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And I think we were proven right. The thing is that there’s no external stimuli. Crafting the Banyan Tree Narrative. Can you share with us about Banyan Tree Group’s upcoming Mandai resort in Singapore? Opening Remarks by Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Conference Chairman of Singapore Summit, at the Singapore Summit, on 16 September 2017, at 8.30a.m. 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. Today, he has prevailed over these troubles and is a respected figure in business, civil society, education and academia. Instead, for us, it is a super prime location, and we are excited to be a part of it. We have more youth-oriented brands and funkier brands too. 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. Given our experience in resorts, we thought we could do a good job and we did. Has the “wave” changed with the COVID-19? 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. That if I did this I would be thrown out. Mr Kenny Loh Mr Kenny Loh. IPS-Nathan Lectures Singapore: The Next Fifty Years - Lecture II: Economy and Business by Ho Kwon Ping. This helps them gain a better understanding of the different career pathways available today. 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. 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. Below is the transcript of a CNBC interview with Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings. If it is responsible and something serious and you’re saying it seriously and you’ve thought it through and asked why and can defend it, then by all means, say it and do it. We innovated quite a bit, but innovation doesn’t drop from the sky. So, for businesses to ride the waves, you have to find out what is your unique selling proposition and what is so different or special about you, compared to all the other businesses out there. “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. Business 13 Jul 20. 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. 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. Those two hotels became and still are among the top ten resorts in all of Mexico. You don’t get a Lee Kuan Yew or Lim Chin Siong any more. But I just bought it and it was a completely polluted piece of land that was very cheap. 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. 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? I never thought of planning to do a Banyan Tree. So, I knew that that was not viable in the longer term. Banyan Tree Group’s hotels are not showy or flashy hotels. 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. 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. 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. Nobody does. We are looking at projects in Central America. 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. Ho Kwon Ping (Chinese: 何光平; born 24 August 1952) is a Singaporean businessman. Some of them are pretty unpleasant personal caricatures, which I find quite distasteful. 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. They are designed to evoke the culture and beauty of the place, and we won’t change that because we have to keep faith with our customers who come to us because of who we are. IPS-Nathan Lectures Singapore: The Next Fifty Years - Lecture III: Security and Sustainability by Ho Kwon Ping. We would represent all kinds of foreign products. Back then, there was nothing much in Phuket. For 10 years, I was running the business and it was a whole bunch of different businesses. Feel sad, feel bad then move on. By submitting this form, I agree to these, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings: Mr Ho Kwon Ping. The Culture Embassy Pte Ltd. All rights reserved. So, in our context, I fully support many of the restraints on free speech that we have in Singapore, but not all. On the other hand, Mexico actually has a lot of features that we are very familiar with. These are things that I created and therefore I hope to leave a legacy behind through these. Being an avid writer, he has also penned two books: Asking Why reflects his journey in journalism and entrepreneurship, and includes articles commissioned by The Straits Times; while The Ocean in a Drop: Singapore in the next Fifty Years is a compilation of public lectures he gave as the Inaugural Fellow of the SR Nathan Lecture Series, named after the Sixth President of Singapore. From a journalist to forging the brand of Banyan Tree, the journey has been amazing. Will it ever change its course to becoming funkier or “flashier” to win over consumers who prefer more funky or “showy” hospitality brands? 13 Oct 2020. Mr Ho: My family’s my purpose. Mexico was a suitable proxy for the United States market. And then, we came to the last piece of land, which doesn’t have a beachfront at all. You can’t be feeling guilty every day of your life. Banyan Tree was the first hospitality brand to do all-pool villas. But you also have to have the decisiveness to make the call that if this wave isn’t going to work, you jump out into the sea and then you try again. 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. You have to think through it; if you want to say these things, is it responsible? ", "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. 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. Some might fall off but there would be guys who would be able to ride on the waves. For businesses in the post-COVID world, they have to find out what are the differences that can set you apart from other people. While you are out there, the waves keep coming towards you and you have to find a way to get on the waves and ride it. 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. Our approach promotes wellbeing through diversity, satisfaction, health, safety and welfare to increase productivity and improve employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty. There is space in Singapore for you to do it. I’ll see what the future brings. Free events like this one are hosted every month in dozens of cities. That was a time of life and death. Ho Kwon Ping is founder and executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and founding chairman of the Singapore Management University. I believe in learning lessons, but I don’t believe in regret. What was the inspiration behind the founding of Banyan Tree? Asking why is not a one-off thing; it’s a continuing, circuitous reasoning. His famous example at a graduation speech where he talked about how, before he dropped out of Reed College in Oregon, he actually had taken a course in calligraphy – and that was the whole origin of fonts, word processing for Apple. 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. If you were a city hotel, you would never consider Mandai. 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. Also, my father, who was a businessman with a number of businesses in his portfolio, suffered a stroke and I came back to take over the businesses. 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. 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. You’re given nothing. In the conference’s 30-year establishment history, this exclusive award had only been Mr. Ho Kwon Ping is the Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings, a Singapore-based premium hospitality brand with global business interests. Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, Banyan Tree Co-Founder . In fact, there is a lot of wellness associated with it. If you want to tap their market, you have to go to them. You cannot keep riding the wave if you know that there is no future in it. 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. In Singapore, it crossed the line. Mr Ho Kwon Ping. 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. Because when we just started Banyan Tree, we had nothing. 