Mourning for Graham Blakey

Farewell, Old China Hand!

A Tribute to our Skålleague and Friend,

Graham Blakey

Tribute by Former Skål International President Richard Hawkins

Liz Thomas-Blakey has asked me to inform Skål International of the passing of her husband Graham at the age of eighty-two on the 28th of April. In Liz’s words, it was a result of “violent and rapid cancer which came out of nowhere”. Within a matter of a very few weeks, Graham had left us.

Graham was a member of Skål International Macau. He held office in his own Club and in the Asian Area Committee and he was also a Board Member of the Skål International Executive Committee for a few years.

Graham had lived in Hong Kong for a while where he worked for the police. He moved to Macau and set up a fleet of small rental cars for tourists to use in that tiny Portuguese enclave that is now part of China. This is when I got to meet Graham and Liz because we were in the same business. Eventually, they sold their company and for some years had their own public relations and marketing business. Time passed and they decided to move to Europe where they lived in France for a number of years. However, their hearts were still in Asia and they were planning to move to Thailand in the near future. Liz still intends to make that move.

Graham was a gentle man AND a gentleman. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was well-known as an engaging and amusing raconteur. If you spoke to him on a serious subject he would listen carefully and then reply constructively and with care. He spoke Cantonese fluently. He enjoyed social interaction with friends. Graham was a good man who lived a full life. He will be greatly missed.

Tribute by Skål International Macau

After living in Hong Kong for a while Mr. Graham Blakey move to Macau in the mid 80's. He was a very dynamic person with a great sense of creativity and a charming smile that attracted so many friends around the Tourism World. He created one of the first "rent-a-car" in Macau with a unique style of "Mini Moke" that attracted thousands of tourists to Macau with one of the best attractions "Treasure Hunts". Mr. Graham Blakey was one of the pioneers to organize incentive activities for foreign visitors in Macau.

He was a very active member, both in Skål International Macau and at an international level, and it was with his help that Macau organized for the first time in 1994 the "Asia Area Assembly" (25th Asia Area Assembly).

In this sad moment that our Past President Mr Graham Blakey passed away, we, Skål International Macau, extend our deepest condolences to Liz and her family.

His Friendship and Smile will forever be in our Hearts.

Tribute by Skål International Hong Kong

Graham Blakey started his career in tourism after retiring from the Metropolitan Police and the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption. This position would have meant that Graham possessed a very keen sense of observation and deduction skills, in order to carry out this role. Skills which also came in very handy in gleaning personalities and characters of all with whom he met.

Armed with such skills, coupled with his affable and approachable personality, Graham and his wife Liz took the step to relocate to Macau from Hong Kong, whereupon in 1984 they established Macau’s first unique car rental company "Macau Mokes". A 'Moke' is a small, front-wheel-drive utility and recreational convertible vehicle, originally conceived and manufactured as a lightweight military vehicle by British Motor Corporation (BMC), and subsequently marketed for civilian use under the Austin, Morris, and Leyland brands. This vehicle, the Moke is known for its simple, straightforward, doorless design, and for its adaptability. Macau Mokes car rental was the first of its kind in Macau, operating under their Company, Macau With Imagination Ltd., a MICE company. Their Mokes rental business served as a great tourist attraction for anyone wanting a convenient utility vehicle to experience a no-fuss exploration of the then-Portuguese Enclave, whilst using a quaint and quirky mode of transport to get around.

Graham was also involved in and consulted with Tourism attractions in Hong Kong, which often availed him to attend many of the Skål Hong Kong Meetings and Events in the S.A.R. Everyone who met Graham was quickly absorbed by his witty charm and gentle disposition - which oft belied the fact that this gentle man could have once been an Officer of Law Enforcement. In Colonial terms, Graham easily befitted the term an "Old China Hand", originally a military phrase meaning "...stick to your posts even under fire...". In everyday discourse, it is used to encourage someone to not back down. But later the term was used to describe a foreigner living in China, who understood fully the culture, language, philosophy, and behavioural science of ethnic Chinese.

His Skål International credentials included:

1985 – 2012: Member, Skål International Macau

1989 – 1993: President, Skål International Macau

2004 – 2008: President, Skål International Macau

2009 – 2011: International Skål Councillor, Asian Area

2011 – 2012: Director, Special Projects Asia, Skål International

Graham was popular with Skålleagues on both sides of the Yangtze Delta, vis-à-vis Macau and Hong Kong. We have lost an extraordinary gentle man and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Liz, and their respective families.

Rest In Peace, Old China Hand