Work trip to Shanghai

I just returned from a work trip to shanghai recently. The work trip allowed me to meet up with a friend whom I have not seen in the last 3 years ago, as well as explore the city.
Shanghai as a city has developed so much and is continuing to grow. There is now a running track that runs from the north bund to the bund itself. We took a midnight run from the hotel to the bund and it was enjoyable. In fact, the MD of Shanghai told us that Shanghai is a very safe city and I must agree as well.

Wherever I go, the dynamism of the Chinese economy is still strong and has not diminished the least bit. While the prices of food and lodging has not increased to the levels seen in Hong Kong, I still sense that there is a large undercurrent of people who are still trying hard to make ends meet in this city.

The death of the brick and mortar is most apparent here, most of the cheaper products are now available online and those that remain need to be fashionable and upmarket enough for the face saving Chinese consumer. Most of these products have prices comparable to Singapore or any other international location.

On the work front, this trip has given me another opportunity to play a part in the new global HR setup. Even though HR is very far from what I want to achieve in my career, I am getting a better appreciation of how it is more than just payroll and more about people.

As of now, this opportunity is another stage for me to show what I am capable of. I hope the next 6 months will be one of opportunity.

India Escapade

I recently went on vacation as the STI took a nosedive. Looking at the prices of most stocks turn red while being in a faraway place seems so surreal. I know that I would have been more anxious if I had ready access to a trading platform. I was also lucky to have divested Comfortdelgro and RE&S before the downturn and was thus somewhat spared from the bloodletting.

My recent trip to India reminded me why I even though my FI target seems so far away, I am still more blessed to be in this position than many others across the world. I have always said that access to the financial markets and pension schemes are gifts that should be taken advantage of. The scenes of infants being carried by the destitute reminded me of how poverty can be such a perpetuating cycle.

Another reason why this trip was significant, was the fact that I got to spend it with my parents while they are still able. I know this sounds morbid, but I know I will treasure these memories and hopefully get to do this with my children when I too become aged.

Going on vacation reminded me

  1. How money are just digits until you spend it – Being able to spend time with my parents and loved ones and seeing how accommodating they were to each other’s quirks was a reminder of how much a blessing it is to be in a harmonious family.
  2. What people can do for money – if “negotiating” with autorickshaw drivers and touts was not enough, we were also misdirected by swindlers who told stories of how our destinations were closed or that riots were happening.

This trip reinforced my idea of how travel does not need to be extravagant and how the journey can be as fulfilling as the destination.

Taj Mahal – We visited this timeless beauty at the beautifully calm time of 6am