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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


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


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


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:
- 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


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 .