The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Orchestral Movements In The Dark …
October 31, 2006, 10:35 am
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armack orchestra

So last night I thought I’d be cultured and see the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra who were performing in Singapore. [Thanks Arun]

Even though I look like a football hooligan, I love doing this sort of thing, especially as the music has more drama, panache and power than the average Metallica concert. [Even the tuning up prior to the concert gives you a sense of anticipation/excitement most bands would kill for]

Anyway, the thing I found the most interesting was that after each movement, the audience did not clap.  Nothing.  Not a sound.

You could see the confusion on the faces of the musicians …

Had we played badly?  Did people not like us?  Were we playing to an audience of the deaf?

However, they had nothing to fear, because the concert was magnificent … the thing they had to understand was that quite often in Asian society, they will only applaud at the end of concerts because culturally, it is not ‘the done thing’ to …

1. Interrupt [which they would feel clapping ‘mid-musical movement’ would be]

2. Encourage [because it is not ‘done’ to express a viewpoint until the individual has finished their performance [be it musical or presentation]

In the end, everyone was happy because the audience went wild with applause … calling the orchestra back to the stage 3 times [which probably came as a huge relief to the musicians] … and not one mobile phone went off during the whole concert – which is the ultimate sign of respect, ha!

However the real lessin here [which alot of Western organisations could do with learning] is that even though we’re all human, unless you understand how different cultures operate, you could end up walking away poor, disappointed or not achieving your full potential, all because your expectation levels were based on personal experiences, rather than cultural reality.



Christmas Is Scary …
October 31, 2006, 10:28 am
Filed under: Comment

It’s the 31st October … Halloween … and the scariest thing I’ve seen is Singapore gearing itself up for Christmas.

The picture above is of a market that is being specifically set up to flog tinsel, trees, lights and soddin’ baubles to all and sundry. 

You see, whereas in the West we buy our Christmas pressies at 4:37pm on the 24th December … in Singapore they start early, early early … mainly for 2 reasons …

1. All you can do here is eat and shop … so Christmas signifies a legitimate reason to go out and spend more of your hard earned cash on even greater levels of useless tat.

2. Singaporeans love nothing more than a bargain [they’ll buy something they don’t want if it is at a cheaper-than-normal price] so October means some real Christmas bargains are to be had.

The thing that I find particularly interesting is that even though this country is basically on the equator line … meaning it is permanently hot and sticky … the Christmas decorations they sell still feature the cliché winter wonderland of the Western World.

It’s the same in Australia and NZ …  which poses the question … do they do this because they were/are once part of the British Commonwealth, and this makes them feel ‘closer’ to the ‘motherland’ in some way?

I have no idea if this is the reason [I mean, it could also be because companies like Hallmark have forced the World to adopt this view of Christmas because it provides them with ‘economies of scale’ in their business] but it would be interesting to see if this is more prevalent in countries that were once part of the British Commonwealth versus those that have ruled themselves independently.



Pollution Causes Embarrassment …
October 31, 2006, 10:26 am
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sun burn

I absolutely love this story over on Fredrik’s site … it shows the genius of the Chinese and the stupidity of the Swedish.



Just Like A Bus …
October 30, 2006, 10:06 am
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… you wait ages for one, then a couple come at the same time.

Yep, my dear Jill has said a few more ‘Jillyism’s’ and you can check them out by clicking  www.jillyism.wordpress.com.



Lights, Sound, Action!
October 30, 2006, 9:53 am
Filed under: Comment

Why are fireworks so magical?  Why do they continually attract ‘Oooooh’ and ‘Ahhhhhs’ regardless of the age?

Go on, admit it … you want to hear some don’t you?! 

Well, wishes DO come true because if you click here, you can experience a small slice of the fireworks that took place in Singapore recently.

Isn’t it weird that the full ‘firework’ experience requires colour and sound in unison … if you only have one element, it makes the whole thing either scary, or naff.

What do I mean?

Well, the noise of the fireworks last night was enough to scare the dead … but because there were loads of pretty lights attached to them, it meant no one was worried George Bush had decided to invade. 

However, when there’s only the lights that are shining – it can come across like some sad, 70’s Variety Show [as demonstrated by the staircase at the Westin Hotel, Shanghai – click on the visual below]

What does this prove? 

Absolutely nothing … it’s a blog for christsakes, it’s more about ego than meaningful expression!



He’s Behind You!
October 27, 2006, 12:08 pm
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OK, maybe it’s the fact I am jetlagged to hell – but this made me laugh.  Alot.



Faster Than Superman …
October 27, 2006, 12:03 pm
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What I really love about Shanghai is that you really feel it is a city with a ‘development speed’ set on TURBO.

Sure, there’s alot of countries – especially in Asia – that are like that, but here, it’s done on such a big scale that you really feel you are in the middle of an Industrial Hurricane.

The other thing I love is that so many of the skyscrapers have been created with flair – far more than you tend to get in many developed Western markets – at least where modern buildings are concerned.

Because the modern and historical buildings clash so wildly, it creates a skyline that is actually ‘interesting’.

Unfortunately, where ‘interiors’ are concerned, often, things goes downhill fast.  Below is the ‘lovely’ beige colour scheme of the Westin Shanghai.  Lovely eh …

Apart from the fact everything sort of blends into eachother [so you can’t see the door to your room, ha] … it somehow gives the impression that the entire floor is being renovated when in fact, it is the result of a massive overhaul.

OK, so once you get into your room, it’s really very, very nice – but for all the flair and pragmatism of the outside architecture, it’s just a shame so many buildings screw it up with their interiors.

[Though it probably keeps the Western businessman feeling ‘comfortable’, because they are in surroundings that are like the bland rubbish they inhabit at ‘home’]

To be fair, China is still ‘waking up to this sort of thing’ … and given their speed of development is so fast, I am sure that by the time I’m back there in a few weeks, they’ll have ‘evolved’ to leading the World with their interior flair and imagination.