Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Air Travel

Mile-high luxury
In their increasingly competitive industry, airlines looking to differentiate themselves from rivals are raising the wow factor in premium offerings to stand out. By Tay Suan Chiang
BT 20140510 SCAIRYHG3 1080963
(Above) The Residence by Etihad comes with its own living room, a separate bedroom and en suite shower room. - PHOTO: ETIHAD AIRWAYS
FLYING from point A to point B by private jet? That's so last year. The latest way to jetset in style for the well-heeled traveller is on The Residence by Etihad. United Arab Emirates' national carrier, Etihad Airways, recently unveiled The Residence, the world's most luxurious living space in the air.
The Residence, onboard an A380 aircraft, comes with its own living room, a separate bedroom and en suite shower room. Guests will also have their own dedicated, Savoy Butler Academy-trained butler.
The Residence will debut in January 2015 from Abu Dhabi to London, and will subsequently expand to other routes by end-2015.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief commercial officer, says: "As a fast-growing Mideast luxury airline, well-known for its luxury travel offerings, Etihad Airways is looking to set itself apart from the rest of the industry with products unparalleled in style and quality to cater to the individual tastes of every VIP traveller."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Private Museum

Private Museums : flavor of the month

Private museums in the mainland seem to have been the craze over the past year, with one springing up every few months across the country's leading cities.

Indeed, in 2009, culture was elevated by the State Council to the status of a strategic industry, with a five-year plan starting from 2011 that dictates culture as the "spirit and soul of the nation," a core industry constituting 5 percent of GDP.

But one has to remember this trend is a new one, relative to the cultural history in Europe and the Americas, with the likes of Tate, Rockefeller and Guggenheim household names for any traveler.
In Beijing, there is now the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, set up by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens; in Shanghai, Yuz, by Chinese-Indonesian agriculture magnate Budi Tek; and The Long Museum by power collector couple Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei.

In Nanjing, there is the recent news topper Sifang Art Museum, part of a much larger project by real estate developer Lu Jun and his son Lu Xun; and in Xian, OCAT, the first major contemporary art museum in the western part of the city.

These are only a tiny fraction of the ongoing private museum building activity. Whether they are merely vanity projects, depositories, or hold a more coherent vision to benefit the public, there still remains a lot of software problems that require time and knowledge to address.

Another problem is finding the professional teams to manage and curate the museums up to world-class standards; ensuring sustainability in terms of collections, as well as how the map of China fits in with the world - how to create cross-cultural dialogues; and the implementation of successful educational programs that aim to nurture a truly cultural and passionate next generation.

Only time will tell whether this boom will be long-lasting, and the fundamental effects of private art museums felt.   --    Hong Kong Standard

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Family foundations let rich leave legacy
Non-profit foundations are increasing with more affluent families instilling right values in rich heirs
BT 20140212 WITHIN12VBHL 953190
From success to significance: Stephanie Cordes, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, stands with her father Ron (far left) and mother Marty at their home in New York. Ms Cordes quit her job as an advertising sales assistant at Conde Nast to work full- time for the Cordes Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation her father created, following in his footsteps to one day become his legacy. - PHOTO: NYT
STEPHANIE Cordes, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a present from her father, Ron, that she treasures. It's a handmade pink scrapbook, titled, "5 Life Lessons From Dad." Inside are whimsical photos of her with friends and family alongside typed pages containing his simple guidance. The chapters are: "Seek your passion." "Do your best." "Good enough is never good enough." "No excuses." "Make a difference." "Go for it." She was moved. But what really touched her was a letter he wrote to her last fall, which concluded with: "You are my legacy." And she is, in more ways than one.
In mid-January, Ms Cordes, 24, quit what she had called her dream job, working at Conde Nast as an advertising sales assistant, to work full-time for the Cordes Foundation, the non-profit family foundation her father created when he and his two partners sold their firm, AssetMark Investment Services, to Genworth Financial in 2006 for US$230 million.
"I am going to be the legacy of the foundation," said Ms Cordes, who is an only child. "It is really important that I am involved because it is going to be mine eventually." According to the most recent statistics, the number of family foundations like the Cordes Foundation has exploded since 2001. There are now more than 40,000 family foundations in the US, making grants totalling more than US$21.3 billion a year, up from about 3,200 family foundations doling out US$6.8 billion in 2001, according to the Foundation Center in Washington.
These non-profits are on the upswing for several reasons. First, friendly tax breaks make the charitable vehicle appealing. And it offers philanthropists who want more control over their giving a way to give with fewer restrictions than would come with a donor-advised fund or writing a cheque to an established charity.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

