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‘Truth Or Dare?’ A Solo Exhibition by Danish Artist Charlotte Donvang
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The exhibition will be on display from 10 June through to 24, 2014 and is open 10 am to 9 pm 7 days a week Venue: Artiseri Gallery, Seri Pacific Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Putra, KL Delving into spirituality & tapping into psychic capabilities to transform inner energies onto the canvas. Discover your own inner truth in this thought provoking exhibition at Artiseri Gallery that fuses art and spirituality. Titled ‘Truth or Dare?’, the solo art exhibition will showcase the works of Danish artist Charlotte Donvang who calls Kuala Lumpur her home. The pieces displayed will be a mixture of all things beyond the usual such as parallel universe themed paintings that hint at an alternate existential plane and vibrantly hued abstract artwork with organic shapes that suggest human-like forms. “I’m daring people to dig into the truth beyond what we’ve been told,” says Charlotte. Her concept of truth or dare is to allow the audience to discover other forms of consciousness and to explore the spiritual side of one self. “My passion is to spread joy with art, colour and creativity and to help people realize that we all have immense capabilities whatever that may be,” Charlotte explains. ‘Truth or Dare?’ runs from June 10- 24 at Artiseri®. For enquiries call Artiseri Gallery +603 4049 4302
Jakarta Folk Fair or PRJ Monas Fair Fair duration: 10 - 15 June, 2014 Venue: Monas The Jakarta Folk Fair will take place at the National Monument (Monas) from 10 to 15 June. For some year, Jakarta Fair bacme dominated by large companies while small and medium enterprises (SME) began to be marginalized. This year, the event will have 3,600 stands, mainly consisting of small enterprises, small industries and street vendors, 400 state-owned companies, as well as 70 sponsorship companies. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Deputy Governor, said around 2,600 free stands would be dedicated for selected small-scale vendors. The PRJ Monas is held without using the city budget but rely on the sponsorship. There will be activities from 140 communities in Jakarta, Betawi music scene, Betawi culinary bazaar, charity, and also every day will have its own thematic event.
Viking Cup alive and kickin’
Vikings from both Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Vietnam participated in the 25 Year Anniversary of the Viking Cup in Shanghai in mid April. But the champion title stayed with the Vikings from Bangkok.
iking teams from all over Asia gathered in late April for the 25 Year Anniversary of the Viking Cup which was played in Shanghai. The Cup in itself always makes a great experience, but with the 25 Anniversary added, the event was truly extravagant and extraordinary due to extraordinary efforts by the hosts, the Shanghai Vikings. The KL Vikings had hoped to be able to win back the Championship trophy which Bangkok Vikings stole from them last year, but the defending champions were just too strong. “To be honest I think that we really deserved the title this year,” said veteran player on the Bangkok team, Johan “Mofok” Mühlman. “When after six games you end up with a goal difference of 8-1 with four wins and two draws, then.. yes, we deserved to win it!” Johan Mühlman. The Jakarta Vikings totally dismissed this view as too simplistic. “Actually, if you introduce handicap like in golf, the Jakarta Vikings were clearly the Champions,” says Peter Teglbjaerg of the Jakarta Vikings. “Our players are in the age from 45 til 67, and we participated with only 11 players - enforced by one former Jakarta Vikings player, who now lives in Shanghai,” he explains.
Great event The hosting club, Shanghai Vikings, were pleased with the tournament as a whole. 4 ScandAsia.South East Asia • June 2014
“Seeing happy people was our reward and all in all we are very satisfied with what we feel was a successful event,” said John Poulsen from the Shanghai Vikings. “We had started preparing for the cup early. It is important that everything lives up the participants expectations. With the Formula One being held at the same time we had our struggles with finding a hotel. The Viking Cup is important to the participants and they should not stay below standard. But eventually we managed to accommodated them in the topclass five star Westin hotel,” he said. “We had found pitches in good condition where it was possible to have two games played simultaneously next to each other. We had also taken extra care to decorate the hospitality area as Vikingly as possible. The Carlsberg bar needed to be nothing less than perfect as this is where we go when we leave the battle field behind to just enjoy each other’s company. We flew in a DJ to push it over the top - and succeded all most too well. We had to literally push people out of the bar every night,” John said. The organizers had also not forgotten that some of these Viking warriors would bring their spouse. Therefore a survival book had been made - “Little red book to survive Viking Cup in Shanghai”.
