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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nokia Go Play dinner

Media attendees
Thanks to Dinesh and his Nokians for inviting me to Nokia's Go Play event today. Unfortunately, it was held in the day, and I had work to do, so I could only turn up for the dinner. Which was good too, so I'm glad I went down, though I was late because of work.

The event was all about "Ovi", Nokia's launch of their new "third arm", online services. "Ovi" ("door" in Finnish) is an online music and game platform. This had actually been announced before and I'd seen some inside information on the music platform. I'd also heard of the new phones that worked with Ovi, though I hadn't seen them. But for some reason, I didn't piece it all together till I arrived.

(More on Ovi in future entries (if time permits).)

The email invitation from Dinesh stated that dinner would be on the roof of a car park. Huh?? How could that happen? But I went to the top floor anyway and, when I turned around, I saw a huge black tent. A-ha!

Getting there was a challenge. Because I was late, all of the media attendees had already made their way to the big black tent. As for me, I had to navigate through passageways covered with black cloth on creaky, unstable floorboards. Then, I was greeted by a blast of cold air. Evidently, electricity is cheap and "to hell with global warming".

I met a few colleagues there. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by their presence. They were surprised to see me too, though I was there in a different role: as a blogger. Haha! Yup, my second blogger invitation to a Nokia event (the first was an informal get-together some months back).

So off I went into the big dark tent. I had expected something informal, but this was a true-blue sit down affair. I hit my first hurdle at the entrance, though. The receptionist asked who I was, I mentioned my name, she looked at her list and couldn't find my name. So I mentioned Dinesh's name and said that I was a blogger. She then turned to the other receptionist and basically repeated what I had said. But the way she said "blogger"! It's like the word had been tossed into a pile of dung, stirred up till it was a slurry, then spit back with absolute disgust.

Behold: the power of mainstream media brainwashing!

Fortunately, another staffer brought me to meet Dinesh, who showed me to my seat at his table. The other folks at the table were a mix of bloggers, like Coleman and Popagandhi, and local media guys, and a softspoken lady from, Lai Chow, and Sue Lynn from Text100. (Hey, guys, I'm name dropping here, so if you read this, please give a shout-out in the comments below! Much love.)

Dinner menu Surf and turf dinner Dessert
I missed the appetizer and moved straight to soup, which contained winter melon and sea cucumber. Yum. Main course was a "surf and turf", i.e. fish and chicken. It was pretty good, but under the "damn the polar ice shelves, we're burning fossil fuels for cool comfort!" air-conditioning, it got cold and hard quickly. Yuck. Dessert consisted of a chocolate cake with strawberries, and also some other sweet delicacies.

Did I mention that this was really good food? It came from The Oriental hotel. Nokia was apparently pulling out all the stops for this event. That included the entertainment. Hosted by TV celebrities, Elizabeth Tan and Max Loong (okay, you're allowed to say "Huh? Who's that?" if you rarely watch local English shows), they promoted Nokia's new phones, especially the N95 8GB, and other features like the maps.

Shirlyn Tan's performance Corrinne May's performance Corrinne May's interview
Music entertainment came in three forms: classical, rock and easy listening. These were performed by violinist Minn Lee, rocker Shirlyn Tan and singer-songwriter Corrinne May respectively. I was too busy eating to really notice Minn Lee's performance. I didn't care much for Shirlyn Tan's loud music (and I was outside looking at the exhibits of the new phones anyway). I enjoyed Corrinne May's music, though her voice seemed strained at times. Alas, as she had the tail end of the segment, she was left with about one-tenth of the attendees.

Dinner officially came to an end at 10pm, though most people had left an hour earlier. Ours was one of two tables that had everyone staying till the end. (Yay, bloggers and local media!) As we said our goodbyes, Dinesh handed me a souvenir bag that contained some press materials (more on those in other entries).

And then, we left together, making our way past the full blast "it's so cold that it could reverse global warming if it wasn't contributing to it in the first place!" air-con. (I have no idea how Lai Chow was able to tolerate the cold in her sleeveless dress.)

By the way, all pictures were taken with my Sony Ericsson K800i "Keta i". Why Sony Ericsson has never approached me, I'll never know. Personally, I think Nokia is taking a bold step in embracing bloggers, even if it's baby steps. I don't know if Sony Ericsson (or the other phone giants) has a similar programme. If it doesn't, now would be a good time before Nokia captures 100% mind share of bloggers and their readers. Especially since Sony Ericsson markets to the young, who tend to be bloggers and blog readers.



Anonymous said...

Hi Yuhui, leaving a comment here just like you requested. :) It was great catching up! Talk soon! Sue

Yuhui said...

Hi Sue, yup, it was great to see you again! See ya soon!

popagandhi said...

Great to finally meet you!

Yuhui said...

Hi popagandhi, yup, same here!

Kelly Chan said...

Where's this place?

Yuhui said...

It was at the top level of the Market Street car park. They blocked off a section of the car park and erected a huge black tent.

laichow said...

hey yuhui, leaving my 'I was here' shoutout too. you were great dinner company haha. see ya soon!

Yuhui said...

Hi Lai Chow, great meeting you too. Looking forward to more great things from!

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