Welcome to Punggol OCBC Cafe Bike Crawl

Group photo before we start
Group photo before we start

So happy that this year’s OCBC Cycle’s Cafe Bike Crawl decided to come to Punggol as some may know I’m like Punggol Ambassador at large. lol. Last year I joined them at east coast area, but nothing beats home ground. I want to thank Julian Lim from OCBC for re-inviting me.

And off we go
And off we go

I think I missed a memo because I clearly understood it as a leisurely ride, so dressed comfortably in my shirt and shorts. Many came in proper cycling gear which I seriously struggle to do. I mean, you know… its kinda… revealing…

I managed to make a few new friends which was wonderful. Steve Lai from CNA, Yong Wei, Alvin Chia from ST Sports, Pris Chew, Zi Hao from OCBC and a few others.

Toast Box Breakfast
Toast Box Breakfast

First stop. Toast Box at Punggol Waterway Point. Eggs, Toast, Teh-C and new friends is the perfect way to start a Saturday. The table I sat had 2 people from the news business. Steve Lai from CNA and Alvin Chia from ST Sports, super interesting mix. We talked about Brunei and many other random stuff under the sun. Yong Wei was also at my table and he shared with us his gifts and premiums fabrication business.

Yong Wei, Alvin Chia, Steve Lai, Nick Pan
Yong Wei, Alvin Chia, Steve Lai, Nick Pan

I had quite a bit of chat with Steve as he is from CNA and since VML where I work at is currently revamping CNA’s website, it was great talking about the future of the news publishing business with him. He told me he is going to Manila to cover the elections, so do follow him on his twitter @SteveLaiCNA to keep up to date.

Cafe Bike Crawl at Waterway Point
Cafe Bike Crawl at Waterway Point

Another badass group photo outside the wonderful wonderful iMax enabled Waterway Point.

Sunset Bridge at Punggol Waterway
Sunset Bridge at Punggol Waterway

We cycled from the east side of Punggol all the way to the West side and I shared with all that this is the Sunset Bridge. The east side one is called Sunrise Bridge.

Coast Cycle
Coast Cycle

We cycled into Coney Island and Coast Cycle was there with their very garang bikes to let us try. The Quinn was there so was the Juggernaut and other bigger bikes. Super shiok, can jam break, drift drift abit. So fun. Do check out their bikes in their Siglap shop.

Coney Island
Coney Island

Yet another badass group photo. I camped out on the Juggernaut to act garang.

Wayne from Wayne's Chill Out
Wayne from Wayne’s Chill Out

We then headed to Punggol Settlement and rested at Wayne’s Chillout. Wayne shared with us the ice cream flavours he had and the many mix of beverages he had too. Somebody say Lychee Sorbet Iceeee Tea!! Shiok! Especially with the hot weather these days.

Seok Seng
Seok Seng

We then cycled and miraculously appeared at Soek Seng 1954 Bike Cafe for lunch. It’s at some super ulu secret location, so I’m not sharing how we got there and where it is. You go try and find yourself.

Uncle Joo from Seok Seng
Uncle Joo from Seok Seng

Uncle Joo shared with us his profession as a car restorer, his passion for restoring vintage bicycles and the many media coverage of his passion. His smile while sharing is really infectious. I think he have arrived. You can have all the money in the world, but living and breathing your passion and sharing it with people who appreciates it is what I call true success.

Nick Pan, Pris Chew, Yong Wei
Nick Pan, Pris Chew, Yong Wei

Here is Pris Chew and Yong Wei taking a selfie with me. Really nice people, hope to know them better in the future.

OCBC Cycle Workshop and Activities
OCBC Cycle Workshop and Activities

So, you too can join the OCBC Cycle Cafe Bike Crawl. Go check out on their site and quickly signup before it is sold out. OCBC have also organised a few other activities around the OCBC Cycle, so do check them out too. And of course, there is the main OCBC Cycle event happening 1 – 2 Oct 2016, so do join the rest of Singapore in this super fun event.

You must be wondering, how come so long post, but no real pictures of people actually cycling? The reason is simple, it is dangerous to take pictures while cycling. So because of this, I SNAPCHAT!!

Follow me on Snapchat “nickpan” (i’m a noob, so be gentle).

The Agency Reviewed in Advertising


Being in the advertising industry it’s quite common to have a less than positive attitude towards the clients we serve and dedicate our waking hours to. Phrases like “the client is dumb” have been heard in the halls of advertising for as long as advertising was around.

It’s common to be aghast when clients spew vague oxymoronic wisdom and expect the agency to continue the discussion and explore their direction of thinking without first going to the bathroom for a puke, the bar to get drunk and home to our mothers to spill out our hearts and tell her how we hate our lives. I’ve seen quite a few junior executives go through this phase and when their superiors cast the first stone, their uninhibited inner thoughts from their subconscious comes out and torches the client like a mindless dragon that just escaped from a dungeon seeking revenge.

Then after a year the agency gets reviewed and the whole account goes into a toss.

