Continued from Toraja is indeed Melo I – Batutumonga and the Bamboo Forest This is the second of a three-part account of a recent short trip to Tana Toraja. Situated in the highlands of central Sulawesi, it is a land of breathtaking beauty, rugged landscapes … Continue reading Toraja is indeed Melo II – Death, Funerals and Graves
This is the first of a three-part account of our group’s travel to Tana Toraja. There were eight of us with a 6-year old in tow and we had a fabulous time. There is so much to share about Toraja, the Torajanese’s relationship with Death … Continue reading Toraja is indeed Melo I – Batutumonga and the Bamboo Forest
Petungkriyono is a forest reserve about three hours drive south of Pekalongan in Central Java. The distance is not that great but like many other places the road there is narrow and potholed, prolonging the journey that would take about a third of the time … Continue reading Petungkriyono
Had a spare day after a business trip to Munich in July so took the train to Dachau, the Nazi’s first concentration camp located about 10km outside of the city. It was opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler and meant to house political prisoners but quickly … Continue reading Dachau
Our office recently went on an outing to Belitung, an island off the east coast of South Sumatra made famous by the film Laska Pelangi. Our first stop was Tanjung Pandang Beach, a recreational stretch that had nothing remarkable except that it faced west and … Continue reading Office trip to Belitung
How well does Jakarta do when it comes to location branding (a fancy modern word to substitute for reputation of a place)?
According to a study by Public Affairs Asia and Ogilvy PR called Location Branding 2012, not that well at all. Out of 16 cities Jakarta came 14, just above Manila.
Another dubious distinction for this city. perhaps it is time for its residents to sport more checked shirts to get the city going.
How far would a comunications consultancy go to find good people?
In the case of Maverick, the place where I work, plenty far. So far that we actually created a new position of Community Curator this year where one of the main tasks of that job is to organize The Recruit.
What is The Recruit? It is several things. On one level it is our response to the dozens of requests we get each year from final year or newly graduated students for a chance at internship. In speaking to the students, some of whom had interned in other places before we realised that in many workplaces internship is a horrendous experience. Interns go to work but are treated more like gophers than anything else. The work they get to do, if they are, lucky are the leftovers from the staff, usually routine and mundane.
Usually they don’t have any choice as the number of students entering the workforce outnumber the number of internship places in companies. As a result many of them face the daunting prospect of trying to find work without the advantage of an internship experience.
At Maverick we’ve always believed that there is some great talent out there, especially among the final year or newly graduated students. We also believe that it is our obligation to make the work experience of anyone we’ve taken on board a meaningful, educational and fun one. The reasoning is that even if the intern decides to go elsewhere or into another profession when they enter the workforce, they would have been all the richer in life for the experience they’ve had.
So we combined all those thoughts and came up with The Recruit, where we will run a contest for final year and newly graduated students for an internship position at Maverick. The best of them will get a chance to intern at Maverick, where they will be involved in working for some of the huge brands that we handle. At the same time, we’ll involve then in some of the cool events Maverick organizes such as Pecha Kucha where they’ll get to meet influential and interesting people.
And if they are really good they’ll win themselves a permanent position with us. A permananet position with Maverick unlocks some of the unumsual but fun and gratifying perks we provide to our staff. Some of these perks include the Personal Development Fund, where if you work at Maverick for a year, you’ll be entitled for the Personal Development Fund of up to a month’s salary worth. You can use the fund to take a course that you’ve always wanted to help you develop personally (the course should have nothing directly to do with sork so some Mavericks in the past have taken it for learning belly dancing, diving, getting a drivers’ licence, Reiki etc). Of you can use the fund to travel to somewhere that you’ve not been before. Mavericks have used this fund to go to Santorini, Greece, Australia (to watch U2), Hong Kong and lots of other exotic places.
And we do all this because we recognize that the most crucial element in our business is talent. We are after the best talents and The Recruit, we think, is a great way to discover the best of the best talents coming into the market. So if you know of someone or is a final year communications student, then check out our website about the The Recruit
and give it a shot.
Unspun‘s been in many hotels, even the ones he can’t afford. Usually he and a few of his cheapskate friends would go there for tea and ask to see the rooms. The Aman and other resorts and fallen prey to such cheapskatery.
But of all the hotels Unspun’s seen none has been so captivating and enchanting as the Argos in Cappadocia.
On a recent trip to Turkey the Unspuns and extended family members stayed at the Argos and it was simply the best hotel ever that Unspun’s lived in, let alone seen.
The Argos whispered of understated elegance, simplicity and elegance combined with an attention to detail that leaves you visually sated.
The Argos is located in Uchisar, a village in Capadocia that is known for its fairy chimneys and moonscape-like terrain, caused by wind erosion over thousands of years. The volcanic rock was also easy to dig into and for thousands of years, until recently, Hittites, Christians and Cappadocians have been hewing cave houses in the rocks.
Uchisar is a charming village with a couple of mosques, a plaza of sorts and topped by a huge rock called The Castle. The Argos is on the side of Uchisar that overlooks a volcanic mountain Mt Erciyes and Pigeon Valley.
If you are an amateur photographer like Unspun, you begin to get visually stimulated as you approach the Argos via a cobbled street among rustic looking houses. At the entrance to the reception vibrant yellow pumpkins lines the stairs and inside the decor of antiques, wooden floors and spacious yet cozy layout.
Our rooms were on the opposite side of the cobbled road. You enter through an old women door. A small antique window is on your left, you go up the stairs and you see a courtyard. On one side is a table of six inside a pergola. Drying corn cobs are hung from its arches.
Outside are a couple of rattan recliners, a huge sofa with brightly colored cushions and a small square fountain.
Go up again and there is another courtyard that overlooks Pigeon Valley and its many fairy chimneys. Our room was there. On entering the room you see the double bed in an alcoves cut into the mountain wall.
A corridor leads you to a sitting room with a view of Pigeon Valley and the courtyard below. Next to it is a bathroom, also hewn into the mountain face that makes you feel like you want to shower till you look like a prune.
When you walk around the hotel you are constantly surprised at virtually every corner with little touches – drying twigs piled on rocks here, small bunches of potted plants there, old horseshoes nailed to another wall, a burst of red flowers in volcanic rock pots elsewhere.
Then there is the patio where you have your breakfast. Being summer, the weather was perfect. Every morning there we would sit in the patio with Pigeon Valley laid out before us.
They would serve a Turkish breakfast – olives, tomatoes, cucumber, simit (a kind of bread), cheeses, jams. Then would come the omelets, coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice…you get the idea. And all the while there is this heartbreakingly beautiful scenery drenched in sunlight before you.
Pigeon Valley is also where you can go hot air ballooning. A hot air balloon trip starts at 4.30am when a driver picks you up from the hotel and takes you to their office where you have – surprise – a Turkish Breakfast (although not as good as the one at the Argos) before putting you on a balloon.
At just about when the sun rises, your balloon takes off – together with what seems a hundred or more of them. The tourism in Turkey is so hot, any destination attracts thousands of tourists at any one time.
Ballooning in that area is particularly a treat because the balloons hover over the moonscape like terrain and dip into the valleys, all alit in the glow of sunrise.
After that we couldn’t wait to get back to the Argos again, just to immerse ourselves in it earthy aesthetics and to discover new nooks and corners that continue to surprise the eyes.