Friday, 29 December 2006

Trying to finish up the minimum of 15 minutes usage time at the Bundaberg internet cafe at the moment.

Have been spending the last five days or so at Nat's place about 20 minutes out of Bundaberg. 12 people squashed into a three bedroom house. There's plenty of land around, but not quite that many house space.

I've been relegated to sleeping on a queen size bed with Nat in their music room while Daniel's sleeping kind of opposite me in the hallway. It's been interesting sleeping in an area with no doors. Trying to change particularly so.

Haven't done much for a while. Spend most of the days at home sitting, eating, and not sleeping. Sleeping in rooms next to the kitchen with a family full of early birds make it very difficult to sleep past 8am every morning.

Did have a massive water fight around the house on the first day of arrival, played some beach cricket, swam in the nearby lake, as well as played some house cricket that involved a not so nice sprain on the ankle and a ball in the face.

In town now while the rest go to a waterslide place...and the 15 minutes should be up by now.

Going to see turtles this evening...

Friday, 22 December 2006

Update: Our order got stuffed up and after 20 minutes waiting, they're only just starting to make it. They offered *one* free drink as compensation. One. I'm still hungry....

Sitting at The Winsome Hotel in Lismore at the moment, waiting for dinner to arrive for the last 20 minutes.

Took off yesterday evening and stayed the night at Port Macquarie at a friend of a friend's.

Will be spending tonight at a friend's sister's place. She has an art exhibition at the top floor of the hotel, which is how I ended up here.


Thursday, 21 December 2006

Yes, I've been absolutely and positively slack with my updates since my return from Singapore.

Unfortunately, things may not change for a while.

I leave tomorrow up to Bundaberg to spend Christmas with my darling friend and partner in crime while in London, Nat, as well as the rest of Daniel's family.

Returning after the new year, but will have to leave pretty soon for the Pathfinder camporee and will not be back till mid January.

So if I don't update till then, you know why.

Thanks folks for being such faithful readers and have a very merry Christmas!

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Monday, 11 December 2006

Robbie! Robbie! Robbie!

What a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Robbie Williams is a definite true blue entertainer.

Saw the Robbie Williams concert last night and boy was it an amazing experience. We got free standing tickets and ended up only a few metres away from the stage and The Man.

There were lots of dancing (well, more of bobbing up and down from our part) and singing along and all I can say is that it was a magnificently entertaining experience, particularly his grand entrance, complete with pyrotechniques, fireworks and all.

He engaged the crowd, was his usual cheeky self, sang his numerous hits and wowed the crowd away. The atmosphere was simply amazing.

It took us about an hour to get out of the carpark after the concert and we didn't get home till past midnight. I'm just a little sleepy right now, but what a brilliant night. What a brilliant concert.

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Thursday, 7 December 2006

I'm still alive.

My recent disappearance is a result of a surprise return to Singapore (surprise for the folks in Singapore, not for me) for a week thanks to frequent flyer points.

Returning with Daniel meant having to do the whole tourist thing which saw us spending all day out, returning home exhausted and ready for bed. Naturally with the lack of sleep and the wet monsoon season, Daniel fell sick before the end of the week.

Got back last Thursday, but am currently staying at Manly. What with having to commute, flying to Melbourne for a day for work, going on all-day conferences, trying to sort out more than 200 emails and simply attempting to get back into the groove of things, updates on this site may be few and coming for a while.

But I will be back!

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Note: This post will likely only be relevant to you if you are a Seventh-day Adventist.

I'm currently about to start work on an article about Ellen White. For those non-Adventists who have decided to read on anyway, a short answer is that Adventists believe that Ellen White had the spiritual gift of prophecy. She has written numerous literature on God, health and temperance. And for the record, we don't believe either her or her writings are as important as God and the Bible.

Anyway, the reason for this post is because I want to hear from you. Hear why you feel Ellen White is still relevant to the young people of today. Or maybe you don't feel that way?

I want to hear from you.

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Tuesday, 14 November 2006

This is a little late coming, but boy what a great weekend I've had!

Went to the literally long-awaited U2 concert on Saturday night and was absolutely and completely blown away by them. So much so that we had to go back to the stadium yesterday night, having a picnic dinner outside while listening to Bono singing his little lungs out all over again.

But back to Saturday night when I actually saw something.

We had seats directly in front of the stage, but well, several tens of metres back. It was still really good view that didn't require any neck craning, especially since we were in the front row of our section, which was on the second level.

Things got off to a slow start with Kanye West opening for U2. He sang probably about eight songs, of which I only recognised and enjoyed three. The others...let's just say R&B/Hip-hop was never really my cup of tea. Added to that the fact that the stadium was only about half-full.

There was a real carnival feel to the area though, with food stalls set up both outside and inside the stadium. And after hours of waiting, people started getting bored and started doing the Mexican wave around and around the stadium.

At about 9pm (Kanye started at 7pm), the lights finally dimmed and a haunting chanting came across the loudspeakers and there he was. Bono walked out with an Australian flag draped across his shoulders singing City of Blinding Lights.

Daniel, Sharona and I sprang to our feet, bursting with excitement for finally catching one of the greatest singers in the world (not just because of his talent, but because of his activism) live and rocking. Well, I was probably the most excitable of the three...actually, I was probably the most excitable of the entire section. After a few minutes of excited jumping, we looked around only to see the rest of the folks in our section sitting down, looking bored.

They actually looked bored and that look practically stayed permanently on their faces for the next two hours.

I have no idea what in the world inspired that kind of boredom because I was so caught up in the electrifying atmosphere I ended up dancing in the aisles, but I don't think a single person got up to their feet besides Sharona and I. We looked around and everybody else in all the other seating sections were standing and jumping and dancing, except ours. The world's most boring section.

It made me wish I was in the mosh pit.

But despite that lack of enthusiasm in my general vicinity, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'll have to admit that Bono wasn't very large and I could not read the writing on his T-shirt, but I could see clearly enough and was aided beautifully by two large screens on the side and a gigantic one on the stage. It was fantastic.

It's been ages since I've been at a rock concert and to return to the concert scene with U2 has got to be one of the most amazing experiences ever. The music was tight, the singing was awesome, the showmanship was spectacular.

They came back for an encore twice and they opened the second encore with the latest single The Saints are Coming, which despite being performed without Green Day was still really good. And how much more privileged can a girl be to be one of the first few in the world to see that performed live at a U2 concert?

(For those reading this on your feedreader, there's a youtube video embedded.)

