Saturday, May 28, 2011

Universal Studios Singapore Opens in Grand Fashion

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Ethan's certainly enjoyed his first visit to Universal Studios Singapore

Lights... Cameras... and so much action! That sums up the grand opening of Universal Studios Singapore this morning.

After allowing members of the public to visit parts of the park in stages, Universal Studios Singapore finally had its grand opening party. Thanks to the kind folks of Resorts World Sentosa, I was able to bring Ethan along to soak in the hot and festive fun. Participating in the extravaganza were big names like American Idol and pop personality Paula Abdul, Chinese martial arts superstar Jet Li, screen goddess Maggie Cheung, doe-eyed Chinese actress Vicki Zhao (of "Huang Zhu Ge Ge fame") and Kimberly Caldwell, a finalist from American Idol.

Gracing the occasion was Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, Genting Group Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay as well as Universal Parks and Resorts Chairman and CEO Tom Williams. The three gentlemen gave their speeches and launched the morning's celebrations with much aplomb, ushering in an elaborate procession of the real (and reel) stars of the theme park. Lovable characters from Shrek, Kungfu Panda, The Mummy, Madagascar, Woody Woodpecker, the Scorpion King and more also made their appearance, welcomed by the loud cheers of park visitors.


Join me now for a pictorial tour of this morning's event, in the eyes of a 7-year-old boy. :)

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
These fans are useful on a hot and humid day.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011

Members of the cast/staff all dressed up for their roles.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Genting Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Universal Parks Chairman Tom Williams and Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang flanked by two beauties - "Marilyn Monroe" and MTV babe Denise Keller.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Hmmm... looks like a ninja has decided to drop into the party.  Not that the VIPs mind anyway...

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
"Ready.... and ACTION!" goes Minister Lim, launching the event.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
No prizes for guessing who these men in black are. 

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Fortunately, this muscular blonde made short work of the assassins with her lethal kicks and punches. Ouch!

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
A marching band ushered in the parade...

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
...complete with cavalry riders on their fine brown steeds.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Woody woodpecker and friends joined us next.  Notice the guy on the right doing an aerial somersault?

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Walk like an Egyptian together with the Scorpion King.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
The cast of Madagascar were warmly cheered by the crowd.  Four legs good, two legs bad?

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
This fearsome looking machinery probably hailed from Battlestar Galactica.  Anybody knows what this is?

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Kung Fu Panda, looking fat and friendly on his golden sedan.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
The cast from Waterworld, one of the more popular shows at Universal Studios, making their appearance on dry land.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Is that a zebra?  Nope, its Beetlejuice!

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Everybody knows who the friendly green ogre Shrek is, as he ventures from his carriage to Far Far Away.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
This lady in the orange/golden dress befuddled me.  Do you know who she is?

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Ushering out the two VIPs in style was "Marilyn Monroe" yet again.  Now we do know that these gentlemen prefer blondes!

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
And following closely thereafter, we have the famous Paula Abdul!!... Err... sorry ah, this is as good a picture that I can get of the mega star who was mobbed by the paparazzi and fans.

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Of course Ethan had a different idea with his own fans, preferring to sweep the confetti off the street!

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
After the parade was over, we managed to hop onto "Madagascar A Crate Adventure" for some wet and wild river cruising fun...

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Spun around on a Merry Go Round...

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
Endured some eye-popping 4D "torture" in "Shrek 4D"...

Universal Studios Grand Opening - 28 May 2011
And had a prehistorically good time walking with dinosaurs at the Jurassic Park.

Here are the rest of our photos for your vicarous viewing pleasure.


Go ahead and bring your family to Universal Studios Singapore this June school holidays and have a movie-rrific time!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Climbing the Canadian Rockies


The awesome Moraine Lake at Banff, Canada (source of image)

Today, we're busy preparing, planning and packing for our upcoming trip to Canada's British Columbia and Alberta.


Vancouver City (Courtesy of Tyler Fraser's Blog)

Our itinerary will first take us to Vancouver where we'll spend a couple of days in the city exploring its gardens, parks, museums, coastal roads and other areas. The Capilano Suspension Bridge and probably the Greater Vancouver Zoo are likely stopovers.