Beer Drinking Cup For the Vikings, football and beer
goes together like movies and popcorn and for many, the Beer Drinking cup if the one that really counts. This year, Shanghai Viking’s became the winners, but the Championship may be short lived. “Actually Jakarta Vikings were the fastest drinkers,” Peter Teglbjaerg tries hard again. “We were disqualified because of a technical error, that is true, but we managed to demonstrate clearly that we had no problem with drinking, we just need to do it the correct way,” he explains. This Cup will also come under attack from Bangkok, it seems. “This is an area where Bangkok Vikings will need to improve!” said Bangkok player Johan “Mofok” Mühlman. “We didn’t even reach the final three, so believe me when I say that plenty of practice in beer drinking will be done this year.” Otherwise both veteran players praised the organizors for a good show. “The hotel was great and the location good,” says Peter Teglbjaerg. “ I have myself been involved in organising a Viking Cup so I know how many parameters have to be considered when choosing the right hotel. In Shanghai it was well over our expectations.” “We expect the same kind of standard from the Saigon side who is arranging next year’s cup,” he added.
Norwegian National Day celebrations
ay 17 is the day Norwegians everywhere celebrate their National Day. To add to the significance of the annual event, this year also marked the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. The Norwegian community in the Philippines, Manila, went with an alternative way of celebrating the day. About 250 guests participated in the open-air film festival “Viking Screamfest” in Makati. The festival had a humorous start, with the film “Troll Hunter” (2010), a Norwegian dark fantasy film with a comedic twist. The film also gave the viewers a glimpse in to the Norwegian folk tales and the Norwegian mountains and woods. The second film, “Cold Prey” (2006), was more of a traditional slasher film, and truly turned the night in to a screamfest. Finally, the line of films ended with “Thale” (2012) a low budget production, with a more silent and surreal approach to the supernatural beings of Norwegian folklore. However, Norwegian films was not the sole Norwegian industry featured on the festival. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila also provided grilled Norwegian salmons for the audience. The renowned Norwegian chef Markus Peter Dybwad prepared the food. The salmons was served in a traditional Norwegian way with potato salad and hollandaise sauce, and it did not take long before the guests were asking for more fish and potatoes. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the celebration had a more traditional approach. Hosted by the Norwegian ambassador in Malaysia H.E. Hans Ola Urstad, an official reception took place Friday 16 May at the Renaissance Hotel. With a record amount of 650 guests, the Grand Ballroom – for the occasion decorated in the Norwegian colors red, white and blue – were bustling with a joyful atmosphere. Following the Malaysian and Norwegian national anthems, Guest of Honour Dato Sri Haji Ismail bin Haji Abd. Muttalib, Deputy Minister of Human Resources, was invited to the stage for a toast with H.E. Hans Ola Urstad. Norwegian delicacies were served at the buffet, including both
steamed and smoked salmon, which proved to be popular amongst the guests. Men and women in the traditional costume “bunad” added to the ambiance of the evening, which truly became a worthy celebration of the bicentenary Norwegian constitution. For the Norwegian community in Malaysia, the celebration continued already the next morning, with a traditional celebration in the Ambassador’s residence. Accompanied by a marching band, both kids and adults formed a parade in the street, cheering “hurray” and singing traditional songs. In the garden, traditional food such as hot dogs, waffles, salmon sandwiches and ice cream were served. The gray and rainful Kuala Lumpur morning did not put a stop to the cheerful mood of the guests – some even commented the rain almost made them feel like home. The Norwegian Constitution (‘Grunnlov’)
of May 1814 is the oldest European constitution that is still in use, and the second oldest in the world – behind that of the United States, by which it was inspired. The event that spurred the writing of the Norwegian Constitution was the Treaty of Kiel, dated January 14th 1814. Norway was at the time subjugated by Denmark, but was to be given away to Sweden because of the outcome of the Napoleonic Wars. Hearing of the treaty, the Norwegian Constituent Assembly gathered at Eidsvoll and drew up the constitution, signing it on May 17th – the independence day. Sweden intervened and took control of Norway by force, but the constitution was embraced as a national symbol of freedom. The Swedish king was denied the right of veto over Norwegian affairs, and never got the authority he wanted; it culminated in Norway’s eventual independence in 1905.
