Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mona Leong

The late Sydney Leong was a philanthropist who enabled many children to attend camp each year at the YWCA Sydney Leong Holiday Lodge    >> LINK

His wife, Mona did a great job raising her three boys.

 The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC) appointed Nelson Leong as the  board chairman.  Leong’s appointment by the chief executive ensures the continuation of the high standards set by his predecessor and art aficionado Cissy Pao-Watari, who retired from the board and became HKAC’s honorary president on March 31, 2012.

Well done, Leong 太太!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Equestrian Set

Coolmore in China

An artist's impression of the new horse racing track
An artist’s impression of the new horse racing track in China with Coolmore set

Chinese Government and JV partner TAK Group involve horse racing juggernaut Coolmore in £2.6 billion equestrian development

tsd8795_racewear-04Attracting a glittering international crowd of horse racing royalty, breeding aficionados, private equity groups and billionaires, the annual Karaka Millions races and New Zealand Bloodstock 2013 Premier Sale wrapped up yesterday with 323 of the 441 catalogued lots sold for $51,051,500.

The highest sale yesterday was to Melbourne trainer Peter Moody, who bid $775,000 for lot 330, a colt by Pins, half brother to Cox Plate winner Ocean Park, from Sayyida (Zabeel).
The stand out however was racing juggernaut Coolmore’s aggressive bid on Monday at $1,975,000 for lot 63, a colt by Fastnet Rock.

Furious bidding saw the colt’s price quickly soar past the million dollar mark with Peter Moody and James Harron in the battle early before making way for David Ellis and team Coolmore, who fought it out to the end.

In a US $50 million export project between China and Ireland, Coolmore last year were named as the initial joint venture partner to establish Chinas first multibillion-dollar equine facility. With a population of 1.3 billion and the second largest source of wealth in the world, after the USA, the joint venture will assist China to develop a horse racing and breeding industry.

The major £2.6billion facility is to commence construction this year and covers over 3.3 million square metres in Panzhuang, Ninghe County in Tianjin., China.

The joint venture partners involved in the establishment of the new horse breeding and property development operation are the Chinese Government owned, Tianjin State Farms Agribusiness Group; the TAK Group, a major Malaysian development organisation; and Ireland’s Coolmore Stud.
Teo A. Khing showing a plan of the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, which offers the biggest prize pot (US$10mil or RM34mil). The falcon, which denotes speed and decisiveness, is the theme of the project. The falcon’s ‘feathers’ spread out to shelter 10,000 parking bays at the entrance where they are lined with solar panels
Teo A. Khing showing a plan of the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, which offers the biggest prize pot (US$10mil or RM34mil). The falcon, which denotes speed and decisiveness, is the theme of the project. The falcon’s ‘feathers’ spread out to shelter 10,000 parking bays at the entrance where they are lined with solar panels

Tianjin State Farms Agribusiness Group and the TAK Group are the overall partners for the project.  Led by its Managing Director, Harvard-trained, Mr. Teo Ah Khing, the TAK Group was also responsible for the design, development and delivery ahead of schedule of the world’s largest international horse racing Meyden Grandstand and Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Irish horse breeding industry is hugely export-orientated, with Ireland producing over 40% of all thoroughbred foals in Europe. The sector plays a huge part in the Irish economy, currently generating €1.1 billion annually

Speaking on behalf of Coolmore Stud and their joint venture with the Chinese government, Mr JP Magnier, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first Irish companies to kick-start this partnership and represent Ireland’s hugely successful horse breeding and racing industries.
Coolmore also own several horses in joint venture partnership with millionaire  Sir Owen Glenn (pictured below), half owner of the New Zealand Vodafone Warriors rugby team, who last year sold his international logistics company for an undisclosed sum. Sir Owen took nine yearlings to the New Zealand Blood Stock Premier Sales over the weekend, and owns Criterion, the two year old tipped as favourite to win the $3,500,000 Golden Slipper at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney on April 6th.
Sir Owen Glenn, Mandi Prager, MP Group International, MP My Property Agency
Mandi Prager (MP Group) with Sir Owen Glenn, horse racing connoisseur and periodic Joint Venture partner of Coolmore

Sir Owen owns Blandford Lodge in partnership with Graham and Helen-Gaye Bax and has had success with numerous racehorses such as Railings, Headturner, Second Coming, Mr Fatz, Mr Ubiquitous, Cossack, Voice Coach, Bright Mind and Fairfield Flame.
The Coolmore boys - expert breeders and coveted international racing group
The Coolmore boys – expert breeders and coveted international racing group

 -- 2013 by MP Report


Monday, November 18, 2013


Brainy,Tech Savy, Global and a Mom - Superwoman

Before joining Bloomberg in 2010, Chang served as an international correspondent for CNN in Beijing. There, she reported on a wide range of stories, including China's economic transformation and its impact on Chinese society, politics and the environment. Chang has also reported for CNN in London, where she covered international news for CNN's "American Morning" program.

