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Sunday, June 27, 2021

Surprisingly Awesome


I had this bottle of Miyagikyo Single Malt sitting on the shelf for some time. It was meant for a special occasion and the baby back ribs we made were just what we waited for (Food pics in next post...). 

While the Yamazaki seems more elusive than Nessie, this is not only affordable, but also obtainable. At 45% alc, a SINGLE, small ice cube is exactly what Mr Morton recommends. Yes, the soft toy squid. With that, this Whiskey is really coming to life with full flavor. A nice rounding-off to a great meal. Certainly nothing to have the whole bottle in one sitting, but to ease the evening out to the sofa, this is great. 

Smooth and silky, this has a lot of character, something that I sometimes miss from Japanese Whiskey. Would I get this again if the opportunity arises? Absolutely! Also a great gift for someone that likes this kind of spirits or for those that still need to get used to Whiskey. 

For more on this particular brand: 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

At the End of a Long Week


Got lots done this week. Mid-year already and there is so so so much going on right now! The "X" marks the spot where I hope to put an Eames Lounge one day by the way. For now, I would be happy with a proper chair for the office to give my back a break. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Public Relations – A New New or an Empty Promise?


Can an old dog learn new tricks?

It has been a year since I attended a webinar on how Covid-19 is re-shaping the way PR agencies and media are going to work together. In total, I have attended only three webinars in the past 15 months, and this was the one I was looking forward to the most.

I learned about things that made my heartbeat faster in excitement. The consensus was that

-        - The way PR agencies operated till now would no longer work (which I believe referred to the carpet bombing of media with media releases)

-        - PR and Media need to strengthen their relationships, form strong bonds and make it through this UNPRECEDEEEEENTED time together (see:

-         - The key to success going forward is to work CLOSELY with the media to develop stories.

-          - Story pitches would be more targeted than cruise missiles

-          - PR Agencies would be even more specific and precise when it comes to how they deliver their client’s messages to the readers of the outlets they deal with so closely

-         - Agencies acknowledge that they cannot perform without the media

There are four or five PR agencies that we have been working with for a decade. Fantastic people and we bounce things back and forth. Those I shall exclude from the following analysis of the past twelve months. “You know who you are!”

So then, how have these above promises panned out? Here is my summary of the past 12 months, keeping media titles alive so that brands have outlets for their news, updates and thoughts.

Every time I received a release, I researched the agency. What I found is that they ALL claim

-         -  to be highly creative

-          - to be putting the client’s interest at the centre of everything they do

-          - to treasure media and

-           - emphasise on building the strongest possible relationship with journalists

Press Releases received: 93
Of which relevant: 0
Of which previously discussed with me: 0
Stories pitched: 0
Inquiries if material about to be sent would be relevant: 0
Replies from agencies that I pitched to, taking the initiative as I KNOW that they are working with brands that are relevant to us: 0

Messages / calls to check if we are doing ok: 0
Bottles of beer / wine or meals received as a way to ease the stress during lockdown: 0
(Remember, relationship and all that!)

There were a hand-full of releases that, with an effort, could have been re-written and edited to fit our magazine. Considering the effort needed, I asked if there would be any form of reciprocation if I were to run these releases. Each time the answer came back “we don’t have budget”. And there I was, thinking that these agencies were creative. As they claim. Send me a private message and I give you a list of 10 ways to return a favour to the media, costing you nothing but a bit of elbow grease.

Being curious, I asked one agency (that had sent material about passenger cars) where they found our contact details (they sent releases to four emails). They replied that it was from a database where agencies could get the contacts of journalists. Just that the profile in said database specifically states that “we do not cover cars, bikes or ferries. Only trucks and buses.” Nobody cared enough to check the profiles of the publications as long as they seemed to be vaguely in the right category. Nor the email address made them go “Mmmmmm, wonder if that is the right media for us here?”.

Imagine someone had indeed sent a bottle of wine. I am sure, crafty as I am, I could have made ANY story fit my magazine to show my gratitude. PR-Value through the roof!

What we did not have access to were international events, which would explain the ever so slight drop in the number of pages we put into the magazine.

As for the new new, the improved version of PR and Media relationships, well, I am curious when the gestation period will be over, we are in the new new and the concept will take hold.

Meanwhile, several media friends have been swapping stories, we have tossed each other work, re-hashed stories… Well, we kept things going, especially the relationship part, although Virtual Friday Drinks is not the same as meeting in person.

Which makes me wonder why no PR agency has come up with this idea to have a regular virtual meet up. I would even buy my own booze... we would not want to put a dent into the entertainment budget of an agency, now would we?

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Fun in the Sun


I have some nice sunlight coming into my office in the afternoon. Just had 500 Kg of sand delivered and converted the office into a little beach. At the door, I put up a plastic bowl filled with water so that I can clean my feet before stepping into the living room. Someone hand me another beer please. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

My First Review Video


While in lockdown, I had a bit of time to surf YouTube. There are a lot of so-called "unboxing" videos. Usually, they contain boxes and the producers of said videos speak about the box they are un-ing a bit as well. 

