Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Learning Experience India 2 - 2

Dear All

Continuing from the last email.....

The two projects has one thing in common - NRI.

There are two categories of NRI. The first group are those who have spent some time in India and then for various reasons gone aboard to live and work. Some could be following their family oversea and some who went aboard to study and then stay on to work in the foreign land. The second group are those who have never stayed in India or left when they were just babies.They have no idea of India other then what they have read or saw on television. Both are very different in their perspective of India. For one thing they are not well liked by the native Indians.

This dislike is not unique. The equivalent in China is Hwa Cheow or Oversea Chinese. These Oversea Chinese faces the same problem when China opens up in the early 1970's and 1980's. The native Chinese have certain "misconceptions" of these Oversea Chinese and initially they were perceived to be wealthy and can bring experience to jump start the Chinese economy in the early days. In a way this is true, at least to the extend that the Oversea Chinese is the impetus to the change in China today. I should know, I was treated as an Oversea Chinese when I went to China in the early 80's. Over the years I have seen the line between the native Chinese and Oversea Chinese become less and less apparent. The native Chinese too starts going oversea for holiday and work etc hence the distinction become less obvious.

The NRI brings with them the experience and idea to rejuvenate the economy. In these two projects, one was a nephew returning to the Uncle's business (the Uncle do not have a son just daughters) and come up with the idea to turn a plot of their family land to a golf resort rather then another shopping center. The other was a bank where the younger brother who left India for the last twenty years, worked with some international bank, return to the family business and felt the need to have strategic alliance with a foreign bank in order for their family bank to grow. He brought the idea of securitisation to the family board of directors..... very similar to the current sub prime issues in India :)

There are two personal characteristics that I found in these NRI. One is impatience and the second is arrogance. Impatience in wanting to change and arrogance in their attitude towards the native Indian who has not been "exposed" to the "outside world". These two characteristics caused friction even within the family business.

Some of you are the NRI.

Lessons learnt is that change takes time and patience is a virtue. As for arrogance.........

Tonight I fly to Delhi and then tomorrow drove down to Jaipur. I have never been to Jaipur and I heard from you lot that it is a beautiful place. I will be back to Delhi on Sunday for a few meetings and then fly off to Bangalore on Monday.

My adventure begins tonight. To be continued........

No comments: