Category Archives: Muses

Miscellaneous Muses and Bite-Sized Food for Thought.

“慢慢來,不過最緊要快!”

當時聽到這個句子時覺得牛頭不搭馬嘴。但用來表達香港人煩忙的心態,是沒有一個更適合的句子。

第一次聽到這句子是跟家人一起飲茶。我的大家姐講了一個在她醫院工作的小故事。

她有一位同事在老人專科部門工作。當他幫一位同事下床時,他說:”公公,慢慢下床可以了,但最緊要快!”聽完故事時,我們全抬人忍不住哈哈大笑。

這是一句帶有客氣的語調方式來呼籲他人做事不要馬虎,但一定要好好利用最少的時間完成目標。怪唔知得這個句子經常掛在香港人的嘴邊啦!

The Hourglass Scaffold – My idea of a Copywriting Plotline for Short Marketing Copy

Note: This is a tentative skeleton as to the template that I used to write marketing copy. I am not endorsing this on a guru level in terms of how marketing copy should really be written, as this is just merely the approach that I am most comfortable with. This approach would best be used for a 100 words or less sort of marketing copy, as advertised in daily newspapers such as The Standard or Metro HK.

People always talk about the weather.

I prefer to start off with a somewhat neutral topic. When you say hi to a stranger, the first question would usually be “You alright?” or “How are you?”, followed by “Nice weather isn’t it?”, or “This is some horrid weather.” The weather question is neutral, though it is something that everyone deals and faces with.

Personally, I prefer the hourglass shaped approach. Start with a general or commonly understood idea, or something that is currently of the “now” in society. For instance, if you are writing marketing copy focusing in on an upcoming guest speaker talking about tips to be rich before 30, you can begin with a commonly known statistical fact of the now, such as “one in three people residing in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong are millionaires“.

Teaser vs Jumping right in with marketing information.

This is debatable, in terms of starting off with a general point, but I believe in giving a bit of a “tease” for the audience to continue on reading. If I immediately start off with the five Ws and 1 H in the first sentence, it’s not so much a creative copy isn’t it? You’ve already stated the meat and potatoes of the information you intend to convey to the audience, though not in a way you could exercise your creative copywriting potential, balancing out conveying information with your creative spin on writing. In addition, by starting off with a common yet hot statement, this serves to garner the attention of a larger audience than just jumping in with the key information.

Re: The mysterious situation of Flight MH370

Common logic follows that should Flight MH370 have crashed, its debris would be strewn all over the Gulf of Thailand. As explained multitude of times in the newspapers over the past four days, the impossibility of not leaving any traces or remnants has sent the situation and ultimate fate of the plane into not just uncertainty and doubt, but into the uncanny valley. Hence, I am tentative at referring to the mysterious situation of the fate of Flight MH370 as a crash.

Recurring possibilities have been outlined in the stated papers, such as the plane having faced unsafe flying conditions and did a 180, somehow going off the radar, spontaneous explosion at some altitude above sea level, or possible hijacking. These potential hypotheses are insufficient at best. If the plane has faced unsafe flying conditions and was forced to turn back, surely it must have landed at one of the many airports in Malaysia or the cities along the south east Asian coast? The radar situation may be possible, but information relating to bad weather, technical problems were not present prior to the plane going off the radar. In terms of spontaneous explosion, that is definitely uncertain at best, given the debris would have been present should such a disaster have happened. Possible hijacking may be an answer, but it would be reckless to tie a hijacking issue to, say, several passengers traveling on stolen passport information during immigration.

With respect to social media, crowdsourcing operation is at full swing in locating, contributing, and sharing more information regarding the crash at Tomnod, a website allowing for the pinpointing of locations as to where the crash would have happened. Using the crowdsourcing information, researchers hope to triangulate and concentrate the physical scope of the most probable location of the crash, thus helping the international military plus search-and-rescue effort in gaining more information about the crash at hand.

