We have 6 brands now and we are growing very fast in China. I think for young people today, if they have an issue, they should really take it from the Nike slogan ‘Just do it’ – but know what you shouldn’t do not because you’re scared of the government; you should constrain yourself for your own reasons. For businesses in the post-COVID world, they have to find out what are the differences that can set you apart from other people. That if I did this I would lose a lot of money and almost go bankrupt. Mr Ho has also been conferred honorary doctorates by Johnson & Wales University and from Hong Kong Poly University. Mr Yong Pung How, SMU Chancellor 2011–15. As to the things I needed to know for my career, I’m already past it, so the things I’m interested in studying and reading now are really to enrich myself and answer more questions of the world. In Cuba, for example, we got two properties open, and two properties under construction. ASSOCIATED SITES. It is not at all a secondary location. When you get to my age now, and I ask myself ‘Why do I study?’, I probably now go deeper than the issue of careers etc., because my career’s already gotten going. They are building a new Bird Park, and this huge project is part of the government’s plans to rejuvenate the Mandai precinct into an integrated wildlife and nature destination. Hotels, and Executive Chairman of Thai Wah Public Company, Mr Ho Kwon Ping was conferred the prestigious HICAP Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent 30 th annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) held in Hong Kong. So, in our context, I fully support many of the restraints on free speech that we have in Singapore, but not all. Dusit Thani did a great job managing it and then, we started doing more hotels. Mr Ho joined the Banyan Tree Group (“BT Group”) as Associate Director of Corporate Development in 2010. My whole point to young people is: find a purpose. Free events like this one are hosted every month in dozens of cities. We were like a mini conglomerate. Being an avid writer, he has also penned two books: Australian export sectors facing challenges in international trade, Singapore’s hawker culture included on UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list, Banyan Tree Group Stays Resilient Amidst An Extended Recovery Outlook, Louis Vuitton to open store in Italian ski resort Cortina. That might require some skill, but a lot also hinges on luck where he has caught the right timing, the perfect wave and then he rides it all the way to shore. I am an accidental hotelier. I don’t buy that. It is not always the greatest surfer who successfully rides the waves. Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Singapore 2,189 views. He is the executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, a Singapore-based leisure business group, which owns both listed and private companies engaged in the development, ownership and operation of hotels, resorts, spas, residential homes, retail galleries and other lifestyle activities in the region. Illustration of Mandai Eco Resort. I wasn’t a freedom fighter, and I’m not a Poh Soo Kai. By Howard Lee. Mr Ho. Back in Singapore, having served National Service and getting some sense knocked into you, that you can’t ask why too many times of your instructors otherwise they’ll charge you. I’m not a Chia Thye Poh. What do you wish you had known before you started out on your careers. This helps them gain a better understanding of the different career pathways available today. These came about because we had concrete problems like not having a beach. I wish I knew all those things – but you never do. Mr Ho Kwon Ping. 1:53:45. Mexico was a suitable proxy for the United States market. Mr Richard Eu Mr Richard Eu. I’ve found that in my trade as a journalist, I learn what I call the art of asking questions, because in journalism – particularly, serious journalism – you have to ask pretty penetrating questions even though you don’t have a lot of time, and you have to make conclusions because you’ve got to write an article about something. Instead, for us, it is a super prime location, and we are excited to be a part of it. Mr Ho: I was recently asked at a talk what I would say would be the worst thing that could happen to the young generation today, and my reply was that it’s not that they will be invaded or become poor, it’s that all of them as a cohort will sleepwalk through life: comfortable, not really aware of what’s really happening, not passionate about anything, then one day, they wake up and say, “What did I really do? We had trading companies, manufacturing, contract manufacturing, and we were all over the place. That was a time of life and death. They did not want to confess. You have to move on in life. In fact, there is a lot of wellness associated with it. Educated in Tunghai University, Taiwan; Stanford University, California and the University of Singapore, he was the Economics Editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong before joining the Thai Wah family business and then venturing out on his own to start the hospitality brand, Banyan Tree. In Singapore, it crossed the line. Nobody does. But when you’re a 24-year-old kid without really knowing, not really fighting for a cause or willing to die for a cause, just sort of big-mouthed and protesting against all sorts of things and suddenly you get thrown into confinement and lose all your bearings, it’s a frightful thing to be. We, in our generation, created the environment for them to live in an affluent context. Or if you were a trading company, you would represent a whole range of products. And I think we were proven right. I’ll see what the future brings. We are not hungry anymore and neither should we be – but we must be hungry for something and this is the challenge for Singapore. Honoured for his contributions and accomplishments in the hotel industry in the Asia Pacific region and globally, Mr Ho is the only two-time recipient of Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific – HICAP’s Innovation Award (2003) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2019) in its 30-year history. We wanted to go into the Caribbean, so we are now into Bahamas. What is the purpose you would say you have found for your life? My brother is an architect, and my wife and I just love travelling. Sometimes, you would break out in a cold sweat because time just goes on and on, and you have no sensation of time – it just drags on. ", "With the support of the National Youth Council, Advisory provides youth with the opportunity to connect with working professionals from a wide range of sectors. 