Our popular Hedge Funds Club Good Life interview series continues with HFC boss Stefan Nilsson checking in with Sandy Siu of OP Investment Management in Hong Kong.
From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?
I get my updates mostly from Now News and BBC for the subjects I subscribed. I also follow some Facebook pages that retweet and summarise topics and discussions from major news sources like The Guardian, Time, Financial Times, Sky News.
What do you do to unwind on a weekend?
Learning something new, art-making, movies, sports and yum cha with my family. My recent hobby is macro photography. I go out to nature – not really the wild but gardens and country parks – to look for my models: bees, butterflies, any sorts of insects. It is very meditative as nature is colourful and no matter how small a leaf or flower is, there can exist a whole ecosystem. This genre trains my eye to hunt for the details, also my ability to stay so focused when attempting my shots with the right composition, shutter speed and aperture, I can become “deaf” temporarily, detaching myself from city noise and pressure.
Can you name a great book you have recently read?
“The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet” by Benjamin Hoff. It’s an interesting read! The author illustrates concepts of Taoism with excerpts from Winne the Pooh and through traits of the characters. Although I don’t agree with some of his explanations on Taoism, I take it as an exercise for my brain. It brings back memories of being back in school and uni when I used to learn Chinese philosophy through literature and paintings.
Your soundtrack of choice?
Depends on the occasions. Office – all kinds… pop, rock, folk. Art-making – 60s, 70s, 80s classics. Learning Mandarin – Jay Zhou. Learning French – Coeur de Pirate, Carla Bruni, Joyce Jonathan. Home alone – instrumental guitar, harpsichord or accordion music. Insomnia – the sound of rain and thunder.
What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?
What’s the worst money mistake you’ve made?
If it’s something I feel like sharing, it’s not the worst mistake.
Have you ever had a great mentor and what did you learn?
Not a mentor though. My first boss remains the most influential person in my career so far. Perhaps he wasn’t aware either, how much effort and perseverance he put in his business motivated me to stretch myself and go for the extra mile when the situation allows. Through him, I had the privilege to meet a Catholic priest, Father Patrick Desbois who does research on massacre history and relates that to terrorism in the modern context. He’s been doing this study for close to 20 years. It’s such a subject that I feel afraid just to think of, let alone you can dream of your work when you sleep! I’m amazed by his courage and devotion to this study. When I feel demotivated at work or life, I would think of Father Desbois and his works. If you want to know more about his works, look for Yahad-In Unum.
What gives you energy?
Yummy food. Sun. Moments with family and friends.
How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?
Listen to my heart and also to others, keep a journal, channel bad emotions with arts.
Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?
Veggie SF in Stanley Street, Hong Kong. Their food is always good. Friendly staff. With loads of memes stickers everywhere, vintage collection of toys, jewellery all over the place. Am I getting a discount for this shout out?
What’s your favourite museum in the world?
Musee d’Orsay. Not as big as Louvre where you need ten days or more and can get lost. It carries many chef d’oeuvres. My favourite is Renoir’s “Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette”. Check out the view of Sacré Cœur through the museum’s clock.
Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?
Certainly. I get my news, marketing ideas and updates from friends, work partners.
Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?
I like pranking by gazing at a random spot to make people curious and turn their head to check.
What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?
Business smart causal. Flip flops at my workstation.
Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?
By telling my closest bunch. Writing about it in my journal.
What makes you happy?
Spreading happiness. This may sound so selfless, I’m not a saint either. But this is a feeling that lasts much longer than laughing about some jokes, having comfort food. It could pull you through in your down-times too.