I spent Eid-ul-Azha at the ASOCIO General Assembly
I have been in Hong Kong since after the APICTA event, working remotely from hospital and home ensuring that my father recovers from the bout of pneumonia that hit him without any warning. By the time it was possible for me to leave him here in my brother’s care, it was close to Eid and the ASOCIO General Assembly and ICT Summit which I was supposed to come back for in any case.
So while you guys were partying on Eid day I got up early, made some goodies for visitors who would be dropping in on my father during the day. Then I headed off for the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center where the ASOCIO General Assembly was scheduled to begin at 10 am.
ASOCIO is an organization comprising of 20 member economies representing the ICT industries in Japan, Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It also has seven guest members from the USA, UK, Canada, Spain, France, Russia and Kenya.
The mission of ASOCIO is to act as a bridge for IT companies in the region to expand their network of contacts, do business together and develop their capabilities. Together these economies represent over 10,000 ICT companies in the Asia Pacific region.
After a welcome address by the current president of ASOCIO – Ashank Desai of NASSCOM – we went straight into the agenda of the meeting which comprised reports and discussions as diverse as Public Policy, SME Development, Relationship with global organisations and the ASOCIO Ambassador Program.
As has become customary at these events, there was a lot of debate on several of the subjects and sharing of programs that had worked or failed in different economies.
The tea and coffee that flowed throughout the morning session kept people alert and active. Wifi was available so whenever a discussion went off on a tangent, some of us caught up with email. Generally though, Lucas Lim the Secretary General and Ashank kept people on track.
Each of the ASOCIO officers had brought little souvenirs for everyone – I didn’t go home to Karachi as I had intended to so I was deprived of the pleasure of giving anyone anything this year 😦 Oh well, I guess I will just have to make up for it at the Plenary Meeting. I did give Lucas the “Inspiring Innovation” P@SHA t-shirt and a copy of the P@SHA study for the ASOCIO Secretariat. No no, he will wear the shirt, not file it away in the secretariat. 🙂
Next on the agenda was lunch – and what a lunch it was! The menu included Deep fried Prawn with Mashed Taro and Almond, Double boiled Sea Conch and Honey Dew Melon, Baked King Scallop with Cheese and Butter, Braised Fillet of Garoupa, Baked Chicken with Crispy Rice in Spicy Salt, Braised e-Fu Noodles with Enoki and Conpoy, Double Boiled Fresh Milk and Egg White and Chinese Petits Fours. One couldn’t really have all that was served but I did gobble down my favourites – especially the Prawns, the Scallop and the Groupa and Noodles – and the Chinese dessert which is not everyone’s cup of tea, was absolutely yummy.
Some of us took the opportunity of networking and taking snapshots during the different courses.
The view from the lunch room was beautiful. I couldn’t capture it all but that didn’t discourage me from taking the odd photo or two.
Just when we had begun to have some fun, we were ushered back into the General Assembly by a young lady with a xylophone.
The afternoon session comprised of discussions focusing on Skills Development, Standars and Training, PR and Branding, Financial Health of ASOCIO and the presentation of the financial report for 2008 and the budget for 2009 by the Secretary General.
Discussions ensued and some sub-committees were formed to come up with suggestions and a plan of action. I am on the PR & Branding sub-committee as well as the Sub-Comittee that is going to work closely with KPMG Australia on a study and strategy for ASOCIO countries going forward – a sort of Vision 2020.
David Chang, the ED for Taiwan then made a bid to host the 2010 ASOCIO General Assembly. I will not share with you some of the temptations he offered in his presentation to delegates (don’t want to corrupt the minds of my younger readers). David is an entertainer to say the least and so the presentation was balanced with humour and fact. The General Assembly voted to hold the 28th GA in Taipei. To celebrate their win, which they had no doubt expected, the Taiwan delegation distributed Lindt chocolate boxes to all the ASOCIO officers. They even opened up a couple of boxes so we could sample the wares. Yummmmmmm!
Elections for Officers was held and it was decided that the GA to grant Ashank Desai a year’s extenstion. The VPs would continue their term as well until the next GA in Melbourne in 2009.
Other Agenda items were covered quickly and then the Australian team gave a presentation of the plans they had for the joint ASOCIO and APICTA event in Melbourne in 2009. Some suggestions were made on tweaking the dates and some of the overlaps. AIIA is trying to blend in a lot of networking and business exchange and promotion activities during the 4-5 days that people will spend in Melbourne at the two events. It actually looked great and as soon as the dates are fixed, each of the countries will look at how to maximise participation from their membership.
If you think this brought the day to a close, no such luck. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council was waiting to host a Welcome Reception in the Bauhinia Room so we made our way through the HKCEC complex to join them. More hob-nobbing, and sampling of food and drink continued until Stephen Lau, Chairman of APICTA, took some of us aside for a mini conference regarding APICTA issues.
By the time I got home, I was ready to flop into bed. It had been a long day. Constructive but tiring nonetheless. So that is how I spent Eid day. Talk about commitment to the cause – ok ok so it was fun too! 🙂
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