Its a long way down Capilano Suspension Bridge (Courtesy of Rhys' Word)

Next, we'll drive to Kelowna for a one night stop over (while seeing Lake Okanagan). This will be followed by a drive eastwards, where we'll stop by the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch, Glacier National park and more. We'll spend a couple of nights at the famous Banff region of the Canadian Rockies. There, we will explore/trek the national parks like Yoho Park, Johnston Canyon, and the two beautiful Lakes Louise and Moraine.


Yoho Park (Courtesy of wallpaperstock)

Hopefully, we'll be able to catch some wildlife along the way - grizzly bears, black bears, mooses, elks, bisons, wolves - while taking in the breathtaking vistas of the mountainous areas.


Courtesy of Pictures and Photos of Canada

Trivia alert: Did you know that Ang Lee's Academy Award winning gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain was filmed primarily in the Canadian Rockies?


A beautiful place to fall in love (courtesy of Sweensryche sez…)

Thereafter, we will journey north to Jasper. Along the way, we'll probably stop by Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, and the fabulous Athabasca Falls. Driving on the Parkway Icefields, we'll probably also view or trek along some of the waterfalls, lakes or glaciers.


Athabasca Falls (Courtesy of raindog)

At Jasper, other spots we'll be stopping over include Mount Edith Cavell, Mount Robson, and Lake Maligne. Following that, we'll loop back to Kamloops for a stopover before proceeding to Whistler (where the Winter Olympics were held). At Whistler, we'll go for a gondola ride, catch some black bears on a tour, or perhaps just mountain bike around the Blackcombs region.


Whistler (Courtesy of West Coast Canada Institute for ISTP)

From Whistler, we'll drive back to Vancouver where we'll catch some of the other sights which we missed, and perhaps make a day trip to Victoria Islands. I hear that the Butchart Gardens there are quite beautiful.


Butchart Gardens (Courtesy of Uptake)

Thereafter, we will be coming back home to sunny Singapore.

Sounds like a plan? I'm certainly looking forward to canucking!  Hopefully our photos will turn out just as gorgeous as these!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Penning Papers that Persuade


Courtesy of CGU Writing Centre

Writing papers is not second nature for most of us. It isn't easy to slave over the words, facts and figures that form an integral part of white collar work, while putting forth a cogent and convincing argument.

Fortunately, there is an art and a science to writing policies, strategic plans, strategies, and other documents geared towards rallying support, budgets and stakeholder buy-in. Here are some tips that I have learnt from my years of experience in wielding the pen as the sword.

WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACHIEVE?

First and foremost, write down your objectives for the paper. What does it seek to achieve? Why are the outcomes and goals which you hope to reach at the end of your proposal? This will help to steer the rest of the document.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

Consider next who your readers will be, especially the key decision makers. It is useful to provide the right context to your document in the form of a background, history or introduction. It is usually a good discipline to keep backgrounders as short as possible, with details in the footnotes or annexes.

Depending on your readers, the writing style will also vary. A formal organisation (like a court of law) will require a more officious tone of voice in its document while a circus may require something less weighty. The length of the paper will also vary depending on the information needs of your audience.

WHERE ARE WE AT?

After splashing on the backdrop, you may sometimes need to put in more paint to set the picture right. This is where you should provide information on the current situation with an analysis of where your organisation/division/team is at. Typically, this will include the following:

a) Shifts and movements in the operating environment

b) Internal issues faced by the team

c) Fresh opportunities presented

There are multiple tools and theoretical frameworks available to analyse your external and internal environments. Choose one or two relevant for your purposes and try not to belabour the point once its made.

HOW SHOULD WE DO IT?

This is probably the most significant part of the document, and details the strategies, approaches, and tactics used to solve the problem or seize the opportunity at hand. As the saying goes, this is where the rubber meets the road. While there are no hard and fast rules on how much details to provide, one should always consider...

a) Conducting a reality check on what can and cannot be done, given current capacities and competencies

b) Timing one's actions appropriately in a phased approach

c) Gaining prior buy-in from key stakeholders/staff involved in the exercise

WHAT'S IN IT FOR US/YOU/THEM?

After cobbling together the strategies and actions needed, outline what the key benefits and deliverables are. What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs, a much loathed word) that you're seeking to achieve? How do you measure success, both tangible and intangible?

WHEN, WHO, and HOW MUCH?

