Now you may be reading this while sitting quietly in your office
… or on the train
… or with a nice cuppa at home.
Or you may be currently standing in one of the pleasant Irish watering holes in Hong Kong, having picked this up because you needed a beer mat.
But no matter how you got this exciting and thrilled-packed July edition of our newsletter, we’ve got some treats in store for you.
From suggestions on climbing a mountain to commune with nature and ancient gods to great ways to make new friends, boost your business and learn about hurling, not necessarily in that order.
Oh yes, and a bit about sex education. (The lengths we’ll go to so you’ll read this thing … totally shameless is what we are.)
And if you’re new to Hong Kong, either for work, study, looking for a job, or just with family, then this newsletter could be your gateway to finding the contacts you need to make settling in that much easier.
If you’ve got a question about Hong Kong, whether it’s finding a flat, dealing with bureaucracy, or just looking for a good restaurant, drop us a line
. You’ll always find someone at the chamber who can point you in the right direction.
Right, enough of the banter. Let’s get on to the bit about hurling, pagan gods, business talk and sex education, all of which could be linked, but that way lies madness.
July in Hong Kong
Several members took the opportunity to work with Humans Matter at an event which looked at self-care and provided actionable takeaway lessons.
Participants were shown how to understand emotions and cognitive biases preventing them from adopting a new desirable behaviour, then identify the levers on which to act to develop the capacity to change.
Part of the ticket cost also went to supporting The Human Factor NGO action across the world, which has a mission to educate everyone on how to take care of themselves, others and their environment by mobilising cognitive resources.
In what was possibly just as emotional an occasion for some, the chamber joined with the German Chamber and the German/Irish Business Communities in Hong Kong for a networking event at the Biergarten German Bar & Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui.
There members were able to enjoy a few drinks and some good food while mingling and making those all-important connections.
Towards the end of the month there was an opportunity to focus on business sentiment in China at a seminar entitled “European Business in China 2023: Challenges, Opportunities, and Outlook.”
Jointly organised by The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, The European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and German Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong, this hybrid seminar looked at the situation since China ended its 'zero-COVID' strategy in late 2022, and Chinese officials strive to restore the country's appeal as an investment destination.
However, the results of the China Business Confidence Survey (BCS) 2023, conducted by The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China in partnership with Roland Berger, indicate that this will not be an easy task. The annual survey reveals that there has been a significant deterioration of business sentiment in the last three years that cannot be reversed overnight.
Speakers Klaus Zenkel, Claus Schuermann and Laurent Doucet presented the key results of the survey and shed light on the evolution of challenges as well as risks and opportunities.
A bit of July in Ireland
Okay, we promised, so…
Sex education classes will become mandatory for all senior cycle students at second level for the first time under plans being drawn up by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), the State advisory body on the school curriculum.
According to the draft curriculum, these lessons will “be taught in a way that LGBTQ+ identities, relationships and families are fully integrated and reflected in teaching and learning.”
While it won’t be an exam subject on the Leaving Cert, apparently, the curriculum will provide scope for students to be assessed in class. The mind boggles.
Still, with schools, most Leaving Cert students will be sweating out the month of August as they wait for their college offers.
It seems that applications for nursing and medicine have dropped while courses for architecture, construction, business and engineering are up.
Moving to the sporting world:
Limerick claimed a historic fourth All-Ireland hurling title in a row after behind to defeat Kilkenny.
In soccer, Ireland's Women's National Team did the nation proud by qualifying for the first time in history for the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Unfortunately, though, they lost their first two matches in hard-fought battles against Australia and Canada with a last game against Nigeria (31st July) in Group B, so they won’t be moving forward. #GirlsInGreen.
And sticking with the historic nature of this section, here’s one with a link to Hong Kong in the 1950s.
Columban Sister Catherine Lillis (94) has been presented with a special papal award following decades of helping people suffering with addiction issues in Navan, Co Meath.
Sr Catherine began her missionary life in Myanmar directing the Columban Sisters’ medical clinic in Manbaw, before moving to Hong Kong where she worked at the Ruttonjee Sanatorium, as the current hospital in Wan Chai used to be called. The Columban order ran the TB hospital from 1949, saving thousands of lives in the process.
Seeing as it’s still very much the summer, our thoughts turned to holidays in Ireland.
So here are some things to do if you’re planning a trip there, starting with pagan gods, nature and early Irish Christianity.
On the last Sunday in July every year, somewhere around 25,000 pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick, a soaring cone-shaped peak that rises above Clew Bay in Co Mayo.
It’s been a sacred site since Neolithic times.
Then for thousands of years people came to worship the Celtic sun god, Lugh, before St. Patrick neatly co-opted it as a Christian site in the 5th Century.
It was apparently where he fasted for 40 days and nights before coming down to banish all the snakes from Ireland.
But whether you’re there for spiritual reasons or not, the view from the top is spectacular, taking in the waters of Clew Bay glinting over the 365 emerald islands.
Check it out here: Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre, Murrisk, Co. Mayo
T: +353 98 64114
Still firmly in Co Mayo, if you’re looking for a unique experience which has absolutely nothing to do with gods, pagan or otherwise, then get along to Kiltimagh where the really nice people at The Velorail Project have been inspired to come up with a grand way to explore the beautiful local countryside.
Using rail-mounted bikes, pedaled by up to four people, you can travel along several miles of abandoned railway lines, through stunning, peaceful countryside.
And because you do all the work, you get a gentle workout in the process. What’s not to like?
And lastly, if you happen to be in Waterford check out the Spraoi International Street Arts Festival (August 4th-6th) a street party hosting shows by local and international artists and musicians performing street theatre, music, contemporary circus, comedy and spectacle.
Oh yes, and there’s a festival parade and fireworks: spraoi.com
If you are planning a trip, Neil McCormick and the great team at Lifestyle Insurance, you can get a whopping 25% off your travel insurance costs with policies starting for as little as HK$1,237.
But this offer is exclusively for Irish Chamber members and their families (doesn’t that make you feel special?)
Right, having squeezed all the mileage we can out of July, we’ll leave you with a little taste of what’s coming up in August.
Mark Your Calendars
That’s not all. Here’s another event coming up soon, details to follow!
P.S. if you’ve enjoyed reading this …
Then why not join our all new, and very exciting, Whatsapp group.
This group will provide members with an easy way to stay up to date on the latest news, events, and updates from the Chamber.
P.P.S. Oh, and one more thing…
If you haven’t already, why not join us?
The Irish Chamber can offer you the kind of support, advice and network you won’t get anywhere else.
You know good business is about connections and opportunities, but without the first you won’t get the second.
Our members have a wealth of experience in a wide range of fields across international borders, all of which can help you save time, energy, and money.
So join us, you know it makes sense.