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Monday, August 3, 2020

Winner Winner Staycation Dinner

Thank you to everyone who entered Asian Journeys / Accor Hotels staycation contest for a staycation at the very lovely Fairmont Singapore.

Congratulations to D. Fantgting.

For those who didn't win, perhaps you would like to enter our Fun With Masks contest and an opportunity to win a stay at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua.

We are in the group that likes to have Fun With Masks. People have come to use them as an expression of their individuality or to convey something of their personality Some are very artistic. Some are silly, and yours could win you a staycation at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort: https://sofitel.accor.com/hotel/9078/index.en.shtml


Send a picture of yourself wearing your mask - or just of the mask itself and if there is a story behind your mask, share a few words with us. We will pick out the one that appeals to us the most. The winner gets to stay in Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort and entrants will be posted on Asian Journeys’ website: www.asianjourneys.com.sg



Send your entry to Floyd Cowan at fcowanmedia@gmail.com with the subject line "Masked with Stefan".


Monday, July 27, 2020

Prediction In Advance

Amazing! How many times have we read about some clairvoyant that has predicted something only to learn about the prediction s/he made AFTER the event? If people could predict things, why don't we know about them beforehand....

And so, just I can say "I said so", here is my prediction: Trump will be re-elected in November 2020.
I am so confident on that, I would actually bet good money on him winning.

Comes November, if he wins, I can refer back to this post and say "I knew it!" And I knew in advance!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Smelling the Coffee in the Morning


Now that the office is open again, four days a week, I am changing my schedule slightly. Nowadays I go a little earlier and bring the barstools out to have my coffee while sitting in the sun.

Yes, that is also the new look. Seeing how I had 14 weeks to grow that little hair I have left, I am now sporting a lil bit of a mullet. And I had to buy a beard trimmer. And a bread knife. But those two things are totally not related.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Win a Staycation


Bid cabin fever goodbye with a pampering staycation at Fairmont Singapore. Chill on your private balcony and take in the views of Marina Bay or the city.

Now, what is better than a staycation? Winning a staycation! Asian Journeys is revamping its e-newsletter and to stand a chance at winning all you need to do is sign up for the e-newsletter. Send an email to fcowanmedia@gmail.com with "Staycation Contest with Stefan" in the subject line. You will be added to the subscription list and your name will be put in the Lucky Draw.

Even if you don’t win the Lucky Draw you win if you enjoy a staycation at the Fairmont Singapore. Not only is your mental health of importance, so is your physical wellbeing. Fairmont Singapore was the first Accor LUXE hotel in Asia Pacific to be recognised with the brand’s unique global cleanliness and hygiene ALLSAFE label.

With Singapore now in Phase 2 of reopening, this recognition comes as a timely testament of Fairmont Singapore’s unwavering commitment to the prioritising of guests’ and colleagues’ safety and well-being; and provides needed assurance, confidence and peace-of-mind to guests and patrons that the Hotel has met and will continue to uphold some of the most stringent cleaning standards & operational protocols in the world of hospitality.  The Accor ALLSAFE global cleanliness & hygiene standards have been developed with and vetted by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification. All the Group's hotels must apply these standards and will be audited either by Accor operational experts or by third-party auditors such as Bureau Veritas to receive this label.

Upsized Staycation Offer
In addition to being confident that you will be in a safe, clean environment Fairmont Singapore is providing an Upsized Staycation Offer.  With the Hotel’s flexible cancellation policy, you will have peace of mind should your plans change.

If you are planning on bringing the little ones along, they can stay for free and enjoy breakfast too. For a little more space, book your second room at 50% off.

This is now available for stays from 15 July 2020 to 30 December 2020 for Singaporeans and local residents from S$305* per night in the Fairmont Room, including S$150 worth of vouchers.

For more details, please contact reservations.singapore@fairmont.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Malacca Madness


The advantage of having relatives all over the country is that I can now make several locations waypoints to stop and camp for the night. Always a good time in Melakka. And here the highlights, as seen by the only white fella in the family:

First stop, some culture and heritage:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/St+Paul's+Church/@2.1937787,102.2476243,17z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x31d1ee278e8c65dd:0x32a7281769e016a!2sMalacca!3b1!8m2!3d2.189594!4d102.2500868!3m4!1s0x31d1f1de03a266ab:0x79020278341d9ddf!8m2!3d2.19253!4d102.2495755

Not sure if it is still happening, but the fleamarket in the street behind Geographer Cafe was always a gem. Geographer also famous, because it was a filming location for a Korean movie. I have fond memories of having drinks with Peter Burns there. We managed to drink them empty (Southern Comfort and the next thing we moved on to. Can't remember... LOL)

We like to dip into this place for dinner:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/McQuek's+Satay+Celup+(Main+Branch)/@2.1888953,102.2588579,17z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x31d1ee1ec4b44af9:0xb067f06d4e66a193!2sMcQuek's+Satay+Celup+(Main+Branch)!8m2!3d2.1888899!4d102.2610466!3m4!1s0x31d1ee1ec4b44af9:0xb067f06d4e66a193!8m2!3d2.1888899!4d102.2610466

Dim Sum in the morning (obviously...):

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wan+Hong+Xiang+Dim+Sum+%E8%90%AC%E9%B4%BB%E3%B4%A1%E8%8C%B6%E6%A5%BC/@2.2137879,102.2392936,19z/data=!4m8!1m2!2m1!1sdim+sum+melakka!3m4!1s0x0:0x4c09229be9e51d60!8m2!3d2.2140663!4d102.2395423

In case you haven't seen / visited it yet, the old Portugese ship is an interesting museum.

Speakeasy bar and then a stroll along the Melakka river once out the backdoor. But better keep that quiet:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/The+Old+Merchant/@2.1977854,102.248575,19z/data=!4m8!1m2!2m1!1sspeakeasy+melakka!3m4!1s0x0:0x81385d8472c841ae!8m2!3d2.19746!4d102.2484892

Melaka? Melakka? Malaka? This one I can't get right.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Apparently, You COULD Make Stuff up!


As it is customary here in Asia, when you buy something, you get a "Free Gift". Not that one has to point it out, but gifts should be free to begin with. And then they are not free as they are certainly factored into the price of the goods purchased. I took the umbrella with the wedding bands. Not that I can't afford an umbrella, eh eh... But you know. Free maaaah!

At the petrol station this morning I got a bottle of salad dressing. And this will keep me awake at night for some time.

Firstly: What is the connection between salad dressing and petrol? I can see canned drinks and sammiches to make sense: needed for road trips. But what chances are there that you need salad dressing on the occasion of filling your tank.

Secondly: REAL INGRIDENTS??? What else would anything be made of? Or maybe, just MAYBE, there is business opportunity here for a "Phantom Ingredients" shop. Where you get like, nothing, to put into your product. You end up making stuff up.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Fruit Loop!


