I was in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year. With 92 percent of the population being Chinese, everyone was taking a break during the public holiday.

Not for the property agents. Some agency branches even opened on the first day of Chinese New Year. One of them was Centaline Property Agency (中原地產), a top real estate brokerage firm in Hong Kong.

Its founder Shih Wing-ching (施永青) is known as the Godfather of the Hong Kong property market. Besides being an entrepreneur, Shih is also a philosopher, a philanthropist and a writer. He runs free newspaper AM730 and writes in his daily column about properties, finance, economy, politics, current affairs and life values.

What I admire most is his honesty and bravery to speak his mind. He dares to admit overpriced property prices, criticize the Hong Kong and China government, and expose the truths and problems of the society.

His humble beginnings