Talk this Friday: Solomon Bard Remembers

Submitted by David on Mon, 03/16/2009 - 16:27

Internet searches about Hong Kong's history often turn up books by Solomon Bard, so I'm pleased to see there's a chance to hear him speak this Friday. He was born in 1916, and has packed so much into his long life that there is certainly no shortage of material. Here are the details of the talk, hosted by the Royal Asiatic Society:

Speaker: Dr Solomon Bard
Date/Time: Friday 20 March, 6.30 pm
Venue: 8th Floor, City Hall High Block, Central
Booking: This lecture is free and open to the public, with no booking required

Dr Solomon Matthew Bard, an Honorary Fellow of our Society and a noted historian and archeologist, last spoke to the Society in November 2004 about his experiences in the battle of Hong Kong in 1941 and subsequent imprisonment. Dr Bard will be coming to Hong Kong from his retirement home in Australia to conduct the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. He has graciously agreed to talk informally to us about his early life in Siberia, Harbin and Shanghai. He will also talk about his recently published book, Light and Shade: Sketches from an Uncommon Life, published by Hong Kong University Press.

Born in Russia, Dr Bard lived most of his working life in Hong Kong. A graduate in medicine from the University of Hong Kong in 1939, he served in the Hong Kong Volunteers Field Ambulance Unit and when Hong Kong fell in December 1941, he was imprisoned by the Japanese. After the war he was Director of the Student Health Service at the University, and then from 1976 to 1983, he was Executive Director of the Antiquities and Monuments Office. He occasionally conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and was the full-time Assistant Music Director of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra from 1983 to 1987. In 1993 he moved to Australia but has maintained close links with Hong Kong. He is currently Honorary Advisor in archaeology and local history to the Hong Kong Museum of History.

This looks quite good, I am going to try and juggle a few things around so that I can attend. I’m sure he has a few yarns to tell.

I believe I have met Solomon about 18 years ago (when I was 10), if I am thinking of the right geeza. I went and did a guided tour around Mt Davis with him, where I believe he was stationed during the battle of HK. I recall him telling a story of how he was in one of bunkers during the battle (the one next to the Youth Hostel) when a Japanese artillery shell came crashing through the ceiling and landed about 5 feet away hissing and making funny sounds but failed to detonate. Very lucky.

I look forward to it.

Thanks Mr B.  I attended this last Friday. Simply impressive! What an articulate man and what an accomplished life.  As much as I wanted to ask Mr Bard about his war-time experiences, I refrained from it ... since he was specifically requested by RAS to speak about his childhood in Siberia. We can read more about his life experiences in his new book - Light and Shade. Mr Bard will be conducting the HK Chinese Orchestra Friday and Saturday (mar 27th and 28th).  I picked up some tickets and am looking forward to it.

Hi Dan,

The talk was arranged by the RAS, so they'd be the group to contact ( I don't think they typically record talks though.

Have you seen that the Jewish Historical Society of HK have a recording of a talk he gave? It was also in 2009, so it likely covers the same material as the RAS talk.

When your thesis is finished, please let us have a link to it so we can learn more about Dr Bard.

Regards, David