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Eldon - Online   - by David Eldon


Reviewer's  Latest  Note:

        In his retirement, Mr. David Eldon remains close association with HSBC, a British bank. As an astute businessman, it is possible that for the interests of HSBC, he would shift his political views on China and Hong Kong, and bend to the prevalent economic and political wind.

        After all, banking, more than any other enterprises, needs goodwill and political favors from the government in power.

        No financially sound, sovereign nation would allow a foreign bank to dominate her own domestic banking sector. In view of Mr. David Eldon's recent public comments, it clearly shows that he finally comes to terms with the political reality of Hong Kong's present post-colonial era. Now he accepts where the power truly lies.

        Mr. David Eldon, these days, sings a different tune.

        Politics makes strange bedfellows.

        Money makes even stranger ones.



                               





Our  Original  Review:


          HSBC is one of the biggest and most respected banking groups in the world. It has its roots and a long history in Asia. Outside of Asia, it is not widely known what the initials, "HSBC", stand for. The "H" actually stands for Hongkong(old spelling) and "S" for Shanghai. This venerable British banking institution bears the names of two Chinese cities, Hong Kong and Shanghai, in which it was founded during the early years of our colonial era when China was at the most vulnerable and turbulent period of her modern history.

        The blogger, David Eldon, is a retired chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation(HSBC), a shrewd Briton — a Scot — with considerable political skills and vast banking experience. He spent his entire 37-year banking career at HSBC, when the banking world was in a much less troubled time. He writes in a firm, conversational tone, in short and crisp sentences, not clogged with big fancy words. In his blog, ELDON-ONLINE, Mr. Eldon gives his opinions on difficult, complicated political and economic issues eloquently with style and elegance. His writing clearly shows that clarity can be achieved with brevity; there is little doubt as to where he stands on the various pressing issues of our days.

        What makes this blog interesting is not what was said about Hong Kong or Shanghai, it is Mr. Eldon himself — his bearing and how a mover-and-shaker of a bygone era sees Hong Kong and the world at large. By reading this blog, the reviewer has a feeling that many things did not turn out the way Mr. Eldon wanted them to.

        At one time, Mr. Eldon's words carried enormous weight all around the globe. This former lion of international high finance is now in his winter. Mr. Eldon's views of the world, of China, and of HK are of his past spring. One may question how relevant his views are in today's political reality — now that we live in a changed political and economic environment in a different era.

        ICBC, a Chinese bank, is presently the world's largest bank by both deposits and capitalization, and its chairman speaks only his native language in public. Hong Kong is far more hospitable to people of Mr. Eldon's background than the present-day Middle East where he once was stationed as a HSBC representative. Like the Irish, the Arabs, a proud and ancient people with an indomitable spirit and long memory, do not see their foreign invader and former colonial ruler in positive light.

        The name of this British bank(HSBC) and Mr. David Eldon's perspective have not changed over the years. Only the banking, political, and physical landscapes of both Hong Kong and Shanghai have changed almost beyond recognition since Mr. Eldon was at the helm of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. And the bank's full name is now almost never used.

        The tenor of this Hong Kong blog, ELDON-ONLINE, tells much more about our colonial past than the present reality.




" We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures. "

              - JULIUS CAESAR   by William Shakespeare









  Go Read More Reviews                         Go Read  Eldon-Online





Commentary:   A Myth about Hong Kong



          Reading a variety of Hong Kong blogs would provide you with a broader view and a more accurate picture of Hong Kong. On the other hand, if you read only blogs by people from a small HK minority, you would get only a partial view of this dynamic city.

      Hong Kong is said to be a "world city", but it is not a Western city. It may come as a surprise to you that Westerners compose merely 2% of HK's population; this small minority is highly transient. HK's main population, the Chinese majority, do not speak English at home; English is not the natives' mother tongue. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, nearly all the Westerners living in HK can speak a few words of Cantonese at the most. With a population of seven million plus, Hong Kong is now a one-English-newspaper town — we don't count the free-of-charge one that is now struggling to survive — while dozens of daily newspapers in Chinese roll off the press in this city everyday choked with ads. This sole English-language daily, which has a steadily declining circulation for decades, publishes in a language that most Hongkongers cannot read and its target readership is not the city's majority population.

      Image can be deceiving. Unlike the image usually projected and perpetuated by the so-called "HK lifestyle" websites and some Western media, Hong Kong is largely a segregated city by class and race. It has always been and still is. You need not look further than the blogrolls of the English-language blogs based here in the city to see how socially segregated Hong Kong actually is.

      You have to look far and hard to find a male native's blog on an expat's blogroll. This fact is even more startling, considering the large number of English-language and bi-lingual HK blogs by the Chinese available. You can also tell how socially integrated the two groups are by the way the HK Chinese write and speak English. When Hongkongers need to speak our second language, we generally speak it in a form of regional English that has its own distinctive syntax and pronunciations. The reality is that the two groups, the majority and the Western expats, by and large, do not socialize with one another on the Internet or in person. To be fair, both groups tend to be clannish and exclusive; or, perhaps it is only human nature. Believe it or not, seeing a Chinese man having a casual social dinner with a Westerner is one of the rarest sights in Hong Kong. However, that being said, we must remind our readers that through our works, we have met a fair number of amiable Westerners both in person and online.

      Our purpose of pointing out the facts here is to dispel a common myth about Hong Kong — truth ought to be told. As for the reason of this social phenomenon, we will leave it to the others to analyze or speculate.

      Hong Kong Blogs Review, as the premier blog reviewer in Hong Kong, encourages you, our readers, to read blogs by people from all segments of our society, including our minority groups as well as the majority. As the saying goes, "variety is the spice of life".

      Go forth and spice up your life!





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