People say the darndest things
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People say the darndest things

Listening to back-to-back panels during forums can be a bit of a bore, especially as it’s near impossible to sneak some whisky into the room — trust me, I’ve tried. But throw in some cheeky analogies and implorations and you’re in for a fun time.

I recently attended a certain capital markets forum in Hong Kong — a strange destination, I thought, considering the country in focus at the forum was in southeast Asia. But I suited up and headed off in the hope of meeting some old cronies.

Luckily I spent much of the morning regaling old clients and friends with stories about the benefits of retirement — singletons at noon while lazing at the pool.

But I decided to sit in on a panel about the country’s equity capital markets. And boy, was I in for a surprise!

There was plenty of banter between the panelists and the conversation very lively and informed — even if none of them really knew how to solve the market’s problems.

But what really took the crown for me was the moderator — who also happened to be working for the country’s stock exchange. He had a tough job battling criticism from panelists but took it all in his stride, even jotting down carefully their begging for regulatory easing.   

He obviously wanted to present his market in the best light possible when compared to his Asean peers, and had plenty of rebuttals up his sleeves about his country’s stability and growth prospects. But one analogy summed it up for me.

“I know we’re not the only girl in town, but we are definitely the prettiest.”

If that doesn’t make you want to pin your hopes on the country, I don’t know what will.