Thursday, March 12, 2009

An interview of Ricky Wong (王维基)

There're two people whose values and life philosophies are very similar to mine: CK and Ricky Wong. Here's a good interview of Ricky conducted by Stephen Chan:

Let me share some of my thoughts about the interview with you.

Tool is neutral

He's ruthless and persistent on things that he believes are right. When he was in high school, he asked the principal whether they could bring cards back to school because they wanted to form a Bridge Club. Back in those days, adults often related cards with gambling and so the principal rejected him.

However, he didn't give up. He told the principal that many of his schoolmates learned martial arts at school and if these skills were used in the wrong way (fighting) it would be bad to the school too. At last, the principal changed his mind and let them bring cards to school.

The morale of of this story is that

Tool, including money, is a neutral thing. Whether it's good or bad depends on how you use it.

Of course, we shouldn't let young kids play with knives. After they pass a certain age, however, we should let them know that what knives are used for and and give them the freedom to use it; let them make decisions and learn from mistakes.

Risk taking

Although he said in the beginning that he's a timid person but I don't think so at all. He's actually a very good risk taker.

One time, he tried to bring around HK$120,000 into Taiwan to buy books for his business. Because there was a limit of the money (HK$40,000 per person) one can bring through the customs, the officers denied his entry.

After thinking for a while, he decided to give HK$80,000 to a couple and asked them to bring it through the gate and then give the money back to him on the other side. This certainly carried quite a good deal of risks since the couple could have grabbed the money and run. Nevertheless, he believed that the couple is trustworthy and they did gave that HK$80,000 to him afterward.

This world is full of risks and opportunities. Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who have the ability to measure various kind of risks and take them when the potential rewards are worth it. If you play chess with me before, you would notice that I'm not a very good risk taker. That's why this is one thing that I should learn from Ricky.


One reason Ricky trusted that couple at the airport was that he could tell they're honest people from their appearance.

Physiognomy has a long history in China. When I was small, I always thought that it's just some mysterious belief with no scientific foundation. In recent years, however, I started to believe that it's indeed a study of the statistics of how human facial characteristics are related to characters.

A good example of that is "Hong Kong Girl" (港女). To my English reader, "Hong Kong Girl" are generally defined as the Hong Kong girls who are very self-centered and materialistic. From my experience, it's not difficult to tell whether a girl is "Hong Kong Girl" from her look such as makeup, clothes, and, most importantly (although it's not appearance technically), the way she talks.

Judging people from their appearance has been condemned and underrated for long and I hope that it'll see some light after scientists conduct research on it. After all, it's a very useful skill (like how Ricky interviews people in 5 minutes) :P

Media's Big Influence

The media is very good at focusing on and "enlarging" certain words that a celebrity says and ignoring the rest of the story. They do that since it can boost the sales of their newspaper/magazines/TV ads/whatever. A by-product of that, sadly, is that they also give you a false/unfair impression of the things and people of an incident.

For example, Ricky once asked a Miss Asia whether her breast is "real". Not surprisingly, the media found that it was a great title for their top news and used big font for these few words. Now that you watched Ricky's interview, you should realize that he was trying to test how well the Miss Asia's could respond to surprising/embarrassing questions (the Miss Asia's were well aware of this before he asked the questions).

Knowing the entirety of the incident, although I can't deny that the question is insulting by itself, it wasn't really much of a big deal given the context.

The media wasn't lying. To my mind, however, reporting part of the truth while intentionally ignoring the rest isn't much better than lying. After all, they both lead to the same result: give you a false impression of the truth.

So, instead of making a judgment right after you hear one side of a story, try listening to other sides of the story first. Having a certain degree of skepticism is always healthy.

Last but not least: the importance of family

At the end of the interview, Ricky acknowledged that he didn't spend enough time with his two children because of his busy career life.

Career success is important but we shall not forget about our family. That's why I define, as mentioned in my previous post before, a successful person to be someone who 1) brings great value to this world and 2) has a happy family. Although it's not easy, let's hope that we can all strike a good balance between the two :)

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