Doing business anywhere in the world it is advisable to have a good lawyer close at hand. In this interview, George Hwang shows that there is more to him then just being a lawyer.
What’s your story?
I started my own firm for various reasons. Mostly from the heart.Law firms, though commercial concerns, have more than an economic role in society. They should uphold justice.
Lawyers should be able to stand up for anyone against everyone, including the establishments.
Many law firms do not take on cases for “politico-commercial” reasons. One of my practice areas is Entertainment and Media Law. I do not like being told to reject challenging and exciting cases.
What excites you most about your industry?
That we can be agents of change.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Let me see:-
I am born and bred in Singapore. My first job has been in Hong Kong.My mother tongue is Chinese. I speak Mandarin at home.
My mother is Shanghainese. My father is Cantonese. My godparents are Heng Hwa. They are all migrants. They are the reasons why I speak a “rojak” of Chinese dialects.
I used to listen to stories of how my father was carried to school by his nanny in Canton and how he taught himself English.
My maternal grandparents were Shanghainese though they communicated with each other in English. This is hearsay since I have never met them.
My siblings are born in Singapore. And I have been home in Singapore for the last 10 years.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. They make good decisions quickly. There is also a tenacity, the ability to rebound and to reinvent. Most of all, you sense the vibration of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” walking down Central.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Smiling causes fewer wrinkles than frowning.
Who inspires you?
My mother. She ran away from her “teacher” at 16 and had a career.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Not only can I run a company for MNCs, I can also start one. We have just been awarded the “Boutique Entertainment and Media Law Firm of the Year in Singapore” by Corporate INTL.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Master written Chinese and accept the offer to read European Politics at the Science-Po in Strasbourg.
How do you unwind?
A glass of nice wine with a few good friends.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Seam Reap. I can visit mystical old temples by day and dine in little chic restaurants at night.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Good grief. It is highly immoral to tell people what to do.Besides, I believe in the diversity of ideas and this is how I run my firm.
How can people connect with you?
Be themselves. If one of us does not like the other, at least, we are not wasting the other party’s time.
The interview was first produced as part of the Callum Connects column, a daily interview series with top leaders, found on The Asian Entrepreneur.
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