China Luxury Brands

Over Optimistic on Luxury Sales in China


Global luxury brands slow store expansion on mainland China

The glitzy romance between the landlords of mainland shopping centres and global luxury brands has entered a rocky patch as many top-end labels ease up on the pace of store openings in the key market.
10 Feb 2014 - 5:25am

Friday, February 7, 2014


Chinese New Year Protocol  - Do's & Don'ts

Don't know much about the upcoming season? What about your knowledge of the holidays — is it getting a bit rusty? Avoid embarrassing or awkward situations with our quick round-up of Chinese New Year habits and customs.

Do… remove your shoes
When visiting a friend, remove your shoes at the entrance as you would in most Asian homes. Shoes may bring in dirt and dust. Remember that homeowners aren't allowed to sweep their houses on the first day of the festival — it's considered bad luck.
Do… bring a gift
It is customary to exchange a pair of mandarin oranges with your host, a gesture that wishes him or her an auspicious and prosperous New Year. This practice dates back to ancient China, where public officials, mandarins, will pass the delectable fruits around as gifts during the festive season. It was no coincidence the fruit matched their bright orange court robes. Hosts will also welcome any additional gifts of fruits, food and alcohol.
Do… give red packets
It is also customary for married individuals to distribute red packets to single unmarried individuals as a token. Prepare the red packets with crisp new notes, and make sure the sum is an even number — giving an odd sum is considered bad luck. You will not want to mess with a centuries-old tradition which predates to a small village in the Song Dynasty period. According to legend, a young orphan helped to slay a huge demon which was plaguing the village - and in gratitude, the village elders presented him a red envelop filled with money for his courage in saving them.
Do… say positive things
You want to start off on a good note. By only talking about pleasant things and wishing your friends and family well, you ensure a smooth and auspicious transition to the year ahead.
Do… wear red
It is the best colour to wear during this season not only because it is considered lucky, but because its vibrant hue is considered appropriate for festive celebrations.
Don't… wear black or white
Associated with death, these colours are considered unlucky and a fashion faux pas during the lunar festival.
Don't… finish everything on your plate
Most Chinese mothers want their children to finish up every grain of rice on their plate during mealtimes, the opposite holds true for reunion dinners. You should always leave some food- especially fish- on your plate, so that symbolically some of the money you've earned from the previous year will be carried over to the New Year.
Don't… cut your hair
By cutting your hair within the first 15 days of the New Year, you could be 'snipping' your wealth away.
Don't… handle books, pears or clocks
All these objects have negative connotations attached to them, so try not to touch or use them during the festive season. Try not to read books in the presence of mahjong players, serve pears to your friends and family, or prepare clocks as gifts during this period.
There are so many traditions and customs to follow during Chinese New Year, but do remember that it's a time to relax with your friends and family. The season is about being with them, after all.   --  by Desiree Pakiam YAHOO! Singapore

