30th Nov2011

New York in an Almost Year

by Dorothy

Random quick bits about thoughts and The City from Q1-3:

I guess there is a certain vibe, a certain stigma about New York City. It’s a city on overdrive and it will and can fry your senses if you’re not careful. Mentally, physically, literally, metaphorically.

The city is a curious mix of architecture marvels with history and people. From the eco friendly Hearst Tower, the dimly lit chanderliered entrance of the Royal Palace Hotel, eclectic little shops in Soho and the Lower East Side to the rather sterile concrete buildings of Wall street. The Brooklyn Flea houses a collection of quirky little trinkets and items, and itself is housed in a stately building that was converted from a bank; a stark dichotomy.

Graffiti here is spontaneous and in the oddest of places, narrow subway underground tunnels the top of buildings, each a defiant testament to the people who claimed the space as their own. Not in a tightly controlled environment where a canvas is laid out in front of a curious audience. Like at the Night-festival in Singapore, anyone? Cough. I think that defeats the purpose of it. Don’t think the organizers understood the essence behind graffiti. The only people who should see graffiti being created should be the artists and their friends. Watching it appear in front of you, in a space dictated with crowds of curious spectators watching, with no element of risk, danger or mystery as expected just takes away the soul and experience of it.

I could do a photo series entitled subway trash of still lives – even the trash here somehow manages to look like a still-frame out of a movie.

Ben Stiller walked past us one weekend morning, apparently.

The size of rats vary with the parts of the city – the big black mean ones reside in Manhattan; small furry ones are found on the outskirts. The friendly mouse looking ones live in the Jersey PATH trains. 🙂

If you are anticipating a long subway commute, you probably want to switch your iPhone off while underground if you don’t want to find your batttery at 60 % even before the day has started. Why there has been no serious motion to actually get reception that works well underground or even in various buildings is beyond me. It is kind of like the weekend commute, when basically, the best thing is to expect nothing out of the subway reliability.

Sirens are your lullabies. You grow accustomed to it. The police and fire engines are just, everywhere.

Phones are socially taboo (at least it seems so at most eating spots) or maybe it’s a function of the crazy bad reception. People are engaged with each other here, and with time being such a precious commodity, one notices that cellphones are hardly the focus and the ones whom you meet grant you their attention, for choosing to spend the time.

Colours do not exist in the NYC fashion palette in winter. Everyone wears black black and more black even though the racks have a staple of black, white, red and the occasional electric blue. Who dictated that fashion has to mirror the season? Even within the line at JFK, I was standing out in a bright and (too) happy red.

Unaccustomed to the landscape so distinctly mirroring the seasons, visual cues start to hint to me the arrival of spring. Lighter coats, rain boots, slight colours, (short) skirts. People complain about the heat but hardly ever about the skirts. Do they not see the necessity of the former for the latter to materialize? Thank goodness for the cheeriness of Summer.

The city is edgy, fast paced, if that is your type of fun. Small enclaves of communities exist and in time, I intend to explore these when I’ve gotten my wings fixed. Sometimes the cashier mistakes me for Korean and rattles musically about the items I’m ringing up until I give a polite “I don’t understand you” in English. At other times Korean guys remark really loudly “a Chinese” as I’m trying to get up the steps to dinner in Ktown. I am unsure of the correct response to this so I do nothing save roll my eyes. Ethnicity seems to be a topic of conversation with random people taking bets as to whether you are Korean or Chinese in the most random of places.

Definitely pay more attention to your Chinese lessons if you are still in school, especially if you want to order take out from Ctown. Actually, make that if you want to order food in general. D:

Outside of the tourist belt, there are hardly any children, teenagers or too many old folk. Everyone seems to float around the college age to the young working professionals. And then there are the others, who seem to have decided that being perpetually in Peter Pan mode is their thing. Over 45 and still living like recklessly 25 is just a little creepy. Just sayin’.

There is also the distinction between “the tourists” and “New Yorkers”. Tourists are roadblocks, the grown up children who still find delight in every cranny of the New York environment. New Yorkers are past that – police road blocks and a barrage of media vans and satellite for Osama’s capture or “that IMF guy” being held in an undisclosed location in lower Manhattan? Just part of everyday life, now will you please, not hog the sidewalk so I can get to my cup of coffee/work/you get the idea? Your local news is global here. Something is always happening; somewhere.