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Thursday, 9 November 2006

Too many projects.

Looming deadlines.

Too little time.

If only there were more than one of me.





Let me just lie here and close my eyes...

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Tuesday, 7 November 2006

There's some really great advertising of giant painted trucks over at Lee Hopkins.

Thought this one was particularly clever, depicting how Pepsi Light is so "light" it floats up to the ceiling of the truck.

All pretty neat stuff I say.

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Friday, 3 November 2006

Master of the House

What do you think of when you attend a school production?

I'm not saying you don't expect quality production, but you don't usually associate amazing props and costumes, fantastic lighting and sound, or superb performances from those involved. The performances may be good, but you'll never think you're at Broadway or something.

That got turned on its head when I went to watch Les Miserables staged by the students of Barker College yesterday.

Firstly, there were actually properly published programmes printed on glossy paper (with a full-colour cover) and with extremely well-taken photos of the cast. We even had assigned seatings, although it was a bit of a challenge trying to find seat number 3 when you're really all just sitting on a long bench.

There was actually a full orchestra located in front of the stage and even before the musical started, you could see the really impressively built backdrop and intuitively know that the props and costumes would be as stunning.

And the peformance! It was hard to believe that I was actually watching high school students singing and acting! Powerful voices, smooth acting, I really felt transported to a proper non-school production at times.

Needless to say, I left the hall extremely impressed by the production and the direction of the musical. The interpretation, the staging, the singing, the lighting, everything was just done perfectly.

And I absolutely fell in love with the Master of the House scene in which the actor so wonderful depicted the character. It was as if he was born for that role (whether that's a compliment or not I'm not sure.)

Even this supposedly professionally done version cannot compare to the one I saw last night.

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Thursday, 2 November 2006

In extremely exciting news (well, to me at least), Company, a novel by one of my all-time favourite author, is finally going to be published in Australia!

A book being published may not be exciting news, even if it was by one's favourite author, but the fact that Company has been available overseas for at least a year kind of negates that. Particularly since Max Barry is Australian and based in Melbourne.

My first introduction to Max Barry was through his book Syrup in 2003, which was one of the most entertaining marketing satirical book I've ever read. We shall ignore the fact that I haven't really read many marketing satirical books before then.

It was intriguing, exciting, highly entertaining, laugh out loud funny and most of all, dealt with subject I could relate with. I have read all of his other books (a grand total of one) since and had been waiting impatiently for Company to be available in Australia.

And come March next year, it will be!

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Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Greenfleet is an absolutely brilliant organisation that should exist everywhere in the world. Not only that, every single soul on earth should know about them.

What they basically do is plant trees on your behalf to sustain the amount of harmful emissions you produce from driving a car, taking a flight, or simply living.

The burden of being unenvironmentally friendly simply for my own inconvenience has always weighed heavily on my mind. And yet, in all honesty, I really cannot see how I can go about without a car, or travel without using a plane. I don't get seasick, but I really don't think I could handle spending months on sea.

I try to do my part in saving the environment as best as I can, and yet I'm fully aware that I'm doing far from enough.

So it's good to know that there are organisations out there who will plant trees that will cancel out the damage I'm doing to the environment. And not just that, trees are being planted where they can be most effective.

I for one am really glad that I can in some way do my part to save the environment, and in a tax deductible manner at that!

Word has to get out and people really do need to get on board! Start doing your part now before it all becomes too late!

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Update: Oh my goodness, and the things it can do!

As forewarned, I have wasted several precious moments of my life just being absolutely fascinated by Line Rider.

Draw a line, or several different lines, and see this little guy sled down/across/off it. My first try actually didn't even take off. Poor dude fell backwards into a neverending abyss.

It was cool.

{Thanks to ...thoughts... for the link.}

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Monday, 30 October 2006

It still feels somewhat bizarre to see this:

Can't wait to receive the magazine. It's not the first time I've been published, but I have to admit that I still get a buzz when I see my name on something other than on my own website!

Freelance writing is extremely fun. The only problem is that I've got all these potential story ideas and places I could pitch to, but when you're freelancing on top of a full-time job, there never seems to be enough time to do anything!

Just submitted an article today, and I still have two more due before the end of the year!

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Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Adventist Church's TV advertising back in 1989

I couldn't help but have a bit of a giggle watching this.
Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my birth he has made mention of my name.

He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.

Isaiah 49:1-2

How are arrows made?

Firstly, a shaft needs to be found, but it must not be simply any stick. Nor should it be a green stick, full of life, budding and swaying in the wind.

A good arrow shaft is one that has dried up, been blown about in the wind, battered, and is now lying on the ground, seemingly dead and useless.

The arrowmaker will pick that stick up, use his knife and cut away and file down any bumps in order to make the stick as straight as possible. And then he ties a rock to it and throws it in the river to seemingly drown.

The stick doesn't stay there for a day or two. It sits in there, wet and cold, soaking in all the moisture and is picked up again by the arrowmaker at the end of eight weeks.

By this time, the stick is pretty much like spaghetti and simply flops around. But the arrowmaker isn't done yet. This time, he attaches a string to one end of the stick and ties it to a tree. Then he does the same to the other end, stretches the stick and then ties it to another tree.

He returns a day later, not to release the stick from the pain, but to stretch it further so that any sagging is removed. That is repeated day after day, the stick is stretched to its limits, for another eight weeks.

When the stick is removed from the trees, it is now much straighter than it ever have been. But the arrowmaker isn't done yet. He picks up his knife and starts shaving at the stick again. Shaving at it to make sure there are no bumps, and that nothing is sticking out that will cause it to catch the wind and fly in a direction it wasn't meant to.

And then the shaft is ready.

And that's when the arrowmaker attaches the point to the arrow...

And that's when whatever I was listening to at worship stopped. Unfortunately, I won't get to hear the end of the story but what I've heard this morning was enough to make me feel encouraged.

How many times have we felt like God's abandoned us? How many times have we felt discouraged, frustrated and in a ditch?

Maybe we're simply arrow shafts in the making.

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Friday, 20 October 2006

Dove - Evolution

I always knew they photoshopped women in billboard and mag ads, but I never realised it was to THAT extent!

Looking forward to the ads coming to Australia...

{Thanks to Think Personality for the link.}

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

I broke the Guinness World Record!

Well, not by myself.

The office got involved in the Stand Up Against Poverty campaign on Monday and it has just been announced:
The world record for the most people to 'Stand Up Against Poverty' in 24 hours was set on 15 - 16 October 2006 for the United Nation's Millennium Campaign and involved a massive total of 23,542,614 participants in 11,646 events around the globe.
Here's my claim to fame:

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Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Fox News Anchor Gets Money Shoved Down Her Shirt LIVE

The work hazards of being a news anchor has no limits.

