Hong Kong economic planner spins off in many directions.
by Jody Brown
Jason Yeh is a part of EDAW Hong Kong’s Economics Team. He conducts feasibility analyses for a wide range of projects, from urban regeneration schemes to tourism developments.
How do you relax?
One of the challenges I have is I don’t relax enough – I’m always on the go, trying to figure out what’s next – the next activity to get involved in, the next skill to learn, the next person I’d like to meet, the next outing in Hong Kong, the next restaurant to try, or the next country to explore.
On the other hand, it’s especially important to regenerate and renew, so we can go back into the world with a burst of energy. One of my favorite authors, Robin Sharma, calls this “Strategic Refueling,” i.e. being brilliant in your outer life is a cycle of being out there and playing your best, and then pulling back from the noise, so you can refuel and recharge your mind, body and soul.
One of my best practices before I leave the door to go out into the world is I meditate for about 10 minutes accompanied with breathing exercises and envision what my day will be like. Living in the rapid-fire pace of life in Hong Kong, it becomes ever more important to stop doing and going, so we can think about what we’re doing and where we’re going. Thus, spending a mere 10 minutes in silent contemplation helps me to pull back from the noise of day-to-day life and focus on what is really important. This exercise empowers me with an incredible level of focus and purpose to my day.
Another relaxing activity is getting a regular massage, about once every two weeks.
Lastly, but certainly not least, exercise, exercise exercise: I can’t think of a more naturally-inducing, stress-relieving relaxant than exercise. According to
Brain Rules author and developmental molecular biologist, John Medina, “exercise boosts brain power.” Frankly, I believe it just makes me feel happier, focused and energized. I love playing Basketball and Badminton; why run on a treadmill when you can not only get a cardio workout but also interact and build camaraderie and friendships with people and teammates.
What is the funniest and/or strangest thing that has happened to you whilst working in the profession?
I’ve never won anything significant in my life, based on a prized drawing or lucky draw contest, so it came as a shock to me, during the Annual Spring Dinner back in February 2008, when Sean Chiao announced my name as the lucky-draw grand-prize winner of a brand-new i-Mac.
Who (living or dead) would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Anthony Bourdain, the irreverent author, chef and host of “No Reservations,” where he’s a traveling food critic, experiencing the culinary delights of the world, while hosts within the local country treat Bourdain to local cuisine and culture of their respective home country. He has the neatest job in the world; in fact, he’s living my dream. I’d love to sit down with Bourdain over dinner to pick his brain and learn more about how he got to where he is today.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Although I’ve cut back considerably, I usually don’t mind spending an extravagant amount of money on a quality dining experience. This same philosophy carries over towards traveling too; although I’m budget conscious, I wouldn’t think twice about spending more money to do more, see more and experience more. Money is replaceable, but travel memories and experiences are for a lifetime.
What is your idea of earthly paradise?
While I currently enjoy living in the dense urban metropolis of Hong Kong, where everything is so interconnected and transportation is convenient, in the future, I’d like to experience living on a vast open plantation, farmland, forest or a vineyard. I love the great outdoors, fresh air, and the luxury to be able to look up towards the sky at night and see stars. In addition, it would be wonderful to have a private lake that affords me the opportunity to take a daily row out with my canoe. Add in feel-good music, delectable food, and great company in family and friends, and paradise can’t be any more perfect.
What is your favorite feat of architecture, landscape design, urban or environmental planning, or engineering in the world and why?
Angkor Wat – the panoramic view of this monstrosity of a temple is simply breathtaking - I felt like I was transported back 1,000 years to view this cultural relic of Cambodia. It’s fascinating how well-preserved Angkor Wat is despite its age and all the tourists. It was almost an out-of-world experience; the best part of it was scaling up and down the dangerously steep steps of the temple.
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