The penultimate brush strokes to the canvas answers the hard questions that accompany any written proposal. Namely:

a) The timelines and deadlines for this exercise, normally captured in a gantt chart

b) The persons responsible for delivering the individual pieces in the puzzle, with specific roles mapped out if possible

c) The budgets needed to make this a reality, and where the sources are going to be

THE PARTING SHOT

After starting off with a strong beginning, one should end on an equally strong note. Put together your recommendations and conclusion using the most impactful words that you can muster. This is critical because you do want the decision makers to swing in your favour. A weak ending is probably the worst thing that you can do for your proposal.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Amateurs versus Professionals


Don't merely listen to the experts even if they look as good as this (courtesy of Strategy of Wealth)

In today's social-technology-enabled world, customers and citizens alike wield considerable influence over the decisions of corporate and political captains alike. In such an environment, we can ill afford to adopt a "I know best" attitude in dealing with our stakeholders (unless of course we are Steve Jobs and Apple).

While there is a rise in the cult of the amateur, as claimed by Andrew Keen, there is still a time and place for the professionals. I'm sure nobody in their right minds would want to be operated on by a surgeon who is fresh out of med school, or to be rescued by novice firefighters.

How does one decide between the judgements of the uninformed masses or the opinions of the learned few? Who should we trust when cobbling together our strategy?

It can be painful dealing with a room full of 'targeted customers' offering countervailing views on one's product or service offering. Barking multiple orders: "Do this!", "Do that!", "Don't do this!", "We need more features!", they can bring you on a journey around the Moon and back again without accomplishing much.

However, sticking to a coterie of professionals or intellects isn't quite the solution either. Like an old boys club reminiscing about past glories, there is little incentive for the group to venture into uncharted waters. After all, "Things have always been done this way in this industry".

Perhaps one way out of this dilemma is to embrace both divergent and convergent strategies in information gathering, ideation, and product development.

During the initial stages, you should seek to be a wide-eyed novice. Throw away all your previous prejudices and conventions. Go as far and wide as you can possibly can, budgets and time permitting.

Talk to both customers and non-customers. Seek inspiration from other industries and trades. Widen your funnel and actively solicit inputs and ideas, regardless of how stupid, radical or unrealistic they may be.

As you start nailing down each plank and begin to plaster the walls, you should then look at the process of elimination. Bring in the experts, the professionals, and the insiders to assemble the pieces. Look for synergistic themes, trends and patterns. Find a way to make it work while understanding the idiosyncrasies of your industry.

Naturally, that's not the end. The best organisations constantly reinvent themselves, unlearning and relearning to stay rooted to the needs on the ground while still having a clear view of what's possible.

Every now and then, don't be afraid to don your 'school uniform' in the university of the marketplace. However, when the time comes to lay the bricks, ensure that you get the best architects, civil engineers and construction workers to do the job.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Transforming Places into Destinations

Singapore Skyline (#12)
Singapore - a leading destination for work, study and play (courtesy of Christopher Chan)

A core part of my work currently revolves around how we can make an art gallery not just a venue for visual art exhibitions but a lifestyle destination. What are the drivers needed to transform any place - country, city, neighbourhood, leisure attraction, heck, even a garden or building - into a well-loved destination? How does one shape a location into the "happiest place on Earth" (borrowing from Disney)?

First, we could perhaps look at the definition of Destination Marketing. According Karl Albrecht and the Destination Marketing Association,

"Destination Marketing is a proactive, strategic, visitor-centered approach to the economic and cultural development of a location, which balances and integrates the interests of visitors, service providers, and the community."

Destination (or Place) Marketing is a holistic discipline, balancing the needs of various stakeholders while making a place viable and sustainable. There are entire books written about it (including this one by the Destination Marketing International Association), but this model below by Philip Kotler probably best sums up what its key considerations are:


Levels of place marketing by Kotler (source of image)

As seen from the chart above, developing a place into a destination requires one to consider multiple factors.  They range from the planning group comprising residents, businesses and government agencies and how they're involved in developing a place marketing strategy, its impact on marketing factors like infrastructure, people, quality of life, and attractions, as well as the wider target markets of a destination: new residents, manufacturers, investors, tourists, conventioneers, and exporters.  How these work together is a highly complex process requiring extensive planning, negotiation and development over a period of years.