When you go to Ipoh, you HAVE to buy Pomelo. I actually like them fruits. And when you buy a fruit as big as that, with a peel that is as sturdy as a Pomelo's, then yes, you have to make a helmet out of it. Naturally.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

You Wrong That Read


I have been a "model" for a brochure in Singapore (Goldbell, back in 2007), an "actor" in a SingPost TV commercial. Several times I have been interviewed for newspapers, magazines or blogs. I enjoy these as I can learn about techniques others may use, think about how to give a smart response while on record with no time for long deliberations.

While in lockdown, a client suggested that we do video interviews that we record and then post online for others to get their info. Since I like to try new ways, it was obvious that I would go for that. Yesterday I did my second recording of such interviews.

Gotta say! Being a presenter is not easy. Can't dig your nose while the other party gives an answer. Need to speak clearly, and measured. Can't just stare around the room, but must pretend to be looking at the other participant. And although I have a script to read from, it is HAAARDDDD to get the lines right. I had to re-take a few things during the session as I did not read them right.


If anything, I can now appreciate the effort that goes into making a movie or TV commercial...

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Let's Toast!


"Stefan is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will... something you know very little about. I once saw him butter three toasts in a kitchen... with a pencil, with a fucking pencil. Then suddenly one day he asked to leave. It's over a croque monsieur, of course. So I made a deal with him. I gave him an impossible task. A job no one could have pulled off. The cherry tomatoes he buried that day laid the foundation of what we are now." - Come On Kaya Toast

Friday, June 19, 2020

That changes: Some, not all

And over and over again we read:

Covid-19 has changed everything

Hmmm. I am still married. That hasn't changed.
I still drink 4 cups of coffee. Unchanged.
My address is the same as last year
I am still using the same phone
My parents are still retired....
Still driving the same car
Favorite alcohol: scotch. For the past 30 years
I am still cooking with water
Keyboard still QWERTY
Checked: Twin Towers still in their usual spot
Sun rises in East, sets in West
STILL have to pay taxes
Constant at 9.81 meters per second squared: gravity
In Malaysia, still using metric system

Dunno where people get that idea from that everything has changed

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Not so Free Advertising on Social Media Platforms


As mainly a publisher of print magazines we supplement the product with electronic media, not denying that there are advantages and that one has to use a mix of mediums. It appears to me that more and more advertisers depend solely on “free” social media channels to get their messages out. Neither LinkedIn, nor Facebook, Instagram or any of these platforms actually create content. All they do is offer a noticeboard for anyone to post their ads, articles and rants. They live off content creators. And maybe it is these creators that need to be supported much more again. As such, most posts by brands can be classified as “ads”.

Full article here: https://marketingmagazine.com.my/marketing-magazine/issue-248/

(Yes, I do see some irony in publishing this here)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

See You Soon Again: Eastern & Oriental Hotel


Part of the recent renovation was a re-allocation of spaces in the Heritage Wing to accommodate guests who are typically repeat visitors, who surprisingly oftentimes opt to stay for extended periods of time, some even staying longer than a month. Offering them a revived experience in the Heritage Wing, they can now choose between three outlets to consume their breakfasts. What used to be the Farquhar’s Bar has been converted into a club lounge, The Cornwalllis, is now exclusive to patrons of the Heritage Wing and the Corner Suite Guests of the Victory Annexe. Also relocated was the Farquhar’s Bar, that has been transformed from something that was described as a dark and uninspiring place into a bar that has truly come alive yet maintains the overall experience of the E&O.

 The pool is an icon itself, which is also exclusive to Corner Suite Guests and is now protected by an improved seawall. One of the main components of the renovation was the enhancement of the seawall, which proved difficult as work schedules had to follow the tides. Fraser urges tourists and locals to explore more of Penang’s rich history, of which the E&O is part of. A good starting point would be the high tea and the Nyonya-styled tasting menu that has been added to the long list of things to discover.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Not Funny


For three months I have now been at home. Only going out to re-stock the fridge and lately for a quick jog as we were allowed to do so. Not that we did not keep entertained and in good spirits, but overall, it was not as much fun as it could have been.

Avira must know something we don't. Until the end of August we still have to adhere to special rules and regulations, international travel not being allowed for example... so, how exciting could it get?

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Those Challenges?

Rock albums, travel pictures, food items... they can all be used for these challenges...

 "Day 7: I was nominated for the 10-Day Life is Good photo challenge. 10 days, 10 photos, 10 nominations.

Every day, I share an image that’s meaningful to me (without an explanation). Today, I nominate Larry Mitchell."

I have a question! If you post that with the picture of the Rock albums, travel pictures, food items, is that not an explanation?????

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I Like What They Have Done to the Place


When in Penang, a visit to the Easter & Oriental Hotel is a must. And when in need of a drink, the Farquhar's Bar is a good spot to try some more cocktail oriented material. With the recent renovation of the property came a move of the bar to a new place within the hotel. And with that came a make-over of the style and ambience.

I like to step into such places and let myself being transferred back in time. With this renovation, the place feels like what it must have been to be in the very first Eastern & Oriental when the place was established: lavish parties, the elite of the country coming together to mix, mingle and cut deals.

There is a real danger that one will just spend a whole night in Farquhar's Bar. But that is not a problem, now is it?

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Tale of Two Businesses Continues

What’s My Incentive to Publish a Press Release? - Part II of Many

By Floyd Cowan
Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Asian Journeys

Daily, I receive swarms of email pitches grinning at me across the ether, dripping with bon hommie from PR Professionals who want me to give their clients exposure. Very few of them get in my magazine or on my website or get posted to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. I welcome press releases as they inform me about what’s happening in the world, and they provide me with valuable content.

So why do some get used and others not?
First of all, they have to be on topic. It is obvious when a PR pro is just sending out releases to a list of media whether or not they cover their subject or not. These releases get treated with the same respect as they show us.

Most PR professionals believe I am as invested in their client’s product as they are. I’m not.
During a working day I’m dealing with dozens of things with my focus on how I can build and monetize my business. Most often they think I am going to be happy to help promote their client – for free. But why should I be? There are hundreds of companies wanting to use my platforms to promote their products and services. Money talks, but it doesn’t always take talking money to get my attention.

“We are sharing this information for your reader’s interest…” wrote one PR pro to a friend who is a multi-award-winning freelancer and author of several books – and is very good at what he does.
That rings hollow because we all know the PR pro is sharing it because they are being paid to share it – that’s their job. That’s how they make their money! Nobody faults them for that. Many PR pros do not know who my readers are, much less what their interests are. I’ve even been approached by PR pros who didn’t know Asian Journeys is a travel magazine.

From that PR company quoted above, the full sentence reads: “We are sharing this information for your reader’s interest, unfortunately, there will be no media drops or seeding for this engagement at the moment.”

Other than the use of annoying PR terms there is less likely to be any engagement if it comes from a company that is global but expects small companies and freelancers to work for nothing. It takes time to edit a piece to your house style – often taking out annoying PR words – and then formatting it for whichever platform it will go on. It takes years to build readership and a following.
My friend made several excellent points in his reply:

“On behalf of [the client], you send out a release about something - to be honest; I didn't read it. I am assuming … you are earning a renumeration for issuing this release unless, of course, you are doing this pro bono. If that is the case, I salute you.

