Launching of AirAsia asean in Jakarta + My Vision for ASEAN

It’s been an outstanding experience for me. Beginning from those lunch hour visits from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Jakarta, Indonesia and back, who’d ever thought my small little social media consultancy that focuses on social issues & community development could go this far. Working with AirAsia asean has been nothing but explosive & fun!

But first, let’s provide you with a little fanservice… by the beautiful Asean ladies (who are also @AirAsia’s Flight Attendants!) who are wearing unique Asean outfits!

Can you guys guess which girl is from which country? Haha. By the way, more photos can be found on my Facebook Page.

In any case, it started out really as a conversation between me and @kathyjah, who works at AirAsia asean. I strictly believe that there are more people to learn from outside of Malaysia, the exposure is something we need to broaden our minds. At Young Corporate Malaysians (@YCMS) and @UKEC’s #MSLS, we are finding that some of the speakers were on repeat and soon, we’d run out of people to learn from.

Then a thought came to me: why not go Asean? Learning about patterns you never knew existed in different markets, potential for your biz to go cross country where the market potential still exists, trading unique founding skills that could be useful for your own endeavors – all this could be done with further collaboration between the 10 countries. Besides, we’re so near each other. Really.

That’s when I thought, hey, @Socialgrooves could work out a CSR initiative to grow a community of Aseans who are Asean-aware and with strength of numbers, we could very well be a pressure group of sorts to demand the best for the people. Governments and their politics can sometimes interfere with their populist approach, so it is really up to us, the people of Asean, to be in this together.

That’s how @Aseanita was born! The idea was agreed by both ourselves & AirAsia asean, and with volunteering efforts from people like @lorrainesiew and @akiraceo, we ran a month long campaign that got surprising response from the Asean community (hereby referred to as Aseans) themselves. We even work together with an existing ASEAN Community who has a whopping 56k community on their Facebook page, and that’s saying something! Though our numbers may be a stark difference, we believe that by creating a personality like Aseanita as your average Asean girl who explores the notion of ASEAN, it may relate well to people who aren’t familiar with the term – and that’s a start to begin with 🙂

Anyway so I was invited to be at the launch of @AirAsia’s asean office in Jakarta, and that’s a really huge thing cause @TonyFernandes basically flew media people from all over the Asean region to come over and pay homage to the quirky office. At the same time, he also had this huge meeting with all (almost!) of AirAsia’s CEOs on the same morning, which is what you see above!

That, my friends, is like a Roundtable of sorts of all the important people in the lowcost aviation industry, where most of them are already public listed, and must have quite a high networth okay! (yea, like the one I did on Obama and the Knight of the WWW)

So since I was there, like any other thick-faced blogger, might as well camwhore with ALL of them, kan? 😛
Starting with Tony Fernandes himself, Group CEO of AirAsia, of course! This man here is a giant, only second to the great Sir Richard Branson. He’s an inspiration to many, and believe me, working with him makes you believe that you can do ANYTHING!

Oh and for the record, this is what he said about Aseanita… ^_____^

QUOTE – Tan Sri @TonyFernandes

Then of course you have the most recent CEO of AirAsia Malaysia, @AireenOmar. For Tony to trust her in managing Malaysia’s operations, she must be no normal person!

Next up is V. Logan, who was at that point the Country Manager for AirAsia Singapore until Tony told him two minutes before his speech that he’s been promoted to the CEO of AirAsia Singapore. Congratulations, LOL!

Ah, the host of the day, Pak Dharmadi, CEO (President Director, they call it) of AirAsia Indonesia. Humble and down to earth, this is the one guy I’d like to invite over to Malaysia to give a talk at YCM and SEC. Boleh sih? 🙂

What would we be without  Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of AirAsia Thailand. Certainly no cheap Krabi & Bangkok trips 😀

Familiar man? Yeap, the popular @AzranOsmanRani, CEO of AirAsia X. Why X ah you ask? I also don’t know how to answer… *cues X-files music*

Oh and finally, my gateway to Japan himself, Kazuyuki Iwakata, CEO of AirAsia Japan that was recently launched. Congratulations to him, hope you can fly me to Japan where I’ve always dreamt to be, because of my love with the Japan culture and food ^___________________^

Okay so that was all of the bigwigs combined! While I was doing that, poor Katherine has to work so hard. Sometimes I’m amazed how she got this far… and yet, act like a complete klutz sometimes ._.

Anyway, this was my experience at the launch- 10 gorgeous flags representing the countries of Asean, which are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in alphabetical order. Do you know how I remembered? I had to watch the Olympics walk and wait for each of the country to pass and take a screenshot of it for Aseanita’s Olympics album. Anything for #teamAsean!