If you wish to contribute more information regarding the crash in co-ordination with the international organizations and institutions, please help now. 25,000 people and counting are already participating at large at http://www.tomnod.com/nod/challenge/malaysiaairsar2014.

Conventional – the Con-Goers’ App

A Conventional Train of Thought

They say, all big ideas start small, and the current idea that is swimming in my head is of no exception. My main inspiration comes from the fact that my friends are prepping themselves up to attend a convention in Vancouver. Some attend conventions to mingle with friends, like I did for the past two conventions. Some attend conventions to make new friends, like I did. Ditto regarding what I did in terms of attending panels, talking and buying commissions in the dealer’s den, partaking in the late night dances, etc.

Unfortunately, due to the end of my university career, I had to move back to Hong Kong, which means leaving my friends behind. While mulling over about the convention, I started thinking about how conventions give perks to its attendees. The first thing that comes to my head would be early bird deals and membership package benefits, acquired through payment (obviously). During these few months, I was reading about redeemable coupons that one can purchase at online sites such as Beecrazy or Groupon. I also read about how digital means of entertainment, the points that one earn while gaming, could be converted into points of redemption for coupons. So I thought to myself, why not strike this digital marketing iron while it is hot by aiming at where brands and companies of all shapes and sizes would congregate, i.e. right at the conventions!

Three Cs: Convenient Convention Coupons

First things first, I only did some internships in the fields of online marketing, writing adwords copy, brief Facebook copy promoting corporate blog copy, but I do not have a degree in marketing in general. Hence, please excuse me should I fail to answer the question of “How?” in procedural detail. In addition, I have typed in “convention” in the Google Play search box, and while there are apps detailing specific conventions that are happening up and around the world, there isn’t one that is relatively on the meta level.

In my opinion, nothing beats being “actually there” in a convention. Sure, social media marketing is important in getting people convinced, and psyched up about the latest innovation, etc., however, being actually there to talk with people face to face is more tangible, not to mention, more reliable than even, say, a Skype one-or-one/conference call with others. Using a different example, say banana boating, it is more satisfying and exhilarating to hold onto the very rungs of the titular boat as you get surfed and turfed at one too many knots per hours than to watch a Youtube video of someone’s GoPro first person montage of the same act..

Of course, should this idea really take off, it will bring a lot more exposure to conventions. The attendees will be excited and happy to earn points that they can use and spend at other conventions in the forms of perks and membership discounts, and share the tales online in the social media networking world that is today – a classic win-win solution. Now comes the hard part of describing the “How”.

When you register for a convention, you have several options, ranging from the most basic to the most exclusive. The most basic tends to include a con book or a con brochure, and admission to all panels, events, the dealers den and artist alley for all the days the convention is in session. Additional membership benefits at higher prices may include a lunch social with the convention staff and the convention guest of honour, a convention T-shirt, and perhaps even coupons for discounts at dealer dens. Lucrative options may also include tour deals in the local area where the convention is held, a chance photograph and drawing with the convention crew, just to name a few.

In terms of how to earn these points, I have provided a small, not exhaustive list of the stated ways, not ranked in any order. The points will not be transferable between different individuals and people creating multiple accounts to “farm” for these points will have their acquired points, coupons, and deals voided.

  • the more lucrative the package you have purchased during registration, the greater the amount of points you will earn
  • additionally purchasing tickets for convention events and goodies not included in the basic package but are present in the more splurgy ones count
  • being a volunteer for the convention staff, hosting panels, DJing for the crowd being a dealer in the dealer’s den
  • being the winner in con-held trivia and game events and competitions
  • getting an autograph from the Guest of Honour or the Con Chairman/woman.
  • donating extra to fund the con effort or its sponsored organizations
  • getting your content published in the con book or con brochure
  • and much, much, more.

The points may not have an expiry date, but of course, the redeemed coupons do. In addition to using the points to redeem discounts for one convention or a set of conventions, attend multiple conventions to get larger perks.