“So, what is the incentive for me to publish this article? … there is none.

“… advertisers are not doing what they are supposed to be doing - advertising. So this whole system is grinding to a halt. Then what happens when all the publications fold because, as you know, they can't survive on fresh air?

“If I were a PR practitioner and in touch with the market, I would tell my client: "Hey, I have a great idea. Publications and freelancers are suffering and you sell a valuable product. Wouldn't it be a great idea to offer them some complimentary products? There is a big mark-up on your products so it's not going to make you go broke. Alternatively, we could purchase some ads."

There are many good PR professionals whom I am happy to work with, two of whom I wrote about in Part I of this series. For them, I don’t need a free cup of coffee every time I do something for them. And believe me, if either of them had made the approach, they would’ve gotten exposure – without any lip back.

A little bit goes a very long way and far into the future.  I like to show my appreciation far beyond one project because that’s what real partners do.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Not a Foodie?


There are all sorts of foods. And people that make it a hobby or a living trying food. Or re-creating it. Or simply running a bistro, restaurant or cafe, food truck or a delivery service.

While I enjoy good food, I am not all that hyped up. And sometimes I think people take it too far. Like these "military doughnuts". Cool idea. And the rest of the cafe was themed the same. But there is no way I would eat one if these as they, in my view, look like frozen dog poo..

On that note: No, I do not ever wish to receive a cake in the shape of the WhatsApp "Poo" emoji either. I have seen them. With little signs saying "Oh, crap, you are XX years old". No thanks.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Tale of Many Businesses

The following article was written and originally published by Floyd Cowan, Editor in Chief and Publisher of Asian Journeys. While the names and companies mentioned are specific to his business, I echo the content. If I were to swap the names and brands, I could publish it just as well for my own publishing business. Here goes:

What Does a Real Partnership Look Like Between Media & PR Professionals?

This is the first part of at least a two-part series.

As a PR professional do you wonder why it is sometimes so difficult to get exposure for your clients when they’ve got a brilliant product and brilliant message? You send out press releases that are ignored, not being read, or read than immediately deleted. Even when you hit the right medium with the right message, the release might still be ignored.

Why is this?
There are a number of very specific reasons, but before I get to those, let’s look at what some of the good PR people do. I could make a long list of good and outstanding PR people but that would take up all of my space, so I want to give just two examples of people who have impressed me as doing it right.

When I was working for a lifestyle magazine in Singapore, I was approached by Fabien Levrion to help with promotion for the watch brand he was working for. He had studied the media in Singapore and specifically researched writers who wrote about watches. He noted the type of stories they wrote and what type of readers they would probably appeal to. He also studied the magazines. Who was its audience? It didn’t matter that they were rich, but what were their interests? What were the other type of stories in the magazine and who did they appeal to?

From that assessment he  felt that I would give him the type of story he felt was best to promote his watches and be read by the people he felt were the most likely to buy those watches. He was very familiar with the magazine I worked for and the market it reached. His company advertised with the magazine. The result was I got a great trip to Hong Kong and he got the story he wanted. Do we really know if he sold any more watches because of it? Honestly no, but perhaps there was a much better chance than if all those factors had been ignored.

That was a partnership between writer, PR professional, medium, brand and the reader. The reader is also better served when they are delivered stories of value to them.

I hear from too many PR Professionals who are just trying to please their client in the quickest and, easiest way possible. They do not consider this whole process as a deeper partnership between all relevant parties.

There are many good PR Professionals whom I am very happy to work with and some who I will do anything for. Cynthia Dammerer, PR executive extraordinaire for Accor, tops my list. Why? I’ve known Cynthia for 12 years. She is smart and engaging. She knows her product thoroughly and she knows the people who can help her promote the hotels and resorts in the global brand. There are others who are good like this so why does Cynthia stand out? Because she takes an interest in me and helps me wherever she can, even when it has nothing to do with the products and services she is paid to promote.

One example. On my website I promote Douglas Yeo’s autobiography, Zero Visibility, which I ghost wrote and published. When she noticed the ad, she wrote to ask all about the book, she bought a copy and found ways to promote it. All of which have nothing to do with her job and her clients. Every contact with her makes me feel as if she genuinely cares about what is happening with me – because she does? When the pandemic began romping around the planet, she was the first PR person to ask how I was doing.  She calls me with ideas and suggestions.

Have you ever asked yourself why Accor gets so much coverage on Asian Journeys’ website and in the print magazine? Ask no more.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Termed a Coin?

Meanwhile... I am still puzzled over terminology.
Why do we call is social distance. I would use that when I am trying to keep away from a**holes.

We try to limit the spread of a virus. Something medical.
If it was up to me, I would call it "Medical Distancing". Cos that is what it is: a preventive measure not to catch that virus. I am still being VERY social... Online for instance.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Do I miss German


food? Not really?
weather? Sometimes autumn is nice

There is so much of "Home" available all over the world, it really doesn't feel like I am missing anything. Ok, sausages and coldcuts could be a bit more varied here, but when you let a piece of Ritter Sport melt in your mouth, the world looks ok. It says in proud words "Made in Germany".

I am now working my way through these three from the lowest to the highest percentage.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Common Sense. Or is it Just me?


(This is a photo of Shell Fish. If you are allergic to Shell Fish, you may not want to read this)

Maybe I am seeing this all wrong. Perhaps there is a reason. It could be that it has been proven to be a requirement. I am talking about "warnings".

There is now what is called a "Trigger Warning" in some articles / videos. Which is "a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material (often used to introduce a description of such content)"

Such trigger warnings can now be found in articles dealing with mass shootings or rapes. (Do note that I am not trying to make fun of either and that this is not about the crimes, the victims or the police work...). USUALLY! the headline already reveals it all. One I came across reads "Okla. Man Sentenced to Life for Holding Stepdaughter Captive for 19 Years, Fathering Her 9 Children"

The Trigger warning came under a picture, saying: "Trigger Warning: This article contains information and details about alleged sexual assault and/or violence, which may be upsetting to some readers. "

What do you think I have already envisioned from reading the headline? You think I would not expect details of a certain nature to be detailed in the article after reading THAT headline?

Same with documentaries about wars warning me that there will be "Scenes of graphic violence." In a documentary about a war. Who would have thought that there could be violence.

Might as well give me a trigger warning that a book contains words.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Subtitles

In John Wick, Chapter 2 (on Netflix), one subtitle reads

[Intense Music Intensifies]

Kinda what the world feels right now?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Surfer Dude


I wanted either to go bald or to go grey. It is both. I have little hair and what is left is greying. It has also been 10 weeks since my last haircut. To say that I have a messy hairstyle now would be an understatement. I have been there before: as a teenager I never really cared about this. Eventually... It would be time to go and have a trim. But only to stop the nagging and remarks from others.

