PSY: Gangnam Style
Often silly but surprisingly effective, there are few better ways to promote a destination than through the power of pop. Mix picks some of the world’s most powerful patriots and describes the destinations singled out in their songs.
Song: Gangam Style
In one fell sweep, Korean pop sensation put the high-class Korean suburb of Gangnam on the global map. Psy might have been poking fun at the high-end hangout, but his anthem demonstrated the incredible Korean sense of humour.
Where to meet? Planners hoping to inject a bit of Gangnam style into their meetings can check out the Mercure Seoul Ambassador Gangnam Sodowe which has 288 bedrooms and four meeting rooms that cover a total area of 200 sqm
Singer : Elton John
Song: Made in England
Although many songs have been sung about the virtues of England’s green and pleasant lands, there are few who can promote the country’s passion and eccentricity on such a global scale as Elton John.
Where to meet? For the quintessential English experience, one should really be gathering at the local cricket ground. Where better than Lords, arguably the most famous cricket ground in the world? A wide-scale of event spaces is available with largest space being the 1000 sqm Nursery Suite which can accommodate up to 500 guests.
Song: Take U to the Philippines
Black-Eyed Peas rapper and producer Allan Pineda left the islands for the USA when he was just 11 to seek treatment for a rare eye disease. He stayed and went to school in LA where he met will.i.am. The two began rapping and performing together around the city until they formed ATBAN, which became Black-Eyed Pods and finally, Blacked-Eyed Peas.
Apl.de.Ap has never forgotten his roots, inserting Tagalog songs in the group’s repertoire whenever he can. Take U to the Philippines is the second in a series of recollections on his homeland, the first being The Apl Song.
Where to meet? Capitalising on the Philippines’ long association with Spain – it was a prized colony for 400 years – a number of ancestral homes around Manila have found new life as restaurants and event spaces. Among these are Casa Roces, which combines heirloom cuisine and art with a small gallery on the premises, La Cucina de Tita Moningin the elegant San Miguel vicinity where the presidential Malacanang Palace is located and the Moran House, now called Il Piccino Trattoria 9 in the leafy suburb of San Juan. They welcome corporate buy outs.
Singer: Jay Chou
Song: Listen to Mother’s Words
Taiwan’s most versatile performing artist, Jay Chou, began his career off stage as a composer for popular Mandarin singers until he started releasing his own albums. His style – a combination of Chinese and Western – has enthralled millions around Asia, as well as numerous overseas Asian communities. He has sold more than 28 million albums to date. What sets Chou apart is that he doesn’t just sing about young men’s fancies, but also dares to touch on issues affecting the lives of contemporary Taiwanese such as drugs in Coward, domestic violence in Dad, I am back, while in Listen to Mother’s Words and Maternal Grandmother, he champions and extols family values.
Where to meet: Taipei boasts a conference arsenal that allows it to host conferences and exhibitions of all sizes. Venues popular with event planners are the NTUH International Convention Center (nthcc.net.tw), Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall or TaipeiEX (twtcnangang.com.tw) and Taipei International Convention Center (ticc.com.tw), each boasting highly flexible use of their spaces and state-of-the-art technology to ensure productivity and connectivity during show days. Hotel-wise, two new players have come on the scene after a long dry spell – W Taipei and Le Meridien, just walking distance from each other in the buzzing Xinyi district, both with the spaces to work and network. W’s Woo Bar is especially atmospheric with the view of the city’s iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper always within sight from this aerie.
Singer: A R Rahman
Song: Jai Ho
This multi-awarded multi-instrumentalist has two decades of working in India’s film industry behind him. He is known for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic music sounds, world genres and classical music arrangements. Nicknamed the “Mozart from Madras”, Rahman churns out hit after hit from his own Panchathan Record Inn in Chennai, one of Asia’s most sophisticated and high-tech studios. His Jai Ho (“let there be victory), was the theme of Slumdog Millionaire, the love-success story, directed by Danny Boyle set in Mumbai that ends with what all good Indian films end with – a dance scene.
Where to meet: Mumbai is full of world-class hotels and superb service, but only the Renaissance in the Powai district boasts its own convention centre with an additional 15 breakout rooms and a lovely lake nearby.
Graeme Park and Margie T Logarta