Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Big Underpants

Completed in 2012, the Beijing headquarters of China’s state broadcaster China Central Television was billed to be the answer to the Arc de Triomphe. However instead of the Chinese people embracing it as a symbol of economic rise, it has become popularly nicknamed ‘The Big Underpants’.

The trend towards atypical building design has reportedly prompted Chinese leader Xi Jinping to call for an end to “weird architecture” in a country that has seen a huge boom in construction.

While most of the older buildings in China are made up of Soviet-style concrete blocks, the massive role that property development has played in the rise of China as an economic superpower has drawn in built environment specialists from around the world. Young unknown architects viewed it as an opportunity to design towers long before their careers could reach such lofty heights elsewhere.

Chinese newspaper the People’s Daily reported on their website that the President of the People's Republic of China used the term “no more weird architecture”, while addressing a group of young artists. It’s seems fitting that it’s them that broke the story, considering that the paper’s own new home, an unmistakably phallic tower, was so widely mocked by internet users, that Chinese censors blocked the discussions.

In China, the People’s Daily and the state broadcaster constitute the mouthpiece of the ruling party, so having the voice of the nation emanating from a giant pair of underpants and possibly worse, perhaps go some way towards explaining the sensitivity around it.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


Monday, October 6, 2014

Sleeping on the Job

Image Courtesy of King Jim Products

King Jim, a Japanese company specializing in office equipment and supplies, recently started selling a product called the Wearable Futon Air Mat Set. It is essentially an overall made of nylon, polyethylene and polyester and serves as protective work gear as well as a bed.

This makes perfect sense in a country like Japan where the work ethic is exceedingly high and encouraging workers to take power naps during their lengthy work day enhances productivity. Indeed a progressive approach, from an enlightened nation.

Sadly unlike their famous Toyota products, it is improbable that Japan will be exporting large numbers of these, as many employers outside of that country will be deterred by its potential for abuse.

Imagine the CCMA arguments that would ensue:

“You dismissed the plaintiff for sleeping on the job, yet prior to that you issued him with a suit containing a built in mattress designed specifically for that purpose. By having issued him with the equipment to do so and in the absence of any proof that clear nap time parameters were given, we conclude that it was perfectly within reason for the employee to have assumed that prolonged sleeping on the job was expected of him.”

The good news is, with a bit of creative thinking, there are alternative target markets for it....

If they were to rebrand it the “Snooze where You Booze Suit” it would make the ideal Christmas gift for that celebrated friend or colleague who much to the amusement of everybody other than his wife, is known as the life and soul of the party. They could also promote it as an item that keeps out the cold and ads an extra degree of comfort, for those who habitually end up in the dog box.

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Membership Directory

The 2015 membership directory will be going to print soon and all fully paid up members will be given a basic listing however should you wish to maximize exposure from this publication, there are various advertising options to choose from. Book now and receive great coverage for this once off cost.

The first print run will consist of 3000 copies and will be handed out at various Association events. The balance of the stock is to be distributed to all members by post as well as the general public via our offices in Durban, Newcastle, Pietermaritzburg, Empangeni and Shelly Beach.

All costs, format requirements and deadline dates are on the booking form. Once completed kindly return it to tanya(at) or fax on 086 543 8288 before 22 October 2014.

Download booking form here(pdf)

Tanya Leeuw
Marketing and Membership Assistant