THE view from Kowloon's famous Peninsula hotel has changed many times from the first time general manager Felix Bieger walked through its doors in 1959. However, while the skyline has shifted and altered dramatically, Mr Bieger's loyalty to the hotel has remained constant. To him, and many others, the hotel is one of Hong Kong's grandest, but for him it is also home. ''Our lobby is described as the crossroads of the world as it is one of the most visited. If you sit here long enough, you will meet someone you know,'' Mr Bieger said. The hotel, which opened in 1928, is the only one left standing among its contemporaries. Back in 1990, Mr Bieger had said: ''When you are 100 years old, the hotel will still be here''. Come February 15, he will step down as general manager of the hotel, a position which he has held since 1990, and start work at the group's head office, representing the group at international trade fairs. Previously, he had left the hotel on two other occasions for short periods of time, but had always returned. ''This hotel will always be a part of me,'' Mr Bieger said. He is one of Hong Kong's best known hoteliers and also one of the most unassuming, despite his position. Perhaps working his way up from a cook on a ship to the position of general manager of Hong Kong's best-known hotel has given him an empathy for the daily struggles which every person faces. As he prepares to pass on the reins to a colleague, he is full of reminiscences from the past - ''Where the Cultural Centre stands, there used to be a railway station and now all that's left of it is the clock tower''. Mr Bieger remembered that during those days, it was possible to take a train from Kowloon to England. ''You could take a train from here to England in about 23 days. It was even faster than taking a ship,'' he said, adding that it was still possible to do that today. On the hotel he said: ''In those days, we had approximately, 1,600 staff to service the hotel and about half of them lived on the roof of the hotel in dormitories.'' Its kitchen alone was staffed by 130 people while its engineering department had 120 workers. ''We had almost everything under one roof,'' he said. One of the biggest changes the hotel industry had undergone from the time he started working was the problem of a shortage of workers. ''In the past, a person would spend some time working as a bell boy then move on to other jobs. ''It is hard work and it takes a while to get to a certain position. ''However, young people these days are not willing to go through the mill like before,'' he said. Mr Bieger noted that one of the main reasons was the requirement to work shifts. ''No one likes doing that any more, especially when they can have the choice of working in an office with regular working hours. ''When you don't put your heart and full energy into what you are doing, I don't think you can achieve what you want,'' he said. When too much was given to a person, they became complacent. ''When I went to the school of hotel management in Lausanne, I had to save up my own money to go there,'' he said. Now people were able to advance much quicker in their careers due to the shortage of workers. According to Mr Bieger, an important ingredient for working in the hotel business is a good memory. ''You have to remember people faces and names and their likes and dislikes. ''Guests always appreciate it when you remember them and their tastes.'' Mr Bieger rounded up the interview with his philosophy of life: ''You must live your life like a sundial. When the sun is down, you cannot read the time. You can only read the time when the sun is up. ''So in life, it is good to remember the good things but not the bad,'' he said before rushing off for lunch with the postmaster-general.