The view and reflection from the Makati Shangri-La
So, I ended up in the Phillipines. I don’t much like travelling, but Nokia is footing the bill to promote their NSeries Convergence phones (which I freaking want now), so why not. The phones are like high end blogger-geek chic, which is just my thing. The NSeries is all Flickr integration and GPS navigation and WiFi connectivity on the run and the corporate guys are cool to talk to. However, the main content is food, wine and dancing girls. A big corporate wedding to help you cooperate. Today one of the other Sri Lankan journos got profoundly sauced and ended up demanding rice and attempting to eat a steak in one chew, directly off the plate. I took him upstairs and made sure he got to sleep. Sin men, as the gf says. Anyways, I love the smartphones, but we’ll get to that in the next post. This is about the Phillipines and press conference type things in general, like the cool stuff you find in hotel rooms.
I didn’t know this, but Sri Lanka has a real airport now. I remember it used to be literally 2 gates, which weren’t gates as much as a door that a bus picked you up from. Now there are like 16 gates, of which we departed from 16. They even got those moving sidewalks and tons of stores and it looks posh and nice and you know. It’s almost a nice airport now. When they finish construction it should be. Nice.
I don’t bloody know cause I’ve barely stepped out of the hotel. Basically, the feel I get is an American Sri Lanka. Parts of it feel like America with the big lanes and strip mall, concretey feel and parts are very Sri Lanka, like the dirty and the spastic looking people advertising noodles and little shops with garage doors. They have like 8 lane roads but the traffic is still ridiculous. I can’t say that I love the city (which I’ve barely seen), but the people are great. I think it’d be a nice city to explore cause the people are so cool.
95% of the people I meet are paid to be nice to me, but you talk to them for a while and they actually are nice. I talked to some random dudes in the lobby and they’re nice too. Like, really nice. The service is impeccable and people are always asking if you has what you needs. The people I’ve walked up to have had no walls around them and they were plain nice human beings.
The Makati Shangri La is fucking awesome. These are the things I’m going to steal from my hotel room.
- Fuzzy Slippers
- Assorted Laundry Bags
- Morning Newspaper Bag
- Two Toothbrushes
These are things I want to steal but will not out of moral compunctions.
- Bathrobe (really, really want)
- Mahogany and Wicker Tray
- Safe (heavy)
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Servant Monkey (lives in closet)
- Solid Stone Shower
They honestly have everything here, it’s sweet. If it wasn’t for the iron I’d be a wrinkled mess and I much appreciate. There’s high-speed in here too, though you have to pay a buttload for it, like $6 an hour. They have a set of drawers and hangars in the closet so I could hang up all my nicely pressed clothes. The bathroom has one of those zoom mirrors and I had a shave so close it hurt. Came out of the bathroom feeling like the cleanest motherfucker on the planet.
The Shangri-La is velly nice and pretty cheap from the website, $168 a night. I wouldn’t really know. The food here is good too. I had a ridiculous amount of sushi for breakfast cause it was just so great to have excellent sushi again. The place is uber uber posh. The lobby is just big and proper. Sri Lankan hotels have character but I haven’t seen anything this 5-Star.
Press events are all the same. Some just do better at bludgeoning your senses than others. One thing I am learning alone is that there are very few things which connect people, and the things that do are pretty base. People like food. They like booze. They like pretty people. I usually eat food so I don’t die and I get hyped reading Wikipedia, but is good to know. This Nokia shit is out of control though. The invitation was this embossed puzzle piece thing with this 3D print quality I do not even begin to understand. All the materials were fucking choice. The music phone promo had bios written on miniature vinyl LPs and attached to a Illustrator turntable. They flew I don’t know how many people out here, put them up and paid for everything. I think they must have spent at least 1 million dollars. The printing costs alone must have been minimum $20,000. Not to mention the airfare and hotels and poop generation. And of course, the pretty people.
I Feel Sorry For Models
There were literally 30 models at each event. Holding phones and pretending to care. People took photos with them and stuff. It’s kinda weird. This isn’t a dig on the modelling company. The people were pretty and intelligent and nice and what. They were there on time and did their job, and their agency seems very well organized.
Third World models generally aren’t stupid (usually smart in fact) so I asked some of them where Filipinos go – which is apparently the Embassy in the Fort. The girlfriend’ll be pissed, but at the beginning I was as bored as them. I’m viscerally attracted to the girlfriend and other girls don’t even register in that sphere anymore, but she still no like.
All this stuff, done out of habit at a corporate level, must have a point. I’d like to think I’m intelligent, but I think these press events are pure Pavlovian association and I don’t see how I’m immune to conditioning. Conditioning is one of the more interesting things we studied in Psych cause it works so damn well. It’s also kinda outta date, but on a more physical level, the brain is a network of neurons and information is represented as a web of connections. That’s a hideous generalization, but sorta how it works. When you have a memory a current literally fires through your brain started from the trigger (a smell or word) and traversing all the links to that event. So, what Nokia has done is associate their brand with all kinds of good stuff like a comfortable bed, beautiful people, tipsiness and orgasmic sushi. Whether I want to not the idea ‘Nokia’ take me to a happy place now. The question is whether the money they sunk into Sri Lanka will pay off (SL is too small a market, though I may buy a NSeries). On the whole though, it must get their signal out into the greater network that’s the international media. Of course, most writers will sleep of the hangover and mail in the press release, but it’s something.
The things that really buy my loyalty are people, plain and simple. Not pretty people or full people or rich people, just anybody who likes talking and likes what they do. Jawahar Kanjilal is cool guy and it’s fun to talk to an adult about Flickr and Blogging and be taken seriously. I’ve believed in Convergence devices since they started, even buying the first gen Sony P900 and using it so much that it broke within a year. He’s building convergence devices that don’t suck and actually uses them. That’s cool. This guy Paolo too is obviously in it cause he loves his job and loves technology. I do too. Anyways, all the obvious wealth and comfort is fun, but any company that spends its money on good people is OK by me.