A Few Thoughts Before Trip

By Hou Li Wei, Clarence

The coming trip to Philippines is going to be an adventure. We are the first batch of HKU students ever to be in such a program. There is nothing else to rely on except for the preliminary work done by our professor, the hospitality of the local people and our ability to adapt to changes.

I have always been interested in consulting. After a few experiences interning in small consulting firms and helping NGOs as a student consultant, I believe that consultancy creates value. In a world where wealth gap is large and information asymmetry widens such gap, consultancy, especially for the less privileged ones means a more equal chance for them to compete with large MNEs. Growing up in mainland whose economy is taking off at the moment, I have seen the best of times and also the worse side of times. I believe that Philippines shares a great deal in common with China, thus it thrills me to be able to help it achieve its ambitions and accelerate necessary transitions, which are already halfway done in China and I have not been part of it yet back in my home country.

One of my biggest concerns would be how to have effective communication with the local businesses and how to deliver our ideas sufficiently while not sounding condescending. I guess language would not be too much of a problem given Philippines’s colonial history. However, there are too little I know about them culturally and individually. We have been given some readings to learn about the country and Filipino guest lecturer was invited to give talks about their customs and traditions. But still, I am expecting cultural shocks for the first few days, and deep inside, I am not sure whether our values match with theirs, whether they, honest and hardworking islander think or values things the same way as students from a metropolitan city do. My team was assigned to Guimaras Wonder’s Farm, a local business that grows tropical fruits, produces jams and holds “Agri-Ecotourism tours”. We have been soaked in a city dominated by service industry for so long, helping with the primary sector would be both exciting and challenging for us.

Our Professor, Mr. Lefler mentioned about writing a novel or something interesting about our coming experiences. I will get around to it if time permits. Guimaras seems to be a lovely island and beautiful scenery can spark beautiful words and sensations.

Bon voyage to everyone! See you at the airport tonight!


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