Going to the office now, the fact that I look like I look hasn't bothered anyone. There are now people posting that they have worn pants for the first time in 10 weeks (Refer to older posts... I have dressed up for date nights).

Today I went to the office for a video recording. Funnily, my counterpart looked more or less equally relaxed. The one thing that may come off this pandemic is that dressing up for work will not be such an issue any more. One can only hope.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Friday Skype Drinks


Right. Here I am. Like everyone else that recently discovered meetings on video platforms. Living abroad now for some 20 years, this is nothing new for me though. I have been calling my parents on Skype and other channels for some time now.

What is new though was the schedule for the "Totally Squeued" sessions. Usually, the boys would meet on Friday, at Sque Bar in Singapore for a couple of pints. Instead, we moved this online.
Andy showed demonstrated his new Hilti. I doubt that he would have taken it along for the regular session. I finally got to know Kevin. Who is not in the screenshot. And we celebrated Mike's sale of a house. Meanwhile, I was questioned for wearing the most ridiculously shirts. Colour and patternwise.

As hard as we tried, we could not onboard (a fancy word I learned recently) the instigator of the "Real Sque Drinks". Floyd remained elusive. He preferred to fetch Pizza.

Fun as these sessions are, we agree that they don't match up with the one held in a real place. Conversations are just not the same as there is no way that or more people can have more than one chat going on in parallel. As you can when you meet at a table, in a place.

Friday, May 15, 2020

What a Nice Surprise!



Marvin is known throughout Asian Trucker for sending in these letters. Some may still remember the times when airmail was so expensive that one used these envelopes made from lighter paper as that would safe some cost. Inside this airmail envelope is a letter, written on an old typewriter that does not even have the "@" and Marvin uses an "a" and circles it in his email address. There is not a single typo in the letter. It is addressed to the right person that would handle his request, so he obviously did his research. The content of the letter introduces him as a collector of PRINT magazines dealing with trucks. He has collected these magazines for the past 50 (!!!) years. He is offering to pay for a subscription. As he does every year. However, I offered him a deal: He gets a stack of magazines in exchange for a selfie of him holding copies of Asian Trucker. Amidst the current situation, receiving this letter almost made my cry as it is such a cool, nice and thoughtful item to receive. We do not get much fan mail, let alone something that is so intricate and full of appreciation. Do write. Send letters. I am sure that any letter you may write today will be the highlight of someone receiving it. In my case, this particular letter will be framed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Conversations

Weird Wednesday Conversations

Calling my dad:

Me: I am putting together a photo book from our party and I am short of one good picture. Do you have any photos that you took?

Dad: We didn't take any pictures that day. So, what do you need???



Asking Colleague:

Me: I need a scan / copy of the our business registration
Colleague: Here is our publishing license. That work?
Me: No, we need the business registration
Colleague: we don't have anything like that

The company is a Pte Ltd...


Me calling the bank, MAIN BRANCH

Me: There is a discrepancy in my account that I would need to check with you.
Bank fella tella: For that you need to call your home branch where the account is registered

Me calling the HOME BRANCH

Me: There is a discrepancy in my account that I would need to check with you.
Bank fella tella: For that I will need to call our home branch and get back to you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Birdman?


This is the (zoomed) view from my office. This morning this fella came by and spent a good hour inspecting the place. Later on a second birdie joined and they both looked at our yard. Seems to me as this is a young couple looking for a nesting spot. Might get difficult to do our laundry then...

Monday, May 11, 2020

Not sure What to Say

I might not be speechless very often, but every now and then I have a writers block. Like now. I COULD tell you that we spent the weekend just chilling, not doing much besides watching TV. And how exciting would that be?

But I am also speechless when I go outside to throw rubbish and the first thing I see is a family in a car with the mom holding her infant on the lap, no seatbelt, no child seat.

I will finally shut up when I see that there is now even more rubbish all over. Added to plastic bottles and general litter is now PPE of all types. Sad, considering that this place (Malaysia) is essentially rather pretty. Drains are all clogged up. The sides of the roads around our place peppered with litter. No wonder that the Klang river is one of the biggest contributors to ocean pollution.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Resisted the Temptation

Eight weeks at home and the hair keeps growing. When this thing started, it was two weeks the most since I had the last cut (Clipper No 2, all around). Not that I have a lot of hair. And what little is left is also turning grey.

I had hoped I either go grey or bald. Now it is a mix between both. And neither really nice.

The option I would have now would be to buy a clipper and DIY at home since barber shops are yet to open up again. Harvey Norman has re-opened last week and the one thing that is totally sold out are long hear clippers and beard trimmers. I could order one.

But looking at the way things go, I will still be a little longer at home. I have one Skype meeting a week. Drinks. With them folks in Singapore. And I don't think they care about my hairdo. Besides that, I am mostly working via email or on the phone. Should the the need for visual contact arise, the obligatory Asian Trucker baseball cap would not rouse any suspicion. On the contrary, it might be a familiar, soothing sight for most.

So, there: I keep the hair growing and the headgear close. For now. Money otherwise spend on haircuts will go towards the purchase of a new coffee bean grinder.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Room with a View


This is why I keep the blinds closed these days....

Thursday, May 7, 2020

That Went Fast

ROM + 366.

It has been a year since we got married. And a lot has happened since then. Mostly good, some crazy, some stupid and a lot of amazing moments worth repeating.

Obviously, the day is not going to go as initailly planned as we decided to still stay at home as much as we can. But that won't stop us from having a great day. We ordered some food from Four Seasons Hotel (Venue of reception), got German wine and other goodies.

Highlights of the past year:
- ROM
- Hokkaido trip
- Our 3-day birthday celebrations with Lang Fing Fang in Singapore
- MCVE 2019
- Oysters here, here and here
- BBQs
- Wedding reception (Code: Go ahead, make my day!)
- Weekend trips north, east and south
- Converting the living room to a Bar / picnic place
- Coloured shirts

And about every day in between, thanks to my companion in life. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Generational Glue

Came across this gem on Netflix. And it was hysterical yet once again. While silly, it was also very smart, witty and entertaining. And everyone that I mentioned this to immediately came back with either "roger, Roger." or "What is our vector, Victor."

Seems that this kind of movie was loved and seen by most of my generation and they all still remember it. Admitted, some of the jokes would never get past the political correctness bar, but if one watches this with the time it was made in mind, then it is ok.

As there is still the Bus and Space Shuttle, plus 3 1/3 Detective Drebin movies, we should be entertained for another couple of days before we tune into UHF and head on over to Spatula City.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Ding Ding!!!

Car, bike, moped, plane, hot air ballon, boat, ferry, gondola and cablecar. All the means of transportation I have tried, yet the Tram in Hong Kong is still the coolest and taking it for a ride every time I am in town is a must.

Sitting upstairs, this gives a great view of the city, looking into the first floor businesses lining the streets, seeing people hustling around at a leisurly pace. The idea of how one would get in from the back and make the way to the front and to pay the same no matter how far one travelled is pure genius. 

