Mind Matters: 17th March 2018 at HKCC Quiz Masters: Pushkar Sane & Bashuli Sane Mind Matters: 17th March 2018 at HKCC Quiz Masters: Pushkar Sane & Bashuli Sane
Behind the Headlines: 12-May-2018 Behind the Headlines: 12-May-2018
An Evening with Mr. N. R. Narayan Murthy : 10-April-2018 An Evening with Mr. N. R. Narayan Murthy : 10-April-2018
Mining Cryptos & Decrypting Wines – A Double Bill: June 15th, 2018 Mining Cryptos & Decrypting Wines – A Double Bill: June 15th, 2018

Mind Matters: 17th March 2018 at HKCC Quiz Masters: Pushkar Sane & Bashuli Sane

Where the ‘quizzical you’ meets the ‘amusingly puzzled’, where the moments are beautifully crafted by ‘Thinking Fast’, where even the simplest answer can be clouded by the anxieties of choosing the ‘Right’. Well, simply saying where everyone discovers that “MIND MATTERS”!

Above aptly summarises the undertones of FIPHK’s highly anticipated and much awaited marquee event – Mind Matters.

   

For the 13th year in a row, our very own Pushkar and Bashuli Sane, tested our knowledge, awareness and presence of mind, in their own, very endearing style with fresh mind benders and exciting new rounds.

It was heartening to see such a large number of guests participating in our ever popular event. Six table teams of 10 members (& their guests) per table came wearing their thinking hats on, having convinced themselves that their grey cells were geared up and would match up to the questions.

The event had something for everybody. The questions tested general awareness with questions ranging from art to advertising, from current affairs to history, from economics to entertainment, from sports to science, and from literature to lifestyle. There were written and verbal rounds, audio and video rounds.

Some individual wild guesses, intelligent answers and pure eidetic memory totally mesmerized the audience and won appreciation of the Quiz Masters by way of individual prizes (books and chocolates).

Off course the evening ended with Certificates and attractive prizes, both team and individual, being handed over to the Winners, 1st and 2nd Runners up.

 

Behind the Headlines: 12-May-2018

The Panelists:
Yonden Lhatoo (Chief News Editor, SCMP)
Andy Mukherjee (Bloomberg Opinion)
Robert Koepp (Chief Economist, The Economist Corporate Network)
Umesh Desai (Financial Market Expert)
[Moderated by FIPHK Member Gautam Bardoloi]

Thank you to those who made it to our event on 12-May at the HKCC. Behind the Headlines, was exactly that.  To go behind the headlines.  We understand with the advent of social media, the line between traditional “Fourth Estate” one way news and opinions and 2-way discussions gets so blurred we lose the distinction between Facts and Alternative Facts. Fake news has become part of our everyday vocabulary. Given all that is happening around us, we at FIPHK wanted to hold an open town hall with representatives from Media to discuss what headlines and what behind the headlines.  Media, along the spectrum of liberal to conservative, hold opinion polls that are someone’s predilection and worse those predictions become our choices.

To discuss these and many more in a townhall format we invited Yandon Lhatoo from SCMP, Robert Koepp from The Economist Corporate United, Andy Mukherjee from Bloomberg Opinion and Umesh Desai, Financial Market Expert and ex Reuters Regional Debt Expert.

Needless to say, it was a charged environment with a very engaging discussion.  The questions and discussions veered towards Geo-politics and rightly so since as professionals we all understand that after all Economic development and its roadmap is but an implication of geopolitical decisions and interplay.

If I were to summarise that night as the moderator, 4 themes emerge from all the discussions and questions.  US reneging on its commitment on the Iran Nuclear deal, what it would mean to upcoming discussion with North Korea (on June 12), the world at crossroads with a heightened Middle East (ME) crisis (a possibly nuclear Iran and Syrian conflict in its 8th year) and an unknown Korean peninsula and where does Russia and China play a role in global stage with US increasing taking a back stage.  The discussions went from cautious optimism (on Korea) to dark pessimism on ME.  The panel and audience didn’t spare an opportunity to cross tab each other on how Nationalism (or jingoism) would impact globalisation and thereby Global economy as we know it today.

I will be amiss not to mention that one thing emerged from all the discussions and cross-questioning, is where the world will stand 6 months from today and will any of these predictions/outcomes hold true.  What can be considered disturbing or more aptly thought-provoking is how our current world has changed.  When in the past we discussed Geo-politics and its impact to the economy and thereby professionals like ourselves we had a 3-5 years horizon.  Now we talk in 6 months timespan!!

Lastly, the townhall ended on a lighter moment with each panelist asked to pick their choice of world leaders (from among Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin) who will hold world stage, it was a fragmented decision with Donald Trump and Putin getting a vote each and Xi Jinping being the favorite with 2 votes.   

