Saturday, February 27, 2010

Which way wool it go?

Interesting article here from today's SMH online about the current state of Australia's wool and sheepmeat industry.

The tonic, minus the gin

This is just what we needed.

We checked into Iudia last night and were welcomed with a breathtaking view over the Chao Phraya from our residence - Wat Phuttaisawan, the 14th century former digs of King Ramathibodi I, founder of Ayutthaya.

Fronting the Ayutthaya World Heritage Park, Wat Phutthaisawan was cast in a wonderful glow last night. Separated by a mere 100m of water, I felt quite humbled as I looked toward the 'old' world from our chic surrounds.

I was reading only the other day about Robert the Bruce, the great Scottish King, who would have been a regal contemporary of King Ramathibodi. Around about the same time big Bob was smashing the English, Ramathibodi was establishing the structural ingredients of Siamese government. (It's sometimes useful to try to put Asian history into a European context - I often find it hard to find a conceptual anchor.)

Right now, it's dawn and I'm overlooking the Wat Phutthaisawan again, this time cast in a more natural light, listening to the melodious combination of morning birdsong, Islamic call to prayer and monks chanting - a really special opportunity.

There's also a bloke up river in a small boat who's just cast his nets for this morning - made me think of being out in the tinnie with Dad at first light.

This place rocks.

And there's not a Cosmopolitan Bride magazine anywhere in sight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Something for the Man Room

Every man needs a Man Room.

I'm slowly converting our spare bedroom into a shrine of all things man - my rugby balls, jerseys and tour kit; trophies of adventures conquered; golf clubs; and now, my new bike, a Trek 4300 Disc.

Clare's loving it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Set to chill in Ayutthaya

With the invitations posted on Monday and a whole heap of stuff locked in for the wedding, Clare and I are heading away for a well-earned romantic long weekend away to Ayutthaya this Friday night.

We’re going there to chill out Thai-Falang style - read, cycle, relax, get massaged, drink coffee…generally distance ourselves from anything resembling a wedding budget or crazy printing ladies named ‘Prawn’.

Clare’s organized for us to stay in some pimping hi-so-hippie hotel called Iudia…the design elements look really cool and I’m very much looking forward to finding out more about their ‘in-house cultural programs to acquaint guests with the secrets of Buddhist meditation, Siamese history, antiques, yoga and traditional Siamese music’.

Where on earth does Clare find these places!

Ayutthaya is a terrifically spectacular old-day city, spotted with 14th-century temples and a relaxed riverside atmosphere. Clare and I were there last year around the same time, and absolutely loved riding around the different Wats and back streets. More on Ayutthaya later.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Loving Rugby 10's

I'm out at the Bangkok rugby 10's - unfortunately I still can't play at the moment, but it's great to see my mates get amongst it! Clare's having a great day with the girls as well!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Suburban sunset soccer

A bunch of young fellas kick the soccer ball around in front of National Stadium as the day wanes...

What I do

“So, what do you do for a crust?”

It’s a tough question for me to answer because I work in such a varied and undefined profession.

When I say I work in “communications”, people think I work as a technical engineer for Telstra or True.

When I say I work in “public relations, mainly for a bank”, people think I’m in some customer service role at their local branch.

When I say I work “for an agency”, people think I’m either a male hooker or am about to subject them to some intelligence-gathering waterboarding exercise.

It can be utterly confusing to the average punter, without a 10-minute, thirst-quenching explanation…

If they show some interest, I usually tell them I write plans (and sometimes administer parts) for pretty much anything that involves my client’s ‘brain’, ‘voice’ and ‘face’.

I tell them my job is to figure out the best way for my client to chat to customers en masse, the government, the business community or anyone other group that may be affected by, or affect, my client’s business decisions.

I give advice on what my client needs to say (or not say) in general, who specifically they need to say it to (including the decision makers and influencers) and the best method(s)/medium(s) to reach and persuade that person/group.

I also tell them my job tends to have many political considerations, in that it’s important to take into account and act on the views of my client’s many business/industry partners - be they an industry association, sponsorship recipient, charity or a key opinion leader.

