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我 叫 Jo
ngo4 giu3 Jo
My name is Jo.

Jo is a Scottish-born Yorkshire lass who has spent the last 3 decades in China and Hong Kong, with 27 of those years spent on the beautiful Lamma Island in the company of lovely husband, Jack.


Jo has a degree in Chinese Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, from where she took off to north-east China and the ironically named city of Changchun. Meaning "Long Spring," the city's winter lasts 6 months with temperatures down at -20°C! It was there that she met Canadian Jack and the couple married in Hong Kong in 1995.


Jo started her working career teaching English at the British Council in Hong Kong, before moving into recruitment, taking a job she thought would utilise her Mandarin skills. Alas, though, the company's IT team had departed and she was redeployed as a headhunter for Information Technology positions working for a Glaswegian boss who spent his days playing Doom on the computer, exiting only to to mouth some incomprehensible order in his thick accent. It would have been much clearer in Mandarin! 

But if Jo started off wondering, when she called people to ask them what platform they were working on, if they were railway employees, she certainly finished three years in recruitment with a substantial knowledge of all things IT and more than one hangover from successive Dotcom launch parties. At the same time, Jo gained a post-graduate Diploma from the University of Leicester in Strategic Human Resource Management, passing with Distinction. Enjoying the process of matching the perfect person to the perfect job, Jo thought further knowledge of people and organisations would be handy. The Asian Financial Crisis, however, was not kind to the recruitment field, so Jo decided to go back to full-time study taking an MBA at the University of Bath, passing that too with Distinction.


Returning to Hong Kong, Jo was chosen to assist Professor Michael Enright in his research into the economic interaction between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta Region, culminating in a book and numerous related consulting projects. At the same time, Jo chaired the Business Policy Unit for the British Chamber of Commerce and wrote policy papers for the Chamber aimed at Hong Kong retaining its position as "the fastest moving part, of the fastest moving province, in the fastest moving large economy in the world."


On becoming a mum in 2006, Jo switched her focus to her kids, but continued to write professionally for private clients. She started a charity, Living Lamma, which initially reported on the environmental degradation caused by poorly executed development projects within her island home, but progressed to hands-on actions to tackle the terrible onslaught of trash that relentlessly washes up on Lamma's shores.


 Jo led many groups on beach clean ups and gave talks to government, schools and businesses. Her efforts earned her the nickname of Lap Sap Gweipor (Rubbish Ghost Woman) in the community, which Jo was also pleased to call herself. Notable actions included the collection of 50 tonnes of glass for recycling, which otherwise would have gone to landfill and which led to glass recycling bins being made widely available in the community; "Brand on the Beach" - repeated clean ups of one small beach on the north tip of Lamma, where the volume and type of trash was recorded and named by brand (local drinks manufacturer Vita was the 'winner' and tragically continues to be  a major contributor to marine trash more than a decade later); and a daily clean up marathon of the beach in Yung Shue Wan for 42 days transforming it from a rubbish tip into a beach (!) and removing more than 5 tonnes of construction waste, daily refuse and thousands of cigarette butts.


After some a years of educating her children in the school system, Jo joined the growing community of home educators taking her kids through Key Stage 2 & 3, and her son to GCSE. It was a wonderful voyage and a magnificent opportunity to engage with learning processes across a range of subjects. When husband Jack was made redundant after 22 years with the same company, the family took home schooling on the road, completing a history and culture tour of the countries of Great Britain and Ireland, and then discovering the ancient and artistic world of Greece and Italy.


On returning to Hong Kong, Jo continued to teach the kids, always puzzling at the barriers to learning the language of the city in which they were born. Strangely, Cantonese was not taught in any useful way in kindergarten or the local primary school. The international school experience, bizarrely, didn't even teach kids how to be polite in the language of the city in which many of them were born. While helping husband Jack with his new enterprise, Sales Dragon Consulting, Jo also taught at the Hans Andersen Club on Lamma where she was able to test the material she has developed to help anyone communicate well in Cantonese. She has been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach Cantonese alongside native speaker Fonnie Ha at the Hans Andersen Club and is very grateful to those who have enrolled in the classes and provided valuable feedback from the experience.

Jo's chapter in Hong Kong is now coming to a close, as the family will be relocating to Edinburgh. If you have any questions about the material in this website or want to practise your Cantonese, contact Jo on


This work would not have been possible without the kind edits and suggestions from Ginger Lam and Fong Fong. I'd also like to thank all the students who took part in my lessons at the Hans Andersen Club - Alice, Cecilie, Chloe, Gabriel, Manu, Philip, Reiko and Sharon - who helped to test the methodology and the material. And a special thank you to Steve and Fong Fong for inviting me to teach with them and for being such wonderful colleagues.

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