I had the opportunity for a unboxing of a rather big item. Thanks to Daihatsu Malaysia, I had the pleasure of driving one of their vans. Two actually as I had the pick up and panel van variants available. Nudged on by their marketing department, I actually made use of a relaxed lockdown at the time and went grocery shopping with the van to create my first video review.

One learns....The one thing that is crucial is location, location and... location. Nothing beats a good background when you want to pose a good looking vehicle like this. 

The other, really important thing is a steady hand. I had a selfie stick lying around (Don't ask!) and I thought I put that to good use. I guess this needs a bit of practice as the video turned out a bit shaky. And not in the good sense of The Blair Witch Project. 

Never thought that a van could be that much fun. But the cuteness overload of the Gran Max, its punchy engine (when driving manual) and the excitement of doing something different made for some solid fun. 

Those interested in a written review can find it here:

Now that my inner Coppola is awakened, I might do some more unboxing videos. Maybe not with my latest pair of shoes? I have something else on order that I am eagerly waiting for to get my hands on.

Monday, June 14, 2021

What To Do?

When I talk about my time living in Singapore, some people say that the place is boring. Mmmmmm I don't know. It seems that there is a lot going on and even if one cannot travel freely, there is an abundance of things to see and do. As Mike Smith proves with his blog: (This is my picture though. Taken during my trip in October 2019, staying in Yishun....)

Advertising Added to This Blog

I added Google's Adsense to this blog. Seems like the initial settings had the ads all over the place. Please bear with me while I figure this out. The idea is to sprinkle a few ads around in this blog, but not to overdue it. The content is still to be the main focus... Thanks!

The Lockdown Chronicles: Klaus Flies to Germany and Back to Malaysia

Flight to Germany during the pandemic!


At the end of September 2020, the information from Germany about the possible Covid vaccinations with BioNTech was quite promising, so we planned to travel to Germany and stay there until we were vaccinated. We also hoped to be able to re-enter Malaysia after the vaccination without having to stay in quarantine. We were hoping for early/mid-March 2021.

Fortunately, we had great free accommodation at Lake Constance for the period from November to March.


But everything, almost everything, turned out differently.


Leaving the country was no problem, we knew we could re-enter. My wife, a Malaysian citizen, and I, as her husband, were allowed to enter the country. We did not know at that time how complicated the whole process would be.


The arrival in Munich was simple, as always, we came from a country classified as safe. We didn't have to show anything and didn't need a negative covid test or anything like that. Today (as of May 2021) that is unfortunately no longer so easy.

The stay at Lake Constance was great, a house for us at the lake, nice Christmas with the children.


But the news about the vaccination worried us a lot already at the end of December. Unfortunately, the EU and Germany had not managed to order enough vaccine doses, and the dates for our "age group" were postponed week after week.


At the same time, we read about a vaccination schedule in Malaysia, what to do? The house is only available until the end of March, after that we would have to find accommodation somewhere in Germany, we didn't feel much like travelling back and forth.


After several discussions we decided to return to Malaysia unvaccinated. In the meantime, a possible vaccination date in Germany became more and more distant.


Now the return planning began:


Negative Covid test, not older than 48 hours
LOU, Letter of Understanding



MINISTRY OF HEALTH, KEMENTERIAN KESIHATAN MALAYSIA, Payment of COVID-19 Screening and Quarantine Charges, Perkhidmatan Bayaran Ujian Pengesanan COVID-19 dan Kos Kuarantin

Flight ticket, Flight number

Passport (biodata page) of myself

Long Term Pass (Spouse Visa)

Marriage Certificate

IC of Malaysian spouse


I think that was all we had to organise. And after quite a few headaches and emails, we finally had everything together!

Luckily, the Malaysian Embassy in Berlin was very helpful, they checked all our necessary documents and in the end also issued us with an official permit to enter the country.

Well, here we go!

At the end of March, we travelled back from Munich to Malaysia, quite honestly, I was happy to return home. The uncertainty in Germany was just getting on my nerves.


The flight was ok, travelling on the plane is supposedly pretty safe at Covid times. Emirates constantly filter and exchange the air in the plane. So they say.


But the arrival! I felt like I was in a science fiction movie! All in those overalls:


No normal check-in at passport control, no customs control, but long queues at the manual and extensive passport and document control.

Typical Malaysia. Take a number first....

There were. If I remember correctly, six or eight stations to go through.


But at some point, we were free!

Then the big question: how do we get to our quarantine hotel? Accompanied by four(!) service staff, we were led to the exit. But first we had to disinfect all our luggage until the broth dripped from the plastic foil wrapping.

Then our driver, also wrapped in this overall, arrived. Off we went to the hotel, The 5-star, 23-storey Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur City Centre ....

I should mention that these seven days of quarantine, including all services, cost us around 6300RM. To be fair, as a 'foreigner', it cost me 2200RM more than locals.


