Wishing You A Prosperous Chinese New Year 2017! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Here’s wishing you a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year for 2017! May it be filled with laughter, joy and prosperity in this Year of The Rooster! Perhaps most important of all, may you be blessed with wonderful family reunions and the strengthening of ties with family and loved ones… perhaps, the most important blessing of all.

This year is the first year in a long, long time – and definitely the first time ever since I’ve had a family of my own – that I’ve had to make plans and travel back to “home” to celebrate Chinese New Year. I recently took up a new job that required me to move, which has necessitated this new set of considerations to ensure that I am home for family reunions (similar to the American Thanksgiving celebration).

This has really underscored for me the importance of family. It’s too easy to defer these plans citing cost, time and logistical considerations (lugging multiple young children through the airport is not something any parent looks forward to). Logically, there could be very little reason to make the effort… but life is hardly logical.

This year, as per my annual effort, I present one of my favourite corporate/brand Chinese New Year greetings. This year’s comes from Uber Singapore with a lovely little short film that really resonates with me. It reminds us about the need to make an effort to maintain the ties that bind; especially when one is in the midst of the rat race.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

(Another notable effort is this one by JetStar – which I love because of the “real action” behind it. Of course, I still maintain that this my favorite Chinese New Year greeting commercial/TVC of all time by the beloved, and irreplaceable, Yasmin Ahmad, Malaysia’s darling storyteller.)

May happiness, wealth and prosperity follow you and your loved ones throughout the rest of the year! If you are traveling, please arrive safely.

新 年 快 乐, 万 事 如 意! 恭 喜 发 财!

Airline Company JetStar Wants You To Stay Home For Chinese New Year

Well played, Jetstar… well played.

Jetstar’s campaign for Chinese New Year is a reverse of its business model – but adds kudos to their brand image. To welcome the Year of the Rooster, JetStar wants people to stay home to celebrate the festivities with your loved ones.

The campaign is in response to the growing number of younger generation Singaporeans who are increasingly taking the opportunity to travel during the holiday season, despite it being the one time of the year families gather for reunions. So, Jetstar is taking a stand – put family first and stay home.

Social experiments like these may have been done before, but the real kicker is how Jetstar puts their money where their mouth is: For passengers who have booked flights departing Singapore on 27 and 28 January, and are now keen to stay home to enjoy get-togethers with family, Jetstar will move their  flights to a later date, for FREE.

Find out more about the campaign here.

Merry Christmas! Peace On Earth, Goodwill To All Mankind

An artist's impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: "British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches" (Source: Wikipedia)

An artist’s impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches” (Source: Wikipedia)

I heard this song over Spotify and fell in love with it.

The song, They Sang Silent Night, by Fiona Bevan lyrically tells the true story of an incident that occurred more than 100 years ago. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914 during World War One, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front.

It was known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.

While specifics are fuzzy, what is generally believed is that about two-thirds of troops – about 100,000 people – participated in the truce. Most accounts seem to indicate that the truce began as carols were sung from the trenches on Christmas eve. The next day, on Christmas morning in some locations, German soldiers emerged calling out “Merry Christmas” in English to Allied soldiers who came out and greeted them warily. Over the course of the day, soldiers exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. Some accounts also mention a British soldier having his hair cut by a German soldier who had been a barber before the war, while others mention impromptu soccer games with makeshift balls! Both sides also took the opportunity to bury their fallen.

As 2016 draws to a close, I can’t help but think about the timeliness of this event from over 100 years ago. The Christmas Truce of 1914 is a powerful and hopeful story of how humanity can rise to the occasion even during our darkest moments . We live in a world today endlessly barraged by war and suffering. My hope, to close out the year, is that we will truly make our way towards peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Read more about the Christmas Truce of 1914 here: Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914

Check out this Christmas ad inspired by the events of The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Sainsbury:

The Priest & Imam From That Amazon Ad Are Now Actual Friends

An ad for Amazon Prime making its rounds over social media features the friendship between priest and an imam. If you haven’t watched the spot, you should… essentially, they both discover they share the same problem and – through Amazon – they help each other out.

It’s a very heartwarming trope and especially timely during these times (and season).

My faith in humanity was restored after I read this story in Relevant Magazine that reveals the actual priest and imam from the commercial met for the first time on the set of the commercial and have since become close friends.

See the interview by Al Jazeera below:

 

Obsolescence Makes VCR Manufacturers Press Stop

The news that the world’s last manufacturer of Videocassette Recorders (“VCR”) will manufacture its last VCR has gone around the world. 40 years after the first VHS video cassette recorder was manufactured, Japanese consumer electronics company Funai Electric – the last known company making the devices – is ceasing production of its VCR products. The company cited declining sales and difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts as reasons to cease production. At its peak, the company sold 15 million VCRs per year, which has since dwindled down to 750,000 units in 2015 (Frankly, still an astonishing number! Who knew that three-quarters of a million people still bought brand new VCRs?!).

The news caught my attention for a couple of reasons.

Recorded Nostalgia

First of all, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. When I was growing up, we had limited screen time (television, not tablet). My mother would record our TV shows during the week and we’d watch them during the weekend; after homework and revision, of course. Or that time when my friends discussed the first time they saw what was on the tapes dad had hidden away. 😉

I also remembered the “accessories” industry that sprouted around the VCR and VHS tapes. Who didn’t have some sort of VHS tape rewinder placed near their TV stand?

Remember these?!

Fast Forward To The End

Secondly, I was impacted by the fact that obsolescence has claimed yet another victim. Very specifically, it reminded me about the following clip from the movie, Other People’s Money, starring Danny Devito.

The bit when “Larry the Liquidator”, talked about obsolescence with the example of “the last company around […] that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw” is especially powerful for me.

This company is dead.

I didn’t kill it. Don’t blame me.

It was dead when I got here. […]

You know why?

Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence.

We’re dead, all right. We’re just not broke.

And do you know the surest way to go broke?

Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure.

You know, at one time there must have been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw.

I turn to this scene time and time again whenever I think about my career or the brands I am working with (see: “Brands Will Last Forever… Right?” and “A truly innovative agenda and prepping for jobs that do not yet exist“).

Sometimes, it’s not just about product excellence or an endearing (even enduring) brand. Or, if you think about it from a career perspective – it’s not about your productivity or your personality.

It’s about whether you can successfully adapt to defend your place in this world.

Or, as General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff puts it: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

News sources: