英文

Mona's Musings : 'Jigsaw' management

【明報專訊】Event and production management, despite their notorious work condition, can be a source of immense satisfaction. The agility of the industry in Hong Kong is second to none, meaning that managers have a variety of potential partners available — all are capable disciples of some secret ninja clan. Whether it is last-minute repainting of all the walls, designing a 100-page catalogue, or materialising an opening ceremony, nothing is impossible as long as you identify the right person for the job. Putting a good team together is half the job done, and capable event managers know this very well. The scenario is not unlike doing jigsaw puzzles, except that the pieces differ every time, but still form a complete picture eventually.

An example for your amusement — years ago, a glittering temporary structure was built on top of the open area of Pier 4 in Central to host a few gala dinners. Right before the event, a strong typhoon was forecast. Not only would the temporary structure have to be completely waterproof, but it would also have to be dismantled at twice the original speed to avoid causing hassles to the nearby tenants. If not ninjas, who would have been fit for the job? In the end, the typhoon came early and packages clogged the drains. But the guests enjoyed a delightful time, and the structure was removed before it could have crumbled below the weight of the wind and rain.

Another example — an exhibition had half the reasonable budget to execute. To reflect the budget, contractors thinned the white paint a lot while painting the walls. As a result, it looked as if the exhibits were mounted against a wall ghastly, draping down. Discovered at midnight before the opening, the challenge was to find enough paint in time, and repaint the huge area before the morning. None of the team was trained for this. The show opened, impeccable (無可挑剔的), nevertheless.

Examples are abundant. While none of the managers enjoy solving crises, most of them have secret jigsaw recipes to handle anything that comes in their way. Watching their magic has been a delightful experience. But with the exodus of talents from the city lately, pressure is already mounting because the jigsaw pieces are falling apart. It is just another wistful example of the recent loss of the city.

■Writer's Profile

Mona C. has a strong appetite for stories. Feed her enough.

Email:monafpchu@gmail.com

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