To make the above work, it is critical to position a destination correctly against an entire army of competing places. What are the unique qualities that can differentiate your place from other places under the Sun? My favourite way to do this is to employ a perceptual map. See if you agree with the example below placing the US, Poland, Germany and China.

Courtesy of the Scottish Government

The next thing to consider is of course a destination's logo. Here, many cities and countries around the world have developed their own distinctive visual identity elements in a bid to differentiate themselves. These are often very painstakingly done, involving numerous consultations with stakeholders and focus groups ad nauseum. See how many of these you can identify from the example below:


Source of image

Here are more country logos for those of you addicted to this stuff. See if you agree with how the logos reflect the place's personality and key attributes.


Courtesy of Hospitality Times

In terms of destination marketing strategies and tactics, there are numerous ways to make a place endeared and loved by many. These range from making movies about a location (for example Australia), organising world class events (Formula One, Olympics, World Cup), developing unique attractions (anything that is first, largest, highest, or oldest), to ensuring that service standards and hospitality are unsurpassed (Thailand and Japan are great at this).


New York is probably the most filmed city in the world (courtesy of IMP Awards)

Finally, having a strong destination brand brings many benefits to its communities, marketers, visitors and other stakeholders. Bill Baker in Branding Strategy Insider, cited the following as examples of successful destination brand benefits:

1) Provides peace of mind by increasing trust and confidence.

2) Saves time and effort.

3) Simplifies choices.

4) Associations with the place reflects well on them.

5) Taps into their needs and desires.

6) Provides perceived added value and benefits.

What are some of your favourite places (big and small) around the world? Why do you like them so?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Companies Should Think Like The Media


Larry Kramer of CBS MarketWatch (source of image)

In the hypercompetitive world of producing and peddling information, one finds that media companies are often compelled to innovate lest they perish. The advent of multiple social media and networking channels, mobile connectivity, and citizen journalism have accelerated the need for the media constantly keep abreast of the latest developments in their reader's, viewer's and listener's taste and preference.

Against such a scenario, what can businesses learn?

Larry Kramer, founder and former chairman and CEO of MarketWatch (on CBS), has a few words of wisdom in a recent HBR Ideacast episode "Why Businesses Need to Think Like the Media". Author of the book C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today, Kramer proposes that there are 4 critical "Cs" that companies should consider in their business strategy while learning from the media.

They are: Consumers, Content, Curation and Convergence.

Consumers

The consumer vote is growing from strength to strength, empowered by the advent of multiple social networking and mobile communication tools. Gone are the days where customers suffer in silence, bullied by big brands with market controlling powers. In an environment where greater power goes to the people, companies need to discern what their consumers are telling them, and to develop strategies that best meet those needs.

Like the media, you should consider what your need, want or desire your business is serving as opposed to what it is currently doing.  For example, media firms are in the business of providing current and updated news as opposed to merely selling newspapers.  With that knowledge, you should then serve it up to them in the best way possible, however they wish to consume.

Content

By now, everybody would know that selling on price, features and benefits alone are not enough.  Marketing a product is sometimes as much about its back story as it is about both the sizzle and the steak.  Having good content - product website, company values, brand heritage, launch events, after sales service - counts for a lot more than just nice packaging and fancy technology.

A company should try to enrich its own story banks not just through its product packaging along but through the wealth of web channels available.  Podcasts, blogs, Youtube videos, Facebook posts, Tweets, Slideshare presentations and the like help to augment a company's "aura" and deepen the purchase and consumption experience.

Curation

This seems to be a trending topic amongst various business thinkers.  In the business of communication, curation entails discerning what consumers are likely to like or be interested in, and to provide it to them in their preferred mode of consumption.  One shouldn't just give everything to everybody in all channels of communication, but to be clear what one's purpose is in providing a specific information.

Curating also entails being useful to one's customers. Spinning out lots of fluff about one's company or brands alone isn't going to cut in.  Instead, seek to understand one's consumers (back to the first "C") and consider what would be useful for them to know.  If you're in the business of renting movies, for instance, think about incorporating movie reviews not just from the mainstream media but from bloggers and consumers themselves.

Convergence

While this trend has been spoken to death in the fields of technology and digital media, it is also about how the different elements of one's business comes together and interplays.  Product design, for instance, is no longer the duty of the R&D engineers alone, but should involve marketing, sales, logistics, operations and other arms of the business.  Naturally, convergence also means that one should employ multi-moded means of reaching out to one's stakeholders.