Once there, we scanned our luggage and soaked it again with disinfectant. But otherwise everything was ok, we put our luggage in front of the room door, distributed various SOPs, barcodes etc. You must scan the barcode every morning and fill in the form and certify that you are fine!

5-star, 23-storey Hotel Impiana Kuala Lumpur:

- Toilet flush was out of order several times

- Lamp in bathroom broken

- Everything that people smaller than 170 CM cannot see had not been dusted for a long time



There was, quite nicely a lot of plastic, always in front of the door. To this day, I don't know how to cut a steak with a plastic fork and knife. But they did provide us with sturdy cutlery. But they kept adding plastic cutlery.

But basically, the food was ok, we could order a la card, it was not 5 stars, but ok so far.


I had to and wanted to do some work during the seven-day quarantine, so we chose this hotel. Because ....High-Speed Wifi(100 mbps) ... was offered.

Well, unfortunately that was completely bogus.

When we arrived, we got just under 10 mbps, with a tendency to fluctuate downwards. After asking, an extra modem came, then it was 11 mbps, at least a bit more stable. When we asked further, an extra router came, which then managed a stable 15 mbps. This is what they call high-speed.


At the end of the seven days, we wondered how the people who booked the standard package were accommodated.


On the penultimate day we did another Covid test, both negative, and then off home!


All in all, an exciting return journey, with a little distance I can say today that it wasn't that bad.

But again, no thanks!


Meanwhile, Germany is vaccinating at record speed, all GPs are allowed to vaccinate, there is hardly any vaccination sequence.

And here in my beloved Malaysia?

Please wait .....

(NOTE: Meanwhile, the vaccination programme is being rolled out) 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

When you have more shoes than your wife


I like shoes. Different ones for various purposes. Several pairs of running shoes. Dress shoes. Boots, sandals, leather, some laced and others slip-on. Really liking my army surplus boots that I got in Kyoto while on a trip with Hino. We had the opportunity to explore the shopping district and I homed in on Seabees... Like, what else would you get in Japan?

Each pair of dress shoes is fitted with its own pair of shoe trees. I try to avoid wearing the same pair two days in a row as the leather needs to dry up and wearing shows too often then damages them. The shoetrees are, as they should be, wooden, so that they can absorb the moisture and keep the shoe in shape.

Not that I go very far these days, but when I do, I make sure to wear comfortable footwear. With no meetings going on right now, I am only leisurely prancing about. Hence, sporty shoes are the theme of the year. The more radical ones are yellow ( to be worn with dark blue jeans. 

Breaking in new shoes is a bit funny these days as I am wearing them for some time walking around the apartment. Admitted, that IS strange. Strange, but equally interesting is the idea to have your own shoes designed: I guess, this is for my next trip to Japan, once we can fly me to the moon again. 

What's with the boxes up there you ask... Ahhhh, just you wait. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A Book Review. Of Sorts


Not exactly a new release, "100 Suns" has been in the market for many years. I have seen the promo when it was first published, but it has taken me till now to finally get a copy of this explosive item.

Featuring 100 nuclear explosions, Michael Light has put together a very scary, yet beautiful work of art. The idea is simple, but I am sure that the execution was not an easy task. The imagery in rather enticingly placed on the black on black of the book. While the photos from the explosions in the desert are more colourful, the ones showing bombs going off in the atolls are scarier: there are more pictures showing soldiers watching these things go off. I know,... "What were they thinking?" But at the time, I am sure they had no clue.

Considering that we grew up with the threat of a nuclear war hanging over us, this book is a stark reminder of how close we have come to total destruction. I am glad that someone has made the effort to preserve these images and to make them available in such a stunningly cool book. For what it is, this coffee table book is visually awesome.  

Friday, June 4, 2021

Rubbing it IN!

Sigh. I am sure that a souvenir reminding you of transmissible diseases (STD or others) is EXACTLY what you don't to be reminded of after an event this year....

(Yes, I also considered the possibility of athletes getting to know each other intimately... But that is another post altogether).

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Iconic Trucks - An Iconic First Book Project


It has been quiet the journey putting this together: the first coffee table book I have conceptualised and authored. The idea was not exactly new as we had the concept sitting around for some time, but we did not get the signal from the market that this would be something that creates demand. Meanwhile, things must have changed.

During the lockdown, I took to collating material for 45 trucks; pictures and texts. Significant effort was put into making this a balanced representation of what constitutes these iconic vehicles. The concept was to put a substantial book together, maybe around 180 pages. Something like this should not be too flimsy and it needs to have some UMPF. Turns out that it will be shaving the 400 page mark by just a few. But the extra wait is worth it as this has improved the quality tremendously.

Some brands / vehicles did not make the cut. I can easily agree that the selection is rather subjective as it is my choice. However, if this initial book is making some waves, there could be "More Iconic Trucks" coming up to follow on to the success. 

A few people have already placed their order via and I am pretty much just waiting for the lockdown to ease up so I can send this to the printer.