The Last Blog of 2008 – “A Vintage Year”

(Above Photo – A handmade Christmas Gift from Kalinda)

2008 has been an eventful and lousy year for many. It is the year when many unprecedented events took place – The Biggest Snow Storm in Southern China, The Worst Hurricane of Myanmar, The Massive EarthQuake of Sichuan, The Chinese Olympic, The Mumbai Bombing, The Financial Tsunami, The Elected Black President of USA, The Tibet Riot, The Chinese Milk Scare and The Fall of Asian Leaders (Malaysia, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand and Taiwan).  It is also the year when we witnessed a weakest USA and a strongest China. A year when we have to constantly remind ourselves that lives are indeed fragile – and we were helpless at nature’s worst moments. It is also the year when we should wake up and remind ourselves about those dubious donation scandals of many churches, temples and foundations. It is also the year when we learnt the hard lesson how investment can go surprisingly wrong – when you least expected.

For me, it has been a "Vintage Year" – it is the year when I saw change took place. From Shanghai to Hong Kong, I bid farewell to a good team of friends in China and started my new life in Hong Kong. It has been a dramatic year in my career. With a positive mind and the help of my Shanghai team, I bridged the business seamlessly over. Over in HK, I was truly blessed with a new team of capable "angels", we achieved the impossibilities within a short span of 6 months. It is something I am very proud of. We achieved a couple of "world firsts" in the world of Duty Free. And for the first time in the agency’s history, our relationships with our clients and performance reached a new peak!

Despite the first half (transisition) of 2008, many painful changes were actually for the better. Alicia is happily married and is now enjoying a fantastic career. Clare has a great home, great career and blissfully married. Lisa just got engaged! And my old pal, Calvin Mao – he is now a happy father! Not to forget my favourite Rebecca, she is now a successful manager in her new job – and I heard good words about her – even in Hong Kong. For Tracy, she scored a couple of "excellent ratings" for her works in GTR.

In Hong Kong, I enjoyed a dynamic second half. My family is happily settled. Elkan is enjoying school and looking forward to go school! Except for the small cozy house, we are overly happy with our new home (yes…looking for a bigger unit next year). Lots of visitors in Hong Kong (double of Shanghai’s) and we were indeed thrilled with their presence. Our friends and family members are also doing very well – Echo and Francis added a new kid in their house, Johnny (& Ming) is a father too, Scott is finally attached with beautiful Yiyi, Joanne is running Caffine well, Juliana and Duuk are to-be-parents, Yixi, Gareth and Hovman got their ideal jobs, Yei is getting hitched with Summer finally and my family had their first rare group tour to Taiwan and Hong Kong! (Mmm..same as my in-laws too!)

2008 has been a difficult year but overall, I became a stronger and better man after all the uncertainties and big changes. It takes a lot of courage to face change. Indeed, chao filters losers and winners. And I am happy that we have been very successful winners in this chaotic times.

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