Guess Why!!!

Any guesses why I have not finished this (and some other) movies on Netflix?
Seeing how there is a "Continue watching for Stefan", I feel this is really too much reminding me of the bad movie choices I have made in my desperate attempt to fill a Saturday evening in Lockdown.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Perspective

If you take the average life expectancy of Malaysian Women and Men and avarage it with the average life expectancy of German Women and Men you get about 76.something years. That is just shy of 4000 weeks.

I have been hidden away for 7 weeks during the lockdown in Malaysia. That is 0.1757 percent of the average life expectancy as an average between Malaysian and German males / females.. ah... whatever.

0.1757 percent of my total life, if I am making it to the statistical average. And in 20 years, I will look back and it was a blink.

Movies and Their impact on Me

While I cannot imagine what it would have been like in that battle, I can tell that this movie might be the most accurate account of it.

I have always sensed that WWII was a touchy subject with my grandparents. They never talked about it. There was hardly any discussion about it. I once asked and my grandma broke out in tears, telling me how amazing it was to finally go on a vacation withe the "Hitlerjugend". A one week summer camp was something her parents could not make happen.

My grandfather fought at the eastern front. Never talked about it. The only thing he ever mentioned was that they washed their clothes in Diesel to kill the lice. According to him, Diesel was the only thing they had plenty of and it would do the job of killing lice and bacteria. Did he kill anyone? Maybe. Never asked, he never said. But if he did, I think it was because he was duty-bound as a soldier, not because of some sinister desire.

My grandfather wanted to see the year 2000. That was his only wish. He survived being a POW in Russia, working 45 years for the same company. He died in just a few years shy of the year 2000, while I was serving the German army....

Every time I see the movie "Stalingrad", I am reminded of the little I know about what my grandparents felt, how they went through this time and what "motivated" them...

Friday, May 1, 2020

Busy Labour Day

Today we should be "celebrating" a special day, dedicated to all the hard working people that have toiled away for centuries. Many would usually just use the opportunity to gather and have lots of drinks.

I put some work in. First in the office, then around the house to clean up old stuff. Actually, there wasn't much to clear out as we keep a rather tidy home in the first place. Finally, I am letting go of some equipment that I haven't used over the past 20 years. Guess should I need it again, I will just re-purchase.

Getting ready to have a few Friday drinks was a bit more work. As I wanted to have my beverages in style, I needed the ice bucket, beer glass, finger food... Now I am excited about the night ahead. Can't get too tipsy. Need to go shopping tomorrow morning and I want to be through the doors right when they open.

In today's Skype Bar night, I am going to a Chinese-run entertainment place. Means I have ice cubes in my beer .



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Superclean Shoes

Floyd even grilled me on the thing I have for shoes. He wants to incorporate this into a novel he is writing. Ok. Fine. Why not...

There is a lot that can be said about shoes. For instance, research shows that shoes are some of the first things people notice when meeting with strangers. If you need proof, just untie the laces of one of your shoes and walk around. You will be amazed by how many people will comment on that. In contrast, you can splatter your necktie with chicken curry and hardly anyone will comment.

When I travel for 3 days, I usually need 4 pairs of shoes. While enroute, something that easily comes off and on. This makes security checks in many countries easier as I may have to take them off. Then I need 2 pairs for the days where I have meetings. As leather needs about 24 hours to dry, one should not wear the same pair 2 days in a row. And lastly, one needs sports shoes for the gym / runs / activities.

When people apply for jobs, I look for well maintained shoes. Not expensive or new. But looked after. My view is, that if you don't take care of something "simle" like your shoes, in business someone will not look after business relationships, the business itself or the brand one is working for. All it takes is some greasing up every couple of weeks and if the heels are worn out, just get a new one slapped on for a little money.

With the lockdown, my shoes are now super clean. They have seen 2 rounds of cleaning with not a single step made with them...

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Identical

With 7.6 billion people on the planet, how many of them look exactly like me?
Depends on where you are looking....

Stuff One Finds Along the Ways

A picture taken in October 2018 when I went for a drink with Hemant Sonney, out someplace in Hong Kong. Don't ya'll wish you had a copy of that now???

Monday, April 27, 2020

Next Level Unlocked

Today I have managed to do 366 squats. One for each day of this year. While that may not be the same as running a half marathon, I kinda feel accomplished.

The goal is to do 501 (the one more just to push further than the initial goal) by end of next week. After that, it is push-ups. Can't skip chest day in all the excitement about strong legs, right?

In other news: nothing much happened. All still locked away in the bunker and waiting for the world to heal.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Unleashing the Old Ways


In many posts, comments and articles we read about the "new way of doing things" we will be practicing after Covid 19 is under control. Sorry, I disagree...

We have been trained to consume. Plus, with the social media, we have a lot of people that need to show off their travels, purchases and expensive meals in order to gain recognition among their peers. Everyone having lived through the lockdown will think they need to make up for lost times.

The vengence shopping will take effect and people being kept away from shopping / experiences will be out in force. My prediction is that restaurants, airlines and hotels will be fully booked for some time as soon as we unleash people again.

Offices will be hip again. While many have hailed the idea of working from home, most of my friends and staff said they prefer to work in an office. And that makes total sense. People want a clear separation between office, home and fun places.

Skype / Zoom drinks are also fun, but trust me, everyone would want to go out again and drink in certain establishments. Some will say they miss the "background" (read: they wanna ogle). Others will miss the idea of being able to just raising a hand and Zappp! the next drink appears whithout a trip to the kitchen. While online chats now allow dozens of people, I still find them awkward. In a real meeting, some 10 people can sit at one table and 4 or 5 discussions form, dissolve, reform... While there are 10 people, some subgroups form. Try that in Zoom where it is hard enough to meet among 3.

Copying from a chat with a friend:

"I wrote my niece and told her we'd party like its 2021. She wrote back: Partying like it’s 2021 will be my new mantra.  Once there’s a vaccine, I want to do a reverse quarantine and not come home for months. I want to drink alcohol out of buckets in Thailand, and then pretend I’m classy by drinking pretentious French wine in Nice. That’s my plan."

While we now admire the clean rivers, dolphins in Venice and turtles hatching on beaches devoid of people, once we are back, pollution will be back and we will continue to destroy nature. After all, despite all the hardship, there are already 25 Million more people on the planet than on 1 January.
Will I exclude myself? Hopefully, but I am sure I too, want to fly again, drive half across the country just for a meal in one of our favorite restaurants and get new shoes.


