i can never figure these things out

Small bruise on my leg
I wonder where you came from?
Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch.

text 100 won ‘technology campaign of the year’ for nokia insider! well done you!

Many months ago, I received an e-mail from one David Lian. He introduced himself as a rep from a PR company about to launch a campaign for a major client involving bloggers. To this day, I am very happy that he thought enough of me and my blog to contact me, because he and the programme has definitely made my life more interesting.

The PR company turned out to be Text 100, the client turned out to be Nokia (M), the campaign turned out to be ‘Nokia Insider’ and David Lian turned out to be an enthusiastic and seemingly capable young man who knew what he was talking about. I was intrigued, I listened to what he had to say, then I said yes.

Further discussions led to more eye-opening ideas and actions. It was the first time I’d encountered a PR company with a client easy-going and open-minded enough about the state of blogging and the blogosphere. Anyone who has dealt with PR and corporate people should be well aware of the traditional rules — if it’s good tell everyone; if it’s bad, tell only us. The one thing that impressed me the most was Text 100 and Nokia’s attitudes — in a nutshell, if you want to blog about it, go ahead. If you don’t, no drama. If you want to write good stuff about it, yay. If you want to write bad stuff about it, please feel very free to do so. Maybe the rules have changed a little since last year, but they are definitely the first in the country (that I’ve personally encountered) to embrace this free-will idea ;)

So I was sincerely happy and excited for David and the entire Text 100 team when they won the ‘Technology Campaign of the Year’ for the Nokia Insider programme at the Malaysia PR Awards 2008 last night. They came out tops against an Edelman campaign for Windows Live, and another Text 100 campaign for Norton Antivirus. Major props to Hazel, Joanne and the rest of the Nokia team for taking such a risk with the campaign and the PR team. Thanks also for the good will, laughter, knowledge, opportunities and free booze friendships. Much appreciated :)

A couple of months ago, David off-handedly mentioned the award, and asked if I could help write a testimonial for their campaign submission. I agreed, forgot about it, remembered at the very last minute and wrote a long ass testimonial detailing my experience as a Nokia Insider. I hope it’d helped, and here’s what I wrote (because it took a while for me to put everything together almost coherently and I don’t want to waste it!).

Again, congratulations!

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.

Note: Mobile phones owned and used up till now:
1) Really old Nokia phone that was yellow in colour and could kill a dog if I flung it its way
2) Samsung flip phone
3) Nokia butterfly phone
4) Nokia 6610
5) SE K750i
6) Nokia N95
7) Nokia N82

To be honest, I’ve never really been interested in mobile phone development and news. In a way, I was very resistant to new things; for example, during the earlier part of this decade when the first mobile phone equipped with a built-in camera was commercially-available, I’d scoff and tell anyone who’d care to listen that if I wanted a camera, I’d get a digital camera. I was very insistent that mobile phones were meant for only text and calls.

Well, the technology kept improving, and the built-in cameras became better. So in the middle of the decade, I bought a Sony Ericsson K750i because I had a credit card with a very impressive credit limit. That was when I discovered that a mobile phone can be used for a lot more things other than calls and text. But it was still a phone to be used, nothing more.

A couple of years later, I was invited to participate in a blogger programme by Nokia. I have been blogging for a few years now, and at that time have appeared in various local media for my blogging efforts. I suppose that was one of the reasons why I was selected.

A rep from Nokia’s agency e-mailed me via my blog. He identified himself properly and sounded friendly enough, so I said yes to a casual meet-up. During that meeting, he briefly demonstrated what his Nokia N95 could do, and I was duly impressed. Unfortunately a lot of the cool things involved using a 3G service, and that service was out of my budget at that time. Still he roped me into the programme and I received a Nokia N95 in the process.

After a month of so of receiving the phone, I called up my mobile service provider to subscribe to their 3G service.

The first Nokia Insider-related event that I attended was a dinner at Bangsar, with Mr. Mahmood Kalantar. There I was introduced to Nokia-ians such as Hazel and Dinesh. That was also when I learned about the Symbian 60. Maybe I am a bit slow in some things, but during Mahmood’s presentation, I realised that mobile phones are built on assorted operation systems, not unlike the desktop! Once I made the connection, I realised that there are so many things that could be done on the S60 platform and it’s all very interesting and exciting to learn! It’s like being introduced to Reeses’ Pieces for the first time.