There was also lots of goodie bags. All for the media & some bloggers from all over the region. What else to expect from an Airline company that focuses on Asean, huh? *gilap kasut*

The customary ribbon cutting. Cheesy, but gets the work done for the media.

I like this picture of Kat doing last minute editing. She looks so cool and pwettyyyy

And this picture where she’s side by side with Tony. With all the press taking pictures… of him, or her?

Some 100 key media people from the 10 countries. Talk about OTT huh?

Ah back to the original picture above, except this was taken at a very nice angle. Not easy to do this okay, had to act like one of those professional media guys! Anyway, just some excerpt below of what Tony said about Aseanita…

 “This campaign is an affirmation of AirAsia’s commitment to Asean.  It is the first major initiative undertaken by our new regional base in Jakarta. One of our major goals it to help promote and project  the Asean  image and brand.  Asean is our home, we have invested our resources here and we intend to grow here.  We will always give the support needed to strengthen the region,” said Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia.

Further to that, he said this about Asean as a whole too

“AirAsia asean would prepare the group for the implementation of the Asean Open Skies policy and the Asean Economic Community.”

“AirAsia asean will help ensure that our voice, our concerns and our appeals are heard much more clearly in the corridors of power with ASEAN. One of the reasons for locating the office in Jakarta is to help us engage more closely with the Asean Secretariat, which is headquartered here,”

By focusing on regional growth, AirAsia expands its market base to 600 million people and brings Asean closer – within four-hour flight radii – to mega populations in neighboring giants China and India as well as in Japan and Korea. The Asean region, Northeast Asia and South Asia have a combined population of 3 billion people, or 43% of the world’s population.

AirAsia’s commitment to Asean goes beyond its network of destinations. It has provided employment to 10,000 individuals from across Asean and flown more than 140 million guests since its launch as a low-cost airline in 2001. It has championed the region in various projects, including in sports and youth development, on the global stage. Last month, AirAsia asean debuted Aseanita, a female Asean caricature, online to promote the region via popular social media channels and serve as a guide to the region. Aseanita has so far garnered more than 2,700 likes on Facebook (facebook.com/Aseanita), where she engages an average of 500 fans daily. Aseanita also encourages discussions regarding Asean on Twitter (@Aseanita), where she has close to 250 followers.

If anything, my vision for Asean is pretty much aligned to his, therefore it makes total sense to continue our CSR campaign together in hope to gather more volunteers who will act on behalf of Aseanita to attend ASEAN-related events and share them with the community, along with any opportunities to participate or collaborate. That is the aim in totality! 

 Ah but it’s time to go home, since it’s a working day and all. Another super cool experience is that I get to fly back with Tony and Azran, and you can imagine the stir they created in the aircraft haha. One day, though, I really hope to fly young leaders together with him, to experience what I did, and to learn from him as well. Don’t know if it will happen, but I can dream, can’t I? 

And that was the end of it! All in all the great people at AirAsia asean including Katherine, Raman and team took great care of me and I had such a great time in Jakarta and being in the office, seeing how these people work and learning from them. I owe it to my team at @Socialgrooves as well as volunteers for without them, Aseanita wouldn’t have happened. In fact, all the fantastic coverage wouldn’t have happened, even on the Wall Street Journal (Indonesian version) too, oh boy…

WHY ASEAN?

Imagine that your voice can impact the lives of not just your fellow citizens, but 600 million people.

This is the strength of Asean. A 600m strong, wealthy community with a GDP of USD2.1trn that is becoming increasingly well-connected through mobile internet and the low cost carrier revolution in air travel. With Asean, you can share your passion, creativity, and ideas with a much bigger and diverse community. Those who influence are those who can inspire others.

Asean has come this far in 45 years, from 5 countries to 10. Asean Day is an occasion to celebrate the success of our visionary Founders who sought to forge a new future with Asean. They inspired a legacy of peace and socio-economic co-operation in Asean. This legacy lives on and continues to grow, 45 years on.

The time has come to realize the futures of our communities are inextricably linked to one another, interwoven in a tapestry of shared dreams and destinies. The time has come to realize that we are not just people of 1 country, but 1 region. We are Asean.

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spinzer

He is an avid blogger at Spinzer.uS and lives 24/7 on Twitter by the moniker @spinzer. Left Investment Banking to pursue the unleashing of Malaysian Gen-Y's hidden talents by founding the EYE (Empowering Youth Endeavors) Project. He co-founded the Young Corporate Malaysians and assists RandomAlphabets in his spare time. He plans to build a socially good empire out of his social media consultancy outfit called SocialGrooves.com in a bid to turn the world into a better place by 2020.

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