Knowledge when restructured brings new values

A good friend of mine called to have a chat on his recent problem.

He has been leading a team to investigate complaint cases concerning unwanted loud noise in the neighbourhood, usually from pubs, bars and so on. His job routine includes paying a visit to the premises where the person who complains lives, making attempts to listen what the complainant hears and writing his observation and what he hears in a report.

The interesting part came in when he acknowledged that while he may always be able to hear “something”, he was not sure what he put in the report corresponded to what he actually heard. He was wondering if he needed to train himself up with some music knowledge. He figured a music teacher would help and was asking me to refer him to one.

Having understood his situation, I was not that optimistic about his plan of hiring a music teacher and told him what I thought. I started with the fact that one can make good use of online resources when it comes to learning music theories. For example, would be of some good use. Undoubtedly to put what he heard into words intelligible to laymen required much more than knowing music theories. I suggested him to engage a professional to develop a music taxonomy or some forms of structured music knowledge that is suitable for Hong Kong and provide training to streamline their daily work. He was glad to take my advice and started to explore in this direction.

This story is a good lesson to be learnt: as a trusted advisor, you have to really understand the client’s real problem. Sometimes their thoughts and ideas may be a good starting point for you to delve in. Yet the other times the slight idea they are having may guide you off. That is why it is crucial to figure out what your client really needs. And worrying whether you are following the client’s ideas should not worry you. After all, your job is to devise real advice that can solve their problems instead of following their thoughts.





明白他的處境後,我告訴他並不贊成聘請音樂老師。首先學習樂理有許多途徑,網上有許多資源,例如 就是一個好例子。再者要把他聽到的聲音用易明的方式表達出來並不容易,不是認識樂理就能解決的。於是我建議他諮詢專人設計一個在香港適用的音樂分類工具,讓他用於日常工作中歸類聽到的聲音。他欣然接納我的意見,循此方向探索。



Red-eye Flight

I attended an international conference in Tokyo last week. Though it was not a planned trip, I decided to pay the visit to meet old friends and make new ones. I thought it might be a good opportunity to get an update on how different parts of the world had been developing their cities to make them smarter.

Traditionally, November is a busy month to me, for her approaching the year end. To be able to attend, I had to take the midnight flight so as to save time and costs. The flight was about 4 hours from Hong Kong to Tokyo, which was a bit embarrassing – it was not short, yet not long enough for a nice sleep. I ended up finishing the Ghostbusters 2016 movie while having a few incomplete naps. The reward was the very beautiful sunrise (see the above photo).

Upon arrival to the hotel, I was provided with access to the gym and pool. I was so tired though that I went to sleep right away. No wonder my mentors always remind me not to take a red-eye flight, where possibly, as that does not save much of the effective, productive time.

While feeling a bit exhausted, I managed to make the conference on time, and had made a lot of very interesting new friends from US, EU, Latin America, India, Middle East and Asia. Will I still take the red-eye flight? Maybe when situation comes.