I love how people actually care about stuff here.
Photobucket


Photobucket Chivary is alive and well in the city because here is nothing more odd in their senses for a girl to be carrying a shelf on the streets.  People have also been awfully kind to help me move my furniture that I got from them, so maybe I have just been lucky so far. You can get quite a lot out of a conversation in the 30 minutes while moving your desk. So awfully DIY, but just one of those things you do before you succumb to the instant gratification that is Amazon. On an aside, if one ever contemplated never ever having to leave your house, Amazon could fulfill all your hermit aspirations.

Door holding is nice and I hardly get any slammed in my face if I am within close proximity. Anyone who has tried to get into a lift in SG with plently of space, only to have the door closed on you because everyone was too apathetic to press the Open Button will understand this. It’s the little things that count.

What’s better than holding the subway door seconds just before it closes, is having two young teenage guys hold it open for you, upon seeing your approach and not even missing a beat in their conversation rhythm. Equally heartening is having a random stranger call out to you when you are at the far end of a corridor which only leads to an elevator, just so they can wait for you to enter.

Well, obviously there are rude people as well, but perhaps the word is not so much of rude than brash.
Weather is a huge factor here because it dictates your life. It’s the first time weather reports are actually accurate or important. The coats change with the seasons, and rain coming horizontally at you renders normal umbrellas useless. Let’s not even talk about the winds.

Things will go on even if it rains. At the Rooftop films, the organizers quipped that “We’re tough , we’re New Yorkers”, and the show went on. Seats were kept and folded after the show by each member of the audience, ” just so a lot of us can get out there faster”.

PhotobucketThe weather is unapologetically capricious and erratic – winter seemed never ending with the fresh white snow quickly morphing into black piles of slush. There was a brief dalliance with spring and upturned umbrellas. People marginally freaked out over the earthquake aftershocks. Hurricane Irene brought the City to a standstill whilst everyone went stir crazy being confined indoors. Coming from a country with NO natural disasters, you realize you have no clue what to actually do, but you get by. It snowed in Autumn and this surprised the trees in Central Park and many of them broke under the weight.

 

 

It seems counter intuitive to find contentment in a restless city, but that’s what New York can offer you, amongst a whole lot of other things. Transience is the only staple. The city has a routine of constant change, and possibilities in anything you believe in, if, of course, you search it out. Or maybe it might find you instead.

 

The City will speak to you, if you listen to it. The same City, but somehow in a different language for everyone.

 

^ And more photos, only because they remind…

24th Jul2011

Illustration : Cityscape

by Dorothy

City-SG-110101-12.21

 

City-NYC-110724

It’s been a while since I posted, but I’m most definitely still alive. Between relocation to a new city and other transitions, many things have been going on in the work and personal front.

Nevertheless, here’s a little something that was started in January this year, and only just finished. So continues my affinity for cityscapes, in two different versions (SG & NYC), with the usual mix of traditional pencils + digital photography and Photoshop. I’m really not too sure about that brick wall in the SG version, hardly anything is brick in Singapore. Glass seems to encapsulate the spirit of the city better as well.

Thought it might be fun to have a before and after, so…. original pencil sketch as below too. Hope you guys like it & I should be back to writing and more soon enough.

 

Also, 500 Sheets of Ink, and then some.

04th Nov2010

iLike ; iLight Marina Bay

by Dorothy

It’s been quite some time since any exhibit in Singapore caught my eye, but I’ll have to say that the iLight Marina Bay installations definitely piqued my interest. I made it to each and every one of the 25 pieces of creativity and loved it!

I had the pleasure of running into Mary-Anne, who’s the festival director, all the way from Bondi and she shared some behind the scenes snippets of everything. It’s pretty interesting how she highlighted the need for entrance fees to a lot of the exhibits and events in Singapore – maybe this differs quite a bit from other places? Never quite noticed it, tbh.

She also spoke about soul, and passion (or perhaps the lack thereof in some situations), something that I had to agree with her. Sometimes things can get a little too clinical, too restrained around here. Until the generation learns, we’ve just got to live with it I guess. I constantly miss the ease that one can strike up a random conversation overseas, small talk, and all that jazz.

Sustainability was another thing – Fullterton had been supposed to turn of the lights to offset the energy usage from all of the installations, but somehow this wasn’t happening <?>. Pity, because the initiative definitely had a good intent. Even the paper fans that were distributed, on “paper from sustainable forest sources”.