A tentative idea that I have in terms of the “how” is to implement a standard 5 by 5 Bingo Board option. The placement of the “objective” squares will differ from person to person,but will usually consist of text such as the geographic location of the con to the industry/genre of the con. One con may fit in several criterias and the user is at his or her liberty to select the square, but only one square may be filled per con at a time. Furthermore, like standard bingo, a wildcard square will be at the centre. Should the user fill up a line like in standard bingo, a larger, more opulent deal would be awarded, like an automatic lucrative package option for registration, with all the perks included. I could only fathom the magnitude of benefits should the user be a fervent convention attendee, and fill up every square on the board…

Categorization of Conventions

Now a bit of the boring part. Thus being the reason I leave this to the end of the blog post. Conventions can fall into many categories, be it Anime, Trekkie, Video Game Expos, and the like. Resembling a standard coupon code page and interface like the ones I have mentioned above, the user can also select the genre/type of convention, the deals they currently offer, from a drop-down menu on the top of the screen, or search it by the searchbar.

A Silly Little Idea

I can anticipate the plethora amount of bugs this app would have in its beta version, but hey, that is what beta is for. The hard part would be the convince as many convention chairs around the world that this would be a good idea to be invested in. Oh well, all expeditions have to start from somewhere, right?

Just for the Heck of It. Google App Description Copy

CONVENTIONAL

Download this useful app to get the latest news, deals, and coupons of conventions and expositions happening around the world. With an extensive list of categories spanning anime, video game expos, Trekkies, and more. The easy-to-use and conventional interface allows you to stay one step ahead in being informed and to acquire that edge in attendance perks.

Earn points at conventions, and redeem them for the upcoming ones! A non-exhaustive list include

  • Registration will net you a certain amount of points. The better the package you have registered for, the more points you will earn.
  • Volunteer at the Con, or be a dealer, a panelist, or a DJ!
  • Contribute content to the Conbook
  • Get an autograph from the Guest of Honour!
  • Participiate in the Con-exclusive events and competitions such as cosplay, trivia, etc.

Earn even bigger perks by attending multiple conventions. Fill in the Bingo Square with the conventions you have attended. Nail a line, and get even bigger perks, such as a greater discount on more opulent registration packages!

Musing: Let’s Watch Let’s Plays of Other Players on Youtube: The Video Game Spectator

Sit back, relax, and watch the game.

What is the best part of video games? For me, it is to be a game spectator. I do have and play my fair share of games such as the Command and Conquer, Need for Speed, Age of Empires, and Pokemon series around. But currently, the real interest of video games is to watch gamers game.

A quick flashback.

The clearest memory that I have of my spectating of games was when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I used to go to the Kowloon Club restaurant on Sundays when I was a kid, and next to the restaurant was this play room and lounge. I still remember the room with its brown and parchment coloured walls, the slightly dim lights, and a whole bunch of older kids crowded around a SNES playing Street Fighter. There was always a Ken or Ryu player if I recall correctly, and most of the time the players were spamming Haduokens. Of course, these game terminology and characters were only known in hindsight many, many years later.

The “Let’s Play” videos of Youtube

With the introduction of Youtube when I was in high school, I started to search for gameplays, first starting off with my favourite franchises and the games I used to play such as Pokemon, before moving on to checking out other games such as the Shenmue series. Sure beats waiting for the game review channel that used to be on air every Saturday morning!

Although relatively uncommon, I do still like to dive into multiplayer matches instead of being a spectator.

During my first university year at UBC, every night in the common residence lounge was, as I informally call it, Super Smash Bros night. The thing is, I did what I always used to do, watch other people play. But soon, I thought I would give it a shot too. Understandably, I always got owned by the extremely pro Kirby, Ness and Samus players, but I soon had fun being Fox. I like to observe relatively more than I game though, because I would say that 30% of my time is gaming, and 70% of the time I was spectating. Of course, some would say that I am not an expert enough gamer, which I admit, but hey, old habits die hard.

