For the first time the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has succeeded to attract a younger crowd at their annual crayfishparty. Apart from ensuring a lively party the young people also displayed how FinnCham in Hong Kong’s latest move to include more twenty-something members has been successful.
At the breath-taking poolside patio of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club 70 Finns and a Finnish minded people gathered for FinnCham’s social event of the year, the crayfish party, on Friday the 26th of September. The night was accompanied by a playlist of Finnish music from the 70’s and a free flow of wine, beer and Finnish vodka.
While the bibs, menu and 13 classic Swedish and Finnish songs could not be more traditional, this evening FinnCham’s crayfish party was visited by a group of guests this evening that has been somewhat alien to the event before, more precisely 10 members of FinnCham’s newly started Young Professional (YP) section.
According to FinnCham’s general manager Emilia Tavakoli this should not be considered too strange since the crayfish party tradition originally started as a youth party. It is not to maintain traditions Emilia Tavakoli has worked to get more youngsters join the party though. This years younger crowd is just shows how FinnCham has succeeded in getting exchange students, interns and young business people in Hong Kong to use and be active in the organization.
“We want everyone to be represented in FinnCham, adding to that it is important to get young members, if we only have old members, then what’s gonna happen when they all retire and move away from Hong Kong,” Emilia says.
Are we here to talk or to drink?
While the crayfish party is mostly a social event, Emilia Tavakoli has started to make events specifically for their YP members where she experiments with a combination of social activities, like having a few drinks combined with a visit from an inspirational speaker. According to Emilia Tavakoli the price is probably the biggest barriers when it comes to get young people attend the FinnCham events, so the YP membership is free and the YP’s get the ordinary reduced member price on all other FinnCham events.
Even though the inspirational speakers at the crayfish party were mainly motivating vodka consumption through drinking songs, the new Finnish Consul in Hong Kong and Macau, Jari Sinkari, had a chance to introduce himself and his wife this evening as well. As a true taciturn Finn he tried to round up his short presentation in a rather subtle humourus and minimalistic matter by saying.
“So this is me, this is my wife, we are good people and we are happy to be here,” but he couldn’t help himself from giving a small lecture about Finnish statistics, stating that as the 66 largest country in size and number 24 in GDP per capita, Finland is a nice mid-sized country, and he only wished that the people to try and act accordingly.
Even though a crayfish party might seem and feel like all fun and games, attending will most likely pay off from a business perspective as well. Not just in a TV-series cliché scenario like Mad Men or Boston Legal where drinking booze toghether becomes a sign of trust. But when generations meet at a party, the singing and drinking seems to break down some social barriers, that makes it possible for the YP’s to find themselves mentors while the older crowd can get some fresh inputs and a new perspectives.
All photos by Lasse Henriksen