my rocket cometh a.k.a. jason mraz in kl

Jason Mraz in KL - with Suanie 01 Heh. I know some of you (mostly my friends) have been waiting for this post. Honestly I don’t quite know how to blog it. The whole experience has been surreal and I’ll mostly let the photos do the talking.

The photo on the left is pretty telling, no? :P

Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but I was at the press conference held at Delicious @ Dua on March 04, 2009. It was held before lunch time, a few hours before his scheduled concert later that night at Stadium Negara. He was very charming throughout the do, amiable and thoughtful; rather like what I’d expected him to be in real life. Not sure if I succeeded in keeping my cool (got an image to maintain and all that :P) but I hope it wasn’t too telling, heh. Was a bit funny when he was taken slightly aback by Reta‘s request to swap hats. Well, at least she tried!

Jason Mraz in KL - press con 05
Jason Mraz being asked a question by Serena C

After work, Reta, Horng and I went to town together. Got stuck in the traffic for a bit (thank you Horng for driving) and managed to get the last parking spot near a temple near Jln. Maharajalela. Walked uphill to Stadium Negara, queued up a bit to redeem tickets and proceeded to the pitt area. I guess Horng will tell you the story of his camera.

It was damn hot okay. We sat down and sweated until the man and his super band came on stage.

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 02 Michael sweating
A perspiring Michael

The first song he performed was ‘Make It Mine’. Then there were others. I wasn’t taking notes. I wasn’t dancing either, because I am not the dancing-at-concerts type. But I did truly and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Like I said, surreal.

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 04
Jason Mraz wants you to pass on some love to the world

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 10
Plucking away at his guitar

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 06 Suanie with Janice
Me with Janice

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 08 group
Group photo! Thanks Kenneth for snapping it

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 13
Jason Mraz loves KL. Original t-shirt design by RandomAttire

After the show (about 1 hour 15 mins), we went to Jln. Alor for supper.

Jason Mraz in KL concert - 16 Reta at supper
Reta with her usual pose

Thanks to Horng for accompanying me. Much love and thanks to Eyeris and Reta — you know what and why! I’ll still buy the beer!

Jason Mraz in KL - with Suanie 02
This one also quite telling, heh

*Full Flicker set of 23 photos accessible here

we can’t be friends if you own a pet chimp

Not a month ago was this woman in Stamford, Connecticut (in America, of course) who called 911, frantically begging for them to go over her house and shoot her pet chimp because he was ‘killing her girlfriend’. The 15-year old 90kg chimpanzee, Travis who had lived with owner, 70-year old Sandra Herold since infancy had brutally attacked Herold’s friend, 55-year old Charla Nash who was visiting Herold at her home. You can Google or YouTube for Herold’s 911 call which was released by the police department. It is rather horrific to listen to when you think of the poor friend lying on her back, her nose, face and jaw being bitten off by the chimp. News reports say that Nash may never recover, may go blind and may have permanent brain damage from the attack.

But seriously… wasn’t that a tragedy just WAITING to happen? I know people get attached to their pets and stuff, allowing them to sleep in the same bed at night and have mutual masturbation orgies all that, but we are mostly talking about dogs, cats and maybe the occasional gerbil. You know, animals that usually don’t literally eat your face.

Chimpanzees as portrayed in certain movies and TV shows are cute, intelligent, sensitive and almost human-like. They are. If I were to make my life’s decisions based on Hollywood movies, I’d get myself a pet chimp too because some humans can’t do better. However, chimpanzees are also wild animals, not to be domesticated. In general, they are 5 to 7 times stronger than us. They are naturally aggressive creatures. They have large, dagger-like, canine teeth. Chimpanzees in captivity are more dangerous than those in the wild because they learn that they are stronger than humans. All things considered, isn’t having a pet chimp akin to a ticking time bomb? Figuratively speaking, you are safer with a gorilla at home.

