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

Walking Off Into The [Boiling Hot] Sunset …
December 17, 2008, 7:30 am
Filed under: Comment

Photo: Tony Kemplin

So today is my last post of this year …

Consider it my present to you … ha!

Yes I know it’s still quite a while till Santa’s/Jesus’/Alcoholic Anonymous big day [delete as appropriate] but I’ve just got back to Singapore after weeks and weeks of travel and I only have a couple of days before I bugger off to Sydney before popping back to pack up my house and move to Hong Kong.

Because of this, I probably won’t be ranting till Feb [what I mean is I won’t be ranting on this blog till Feb, if my move is anything like any of my previous moves, I’ll be ranting rather a lot in public] but when I’m back I’ll be putting up the next A[P]SOTW assignment and with a bit of luck, I’ll of convinced a rather famous person to be one of the judges. And no, I’m not talking about Gary Glitter!

Anyway I was going to write about all the stuff that’s gone on this year and compare it to what I said for my last post of last year – but that’s almost as boring as hearing someone go on about their dreams – so suffice to say it’s been a very eventful time both from a World perspective and a personal one and I am very glad that Mr M finally achieved what he had been working towards for so long.

[And lets not forget the exciting things that Marcus and Lauren have been doing/achieving … I expect next year will be their years!]

A couple of days ago Andy asked me what my professional highlights of 2008 were for me – and after I went on about Google, Sunshine, PSFK and a whole host of other things both, the bastard turned to me and said,

“That’s interesting but I find America voting in a black president the most inspiring and hopeful”

What a bastard … in a few words he made me look even more of a self-obsessed bastard than I already am, though it made him look like a Miss World contestant. Metaphorically speaking of course, ha!

Photo: KK_WPG

Now whilst I’ll still be popping back into Singapore every now and then, I do have to admit I am sad to be leaving.

That doesn’t mean I’m not excited about going to live in another new country… Hong Kong is an amazing country … however I’m sad because it means yet again, I’ll be a stranger in a place I considered home.

Now I know I’ve had a few rants about Singapore … and I still worry where the country is heading given the general populations myopic view of itself, the younger generations sense of entitlement and the governments continued lack of imagination and trust in its people potential [though to be fair, they have to live up to the genius and vision of LKY] … however it is a wonderful country that offers [most] people a fantastic standard of living and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

Of course there are other reasons why this country will always have a special place in my heart …

Putting work aside … this was the place where Jill and I moved in together for the first time [as we’d only met a few weeks before I was due to move to Singapore] … where we got married … where we adopted a cat …

I’ve met some wonderful people … people I count as real friends … had some amazing [and weird] experiences and got to travel throughout a region which I can say is one of the most amazing, creative and vibrant places on Earth.

In short, Singapore got me falling in love with Asia.

Now I admit that when I first came here I only planned on being around for 2 years.

Lets be honest, the only reason I came here was because of opportunity … however now I find myself choosing Asia over a very nice life in San Francisco.

I know a lot of people think I’m mad for that – at least professionally – and without doubt from a work point of view, Asia has been one of the most frustrating times of my career … however putting aside the people and the culture, there is talent in this part of the World that is truly fantastic and I am sure with guidance, encouragement and an injection of commercial bravery [which is going to be the hardest thing, at least from a commercial creative point of view] I believe they will be able to give the West a real run for their money.

Is this misguided?

You might well think so, but apart from the fact the financial strength of the World is returning to Asia, there are 2 key things that make me believe it …

1/ I have been involved in some things in Asia that were genuinely good – not from a local perspective – but from a global one.

2/ Lets be honest, apart from a few notable exceptions, there is very little going on in Western adland that is really worth shouting about. Seriously, how many ads do you see that really blow you away? It’s one of those situations where sometimes, it really was better back in the “old days” and I am perfectly aware that was a time where planners were people who sat in a council office and decided where to build local factories.

It’s not going to be easy, but I can honestly say I’m going to do all I can to wipe the smug and delusional smiles off a lot of Western Ad Agency CEO’s … including Andy’s … so if you really want to test yourself, I say get on a plane and come to Asia, because it’ll blow your mind in all its frustrating and liberating glory.

So that’s it – time to move on – so to all the people in Singapore, I thank you for your kindness and graciousness and say I am leaving your wonderful country as a big fan … a big fan with a PR card so be scared, I could come back, ha!

YAY, Campbell’s Going!

To the rest of you … the fools who read/comment on this blog [why????] … I wish you all a wonderful festive season and hope 2009 is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, even if that means you’ll end up having far better things to do than pop along here and take my rants into complete tangents.

This year I was lucky enough to meet Charles and Dodds [lucky in the ‘loose’ sense of the word, ha!] so I hope next year I get to meet some of the rest of you, even if that’s not exactly high on your list of things to do.