Then I might explain that ‘conversations’ can happen via the media (and the many iterations of), the client’s website, online channels, via advertising, the annual report, special announcements, an employee incentive program, speaking engagements etc.

They usually latch onto the media. Media is probably the least sophisticated element of the profession, however the most easily understood. Regardless, I would talk about how a column like this one I write on behalf of my client is a good example of how we help position them as a leader in Asian and Thai business. Circulated throughout a number of other regional national daily newspapers and online news sites the column is a small tactic built into an overall plan. We might also suggest meetings with key Chinese government officials, trade seminars for SME businesspeople or awards submissions and interviews with international industry media.

By the time we're finished, both conversation and beverage tends to be pretty dry...

If only I could be a doctor, policeman or fireman!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sophisticated marketing

Sales down? Struggling to find traction amongst your target markets? Need something 'hot', 'new', 'jeng mak' to cover up your cyclopic marketing nous??

Sounds like your company needs a panda.

Chuck one into the marketing mix. Everybody's doin' it.

Because everyone loves a panda.

It's black, white AND vegetarian.

Considering Kevin Rudd reportedly performed quite poorly amongst Gen Ys on the ABC's Q&A program this week, perhaps it's high time his mates in China started sending something a bit more practical than the wads of cash for iron ore...

Just don't count on Australia Post to deliver it on time.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Wedding band

Clare and I, like a lot of people, enjoy listening to Jack Johnson’s music. His approach to life also seems pretty spot on, supporting a number of great charities - he seems to be a bloke with his head well and truly screwed on.

That’s why we flicked off an email last week to his management, to see if him and his wife would be able to make it to our wedding…here’s the result:

From: "Me"
Date: February 3, 2010 11:08
To: " Tom Chauncey"
Subject: Wedding

Hi there
My fiancĂ© and I noticed that Jack has a bit of time off from touring in between the Kokua Festival and Tempodrom in Germany, which is great, because we’re getting married in Byron Bay (Australia) on 7 May and would love for Jack and Kim to come.

They could stay down the road at their place in Lennox Head, or alternatively, they could roll out the swag in our apartment for the week. Totally cool either way. Just let them know I cook a mean blueberry pancake, so they’d really be missing out if they don’t sleep over.

If they’re free, Jack should probably bring his guitar – I’ll pack the maracas and bongo so we jam. He can also borrow one of my surfboards as
well to save him getting his boards through the airports, we’ll be surfing most days the week of the wedding.

Are you able to pass on our message? Be great if they could make it. Also, is there an appropriate address we’d be able to send him and Kim a formal invitation?

Many thanks for your help!


From: "Tom Chauncey"
Date: February 4, 2010 22:17
To: "Me"
Subject: Wedding

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your email.

As you might imagine, Jack receives tons of requests to perform at private events and weddings and he’s not able to accommodate them all. On this particular date his schedule is already committed.

Congrats to you both and thanks for listening to Jack!

Best regards,
Tom Chauncey

We’re devastated Jack and Kim aren’t able to make it. ;-)

Great work from Mr Chauncey though with his prompt reply. A good look for Jack Johnson’s profile. Good management...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hot date!

A pic of Clare out at breakfast...loving it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A tale of two Thailands

Clare and I are currently trying to align all the planets to ensure the various elements of invitation design, stock sourcing and printing come together into a celestial proposal to rival the big bang.

Doing it in a foreign country has proved somewhat challenging, with the language and cultural barriers yet again providing us with the kinds of experiences I look forward to looking back on and laughing about in the years to come.

Clare has been bearing most of the weight, so I can't complain too much.

Which is why I'm sitting here blogging from the comfort of a supple white leather couch in an innercity beauty parlour, while Clare's face is morphed into something resembling an overripe mango.

The yin and yang of Asia...

Money money money

I'm at Money Expo in Pattaya, 2hrs south of Bangkok. Money Expo is like the Las Vegas of banking where everyone but Tom Jones himself looks to entertain the masses with deals on home loans and mutual funds.

Riveting stuff.

I was able to do a few cool things this morning though. Like meet Thailand's Finance Minister. And get a personalized debit card mocked up by one of my client's rivals.

Loving the panda in the tutu...