Prior to joining CNN in 2007, Chang served as a reporter at KNSD, NBC's affiliate in San Diego, California. There, she filed reports for MSNBC and won five regional Emmy Awards for news writing, health and science and consumer business reporting. Earlier in her career, Chang reported in Honolulu, Hawaii; Birmingham, Alabama and trained as a news producer at NBC in New York.

Born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii, Chang graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University.  >> MORE

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Forbidden City : Inside the Court of China's Emperors

Inside the Court of China’s EmperorsPhoto by Polly Braden

New Mongolian ambassador wears traditional dress to meet the Queen

His Excellency Mr Narkhuu Tulga of Mongolia was presented with his Letters of Credence as Ambassador, by the Queen at Buckingham Palace
His Excellency Mr Tulga Narkhuu was given an audience at Buckingham Palace, as is customary when a newly-appointed ambassador or high commissioner arrives in the capital. He presented his Letters of Credence in traditional dress, with his bright royal blue outfit drawing the eye from Her Majesty's rather muted mauve.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Elite Global Women

Age of the alpha woman

What do you have in common with Christine Lagarde, Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Clinton, Janet Yellen, Christy Clark, Heather Munro-Blum and Beverley McLachlin?

Maybe more than you think. Women like these are highly educated with full-time careers (and then some). They work like dogs. They have fewer children than most. They’re far more likely to be married to their first husbands. They sleep less, watch less TV and may well have less sex than other women (they’re too busy). The good news is that they exercise more. They’re devoted to their children, but never put careers on hold for them.

If this more or less describes you, welcome to the club. You belong to the new female elite, a group that has emerged only in the past few decades. Your great-grandmother could never have imagined the kind of life you have. Your choices are vastly different from those of all the women who came before you. And you are reshaping societies in ways nobody anticipated.

“Elite and highly educated women have become a class apart,” writes Alison Wolf, a British economist who (needless to say) is herself part of the elite. Her new book, The XX Factor, puts this extraordinary new class under the microscope. It makes for exhilarating reading – but some of its conclusions might make you squirm.

Alpha females make up 15 to 20 per cent of women in the developed world, enough to exert a lot of clout. Every field is open to them. But the world hasn’t evolved as feminists foresaw. Forget the sisterhood – it’s dead. These women have far more in common with alpha men than they do with the other 80 or 85 per cent of the female population. Their interests, career trajectories and priorities are vastly different. (And yes, I’m one of them, as if you had to guess.)

Less-educated women are still likely to work in gender-segregated fields (teaching, personal service, retail). They’re more likely to drop out of work when they have their kids, and after that, they’d rather work part time. They’re far more likely to have children out of wedlock and to be divorced. Alpha women stay in school longer, marry later, postpone kids until they’re over 30 and don’t stop working when they become mothers. Because of the type of jobs they have, part-time work is not an option. Even so, they spend more time with their kids than less educated mothers do. They are intensive, super-conscientious parents who invest huge resources in their children.

Some people wonder why alpha women don’t choose to marry househusbands. The answer is simple: Women don’t like to marry down. Successful women want men who are as high-achieving as they are, especially as fathers of their children. The truth is that no matter how open-minded we think we are, most of us secretly regard men without paid work as slackers – and that’s not likely to change, no matter how enlightened we all become.

So, what happens when all those alpha men and women get together? They pool their resources. Families with two high earners are doing very well. Their incomes are three, four or five times higher than the average household. They’ve generally been hit far less hard by the recession. They live in the good neighbourhoods and send their kids to the best schools. In Ottawa, they work in government; in Toronto, they work in law, medicine, finance and accounting. They may not be the 1 per cent – but they are the top 10 or 20 per cent. And they’re pulling away from everybody else.

Even so, a lot of alpha women complain about how short-changed they are. They’re obsessed with glass ceilings (despite the impressive list of names at the top of this piece), the scandalous absence of women on boards of directors and the slippage in gender parity at the Supreme Court. In other words, they spend a lot of time trying to improve things for female elites. I guess that’s human nature. But perhaps they could reflect a bit more on some of the unintended consequences of women’s liberation, including the growing gulf between the elites and everyone else.

“This parting of the ways between the elite and the rest is now global,” Ms. Wolf writes.