Its Not Just a Technology Play

In the final part of the podcast, Kramer clarified that it isn't just about having the most number of fans or followers on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or being the most popular blog in the social sphere.  Technologies should be seen as the means to an end, and not the end in themselves.  Instead, companies should look at communication as their all important holy grail.

Communication is a two way game.  It is about interacting and getting one's message across.  It is also about listening and responding to one's audiences and consumers in the manner which they are most comfortable with.  This means that having a forum, blog, Tweet account, or Facebook page doesn't mean eliminating your hotline, customer service counters or email address if your customers prefer a more traditional means of reaching you.  Rather, seek to be accessible to your consumers on their own turf.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Remembering to Recharge

Sunset and Moonrise

How do you regain your balance in life?  What helps you to "top up" your inner resources after a particularly trying and hectic week?

Often, the simplest pleasures in life can bring forth the greatest sense of joy and well-being. 

They can be as simple as taking a walk in the park with my family, exploring the world of art and history at a museum, catching the golden sunset (or a bright full moon), enjoying a delicious but healthy meal, or escaping into the world of imagination and ideas with a good book.  Of course, shopping and movies are also favourite pastimes for many of us. 

My favourite activities often involve Mother Nature in all her splendour, energised by physical activity which stirs the body and moves the soul. 

Remember to take the time to escape from the hurly burly of daily life every once in a while.  Find a special place where you can empty your mind, recharge your spirit, and nourish your body.  It is absolutely OK to do nothing at all. 

You will find that the rewards will far outweigh the costs taken to escape to that sanctuary of peace, calm and stillness.

Go ahead.  Give yourself a break.  You certainly deserve it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Managing in a Maelstrom


Charybdis (image source)

You've probably heard the saying over and over again - change is the only constant (this quote first came from an ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus), especially in this day and age. Beyond the cataclysmic calamities wrecked by Mother Nature, I bet that many of us also face major shifts and upheavals in various aspects of our lives.

How does one manage oneself and others in the midst of tumultous changes? Here are some thoughts on what one can do to brace and ride the storm.

1) Focus intently on the end objective and keep your eyes trained on the goal posts. To lead yourself and team members through a period of uncertainty, you need to keep looking towards the future and concentrate on reaching the end. Do not be distracted (like Lot's wife) by the past or let it drag you back into the chasm.


Turning back is dangerous! (courtesy of Dwelling in the Word)

2) Break it down into manageable pieces, and chart out intermediate milestones in the journey. Nobody likes to walk blind into a strange and foreign land without having some clues on their progress along the way. These signposts are important in helping to motivate yourself and your group to continue along the road while having some certainty that you're moving in the right direction.

3) Communicate constantly with your team/family/group members. Silence can be extremely eerie in a fast changing environment, and a reassuring word now and then works wonders. Of course, this must be done with tact, timing and panache. Don't spill all the beans at the first opportunity, but rather, pace it out in good time.

4) Maintain a buoyant air of optimism about the future but keep your feet firmly on the ground. To ensure success in any corporate, social or personal turnaround effort, one needs to keep one's spirits up in the midst of trials and tribulations. While many would feel more comfortable and natural to stay status quo (a leopard never changes its spots), one should embrace the right emotional and psychological frame of mind when facing change.

5) Finally, and most importantly, show that you care. Getting buy-in for any major and radical change necessitates one to paint a brighter future for those involved in the change. Demonstrate an emotional connection to those whose lives will be impacted by the transformation, and remember to listen to their concerns. Unity in vision, purpose and passion are fundamental values in seeing through any major changes in one's work and life.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Power of Emotions


"And Jesus Wept" (Courtesy of A View From The Edge)

Over the past couple of weeks, Singapore's General Elections captured the attention of many Singaporeans, resulting in a Polling Night that had a nail biting finish. More than 2 million people casted their votes for the future of Singapore.

In reading, viewing and listening to what my fellow Singaporeans have to say about the elections, it is clear that the emotions play a key role in its eventual outcome. There has been shouts of anger, tears of sadness, and smiles of happiness throughout the campaign period for all parties. Much of the rhetoric employed by the various candidates in their speeches tug heavily at the heartstrings.