90 percent of the guests staying at our hotels are Americans. Associate Development. What advice would you give to the youthful idealists who are today like how you were back then? Do you find that your approach to asking why, because it hasn’t always gotten you success, has changed or been nuanced over the years? But you have to be accountable for what you say. In the process of answering this question, it helps you a little bit more in terms of how you study and where you want to go etc. You should just move on. "Youth have expressed a desire [amidst COVID-19] to continue growing, developing, and upskilling, and I'm glad that Advisory's series of online Discovery+ industry panels and mentorship programmes are meeting these needs. Since then I have not been jailed, thankfully. Mr Ho Kwon Ping. The thing is that there’s no external stimuli. Those two hotels became and still are among the top ten resorts in all of Mexico. So I got in there – a stupid student at 19 years old – got thrown out. Being able to control it is not an easy thing to do. Today, he has prevailed over these troubles and is a respected figure in business, civil society, education and academia. The line between being sucked into something and believing in something, the line between a fervent young idealist and crossing that line to become something of a terrorist or just something you would regret, isn’t that broad a line. I believe in learning lessons, but I don’t believe in regret. Mandai Park Holdings and Banyan Tree said the hotel will be … Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman of the SMU Board of Trustees, wrote in a commentary that while an elected president may have only custodial powers and ceremonial responsibilities, he may bear the burden of articulating the voice of the nation at its proudest, and rallying its people at the most dire of times. Main photo: Former SMU Chancellor Mr Yong Pung (2nd from left) standing next to his official portrait which will be hung in the SMU Boardroom, together with (left to right) SMU Chairman Mr Ho Kwon Ping, SMU Chancellor Mr J Y Pillay and SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer. I think that’s a useful point for young people to remember. Mr Ho has had many run-ins with the authorities: first at Stanford University in America while he was an undergraduate, then during his National Service and later under the Internal Security Act while studying at the National University of Singapore as an undergraduate again, having left Stanford after his run-in with the authorities. The current market conditions, in fact, encourage us to remain who we are. And they are just getting more famous building their own brand, and they would just “squeeze” you more and more. Because when we just started Banyan Tree, we had nothing. Ho Kwon Ping (Chinese: 何光平; born 24 August 1952) is a Singaporean businessman. Learn from something and not do it again. They refused to confess and for that, they stayed in jail for 20 over years. Hindsight is always 20/20, but we’re always myopic in the moment. Dear Straight People, I was recently asked by the founders of the Pink Dot movement to write something to commemorate the tenth edition of Pink Dot. “The Ho Rih Hwa Leadership in Asia Lecture Series serves as a unique platform for accomplished leaders within and beyond the Asia-Pacific region to come together and pave the way for a better future. editor 2019-06-12T04:36:25+00:00. In 1994, he launched Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University. This supports the point that whenever you have a varied career, and you end up doing something – you may have been a chef and then you end up a banker – in some odd way, though you will never realise until maybe later on in life when you look back, but your experience as a chef probably, in some way, influenced you and made you different as a banker. at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. From a journalist to forging the brand of Banyan Tree, the journey has been amazing. Below is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings. It’s done already. I found time to get a girlfriend, get a motorbike and start writing articles about the political system – that got me into trouble and got me jailed. There are also a lot of people on social media who say the most utterly ridiculous stuff – that’s not responsible. They are both very vibrant, friendly, full of life and extremely hospitable. Our hotels are full of culture. First of all, we are not the investor. For 10 years, I was running the business and it was a whole bunch of different businesses. (From left) Mr Philip Yim, Mr Mike Barclay, Mr Ho Kwon Ping and Mr Dharmali Kusumadi. So, I borrowed some money from my dad and started this hotel. Employee Welfare. I’m not a libertarian who says, “You can shout anything and it’s okay. So, I found that in the rest of my career – be it with Banyan Tree or SMU or my other family businesses – in areas where you don’t have domain expertise, and I have no domain expertise in education nor in hospitality, I could get by because I knew how to get to the heart of an issue by asking questions. It’s a spirit and an approach – a methodology. 