Which brings us to their kids. If you are an elite parent, you will do everything you can to make sure your children have the same opportunities you’ve had, and that means education. You are willing to invest large amounts of time and money to make sure they get the best one possible. You might send them to Montessori or move to a school district with French immersion. You will enrich them with extracurricular activities. You’ll supervise their homework, deliver them to Kumon and hockey games, take them to Europe and send them to Harvard (if they get in). Either way, university is a given, and maybe postgraduate studies too. All this is phenomenally expensive, which is one reason why elite parents have so few children and are motivated to keep working at full tilt.

It’s natural to want the best for your children. The trouble is, other parents don’t have the resources to compete. The result is a decline in social mobility as the elites perpetuate themselves. “The tendency for children born into the ‘top fifth’ of the developed world to stay there is both high and surprisingly uniform” in many different countries, Ms. Wolf writes.

We never think of ourselves as agents of a new class system, with people just like us at the top. The idea of it horrifies us. Yet without meaning to, we’ve become them.

Working women have created a new world, and our daughters’ futures have never been so bright. At the same time, the world is changing in ways we couldn’t have imagined – and we’re only beginning to find out what that means.    - 2013 October   By Margaret Wendt  Globe & Mail

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pineapple Cake

TaiTai 太太's New Favourite

I have just learned about this amazing pineapple cake which comes from Taiwan and sold at Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

" All the ingredients being used are the finest chosen ones without additives or preservatives. The pineapples are sun-ripened which organically grown in Taiwan and took 18 months to reach its full flavor. Each pineapple only can be used to make six to seven pineapple cakes. The other finest ingredients are natural New  Zealand  butter,  Japanese gourmet flour, and  the  healthiest  red plump‐yolked  eggs  from local  farm."     --  MORE

Apparently good cake cannot be more than 3 weeks old so we wait anxiously for next parcel   - MORE 

Thank you Kaitlyn for your introduction.  Or rather thank you to you boyfriend's Auntie for the sample.   Its my new favourite.

Monday, September 23, 2013

American Designer Babies

Wealthy Chinese seek US surrogates for second child or green card

American surrogate mothers are increasingly being hired by the rich and privileged to fulfil their desires for 'designer' children and US citizenship