Not convinced that you are better off wasting away for the rest of your lonely, miserable life than to own a pet chimpanzee? How about the fact chimps have bitten off more fingers than you could ever hope to possess, and the only reason they don’t tell you this is because these chimps were kept in captivity for research reasons? Or that this particular chimp Travis bit another woman’s hand in 1996? She was also stupid lah, she tried to pet him. Not to mention that Herold had given Travis tea laced with Xanax earlier in the day because he was ‘acting up’. Actually no need for all that; just google for a list of chimpanzee attacks and maybe some people would understand why wild animals are called just that.

Actually I don’t know why I was so affected by this news. I read about it last night, and heard the 911 call. Then I was so dumbfounded that I couldn’t sleep till 3 a.m. Maybe that’s why.

what would you do in case of fire?

Panic? Be in a daze? Not sure what to do? Take a leaf out of KWSP’s book.

KWSP fire advisory

the obama magic is obama himself

I have to confess: I left the event feeling a bit underwhelmed. At any situation where the receiving party feels that way and is asked why, the answer would more often than not be along the lines of, “Not what I expected”, or “Nothing new there”, or “Rhetorical…”. It is a tad hard to pinpoint the exact reason, so I suppose I’ll do it in my usual go-around way.

Maybe there was a big picture that I failed to see. Maybe I missed out on something important during the first 10 minutes when I wasn’t there. Maybe the ideas I’d formed in my head about the seminar remain mine. Whatever it is, I sure was not the only one who felt that way.

Obama Magic in KL - Roger Fisk
Roger Fisk on stage. Sorry about the quality — I used zoom ‘cos I was lazy to move to the front

Roger Fisk was the former National Director of Special Events during president Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He told us about his job (or part of), how he went around the country scouting for locations for Obama’s speeches, how he had assorted campaign banners strategically placed for maximum media exposure to highlight locality, how they raised funds by charging very little money ($10 – $20) per ticket; in effect metamorphosing a stand-by supporter into a campaign investor. Every dollar helped Obama’s presidential campaign fund swell to a most impressive, record-breaking $600 million by Oct ’08. A photo slide show accompanied Fisk’s speech, with mostly images from his around-the-country journey.

What of the new media strategies? There was My.BarackObama.com (affectionately known as MyBO) where supporters could advertise their own fund-raising activities as well as communicate with other supporters, local or otherwise. This was created as early as January 2007, effectively allowing for microtargeting and to a point, narrowcasting. There was the use of Facebook, and I suppose I don’t have to spell out how it’s used seeing that most of you hold a Ph.D in that subject :P Fisk very briefly mentioned but did not elaborate on Twitter; if I remember correctly, he said something about the ROI (my own term) will only be seen in later months.

Obama Magic in KL - doodle
Here’s a doodle to break the text monotony

Would I be seen as arrogant if I say that I don’t see any of the strategies above as, for lack of a better word, magical? Well, I don’t mean to be. It was definitely radical, brave and inspiring. Unique? Definitely! I might as well have been describing Obama. Please bear with me while I attempt to translate my thought process to text. It’s all very simplistic and here, there, everywhere because succinctness is not part of my vocabulary.

  • Marketing campaigns work better if the product or brand is substantial. You have to admit that Product Obama is pretty damn good. You want in Malaysia also don’t have lah (please don’t feed me rubbish of [insert you-know-who's name here] is our Obama).
  • For ‘new media strategies’ to work, you need someone who gets it. I can’t imagine GWB, Hillary Clinton or McCain employing these methods because they are old skool. Obama twitters. McCain doesn’t use e-mail.
  • When my product beats your product and goes with the flow, the only problem I’d face with the website is whether the programmers understand how I want it to be built. I don’t see this as a major problem.
  • If I were in charge of location scouting, I’d darn well know how to utilise existing features and add on new ones to give my product the advantage. A lot of this is Journalism 101. One senior manager I spoke to during tea break said that this would normally (and expectedly) be handled by the advertising/ event management team.
  • In this day and age, if you are lobbying to be the most powerful man on the face of Earth, you’d better be communicating and listening to your supporters. I wonder why this is even a point at all. Maybe he was still selling Obama…
  • If you’d intently followed the presidential campaign, you’d already know a lot about what was said.

