Let Me Tell You A Story About Hong Kong...1997 to 2017


I recently had the opportunity to return to Hong Kong, the city I first discovered 20 years ago as a scholarship student. It was 1997 and the end of an era with the handover from the British to the Chinese taking place on 30 June.

I flew Ansett. We landed at Kai Tak, on the infamous airport runway where you could see the washing on the lines of the high rises lining the approach. 

At the end of the long days of study, Belinda Sklavenitis and I would take the MTR and gleefully ride the system until the wee hours of the morning sampling the delights of this global city, before returning to our student accommodation. 

On the night of the handover, we sat on top of building drinking Carlsberg beer (alas, champagne was not an option on a student budget!) and watched Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong and Prince Charles in the torrential rain.

Rain is considered to be good fortune. 

Sitting in Hong Kong last week, I thought about that young woman who applied for a scholarship, got on a plane to visit a country she had never been to, funded by the money earnt at a part time job at Coles Glenroy. I remember the fortune tellers at Temple Street Night Market, but not, what they told me about my future. 

As I sat last week, overlooking the Hong Kong harbour, sipping champagne rather than beer (thankfully!), watching the Symphony of Lights. I reflected on the tenacity of that young woman and the art of the long view.

The Chinese don’t think in days or weeks, they think in decades and centuries. 

As an expert adviser, my role is to enable the long view, the future state, and what could be rather than what is. I help clients imagine their future. And then deliver it.

Transformation takes time, focus and commitment. I wonder what 2047 will look like.

Ceinwen McNeil