I loved how there seemed to be a mixture of planned and unplanned interactions going on. There were some workshops at One Fullterton, where people were apparently turning plastic bottles into art. Photography buffs with their tripod and camera gear all around, snapping away. Curious gazers who just happened to wander in – the families, the couples, the accidental tourists on their own home turf, those experimenting with the technology capturing and projecting their images in a mosiac pattern on the screen….

Love the iphone App loading image too! I love the sketchy style and the mood of it, and the little plays of light. This proved really useful when trying to navigate through and planning the exploratory route. 🙂

You can check out more info here. I believe there are guided tours for those who want some directions, else its really much more fun if you take your own time to explore the area and just enjoy the scenery, literally.

Apart from mistaking another light installation at the Marina Barrage as the actual artwork itself, which was kind of hilarious..the only other thing was the haze which obscured some of the view on Day 1, but Day 2 was much better. It’s a bit of a stretch to try and cover everything in a day, but definitely worth it.

It’s on till the 7th of November, so if you haven’t caught it, you really should. I recommend the stretch from the Customs House all the way to Marina Bay Sands, where most of my favourites were concentrated. Awesome stuff!

13th Jul2010

National Parks: Love Green Messaging

by Dorothy

I was walking along East Coast Park for the SITF Beach Clean Up Day, when I spotted these posters by N Parks.

Love Green by you.

  by you.

At first glance, very cute, nicely done graphics, right down to the psuedo 3D shadows. I only have one issue with all this. The dustbin seems to play a major role in all this, rather than the people who actually contribute to litter. In the second picture, we even see a jogger hurling a piece of trash flippantly onto the pristine beach.

While the message is to “Help keep our parks clean for all to enjoy”, why is the responsibility of doing so left to an inanimate object? All this only points more to a culture that expects, probably even assumes someone will clean up after them.

16th Jun2010

CommunicAsia: Skype

by Dorothy

Popped by the Skype booth at CommunicAsia with a bunch of other bloggers, thanks to the folk over at XPR! Loved the booth, which was like a breath of fresh air and probably the most well designed amongst the others at the exhibition.

CommunicAsia: Skype booth

Branding wise, these guys have got it down…from the almost irreverent and fun decorations (think rainbows, clouds and synthetic grass) to the friendly staff that were hanging around the booth.

All this extends to Skype-blue Slushees, and the iPhone case….All great talking points as well.

CommunicAsia: Skype Slushee

CommunicAsia: Skype iphone Case

CommunicAsia:  skypetv

“You’re on Skype TV!”

CommunicAsia: Peter Parkes

Peter, one of the faces of the social media team, whom you can also find over on the Skype blogs.

_______________________________

Curious about the Skype story in online conversations in Singapore, this is what was came up in terms of the top discussed themes/buzz clusters in relation to the Skype brand name.

Unsurprisingly, Skype is strongly associated with functions like Video Conferencing and Calls.

  • Video Conferencing/Video Calls
  • Mobile Phones: Given that mobile usage is increasing, the fact that Skype is often mentioned in conjunction with mobile phones isn’t all that surprising.

Phone Models discussed

  • iPhone 4 /Apple iPhone : Interestingly enough, there were separate conversation themes for the iPhone 4 versus generic chatter on the Apple iPhone itself, possibly double the share of voice for the iPhone compared to other phone models.
  • Windows Phone 7 : There was a previous rumour floating around that Skype wouldn’t be developing for the Windows Phone 7 but that has since been cleared up over at ZDNet Asia.
  • HTC Touch
  • BlackBerry
  • Motorola

Communication Centric:

  • SMS
  • MSN
  • Social Networking
  • Facebook – Skype was also one of the top Web 2.0 brands often mentioned together with the likes of other communication options like MSN and Yahoo!.


“We have cellphones if its important, and email, IM and Skype if its not.” – a post from The Singaporum Forum.

Skype for “not important” calls. Issue or non issue?

“Erm i normally use skype to call my friends during gameplays… Not really used for overseas purposes. ” – Hardwarezone Forum.

While Skype might be utilized heavily by the overseas crowd ( I know I would!), it’s interesting to note that gamers might also be an alternative target audience in their messaging. Not something that immediately comes to mind.

_______________________________

Also saw that the Skype business solutions offering was given a counter of its own at the booth. Skype still seems to be resonating with the average consumer online, but it will be interesting to see how their branding might translate to serious enterprise customers, and the impact or effect, if any.

Full Disclaimer: All buzz clusters phrases were taken from Brandtology’s (where I work!) Digital Conversation Workbench.