{Thanks to Media Orchard for the link.}

Thursday, 12 October 2006

This Breathing Earth thing really had me mesmerised.

It basically shows you in real time a map of the world, detailing every birth and death that happens in seconds, as well as the amount of CO2 emissions we produce.

Fascinating stuff. Rather scary too.

And while you're at it, try the Ecological Footprint Quiz. It actually shows you the footprint you leave on the planet and how many earths would be required in order to sustain your kind of lifestyle if everybody else lived like you!

My results were pretty sobering...

{Thanks to Snarkmarket for the link.}

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Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Why view normal pictures when you can do them the ascii way?



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Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Oh my goodness, how catty can car advertisers get?

This is just absolutely hilarious. And make sure you view it in sequence. You will not expect the punchline.

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Monday, 9 October 2006

Photos from my South Coast holiday now up!

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Here's a chinese IQ game to while away some Monday-itis.

It only took me a few hours to solve the puzzle (I think I've just revealed my IQ level, or the lack of one).

Try some of the wrong combinations as well. It makes for a really amusing consequence.

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When I was 14, I had a psychopath for a dentist.

She believed that I had some sort of gum disease and was intent on "getting the dirty blood out". Every visit to the dentist (about one every three months) was filled with dread as she would brandish the sharp thing that every dentist uses and proceed to poke at my gums.

I couldn't see what she was doing, but I'm quite sure she would run the sharp thing down my gums and take bits of it out. I was left with a rather bloodied mouth by the end of every visit.

Naturally, it did not take long before I begged my mother to stop these visits.

I have not been to a dentist since then. Oh, there was a visit a few years back when I had a dentist look into my mouth to see if my wisdom teeth were growing fine. They were, and that was the end of that visit. He tried to get me to have my teeth checked and cleaned, but I very politely declined.

It's been more then ten years since a proper visit to the dentist, but because of that, a lot of friends have found out that I'm a little pedantic when it comes to oral hygiene. Where possible, I would brush my teeth after every meal and floss every evening. I even used to carry a toothbrush in my handbag, but now simply leave a spare toothbrush and toothpaste at work.

There was no way I was going to a dentist in the near future, and I would ensure I have good dental health to make sure no unplanned visits happened.

Well, I just went to a dentist this morning. Nothing sparked it off, I simply felt it was high time I paid a visit to one. I could have a mouth full of rotting teeth and be toothless before I turned 30. If that was going to happen, I guess I wanted to know now.

On my way to the dentist, there were only two thoughts running through my head.

"What have you gotten yourself into Mel?" and "Oh God, help me."

The dentist was a rather happy cheery sort of guy. He took some x-rays and then proceeded to peer into my mouth. What he said next completely relaxed me.

"You have wonderful teeth. There will not need to be much work here. All we have to do is some scaling and cleaning and you'll be fine," he said. "I'll have to retire if everybody had teeth like yours."

The scaling and cleaning was slightly painful, my entire body tensed up and tears actually did run down my face. The sound of whatever he was using next to my teeth made me want to curl up in a ball, and my entire mouth feels extremely funny right now. But it was a relief to hear that there were no big dramas. Or attempts to "get the dirty blood out".

Well, he hasn't processed my x-rays yet, so I could still have some work that needs to be done.

There's blood lining some of my teeth right now, but it's good to know that not all dentists are psychopaths. I still wouldn't jump at the chance to visit a dentist and would probably continue to avoid doing so as best as I can, but I guess it's not that bad.

Ten more years to my next appointment!

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Reading about the Amish and their reaction to the tragic shootings in their community makes me want to be one as well.

Not because I'm a strong advocate of living back to the basics (I'm too reliant on technology for that), but just their incredible power to forgive the shooter and his family, even to the point of raising funds for them and bringing food to them, their quiet manner, their humility...

Oh, I'm sure they have their own internal problems like any other community, but their Christlike manner is looking very appealing right now.

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Friday, 6 October 2006

For those with possibly a bit more money to spare, considering buying (RED).

According to the (RED) manifesto:
All things being equal, they are not.

As first world consumers, we have tremendous power. What we collectively choose to buy, or not to buy, can change the course of life and history on this planet....

If you buy a (RED) product or sign up for a (RED) service, at no cost to you, a (RED) company will give some of their profits to buy and distribute the anti-retroviral medicine to our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS in Africa.
Not surprisingly, (RED) is founded by U2's Bono and Bobby Shriver, chairman of DATA.

Products are unavailable for purchase at the moment, but check out the websites anyway because they are extremely well done.

Addressing the HIV/AIDS issue through consumerism. It's a perfect example of improving on something we obviously cannot change. Pity (or ironical) that it's obviously targetted towards the upper-middle class spenders. Or rather, those who would willingly spend on branded products.

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Wednesday, 4 October 2006

This is pretty cool!

You get to view all your Flickr pics on either an all-black or all-white background. No more distractions!

Speaking of pics, travelled down the South Coast to Bega and back during the long weekend.

Went across the Grand Pacific Drive, visited blowholes at Kiama, went horseriding, visited a dairy and dodged cow pee, had a baby cow suck on my fingers, watched Daniel chase a baby lamb, visited the Bega Cheese Factory, stayed in a farm and pulled out bagfuls of fireweed.

Will post pics soon.

{Thanks to Micropersuasion for the link.}

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Monday, 25 September 2006

What a novel and brave way to promote a music album.

FreeDerekWebb is the place to go to download Mockingbird, the latest album by Derek Webb, lead singer of Caedmon's Call.

All you have to do is fill in your name and email address, send a link to five other friends, and viola! A free music album with 11 song tracks!

Why is he doing this? In his words:
one of the things that excites me most about the future of our business is how easy it is becoming to deliver music to people who want to hear it. i heard a story once about keith green caring so much that people were able to hear and engage with his music that he gave it away for free, which was a very difficult and expensive thing to do at that time. it's actually never been as simple as it is today to connect music with music fans. and i want people to have a chance to listen to mockingbird and engage in the conversation.
What impressed me the most however, was not because of his belief in "music for the people", but the fact that after you've downloaded the music you get taken to a site that basically asks you to think about this:
Now that you've saved $10 or so on a free record, consider giving it to some of these good people.
He lists three different non-profit groups, all with good causes, and is basically allowing groups he believes in to profit from his talent.

