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Balancing work and outside interests: interview with Jason Y Ng

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 July, 2014, 5:50pm

What sets Jason Y Ng apart is not the MBA qualification on his business card, but his determination to tackle diverse pursuits. A lawyer by profession, he returned to Hong Kong in 2005 after spending time in Europe, the United States and Canada and, since then, has been actively involved in teaching, singing, writing, and design. He was also chosen by Elle Men (Hong Kong) magazine as one of its ‘Men of the Year’, recognising his range of interests and balanced lifestyle, and has been featured in the South China Morning Post Magazine, talking about his passion for travel.

For someone who is so driven, Ng is also extremely friendly and informal. He describes himself as curious, persistent and a perfectionist, and it is soon clear how those characteristics have shaped his life.

“I am nerdy, stubborn and highly attentive to detail. I need all of those traits to do what I do,” he says.

Ng is well-known locally for his As I See It blog and the book which followed, A Hong Kong State of Mind. He also sings in a group which performs live and takes on the occasional interior design project.

After doing a first degree in engineering and business, Ng went into investment banking until a family member inspired him to switch to law instead. And finding a JD course combined with an MBA gave him the chance to try two paths at the same time.

“The MBA came in an easy format,” he says. “I didn’t have to take two years out of a law career to do it.”

Later, strong ties drew him back to Hong Kong, his childhood home, where he has since remained, working primarily as a lawyer.

“I moved to an in-house position so I would have more personal time, and natural curiosity led me to try other things I was interested in,” says Ng.

Things may get busy at work, but he believes there should always be a balance, which allows time to develop new skills and different talents.

“Three years ago, I started a website to promote my singing. I needed content, so I started blogging, even though I wasn’t sure who would read it. I chose a few serious topics and readers commented, so I continued. It also motivated me to try other things, regardless of results.”

The idea of a book led to contact with publishers and more widespread recognition in Hong Kong. Subsequent developments have also shown that having the right attitude pays off.

“The book is tangible and I can say I’m ‘published’, even though my blog had already led to invitations to write columns. I wasn’t looking for recognition; I was just pleased to try. That is my philosophy with everything I do. Success is a bonus.” (con't) PART 2