We didn't find it hard to persuade Time's correspondentstogether with the collection of guest writers we call on to help with Asian Journey, some of whom have become annual contributorsthat the theme was an exciting one. Islamabad bureau chief Tim McGirk had been longing to explain how the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a key moment in history; Jan Morris, that most perceptive and elegant chronicler of the end of empire, wanted to write about Singapore's fall to the Japanese; Beijing bureau chief Matthew Forney sought out the precise village where China's economic reforms started; Donald Richie remembered the magic of Tokyo after World War II but before Japan's economic miracle; veteran Hong Kong watcher Stephen Vines picked the moment of the real handover to Chinathe day that local tycoon Li Ka-shing took control of a venerable British hong; Hannah Beech traced the history of a corner of Shanghai that saw the birth of the Communist Party but is now the apotheosis of modern consumerism.
As ever, our crack art and photo teams, led by art director Cecelia Wong and picture editor Lisa Botos, made the pages look gorgeous. At Time we're lucky to work with some of the world's finest photographers, and legends like Yuri Kozyrev, James Nachtwey and John Stanmeyer all brought their skills to the party. Our team of avid, hardworking researchers and reporters in Hong Kong kept the whole thing on track, and delivered the terrific issue you're now reading. My own pride in, and enjoyment of, the project has been darkened by only one cloud: What on earth will Zoher come up with next?