Mockingbird is also for sale in the shops. I can only wonder how well sales will be.

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Della tagged me a few days ago with this meme and although it technically isn't lunchtime right now, it's a good excuse to take a break from work.

1. What do you like most about where you live?

Technically a suburb of Sydney, it doesn't have the crowdedness and pollution of the city. It's a leafy, hilly area with beautiful glimpses of the Sydney skyline at right spots. It's busy, but not hectic, the nearest shopping mall is only a 15 minutes drive away and the city of Sydney less than an hour by train. Oh, and having a commute that consists of a three minute walk to work isn't bad either.

2. Is there anything strange about where you live?

It's somewhat like the Seventh-day Adventist version of the Vactican City. I'm sure at least 50% of the houses along the main street are owned by the church and are inhabited by either workers of the Adventist Church regional headquarters and the Sydney Adventist Hospital (which is right opposite my flat) or Adventists who work elsewhere. There are also two Seventh-day Adventist churches right next to each other just across the street from where I live.

3. What's one of your all-time favourite music albums, and why?

Hymns by 4Him. Meaningful hymns jazzed up and spiced up into a more contemporary feel, making it relevant to the tastes of today. Need I say more?

4. Did you have a passion for something as a kid that you still have now? (If not - what is one of your passions now?)

Has to be writing, although it was more of a hobby and a great way to do well in English exams when I was young. Now, I practically do it for a living.

5. What do you like most about having a blog?

Being able to connect with people I normally would not have been able to through my thoughts and writings.

Pick 3 (or more) people and give them the opportunity to be famous in their own lunchtimes! :)

Maya, Ida and Sharona

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Tuesday, 19 September 2006

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs...

I’m not cynical of romantic love. At least I don’t think so. Sweet and mushy talk make me sceptical of the person saying it, but that’s only because I’m naturally wary of trusting people at face value.

I’m certainly not an unbeliever in this thing called love. Although I tend to stay away from romantic comedies and romance novels, I’d be the first to admit that there is still this little girl desire to have my feet swept away by my Prince Charming.

No, there is nothing wrong in love. There is nothing wrong with people being in love. My struggle has been the point of being in love, especially in relation to God.

What purpose does being in love have with doing God’s will, spreading God’s word and living a life as God’s servant? You date this guy, or are married to this guy, but it’s not as if your love life has any real function in doing God’s work right?

But maybe certain things are given to you by God to enrich your own life and hence indirectly enable you to actually continue serving God.

I used to believe that things happened to me so that I can be strengthened and grow in my understanding of God. My relationship with God deepens, I gain an insight I never had and am eventually able to write about it and share my story with others in the hope of encouraging them in their walk with God.

How in the world was I supposed to do that by being in a relationship?

As a couple, we may discuss spiritual issues and even learn from each other. We go to church together and we could strengthen our walk with God. But isn’t it all a little too self-focused?

Sure, there is a possibility that we may become an evangelistic duo, travelling around the country spreading God’s word. That would certainly be doing God’s work. But seriously, you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to form a dynamic and powerful partnership. Besides, how in the world am I supposed to be part of an evangelistic duo when I really have no desire to be an evangelist in the normal sense of the word even on my own?

As an individual, we all have the ability to do amazing things if God wills it. We can be complete, whole and effective without ever having to be married to someone. God doesn’t require us to be with someone in order to do his work. And that’s precisely it – what is the point of being in a relationship if we can go about life alone?

This could be simply stating the obvious, but it wasn’t till recently that it suddenly dawned on me. Thing is, not everything that happens in life has that much of a direct impact on one’s “evangelical” work. God blesses and gives because of his unconditional love for us. And just as we don’t expect anything in return when we give someone we love a gift, God can provide us with a wonderful present that has nothing to do with what we can do for him in return.

Life is a school of hard knocks. In comparison to the Sudanese genocide refugees, I know I have a pretty rosy life. This is not a “woe is me” article, but the number of deaths, separation, struggles and events that brings tears to my eyes has been enough to make me tired of my existence on earth and yearn for its end. (No, I’m not suicidal or depressed, I just get tired sometimes.)

These are events that eventually strengthen my relationship with God. These are incidents that give me inspiration to write and the ability to encourage others. That is how I’d been trying to approach the reason why romantic relationships happen till I realised I had been going about it all wrong.

The main reason for a romantic relationship is not so much about a lesson learnt, a strengthening exercise or a tool to do God’s work.

The reason for a romantic relationship is God’s way of providing a tangible demonstration of his love, a shelter from the storm, an immovable support for when bad things happen, but most of all, it’s one of the truly good things that God blesses us with as opposed to all the other bad ones we have to deal with.

Just knowing that there is someone there who will be there, who will provide a tangible show of strength and support, and whom one can go to at the end of a long and challenging day is enough. It’s enough to give one the courage to take on the world and its typical obstacles that one faces in the course of doing God’s work.

At the end of it all, being a recipient of romantic love not only uplifts us and brings a smile to our souls, it refreshes us and gives us the strength and ability to face the gruelling challenges of being God’s child in a sinful world. It keeps our spirits alive to maintain our walk with God, experience incidents that strengthen and develop our relationship with God and continue serving him.

Romantic love may not help spread God’s word per se, but in an indirect, intangible way, it serves a purpose.

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Wednesday, 13 September 2006

This is really bizarre and should be a lesson learnt for all companies dealing with customer service. Please do not ever send out a standard template reply without actually first reading and understanding your customer's email and then reading through your reply that is probably taken from a list of five templates to see if it actually sounds logical.

Am currently shopping for a digital voice recorder that does so in mp3 format and came across Sandisk's Digital Audio Players. It all seems nice and well until I realised I could not find out what format it records voice in.

After a rather frustrating five minutes of looking through the entire website first glancing through the FAQ for an answer (none there) and then trying to find a contact number so that I could simply ask someone the question, I finally found a toll-free number in Australia.

I dialled the number and was told "I'm sorry, our offices are currently closed. Please call back between 9am and 6pm New South Wales Time."

It was 4pm in Sydney.

Sydney was in New South Wales the last I checked.

Anyway, finally found an email address for a support office in Singapore or something (there was no email address for Australia - the Sandisk office in Australia probably has not realised computers were invented yet considering they are stuck in goodness knows what time in goodness knows where.)

So I drafted up a quick email that asked:
Hi there,

Just enquiring about the recording function of your Digital Audio Player.

What kind of file format would recorded clips be in?

In what would be a rather pleasant surprise, I actually received an email reply less than an hour later saying (italics mine):
Hello Melody,

Thank you for contacting SanDisk Technical Support. I have read your email and apologize for any inconveniences this issue may be causing you. We are sorry to hear you're having problems and are here to assist you.

The recording will be voice file which are wav. file format.

Should you need to speak to a live representative please contact SanDisk Technical Support at one of the listed contact numbers.

Best Regards,
Moira N.
SanDisk Technical Support
USA +1 (866) 726 3475
Now was anybody actually reading what they were writing?

My question was answered, but I really wasn't have any problems or mentioned so. Well, I've got many problems, but I don't think someone could have realised that from a two line email...

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Friday, 8 September 2006

Baby Carrot is back!

Well, not quite fixed with simply placing an alcoholic meerkat in front of it...but Carrot really is as good as new!

Don't have pics of the returned Carrot, but the smash repairers literally removed both her doors and the back panel and replaced it with brand new parts. (Which explains the huge bill since the Yaris sedan has only been in Australia for about six months and people since don't generally smash their new cars, the parts were still coming in.)

Carrot was returned yesterday evening and it looks as if she had never been involved in any intimate meeting with guardrails at all. She's gorgeous! They even polished her and made her tyres unbelievably shiny!

So Brentyn, I know you'll be reading this - thank you so much for taking care of her and ensuring she looks as beautiful as before. And it would be nice if you don't meet any future guardrails!

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Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Part four of the "Born to be a star" series:

Too Hot to Handle

At the start of this “Born to be a star” series, we realise that one of the best ways to dispel myths and misconceptions about the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to engage the media.

In this current day and age, it's not what we have to say that matters. It's what others have to say about us that does. We need to get reporters writing about what Seventh-day Adventists are doing in the community, the love and care Adventists show others and the fact that we are mainstream Christians.

And as we found out in the second issue, engaging the media is not just a task for the professional communicator, but something any church member can do. All we need to do is to give the media what they want and they want news that has:
  • Impact
  • Timeliness
  • Proximity
  • An element of the unusual
Providing the media with news would most likely include writing a media release. The good news is, you do not have to be a Pulitzer prize winner to write a media release. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules:
  • Entice the reader
  • Inverted triangle rule
  • Include quotes
  • Contact number
  • Plan in advance
  • Keep it short
  • Follow up
  • Practice
Familiarise yourself with the media in your community. Find out the publication day of the local paper. Have within easy reach the contact details of the newsdesk of your local paper or community radio station so that you can get information out to them in time.

But how do you actually “pitch” your story to the media?

There are no hard and fast rules to that. You can either send the media release to them and wait for a response, or you can call the reporter or newsdesk, telling them that you have a story that they may be interested in. Make sure you are able to summarise the story into one or two sentences as you would otherwise lose their attention very quickly.

Bear in mind that reporters will want to interview people and take photos if they are interested in a story, so be prepared to organise a time and location for that to take place.

Provide the reporter with as much information about the news story as you can. Make sure names are spelt right and dates are accurate.

But most of all, enjoy the experience and relish the knowledge that your local church and the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that one step closer to becoming a household name as the church that cares.

Start engaging the media today!

This is the final article for the series entitled “Born to be a star” distributed to local church newsletters in Australia and New Zealand.

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Monday, 4 September 2006

Just to balance the rather negative post I wrote about the other day, I received a really nice one from one of the church leaders regarding my Born to be a Star series today thanking me for that I've been doing.

Warm fuzzies all around!

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Friday, 1 September 2006

And I thought the movie with the rather dodgy storyline and dodgier title, Snakes on a Plane, was bad.

Seems like the PR campaign for another movie director is going to involve inviting folks to a fight, filming it and including it in his next movie.

Can everybody say a collective "what the?!"

{Thanks to Media Orchard for the link.}

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Guess I'm going to be a committed Nokia phone user from now onwards and will have to reconsider buying that MacBook from Apple for a long while.

According to the latest test results from Greenpeace, Apple (together with Lenovo and Motorola) are producing a huge amount of toxic waste in the production of their goods into the environment.

Nokia on the other hand, had recycling policies and was leading the way on eliminating toxic chemicals.

Consuming really should not simply be about owning something. We have the responsibility to the environment and really do need to support companies that actually do something to ensure its preservation. And we have the power to influence the way companies deal with the environment.

What kind of goods will you be consuming today?

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Monday, 28 August 2006

Good news hardly travel, but bad news definitely travel fast.

It's funny how if you had written something accurate and well-researched with beautiful flowing prose, you would hardly get any acknowledgement of what you had done.

On the other hand, should you happen to be the editor of a newsletter and included something phrased slightly wrongly, or used a somewhat incorrect name or even written a sentence using rather interesting grammar, you will be more than certain to receive at least one email telling you of it.

To be fair, some of such emails I've received are still fairly encouraging in their nature and come in the form of constructive criticism. But the interesting thing is, most of the emails are usually curt and condescending, meant to ensure "you do not repeat the mistake". Occassionally, you may also be graced with a personal phonecall laced somewhat with abuse.

Why don't we ever stop to tell someone how much we appreciate them?

Why don't we ever pause to write an email providing some sort of encouragement for a work well done?

Instead, we choose to accuse, point fingers and mock.

In all honesty, I have received many heart-warming feedback from people mentioning their appreciation of things I have written. What sometimes grates me are those whom you don't ever hear from, except when they are in the mood of nit-picking. They concern themselves with minute, inconsequential little details that most people wouldn't even care about.

I guess it's just something all writers have to get used to. When you publish something for all the world to see, you have to be prepared to receive more criticism than appreciation.

People seem to get motivated only to point fingers, but not to give someone a pat on their back. People will envision to tell you how to do your job and will also believe they can do it better. People will believe that you are perfect and should you fall, provide you with only a thin blanket for cushioning.

In the writing business, no feedback is definitely good feedback. If what you says make sense, if what you've written happen to be completely accurate, you will never hear from anyone. If you ever get any feedback, you know it will generally be in some form of abuse.

That is why whenever I read a positive article about the church by a secular journalist or when I read a particular article that impresses me, I try to write an email of appreciation to the writer, just because I know how rare those letters come by. Those letters that I treasure and hold dear for support when everybody else seems out to take a piece of me.

Writing isn't a private affair when you get published. Don't ever do it without first a healthy dose of self-esteem or a network of friends who will be there to encourage you.

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Friday, 25 August 2006

Oh my goodness! Who would have thought I'd actually find this clip on YouTube?

