A little while ago, I scribbled about the differences in investment strategies I have noticed between the Western and my own people. I mentioned that maybe it is reflective of the differing degree to which visions of the future are clarified in the two. And I said I am generally in favour of the Western style which allows speedy and bold decision-making.
But, upon further reflection, I am feeling the need to add a condition to my preference – maybe the Western style can also lead to snappy and bad decision-making if the vision of the future is unclear or incomplete, or even worse, clear and complete but distorted or misrepresented.
Maybe it is none of my business how people abroad invest.
Maybe it is not my place to point out the smudged and abstracted picture drawn of their future.
Maybe I should keep my mouth shut even if I find potential flaws in their strategies.
But what if my people and I are unavoidably affected by how they invest, whether as co-investors, competition, or possible or actual subjects of investment?
What if we cannot draw a clear picture of our own future, or the world cannot draw a bigger picture, because of theirs?
What if their flawed strategies will not only harm themselves, but cause disruption to us and the world, potentially paralyzing everything everywhere?
Should I still remain silent and not invest any thought on the matter then?
Well, maybe I can put in my two pennies worth.
Maybe I am gravely concerned of the preliminary proposal by one of the societies in which I learned the Western style of investment on how it will invest in the coming year.
Maybe I cannot imagine choosing to buy their agricultural products that do not meet our strict food safety standards or satisfy our highly discriminating palate, or manufacture our state-of-the-art motor vehicles that we cannot sell at prices to cover additional costs in facilities, labour, and procurement.
Yet, maybe I can easily foresee us getting caught up in the suddenly raised tension caused by abrupt changes, friendly or hostile, in their relationship with third parties, some of whom are our neighbours.
Then, maybe it is not absolutely unlikely that we will start to cut ties and withdraw resources from them, and maybe others will follow suit.
And soon, maybe the great prosperity and strength once promised will end up becoming isolation from the rest of the world and weakening from depletion of power as global leader.
Maybe the political landscape will change dramatically in the near future.
And when the dust settles, maybe we will seize the opportunity to become the one who everybody looks and comes to for richer and safer, more peaceful life.
The risk is high, but the potential return can be beyond our wildest imagination, for us and for the world.
Maybe we are all holding double-edged swords in our hands today – we better deliberate thoroughly before we decide to swing them around, so we will not make snappy and bad choices and smear our pictures of the future with reds of terror and blacks of despair.
Maybe my two pennies of investment will not cause even a tiny ripple… or maybe it will grow wild and get many others to invest their two pennies, eventually creating a big tide. I think I would much prefer this image of the future than a tranquil but silent one.