A New Yorker in China
A New Yorker in China
One night after my Cantonese class, a fellow student approached me to let off some steam. Like me, Jean-Baptiste was struggling mightily with the tonal language. “These evenings,” he said in a thick French accent, “would be much more enjoyable if I stayed at home and was a potato couch.”
I couldn’t have with him more agreed. Our instructor, a 60-something former “office creature,” is decidedly old-school. She follows the textbook to a T, and asks us to repeat after her. It’s immensely boring.
A few weeks ago, my wife, Wendy, came to me with some troubling news. “Don’t freak,” she said. “But we have to give Lai See for Chinese New Year.”
Lai See, which literally means “Good Luck,” are red envelopes that elders give to juniors. There are lots of different traditions, but in general, married couples give them to unmarried relatives, friends or colleagues.
This might not sound like something to freak about, until you consider that the envelopes are filled with money.
A couple weeks after I moved to Hong Kong, I had coffee with a British woman named Margaret.
Margaret had lived in Hong Kong for many years and was the director of business for a communications consultancy. When I lived in New York, I had occasionally worked as a corporate trainer, and wanted to resume Read More
Planes Trains & Automobiles
We already know that Frank Gehry has some of the most expensive apartments in New York, but it appears that is a universal trait for the awesomely over-hyped architect. According to a video report from the Wall Street Journal, an apartment at Mr. Gehry’s recently completed apartment tower in the hills overlooking Hong Kong’s inner harbor has just sold for $61 million.
Tuesday was Jay Walder’s first day on the million-dollar job in Honk Kong, and while the focus was on fair hikes there in his first press conference, the former M.T.A chief did not hesitate to take a swipe at New York, where frustrations with the politics and finances of the system drove him away.
“New York, when I arrived there, was in a financial crisis,” Mr. Walder said. “The system simply did not have enough money to continue to operate. The assets were not being renewed. And the infrastructure was in terrible condition.”
“What I did,” Mr. Walder continued, “was to be able to right that financial basis and to be able to put the system back on firm financial footing.”
Last year, The Observer reported that relatively new (he was nine months in) M.T.A. chief Jay Walder and his wife had bought on the Upper West Side near five subway lines. The couple paid $1.599 million for a condo with three bedrooms, a lot of natural light, a big master suite with double sinks, and a walk-in closet. It was the sort of apartment a New Yorker could settle into for the long haul.
Now, though, with Mr. Walder decamping for Hong Kong, what of it? We don’t know yet. But we do know that he might find $1.599 million a steal for a nice three-bedroom in his next city.
What’s creepier than a platinum, diamond-encrusted human skull? A platinum, diamond-encrusted infant skull, of course!
Shock-jock artist Damien Hirst is notorious for his 2007 sculpture “For the Love of God,” a human skull cast entirely of diamonds which he tried (unsuccessfully) to sell for £50 million.
Now, he’s at it again. Perhaps out Read More
In a move that inches AIG closer to its dream of once again joining the private sector, the mainly taxpayer-funded insurance giant is getting closer to slapping a price sticker on its AIA Asian life insurance business. The Wall Street Journal reports that an initial public offering of AIA could value the Read More
In a move that could significantly trim the enormous tab it owes the government, AIG has applied with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to register its AIA life-insurance unit for an IPO, according to Reuters.
The IPO could bring in something like $15 billion for the former Wall Street titan and current poster Read More
With apartments fetching an average price of $7,500 per square foot, Fifth Avenue ranked third place in a new survey of the top 10 most expensive residential streets in the world from Barclay’s Wealth Bulletin. But if you thought top-tier residential prices in Manhattan were stratospheric, take a look at the two most Read More