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June 2014 • ScandAsia.South East Asia
Change of guard at Norwegian Embassy in Manila
he Norwegian Ambassador in the Philippines, Knut Solem, has left office on April 30. He will be replaced by Erik Førner although a precise date on when he takes office is still unclear. In the mean time, the Ambassador’s work will be handled by Knut-Are Sprauten Okstad. The appointment of Erik Førner, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has recently been approved by the Norwegian State Council. Knut Solem summarises his time in the Philippines with great affection. “It has been four and a half interesting years marked by great challenges. Southeast Asia has become an important region for Norway over the past years. The bilateral Norwegian-Philippine cooperation has been strengthened both politically and financially. Due to the economical growth in this country, it has become a very interesting market for Norwegian businesses. On a personal level, my tenure here in The Philippines has been nothing but joyous. The human resources and people in this country is really something,” he said to the official embassy website. In addition to the change in the Ambassadorship, there will be a reshuffle of staff members. Head of Consular and Administration, Gro Snuggerud, was transferred to the Embassy in Nairobi, and was replaced by Lill Vaksdal. Per Jonas Xia Mehus resigned from the Visa section, and is replaced by Karl Johan Haabeth, who vacated his job in Hanoi. The Embassy in Manila will also be housed at a different address from January 2015, due to the termination of the current lease agreement.
Lunch Beat shakes up Ho Chi Minh City ‘work-day heroes’
undreds of Vietnamese young people have been introduced to the Swedish concept of «Lunch Beat» at the initiative of the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi. The first event was held in February. The most recent on 6 May at IKEA where the participants ate sandwiches and danced away the lunch hour during the event organized by the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam. Lunch Beat began in Sweden in 2010 as a way for strangers to eat together and have fun together during their one-hour break. The first gathering was held in an underground garage in Stockholm. During the autumn of 2010, the movement continued to grow and spread to new locations. More regular events were arranged during the spring of 2011 and the first-ever Lunch Beat held outside Stockholm took place in Malmö. This year, movement that began in a Swedish garage has become a global lunchtime clubbing phenomenon with events in over 90 cities all over the world. During the May 6 event, “Work-Day Heroes” all around the world were invited to eat and dance together in the middle of the day. Lunch Beat has been given significant attention in international media, such as BBC World, Business Week, Oprah and Slate. Everyone in Sweden knows what it is. Tu, a reporter with Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh Newspaper, said she felt the event offered people a nice chance to relax during lunch. This is a good model for any office to copy because the gathering offers employees a chance to relax and get closer to one another, she said.
6 ScandAsia.South East Asia • June 2014
Norway-Asia Business Summit
he annual Norway-Asia Business Summit took place in Bangkok from 24 to 26 April 2014 with over 150 participants from all over Asia and Norway. There were 6 participants from the Philippines and PNBC, representing 3 different companies, SMSGlobal, Thome Ship Management and Grieg Shipping, while only three participants from Malaysia were able to join the summit. The aim of the Summit was to present opportunities for Norwegian companies in the region – with a special focus on what will happen when ASEAN Economic Community becomes a reality in 2015. In addition, the Summit analysed different challenges affecting the world today: • The food crisis: In the next 40 years we will need 70% more food. But there is only 7% more agricultural land available. • The energy crisis: The need for energy in Asia is likely to double by 2060 – where will it come from and how to make it carbon neutral? • The education challenge: What will it take to ensure that education in Asia succeeds in reducing inequalities at the same time as supporting continued growth? Ernst Meyer, vice-president and regional manager for Southeast Asia for DNV GL, one of the summits speakers highlighted challenges in energy demand in Asia. By 2030, China, India and ASEAN are going to require three times the output Japan currently produces, he said, or 30 times the power output of Norway. “Norway should be able to take advantage of its expertise in high-tech gas drilling at sea, as Indonesia and Malaysia have already expressed interest in this field,” said Mr Meyer. Two Deputy Ministers as well as a number of CEOs of multinational Norwegian companies had flown to Bangkok to participate in the event.
Facebook photo from the first day of the conference.
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June 2014 • ScandAsia.South 27/02/2014 East Asia14:287
MASBA Networking with the Embassy and Business Sweden
he Embassy of Sweden in Malaysia, Business Sweden & MASBA, recently further strengthened their close cooperation by together presenting the first Networking Evening at the prestigious Royal Selangor Golf Club in central Kuala Lumpur. In spite of the heavy tropical rainstorm almost 60 MASBA members and other guests attended the evening, among them the Nordic Ambassadors and colleagues from the other Nordic business councils. The keynote speaker, Mr. Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chief Executive, Institute for Democracy and Economics Affairs (IDEAS), certainly captured the interest of the audience by his informative talk about Malaysian Politics and Economy: an Update. The Q&A session following his speech was particularly active and went on far past the allocated time. Mr. Wan Saiful’s openness and directness sparkled continuous lively discussions between the guests all through the delicious cocktail buffet, which was served until late hours. A special thank you was expressed to the two generous sponsors, Asian Tigers and Nordea Bank S.A., Singapore, both very well respresented during the event. As Mr. Hans Björnered, MASBA President, indicated during his address, it is the intention to hold evenings of this kind at least twice annually in the future.