From then on, I started to read up on mobile phone operating systems and the works. Just generally though, but enough to give me an idea of things. From time to time, I’d have conversations with people from the Nokia agency — be it phone troubleshooting, mobile phone industry growth, decline and/or development and new offerings in the market. It is always fun to learn something new and I enjoyed soaking up every bit of knowledge. Something such as a firmware update could get me excited for days.

I was also invited to participate in the Nokia Wireless Adventure II – Soul of the Night race. It was a delightful experience where I paired up with a team mate; we stayed up rather late at night to fiddle and play with the Nokia N82 that we would be using during our race, and had long discussions on how to use this function, that feature etc for any extra advantages that we’d need to win. By the way, we won. First prize. ;)

These days, I rely a lot on my N82 to… uhm, get on with my daily life. Most of the time I use it to check and reply my e-mails, to get onto instant messengers, surf the web, etc. I also recently installed QIK, an application to stream live videos via mobile phones. When me and my friends go out, we’d invariably discuss certain things. I can’t begin to tell you how easy and effective it is to whip out your mobile phone, get on-line, go to certain websites or YouTube to prove your point. The number of applications made for the S60 also amazes me; one such application is BLOOVE to synchronise my contact list to the website. True that you can update your contact list and other stuff via the PC Suite, but you never know when your PC will fail you.

To talk about N-Gage will be another long paragraph, so let’s just leave it at ‘waiting for something or someone is not as painful as it once was’.

From the time I said yes to the programme until now, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed attending and participating in the activities and events held by Nokia and its agency. It has changed the way I see and use a mobile phone, and it also gained me more friends. Another plus is that I got to see how the agency approaches bloggers and how they planned/ made their mark in the blogosphere. Respectful, open-minded, non-intrusive, open conversations, accepting, appreciative and welcoming of both positive and negative feedback and comments.. I don’t want to seem being sycophant here (and I’m not!) but that’s truly my personal experience. It is very refreshing to see them take such a bold and unusual approach (at least here in Malaysia), and I’m very happy and proud that I gained so much from their initiative.

- Suanie

i find humour in mundanity

Suanie: Am watching The Tudors now
Someone: That’s supposed to be a funny show about a rice family, no?
Suanie: Erm…
Suanie: King Henry…

singapore dec ’08 – brewerkz

So when I said I was going to park my arse at Brewerkz all night long, I meant that I was going to park my arse at Brewerkz all night long. Am very happy that my friends like me enough to accommodate my request :D

Just some quick photos though, because they say a thousand words ;) Also because I am thinking of how and what to write on ‘Muallaf’, seeing that it is likely to be more important than frivolous blogging about alcohol.

Singapore Dec '08 - Winnie at Brewerkz
Winnie with our golden ale tower

Singapore Dec '08 - Dr Buckaroo and Suanie
Me with Dr. Buckaroo. Won’t see him for a while, as he’s leaving the continent…

Ah Seng came by and brought me a bottle of his home brew. Seriously, the dude should open his own brewery. It was a lot better than golden ale!

Singapore Dec '08 - Suanie with Edwin's home brew
Me with Ah Seng’s precious home brew

As mentioned earlier, I saw Yoon Kit on the same flight to Singapore. He and a couple of friends managed to drop by that night.

Singapore Dec '08 - Edwin, Suanie and YK at Brewerkz
Ah Seng, me and Yoon Kit

Maybe the reason I didn’t suck so much on the Brand’s Blogger Challenge was thanks to the golden ale and Ah Seng’s home brew. Heheh.. what? Some people’s version of nourishment is different, you know ;)

BTW I would like to plug Data Domain. They are like, so awesome that you should go and check it out right now. They are so great, it’s ridiculous how great they are!

They also paid for booze Kthxbai!

brand’s blogger challenge: 1st runner-up, second place, number 2

… also known as “WE LOST!” Well, it was not totally unexpected. Ya lah, sure you think that I’m only saying that because we lost. Well, check with my other team members if you don’t believe me :P

BRAND'S Blogger Challenge - 01 Team Malaysia at breakfast
Me, KY, Red Mummy, Sultan Muzaffar and Babe in the City‘s other half, KK

The organisers put us up at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront hotel, and we met for breakfast on Wednesday morning. Had a short briefing, then off we went to Geek Terminal. Apparently it’s a popular cafe for events, and they serve awesome coffee. Turns out to be Illy.

