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19 February 2013


David Eldon

Thanks Mark, I will take that as a compliment. As with most things in this world, to quote an Australian friend of mine - in the long run "it doesn't matter"!

Mark Peaker

Don't blog off David, I greatly enjoy your wisdom but more, I enjoy your wit and dry sense of humour; reminding us all that, in the end, it really is all bollox ...

David Eldon

I am very grateful to all of you who have supported the continuation of the Blog either through these comments or to me personally/by email. I will attempt greater consistency this year, even though the subjects might not be of interest to everyone.


Mr Eldon

I check your blog almost daily! Don't matter if the subject is about kindergarten or kangaroo...each time I learned something from u....god bless u with good health always....

another fan of your blogs

Dear Mr. Eldon:

I'd like to say that I too enjoyed reading your blogs, please continue!


Actually, come to think of it, David is still in his summer years (okay maybe no longer early summer). When you know what he continues to be capable of and the kind of requests he is still getting - you can't really describe him as a man in his autumnal years, much less winter.

Some men are washed up at 50 or even 40. I had a friend, absolutely brilliant, who cracked early and never recovered. David, thanks in part to good genes, strikes me as someone who will continue to be formidable in the boardroom and on social issues well into his 80s. He may have to pick his battles and not juggle 20 positions at the same time, but he will remain top drawer.

This is an interesting discussion. In 2005, I was attending a private briefing on extending productive lives organized by MIT and an alliance of Nordic universities. If I remember correctly, a Norwegian professor of psychiatry explained that Nordic adults in the top quartile in income, profession and education tend to be capable of functioning intellectually at the highest levels, with no drop off, to about 80 years. The drop-off begins somewhere between late 70s and late 80s for most people in this demographic.

The researchers were interested in (a) pushing back the drop-off even further for this quartile, and (b) finding how to empower the lower quartiles of the population to have the same lengthened productivity as the top quartile.

The Nordics are doing groundbreaking things in this area. I wonder if anything similar is taking place in Asia - perhaps Japan?


Firstly, if one has any knowledge of the banking industry today, you would know that David remains active and influential in the realms of finance and business, and also amongst regulators and politicians.

Perceptions to the contrary should be chalked up to David's own modesty for he does not mention what he continues to do for certain entities.

David, like the current leaders of the largest banks in Japan and China, is in his 60s. Plenty of exceptional leaders move from the trenches into the less demanding role of chairman and remain effective (and no less influential) through their 70s and into their 80s. Working with Asians, who generally do not have the same obession with youth as in say America, also doesn't hurt.

When I think of a lion in winter, I think of Lee Kuan Yew or Paul Volcker or Helmut Schmidt. Wee Cho Yaw is a lion at the cusp of fall and winter. David has another decade or two of autumnal weather ahead of him, depending on his own desire to remain engaged.

Everyone works up to age 65 nowadays. After that, to work till 75 or 85, you either have to be very competent, very broke, or get bored very easily. I know which one of the three David surely isn't.

Secondly and more importantly, this blog's appeal is seems to me to be in David's clarity of thought and the diversity and humaneness of his interests. David's position, current or former, is a side issue. Yes, it spices things a bit but its not the main dish.

To continue to focus your criticim on David's social position, and neglect the issues he is raising, is to persist on missing the woods for the trees.

Louise palmer

I don't believe anyone is in the winter of their live - we are all in life at whatever stage!


I really enjoy your writing and find your observations to be very spot on. It would be a shame if you stopped.

I started reading your blog last year when I still lived in HK, but have continued to do so even after moving back to the US. When I first started reading your blog I just assumed that you were a retired banking executive who is still very into the financial world. However I never knew you were the chairman of HSBC until today when I googled you!

I refrained from commenting previously, because I did not want to bombard you with long comments and questions. Your post regarding Facebook, the situation between China and Japan, and the entitlement of people nowadays are all things that I want to write about but can't because I am not an eloquent writer.

I am only commenting now to ask you to continue writing. I will try to be a better commenter as I just started my own blog www.chubblywubbly.com


David Eldon

The use of pseudonyms is very subjective, and indeed they have been used certainly by authors from early days, and newspaper columnists in more recent days. I would question their use in the modern era because they seem to suggest the writer has something to hide, but I would not deny the "right" of people to use them even though I would not do so myself.
In terms of the commentary about me being "in my winter", it is true that the first part of that commentary is complimentary, but the sting comes in the closing remarks that read.
" At one time, Mr. Eldon's words carried enormous weight all around the globe. This former lion of international high finance is now in his winter. Mr. Eldon's views of the world, of China, and of HK are of his past spring. One may question how relevant his views are in today's political reality -- now that we live in a changed political and economic environment in a different era. "
I leave readers to judge the implications for yourselves.
(Thank you for your comments, and Paul for your support).

Rex Sutherland

Firstly, sir, the implications of your original comment are perfectly clear.

Secondly, the use of pseudonyms when delivering public comment has a long and respectable history stretching back centuries. I make no apologies.

Thirdly, you ought to be aware that the blog commentator who referred to your father as "lion in winter" wrote an otherwise highly complimentary review of this blog (please see link below).

Shall we disregard the praise as well?

In any case, your filial loyalty is commendable.


Paul Eldon

Without wanting to become embroiled in churlish mud-slinging with a faceless somebody who lacks the courage to post with their own name (though if your name really is Basil Fawlty then I'm truly sorry for the years of ridicule you have probably had to deal with), what I was trying to say, perhaps a little too bluntly, is that someone who takes the time to try to belittle, without justification, the retirement hobby of someone who has proved to have been extremely successful in their career, is a fairly unremarkable individual.

Basil Fawlty

Ah, yes, the dreaded plebes in middle management. Did you know that some of them even have the effrontery to ride in the same lift as we titans of top management? The nerve of some people!

Paul Eldon

The person who said of your blog that it was written by someone in the winter of their life was perhaps someone who spent a career in middle management with very little in the way of a social life or, probably, original thought.

I, for one, am interested in the opinions of someone who had a career that carried them from one side of the world to the other. A career borne by ethics, dedication, loyalty, sacrifice and diligence. Someone who presidents and global business leaders seek out for opinion and advice. And someone who I am exceptionally proud to be able to call "dad".

So you keep blogging because at least what you write is original, considered, relevant and thought provoking.

David Eldon

Thank you for the kind words.
However, you are going to be "stuck" with me for another year it seems as I will do my best to continue to share my thoughts.
And the book! Ah yes, one day 😀

Alena Melnikova

Dear Mr. Eldon,

Your blog is read not only your family and stalwart friends.

Very sorry to lose a source of wise thoughts and independent view of the current events in the world.

I would like to thank you for your blog in the last five years, when I was regular reader.
I wish you health and success!

Best regards,
Alena Melnikova

PS I'm still waiting for your book))

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