The Do's and Don’t of Chinese New Year

1. Don’t buy shoes, clocks or books as gifts.
The pronunciation of shoes (鞋) in Mandarin is the same as something unlucky and inauspicious, whereas its Cantonese pronunciation is similar to the sound of sighing, therefore they are a big no-no in terms of what to buy as gifts for your Chinese friends or business associates. Giving a clock is also very bad, as this action (送鐘) would imply burying a parent (送終), because of its pronunciation in several Chinese dialects.
As for the word book (書), it has the same pronunciation as the word “lose” (輸) in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Books are especially not welcomed by people who like to play Mahjong or gamble during CNY. You may want to avoid umbrellas (傘) as well, as it is similar to the sound of “separation” (散) (with your loved ones).
2. Clothing matters
The significance of colour in clothing (for example, the old mantra ‘never wear white after labour day’) may not matter as much as it used to, but if you have Chinese clients or friends who you consider more traditional, or you are meeting for the first time, you may want to avoid causing any potential discomfort by what you are wearing.
Try to avoid combinations of only black and white, as those are traditionally the colours of mourning. Though wearing red is not a must, it is surely welcomed during CNY. Anything from a red sweater to a red jacket would be enough to show that you also share the festive spirit.
3. Avoid treating or visiting Chinese people during the third day of CNY 
The third day of the CNY is traditionally known as Chikou (赤口), which can be directly translated as “red mouth.” This is considered a day that one could easily get into arguments, and therefore it is best to decline social calls on February 2 this year.
On Chinese New Year Greetings
The most common CNY greeting I have heard from non-Chinese is “Kung Hei Fat Choy(恭喜發財),” yet there are far too many people who say it without knowing the actual meaning. It is NOT equivalent to Happy New Year.
“Kung Hei” in fact means “congratulations” where “Fat Choy” simply means “get rich” or “be prosperous.” So the whole greeting translates to “congratulations and I wish you prosperity.”
Another item worth noting is, “Kung Hei Fat Choy” is Cantonese and it is only used in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province of China, where Cantonese is the dialect. If you want to greet a Mandarin speaking friend from China or Taiwan, then you say “Gong Xi Fa Cai” instead.
Some suggested Chinese New Year greetings in Mandarin:
1. Ma Dao Cheng Gong (馬到成功)
Literally, “Ma Dao Cheng Gong” means to “succeed right upon arrival, with a horse.” It is a greeting commonly used to wish people immediate success in what they are trying to achieve. This will be especially popular this year, the Year of the Horse.
2. Xin Nian Hao (新年好) or Xin Nian Kuai Le (新年快樂)
This is one of the first greetings you would say to your friends during Chinese New Year, which means Happy New Year.
Tip: If you don’t know how to pronounce Mandarin, simply copy the whole Chinese phrase, paste it on Google Translate and click on the “listen” button.
On Family Expenditures during CNY
To prepare for Chinese New Year, households spend more than usual to buy decorations and food for visiting family and friends. Home visits are common during CNY, with people bringing along their good wishes. Households need to buy gift boxes in advance, as it is embarrassing to visit someone empty handed, and you just don’t do that.
If you go to any of the T & T Supermarkets in town, you will see columns of gift boxes of snacks, cookies and chocolates. These are typical gifts that you would both receive and give to others.
One week into CNY, families could end up with a dozen of gift boxes at home, and they may have to give out some of those again (yes Chinese “regift” also!) as they simply cannot finish them all. Thus the gift box you originally bought could change hands several times before CNY is over.
Another major expenditure during CNY are red envelopes. In the culture in which I grew up, there is an unwritten rule that once you are married, you have to give red envelopes to a junior who greets you. And since you are a married couple, you usually give out two red envelopes at one time. Normally in Canada, the amount of money in a red envelope could vary from five to 100 dollars, so this tradition can be costly. Though people would happily accept your red envelopes and greetings, no matter how much it is inside, you are advised not to put coins into a red envelope, as everybody would know that a loonie is all you are giving!
Red envelopes could be a financial burden to some families during CNY, though some parents might try to “recover” their “losses” by taking all or a portion of the money their children collected from their red envelopes.
I can still remember that exciting moment, when I poured out all the red envelopes I had collected onto my bed, and started counting how much I had “earned” at the end of New Year (most kids aren’t allowed to open them before CNY ends). Do not underestimate the spending power of Chinese kids after CNY, as they could be allowed to spend some of the money on themselves.
-- by Sunny Chiu for DUNN PR