Friday, April 24, 2020

Storytelling and Drinking

Yes, I said that before: my favorite drink is Glenfiddich.... And when this (Lockdown) is all over, I have to make an effor to get my hands on a bottle of this. Not only do I think that the bottle looks absolutely STUNNING, but the story behind this interpretation is amazing..: https://www.glenfiddich.com/collection/special-editions/snow-phoenix/

Blast from the Past - Favorite B / W Movies

I was asked for a list of my favorite Black and White / classic movies. Someone must have exhausted all the binge watching on Netflix. The list I came up with was actually a fun one and sharing it here might give others some ideas for a long movie night too. So, here it comes:

The Wages of Fear (French: Le salaire de la peur) is a 1953 French-Italian thriller film (I point out the languages as you want to make sure to view the ENG)

Once you have seen it, you head over and watch “Sorcerer” from 1977 with Roy Scheider. It is the remake, but in my view better in terms of portraying how tense people are.

Casablanca – The movie where so so so many modern sayings derive from.

Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock.
This movie actually started a whole genre with “Suburbia” being a kinda remake and one of Shae LeBeauf’s better movies. But nowhere near to the original. Pay attention to the couple on the fire escape when you watch it the second time.

African Queen – Just a great adventure

It’s a Wonderful Life – I usually see this on Christmas or new year’s eve as it get’s you to reflect. There is a colourised version, but don’t bother with it

Detective Story – In recent years, several movies have been “One Location Movies”, i.e. one room or place only (Saw, Wrecked, Buried). THIS is the mother of them all

Birdman of Alcatraz

Any of the old 1950s Godzilla movies, establishing that Japanese Keiju as the “King of Monsters”

The image is not mine and if you are the copyright owner and would want me to replace it, I will do so.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Getting Fit Like 30 Years Ago

I know you would all hope to see my tanned, muscled and fit body. Sorry to disappoint, but I am not going to put a picture here of me working out in the "home gym".

Resistance training started simple: do as many push-ups as you can, then rest 90 seconds and do as many as you can, then rest 90 seconds... eventually, I made it to 100 push-ups in one set.

Today, I unlocked the next level of "MCO Fitness Goals" (MCO = Movement Control Order, or lockdown): 301 squats. Keeping a strict fitness regime has now become part of everyday life. Something to keep the mind busy is what everyone prescribes.

And with that, one can also debunk that idea that one has no time for a bit of fitness. Or money for gym. Actually, all one needs is a bunch of plastic bottles filles with water, re-purposed washing detergent bottles. A little luxury that is permitted is a yoga mat. and all that is needed is a high intensity, 30 minute session 4 times a week.. Ta-da!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

When the Humans are Off the Street

As a measure to curb the spread of the C19, many nations keep their people inside the houses and movement is restricted to shopping and seeking medical attention. Reports are coming in from all over the world that the animals are re-taking the streets, the spaces humans would normally occupy. Saw this last night and decided that it might be best to keep the curtains closed from now onwards.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Activities at Home - Estate Sale

Trouble with too much time on ones hands is that one comes up with stupid ideas. Today we re-enacted an estate sales. Someone had a house full of stuff to sell and opened up for bidders to come and grab whatever is there in the estate.

What we found under this cover was a perfectly fine 2018 Harvey Norman sofa. Ready to go with the original covers, the feet and extra pillows, which were sold separately as accessories. We grabbed it and dragged it straight into the living room!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Lunch at Home - A Picnic!

After the highly entertaining date night last week, we thought of another way to have a dining experience at home while being confined to our homes. A picnic was just what the doctor recommened.

Hearing that Jyu Raku ( https://www.facebook.com/JYURAKUSS15/ ) offers delivery, we picked a few things, some of which we hadn't tried, for this adventure. Our placemats made for a "lake" complete with clownfish-styled coasters. We were lucky to have a foldable matrass we could fashion as landscape background. Just missing: ants and people littering.

Also interesting: we get our wines from Urban Fresh in the mall across the street. Now they are not allowing any customers into the wine section. Totally fine as people usually fumble around 100 or so bottles before picking one. Now one would tell the staff what one is after and they go and get a selection. I must say, I am impressed as every bottle we had so far was really nice!

We had some wine and beers, then made our way back home (read: to the sofa). Overall, a very enjoyable weekend day and lots of laughter.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Public Relations in Crisis

Thanks to Dato William Ng and his team at SME Magazine, another of my articles just got published. This time, I am talking about Public Relations.

Public Relations Agencies in a Crisis – Or Why it Could Pay to Have Paid for Ads
Editorial departments of most publications are often in contact with public relations agencies or public relations departments. They are a crucial part of the media landscape as they provide a service that links brands and media outlets. The role of public relations (PR) is often defined as “The professional maintenance of a favourable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.” In many cases this is done through the dissemination of releases to the media for publication in their outlets.

Depending on where you stand, some publishers don’t publish anything unless there is an ad coming with it. Others may heavily depend on the access to ready-made content in the shape of press releases. Within the scope of my work as Editor for Asian Trucker / Asian Buses, I have long ago decided that we should publish what we think our readers would value as useful. If there is an advertising contract in place it might mean that the item may get a bit more exposure. Or not. We also have some advertisers who seem to be happy with just the ad placement without ever having editorial support. I think it is fair to say that editors would be biased in favour of those who support the media.

For the full article, head on over here:
https://sme.asia/public-relations-agencies-in-a-crisis-or-why-it-could-pay-to-have-paid-for-ads/?fbclid=IwAR3BJ4JxrhsSesxNIS5p6dQPsyjOgArDCBxTS-QUmrr7-4pqo4Bib_YgC5w 

Friday, April 17, 2020

When East meets West

As we all recall, when I was 16, I wouldn't eat Asian Food. Who wants to eat bait?

Now that I have lived in Asia for almost 20 years, people ask me if I "can take spicey?" Yeah, you bet and then some. Some of the most amazing hot pot I have had was in Chongqing. Everything was with chilis! Get a taste here: https://www.topchinatravel.com/chongqing/chongqing-food-restaurants.htm

Over the years, I have started to try local ways, Asian approaches and methods. Some severe backpain made me go to one of these medicinemen... Looking like Sonic the Hedgehog, this was to stimulate blood circulation and to un-clogg arteries. Didn't really work. But it was worth the experience. 

And last week I was talking to Hagen about FengShui... About how his pond should be in front of the house as he already has a mountain to the rear... Bizarre would be the word to classify that chat.

The only thing I TRULY miss is a proper Schnitzel. Ok,... and beer from the local pub, made on the premises!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Not to Go Slightly Mad

Chuck Noland had WILLLSOOOOON, the handball. I have a plush toy. A squid I got in Japan last year. And I named the fella Mr Morton. For no good reason. But I thought the fella looked rather serious, hence the Mr. 

Maybe I am already Cockoooooo, but I hope to have some "normality" in my life during the lockdown. So, Mr Morton and I have business lunches. We prefer Al Fresco, so we take our food on the tiny balcony. 

While he is a good sounding board and easy to please when it come to food selections, he is not much of a talker though. Could be shyness?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Recreating Travel Experiences

A number of people have re-created travel experiences in the past few weeks. One guy took a video sitting next to his washing machine as if he was a window seat in a plane. Complete with a tray, his bento box food and a laptop to work.

I admire such creativity. And I thought it was funny. Very much so, given the overall situation.