I am relatively still a Youtube “Let’s Play” game spectator.

I still continue to check games out nowadays. Currently, I am following a Civilization 5 and an XCOM: Enemy Within. Following gameplays online does have its perks. Firstly, I can check whether the game is attractive enough for me to purchase it from a second-handed opinion. Secondly, I am at my own flexibility in terms of pausing and resuming spectating the gameplay of others. Thirdly, with respect to my provided examples of the games I am currently checking out, I can be inspired and be interested in game genres, such as turn based strategy, more so than through means of reading video game reviews.

No, I will not be watching the Sochi Winter Olympics.

At the same time, I am in support of the Canadian team, the Men’s Hockey Team in general, because of national pride. In addition, Roberto Luongo is the reason why I got into ice hockey, thanks to the Vancouver Winter Olympics that happened four years ago. Luongo is the reason why I started becoming an ardent supporter of the Vancouver Canucks, despite how badly they screwed themselves over during that final match with the Boston Bruins (I’m shaking my fist at you Stanley Cup rioters).

However, given Russia’s medieval crackdown on LGBT pride, a backwards step in the light of human rights today, a giant slap in the face and transgression of the Olympic Charter, where, as I shall quote:

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

This inequality really has to stop. Nobody have to live in fear of persecution, expulsion, and being beaten up in broad daylight due to their sexual orientation. Furthermore, I applaud Google’s means of protest by showing its prideful colours of the Olympics as an “Olympic Charter” Google doodle on its front page. Check in a day or two, and the doodle would probably be uploaded here.

I will not be watching the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Re: The Urban Transformation of Kwun Tong

-Hey Vincent, why have you gone on a hiatus from writing in this blog? Oh, due to work? Well, that’s understandable, but-

Hey wait, I haven’t explained myself yet. Sure, I’m busy-

-See what I mean?

Let me explain myself. I’m busy with work, that is true. However, I’ve also been seized by sights and sounds of the my neighbourhood’s workplace. The industrial district of Kwun Tong was transformed over the past decades, the once bustling factories now abandoned and neglected as workers moved on up to the mainland. Low land values and rents attracted independent artists, green organic merchants, and even rock climbing enthusiasts to name a few to set up space in the vacuous rooms, the term itself ironic in describing Hong Kong. The sliding doors are pushed aside to reveal potential for re-appropriation of space. Need a place to set up a war game? Need a place to learn how to set up a modern art gallery? Look no further than Kwun Tong, as quality doesn’t always have to be on the same increasing relationship as price. Heck, enjoy a decent meal for around $35 HKD (~$5 CDN) while you are at it, as the same meal would probably set you back a $100 HKD in say, Central.

I picked up a brochure the other day, titled “RAD- Leftover City”. RAD stood for Research Architecture Design, its team consisting of, as quoted, “architects, urban planners, interior designers, and media researchers of multinational origin”. The brochure describes Hong Kong as “resilient” and “flexible” in its “urban DNA”, using up all of the available physical left-over space, or “edges”, debunking the stagnant implication of the “Ideal City”. The illustration highlights opportunities for the wide empty lot amongst towering factory buildings. The stagnant city shows a trash heap, the image of waste that the “Ideal City” tries to cover up. Solutions to deal with this “wasted” space includes an area for a party venue rivaling that of Lan Kwai Fong, a water park, or even an artificial nature reserve complete with a man-made waterfall.

Working in Kwun Tong has its merits. I am essentially working in a living museum, a place where every nook and cranny, behind every steel sliding door, reveals “galleries” of independent artists using the potential of relatively inexpensive rents to express their potential and artistic sides, to embrace the progressive aspects of society which has otherwise been defined as compulsive monetary consumption, swanky shopping malls, and glass towers a stone throw away from the factory districts…