When we, the people from the agency side put in the hard work and long hours and not seen success, it’s understandable to be frustrated, it’s also understandable to lash out at our clients who are supposedly the ones who brings us much pain and suffering. In this highly emotional industry, It is understandable, but it’s also unhealthy and career limiting.

Have we thought about the conversations happening on the other side, the client side? What do they say about their agency? Let’s simplify the agency review into a scale of five stars and see what they could possibly mean.

Disclaimer: I’ve never been on the client side. The following are purely from my imagination and of my own opinion. Any resemblance to real events, real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

1 Star

How did my predecessors decide to engage this agency? I’m perfectly fine that they are late on their deliverables, but avoiding me on calls and not replying my emails only later to tell me that the deadline had to be pushed because of some vague unfathomable reason when the deadline had already passed is just unbelievable.

Not only do they not seem to have basic common sense, they also don’t seem to understand the words coming out of my mouth. I rather do the work myself than to pay them another cent to make my life even more miserable than it already is. My blood starts to boil when my phone rings and I see the agency’s number on caller id.

2 Stars

I believe my briefs are clear, but why do they always come back with all this super lame my-grandmother-can-have-a-better-idea type idea. I’m really curious how our brief was translated to the rest of the extended agency. Seriously copying epic split and old spice was not the brief, I wonder if they even have any insights at all. Do they even know what my marketing objectives are?!

They can execute, I give them that and I can even forgive them for that once in a while mistake or delay, but I seriously think I’m paying too much for just this kind of execution. There is simply no leadership, we need to tell them what to do along the way. They still have the cheek to pressure me to sign new quotes whenever we meet. I’m looking forward to work with a new agency.

3 Stars

My agency is ok and I think agencies are generally all the same. They work hard at times, they slack at times, they deliver most of the time according to plan, but they do miss some deadlines as well. Sometimes they give us all their attention, but sometimes they also seem to be busy with other business, so that’s not so nice.

The senior strategic people seems to be appearing less, leaving all these junior executives to take care of our business.

But when we do get the good senior strategic people in, things move along fairly well, but when they don’t get so involved things either become less strategic and becomes more executional. At times I give them some briefs just to keep them on their toes and challenge their ideas.

4 Stars

I love my agency. They get me. They know what is important and I can genuinely feel that they care for our brand and our business while having a good grasp of the market and our consumers. At times when we are not too sure of the way forward, they will workshop with us, make us focus on the more important things and collaboratively we work something out. The outcome tend to be good and sometimes simply brilliant.

The awards we have won because of this partnership is evidence that it’s a great relationship that’s working well. I understand that such agency reviews are necessary but honesty lets just extend their contract already.

5 Stars

My agency is a unicorn. Their employees are all supermodels and available 24/7. Every meeting is like a date and my heart will always skip a beat during these meetings and they are the absolute highlight of my day.

They send me their proposals before I send them the brief and the best part is we don’t need emails as everything is done almost telepathically. Not only do we win all possible awards we enter for, my agency charge me only a nominal fee and most of the time the work is pro-bono.

They take all my verbal abuse when I’m bored and just need to shout at someone. They counsel me when I’m sad, throw me parties, run my errands and collect my laundry too.

I love my agency. I love them more than I love myself.


Of course the last bit is an exaggeration because supermodels need their beauty sleep so its not possible to be available 24/7 and telepathy have not been invented yet.

Ok ok ok, in all seriousness, If you are working in Advertising and have read thus far, I urge all of us to not think that “the client is dumb”, instead look at ourselves and ask ourselves if we are proud being paid by our clients for what we have done for them?

What value have we brought into the relationship? What leadership have we shown? How much time have we invested in knowing our client’s business and understanding the things that are keeping them up at night? Is it just a client-vendor relationship or is it more of a partnership? The list goes on…

We are in the business of communication. We have the power to shape minds and change perceptions. We have the power to build brands and start movements. We have the ability to create art filled with science. We have the ability to be a catalyst of good and to influence this generation and the generations to come.

So, in the grand scheme of things, the stars our client gives us don’t matter, what matters is how we approach our craft which results in the quality of the work which then results in the stars our client gives us. So care for your client’s business and do good work and I’m sure you and your agency will be stars.

3 years of #GoingOut

3 years of GoingOut

Time flies. Its been 3 years already since our very first #GoingOut photo at our lift lobby. It started as a let’s do something fun while we wait for everyone to be ready to go out, then it became a let’s see who is last, then it became a let’s take a different pose, sometimes we are just waiting for the lift, then slowly it became a regular thing.

It’s really nice to see our kids progressively growing up. I can’t imagine how they will look like 10 years from now.

Quite fun to look back on what they wore on different days as it gives a hint on where we were going, also its clear not every day is a happy day. Sometimes someone don’t want to wear a pair of shoes, someone step on someone’s feet, someone have yet to wake up, but the best is when all are in high spirits and I get a good picture.

3 years of nickpan's GoingOut photos

Once I hit 5 years, I think I’m gonna print all of them out, exhibit it somewhere or maybe create a microsite for it. For now, if you wanna have a look, you can see them either on my Instagram or on my public Facebook album.

I’m glad we did this. Pls copy this idea and do it for your kids too starting today. :)