An Evening with Mr. N. R. Narayan Murthy : 10-April-2018

An Evening with Mr. N. R. Narayan Murthy : 10-April-2018
[Moderated by FIPHK Member Gautam Bardoloi]

We at FIPHK had the privilege to host co-founder of Infosys, Padma Vibhusan Mr. N R Narayana Murthy.  The simplicity and down to earth persona of Mr. Murthy was evident from the moment we reached out to him via email knowing that he will be attending the Asia Pacific Business Forum in HK on 9th April.  He not only responded to our email within 2 hours confirming he is happy to address members of the FIPHK but also changed his travel schedule to be with us on 10 April.  The event at Hong Kong Club was closed out within 48 hours of registration being open and needless to say a full house was the quorum.

Taking a cue from his famous quote, we at FIPHK decided the theme for the evening be named as “When in Doubt, Disclose” and disclose he did in his own inimitable style.

It was exhilarating sitting across the table and interviewing him.  He was candid, humorous and most importantly didn’t shy away from putting forth his views across the socio-economic and political spectrum.  The audience participation in raising their questions had to be finally stopped to break for dinner.  All I can say, seeing the participation and unending requests for “photo ops” with him, we didn’t have the “Father of IT” in India (as quoted by Fortune) but a movie star that evening.

While he addressed a broad spectrum of question, there was one aspect of him that we didn’t know (at least not me), Mr. Murthy is conversant in French & Russian and it was a 44 hours of being incarcerated (wrongly so) in East Europe as a tourist without food and water, that made him (in his own words) move from a socialist or left of center to becoming a compassionate Capitalist.  That tour resolved him to finally co-found Infosys in 1981, and as the saying goes, rest is history.

He is probably one of the few doyens of global Industry who doesn’t have a biography or an autobiography, although he has authored a book “A Better India, A better world”.  I wanted to end the evening by asking him (pushing him to confirm but failed) if there is an autobiography on the making from him.  In his own inimitable style, he said and I paraphrase, any such books will have the good, the bad and the ugly hence best it is never written.

  

We ended the evening with Dinner and more requests for “photo ops” with him from our members.

 

Mining Cryptos & Decrypting Wines – A Double Bill: June 15th, 2018

Mining Cryptos & Decrypting Wines – A Double Bill: June 15th, 2018

[Wine Tasting organized by FIPHK member- Chandan Gupta]

[Crypto & Blockchain Talk organized by FIPHK member – Sai Sudha]

[Event Moderated by FIPHK Member – Sai Sudha]

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As they say, life is too short to drink a bad wine. And Michael Broadbent once said “Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.”  With this mind, a wine tasting evening was organized for the members to unwind and learn at the same time.

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Our wine master for evening was Mr. Edward NARBY – a British national who grew up in France and Germany among a family of wine experts.

The wines were sponsored by  The House of Ferdinand Pieroth, Hong Kong – who have been established in Hong Kong since 1975. The first documented evidence of viticulture in the Pieroth family was in 1675, and they haven’t stopped producing wine since.

Edward took us to a journey of 6 different wines – 4 Red and 2 White – all from various regions in the world. The wines tasted were:

  • Bor Forras from Hungary
  • Los Intocables Black Malbec from Argentina – San Juan Region
  • Lou’s No 1 (Cabernet Sauvignon) from Barossa Valley in Australia
  • Château Gros Caillou – St Emilion Grand Cru from France (Bordeaux)
  • Burg Layer Schlosskapelle – Riesling
  • Sankt Johanner Abtey Silvaner – Spatelese  Rheinhessen

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Each wine had a unique story behind itself. Members enjoyed the tasting session and enhanced their knowledge on various aspects of wine.

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“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.” ― Benjamin Franklin

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The second half of the evening saw Ms. Bowie Lau give our members a very insightful talk on Blockchain, crypto currencies while helping us decode all the latest buzz words in today’s fin-tech world.

Bitcoin, was not traded on any exchanges in 2009 & it’s worth was $0. Its first recorded price was in 2010 where it never topped $1! Then its value picked up from $13.5 in Dec 2013 to its highest level of $17,550 in Dec 2017.

While many of us do know that Cryptocurrency is a kind of digital currency, virtual currency or alternative currency, what the members learnt that day was how these cryptos use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems. The decentralized control of each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, typically a blockchain, that serves as a public financial transaction database.

The talk & discussion centered around –

  • Blockchain – a “Chain of Blocks of Transactional Data”. A Distributed, Decentralized, Immutable Ledger “Cryptographically” secured by some participants of a consensus-based Network where trust is “Optional”.
  • Distributed Ledger – A database of transactions that is shared and synchronized across a network spanning multiple sites, institutions or geographies.
  • Decentralized – A type of network that isn’t managed by a central party.
  • Immutable – Tamper-proof. Once a block is written onto a blockchain, it is almost impossible to change.
  • Cryptocurrency – a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.

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Towards the end, the session got very interactive with all of our members clamoring wife & husband duo of Mathiannal Group with lots of questions leading to a very insightful discussion.

FYI – Bowie LAU (a.k.a. Ms. Kryptos) is the Founder of Mathiannal Group, an Angel Investor with a mission and focus to help technology intensive startups was accompanied by her husband, Prasanna MATHIANNAL who took up technical questions like any investment banker would.

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Bala KRISHNAMURTHY, FIPHK’s Board Member & Treasurer, brought the curtains down to a fantastic evening of Wine & Cryptos, a perfect pairing.

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