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