Breakfast dialogue on media challenges
he Malaysian Danish Business Council hosted on May 21 a breakfast Dialogue, where the group CEO and publisher of The Edge, Mr. Ho Kay Tat, presented the subject on media perspectives and obstacles for improving the Malaysian business environment. He created an interesting dialogue with the audience on the space for media to challenge and scrutinize the directions of the national policies and the actions of private businesses. Words and photo: Danish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Facebook.
Talent & Entrepreneurship Day, Jakarta
nnovative Sweden held an exhibition on innovation, talent, techonology and educational development from May 8 to June 5, in Jakarta. On May 8, the theme was “Talent & Entrepreneurship” with participation from Swedish Universities and sessions on scholarship, startups and how to attractt talent. Ambassador, Ewa Polano, sees it as an important event to strengthen Indonesian education and “know how”. “Innovation has been a cornerstone of Sweden’s journey from one of the poorest Europe´s countries to one of the most prosperous nations in the world,” she said. “Indonesia has been very clear about its ambition to undertake the same journey, and is already well underway in realising this ambition,” she added. The exhibition focused on the key factors in developing innovative capacity by engaging Swedish and Indonesian stakeholders from government, academia and the private sector in debates, presentations and other activities. 8 ScandAsia.South East Asia • June 2014
Hans Wetterberg is the creator of Scandinavian Week, an event full of Scandinavian food and music. Despite a respectable age of 72, he is still going strong with many business projects.
10 ScandAsia.South East Asia â€˘ June 2014
Bringing a taste of
Scandinavia to the world
Swedish businessman Hans Wetterberg has a background as colourful as adventurous, spanning 40 years all over the globe. But though officially retired, he keeps on doing what he loves most: bringing together people in far away countries and offer them tastes and sounds of Scandinavia. By Michael Töpffer
t’s all about selling what you know best, and in my case it is Scandinavia. These words come from Hans Wetterberg, businessman with over 30 years of experience from Asia. As we meet in the lobby at Bangkok’s Rembrandt-hotel, Swedish jazz-week is ongoing. It is the brain-child of Hans Wetterberg and a spin-off from Scandinavian Week, another project launched in Kuala Lumpur 26 years ago, where Hans Wetterberg was once sent by his Swedish employer. Since then, Scandinavian Week has morphed into an ongoing event, staging concerts and food happening - gastronomic celebrations as he likes to call it - around the world. “We have been to many places, from Vancouver via Casablanca to Kuwait and China,” he says. But it is Asia that has been the focus of his work. His colourful career started in the Soviet union 1970, after having studied business and graduated from the military academy in Stockholm. He was sent to Moscow as a representative for Swedish company Sweda, selling cash registers. He later he moved to former Yugoslavia working for Atlas Copco. Two years later he had a stint with Swedish publishing house Bonnier selling printing presses in eastern Europe. That was followed by a return to Moscow for Alfa-Laval where he, in times of Soviet-style red-tape, bureaucracy and shortage of everything including office-space, manage to open an office inside the legendary Hotel National. Among many other feats was to introduce commercial ads on vehicles. “We had the Alfa-Laval-logo on our cars. We were the first with this,” he says. But before coming to Asia he had an adventurous time in GuineaBissau in Western Africa, doing business in the commercial fishing fleet. This however came to an abrupt end when a military coup unfolded and Hans Wetterberg had to bring his boat to Sweden. “I decided it was too rough for me and took the ship back to Sweden,” he explains. Eventually he ended up i Kuala Lumpur working for Gadelius and
Electrolux, before becoming engaged in both the property sector and introducing Ikea to the Malaysian market a few years later. Importing Swedish food to the country was something he did even before Ikea took over that role. “No one new about Swedish food. I brought them classics like Kalles Kaviar,” he explains. The music and food trail came as a result of his contacts within the hotel industry. “The manager at Shangri-La hotel Kuala Lumpur came to me and asked about Smörgåsbord, and I told him that was a great idea. It lead to us bringing in Swedish music too,” says Hans Wetterberg. He gathered some musicians from legendary music venue Nalen in Stockholm and asked them to come and play in Malaysia. “They hardly knew where it was, but once they came, it was a truly successful event,” he says. It all grew and slowly spread to other countries in the region. The list of participating musicians got longer. A star like jazz-legend Monica Zetterlund once joined, but in her case it came to an abrupt end when she fell from the stage in Manila. “We sent her off to a vacation in Phuket instead,” Hans Wetterberg says. Despite a respectable age of 72, he is still going strong with many ongoing projects, among them the plan to build a senior retirement home for Scandinavians in Port Dickson, south of Kuala Lumpur. “It’s in the making,” he says. Another project is to prepare the launching of a new Swedish technical product - or service - in Asia. Hans Wetterberg is very mum on details, but claims it’s related to hi-tech research and development. And for those readers who want to take part in related events organized by Hans Wetterberg during the Scandinavian summer-months, join one of many jazz-cruises to the Stockholm archipelago onboard legendary m/s Gustafsberg. “That will be great fun,” says Hans Wetterberg. See: www.scandinavianweek.com
June 2014 • ScandAsia.South East Asia
which one is good for you? TV from your home country By Morten Krogsholm
o you miss following your favorite home team live? Watching the Norwegian live knitting show? The Swedish Hollywood Wives? A quick search on the web shows there is a huge demand for TV from back home among Scandinavians abroad, particularly those living in Asia. There are also several service providers offering web-based Scandinavian TV solutions to suit every taste and budget. But which one is the best and how does this thing work? To find out, ScandAsia decided to look into the matter and try to shed some light on the IPTV phenomenon.
