Jet lagged. I am officially jet lagged. There’s no way around it, no point in lying. I’m jet lagged. I feel like I’ve been through several rounds with Tyson and somewhere I’ve misplaced my opposable thumbs. I keep dropping everything and have this vacant, slightly distant look in my eyes.
I am in Singapore, the gateway of Asia, and home to the fourth largest financial centre in the world. It’s also home of Spikes, the festival of Asian creativity. I’m a week early (the festival doesn’t start until Sunday) but we at LBB, like the rest of the world, are intrigued and very curious about what is and isn’t happening here in the East. I have a week before the awards to visit many of the city’s leading advertising agencies, meeting their teams, seeing their work and hearing their viewpoint. This, combined with the work and seminars that I shall attend at Spikes, will hopefully mean I’ll come back a little wiser and with a brain ready to combust with information to share with you all.
Meanwhile LBB’s Katherine Peach has also been busy learning – she’s been hitting the streets of Sydney, touching base with the industry in Oz. Over the last couple of weeks she’s been catching up with agencies and production companies, as well as unearthing community initiatives like the Sydney Story Factory. It’s a not-for-profit creative writing centre for the city’s youth and it’s supported by Clemenger BBDO, Will O Rourke, The Glue Society and LAVA.
For now, my main thoughts seem to be turning to moving and living abroad. Like many of my friends within the industry, I’ve had my experience of being an ex pat. Two years in New York City was pretty amazing and I have some incredible friendships and memories from that time. There are many merits to making home in another country, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.
Here in Singapore, I am staying with a good friend and ex-work colleague who is about to embark on his second year in this great city. You’d be a fool not to recognize that Asia is seeing a huge boom. Predictions show that in the next five years this region will be leading in everything financial – that includes advertising budgets. Current discussions seem to concern skillsets, thought processes and how to get as many talented people as possible over to Asia to teach and learn. You can’t ever deny the seduction of living abroad - believe me the parents love to boast in the local village pub and it’s pretty cool to be in an exciting place at an exciting time. Where else will you experience such an incredible growth curve as the Asian market in the next five years? It’s definitely worth considering and I’m intrigued to hear others thoughts, opinions and experiences.
Am I tempted? Of course! Being a bit of an adventurer, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to live and work in Singapore or Hong Kong, but as I am reminded by a friend who is returning to the UK, there’s a lot to be grateful for on your own doorstep. The UK market is picking up and its time of financial reflection has only made it, in many ways, stronger and far more interesting. There’s a lot to be said about ‘making do’ and finding creativity down different, interesting avenues. Changing the norm, be it at home or abroad is always challenging and as such, inspiring. Could I move again? Yes… but only if someone discovers how to create a ‘beam me up’ machine… Loved ones are pretty hard to transport and impossible to replace.