Monday, January 18, 2016

Asia Blog # 2

January 17, 2016

The Singapore Airport is truly customer service oriented:

The Shangri-La Hotel is getting ready for Chinese New Year:

Driving through Singapore is always interesting. Unlike Los Angeles and particularly New York, there is a real sense of decorum when it comes to driving. "Honking" does not appear to exist. Although the economy is slowing down, there is still quite a bit of building going on. The new architecture is amazing. We truly have seen a transformation having first traveled to Singapore in 1970. Most likely, we have visited this city close to 15 times.

The picture below is from our hotel bedroom.

The below building is close to one of our meeting places:

Depending on a holiday or other festivity, this building continually changes its design, color and decorations. Best of all, sometimes there will be music coming out of loud speakers:

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We learned on this trip (if what we were told is true) that there was a logical reason for the "No Gum Chewing" law. Supposedly, someone exiting a train happened to stick chewed gum over a door sensor. The door would not close, the train would not move and the entire transportation system came to a "chewing" stop! A root cause analysis translated into the "No gum chewing" law.

During our movement from one part of town to another, we happened to see a new Interpol complex. Although Singapore does not have a lot of crime, the surrounding countries do have crime and terrorism issues.

Speaking of terrorism, Singapore is quite close to Djakarta, Indonesia. There is (now) a significant amount of increased police and military security throughout Singapore and Malaysia due to the recent ISIS situation. Malaysia is our next stop.

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Weather is a bit strange. El Nino is being blamed. The day starts out with beautiful blue skies and puffy white clouds. The day ends in torrential rain storms, thunder and lightening with lots of humidity. Our glasses always fog up whenever we leave an air conditioned building.

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All of Jerry's meetings differ in terms of purpose, agenda and the personalities that will sit across from him in a conference room. There was a distinct "Ah-ha" the other day when Jerry discovered that the principals of one distribution company really did not know how to market and/or sell the PMI type of power supplies in Asia. The local sales/marketing folks were lost. Jerry will create educational tools specific to the region and possibly provide hands-on training

Jerry's visiting a key customer:

 Another meeting (an intense dynamic with Perkin Elmer), was scheduled for one hour. At the 2.5 hour mark, it had to be wrapped up with promises on both sides that the discussion would continue via e-mail. (Jerry was already late for the next meeting). Jerry felt that PMI will (ultimately) end up booking more business.  Yea!

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We mentioned in Blog # 1 about our surprise that all of the transit passengers at the Seoul airport were herded through one small security screening area. With no "Fast Track" process, this was particularly strange since the Seoul airport has been voted # 1 worldwide since 2005!

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It seems that every year, one of the large retail complexes changes its sidewalk artwork. Following is another example of what we found.

A Singapore newspaper featured an article about Korean culture. It seems that there are three cultural aspects to the Korean's way of life: One of them is indifference to rank, status or priority. Everyone is treated the same. Thus, there was the "herding" process.

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We like to talk to strangers. It's fun, always interesting and one never knows what may come out of a chance meeting. We met a lovely English couple - we have similar backgrounds and the couple may be renting a house this coming summer in Mandeville Canyon - just a few minutes from our house. How about them apples?

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The Shangri-la Hotel chain is great. Staff is attentive. Food good and there are amenities that make the overall experience special. Like last time, we decided to upgrade to what amounts to the premium or lounge floor. The daily room rate increases. However, when the breakfast, light dinner and snacks as well as drinks throughout the day are considered (along with a quiet lounge area to work and live harp music in the evening), the overall hotel price per day is actually less expensive.

The hotel also offers a huge and excellent international buffet. Every type of Asian food (as well as western cuisine) if available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For those that are adventurous and want an eating experience, this is the place.

Notice the intricate wood carving in the background.

It is hard to believe but there are actually 135,000 (yes 135,000) flora and fauna species on the hotel grounds. One of the species is a small ant. They are nowhere to be seen until one sits outside at a patio area. Within seconds, hundreds of these little critters are on the food attack.

Another blog is coming soon...

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