I've always liked this clip when I was younger and Sesame Street was part of my daily diet. It's because of this very clip that help develop my lifelong attraction to crayons.

And now looking at the clip, I'm wondering if it somehow contributed to my love for the colour orange...

And the most bizarre thing was I was just talking about this clip a few days ago!

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"Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch; marry, 'tis enough," he says.

I got a call yesterday afternoon from Brentyn, who had borrowed my baby Carrot for the day, telling me that Carrot had received some scratches.


Here are Carrot's "scratches":

My poor baby Carrot has gotten into her first accident. Which miraculously did not involve me.

When I bought Carrot, I knew she was going to be hurt. After all, it's my very first car and I have only passed my driving test eight months ago. Who would have known her first accident would be caused by somebody else?

And who would have known it'll cost at least $7000 to get her doors replaced? The Toyota Yaris is a car with very expensive doors...thank goodness for insurance cover.

At least Brentyn's doing all he can to get Carrot fixed up and as good as new. The heart still hurts. But it's only a car right?

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Monday, 21 August 2006

Eight treadmills, music, and four guys with way too much time on their hands.

I couldn't help but watch hynoptically at this and wonder how long it took them to practice.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2006

"Be still and know that I am God," it says in the Bible and just how much that statement is ringing true to me right now.

The past month or so had been one crazy rollercoaster ride for me. What with my department's restructure and me subsequently taking on more responsibilities (the number of committees I'm in now is ridiculous, not to mention the number of meetings I have to attend. The thing about responsibilities and meetings is that they make you less efficient since work don't get done while you're in meetings!), my best friend's wedding (I just had to phrase it that way), friends visiting from Singapore, weekends away...I've hardly had time to breathe, much less sleep.

My social calendar went into overdrive in the last month, the amount of sleep I had been getting was slowly decreasing and even the time I had alone to myself at home became minimal. My housemate was starting to wonder if she was living alone.

And I'll be the first to admit that amidst all this hectic-ness and activity, I've lost the opportunities to be still. To be still and know that He is God. The quality and content of my blog entries would have been the other giveaway.

When your mind is cluttered with thoughts, activities, plans and whatnots, when you go to bed so tired all you do is mutter a quick prayer that gets lost along the way, when you lose the opportunity to simply sit and ponder about life, it's not surprising that you lose sight of God and the deep and profound thoughts He gives you.

It's not that I've lost that relationship with God. I still love Him. I still talk to Him. And I certainly know that He is still there with me - the amount of blessings He's given me over the past month is enough to convince me of that.

But I know I've neglected God. I've failed to be still to know Him. Know Him as my Father, my Counsellor, my Advisor, and the God whom I have discussions with and who provides me with insight into this thing called life.

I miss hanging out with you God. And I've only got myself to blame.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Part three of the "Born to be a star" series:

Rules of Engagement

Want to increase the profile of your church in the community, create a sense that it is a great place to be a part of and not spend a single cent on advertising?

Having your local media consistently report good news about your church will influence people to respond positively to invitations to your church and its various programs. And believe it or not, it can all be done for free.

It’s true that news in the papers, TV and radio are written by reporters. But it’s also true that a lot of them are written with the help of people just like you in the form of media releases.

Media releases are sent to reporters as a way of intriguing them and making them aware of a news event. It entices them into wanting to find out for themselves, either through attending the upcoming event or interviewing the individual featured on the release.

The good news is, you do not have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to write a media release. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules:
  • Entice the reader - Have the single most gripping point as near the beginning of your first paragraph as possible. It does not need to be clever or dramatic but should answer the “who”, “why”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “how” in approximately 25 words.
  • Inverted triangle rule -The most important points should be as near the top of your media release as possible. When editors run out of space, the last paragraphs of a news story are the first to go. Therefore write your media release in a descending order of importance like an inverted triangle, leaving information that can be omitted in the last paragraphs.
  • Include quotes -News articles are meant to give facts and the reporter should not be giving their own opinions or making subjective comments. However, opinions like, “This will be the best event the church has ever organised,” are often more interesting than the facts themselves and the best way to present such statements is by quoting someone.
  • Contact number -Include a number for the editor or reporter to contact you for further information.
  • Plan in advance - Give the media at least two weeks’ notice, if possible, of the upcoming event.
  • Keep it short - Media releases should only be a page long.
  • Follow up - It doesn’t hurt to call the editor or reporter and ask if they’ve received your media release and were interested in following-up on the story.
Writing media releases is also a matter of practice. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Why not start writing that media release for your local media now?

This is the third of a series entitled “Born to be a star” distributed to local church newsletters in Australia and New Zealand. Find out how to handle the media in the next entry.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2006

I had to laugh out loud while reading Defrag's Quote of the Week:
"I have one message today for the entire eBay community: we, the Postal Service, we love you. We love every buyer, every seller, every power seller."

US Postmaster General John E. Potter enthuses about the rise in business generated by online shopping.

You know, having the Postal Service care that passionately about you is a little creepy. Especially since they know where you live.
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Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Took off after work on Friday afternoon towards Cooma, Daniel's hometown, with four other friends for a weekend of snow adventures.

I had previously seen snow before, but had never really had much experience with it besides having it chucked at me, building a snowman, and touching it going "oooh, it's soft and cold..." Was therefore quite naturally really excited about going to Perisher Blue, a ski resort about 1.5 hours away from Cooma, where I was hoping to get some snowboarding action.

It was so much fun!

Took a two hour beginner lesson that saw me landing on my bum several times, but by the end of it, I more or less knew how to control the board and managed to get down a slope somewhat in a normal manner without too many accidents (that included crashing into people).

It was the weirdest sensation, having both your feet strapped into the board knowing that if you fall, the only way to do it without inflicting much pain upon yourself was to do it bum first. There was no putting one foot forward to break one's fall - it was literally all or nothing.

Had a really good time though. Especially once I got the hang of things and could actually kind of steer the board towards the direction I wanted to go. Unfortunately, am still too much of a chicken and start to panic whenever I felt I was going too fast and would simply force myself to come to a stop the only way I knew how - on my bum.

Was pretty much worn out by the end of the lesson and am actually still feeling a little sore in my arms and thighs from the amazing workout I got. Naturally, my bum is one big gigantic bruise at the moment, but I would do it all over again.

In case I haven't mentioned it before, snowboarding is great fun!

Flickr pictures from the trip.

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Tuesday, 1 August 2006

So, I was tagged by Maya about a month ago. But better late than never right?

