Adapt to be adept


Before being posted to China, Jefferson Lim only indulged in the occasional drink during festive seasons. Today, after more than five years working in the country as the project manager of Keppel Land China’s Stamford City in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, Jefferson can summon the ability to down Chinese white wine like water whenever the occasion calls for it.

The 37-year-old recounted, “The biggest challenge I faced when I was first posted to China was adjusting to the way of life in the country, including the culture of drinking during business discussions as a form of socialising. Very often, we have to drink during business meals and I have to be very mindful not to overdo it so as to stay sober, yet at the same time convey respect for our partners’ customs.

“However, as the saying goes, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. I am glad that I had adapted quickly and am now rather accustomed with the Chinese way of doing things. I have also picked up some of Jiangyin’s local dialects, which sound like Japanese to me!” he laughed.

On Stamford City, Keppel Land’s project in Jiangyin, Jefferson shared, “The project is a mixed-use development which comprises both residential and commercial components. As a project manager, I have to ensure that the various components are completed on time, in good quality, within budget and in compliance with the local regulations.

We have to be especially vigilant in the latter aspect as different cities have different regulations and customs.” Having spent a few years in China, the soft-spoken Jefferson has since made many local friends from all walks of life. They sometimes go on day trips and the most recent trip was to Anhui where they scaled steep mountains and explored ancient caves.

A self-confessed history buff, one of the things that Jefferson enjoys most about working in China is the rich Chinese culture and the plethora of historical places of interests where he can spend the entire weekend exploring. Historical sites that he has visited include the Fujian Tulou, earthen rural dwellings unique to the Hakka people, built between the 12th and 20th centuries.

On the potential of China for Keppel Land, Jefferson enthused, “There is so much land and bountiful opportunities here. With increasing urbanisation and strong demand fundamentals, I believe China will be a country where Keppel Land and other property developers will continue to focus on.”