SCMP satirical cartoonist Harry’s best cartoons

SCMP cartoonist Harry celebrates 20 years in Hong Kong with a look back at his favourite work

Satirical sketcher says he always comes down on the side of the underdog

Robin Fall

Harry Harrison at work in his studio. Photo: SCMP

When Harry Harrison arrived in Hong Kong, he was a 32-year-old freelance artist intent on cementing a career in illustration. Now, as he celebrates two decades in the city, the South China Morning Post‘s satirical cartoonist is, perhaps more importantly, seen by his children’s friends as having a “cool” job.

Harrison, 52, drew his first cover cartoon for Post Magazine a week after the handover in 1997. It featured Hong Kong’s first chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, wringing the new SAR flag through a mangle with the caption, Wringing in the changes.

His job hasn’t changed much since the handover, he said, as politicians and public figures have provided ample material for his sketches. A handful of regular characters have become a comforting sight to Post readers over the years; two elderly men in a teashop discussing Hong Kong affairs have become the most recognisable.

Self-portrait of Harry Harrison

Both are based on real characters – Mr Wang, a night-watchman from Harrison’s first studio building, and Mr Lee, who regularly took the ferry to Lamma Island to practise speaking English with foreigners. “These are your average men on the streets of Hong Kong,” Harrison said. “Salt-of-the-earth characters who aren’t very political but are quite keen observers to what’s going on.”

His desire to reflect the political astuteness of ordinary Hongkongers makes his cartoons resonate with readers. “It’s only my opinion. I’m not saying I’m the arbiter of what’s right and wrong. It’s just what I think. I have a strong sense of what’s right and wrong myself so when you see it being messed with publicly, you like to point it out,” he said. “I always come down on the side of the underdog. Hopefully some people think the same as me and find it funny. For other people, I hope it just makes them angry.”

May 27, 2010: Rural villagers exploit a loophole in zoning regulations

Harrison said his sense of humour was forged during a nomadic childhood with stints in Libya, Singapore and England thanks to his father’s job with the British Air Force. “Every time you go to a new school, you have to make your way through the bullies and everyone that comes after you. Humour was how I got by. It stopped me from getting beaten up.”

That and his love of illustration made him the cartoonist he is today, he says: “I was always into drawing in general. I just picked up a pencil one day and started. Some kids play football, I’d push a pen around.”

Now, living on Lamma with his wife Helena and working from a studio in Central, Harrison submits around four cartoon ideas to the Post each evening, taking his inspiration from stories due to appear in the following day’s newspaper. During the day he’s busy on other freelance projects.

Despite his being a somewhat niche vocation, Harrison advises anyone with a hankering to become a political cartoonist not to be put off. “Go work in a bank if you want to make real money. If you love drawing and you love designing then it’s a no-brainer. If you do something you love then you never work a day in your life.”

March 3, 2014: Legislator fined for surfing girlie sites during speech
The actual story on Albert Ho
MH370 - Where is the Physical Evidence of Wreakage
MH370 – Where is the Physical Evidence of Wreckage


August 7, 2007: Beijing quells doubts of progress before Olympics
December 24, 2004: The Tung administration marks year’s end
October 28, 2011: Greece says it will only meet half its debt to the UK
March 10, 2005: Tsang greets rumours of Tung’s resignation
December 25, 2008: Piracy around Somalia becomes epidemic
February 10, 2006: Yahoo grants Beijing’s request for users’ details
April 30, 2012: Chen Guangcheng’s friends questioned after escape
November 22, 2013: Suspected North Korean meth shipment seized
September 10, 2002: George W. Bush sends Colin Powell to Morocco
September 21, 2001: Bin Laden known as “the guest” in Afghanistan
October 1, 2009: Hong Kong joins PRC 60th anniversary celebrations
April 17, 2003: WHO requests access to China as Sars takes hold

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Toons with a twist

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 10:32am

UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 6:18pm

Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s