All the very best and here’s to you, me and every other bugger for a happy, healthy, exciting, interesting, challenging and safe 12 months.

As a final act of 2008, I would like to have a little bit of fun ….

Basically I want to do the ‘alternative A to Z’ of advertising with every person contributing to at least one letter.

Only rules are that you have to try and keep it as much in alphabetical order as is possible … and I hope when I check this blog sometime in the new year [who am I kidding, what I mean to say ‘when I check this blog when Jill’s back is turned’], it’ll make up a list that represents the real version of adland … not the carefully constructed pile of delusion most in the industry hang their hat on.

So to get things going, I’ll start with …


… over to you …

24 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you have fucking months to prepare for your fucking move and you cram it all into the last few weeks. and you call yourself a fucking planner? dont make me laugh

are you taking the famous foosball table? thatll be another fucking huge amount of money wasted wont it. stop trying to live the dream and face the depressing reality 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

hoping 09 is fucking brilliant. for me that is. screw the rest of you

Comment by andy@cynic

I never thought I’d say this Rob, but I’m envious of you. I want to live in Hong Kong.

Best of luck with the move.

Comment by Angus

i’m ill and whingy, but merry xmas/happy new year rob – it’s been rad. and to the rest of you despots that hang out here, merry xmas/happy new year too. love youse all.

Comment by lauren


And only the best wishes to you and Jill, Rob. Thanks for everything this year. Good luck with it all.

Merry Christmas to everyone…

Comment by Age

thanks rob and thanks to the rest of you guys.
its been great to be able to turn on my computer each morning and meet a virtual group of friends who have the same frustrations both with the world at large and with the day to day, think in a similar way and get excited about the same stuff – stuff which 99% of the world are oblivious too. its been inspiring and certainly helped prevent a few physical attacks on creatives/client servicing/clients.
Rob – thanks for providing the forum and the inspiration. Hope your hong kong place has a big sofa.
now, in keeping with blog etiquette – ho, ho, ho you bastards

Comment by Mr McG

Hong Kong is one of my fave places to live in Asia. You’re going to love it there. The Cantonese (outside of work) are great people.

Comment by Charles Frith

Just think Robert, being based in HK means you can spend more time buying me delicious lunches.

Best wishes to you and yours and I hope everyone on this blog has a prosperous and preposterous 2009.

Comment by Lee Hill

hello everybody. hello rob. A very merry christmas to you all.

Comment by Marcus

Thank you very much!

I loved my short stay in Hong Kong, its a busy but exciting place. (Though my relatives live mostly in the quieter parts!)
It does mean I can come say hello next time I go over though!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh and:

C: Christmasisation

Merry Chrimbo!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Merry Christmas everyone.
Hope Hong Kong is ready for you Robert.

Comment by northern

d = d.o.a (goes for most ads )

Here’s to health and strength in ’09. We’ll steal the rest.

Comment by niko

@rob m – of all the c-words you could have chosen, you chose christmasisation? shame on you.

commercialisation (of everything)
creative (i’m being generous OK – the giving season and all that)
and plural of the one i’m not allowed to use on here.


Comment by lauren

Hong Kong’s pain is Singapore’s gain. Have an ice box holiday and see you in 09. Bring gifts.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Farewell Rob. You will be sorely missed. Especially after yesterday’s topical blogging spree.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

You can’t go on holiday till you have sent me your presentation so I refuse to say any more to you till then. To the rest of you I wish you all a wonderful time and a exciting new year.

Comment by George

Till next year. Have a great time Rob, you actually deserve it for once. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

A = Awards
B = Blanding
C = Consumers
D = Deliberation
E = Endorsements
F = Fees
G = Groups
H = Hearsay
I = Image
J = Jargon
K = Kickbacks
L = Lunches
M = Meetings
N = Newness
O = Objectification
P = Positioning
Q = Qualitative
R = Rationalisation
S = Solutions
T = Targetting
U = Upgrades
V = Vision
W = Waste
X = Xenophobia
Y = Yes-men
Z = Zeitgiest

Well that’s all I could knock together on a tube ride, but it’s a start.

Comment by John

You’re a team player aren’t you John, ha!

Comment by Rob

The “team” had stumbled to D, they needed my leadership ;O)

Comment by John

Hey. When you get to the Fragrant Harbour, look me up. I know where they keep the good coffee and the cheap beer.

spam underscore receptacle at mac dot com.

Comment by Leon Jacobs

You’re obviously drunk on Christmas cheer because you have just invited me to catch up with you and no man in his right mind would do that … ha!

Looking forward to making you wish you weren’t so generous …

Comment by Rob

Walking Off Into The [Boiling Hot] Sunset

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