Hadn't gotten a chance to summarize the last couple of days in Singapore, but better late than never.
Probably pushed myself a bit much on Monday.  I started the day with walking tours of Chinatown and Little India.  Chinatown was fantastic, a mix of new and old and some really cool temples.  Little India was chaotic.  I couldn't find any air-conditioned restaurants to have a curry, and it was just too darn hot to sit in a Hawker Center.  I did walk through some kind of a Chinese dumpling festival (seriously!) near Sim Lim Tower...over a dozen different vendor selling banana leaf-wrapped rice dumplings; just take 'em home and steam them.  Of course, the Hilton would probably have frowned on any method I could derive to do this, so I took a pass.

In the afternoon I did the ultra-touristy visit to the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, to have the obligatory Singapore Sling that I missed on my 1998 visit.  The drink was OK, I guess -- didn't taste much alcohol, really, though, it tasted more like Hawaiian Punch.  But whatever.  Talked with a nice British chap who was on a stopover on his way to Perth and doing the same as me, checking the drink off the list.  Of course, neither of us realized that one Sling is S$18.65 -- that's about US$10.50!  Oh well, it was worth doing.  However, the thing you're supposed to do at Long Bar is reminisce and think about what it must have been like all those years ago when Noel Coward and Rudyard Kipling were hanging out and eating peanuts there.  I found this quite difficult when the soundtrack at the time of my visit included that 70s classic "Even the nights are better".  In the end, it was a checkbox activity, but now I can say "been there, done that."
Image:Slinging it in Singapore
Dinner Monday evening was with one of the IBM Singapore sales team, a chap who recently joined us from Microsoft.  We had a nice chat over Chinese food and coffee, with some good insights about the competition in the local market.  I've been learning a ton about ASEAN business in the last two days, and some of the cultural differences from other parts of Asia or the rest of the world.
One of those differences was apparent on Tuesday morning at the Workplace launch.  The first presenter, an IBMer originally from New Zealand, did a whole song and dance kind of show -- he walked all around the room, asked questions of the audience, and told some jokes.  I didn't think you were supposed to do any of that in Asia, I kept thinking to myself.  But the audience was with him, and they even laughed at his jokes.  What?  Wow.  So that actually relaxed me about my keynote quite a bit, and I think it went well.  Spent the rest of the day talking with the business partners and IBMers that were in attendance at the event -- some very good background on the local successes and challenges.
Wednesday is Malaysia, and then off to Guangzhou for the last of the week....

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