Haven’t we all been taken for a ride some time or other? A time when we feel we’ve been taken advantage of? Situations when we wonder if there was a great division between what was promised and what was delivered?
When you look at this photo, you would suspect that I’m winding my way through Hong Kong in a rickshaw. Actually, I paid this enterprising man $40 to take me about 6 feet in one direction and return to his spot all the while smiling for the camera. My point being that I wanted this shot for the blog, so it was worth it. To a bystander, it would appear that I’d been rooked by a rickshaw driver. I mean, isn’t it all about perception, looks being deceiving etc.? No harm done. So, I overpaid. I got what I was expecting and had fun along the way.
It just seems to me that all too often that’s not the case when transacting business. There is a fine line between delivering good value and taking advantage of another person. There is even a finer line between making an honest dollar and misleading a consumer. Better defined… the value of any item or service is what the seller is willing to sell for and the buyer is willing to pay for.
Sometimes the exchange of money separates friend from friend and family from family.
Take for example, the headline story in Hong Kong about Stanley Ho, an 88 year old billionaire, with four wives and seventeen children (officially). Seems the family dispute over money boiled down to the perception of two letters…one written by the father and the other his daughter, Daisy, daughter of the third wife.
Stanley writes January 5, 2011:
So many times I have discussed with you regarding the way to distribute my estate. Without my consent and knowledge shares have been issued. I have tried to call you and contact you through your secretary in order to come personally to explain to me what is going on. However, you have not responded, so I have no other way than through this letter to command you to come to my house with the share certificates.
This has always been my intention and wish, so if you do not appear with the share certificates mentioned above within 48 hours in the presence of all representatives of my four families, I have no other option but to request such certificates to be transferred per my request.
Please do not forget I have talked to you so many times to resolve this amicably, but if you will not comply with my wishes, I must go through legal ways to solve this situation.
Yours sincerely, Dr. Stanley Ho
January 7, 2011:
Thank you for your letter dated 5 January 2011.
Firstly, I want to apologize for not being available to see you on Wednesday afternoon as I was very tied up. Ina, Pansy and myself did, however, meet with you on Wednesday evening and I am glad that any misunderstanding there might have been has been cleared up. Following your distribution of shares to Angela Leong, Ina, Mom, and all us children are grateful that you re-affirmed your instructions to gift the STDM (casino owned properties) shares to Mom and Ina, so as to preserve harmony within the family and aggregate control over STDM. Further, the share allocation at Lanceford was done in accordance with your instruction. I am glad you once again acknowledged and re-affirmed your instructions and I trust there is no longer any confusion about this. Finally, and just so you know, the STDM shares remain in Lancefords possession.
Apart from the above, I am very open to discuss with you and other family members regarding how best to continue the businesses you so successfully established in the past 40 years. If you would like to set up a family meeting to discuss these issues, I would obviously be very happy to do so.
And it APPEARED (Perception) to be settled after Dr. Ho made a statement via a television interview saying that the matter was resolved. (Deception) The next day he sued the family in an effort to regain his wealth (Fact).
Was money the root of this evil while dealing with a dysfunctional family? Perhaps Dr. Ho just wanted to be back in control of his self-created destiny. Maybe he missed the challenge of creating such a fortune. Sometimes the excitement is in the journey and the joy is lost when you see it coming to an end, never to be recaptured in your life time. Was the cost too high? Was it worth it? Would he do it all over again? Was he criticized for taking too many risks?
One person’s gain is another person’s folly.
I say, “When a once in a lifetime rickshaw comes by … jump on and enjoy the ride and never look back.”