Little response I started out trying to contact seven different providers who claim they could deliver live TV from Scandinavia to asked them a couple of questions about their products, services and the whole legal matter regarding copyright. Unfortunately only two responded. World TvPro claimed that I could find answers to my questions and product reviews posted by their customers on their website. Neither of these information is to be found on the website, so if you choose to do business with World TvPro, you should be aware of this. 12 ScandAsia.South East Asia • June 2014
But I am pleased to inform you that another provider, European IPTV, did respond in a positive manner and even gave me the opportunity to try their services designed for tablet users. So any testing mentioned in this article refers to this company’s services, as none of the others seem to be interested in having their services tested or answering questions about availability of services or their legitimacy as providers. I will leave it up to you as a smart consumer to draw your own conclusion as to why the companies were unwilling to cooperate and participate in this survey.
Location, location, location Many of these solutions function in the same way. A signal from Denmark/Norway/Sweden, etc., is rerouted to a server in another country in Europe. From there, the server then redirects the signals again to different servers based in countries around the world. The closer a server is to your home, the better signals you will get. So I might sound like the messenger who brings bad news when I say that everyone who is living in areas with a bad internet connection, will experience some difficulties accessing any of these IPTV services. People with slow internet connections should
not give up in IPTV, though. Your experience might just be an occasional drop in picture quality and perhaps a lot of graininess. But you may also experience delays on sound or video that could drive you towards insanity! However, some can strangely experience the same smooth experience as others who are located closer to streaming servers or live in an area with relatively better internet connection. You have to hope for the best and expect the worst. Different suppliers recommend different minimum connection speeds. Some of the companies suggest that a 1.5 mbps download speed is sufficient while others claim that 0.6 mbps will be enough. In my experience streaming video contents in Thailand, I would strongly recommend that you have at least have a 3 mbps download speed or more. If you are watching the TV on your smartphone or tablet, it might not need as much transfer rate, but if you, like me, have several devices connected to your internet connection, I would say the faster the better. If you don’t know your speed, www.speedtest.net/ is one website that can instantly tell you If you live in Singapore you should be able to have the best experience. Singapore has a very
developed broadband infrastructure and European IPTV, whose services I tried out, has a server there, so it should run extremely smoothly there. If you are living in China you could experience difficulties from time to time due to the country’s very strict control of the internet with access to certain sites blocked by the authorities.
Legal aspect It has not yet been possible for me to cover the legal aspects of these IPTV services. But one could imagine that there is a gray area in which someone’s copyright may be violated or not fully respected. I have been in contact with a professor in Denmark who specializes in copyright and he will get back to me when he has figured out how the laws apply in this matter from a Danish judicial point of view. When I hear from him, I will post an update on our website. I can say state with certainty that it is illegal to use any of these services when you are in a Scandinavian country, so if you subscribe to any of these services, please obey the law when you are back visiting your home country.
