Grossed out at the #SochiGames? Be thankful you have #walls!

As the Olympic Games kick off, I can’t scroll through my social media feeds and not trip over a half dozen hilarious takes on the #sochigames.

Plagued with a +$50 billion bill, the Games have run afoul with sarcastic and humorous takes on the less than humorous accommodations and logistical horrors. The ring which did not light up? Hmmmm. How about the national costumes which pay homage to the rights of gays and lesbians to be part of the Games; subtle and classy, Greece. As the athletes gear up to win Gold for both their country and their sport, stories began pandering off… until I saw this one.

The horror to end all horrors. Hotel guests are complaining about Portraits of half naked Vladamir Putin. You know. The ones where this geopolitical heavy weight is fishing. Topless. Or riding a horse. Topless. Or…. no words….

Averting my eyes.

These bring me to the far more legendary menagerie of awesomeness simply named: Life in Russia. Each one is better than the last. Enjoy. And when my next birthday comes around, no Putin sheets, please.


Congrats: National Geographic Mag turns 125!

Who doesn’t envy and aspire towards the talent of the photographers who capture gorgeous picturesque landscapes, close up of a new species of insect in the Amazon or space exploration and experiments on the ISS? To celebrate the memorable 125 years, NationalGeographic.com has launched a photo blog, Proof which is edited by NationalGeographic.com director of photography Keith Jenkins. According to those on high, the idea of the blog is to take a “provocative and eclectic look” at National Geographic photography and the field overall.

Watch out as the blog will include “everything from how to edit down 60,000 photographs to 12, to which single item a photographer on a four-month assignment can’t live without.”

But don’t think it’s just the pros! Starting October 1, National Geographic plans to engage you, yes you, to participate on your first Nat Geo assignment for the magazine… this will be part of the photosharing-based #communityengagement platform (wow, that’s a mouthful!), Your Shot.

National Geographic magazine was first published in October 1888 as the official journal of the National Geographic Society, a nonprofit dedicated to funding science and exploration. Since then, the magazine has grown to 60 million monthly readers and has expanded to include the National Geographic Channel, which reaches 440 million households, as well as NationalGeographic.com, which has 27 million unique visitors each month.

Congrats on turning a venerable 125!


Canto Slang — Chok, Q and many more!

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE!

Local canto guru, Cecilie Gamst Berg recently wrote an entertaining piece in the South China Morning Post weekend mag about Canto slang – you know, the sort of stuff which is frowned upon in the office!

A highly entertaining piece about the language and more so, the cutlure. How many foreigners (white) do you know who speak it fairly proficently? Personally, I know a handfull of caucasions who speak Cantonese – and most have facinating stories as to how they got into their groove. As a “chok-san” overseas born Chinese, I am a child of two worlds and often learn from my friends (and awesome HK action movies) which keeps me up to date with the latest lingo. Everyday I continue to learn. But what about the thousands upon thousands trying at this very moment? Why is there, historically, such low retention rate?

Cecilie, who is a teacher and moonlights on RTHK’s Naked Cantonese programme, devels into this mystery with a lot of enthusiasm and hysterical humour while refuting many cultural ‘norms’ of the city. What makes this story special is the voice, the Hong Kong feel of the prose – fast pace and no nonense! Cecilie’s provocative and hillarious take on Cantonese seals the deal for learners and native speakers alike. It is a language which continues to bring new surprises. Her story shines a light onto a language which is not only proud of its roots, but also a language which continues to evolve. A must read for all Hong Kongers….

 


When to Work for Free (and when not to)….

Free? Who works for free in this town? The tough ethnic Chinese peasant inside me says: never! But the reality is that I am a big hearted person who loves to give back – same as the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers around who donate their valuable time each time to help others out.

So how does one balance “free” and “paid” work in our 24/7 work environment?

If it’s not for charity, working for free is not something I recommend. But the question begs: When should one work for free?

Interning: In Hong Kong, the free labour is illegal after the implementation of the minimum wage law. But in saying that, working for lowly wages is nearly free and something we have all done to gain experience. This would be an instance to apply this philosophy as one has to start from somewhere.