But I couldn't help it but to think: this is someone that does not travel very often. I absolutely enjoy being in a new place. Finding my way, experiencing what is going on. Talking to local people and all that. What I don't like is the "getting there".

Looking at a map, it may seem that Hokkaido is not that far away. OK, we could have opted for a direct flight on Air Asia, but then we wouldn't have had great food, entertainment and free flow Sapporro beers (All worth the transit in Tokyo). Although from here to there doesn't look that far, we still had to get up at 3:00 and we finally settled for dinner at 20:30 (19:30 Home time). A long day.

Here I am now, locked away for week 5. What I absolutely don't miss is the flying around with all the stuff that comes with it: delayed flights, airline food, window seats in economy class, lining up at immigration and having to lug around stuff....

But I like these videos...

Food for Fighters

A group of Thai restaurateurs contributes online-crowdfunding meal boxes to frontline medical staff at field hospitals to fight against COVID-19.

Over 30 Thai restaurants gather to raise emergency public funds in order to deliver 3 000 meal boxes a day to support proper food supplies to frontline doctors and medical staff members at governmental field hospitals who work against COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand.

As the epidemic of Covid-19 has begun, causing a massive damaging impact to our country – Thailand, the number of infected patients is increasing every day from tens to a thousand and it is undeniablethat the situation is rapidly getting worse.

Ms. Panchana Vatanasathien, Owner of PenLaos Restaurant in Khaoyai has initiated the “Food for Fighters” project partnering with other restaurateur alliances around Bangkok and metropolitan areas to open this crowdfunding in order to help deliver food to the frontline medical teams who have been fighting COVID-19 at the government field hospitals during this crisis.

They are asking you for your donations to be a part of this emergency project because:

1. Food Fighters will supply proper food for the frontline doctors, nurses and medical teams who work hard to treat infected patients and fight against COVID-19 in field hospitals. Recently, Pramongkutklao Hospital requested 800 boxes daily and Chakri Naruebodindra Medical Institute requested 100 boxes daily due to the closure of markets and restaurants nearby. This causes difficulties for the medical teams to access proper food supplies while they are on such an important national duty.

2. The donations will provide a production cost of 50 THB/box to 30 partnership restaurants such as Chuen Jai Kitchen, Bharani Kitchen, Suki Hotpot Ruen Petch, Yee Lao Tang Jua Lee, Zab Kak Restaurant, Sushi Kyu, Zab Der, The Never Ending Summer, Bu Lan Dan Mek Restaurant, PenLaos Kitchen, Charm, Khun Pook Plammade, Banleng Kitchen, Chankanom, Shabeebee House, Uncle & Friends Rustic Cafe Oldtown, TANK Restaurant and café and more.

3. The distribution of food production and delivery will be systematically scheduled based on the location in relation to the hospitals, and other conditions such as time for delivery, cooking capacities, etc. In terms of the meal box delivery, the project has been received corporate support from Silver Voyage Club, led by CEO, Jakkapan Rattanapet, for logistics by their cars, well trained butlers and professional drivers.

"We, a group of small people with big inspiration, are starting Food for Fighters as soon as possible as the pandemic seems to get more terrible and spreads across the country rapidly. As fast as we could contribute such appropriate food supplies to the frontline medical teams to stop COVID-19, this shall help alleviate negative economic and social impacts to everyone in Thailand."

If you are interested to support this emergency project, please make a donation at  https://social.sinwattana.com/viewCampaign/9K0P8D1SV59813 or contact/follow them on Facebook: Food For Fighters

I have known Ms. Panchana Vatanasathie for a number of years... I like her creativity and resiliance.
We had a lot of fun last year, when she came to Kuala Lumpur to "Go ahead, make my day!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Dinner Creativity - Date Night

Not being allowed to leave the house has never stopped me from having fun. For Saturday, we decided to have a date night. Once the dinner was ready, we dressed up and had dinner, as we would have it in a restaurant. With a bit of fiddling around, the selfies also looked like they were done by a waiter.

I re-arranged the furniture to fashion a "bar" for the after dinner drinks. All in all, it was a memorable evening as we even got our usual table in our favorite place.

For the coming weekend, we plan a picnic.


Monday, April 13, 2020

Movie Accuracy

Like others, I am stickler for accuracy in movies. If you spend 100 Million US to make a picture, you should have the resources to find out if the song playing in a disco scene was actually released at the time to movie plays. Or automatic weapons clicking 5 times on an empty chamber ARRRGHHHH!

I applaud people that go all out. Like they did with Dunkirk to do the flying scenes with actual Spitfire planes. Now, that is awesome!

And just like THAT: 19 hours or so watching Money Heist down the drain. With one small mistake. Not that the movie is riddled with plot holes when it comes to timing, but this one is not to be forgiven. The coordinates on the back of the postcards are NOT some island, but the middle of a jungle. And with all them Bhuddas, surely this last scene was shot in Thailand and not the Philippines, which is vastly Christian...

Many war movies use different machinery to be a "Tiger Tank" or a "HIND" Helicopter. Not easy to get by these things (Yet, Brad Pitt had the famous Tiger 131, the last operational Tiger tank from WW II as opponent). But come on!!! Getting these coordinates right could have been done from a mobile phone....

Dinner Creativity - Dining in the Dark Home Version

When I walk from my usual hotel in Bangkok to the nearest Skytrain station, I am passing DID - Dining in the Dark. There are places in other cities that also offer this experience. "Das Auge ist mit" (A feast for the eyes) is what I am thinking of as people would consume their meals in total darkness.

Being hunkered down at home, we tried this in a home version. Easy to cook something and then just blank out all lights. We didn't like it....

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Why I am NOT going to See the Next Bond Movies in the Cinema

Many of my childhood friends wanted to be like him: James Bond. That cool cat that had all the exciting adventures. The movies took you to faraway places and here and there one could even learn something. I have certainly watched them all and not just once. I even have a few of the books Fleming authored.

But I will not see the Bond that is to come to town this year (If it does). And certainly, I will not watch the next one they will do when Craig hands over the baton.

Let me be absolutely frank and clear: I have no issues with a lead character being something different from a white, hetrosexual male. If something else is needed, I have no issues whatsoever. There are some extremely good movies / series out there that have all sorts of personalities in it and its fine.

The problem is authenticity. Ian Fleming created a character, which was likely something many would have aspired to during that epoch. It was a spy, working for the British secret service. It was a male, smoker, womenising gambler that drinks a lot. And that is what I want James Bond / 007 to be. Is smoking bad for you? Yes, and therefore we should no promote it. Is the image of the women in the books / older Bond movies wrong? A big yes, considering what times we are in now and that we should certainly not reverse on it. We can say all of the character traits of James Bond are wrong.

However, THAT is the character the author Fleming created. And if we as a society don't agree with those traits and behaviours that is also totally ok. What we should not do though is to try to tweak the movie character to fit today's norms and view. I am all for political correctness. This is movie stuff though.

