Learn from something and not do it again. 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. It doesnât sound that stupid. Ho Kwon Ping 2014 S R Nathan Fellow for the Study of Singapore 12 November 2014 Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House, NUS . First of all, there you become much more honest with yourself because you cannot lie to yourself anymore. 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. Ho Kwon Ping 2014/15 S R Nathan Fellow for the Study of Singapore 5 February 2015 Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House, NUS . Mr Ho: In terms of the questions I asked, they were completely different – a different set of questions but with the same origins. You have to know the boundaries, and to me, I really accept and fully support those boundaries. (Photo: Banyan Tree Holdings) In the wake of a devastating financial crisis, the Millennial generation has been challenged with the prospect of re-imagining corporate responsibility. Even if we do adopt a more stylish approach to our brand voice, the culture of our company stays the same – not to brag about ourselves and to be garish, but more to be authentic, and highlight our brandsâ DNAs in relevance to the themes emerging in the market in an authentic way. 90 percent of the guests staying at our hotels are Americans. 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. By the same token, Singapore Zoo and its sister wildlife parks in the Mandai area today are the top attractions in Singapore. We, in our generation, created the environment for them to live in an affluent context. There is space in Singapore for you to do it. Mr Ho Ren Hua is a director and CEO of Thai Wah Public Company Limited and a director of Laguna Resorts & Hotels Public Company Limited. I became very clear in my own mind that I wasnât going to go and spend 25 years in jail, which you can and there have been people who have: Chia Thye Poh and Poh Soo Kai. He was the Economics Editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong before he joined the family business in 1981. That if I did this I would lose a lot of money and almost go bankrupt. But you also have to have the decisiveness to make the call that if this wave isnât going to work, you jump out into the sea and then you try again. banyantree.com. IPS-Nathan Lectures Singapore: The Next Fifty Years - Lecture III: Security and Sustainability by Ho Kwon Ping. The current market conditions, in fact, encourage us to remain who we are. Mr Ho Kwon Ping. Mr Ho Kwon Ping Mr Ho Kwon Ping. People would think you were crazy because the hotel had no beach. We work with these two beautiful properties on two coasts. In all these occasions, Mr Hoâs conviction to speak truth to power prevailed. We wanted to tap the North American market because very few of them come to Asia. Instead, for us, it is a super prime location, and we are excited to be a part of it. editor 2019-06-12T04:25:32+00:00. Mr. Ho Kwon Ping – Laguna Resorts and Hotels Public Company Limited. The concept of service is very ingrained in them. That really was an example of the foolishness of youth. Those times are not the times as these times. We were like a mini conglomerate. I donât believe in thinking about regrets. You have to move on in life. Mr 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. Or if you were a trading company, you would represent a whole range of products. If you want to tap their market, you have to go to them. We will have more brands as such, but even if we have more stylish or funkier brands, our overall voice does not change. Mr Yong Pung How, SMU Chancellor 2011–15. We are only part of this multi-billion-dollar project, in the sense that we manage the resort. Of course, we work with them to conceptualize the hotel from the very start. Mr Ho Kwon Ping 24 JULY 2020, 0900hrs SINGAPORE (GMT +8) An interactive and motivational session helmed by SMU Chairman and sought-after opinion leader, Mr Ho Kwon Ping, participants had the opportunity to witness his first-hand sharing on a wide range of topics ranging from career progressing moves to how graduates could better land their first career in the post-pandemic era. Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings: Mr Ho Kwon Ping. Regret technically means you feel bad about something youâve done even though you can do nothing about it. What makes you really strong is not your physique; itâs your mind. Banyan Tree was the first hospitality brand to do all-pool villas. Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, Banyan Tree Co-Founder . I still encourage my children to ask why – but you donât have to be so impulsive in your responses. You canât be feeling guilty every day of your life. Your mind then is your worst enemy, and you find you want to reign in your mind: you pretend to type letters with the typewriter to try and remember things, you try to create a story and remember – but you canât tame your mind. Itâs a spirit and an approach – a methodology. For youth who are idealistic today, there is room and space in Singapore, actually, for you to express yourself. Free events like this one are hosted every month in dozens of cities. You ask why, you get an answer and then you ask âwhy this?â, then âwhy that?â and âwhy so and so?â – until you get to an answer that is satisfactory to you. Mr. Ho will be presented with the award at the 30th annual HICAP scheduled for 23-25 October 2019 at the Kerry Hotel Hong Kong. I think thatâs a useful point for young people to remember. They are both very vibrant, friendly, full of life and extremely hospitable. Has the âwaveâ changed with the COVID-19? 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. Nobody does. I am an accidental hotelier. You cannot have anti-Semitic views and open say them in France; if you do, you get jailed – itâs not freedom of speech for this. Banyan Tree Groupâs hotels are not showy or flashy hotels. Youâre disoriented. At that time, my views would have been very opposed in Singapore. As to the things I needed to know for my career, Iâm already past it, so the things Iâm interested in studying and reading now are really to enrich myself and answer more questions of the world. 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. It was, though, not always so smooth and successful a ride. What is the purpose you would say you have found for your life? Feel sad, feel bad then move on. Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, and Executive Chairman of Thai Wah Public Company, is to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from HICAP. I donât buy that. Mr Ho Kwon Ping, founding Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, an international hospitality business, founding Chairman of Singapore Management University, former journalist at the Far Eastern Economic Review, has worn many hats over the course of his long and illustrious career. What do you wish you had known before you started out on your careers. But my point would be: if you canât take the heat, donât be in the kitchen. I wish I knew all those things – but you never do. When you are a teenager and then a little bit later in life, when you ask yourself the same question âWhy do I study?â then the answers come in: I study because of my career; I study because of this or that. Mr Kenny Loh Mr Kenny Loh. PHOTO: Getty Images. IPS-Nathan Lectures Singapore: The Next Fifty Years - Lecture II: Economy and Business by Ho Kwon Ping. These are things that I created and therefore I hope to leave a legacy behind through these. And then, we came to the last piece of land, which doesnât have a beachfront at all. Then, by luck, my wife, my brother and I were walking around Phuket in the 1980s. Mr Yong Pung How, SMU Chancellor 2011–15. We would be manufacturing shoes for Nike and Adidas or other brands. First of all, we are not the investor. Crafting the Banyan Tree Narrative. Journalism was just a short period, however, Iâve often resonated with Steve Jobsâ point about how everything that you do in life, you never know when and how, but it comes back to influence you later on. From your time as an undergraduate at Stanford University to your time as a mature student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), how do you think you changed as a student and person? at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. What did you find you had been lying to yourself about given that you say jail was a time when you found that you could no longer lie to yourself? This is a resort that we are doing with Mandai Park Holdings. Some might fall off but there would be guys who would be able to ride on the waves. But I thought that instead of building 300 rooms, letâs just build a few villas which would be much cheaper. 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. There will be some delays due to the pandemic, but it is a very long project that requires long-term planning. Itâs done already. He is also the founding and current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University and Chairman of The Singapore Summit. Mr Ho Kwon Ping. Sectors thriving in the era of COVID-19. 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. For his services to his home country Singapore, Mr Ho has been decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal and the Distinguished Service Order by the Singapore government. That if I did this I would be jailed. Executive Chairman Banyan Tree Holdings. Ironically, I ask that question âWhy do I study?â with the same simplicity as a three-year-old, but with much greater depth in my answer. What occupied your mind while you were in jail given that you often say that in jail, your mind is your worst enemy? Banyan Tree Group has always been championing sustainability and wellness, which are doing wonders for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) image. Ho Kwon Ping is founder and executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and founding chairman of the Singapore Management University. We have more youth-oriented brands and funkier brands too. They have their own standings which are absolutely world-class, and they evoke a very strong sense of place. We have 6 brands now and we are growing very fast in China. I got in trouble at Stanford because of my being sceptical of the Vietnam War and in fact, in retrospect, I think Iâve 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. The only thing that I planned to do was that I wanted to create a brand but at that time, I didnât have a clue what that brand would be all about. Mr Ho. Of course, part of my asking why would be: âWhy do you have such views?â, âWhy are you able to propagate these views?â, âWhy should we not engage you in a debate?â. Driving towards a fully autonomous vehicular world. However, we immediately thought of Mandai in the same way that we did when we started our hotel in Lijiang, China. 