Actually there are a few more points that I sort of know that I have, but not really. See, the event was last Monday. Whatever strong opinions and views I had or voiced out or discussed with fellow attendees are mostly gone by now. If I’d delayed this post for another week, I wouldn’t have remembered anything at all, heh.

Obama Magic in KL - Suanie with Citizen Nades
Camwhoring with Citizen Nades. Why did he look the other way… why?!?

While I appreciate Fisk coming down to our neck of the woods to share his experience (which honestly must have been monumental, and I would so have loved to be in his shoes), it would have been rather nice if more emphasize and focus were given on the ‘new media strategies’ part. From what I’d gathered, that was largely the reason the attendees signed up. That was what the brochure said anyway ;) I would also love to have an insight on how the Obama on-line campaign (or presence) will carry on. Now that he’s president, the e-mail list of 13 million people can no longer be so freely used, as they were amassed for political purposes. Wonder if the team’s still trying to sell Obama winter hats

By the way, the Obama look-alike was unable to make it to the event as he was down with dengue.

Obama Magic in KL - Kim and Suanie with Zaid Ibrahim
Camwhoring with ZI and Kim. Why did he look the other way also :(

There were two panel discussions – one in the morning and one after Fisk’s afternoon session. The first one’s theme was “The Power of New Media”, panellists were Roger Fisk, Nadeswaran, Henry Tan (Astro COO) and Roy Tan (Carat Malaysia’s MD), moderated by Greg Paull (principal of R3 Asia-Pacific). Nadeswaran was… entertaining, heh. The second panel discussion’s theme was “Is There Hope For Change?”; panellists were Nadeswaran (back by popular demand), Datuk Vincent Lee, Datuk Kadir Jasin and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, moderated by Premesh Chandran (CEO, Malaysiakini). Interesting to see how ZI is hailed as a hero, at least by most of the attendees. Also a bit funny to see Fisk sit though the panel discussion, seeing how he wouldn’t have any idea about the micro-politicking going on in our country.

Basically a lot of talking, and talk is just… talk. Some people were IMHO condescending as well…

Despite my feeling a tad underwhelmed thingy, I have to give props to the organisers (Sledgehammer Communications which publishes ADOI & Marketing mag) for the well-run event. I’ll leave you with a video taken and edited by TV Smith and Daniel Tang. Me in the same video clip as Tony Pua, w00t! :P

Yah, it’s not an optical illusion. Yah, I know that I don’t have a chin. Really, I know.

what would you say to jason mraz?

As you, my mother and most likely the 416 friends on my Facebook probably know, I am going to watch Jason Mraz perform at Stadium Negara this evening. Since I’ll be standing at a (hopefully) close distance to the stage, Reta suggested that I make banners for Jason Mraz. Knowing how utterly lazy I am (coupled with a strange desire to maintain the last shreds of my dignity), I am not likely to sit down doodling away at giant cardboards with a marker pen. Besides, I have the artistic talent of Bigfoot.

Nevertheless Reta got me thinking: if I were indeed to make cardboard banners to be madly waved about at the concert (no doubt designated to entice the man into spotting my banner = spotting me = hopelessly + irrevocably fall in love with me = whisk me away to his home = get married = an idyllic lifetime of sex, money and great songs… good thinking there, me and the rest of the world!), what would my banner say? What words do I have worthy of a poet, whose music and lyrics make my heart soar with inexplicable joy, whose quirky wit and humour shine through his work and photographs, whose loop sided smile brings me back to my Mark Owen days*?

Here’s my short list:

  • I WANT TO BE YOUR RAW DIET
  • YOU ROCK MY UTERUS
  • PLEASE SNORE NEXT TO ME

Jason Mraz napping

  • DONATE TO THE CREATION OF MY FIRST-BORN?
  • THEY CALL ME MRS. MRAZ. I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER
  • OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

I think you get the idea. I’ll spare you from the rest of my sordid list.

Well then. What would you say to him?

Jason Mraz with a knife

* Great example of one’s past coming back to haunt her. My only advice – be very selective of whom you wish to be a fan of.