Ten Interesting Facts About Melody

1. The Bee Gees were the main inspiration behind my name. More specifically, this song.

2. My first career choice (excluding the typical jobs one wanted to be as a child) was to be an archaeologist. Not quite, aka Lara Croft, but something along that lines. I nearly went to Manchester Uni to study that, but costs and God took me to Avondale to study Communication instead.

3. I hold a brown belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. Not that I'd be able to defend myself like Jackie Chan would since I got my brown belt ten years ago and haven't practised since. I probably can't even kick past my head now.

4. I've dived the Great Barrier Reef, even though I don't hold a diving license. Witnessed one of the most beautiful sights in the world, the amazing colourful corals and the brightly coloured fish. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy it because of interesting fact #5

5. I am slightly claustrophobic. Not enough to render me useless when I get into a lift, but if the lift stops moving and I don't hear the fan going, I start getting edgy. As long as I know I have an ample supply of oxygen, I'm good. Which is why I was highly uncomfortable diving because my nose was pinched and I could only breath the air that was strapped to my back through my mouth.

6. I've visited 18 different countries (and driven through one) besides Singapore. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Holland, Scotland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji (drove through Belgium). Yes, I'm addicted to travelling.

7. I bungee-jumped when I was 18. I'm still waiting for the appropriate moment to go sky-diving. Hopefully before I become too old and become too much of a coward.

8. I've been a bridesmaid three times in three different countries. 2004 in Munich, Germany. 2005 in Fiji and 2006 in Australia. I am contemplating switching my career and hiring out my services as a professional bridesmaid around the world.

9. I didn't start wearing make-up till I was about 18. And my first foray into it involved being a goth. Naturally, it didn't work too well. I still hate wearing foundation, so I'm basically a face powder, blush and lip gloss kind of girl. Oh, and I was pretty much a tomboy till before 18 and have been mistaken for a boy several times before.

10. I am an introvert. Which is especially ironical since I'm in Public Relations. But given a choice, I would rather spend time with a select group of close friends than in a big party full of acquaintences. And I truly recharge be spending time alone.

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Hmm, I could use a bit of this at the moment.

Have been going for kickboxing classes for about four times now and I really feel like the most accident-prone person in the world.

Lesson 1 - returned home with completely dead arms for the next seven days.

Lesson 2 - returned home with a strange lump forming on my right shoulder, transforming me quite literally into Quasimodo for the next seven days.

Lesson 3 - the arms have gotten used to the torture, but I got elbowed in the mouth instead, causing my teeth to scrap off the skin on the inside of my lower lip.

Lesson 4 - somehow managed to land wrongly, ending up with a somewhat twisted knee and therefore am now walking with a strange limp.

Thanks to Anil Dash for the link.

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Monday, 31 July 2006

Ok, so this is a long time past the Zidane head-butting incident during the World Cup finals, but this is just too hilarious not to share.

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After all the flak I've been giving Dell, I certainly hope the company doesn't suddenly decide to take revenge and spontaneously combust.

Considering I usually work with the laptop on my lap when I'm at home, the burns would not be pretty.

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Friday, 21 July 2006

And they're back, and they're back, and they're back!!!!!

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Thursday, 20 July 2006

Oh my goodness how fun is this?

Everything you've ever wanted to do to your computer but are sometimes afraid to.

Click on the same spot multiple times and see the amount of damage you can actually do!

Friday, 14 July 2006

Birthdays have ever only been special to me because my friends make it so. This year hasn't been an exception.

Since Kristin is getting married this Sunday, I hadn't actually really thought about my birthday much at all. There isn't even much time to celebrate it since we would be holding her hen's party this afternoon and dinner for her this evening. It's not something I really mind. As I've mentioned before, birthdays don't really mean much to me and my best friend is getting married after all!

But Daniel asked me out for breakfast with him this morning and his very valid reason of "seeing that breakfast seems to be the only spot free in your day" convinced me that sacrificing some sleep this morning would be fine.

He brought me to McDonald's ("ok Crowne Plaza Terrigal it ain't - but it'll be open and hopefully you can find something edible there!") and after we got our order, we walked off towards the seats.

He leads me to a corner of the restaurant and while looking around, my brain slowly registers that there were some people in the restaurant that I actually knew. Having not had much sleep the entire week, by the time it struck me that my friends were actually at the restaurant having breakfast, they had burst out with a loud "Surprise!!!!" and broke into song.

It was amazing. Daniel had actually organised a surprise "birthday party" for me and these people actually woke up at 6.30am or whatnot just to wish me a happy birthday!

It's nice to be reminded annually how special you are...

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Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Went for kickboxing classes last night and I...currently...can'

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Monday, 3 July 2006

I am extremely unhappy with Dell at the moment.

Early last week, I placed two orders, one order for three monitors and another for three keyboards on behalf of my department. They were rather efficient with demanding payment, getting in contact with me within 24 hours.

However, after payment was made, we changed our minds about the order and decided to cancel the order for the three monitors, and reduce the other order from three keybords to two.

So I called Dell to do exactly so and after being put on hold for 45 minutes and being transferred all around the world, first to someone with an Australian accent, then an Indian accent, and then a Singaporean accent and finally an American accent.

The lady with the American accent spent an endless amount of time with me, trying to understand what I wanted. She repeated my requests to me and at the end of it, it really sounded like she knew exactly what I wanted.

At the end of the phonecall, I was fully assured that one of my orders was cancelled, while the other changed. She even said she would send me a confirmation email and I would be refunded for the orders.

Good customer service, I thought, despite being put on hold for a ridiculous amount of time.

Then I never received any confirmation emails. I sent an enquiry via email and never got a reply. It was as if the entire Dell got dropped into the black hole.

Today, my orders were delivered. Nothing was changed. I received three monitors and three keyboards. It was as if my phonecall to cancel the orders and change them never happened.

1.5 hours of my entire life wasted for nothing.

I'm on the phone to Dell again and all I get is cheesy elevator music. Every 10 minutes or so, someone picks up the phone and asks, "How can I direct your call?"

I tell them my problem and they tell me, "Regarding your order, I will have to direct your call to a customer care specialist."

After 10 more minutes of elevator music, I get the same question, "How can I direct your call?" and the whole saga starts again.

If you know where I'm supposed to be directed, why don't you just direct me there instead of giving me a full runaround and asking me time and again how to direct my call?

Is your memory that bad?

Or perhaps you're just so busy cheating honest people of their money that you don't actually have a customer care specialist because *gasp* YOU. DON'T. CARE?!