European IPTV As I have mentioned before, I was given the op-
portunity to try out one of these solutions. It was the tablet subscription to European IPTV. I spoke with Tom Hansen, who runs the company, and he stated that the legality of this matter was a grey area as no cases had been tried in any court so far. “That it is not illegal, does not, of course, make it legal,” he said, adding that TV content owners have a way to monitor where their subscribers are using their services, and if anyone accesses those contents without paying within Denmark, Norway or Sweden, they can shut down the signals. He also said that he did not feel like he was taking away anybody’s livelihood by providing these services. European IPTV stream TV contents through three servers placed strategically around the world - in the Netherlands, Slovakia and Singapore. There is a direct line from the server in the Netherlands to the one in Singapore, which secures a reliable connection with most of Asia. According to Tom Hansen, their service only requires 538 kbps to run smoothly. According to the test I performed, this seems to be about right. Though I need to add that I tested the product on a 7 mbps connection, where I had only dedicated 600 kbps to the IPTV service on the iPad. I experienced quite a lot of problems with live streaming part of the service. I was often prompted
by a message telling me that I was switching channels too fast or that I was already watching a stream on the login. According to Tom Hansen, this was due to some extra security priorities that they have had to make. “There are some people out there, who steals our stream and then reroutes it through another site for free, and we are trying our best to prevent this to protect our interests,” he said. At European IPTV, you can record a show from any of the channels at any time. This allow users to watch those recordings at a later time on your device, and this part of the service always runs perfectly smooth, so on that account I have nothing to complain about. In summary, all these IPTV services available are not easy to navigate, and, unfortunately, I can only refer to my experience with one service provider. I would like to emphasize that you have to take into consideration where you are located and how fast your internet connection is. If possible, always ask if it is possible for you to try before you buy into one of those IPTV services. Prices begin at around 35 Euro pr. month depending on your choich of product. In our online version of this article there will be links to different providers of the service. June 2014 • ScandAsia.South East Asia
Media Media Track - the Danish media monitoring company still known by many as Newswatch - is continuing its expansion. By Gregers Moller Photos Disraporn Yatprom
14 ScandAsia.South East Asia â€˘ June 2014
Track expanding M edia Track in Singapore is expanding its services from media monitoring of Danish radio, TV and newspapers to offering the same services to Swedish and Norwegian clients. This expansion has come gradual as a natural consequence of the takeover in 2012 by Retriever of a major stake in NewsWatch, the Danish subsidiary of Media Track. Retriever is the largest media monitoring company in Scandinavia with an especially strong position on the Swedish market. But Media Track is also moving out of this special Scandinavian media monitoring niche and into another niche in the IT business: Converting print articles to XML files. “There are about ten companies worldwide offering this as a service, but Media Track decided to do their own conversion when the company was established back in 2009 and we believe we are now so good at it, that we are ready to offer it to other companies as well,” says Steffen Egelund. “Because we come from the media monitoring business side and not the data side, we are definitely better if the client is another media monitoring company,” he adds. The conversion is a very complex IT process which can only partially be automated. From all the media monitored, Media Track receives their output in a number of different formats. When talking printed news media, it will typically be in pdf format but sometimes all they have to work with are simple images of newspaper pages. These files must be extracted and broken down into individual news items and translated to a unified xml format. Moved from Jakarta to Philippines “In the beginning, we moved this work over to Jakarta, where the skilled manpower is not as expensive as in Singapore, but the almost regular annual flooding of Jakarta disrupted our business so we set up a backup operation in Manila in the Philippines,” Steffen Egelund explains. “It worked so well that we have now basically
closed down the operation in Jakarta and moved all this work to two locations in the Philippines, the one in Manila and a new one in Cebu so we are pretty safe in case of natural disasters. In total, we have 140 full time staff employed in the Philippines and 35 part timers,” he says. “Apart from the low cost of highly skilled IT staff, there are other benefits to placing this in the Philippines. The proficiency of the English language is high and conditions for IT companies are OK and so are the international data transmission connections. It is also an added benefit for us, that we work in the same time zone,” he adds.
Recurring entrepreneur As an entrepreneur, Steffen Egelund is rather fearless. In 2005 he moved to Singapore and started a Danish PR company there called Corporate Spin together with two other friends. Soon they had offices in KL, Singapore and Shanghai. NewsWatch in Singapore was set up in January 2009 with the idea to deliver a premium service in media surveillance that the Danish market leader InfoMedia was too complacent to develop. “When I worked for the Danish Conservative Party years ago, I was not satisfied with the existing media surveillance in Denmark. The articles came in a messy state and they came too late in the morning,” he explains. NewsWatch started offering relevant clips from all newspapers, radio and TV in summary form each day at 6 in the morning Denmark time and it quickly proved attractive to head of Danish media departments in major organisations in Denmark. Two years ago, Swedish based Retriever bought shares in Media Track’s Danish operation NewsWatch. This way, NewsWatch in Denmark continues to buy its daily news analysis from Media Track in Singapore, but in addition to that, products are also delivered from Media Track to Retriever in Norway and Sweden.” “Our analysts are working here in Singapore
out of this office and we have also analysts placed in some other cities in South East Asia,” Steffen Egelund explains.
