Asia picks its words of the year, and they are a bunch of sad characters

Asia picks its words of the year, and they are a bunch of sad characters

By Herman Wong @hermanywong

December 29, 2013


Asia has chosen some somber words to sum up its year. China Realtime Report rounded up the character of the year (kanji of the year in Japan) from five Asian nations, which were based on polls or selected by a committee. Unlike Oxford Dictionaries’ choice for word of the year, these characters capture a sense of people’s anxiety and, in one case, of collective achievement.

房 fang: house or home (China)

Even as real estate inflation in China is cooling down, the cost of buying a home in first-tier cities is still sky-high, smaller cities face rumors of collapsing prices, and the rent is too damn high.

假 jia: fake (Taiwan)

A year of political and food safety scandals has left the Taiwanese unsure of what to believe.

霾  mai: haze (Singapore)

Pollution in this city-state hit historic levels this year.

  zhang: inflation (Malaysia)

A recent poll showed that 67% of Malaysians were worried about rising inflation, which could increase to 4% in 2014 from slightly more than 2% this year.

輪 wa: circle (Japan)

This character was chosen to represent how the Japanese people worked together to win the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, and how they endured the natural calamities that have struck the country.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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