If we want a transgender, non-smoking, vegan agent of colour, I say: go ahead. Create a new character. Develop something new. My promise is that I will go and see such movie and I may enjoy it if it is a good story well told. But please, don't touch my Bond, James Bond.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

My Movie Mania

I like books and movies. Books because I need my own imagination to visualise what is going on. Movies are a little bit more lazy, but they can be more "true" in the sense that nothing is left to imagination of the viewer. My memory reaches back to movies I have seen when still living in Gross Berkel. At that time, the rule was not to call anyone after 8pm. At that time, the news would come on, followed by the main movie, the highlight of the day.

What I have always enjoyed is the suspense, the build-up and the pace of a movie. To me, a good movie is not about CGI, but a great story told very well. The epitome of that might be the classic "Rear Window". A movie not about expensive sets or a mastermind new computer technique to make things look more real. It is about the couple that we see sleeping on the firestairs, night after night, but not having anything to do with the events that unfold (Some of you will now go and get a copy of Rear Window just to check out if that is the case...).

Jaws, as seen last night, is another masterpiece. You don't need to be overly gory. People getting eaten by a shark needs to be shown, but not in disgusting detail. Back in the 70s and 80s, we also didn't need to have overly explicit sex scenes. A hint of what is going down was all there was to it and the audience could fill the blanks.

I believe some movies should never have gotten a sequel or a prequel. Silence of the Lambs is one. Jaws (again) another. In more recent cinema, Taken should have been it with no further takers on that one. Or Fast and Furious. Which I have seen in an empty hall when it came out. The ticket was a present from my classmates!

And then there are remakes. And many just simply don't do the original justice. And whenever someone does a "Reboot", as that is called nowadays, the hype is a bigger promise than the actual delivery. As one exception, I could mention "Sorcerer" though. Another Roy Scheider classic by the way.

Here some movies that I truly enjoy and that I could watch over and over again in no particular order:

HEAT, Coma, Platoon, Blade Runner, Alien, The Getaway, Bullit, Tron, Terminator, Red Dawn, Total Recall, Gremlins, Die Hard, First Blood...

Friday, April 10, 2020

Peer Review: Asian Trucker

It is always a special feeling when your peers recognise your work. In the case of publishing, another title taking an interest in your work, actually writing about you gives you a motivational boost. When we first started with Asian Trucker, there were obstacles and nay-sayers. Today, I think the brand "Asian Trucker" has carved not only out a niche, but achieved something we never thought was possible.

Marketing in Asia has just published a piece on how we built the brand from ground up. Here the first paragraph:

The Accidental Brand: Asian Trucker And How It Became The Biggest In The Region

Building trust and confidence is crucial

Sometimes, the market needs to be presented with a product it didn’t know it needed. The story (so far) of Asian Trucker shows how an easy task could lead to much bigger things.
Asian Trucker just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Looking back at a decade of publishing and brand building, it may be hard to believe that the business originated from a happenstance meeting at a networking event. Branching out from under the wings of a brand consultancy, the title has since earned more than just a reputation of being the leader in the market. Here is the story so far – a story guided by marketing principles.


Marketing In Asia is an online marketing magazine, the cooooolest in Asia. It is a community-driven magazine which platform is being used by the marketing community across Asia to share their thoughts, ideas, insights and opinion related to what they know best – marketing. Marketing In Asia works pretty much like YouTube. It’s a platform and the one who feeds the content into the platform is the community. Of course the submitted content will be subjected to their editors' approval first prior to publishing them. "Quality matters to us."

Read the full article here:
https://marketinginasia.com/2020/04/09/the-accidental-brand-asian-trucker-and-how-it-became-the-biggest-in-the-region/  

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bukit Nanas - THE Best Park in Kuala Lumpur?

You have seen the movie "The Beach"? Yes, that one. With Leonardo. Where they go off to keep a beach a secret cos they don't want it to be ruined by millions of tourists coming. And then the movie got millions of tourists going to THAT beach and ruining it. Ironic. I hope that this is not going the same way when I write about this little gem in the heart of Kuala Lumpur now. Ok, I am not as famous as Leo yet. I have won the award I really wanted faster than him though ;-)

I have been many times and I think that the park around Bukit Nanas is one of the best things Kuala Lumpur has to offer. Typically, I would park down below, near the Shangri-La hotel. Then make the "hike" up to the base of the KL Tower. There is an entrance, kinda unassuming, the leads into the actual park, which is a natural and genuine plot of rainforest. The vegitation is dense and a 45 minute hike would take one down to the other side, near the "Old Malaya". Several spots offer some education on the flora and fauna around.

The hanging bridges offer a bit of excitement. However, what I like about this park is that it is not widely publicised and not many know about this. If one is to go on a Sunday morning, there are hardly any people. A 45 minute walk through the dense forest let's one forget that the park is surrounded by a busy metropolis that Kuala Lumpur is. The best part is that it is free. And close to Yut Kee (https://www.facebook.com/镒记茶餐室-Yut-Kee-Jalan-Kamunting-122180941222145/) ! The idea is, of course, to go on that hike in time to make it to the restaurant at 11:15 latest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Not in the Mood

For some reason, I am not in the mood today to post anything here today. Maybe I just need a motivational boost in the form of a signed advertising contract. Or a steak dinner. Dunno. Will be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

These Boots are Made for

Security staff mainly. Used by every guard down at your condominium, the fellas the ensure everyone is alright in the malls and the amoured guards driving money around. They must make them by the millions. And I think that is the reason why they are also THAT cheap. How cheap?

Extremely cheap. So cheap in fact that I grabbed two pairs. One for the car, in case I need to stalk around some construction site or sumsuch and one to keep at home. You never know. They are RM 50 or EUR 10 a PAIR! How is that even possible? Surely, the shop selling them would take some of that. They need to be shipped and even if they are produced locally, the driver needs to get paid.

Are they also comfortable? Now, THAT is a bit of a lottery. One pair is totally fine, whereas the other gives you pain after 5 hours of walking like you wouldn't believe. Then again, 10 EURO! For a pair. Thes must be, in all my 46 years here, be the cheapest shoes I have ever had.

Pertzi's Honest Travel Hacks and Rants: Theft Protector

 Recently my wallet got lifted from my pocket. I have to admit, it was a weird situation as I typically leave everything in the safe except for the room key and just enough cash for the day. Or night. The robbers got away with a wallet that was falling apart, three old business cards and a work permit that isn’t much use unless you are balding and white as a bedsheet. What is hard to understand is how some people can advertise their wealth and then wonder why they are being mugged. If you carry a DSLR around your neck, display a wad of cash in your wallet when buying a coffee and displaying a Rolex in a country with an average income of a case of beer, then you shouldn’t be surprised that some characters would like to share your wealth. In many countries, a used camera sells for enough to feed a family for a month. That can be highly motivating for some, knowing that a foreigner has very little rights or means to enforce police action.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Obvious, innit?

A friend asked me what the story was with the Abacus in my pics. I said it is "Something I can count on!"...