....... I wish I could have known, enough of love to leave love enough alone............" (with acknowledgement to Doug Ashdown? - any misquoting is from my failing memory).
But, of course it's far from cold here in Singapore in early February. However it seems that North Queensland and this, couldn't be more different, city state share a predilection for music from the late 60s/early 70s because that Ashdown song (from whenever) has been played on two different taxi's radios, a bar in the hotel and a shopping centre lift within the last 18 hours.
It's really nice to be back in Singapore even for the brief stopover we are making en route to Sri Lanka. The humidity is the same together with the 30 degree heat and the hotel, office and restaurant air conditioning is as freezing as I remember it as are the people as courteous, friendly and helpful as I remember from previous visits.
There are more developments and many more major buildings than I remember but the roads remain as wide and travel around this 700 sqm city/State remains easy, comfortable and speedy - especially during Chinese New year as no-one is working.
The business people, at least the ones I have met with, are as razor sharp as ever and, while being as polite and solicitous as is Asian business custom, remain breathtakingly efficient and deeply analytical and so well prepared that having a complex discussion is far more pleasurable, and much shorter, than any I've had in Australia for a long, long time.
"yes - that seems possible" ...."well we'd also like to help you with that - but unfortunately we won't be able to do so at this time".....We look forward to seeing you next week after you've had time to consider the points we've put to you".....goodbye and it's been a great pleasure meeting with you. Total time 27 minutes to get to a point of either going ahead with a minute aggregation data contract at really interesting pricing, and some difficult to handle volume commitments, or not.
It would be wonderful to be able to do business in Australia in such a sensible, and time efficient way.
Singapore is a great place to do business in and just as great to relax in and shares amazing hotels, restaurants, bars, airport efficiencies with other major Asian and Gulf cities that are totally absent in Australia and that make Sydney, a city I'm unbelievably fond of, seem third rate.
We leave for Sri Lanka in a few hours (have to get up at 4.30 in the morning to make the flight) but will be back to finalise a data over 3/4G deal if that turns out to be possible mid next week before returning to Australia next Saturday.
I have made very few business trips outside Sydney since we started up Exetel and I had forgotten how stimulating it is to discuss mutually interesting business concepts with people from completely different backgrounds and completely different operating circumstances than you find in your own very limited daily routines. Perhaps I should have taken a wider view of the possible opportunities of resolving the 'unsolvable' issues I've tried to deal with over the past two years sooner than I did.
It seems that even being away from Australia for less than 48 hours I've been able to see several things completely differently thanks to listening to very different views on the same issues. I'm, definitely, not saying I've managed to resolve anything but I now see two, perhaps three, things that have concerned me for over a year in a very different way.
Then again - maybe it's just the second martini and the 3 hour time displacement.