There we met with members of Team Singapore – EastCoastLife, Sheylara, Aaron, Mr. Endoh and Wilfrid. EastCoastLife is the marketing director for MENSA Singapore. If that doesn’t scare the shit out of you when it comes to mental challenges like these and you are on the opposing team, I don’t know what will.

After a short presentation – an overview of the Asia Mental Performance Survey that was conducted by BRAND’S in 2007, the host introduced all 10 members from the two teams. There’d be 7 rounds of games to test our… uh, mental alertness :P And off we went!

BRAND'S Blogger Challenge - 02 Team Malaysia
Team Malaysia. Photo shamelessly nicked from Wilfred

Round 1: Unscrambling alphabets to form words. At this point, I was like, whaa… Where was the logic puzzle that I’d tried to brace myself for? So this is going to be like flash games or certain Facebook apps lah? Hah! Not that it would make things easier, but it’d definitely be less embarrassing. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather be embarrassed from not knowing how to unscramble words than not knowing the square root of 50. Punca kuasa dua I know lah.

Round 2: Math questions, a.k.a. my 2nd worst nightmare .The first would be a horrifying ghost with a tragically disfigured face chasing me down an empty road at night. Then I’d keep running and screaming and crying because most ghosts can fly and I can’t, so I’d automatically be at the losing end. But I don’t remember the ghosts wanting to kill or eat me or anything; they seemed happy by just scaring my wits out.

BRAND'S Blogger Challenge - 03 Team Singapore
Team Singapore. Photo shamelessly nicked from Wilfred

Round 3: Watch a BRAND’S commercial, then re-arrange 5 screen shots in sequence. Tembak only lah.

Round 4: Guess the words. E.g. 18 H on a G C = 18 HOLES on a GOLF COURSE. Funniest part was 12 S of the Z, and KK answered, “12 STRIPES OF THE ZEBRA”. Stunned, then laughter all around :P

Round 5: Boggle! Or at least a variation of. We didn’t do so well on this one, heh.

BRAND'S Blogger Challenge - 04 Team Malaysia pretending to be thoughtful
Team Malaysia, me pretending to be thoughtful. Photo shamelessly nicked from Wilfred

Round 6: Three bottles of BRAND’S, one contains a chicken, bottles of brands being moved around, guess which bottle contains the chicken. It’s a blink and miss thing. Nearly took my eyes out on this one.

Round 7: Watch a BRAND’S commercial, answer some questions such as, “how many friends were at the table?” If we hadn’t had known that we didn’t possess photographic memories, well… guess we found it out :P

The final score for Team Malaysia vs Team Singapore was 47:54. Not that bad lah, kan? Hahaha we did try lah… seriously… so, like that lor. Congrats to Team Singapore! Was very nice to meet you guys and girls. We had fun, yah? Can hang out if and when you come to KL :)

BRAND'S Blogger Challenge - 05 Suanie with BRANDS products
Me with part of my prize! Brand’s chicken essence and bird’s nest

For our efforts, we received a nice hamper filled with BRAND’S essence of chicken and bird’s nest. I gave it to my Pinky, because she really loves their essence of chicken. Plus it was her birthday not too long ago :P Also received S$120 each. Yayness!

Well, thanks to BRAND’S, Cerebos and Burson-Marsteller for having us. We had lots of fun! Thanks to Winnie for coming over to laugh at me provide moral support. Thanks to those from the media who turned up; some of you were funny :P. Was lovely meeting you, Rinaz and congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Thanks to assorted friends for messaging me in various forms ordering me to do well or else. Thanks to the Scots for inventing kilts; really helpful to those who are in possession of wonderful imaginations. Well, I’m just saying, hah.

And thanks to KY, Red Mummy, KK and Sultan Muzaffar for being awesome team mates!

BRAND'S Blogger Challenge - 06 Group photo
Group photo, shamelessly nicked from EastCoastLife

And that’s that :)