Other official pictures from the event here! : Skype Twitter Accounts

20th May2010

Upcoming: Social Networking World Forum – Asia (Singapore) 2010 – See you there!

by Dorothy

Social Networking World Forum(SWNF) – Asia …back (and better) for this year! There’s even a ticker on the new look website counting down! Honoured to be one of the media partners for this event. Attended the  SNWF Asia last year, and had a blast, thanks to the great team at Six Degrees. Guess this is one event that’s gaining traction and looking forward especially to the discussions (more Asia-centric case studies please) and sharing by others in the field.


“Brands often struggle with social media and the danger is to view it as just another marketing channel. Many realise it’s a completely different approach to interacting with consumers, building communities, integrating social CRM strategies and more. Much understanding still needs to be undertaken into consumer engagement, and the long term value social media can bring to brands.” commented Ian Johnson, MD Six Degrees Events.

Event Info

Leading Asian brands will be discussing the latest in social media marketing, social CRM, social search, community building and the role social media plays within their organisation. The Social Media World Forum (SMWF) Asia running on the 22/23rd September at Suntec, Singapore (www.socialmedia-forum.com/asia) will showcase the leading social media trends taking place in Asia through a combined conference and exhibition.

The event will examine who the key social media influencers are in the Asian community, and the major trends in the likes of China, Singapore and Indonesia. It will look at how Asian marketers are realising the potential of social media and the role it will play in their future success, along with key emerging social media tracking tools.

Speaker Line up Teaser

• Pooja Arora, Brand Manager, P&G
• Nicki Kenyon, Vice President, Digital Marketing APMEA, MasterCard Worldwide
• Reynold D’Silva, Global Brand Marketing Manager, Unilever
• Blake Chandlee, VP & Commercial Director, EMEA, Facebook
• Damien Cummings, SMB Online Director – Asia Pacific & Japan, Dell
• Lito S. German, Marketing Director, BMW Group Asia
• Argha Sen, Head of Marketing & CRM, Toys R Us
• Fotini Paraskakis, Director of Production, Fremantle Media Asia
• Derek Yeo, Head of Marketing, Tiger Airways

Early Booking Discount Ends 21st Aug 09…As I’m a partner with the event you can receive a 25% discount on delegate passes to Social Media World Forum Asia 2010. All you have to do is quote ‘dorothypoon.com’ when you register. Here’s the registration link. http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/asia/register/conference And this year’s agenda!

Drop me a note / Tweet if you’re going to be there.  🙂 Catch up then!

20th Apr2010

Mobile Marketing Association Forum 2010: Singapore – An alternative Blog Post…

by Dorothy
Spent a couple of days last week at the #MMAF2010 and decided to do a different version of a blog post on the event! So here are my exceedingly Twitter centric slides below… Enjoy! 🙂
Just also wanted to give a very huge shoutout to the great team at Ricecomms for the invite & a wonderfully organized event, you can view their press releases here and here.
Really appreciated the making sure that we had power, internet ( all the essentials for Tweeting/Blogging/list of Tweeps/Speakers & what not….), standardized and clearly communicated #hashtag, and even Tweets that shared relevant links throughout the session.  Great stuff!
02nd Apr2010

Social Media – Moving forward…

by Dorothy

It’s kind of past the season where people throw up new ideas of what the future entails (this seems to happen largely towards the end of the year, because for some reason, the new year seems to trigger the sort of “what’s coming next” type of thoughts. Though if you think about it hard enough, it doesn’t really make sense since every day or any day is a good time to attempt some crystal ball gazing. But I digress.

I was at the HP #futureis event earlier this year, and there were many interesting presentations given by the various folk who shared. And yet, right now, while the whole Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare phenomenon has taken various parts of the world by storm, sometimes it easy to forget that there are many out there who still mainly stick to good old fashioned email, and surfing websites. So what constitutes this whole “social media” concept, anyway? It probably means different things to different people, and just when you think that you’re starting to understand the landscape, it moves again. We’re probably not even scratching the surface of what could possibly be done with all the information we have, and even trying to make sense of the upcoming trends in the scene.

Real time is so Yesterday; Predictive Analytics is the Now <?>

Last year around this time, the chatter was all about the real time phenomenon and how microblogging sites like Twitter could contribute to this. A year later, Twitter still surfaces in conversations, but now we’re looking into something that I’ve recently become very interested in – using past and present data to predict the future. Apparently, Twitter can even predict box office revenues of Hollywood movies, better than some established standards. All this is inherently fascinating to me, and something I’d love to explore more. The end of the research pretty much sums up the importance of this.

