Hong Kong – The Eyes of the Dragon

By P Chong                                                                  Tuesday, 16 March, 2010


In a glittering and poignant ceremony on 1 July 1997 Hong Kong passed over as the last jewel of the British Crown. It then became the eyes of the emerging Dragon. Ten years & three on, it is as vibrant and spectacular as ever – constantly progressing, initiating and setting the impetus for its motherland’s growth. The sunshine is ever so bright through a clear blue sky with more towering structures, both residential & commercial.

While in the past Hong Kong served as a drainage port to the British Crown, today it rightly and timely contributes to the economic engine of Mainland China. It was a devious scheme of Opium War devised by the British in securing its foothold in Hong Kong. Whatever loss China suffered, “Hong Kong has helped set up 57,500 factories, employing 9.6 million people in the Pearl River Delta. About 70% have been opened in the past ten years.” (Source: Austin Ramzy’s The China Connection in The Time Magazine, Vol. 169, No. 23/2007). It is without doubt that Hong Kong will continue to spearhead the growth of the Greater Pearl River Region.

The Chinese population of Hong Kong is the key factor and the vibrant crux of it all. It is a known fact and verified truism that the Chinese people are the most assiduous in their economic pursuit, resilient to the core and diligent beyond all comparisons. It is this trait and character that made China to stand tall and erect without outside support since the dawn of its civilization many thousands of years ago.

With empty hands and frugal means, and armed essentially with a great desire to succeed, the Chinese immigrant stock had and has been drifting and settling in what was largely a rugged farming land amidst a “Fragrant Port”, and hence its name “Hong Kong”. Beyond the New Territories lies Shenzhen which is also depicting the same success story in transforming itself into a vibrant city.

In the opening up of Lantau Island, with bridge and tunnel connections, a world-class international airport Chek Lup Kok, Disneyland, and other tourist attractions such as the world’s largest Buddha statute with cable car access, the Hong Kong Government has plan for the Island in absorbing a greater population target of ten million. Whether Lantau Island Discovery Bay residential area will remain tranquil and vehicle free is something for the environmentalists to debate upon.

Hong Kong never goes to sleep and with the awakening Dragon for its motherland, it will be even more so sleepless and vibrant. It boasts of great rags to riches success stories in the likes of Li Ka Shing, the late eccentric Nina Wang and others. I first visited Hong Kong in 1970 and stayed in the then five-star Hilton Hotel. Today that same Hotel is no longer there. It was demolished and in its site stands Li Ka Shing’s Headquarters bearing the prestigious landed address as No.1, Queen’s Road Central.

As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong appears to be no different playing its role in the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”. In fact, it shows now to have a closer affinity with its motherland. It demonstrates clearly too that there can be unity in diversity. Hong Kong needs its motherland as much as China needs Hong Kong.

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Money & Wealth

Money & Wealth

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Two little key words to distinguish: need & want.

The first refers to a specific basic life’s necessity with varying limitations, but

want encompasses insatiable limits tending towards obsessive greed without creed.

Money is the root of all evils, so the famous saying goes. It is so claimed more by those particularly without money than by others who are wealthy. The fact of the matter is, it is our own doing with money that becomes our own undoing. Money by itself is not evil. How can it? It has no mind, will or desire on its own. It’s what you do with money that counts. You’ve got to be its master and not the slave to it.

Money is important, unless you’re living in the primitive world. In the modern world everything is run on money. Modern economy & our very existence revolve around money, without which all economic activities will come to a standstill. Remember money cannot buy you happiness, love, respect or honour (which must be earned), but the lack of it will make you miserably so.

What is money? Money is simply a means of exchange – be it in paper form or metal or even plastic material as credit & debit cards. With credit cards it needs to be emphasized about budget control. It’s so very easy to freely sign your life away charging all your purchases or services to your credit card. You can’t spend like hell and still hope to be swell. There’s always the question of payment. You’ve got to be in control especially when tempting offers seem to be overpowering.

Remember whatever you want – money, respect, honour, love or power, they’re all in the hands of others. Consequently, you need to earn them from others through some forms of service.

