America!

It is my belief, and the belief of my colleagues on the Far Eastern Economic Review, that the best thing we can do in these circumstances, the best use to which we can put the little talent we have for writing and for the organization of information in written form, is to present for an international readership a continuous documentation of Asian developments that combines seriousness with readability, healthy skepticism with warm sympathy, and which never becomes involved with any single political faith or party or any one nation.

Because we attempt this kind of detachment, we do not ourselves take part in the individual changes going on in each Asian country it would be presumptuous to do so. What we try to do is offer an impartial account and commentary on the events that occur so that people everywhere understand clearly what is being done and what is not being done.

I think that this aspect of journalism in Asia is now being increasingly recognized and I am very proud to have been able to play a small part in it. But I never expected to receive the honor, which you have just awarded me, and I thank you for it.

 BIOGRAPHY

In most of Asia today probing, objective economic journalism is a new craft yet it is fundamental to Asian progress. Through the Far Eastern Economic Review, RICHARD GARRETT WILSON, as editor, and KAYSER SUNG, first as deputy editor and now as publisher and managing editor, have been leaders in this profession.

The Far Eastern Economic Review was launched in Hong Kong on October 16, 1946 by a business group led by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Hong Kong then was just beginning to recover from the devastation of war and faced an uncertain economic future.

The organizers of the Review had a large stake in seeing that the position and potentialities of the Crown Colony were soundly developed. To achieve this goal the need for an economic journal specializing principally in the finance and commerce of Hong Kong and China was recognized. The publication began under Eric Halpern, with the counsel of J.R. Jones who served until 1964 as Board Chairman.

(For the complete biography, please email biographies@rmaf.org.ph)