Offering a range of items for outdoor branding – flags, banners & signs we are often approached by charities to provide advertising support. We do what we can, but any support has to be very limited, and we cannot support all who ask. Last month an e-mail from a charity helping burns victims, caught my eye, and reading it, this was clearly a charity I could not, and would not turn away.
Post university, in the mid 1970’s I worked as a VSO volunteer in Indonesia. My job took me to the major towns of Java – Jakarta, Bandung, Jogjakarta and Surabaya, but there was a standing tradition that volunteers, met in Bali for Christmas. Tired and sticky from the six hour overnight train and ferry journey from Surabaya, I booked into a hostel in Kuta Beach, had a shower and walked over to the bar, to find myself sitting next to one of my university pals, from five years before. We chatted for an hour and shared a few beers. So far away from home to bump into someone I knew from England; what are the chances of that happening. Small world, I thought !
Kuta Beach then, was a very different place to what it had become by the end of the 1990’s. The small hostels and bars, of largely bamboo construction, dotted along the sandy road, had become much larger night venues, attracting revellers, not just the surfers from Australia and occasional European or US back packers, whom I had encountered. The old noisy ferry, with boy swimmers following the boat, diving for pennies, has been replaced by a bridge, and tourism has grown into a major source of income.
Unlike most of Indonesia, the Balinese are Hindu, not Muslim and have a have totally different culture and view of life. Visitors cannot fail to be overcome by their round faces and big happy smiles. Able to converse in the national language, Bahasa Indonesia and in the company of the other volunteers, who knew the island well, I was able to travel into the villages to meet with, and learn more about the life and culture of the Balinese people. The more I learned the more I began to respect them. Balinese “wedding flags” were eventually to be the inspiration of my future business ventures.
Watching the TV coverage some years later, I was shocked, horrified, almost in tears, when I heard that two bars, ” Paddy’s Pub” and the “Sari Club” along Kuta Beach had been destroyed by a suicide bomber in 2002. While revenge against America for their actions in Afghanistan, are claimed by the bombers in justification, most of those who died or injured were Australian or Balinese. There were 38 Brits amongst the dead including a wedding party of ten, and those who did survive we badly scared both physically and emotionally.
On receiving this e-mail the small world paradigm came into mind again – when total strangers connect around different seemingly unrelated events or people in their lives. Joy Huston, who manages the charity, explained that it had been set up the year after the bombing, by Polly( Miller) Brooks, who survived, but lost her husband and nine of their friends, and was badly burnt herself. “Dan’s Fund for Burns” in memory of her husband, has grown substantially over past ten years offering a wide range offers support to burn victims, and those who care for them.
Joy went on to say that they were planning two events in the forthcoming weeks – a charity run – The Royal Parks Half Marathon- for which they had 5 sponsored runners, and a fund raising event at a London Rugby Club.
Our final brief was to produce some eye catching branding for both events, generating an enhanced visual exposure for the charity. With our creative hats on, we produced some uniquely styled flags on flexible poles for supporters to wave as their runners passed, and some static flags for the London fund raising events. I feel sure that our relationship with Dan’s Fund For Burns will continue for many years to come.
For more information about Dan’s Fund for Burns Dansfundforburns.org
There is a full report of the Bali Bombings in Wikipedia.
The “Small World Paradigm” was first considered by Gugleilmo Marconi in 1908 and further researched by Figyes Karinthy in Budapest in the 1920s, by Stanley Milgram in 1967 in USA to consider how people are connected, through a chain of mutual friends. Much more research has been carried out since then, and our social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube….. all make use of this phenomenon, making the “small world” even smaller.