Before you can accumulate money, you’ve got to be money conscious, that is, to be aware of money forms. Everything is in the form of money – a house, a car, a holiday etc. Taking a step further, differentiate a lump of coal with a precious piece of diamond. Basically, they are of the same constituents, but structurally different. Diamond is the result of enormous pressure over a long passage of time. So if you want more money, you’ve got to put in more effort & time. There is no question of less work & more pay. Rewards are qualitatively & quantitatively measured.

Making money is one of the easiest things in the world – if you know how & if that’s what you want. Cash is the effect of a cause. You reap what you sow. What you sow must be in qualitative & quantitative terms. So consider first in rendering a truly valuable service, both qualitatively & quantitatively, before thinking of a bountiful harvest. Even in selling a product, the question of service is all important.

You can make money through the sale of an idea. Ideas in essence make money. Some of the richest & most successful men in the world began with a simple idea, for example, Colonel Saunders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. You’ll never know how valuable your ideas can be. Dr. Napoleon Hill of “Think & Grow Rich” fame says this:

“Whatever the mind of men can conceive & believe, it can achieve.”

So have faith in your ideas & you can build a fortune on them.

If making money is relatively simple, how come most people end in life missing the financial boat. The truth of the matter is we must plan & learn how to save. For the majority, it is only the question of spending. To them, the philosophy is money is no good unless you can spend it. True, you’ve got to be able to spend, but within budget.

A simple lesson in money management is:

  1. Pay yourself first by saving 10%. In so doing, you’re creating a good

    habit, which will give you a sense of financial security. You will be amazed what you can achieve if you establish such a habit. Remember, you deserve to be paid – don’t just pay others.

  2. Set 20% of what you make for the creditors. This could mean paying off your credit card & other debts without jeopardising your own financial situation.

  3. Last but not least, 70% of your money will go towards your day to day expenses.

The above formula is simple but it is executing it that is difficult. Consider a young person starting off life at age 25 and in 40 years time what sort of financial bounty will he be reaping if he can execute this simple formula & stick by it. In terms of mere savings, not even considering the return from investment, on the basis of an annual income of just $25,000 (and for simplicity stays fixed for 40 years), if he pays himself 10%, he could easily end up with $100,000. Believe you me, a lot of people won’t have that to show. The success of a person is not measured so much by the amount he makes but more so by the amount he saves.

Remember we all have the freedom to work for others or to have others work for us, & ultimately to have money working for us. Top have money working for us,we do not necessary depend entirely on our own money. We can always employ the principle of O.P.M., i.e. Other People’s Money. The banks and other financial institutions utilise this principle. They all you a lesser interest than the interest they accrue through their investments or from others. Similarly, make sure your return is higher than what you have to pay for financing your project.

In money management, more must come in & less to go out. I can also recall when working as a manager for the American International Assurance, my managing director used to say: “live five years below your budget. We would not like to be a scrooge, but budgeting is very important.

However, don’t be obsessed with money or status. Making money is not the be all & end all. Greed often sets in with lots of business people & you soon become a question of being possessed by your possession. It does not matter to these unscrupulous people how many money is made, morally or immorally, legally or illegally. The object of the bottom line blurs out all other considerations or consequences. Some of these people camouflage their misdeeds by being philanthropic. This tantamount to laundering evil money through charity & hopefully people will be blind in the process. There is the danger of entrapping yourself & be oblivious to all sense of value. Wealth is relative – there is no end to wanting more of it.

To be a millionaire, you’ve got to have a millionaire mentality. Winning money through lottery or lotto will not make you one. In fact, money coming in an easy way will just as easy go out. Have a good investment sense & invest wisely.

God created us in a world full of abundance. We are the most unique creatures of all His creations – being created essentially in His own image. As such, you should have all the necessary skills to make it in life. There is no justification or rationalisation for missing out the financial boat in life. Begin to believe that you have the ability & capacity to make your dream come true. Build from within yourself that internal desire to achieve that great wealth.

images-1isWarren Buffet  images

Bill Gates                                               Li Ka-shing

If you are one of those gifted people with some special talents, you are more than certain to be on the road to riches. You could, for instance, be a singing star or a sporting talent like Tiger Woods or even Greg Norman. In a different league, people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Li Ka-shing are exceptional wealthy billionaires. They all possess a mentality way above that of the average rich guy.

Paul Chong

Sunday, 2 August 2009