“Our premium account clients are for instance large corporate clients like Carlsberg and DA - Danish Employers Federation and the five administrative regions in Denmark and other government clients.” “The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also one of our clients,” Steffen adds. “That way when the Danish Embassy here in Singapore or elsewhere in Asia is alerted to some news in the Danish press, it actually comes from us here in Singapore doing first the conversion, then the analysis and finally the delivery of the news to the Ministry in Copenhagen - from where they then alert local embassies in case the news affects them as well.” The product goes beyond simple media monitoring of a brand to include the public discussion. “Take for instance the Minister of Employment. She needs to know what people talk about related to the ministry and the areas handled by the ministry or even other subjects what could possible involve her ministry. That is a rather complex task to analyze and cannot be handle by a computer program. That is why we we are constantly on the lookout for clever people who can analyze the data we extract from our media monitoring.” In the example of the minister, she monitors our service on an iPad from NewsWatch where an app is running that brings her not just the raw text but also a picture of the clipping crisp and clear and then most importantly the comments of the analyst. “Being part of Retriever, we now offer our premium service in Norway and Sweden too, but the markets there are not as mature as in Denmark and most clients are still prepared to settle with the basic monitoring service. It is also a question of what you are prepared to pay.”
Being part of Retriever, we now offer our premium service in Norway and Sweden too, but the markets there are not as mature as in Denmark.
Three of the analytics at work, from left Charlotte Janniche, Stine Hedegaard og Anita Beilin. June 2014 • ScandAsia.South East Asia
in Singapore Would I get a room over the barn? Would my wife have a problem with the smell? By Gregers Moller Photos by Disraporn Yatprom
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will stay at a Farm Resort during my next trip to Singapore. I tried to mention it casually, but my colleagues’ reaction was like “What??! In Singapore?!” I told myself it was just Thai ignorance. For them, Singapore would be all shopping malls and IT. Once we arrived in Singapore it would of course be different. But it wasn’t! Even born and bred Singaporeans looked at me in disbelief: “A farm resort? Here in Singapore?” “It’s called “D’Kranji Farm Resort,” I defended myself, but to no avail. My project was getting more and more adventurous. Would “Farm Resort” be like “Farm Stay”? Would I get a room over the barn? Would my wife have a problem with the smell?
Looking at a map I found D’Kranji Farm Resort up in the far North West corner of the island. The red Woodland Line on the MRT will actually take you quite close. From the Kranji station, the D’Kranji Farm Resort could have picked us up with their shuttle bus - but we “cheated” and after my last business meeting of the day we took a taxi from downtown all the way. The first impression was favourable. Scattered around a covered restaurant, barbecue and karaoke area there were several low, one storey buildings with red roof tiles. And no trace of manure in the air, only the fresh country smell of moist, fertile soil. Further down the central lane there was a building with a sign saying Swiftlets Museum. Swiftlets are the birds that build the birds nests,
but you knew that of course. That would definitely be an interesting add-on for our stay, I noted. In the office opposite the museum we met Venisa Hang, the Assistant Marketing Manager, who had invited me and my wife to stay the weekend. Venisa introduced us to her boss, Ryan Ong, a young guy in his twenties with an easy humor and a fresh out of college laughter. Venisa had until only two months ago worked with a local publisher. But she lived nearby up in this area of Singapore with her husband and three sons and was tempted to exchange her city job with some fresh air closer to home.
Family business Ryan is a native from the area who as a teenager would be called home by his Dad during harvesting
or whenever work had to be done to help out on the farm. His father who was also actively managing other businesses overseas, left managing D’Kranji Farm Resort to his recently graduated son. Apart from being asked by his Dad to be in charge of the resort, there is actually also another reason for his young age. Most of his friends went on to study for MBA diplomas after their bachelor exams and then went on to do their military service. Ryan took another approach. He went straight into military service after his bachelor graduation and then as a soldier studied MBA at night. A tough choice, but one which today has put him two to three years ahead of his peers. D’Kranji Farm Resort opened in 2008 with the first phase. Since then, the resort has continuously expanded adding attractions and accommodations.
Our accommodations turned out to one of the newest villas. It was the first in the fourth row of the 35 stand alone villas that have been built next to the sprawling common area where we first entered. It turned out that the villas actually have their own convenient drive thru reception. If you have booked a villa in advance, you simply pick up your key and park right outside the front door to your villa.