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 donât 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. Back then, there was nothing much in Phuket. 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. Iâm not a libertarian who says, âYou can shout anything and itâs okay. In 1994, he launched Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University. Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings. Never miss a beat with MailOnline's latest news for women. I think the general spirit of inquiry should not be reduced with age; if anything at all, it should become more penetrating and more acute, because youâve got a whole wealth of experience with age, so that when you ask why, youâre actually asking the really penetrating âwhyâs. We were also the first to do tropical garden spas. I can say things that are very abstract and mean it: I study for knowledge; I study to know more about the world. I was about 29 or 30 then, and I didnât start Banyan Tree until I was 40. I believe in learning lessons, but I donât believe in regret. Mr 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. ", âI support [Advisory] and applaud the teamâs effort to bridge the gap between young Singaporeans and the working world by providing insights into jobs and industries available today.â, âOn behalf of the National University of Singapore, I affirm Advisoryâs work in providing students from all walks of life the opportunities and resources they need to make informed career choices.â, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, MCCY & MOT, Executive Director, Youth Corps Singapore, Dean of Students, National University of Singapore, Administrative and support service activities, Accommodation and food service activities, Professional, scientific and technical activities. ", "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. 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. For someone now running a large multinational company, Ho Kwon Ping's early career is … So I got in there – a stupid student at 19 years old – got thrown out. Noting that former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has essentially created a hegemonic Singapore national identity for us, SR Nathan Fellow Mr Ho Kwon Ping said that Mr Lee’s recent passing serves as a poignant reminder about how it is now time to forge our own identity based on a collective of diverse identities and histories. It is not against our values if we were to do a resort with a vineyard in Mexico or California. And I think we were proven right. 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. So, I borrowed some money from my dad and started this hotel. Can you share with us about Banyan Tree Groupâs upcoming Mandai resort in Singapore? What was the inspiration behind the founding of Banyan Tree? Mr Ho: The lie I was telling myself was that I was this revolutionary that was going to go and help change the world. There are also a lot of people on social media who say the most utterly ridiculous stuff – thatâs not responsible. When you get to my age now, and I ask myself âWhy do I study?â, I probably now go deeper than the issue of careers etc., because my careerâs already gotten going. Back in Singapore, having served National Service and getting some sense knocked into you, that you canât ask why too many times of your instructors otherwise theyâll charge you. What aspects of Mexico attracted Banyan Tree Group that the brand would choose the country for expansion? So, we felt that to be associated with the Mandai Park Holdings was in alignment with our brand. Advisory is a fully youth-led non-profit dedicated to empowering young Singaporeans to make informed decisions about their futures. You can never really plan your business completely. The consequence of this, though, is that they can be less aware of things, and so sleepwalk. And I did get charged, by the way. We innovated quite a bit, but innovation doesnât drop from the sky. The Culture Embassy Pte Ltd met up with Mr Ho Kwon Ping to find out his inspirations behind the founding of Singaporeâs hospitality group, Banyan Tree Holdings and the future plans for the company. Try to put yourself in a box with no stimuli – nothing, no sound, nothing to see, no day, no night, no sensation of anything – see if your mind goes crazy. In the artistic space, in civil society, a lot of people who have said things about the government or about issues havenât been jailed. 12 November 2014 1 Introduction “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. Ho Kwon Ping is the founder of Banyan Tree, a worldwide chain of luxury resorts based in Asia. delivered to your inbox. Youâre given nothing. Ho Kwon Ping at CreativeMornings Singapore, June 2015. When you look at young people in China, Indonesia, Burma, you see how hungry they are by necessity. 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 … editor 2019-06-12T04:36:25+00:00. Authors: Emily Calkins, Monica Matsumoto, Ahmad Nasir, James O'Brien, Amy Saxton, Simone Wallimann, Lawrence Yen, with Mr. Ho Kwon Ping. 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. We are not hungry anymore and neither should we be – but we must be hungry for something and this is the challenge for Singapore. 