At a deeper level, this work shows how social media expresses a collective wisdom which, when properly tapped, can yield an extremely powerful and accurate indicator of future outcomes.

So effectively, this could apply to product launches, electorial campaigns (as the paper highlights) and all sorts of other CRM related issues.

What is Privacy?

On top of that, the definition of privacy continues to evolve as well. I’ll have to say that the behaviours linked to Foursquare still border on stalkerish creepy at times, and other sources like Facebook house such an incredible amount of (mostly accurate and genuine) data about demographics, user interests and the like, it’s seriously hard not to see this as a gold mine for marketers/advertisers. Imagine the conclusions that could be drawn from all this information.

What goes viral? Some good folk at UPenn/Wharton have published some research studying the list of the most emailed articles on the NYtimes that suggests that positive, rather than negative news is more viral (all those in PR can heave a sigh of relief) and that “useful” information is more likely to be shared, given that these could enhance connections with others. That goes for awe (inspiring) stories too. The generalizability of the results is a little suspect, given that it was largely confined to the readers of the NYtimes.com, and those who actually use the email function, but interesting nonetheless.

Share Prices & the Bottomline Another angle that has surfaced recently has been the effort to try and measure some real world impact of social media. We have the entire situation with Nestle and the impact of the Facebook debacle on it’s share prices. Zilch, at least according to this article. My sensing is that this is largely to do with the nature of the conversation. I do not deny it’s importance, but CSR for the most part, has been a tricky component to compute in terms of tangible profits. Perhaps it might have been different, should the issue have centered around an actual product, or service deficit. ROI is a tricky thing to nail down, one simplistic formula would probably not be able to encompass all the variables to be taken into account.

These are just some random musings that have come up… More about some other trends and thoughts on those in the next post! 🙂

05th Sep2009

Behind the Great Firewall of China…

by Dorothy

I’ve spent the last week or so being intermittently barred from all of my usual haunts online, but it has been interesting so far.

The plane ride to China was within a bearable threshold, unlike the grueling 24 hour journeys to the USA.  I am entertained by the H1N1 cartoon they’ve created, the animated characters looking like a Chinese New Year food product advertisement rather than a warning about the disease that has affected people worldwide.

I survive the taxi journey from the airport during which the driver weaves in and out of trucks the size of Optimus Prime. Privately, I suspect he fancies himself as auditioning for 2 Fast 2 Furious, because he drives like (well, a taxi driver…) he is behind the wheel of a Forumula 1 Vehicle.

IMAG0067The next morning, I am having breakfast in the hotel, and something is having my foot for breakfast. I later spot the culprit – a lone Hangzhou mosquito hovering around and having eaten it’s fill, finds its business elsewhere. My foot bears the only trace of its presence. The breakfast area plays Christmas saxophone songs and I think of snow. End of the week, I realize that that same CD basically plays everyday, at any of the eating haunts, and repeatedly from morning to night.

Despite the revolving doors at the entrance which usually hint to me of freezing cold weather, it has been pretty much “like Singapore” and not “hotter than Singapore” as I had been forewarned. Maybe I have some sort of luck with the weather right now, because it has apparently been raining in Singapore since I left. Perhaps then, my perception of this place is somewhat different from the rest, because talking to the locals gets me the information that this is an uncharacteristically cool bout of Summer weather we are experiencing.

The office here is seriously swanky, with a pantry area that looks like a cafe, LCD screens mounted on the ceiling and kick ass conferencing equipment. I love the happy colours, and the chinese logo is a nice touch on the introductory wall that greets everyone who steps in.

Till then, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, Youtube, Blogger are amongst the sites that I’ve been unable to access in certain places….

unfamiliar

Facebook reassures me that they “take my privacy seriously” with their investigation that I really am who I am, since I’ve not  logged in from this location before. I wonder if this happens only in China, because I didn’t get the same screen in the USA.

More on the great firewall of China (and Iran for that matter) here and some other interesting insights on the other parts of China.

Because, I can imagine from the sheer size of this country, there are many Chinas within the whole, and what I’m seeing is barely scratching the surface of what it is like in all the other cities and provinces.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
27th Jul2009

National Day Parade ’09 Preview

by Dorothy

P7250790

A pictorial post.

It was interesting to see how the choreographers used the sea, sky and land as their canvas. Symmetry of formation was almost impossible, and the construction works for the bridge and IR in the background marred it somewhat.
Still, an interesting show nonetheless!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pages:123»