Pure luxury Inside, our villa turned out to be the exact opposite of my childish “room over the barn” imagination. Ryan had already pointed out that “Singaporeans cannot live without air conditioning”, but apart from that, and the gorgeously equipped bed, and the super comfy sofa opposite the huge flat screen TV yes, there is more! - it turned out that the bathroom
June 2014 • ScandAsia.South East Asia
was semi-outdoor with a dreamy look straight up into the twinkling stars of the tropical night from the big rain shower style faucet and - yes, there is more! - the two person jacuzzi next to it as well! Not yet impressed? Then check out what is behind the glass door - your private steam bath sauna! This will make the Finns wake up, I told myself! Behind the villa there is also a well trimmed grass lawn with a small terrace with a teak garden table arrangement for coffee or drinks from the mini-bar with a view to the farmland behind the resort. Venisa had been anxious to explain how we should protect ourselves against the mosquitoes and the room had a little pouch with all kinds of repellents and patches but in reality we were far less bothered by mosquitoes than back home in Bangkok.
Tour of the farms The next morning after a healthy English breakfast - and rice soup for my wife - we started the tour of the farm. To the west there are a series of small plots that reminds me exactly about the Danish phenomenon “kolonihaver” which during the industrial revolution provided small plots of land for workers who had just migrated in from the countryside. The plots at D’Kranji Farm are 8 x 30 meters and they cost from a couple of hundred dollars onwards per month to rent or about 20 percent of your turnover, if you run your “farm” as a business and sell your produce in the stalls set up inside the
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commercial area. Foreigners can rent, too, e.g. if they want to grow their own clean vegetables. To the south there is an orchard farm with special papaya trees that don’t grow so tall so the fruits are easy to harvest. The area also has a banana plot and a rice field. Many Singaporean schools make excursion here to explain to the students where the rice they buy in the supermarket comes from. Around the Kranji district, there are a number of ordinary farms located. First farm we visited was the Hay Dairies goat farm where the son of the founder Leon Hay showed us the stock of 600 goats in total. Some 200 of the goats are with milk and the milking is done by standard milking machines. I thought goat milk would have a woolly taste, but it turned out to be delicious. And then it is better in certain ways especially for children with allergies. An 800 ml bottle costs 8 S$ if you want the farm to deliver to your home. Nearby is also the Jurong Frog Farm which has raised American bull frog for 35 years. The frog meat is lean and high in protein and many Singaporeans like the taste of for instance stir fried frog legs with spring onions. From the moment the frogs acqquire legs and move from tadpoles to small frogs, it takes 7 - 9 months before they reach a size suitable for slaughtering - which is done on the premises in a separate house. Apart from the meat, our host Anna Cheah explained how the Chinese and
Japanese pay very good money for the ovaries of the female frogs. The ovaries are freeze dried and become a jellyish substance when prepared as a special medical soup. The Jurong frog farm is a popular outing spot for families with children who get a chance to catch some of the frogs. A girl we saw tried to kiss the frog, too, but to her disappointment it didn’t turn into a prince.
Swiftlet museum The latest attraction at the D’Kranji Farm itself is the Swiftlet Museum which is the only place in the world where a special exhibition explains everything you would like to know about the birds and their expensive nests. Research into what exact ingredients in the birds nests that are so beneficial has only started recently. Among others they have in clinical trials found ingredients that seem to help fight certain forms of cancer and products with this ingredient is sold in the outlet next to the museum. Finally we tried half an hour of fish spa treatment at the D’Kranji Farm, which was a ticklish fun and relaxing after the big farm round trip. Meanwhile we watched other guests enjoy the “Hook ’n Cook” activity, which is the art of catching shrimps with a fishing rod with special bait. When you have a net full, you can relax around the grill and enjoy your catch. There’s a different Sunday for you!
My Danish breakfast For me, a proper Danish breakfast is one of the most enjoyable ways to start a great day in the weekend, Saturday or Sunday.
Here are the ingredients that cost me less than 1000 Baht for the two day breakers: 1. Fresh milk – I prefer the dark blue Meiji 2. Kelloggs cornflakes – no other brand will do 3. Two soft boiled farm eggs – I cannot taste if they are organic, but I like the happy look of the hen on the pack… 4. Lurpak butter – lately I go for the spreadable version, though 5. Emborg “Havarti” cheese – sliced is available in the big supermarkets. 6. Jam, Danish Selection – known in Denmark as Den Gamle Fabrik 7. Rundstykker – special Danish bread rolls
I have to go lightly on each item as I will otherwise get too full before the feast is over. A final ingredient that will make the feast last for two hours is a crisp copy of Bangkok Post. Most of the ingredients are easily available in Thailand. The missing link was for some years the “rundstykker”, but lately they have become available from Danish bakeries who deliver all over Thailand, plus the online shop ScandShop. in.th - which is also me… June 2014 • ScandAsia.South East Asia
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