On the personal front, I find that I've been increasingly afflicted by the emotional bug too. They range from the positives (love, hope, joy, peace) to the negatives (fear, disappointment, anxiety, sadness). While trying to understand the various dimensions of the heart and its manifestations, I came across an interesting chart from fractal.org which captures most of the dimensions of human emotion:


Courtesy of fractal.org

A deep-rooted part of everyone of us as social beings, emotions are a key in virtually every part of our lives. For sure, the head plays a big role in helping us to discern what's right or wrong, which career path makes sense for us, or which home is more suitable for us based on affordability, location and size. However, when it comes to the crunch and a decision needs to be made at the cross-roads, it is the heart which takes over.

What does this mean for us in our work and our lives?

First, understand that you are a creature of feeling yourself and ask yourself the deep seated questions. What is your purpose and motivation for doing things in a certain manner? What are the emotional triggers that either set you off on a roller-coaster ride or raises you up to heights of delirious joy? Knowing thyself is a critical part of managing emotions both at home and the workplace.

Next, you should always consider both the logical thoughts and the illogical feelings of one's stakeholders. While price, convenience, features, and service standards may be "must-haves" in any consumer offering, consider how you can make an emotional connection to one's customers.

Do also think about how you can bring forth your own feelings and emotions when communicating to others, tampered of course for the occasion. When you're at home speaking to your loved ones, use the five languages of love in a conscious manner. Speak not only with your mouth or with words, but also with your body.

Respect the feelings of others wherever you can, and understand that sometimes, winning the logical battle may result in one losing the emotional war. Consider what's the best way to work with others while connecting with them both intellectually and emotionally.

Finally (especially for guys who may be less intuitive), do not hesitate to ask for help. In discerning matters of the heart, the fairer gender may be far more perceptive and accurate in their assessment. Seek the advice for those who have greater empathy for what others feel and use that to help you determine what you should do.

Naturally, there is a lot more about emotions and managing them both at work and at home. Renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman has written many good books on Emotional Intelligence that you can consider reading. However, what's important is to do what works for you and to understand more closely how emotions work in every sphere of our lives.

Friday, May 06, 2011

What do the Elections, Osama, & Will & Kate Have in Common?


Singapore goes to the polls tomorrow (courtesy of Wikimedia )

This week has been an especially significant one for many of us.

Right now, the biggest news for many Singaporeans is that of the impending Singapore General Elections 2011, with polling day taking place tomorrow. By this time, everybody would have read, heard, or viewed about the fierce contests taking place between the ruling and opposition parties. Both mainstream and social media channels have carried lots of news, views, and opinions on the election. Also known as Cooling-Off Day, today is the day when all qualified voters around the island will reflect and carefully consider their decision tomorrow.

Another big news happening this week was the killing of global terrorist Osama bin Laden by the US special forces in Pakistan. This has flooded the headlines of major papers and TV channels all over the world, resulting in both jubilation and a new found trepidation amongst those fearful of revenge attacks.

On a smaller but still significant scale, the past week has also seen the world witnessing the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. In a modern day fairytale, the majestic nuptials have captured the hearts and imagination of many.

So what do the three huge events have in common?

Well, first, they are hogging almost all the bandwidth, channels and media spaces on both mainstream and alternative media. Everybody's talking about either one or the above. In Singapore, its mostly about the elections, but I believe that Osama's death would probably be a hotter topic of discussion in the States.

Second, they have stimulated interest across a wide range of media vehicles, from huge global and local news networks, to ordinary bloggers, Facebookers, and Twitterers producing and curating home-brewed content. Huge newsmaking events like these above have captured the airwaves, fibre networks, and satellite transmissions, across virtually all channels one can think of.

The third and perhaps most important thing I see (for publicists like us), is that these huge newsmaking activities WILL thwart any other publicity efforts made during this period. Sure, you can try to get some coverage amongst special interest blogs, or a blurb on the community news pages of the local newspapers. However, due to our limited attention space, it is unlikely that people will pay particular attention to what you've got to say.

In other words, when news of national or international importance breaks across both national and international media platforms - professional or amateur - the best thing to do is to wait until the event blows over.

Don't try to fight against the Tsunami of news because you'll just end up drowning in the deluge.