I am very very displeased right now. Where are my angry eyes?

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The latest that is happening to me at work and the world of communication for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific:
South Pacific Positioned for Total Communication
Wahroonga, New South Wales
Melody Tan

The church in the South Pacific will have a coordinated communication program speaking with one voice with the formation of the new Adventist Media Network. The network began on July 1 and brings together three media entities under one management team for improved coordination of media efforts in the 13 countries of the division.

“This is a golden moment for the church and over time will greatly benefit the church in this division,” says Pastor Laurie Evans, president of the SPD. “With the synergies created by Adventist Media Network, the church will now have a ‘one-stop shop’ that will cater for all its communication needs.”

The Adventist Media Network is the result of a merger of the Adventist Media Centre, the communication and public relations department of the SPD and Signs Publishing Company.

Situated at two locations, Warburton, Victoria (Signs Publishing Company) and Wahroonga, New South Wales (Adventist Media Network headquarters), the realisation that this would increase the effectiveness of communication and media activities has been discussed for a number of years.

Veteran communicator Dr Allen Steele who has most recently been the assistant to the president for advancement of Avondale College, has been appointed the chief executive officer of Adventist Media Network as well as the communication director for the SPD. Dr Steele first arrived in Australia in 2000 to coordinate Avondale College’s new communication degree program after working for Adventist World Radio for more than 20 years, most recently as a vice-president.

Adventist Media Network will now provide unions, missions and conferences with a complete communication strategy for their projects that will include media ministries, public relations, marketing, design, news dissemination and the production of resources such as books and DVDs. This is in contrast to previous practice where customers had to approach each entity independently, often missing out on many other potential possibilities and opportunities.

The organisational structure provided by Adventist Media Network will facilitate an integrated strategy and a cooperative effort when it comes to church communications, hence enhancing the image and profile of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the community.

“It is an exciting opportunity for the church to consolidate its communication thrust not only to church members but to the public as well,” says Dr Steele. “This move will also establish us in a better position to take advantage of emerging technologies such as the Internet and satellite television.”

Adventist Media Network has fulfilled the action voted by delegates in the SPD Session six years ago to “establish a Communication/Public Relations and Marketing Centre that would combine or utilise the resources and skills of trained and competent staff along with those of the Adventist Media Centre, Signs Publishing Company and other institutions as appropriate.”

While the new entity will officially began on 1 July 2006, it will take several months for internal systems and processes to be modified to take full advantage of the change. Even so, it is business as usual from the customers’ perspective.
We officially start functioning as Adventist Media Network today, although I don't move to my new office till next Monday since it's Christian Resources Exhibition week this week.

If anybody's at the Sydney Olympic Park vicinity this week, do drop by Stand E2 to say hi!

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Friday, 30 June 2006

Finally, the photos from my Fraser Island trip can be viewed here!

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Tuesday, 27 June 2006

Part two of the "Born to be a star" series:

We're Engaged!

Did you hear about the church member who bit a dog because it barked at him?

Well, neither have I, but I got your attention didn’t I?

Last issue, we mentioned how getting reporters from your local paper to write about Seventh-day Adventists is one of the best ways to promote the church and help people understand who Adventists (preferably non-dog biting ones) are. But how exactly do we engage the media?

It means giving the media what they want and they want news that has:
  • Impact - Unless quite a few readers will be interested, the event is probably not news. Put yourself in the reporter’s shoes and think about what they would feel is of interest to their readers.
  • Timeliness - News must be current. Notify reporters about one week in advance of what is going to happen. This will give them time to plan their schedule.
  • Proximity - Local papers almost always feature locals.
  • An element of the unusual -Anything that is different from the run-of-the-mill is potential for a good story. Is someone walking 40km to raise funds for cancer research? Is your church opening its doors to the homeless?
Of course, the best way to know what your local paper want is to read it and find out what they write about.

Engaging your local media is somewhat different to writing for your local church newsletter or the Record. Your local reporter is not interested in baptisms or church seminar programs. What interests them are what people are doing. Which means that if a group of young people at your church is going to South Africa for a mission trip, or if a church member has been faithfully ministering to refugees in the community, you have a very high chance of engaging the media.

So now you know what stories interests your local media. What do you do?

Familiarise yourself with the media in your community. Find out the publication day of the local paper. Have within easy reach the contact details of the newsdesk of your local paper or community radio station so that you can get information out to them in time.

Most reporters are happy to take your phone calls if you have a story that interests them. Just remember that reporters often have very tight deadlines and may ask you to call back later. Do so at their preferred time, but also be able to take no for an answer. Hounding a reporter will not convince them to pursue your story idea, but being polite will help to develop a working relationship with them that come in useful when you call them next time with another idea. And by then, you may have a particular reporter’s direct line on speed-dial!

So why not contact your local media about that piece of news you know they want now?

This is the second of a series entitled “Born to be a star” distributed to local church newsletters in Australia and New Zealand. Find out how to write a media release in the next entry.

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Monday, 26 June 2006

Finally, I'm moving on with the times.

Call me!

Click here to find out more about Skype.

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Friday, 23 June 2006

At about 4.45 this morning, one bleary eyed girl stumbled out of her flat trying not to freeze from the winter chill, walked a few metres down the road to her neighbour's whereupon she falls into the backseat of a car, greeted by two rather unbelievably awake guys, one of whom was rather chirpy.

The car drives about three minutes down the road and parks by the side of the road in front of a house. The occupants get out of the car and invited themselves into the house, making their way into the living room and were greeted by a chorus of cheers and overall enthusiasm.

The living room gradually fills up with more people, some decked out in green and gold outfits, as the minutes go by, as well as with snacks and not forgetting the Australian flag.

This girl has been extremely impressed by just how much the Aussies get behind their team, supporting and cheering them on even though some cannot differentiate a free kick from a penalty and most probably never had an interest in football, much less the World Cup, until now.

It really warms the heart to see the dedication, the love, the passion and the sense of ownership Aussies have towards their fellow countrymen in the world of sports. It is a matter of unquestioning support, simply because they are from Australia.

It's beautiful.

The first equaliser from Australia was great to watch, even better was the second (which saw Australia go through to the second round), but what was the best to watch was the reaction of the eight or so people around. The loud cheers, the group hugs, the waving of the flag, the collective bouncing up and down on the mattress that was in the middle of the living room floor.

It was amazing no coffee, water or chips were spilt during that celebration.

This girl will definitely be getting an early night tonight...

Read the more objective report here.

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