Clients:  In a business with new clients, there is a courting phase of give a take. A couple of times, even after we have won the pitch, there is still a further stage in the process.  For instances like this, I have implemented a ‘taster’ which gives the client a rough sketch with fleshed out examples of what we will do for them, but not the whole picture. This is strictly free and I see it more as an investment into building a successful relationship.

Charity: Strategy, content, websites, brochures, speaking gigs…. These are things which I have done for free in the past few weeks for issues and charities I believe in. There is a time to be giving away one’s services for free but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater! There are ways to leverage on the ‘free services’ as you give back but striving to do good comes from the heart so dig down and stay focused!

  • Networking: Pro Bono work is a great way to meet new clients while also getting to know the local scene – and help grow it. This is a perfect opportunity to ‘talk shop’ and be part of the change you want to see.
  • Branding: How about being positioned a ‘sponsor’ and getting your logo placed on their marketing material? Just being there, and having your name and your company’s name on their roster helps promote your brand.
  • Recruiting: Being part of the community connects you together with young up and coming talent. Take this opportunity to find your next winning business development manager or account manager.

While we are all focused on the P&L for each account, we need to sometimes come out of the well to take note of the rest of the landscape around us. Being connected to our community is important, as is growing your business year on year. Find a balance between the two and remember to give back, for free!


Movember + Prostate Cancer Awareness = Good Times

“My mo is coming along. By the end of the month, I will be able to Twirl it.”

This month is the perfect opportunity for you to grow that awful, itchy, offensive facial hair you’ve always wanted! The key is, you won’t get the living daylights kicked outta ya because… it’s for Charity!

To the amusement and oft times, horror of the many gorgeous ladies out and about town, it is Movember, our favourite month. This is when (feral) men, traditionally pilots and bankers, let their facial hair ‘down’ and pay homage to such trail blazers like Tom, Chuck and Salvador (for the folks who need a mo-dictionary: Tom Sellek, Chuck Norris and Salvador Dali).

The Movember trend has grown in recent years but I have yet to spot a Clark Gable mo, but instead, Hong Kong women are inundated with porn star handle bars, anchor man wanna bes and Hulk Hogan pro-wrestlers.

A couple of years ago, the global event started making serious dosh in Hong Kong when professional PR men took the reins and began the campaign heavily to raise serious money for serious business. This year, the event is on Day 12 and to date, there are 1,601 registered Mo’s…. who have raised a staggering HK$1,131,965.

“Guys taking part (Mo Bros) are helping to change the face of men’s health by effectively becoming walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by promoting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health,” wrote the Movember and Son’s Hong Kong page.

“Raising awareness and funds is vital because of the facts about prostate cancer in Hong Kong:

  • Over 1484 people are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Hong Kong each year
  • Prostate cancer is ranked No 1 in the rate of increase in new patients
  • The total number of prostate cancer cases have tripled in Hong Kong over the last 10 years
  • Life expectancy for women in Hong Kong is 86 and 80 for men”

Come support a Mo Bro and raise awareness about men’s health. I hope to see you at the rocking Gala Party to be held at Bisous!


Asia Contemproary Art Show – October 4th – 7th, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

For the last month, I’ve been working on conception, design, content and publishing of the inaugural Asia Contemporary Art Show catalog – to be held on October 4th – 7th at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The show will feature galleries and artists’ original paintings, limited editions, sculptures and photography – all displayed inside the hotel’s 12th, 14th and 15th floors.

I love how the art world is melding together home and galleries with the use of the hotel rooms. It brings something intimate and also unique to the art world which is renowned for its white walls and imposing spaces. As well, the affordability of the art itself encourages artists, connoisseurs and amateur collectors to participate in the new trends.

The show also features a Grand Prize (HK$50,000) and a People’s Prize (HK$25,000) where short listed entries and winners will be exhibited until October 14th on the Mezzanine Floor.

I hope to see you at Asia Contemporary Art Show 2012 – let me know if you need tickets!