Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgChris Kyme continues his "Postcards from..." series and this time he takes a look at an impending typhoon.

Anyone who's lived and worked in Hong Kong will be familiar with the buzz of anticipation that comes with an impending typhoon. The first whispers around the office "There's a typhoon coming". Then the excitement at the anticipated force and power of the incoming storm. 'It's a number 8..direct hit...seal the windows..batten down the hatches...get out the beers.." If it's expected to hit land in the daytime, it also means - leave work, now! Giving everyone a nice and unexpected day off to sit at home and watch movies while ships and minibuses fly past the window outside. Everyone loves a typhoon (except the poor buggers who have to work through it, like public transport employees etc.). So anyway. We had our first one of the season on Monday this week. Out of nowhere seemingly (usually they are battering the poor people in the Philippines a couple of days in advance..as if they didn't have enough to worry about...typhoons are definitely NOT more fun in the Philippines). One minute it was balmy and hot, the next - get your asses home now.
Now this rather scuppered my plans in fact, because unusually I had two events to look in on that night. One was a corporate client affair..cocktails, anniversary sort of thing. The other, which I was really looking forward to, was a presentation of the new London International Awards Chinese Creativity Show, hosted by none other than one of Asian adland's most popular and ubiquitous characters, Gordon 'Typesetter' Tan. Gordon is one of those recognizable figures whom, if he wasn't around, we'd miss like crazy. He adds colour and friendly warmth to any event, and it's always an absolute pleasure to bump into him. Part entrepreneur and part scallywag, he's been wheeling and dealing with fingers in many business pies for decades. Ever since the days when he literally was the typesetter, running his studio in Singapore to serve the art-directing elite..not to mention Neil French..during those heady days of the Singapore print revolution. When typesetting was necessary. When ads did have headlines.

Dinner2 copy.jpgMcCann.jpgAnyway, today among the other hats he's wearing, he's busy rallying support and interest in the above mentioned new LIA showcase, which is why he was in town (as well as sampling the Michelin Star roasted goose..), to give us all a presentation of what it's all about, aided and abetted by another champion of the creative cause, Spencer Wong. So I missed it, as I live in Hong Kong's equivalent of the South Pole (okay, Tai Tam) and not legging it home early might have resulted in me having to swim. They did go ahead, brave fellas, as well as enjoying a jolly fine looking dinner at the China Club (where the event was taking place). Apologising like the measly coward I am, I did get a chance to ask Gordon to give me the lowdown (hey - Boz Scaggs) on his new venture. Which is thus:

"The LIA Chinese Creativity Show is a category under the LIA brand, and was really conceived out of a need to honour and celebrate Chinese creativity. Statistics tell us that about 1000 million people or 14.1% of the world speak Mandarin. Chinese speakers means not just China, it covers Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore plus the rest of the world.  At international shows, work conceived in Chinese may fall through the cracks because of translation issue or even the absence of a cultural frame of reference. We want to level this playing field by having work conceived in Chinese by Chinese speakers from anywhere in the world, judged by people who truly understand the culture and the nuance of the language. So we are very different other shows which are only Greater China or regional, which also still need translation.

Winners will receive our new Red LIA Statue, which is exactly the same statue as global, and we judge the Winners in Las Vegas alongside the other English language judging from 1 - 3 October.

And of course, for the Network Agencies, points will be given in the Chinese Creativity Show, contributing to The Gunn Report. The Finalists will be judged in China from 1 - 3 September. As the Chinese Creativity Show will only honour Winners and Finalists, no Gold, Silver and Bronze. This is the tradition of LIA when it first started. So a Red Winner Statue will get the same point as a LIA Gold in the English Show. Judges on board this year include Spencer Wong, Richard Yu, Alice Li, Wong Hon etc covering Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, USA and Canada too. Call for Entries is on now and our website is live.

So there you have it. Gordon Tan, breezing through Hong Kong like a multicoloured Hawaiian shirt wearing goose gobbling number 8 signal typhoon.

Chris Kyme is chief executive officer at Kymechow, Hong Kong.

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