British – American Dictionary

Happy Thursday, everyone. Here is a bit of a giggle…. How many of you work in an international office? How many times have there been ‘miscommunication’ mishap on your team? This chart really gets to the bottom of “English” which can, at times, be like a duck talking to a chicken for us Americans and Brits!

Have caught myself saying: “By the way” and “I would suggest” with my American accent. 😉 Life is all about mixing things up!


Frighteningly accurate…. lamination, here we come!


Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

Today, we learn that Baroness Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87 following a stroke. As the press around the world hail the newsprint with accolades and tributes, the controversy which followed her during her influential rein in British politics still rings true today. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 – 1990, Thatcher was the longest serving British Prime Minister in the 20th Century who, according to Time Magazine, “ended up on the wrong side of history” when it came to foreign policy. Here are some links which might bring some more insight into the life of a woman who helped shape who we are today.

  • The obituary, written by BBC is quite poignant
  • Independant’s story by Robert Cottrell pertains more closely to Hong Kong: How Mrs Thatcher Lost Hong Kong.
  • Best in show: “Hong Kong Wrong” for writing a well researched piece which features a gallery of nostalgic pictures of Old Hong Kong.
  • Biography: Have a look at Charles Moore’s authorized biography of the Iron Lady, long considered one of the most influential leaders in the postwar era.

“Deng Xiaoping meets with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Dec. 1984. The two governments signed The Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, which ushered in a period of sound development in Sino-British relations.” Credit: Xinhua

When to Work for Free (and when not to)….

Free? Who works for free in this town? The tough ethnic Chinese peasant inside me says: never! But the reality is that I am a big hearted person who loves to give back – same as the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers around who donate their valuable time each time to help others out.

So how does one balance “free” and “paid” work in our 24/7 work environment?

If it’s not for charity, working for free is not something I recommend. But the question begs: When should one work for free?

Interning: In Hong Kong, the free labour is illegal after the implementation of the minimum wage law. But in saying that, working for lowly wages is nearly free and something we have all done to gain experience. This would be an instance to apply this philosophy as one has to start from somewhere.

Clients:  In a business with new clients, there is a courting phase of give a take. A couple of times, even after we have won the pitch, there is still a further stage in the process.  For instances like this, I have implemented a ‘taster’ which gives the client a rough sketch with fleshed out examples of what we will do for them, but not the whole picture. This is strictly free and I see it more as an investment into building a successful relationship.

Charity: Strategy, content, websites, brochures, speaking gigs…. These are things which I have done for free in the past few weeks for issues and charities I believe in. There is a time to be giving away one’s services for free but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! There are ways to leverage on the ‘free services’ as you give back but striving to do good comes from the heart so dig down and stay focused!

  • Networking: Pro Bono work is a great way to meet new clients while also getting to know the local scene – and help grow it. This is a perfect opportunity to ‘talk shop’ and be part of the change you want to see.
  • Branding: How about being positioned a ‘sponsor’ and getting your logo placed on their marketing material? Just being there, and having your name and your company’s name on their roster helps promote your brand.
  • Recruiting: Being part of the community connects you together with young up and coming talent. Take this opportunity to find your next winning business development manager or account manager.

While we are all focused on the P&L for each account, we need to sometimes come out of the well to take note of the rest of the landscape around us. Being connected to our community is important, as is growing your business year on year. Find a balance between the two and remember to give back, for free!

Harbin – Land of Ice and Wonder!

 There are no words to aptly describe this journey through the mystical northeastern province of Heilongjiang so I shall let the pictures tell the story. We were lucky to go the first week the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opened – so the sculptures were relatively untouched and the people, mighty hospitable.

 Huge kudos to the city for hosting us and grand applause to the artists for all their hard work…. Ice, beer and dumplings galore!


On the vodka express from Beijing with good friends, Marc & John. Sadly, we forgot the vodka but enjoyed the holographic art on the train….


Good morning, Harbin!…. Was fascinated by the book, Red Star Over China and it was great fun taking this picture with John Foley!



Night One — the ice park all lite up for us! 🙂


The world’s most amazing slide…. with about 200 people queuing up. We left to go to the Tsing Tao ice bar….


Day Two — the snow park! Four to five stories, all built on a lake. We tobogganed down the amazing slide – best 30RMB ever spent!


Local dumplings together with the local sausage. Amazing influences of both Russia and China together in this little ‘house’ set up to show how locals lived 30 years ago.


Looking into the bright future of China! 🙂

I’m… Dreaming of a White, Christmas!

Christmas season is upon us and the massive numbers of parties and events have been filling my calendar with much cheer! Here are a few festive pictures to get everyone into the ‘mood’….

Or I would suggest listening to Christmas music 24/7 as I have been for the last six weeks. Waking up to Elvis crooning Christmas carols is a great way to start the day!



Living the dream at the Four Seasons…. Fois Gras with bubbly. Not too shabby of a night….


I only have eyes, for you, my dear Oysters! The Langham Hong Kong know how to throw a classy event! Loved the ‘safari’ theme!


What life is like at home – stollen, german cookies, mandarin oranges, and little cute boxes with home made cookies and candy canes! Merry Christmas!


Boxing day, celebration still on-going. Hong Kong-style, on the water with great mates!

Clockenflap – West Kowloon Awesomeness

With the backdrop of the iconic Hong Kong harbourfront, Clockenflap hits all the right notes. In its sixth year, the outdoor music festival takes things to the next level with their improved logistics, famous headline bands and rocking atmosphere.

In the words of journalist, muso and artist, Liam Fitzpatrick, “Clockenflap is not only the best outdoor music festival in Hong Kong, but in my opinion, the best event of the year.”

Who can say no to that intro together with the headliner: Azealia Banks!


Thanks for the graphic, Time Out Hong Kong


The weather can change with a gust of the wind…. Misty Hong Kong skyline in the distance…. with a turnout of +20,000 people.


Sun to be found: crowds gather along Kowloon West for sundowners…. Credit: HK magazine


Awesome piccie of the revelers rocking it out under the banner of the 118-floor ICC…. Photographer: Chris Lusher