Banking, booze and cigarettes
There are many reasons to like Hong Kong, despite the goings-on in the city these days. I should know, having lived here for many decades.
The city’s vibrancy and atmosphere, the great mix of skyscrapers, beaches and mountains, and of course the partying life are all incredibly appealing.
That’s apparently not it, as one chap I recently met told me. Sometimes, it’s the really simple things you take for granted that are among someone else’s fascination.
Now this guy works for an Indian bank in Hong Kong. As is quite standard with a lot of the country’s state-owned banks, he can only stay in his role for three-and-a-half years before he has to move to another job within the bank — most likely back in India.
That’s where the problem lies, I discovered.
Just minutes into our first drink at Captain’s Bar, he told me he was hunting for a new job and wondered if I know of any openings in Hong Kong. He was desperate to remain in the city. The clock was ticking as he was on his last six months with his firm before being asked to relocate to India.
His reasons to stay were quite different to what I expected, though.
He told me that he is from one of a handful of states in India where alcohol and cigarettes are banned. And unluckily for him, his jobs within India had always ended up being in areas where the two were prohibited.
This meant that on his first day of working in the Hong Kong office, his boss found a unique way of welcoming him — taking him out for drinks and offering him a cigarette.
That was just the beginning. In the past three years, he has discovered his love for premium French wine, top-notch whisky and Cuban cigars.
He’s certainly a man after my own heart. Anyone looking to hire a debt banker?