MY CAREER started when I was 12 years old, which I suppose is a little unusual for most people. In the United States in 1959, when I was 12, you could work as a kid without too much concern about government regulations - that was back in the days when you depended to a great degree upon the reasonable attitudes of then so-called managers. I grew eventually to 198 centimetres tall, so at 12 I was big for my size (I put that down to genetics) and I probably looked about 15 or 16. I wanted to work and be self-sufficient even back then. It was important to me - I guess it was something to do with wanting to be like my dad. So I wandered into the local Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, looking for a job. I knew they paid boys aged about 16 to float around the stands and hawk cokes, popcorn and programmes. I was lucky. A manager was filling in at the time for someone else who had had a heart attack. Not thinking to ask my age because I looked older, he said he would give me a try at the next college basketball game. I sold more than any other vendor and got the job - one or two nights a week from 6pm to 9pm, so mum did not mind too much. I became fairly successful with my sales ability, and we used to get 10 per cent commission on what we sold. To give you an idea, back in those days a small coke was 15 US cents, but some nights an hour and a half peddling my wares would earn me $3 or $4, which was a lot of money for a kid of 12. I became a lead vendor, but by the time I was 14 I was too aggressive. One night during one of those 'Holiday on Ice' shows - where they would not let us sell while the lights were down - I slipped out into the aisles and whispered my sales pitch to the customers. It was working a treat until they caught me and I was told I could not work any more. Fortunately, the manager heard about it and was impressed by my initiative, so he put me in the concession stand. From there to where I am today all fits together. I graduated to working the box office to making seating for set-up crews for concerts and beauty pageants to being part of the set-up crews. In my senior year at high school, I was managing some of the food-and-beverage operations. Mind you, the Greenville Memorial Auditorium seated only 7,000, but being in a quasi-management position at that time of my life was not bad. When I went to college, I came back on holidays and worked on everything from sales to negotiating events and programme dates. In 1972, I finished college and they wanted me back as assistant manager. A referendum on expanding the auditorium to seat 15,000 failed, and my manager encouraged me to move on to bigger complexes, so in 1975 I opened my first five-building complex, where I worked for five years before I became president of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. That place seated 76,000 for a Superbowl game and once we did 87,500 for a Rolling Stones concert. It was like being the mayor of a large city on a big night - we had nurses, doctors, fire fighters and other emergency services, power management, catering, police and so on. I can remember one night in 1980 standing mid-way up the seats in the middle of a packed superdome, saying to myself: 'How did I get here?' That is literally where that first job I had in that small building took me. I had good people to work for and help me, who realised determination and ability, and two good parents who let me go and do it. I give all these people credit for me being where I am in this beautiful centre in Hong Kong today.