Hong Kong 5-7 June 2016 / GTR Conference

Reflections:
This is my second business trip to HK, which I always find ironic since it took 15 years of working life before work brought me to a country I enjoy visiting so much; and of which among my colleagues, I’m the only one who speaks Cantonese.

I know TST area better than I know Orchard Road. Which probably means that the rate of development in HK is slower than Singapore. I always find new things when I visit Orchard Rd say 4-5 times a year but I haven’t seen much changes in HK the last 5 years.

It was interesting during the Global Trade Review conference today when Singapore was brought up quite a few times as a comparison and highlighted as a competitor/threat to HK. (Comparisons were made in trade, corporate treasury and talent pool). I was reminded that there was a time when Singapore used to use HK as a benchmark in the finance sector but it’s been so long ago that I’ve forgotten about it. Singapore has really matured as a financial hub. It seems like we’re now benchmarking against the world while HK is benchmarking us.

A banker, who used to be my HK colleague’s boss in their previous company, commented to my colleague “how come my hair is so funky”. Indeed, work decorum in Singapore has changed a lot. I wouldn’t have dreamt of having purple and pink hair 15 years ago. In fact, people in banking would hardly have dyed their hair at all but no one cares now. We have come a long way in developing what’s our own acceptable norm.

I used to want to work in HK because I loved the vibrancy of the city. But its lights are dimmer now.

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