Wealthy Chinese are hiring American women to serve as surrogates for their children, creating a small but growing business in US$120,000 “designer” American babies for China’s elite.
Surrogacy agencies in China and the United States are catering to wealthy Chinese who want a baby outside the country’s restrictive family planning policies, who are unable to conceive themselves, or who are seeking US citizenship for their children.
Emigration as a family is another draw - US citizens may apply for Green Cards for their parents when they turn 21.
While there is no data on the total number of Chinese who have sought or used US surrogates, agencies in both countries say demand has risen rapidly in the last two years.
US fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies are creating Chinese-language websites and hiring Mandarin speakers.
Boston-based Circle Surrogacy has handled half a dozen Chinese surrogacy cases over the last five years, said president John Weltman.
“I would be surprised if you called me back in four months and that number hadn’t doubled,” he said. “That’s the level of interest we’ve seen this year from China and the very serious conversations we’ve had with people who I think will be joining us in the next three or four months.”
The agency, which handles about 140 surrogacy cases a year, 65 per cent of them for clients outside the United States, is opening an office in California to better serve clients from Asia which has easier flight connections with the West Coast. Weltman said he hopes to hire a representative in Shanghai next year.
The increased interest from Chinese parents has created some cultural tensions.
US agency staff who ask that surrogates and intended parents develop a personal relationship have been surprised by potential Chinese clients who treat surrogacy as a strictly commercial transaction.
In China, where surrogacy is illegal, some clients keep the fact that their baby was born to a surrogate a secret, going so far as to fake a pregnancy, agents say.
Chinese interest in obtaining US citizenship is not new. The 14th Amendment to the US constitution gives anyone born in the United States the right to citizenship.
You can basically make a designer baby nowadays
A growing number of pregnant Chinese women travel to America to obtain US citizenship for their children by delivering there, often staying in special homes designed to cater to their needs.
While the numbers are unclear, giving birth in America is now so commonplace that it was the subject of a hit romantic comedy movie, Finding Mr Right, released in China in March.
Overall, the number of Chinese visitors to the United States nearly doubled in recent years, from 1 million in 2010 to 1.8 million last year, US immigration statistics show.
Weltman said that prospective Chinese clients almost always want to choose US citizenship for their babies, while other agencies pointed to a desire to have children educated in the United States.
Some wealthy Chinese say they want a bolt-hole overseas because they fear they will the targets of public or government anger if there were more social unrest in China. There is also a perception that their wealth will be better protected in countries with a stronger rule of law.
At least one Chinese agent promotes surrogacy as a cheaper alternative to America’s EB-5 visa, which requires a minimum investment in a job creating business of $500,000.
While the basic surrogacy package Chinese agencies offer costs between $120,000 and $200,000, “if you add in plane tickets and other expenses, for only $300,000, you get two children and the entire family can emigrate to the US,” said a Shanghai-based agent.
That cost still means the surrogacy alternative is available only to the wealthiest Chinese.
Intended parents typically pay the surrogate between $22,000 and $30,000, an agency fee of about $17,000 to $20,000 and legal fees of up to $13,000. If egg donation is required, that can cost an additional $15,000 and pre-natal care and delivery fees can run between $9,000 and $16,000.
Indeed, surrogacy in the United States is so expensive that in recent years hundreds of American parents have reportedly turned to surrogates in India.
Often it is infertility that sends Chinese couples to US surrogacy agencies. More than 40 million Chinese are now considered infertile, according to the Chinese Population Association. The incidence of infertility has quadrupled in the last two decades to 12.5 per cent of people of childbearing age.
Shanghai businessman Tony Jiang and his wife Cherry were among them. They turned twice to domestic surrogates after struggling and failing to conceive on their own. Both attempts were unsuccessful, and left them unimpressed with the impersonal nature of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment in China.
Jiang researched surrogacy in Thailand, India and the Ukraine before settling on the United States, in part because of its superior healthcare system.
In December 2010, he and his wife welcomed a daughter, born in California to an American surrogate he calls “my Amanda”. The same surrogate later carried twins for the couple.
Friends began to ask him to help them do the same thing and last year, he set up his own agency, DiYi Consulting. He has handled 75 surrogacy cases for Chinese parents so far.
Agents said that while many of their clients struggle with infertility, a substantial portion already have one child - some in their teens - and are looking to have a second outside China’s 1979 family planning policy that restricts couples, in most cases, to one child.
They count among their clients government officials and employees of state-owned enterprises, for whom a second child would be a fireable offence. Members of the Chinese Communist Party would also face disciplinary action if a second child were reported.
Families who violate the one-child policy face the prospect of forced abortions, sterilisations and fines, policies that have been most brutally enforced in poor, rural areas.
Technically, Chinese who deliver their second child overseas still violate family planning policies, but in practice the government has little way to enforce this, says Zhong Tao, a Shanghai-based lawyer who has handled similar cases.
Obtaining a Chinese household registration, which is necessary to enjoy subsidised health care and enrol for lower tuition as a local student in state schools, is more complicated, if not impossible for second children.
For children who are foreign citizens, parents must apply for visas and residence permits.
Seeking surrogacy overseas is not in itself illegal, and Chinese surrogacy agency websites, often adorned with pictures of chubby infants, highlight the possibility of bespoke babies.
Chinese surrogacy clients typically want to use their own eggs and sperm, which allows them to have a child who is fully biologically theirs, agents said.
A growing number, though, are open to egg donation. Often Chinese donors will seek ethnically Chinese or Asian egg donors, commonly with Ivy League degrees.
But others want tall, Eurasian children, agents said. “Lots of clients that are Chinese do use tall blond donors,” said Jennifer Garcia, case coordinator at Extraordinary Conceptions, a Carlsbad, California-based agency where 40 per cent of clients are Chinese.
Agents said that clients believe these taller, bi-racial children will be smarter and better looking.

Chinese clients also often request boys, a consequence of a cultural preference for boy children. While sex-selective abortion is illegal - though still common - in China, gender selection is technically straightforward through IVF in the United States, where it is used in surrogacy cases.

Genetic screening also allows intended parents to rule out inherited conditions. "You can basically make a designer baby nowadays," said Garcia.  - 2013 September 24      SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Beyond Plateaus

We value Excellence above all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Musical Conductors

Interpreters of Music

Tycoon Richard Li  - Patron of the National Arts Centre of Canada to China

Conductor and Soloist Pinchas Zuckerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in China:
Hong Kong - Hong Kong Cultural Centre, October 6
Guangzhou - Xinghai Concert Hall, October 8
Fuling - Fuling Grand Theatre, October 10
Chongqing - Chongqing Grand Theatre, October 11
Tianjin - Tianjin Grand Theatre, October 13
Beijing - Tsinghua University, October 16
Beijing - National Centre for the Perfomring Arts, October 17
Shanghai - Shanghai Concert Hall, October 19
Richard has a long past of supporting musicians including bringing Sarah Chang to Hong Kong to perform with the Asia Youth Orchestra.

Leading a distinguished Orchestra in Italy 

Chinese conductor Xian Zhang