5 February 2015 1 Introduction First of all, there you become much more honest with yourself because you cannot lie to yourself anymore. And I said let’s start a spa but back then, nobody had any idea what a spa was. The Culture Embassy Pte Ltd met up with Mr Ho Kwon Ping to find out his inspirations behind the founding of Singapore’s hospitality group, Banyan Tree Holdings and the future plans for the company. In a way, the answers you get to this question you ask at every stage of your life depends on how deep you want to go. Explore celebrity trends and tips on fashion, style, beauty, diets, health, relationships and more. Those times are not the times as these times. The Culture Embassy Pte Ltd. All rights reserved. For youth who are idealistic today, there is room and space in Singapore, actually, for you to express yourself. You don’t get a Lee Kuan Yew or Lim Chin Siong any more. Some of them are pretty unpleasant personal caricatures, which I find quite distasteful. I’ve encouraged civil society groups not to try to be fashionable and make irresponsible comments about the government, which I think is plainly unwise. We also felt that our Mexico ventures would be a good spearhead or stepping stone for us to get into the rest of Latin America. We would represent all kinds of foreign products. editor 2019-06-12T04:25:32+00:00. My being able to create a legacy with Banyan Tree, which is not just about wealth and luxury hotels, but about the corporate social responsibility we’ve done and the community and brand that we’ve built. You ask why, you get an answer and then you ask ‘why this?’, then ‘why that?’ and ‘why so and so?’ – until you get to an answer that is satisfactory to you. You really have to tap on the local Brazilian market, the Chilean market, which are very continental markets that we don’t have many inroads in. On the other hand, Mexico actually has a lot of features that we are very familiar with. When you got nothing, the challenges aren’t so bad. If you want to use that analogy, post-COVID-19, there are a lot of new waves that are going to be heading your way. Hence, we looked around at American hotels but a lot of them hardly focus on culture and romance. I’ve always felt that your mind is always your best friend – obviously – but it can also be your worst enemy. Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings. Authors: Emily Calkins, Monica Matsumoto, Ahmad Nasir, James O'Brien, Amy Saxton, Simone Wallimann, Lawrence Yen, with Mr. Ho Kwon Ping. So, from there, we designed our first hotel and tried to get people to invest. Today is a momentous occasion for us all. It was also what the Americans felt, and what people like myself were protesting against because we thought it was a war of national unification, and that if they won, they would just stop there. The only thing that I planned to do was that I wanted to create a brand but at that time, I didn’t have a clue what that brand would be all about. Crafting the Banyan Tree Narrative. I got in trouble at Stanford because of my being sceptical of the Vietnam War and in fact, in retrospect, I think I’ve been proven right compared to the Singapore establishment of that time, which thought that Vietnam was fighting a war of Communism and if the Vietnamese won the war – which they did – it would lead to the Domino Theory. Ho Kwon Ping is founder and executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and founding chairman of the Singapore Management University. The concept of service is very ingrained in them. You’re disoriented in time also because sometimes it’s bright 24 hours round the clock so you could be starving and have no food and then you could get meals when you’re full. The interview played out in CNBC's latest episode of … You also have to look at innovation. But you still accept that your answers are within a certain boundary of practical answers. Opening Remarks by Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Conference Chairman of Singapore Summit, at the Singapore Summit, on 16 September 2017, at 8.30a.m. We in Singapore have our own specific context, as do many other countries, where you cannot say those things. Singapore, 5 November 2019 – Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, and Executive Chairman of Thai Wah Public Company, Mr Ho Kwon Ping was conferred the prestigious HICAP Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent 30 th annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) held in Hong Kong. You can’t be feeling guilty every day of your life. We wanted to tap the North American market because very few of them come to Asia. Being very familiar with Thailand, we felt that we could understand the Mexican culture and environment. In a commentary, SMU Chairman and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings Mr Ho Kwon Ping discussed the need to rethink business models and operational procedures due to Covid-19, and highlighted the need for companies to shift from an adrenaline-fuelled crisis response mindset to a more strategic, methodical, purpose … Mr Ho has received multiple awards such as the London Business School Entrepreneurship Award; CEO of the Year at the Singapore Corporate Awards; CNBC Travel Business Leader Award ; Distinguished Alumnus Award from the National University of Singapore; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Creativity Association, China Hotel Investment Summit and Australia Hotel Investment Summit. Actually, it is even more challenging now that our brand has become more established. Has the “wave” changed with the COVID-19? For someone now running a large multinational company, Ho Kwon Ping's early career is … What occupied your mind while you were in jail given that you often say that in jail, your mind is your worst enemy? You don’t have freedom fighters and so on – you might get an Amos Yee. Ironically, I ask that question ‘Why do I study?’ with the same simplicity as a three-year-old, but with much greater depth in my answer. Ho Kwon Ping is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, and Executive Chairman of Thai Wah Public Company. People would think you were crazy because the hotel had no beach. It was 6 years ago that I wrote Some Day, a short essay on the gay rights movement in Singapore. In jail, I was held in solitary confinement with no sense of day or night because the lights are on all the time, and no human interaction – you are taken out to go to the loo, taken out to go take a shower. We are looking at projects in Central America. 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