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. 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 can’t tame your mind. In 1994, he launched Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and is currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University. It was, though, not always so smooth and successful a ride. In the artistic space, in civil society, a lot of people who have said things about the government or about issues haven’t been jailed. Mr Ho Kwon Ping Mr Ho Kwon Ping. But you have to be accountable for what you say. Ho Kwon Ping is the founder of Banyan Tree, a worldwide chain of luxury resorts based in Asia. According to him, simply replacing the word “shareholder” with “stakeholder” in companies’ mission statements would be a catalyst for significant change. For someone now running a large multinational company, Ho Kwon Ping's early career is perhaps surprising. Mr Ho: I wish I would’ve known that the consequence of certain things would be this or that. 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. Mexicans themselves are naturally very hospitable people, like the Thais. You don’t meet anybody except your interrogators. Our hotels are full of culture. They refused to confess and for that, they stayed in jail for 20 over years. It’s much easier to be hungry for something physical and then achieve it; it’s much more difficult to be hungry for something more amorphous, more social, hungry for a more purposeful life. Of course, we work with them to conceptualize the hotel from the very start. What advice would you have for entrepreneurs today? If you want to go out there and do something serious, and it happens to be something the government is not necessarily approving of – though they aren’t going to put in you jail because you aren’t endangering anybody – then go and do it. For entrepreneurs, you have to see what trends or waves in society that are heading your way, and then try to get on the surfboard and ride as best as you can to reach the shore. Which of the many fields in which you are a leader - civil society, business, education and academia, and journalism - do you hold to be key to who you are? If you’re going to say something about an issue and some Minister hits at it, so what? You’re disoriented. 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. editor 2019-06-12T04:36:25+00:00. It’s a very thin line and it’s usually the most sensitive, intelligent and idealistic people who become these people. 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. You have to know the boundaries, and to me, I really accept and fully support those boundaries. I think that’s a useful point for young people to remember. 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. 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. My brother is an architect, and my wife and I just love travelling. It is not always the greatest surfer who successfully rides the waves. And they are just getting more famous building their own brand, and they would just “squeeze” you more and more. Today is a momentous occasion for us all. I became very clear in my own mind that I wasn’t 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. I’m not a libertarian who says, “You can shout anything and it’s okay. Business and Leisure. It doesn’t sound that stupid. The interview played out in CNBC's latest episode of … Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings: Mr Ho Kwon Ping. Look at all the dramas being put on by arts groups. 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. Can you share with us Banyan Tree Group’s latest venture into the South American market? 1:53:45. If you ask what defines me, I won’t say journalism defines me because that was a starting career, I would probably say it’s education, with Singapore Management University (SMU), and business, with Banyan Tree. ASSOCIATED SITES. The call comes from a diverse grouping of citizens and professionals like Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, the Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings. People would think you were crazy because the hotel had no beach. 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. The Millennial Perspective. There are also a lot of people on social media who say the most utterly ridiculous stuff – that’s not responsible. So, from there, we designed our first hotel and tried to get people to invest. In Cuba, for example, we got two properties open, and two properties under construction. And I did get charged, by the way. For youth who are idealistic today, there is room and space in Singapore, actually, for you to express yourself. First of all, we are not the investor. Again, it was a confluence of luck and opportunity. I don’t buy that. They do it, though in pretty bad taste – but they do it and they’re not arrested. If you lose it all then, we lose it all. Associate Development. 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. Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings. We have 6 brands now and we are growing very fast in China. Nobody wanted to invest but at least, Dusit Thani was willing to manage it. 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. Mr. Ho Kwon Ping – Laguna Resorts and Hotels Public Company Limited. Hindsight is always 20/20, but we’re always myopic in the moment. I don’t believe in thinking about regrets. The entire South America is so huge and it’s like a whole world by itself. 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? 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. 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. 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. Never miss a beat with MailOnline's latest news for women. Mr Ho: Nothing – that’s the worst part. Actually, it is even more challenging now that our brand has become more established. 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. Banyan Tree Group has always been championing sustainability and wellness, which are doing wonders for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) image. 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. Mr Ho: In terms of the questions I asked, they were completely different – a different set of questions but with the same origins. 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. So I got in there – a stupid student at 19 years old – got thrown out. While you were younger, you might not have been able to do so. 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? Leisure 13 Jul 20. When you are a teenager and then a little bit later in life, when you ask yourself the same question ‘Why do I study?’ then the answers come in: I study because of my career; I study because of this or that. Mexico is very close to what Thailand is like and both the countries have very unique cultures, with natural resources and cultural attractions. By the same token, Singapore Zoo and its sister wildlife parks in the Mandai area today are the top attractions in Singapore. You can never really plan your business completely. We were like a mini conglomerate. Employee Satisfaction. I am an accidental hotelier. 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. By Howard Lee. There may other things I can do too: I’m going to be getting two more grandchildren, so maybe I’ll be a purposeful grandfather. He had a course on physics but he was a big exponent of eugenics and the sterilisation of black people because they were inferior, etc. It’s not hardly their fault. Mr Ho Kwon Ping. I still encourage my children to ask why – but you don’t have to be so impulsive in your responses. I was supposed to be the Sword of Honour recipient but I got downgraded and almost kicked out for this staging of a little bit of a mutiny. 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