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. ASSOCIATED SITES. Mexico is very close to what Thailand is like and both the countries have very unique cultures, with natural resources and cultural attractions. All content published on this website is the sole and exclusive property of, and belongs to, Advisory, the originator of the content unless stated otherwise, and cannot be reproduced, in part or whole, on any other platform, and in any language or medium, without the express consent of Advisory issued prior in written correspondence. When you were in the early days of setting up Banyan Tree, what were the key challenges that you face and how did you overcome them? For businesses in the post-COVID world, they have to find out what are the differences that can set you apart from other people. My brother is an architect, and my wife and I just love travelling. But the one thing that really got me kicked out of Stanford even though I was very involved in Vietnam War activities, was my participation in a student disruption of the class of a Nobel prize-winner, William Shockley. The thing is that thereâs no external stimuli. The Millennial Perspective. Back then, we saw the wave for romantic boutique hotels and resorts, and we got on our little surfboard and we kept on going and going. Because when we just started Banyan Tree, we had nothing. You really have to tap on the local Brazilian market, the Chilean market, which are very continental markets that we donât have many inroads in. 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. Mr Ho: Nothing – thatâs the worst part. Of course, those who can are those who are very, very strong – people who endure detention who have a strong belief system, who know why theyâre there and so they can reinforce themselves. A lot of opportunities have come over the years for us to do a spa in Singapore, but the locations were not really ideal except for our spa at the Marina Bay Sands where the setting is really beautiful. One should just be practical. The point here for young people is that: donât worry too much if you switch careers a little bit – of course, thereâs those who do it excessively – but in your early life, if you do many things out of genuine interest, donât worry too much because all that varied work somehow will come back to make you different from the next guy. Dusit Thani did a great job managing it and then, we started doing more hotels. The interview played out in CNBC's latest episode of … 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 itâs not that they will be invaded or become poor, itâs that all of them as a cohort will sleepwalk through life: comfortable, not really aware of whatâs really happening, not passionate about anything, then one day, they wake up and say, âWhat did I really do? Look at all the dramas being put on by arts groups. The industries that are immune to COVID-19. They refused to confess and for that, they stayed in jail for 20 over years. Senior Advisor : Mr. Ho Kwon Ping. I wasnât a freedom fighter, and Iâm not a Poh Soo Kai. And they are just getting more famous building their own brand, and they would just âsqueezeâ you more and more. SMU is a collective legacy – so many people have been involved in SMU – of a living, thriving community of students, alumni, faculty who share values. We would represent all kinds of foreign products. But you have to be accountable for what you say. In NUS, I was asking why not about NUS itself because I was a mature student so I didnât really study very hard because I was repeating my course as they wouldnât accept my credits from Stanford. I clearly wasnât going to be that, so I was pretty quickly honest with myself and saying, âYou just get out and start life over againâ. You can insult somebodyâs race and religion – itâs okay, itâs freedom of speechâ. If youâre going to say something about an issue and some Minister hits at it, so what? Iâve always told people: âLearn from your lessons but donât regret because itâs useless to feel regretâ. "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. Youâre disoriented in time also because sometimes itâs bright 24 hours round the clock so you could be starving and have no food and then you could get meals when youâre full. Our approach promotes wellbeing through diversity, satisfaction, health, safety and welfare to increase productivity and improve employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty. I think for young people today, if they have an issue, they should really take it from the Nike slogan âJust do itâ – but know what you shouldnât do not because youâre scared of the government; you should constrain yourself for your own reasons. Sometimes, they are ridiculed – perhaps by a Minister. The reason why I wanted to create a brand was because I was tired of being a journalist in Hong Kong. 1:53:45. Associate Development. Image courtesy of Mandai Park Holdings. Those two hotels became and still are among the top ten resorts in all of Mexico. Mr Ho joined the Banyan Tree Group (“BT Group”) as Associate Director of Corporate Development in 2010. 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. So, from there, we designed our first hotel and tried to get people to invest. What advice would you have for entrepreneurs today? 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. 13 Oct 2020. 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 – HICAPâs Innovation Award (2003) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2019) in its 30-year history. Chairman Eu Yan Sang International. Mr Ho has also been conferred honorary doctorates by Johnson & Wales University and from Hong Kong Poly University. Today is a momentous occasion for us all. 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