My story on BlackBerry’s turn-around push in Indonesia

A chance encounter in Jakarta with legendary Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was merely an exhilarating byproduct of my recent Indonesia trip.

I traveled there to cover the debut of BlackBerry’s new low-cost, Foxconn-made smartphone, which it released in Indonesia as part of a high-stakes turnaround plan.

The story includes snippets from my interview with Chief Executive John Chen, and begins:

BlackBerry Ltd.’s latest stab at keeping its storied brand alive is starting here, at a launch event for its $191 smartphone, in the capital city of Indonesia.

The phone maker based in Waterloo, Ontario, unveiled its latest handset, dubbed the Z3, before several hundred people in a packed five-star hotel ballroom on Tuesday. An Indonesian hip-hop trio warmed up the crowd before BlackBerry’s new chief executive, John Chen, took the stage to introduce the phone.

The Z3 represents a number of firsts for BlackBerry, which recently replaced its chief executive and revamped its corporate strategy, after failing to find a buyer for its struggling business.

I also wrote a post with more color from the launch event.

How I’ve helped with our Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 coverage

Yesterday marked three weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing.

For the latest news, keep an eye on our streaming MH370 updates.

Meanwhile, I spent some in time Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere helping with our coverage, and wanted to share a few of the stories I worked on.

First, I helped out with an in-depth narrative piece telling the stories of some of the people on board on the flight.

The story begins:

As night fell last Friday in Kuala Lumpur, businessman Philip Wood hurried to gather his bags for a trip to Beijing. He had confused the dates, but his girlfriend in China texted him to make sure he got on the plane.

A group of Chinese artists capped off their exhibition at a local cultural center in Malaysia’s capital city with a day of sightseeing and a banquet lunch of duck soup, fried shrimp and pork in brown sauce.

Norli Akmar Hamid finished packing for her long-overdue honeymoon and posted a photograph on Facebook of her cat trying to sneak into her suitcase. The cat chewed the lining near the administrative assistant’s neatly folded blue T-shirt and beige towel.

All of them boarded Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.08% Flight 370 late Friday night and flew away shortly after midnight in the tropical night sky toward Beijing. Soon after, the widebody Boeing 777 jet carrying 239 people vanished from radar screens.

The flight manifest included Americans, Australians, Indians and passengers from a host of other countries. There were more than 150 Chinese on board, many of them tourists who belong to China’s burgeoning middle class. A country between Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia has emerged in recent years as a major transit hub and tourist destination for globe-trotting travelers.

Flight 370 took off carrying 239 life stories, each filled with moments big and small, ordinary lives soon to be swept up in a tragic mystery. Now, as the hopes for a miracle fade by the day, memory transforms the random and routine into the meaningful and momentous.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Separately, I wrote a short piece on pilots and aviation buffs sharing their musings on Flight 370 via blogs, Facebook, Tweets, and more.

I also helped with a story about chaotic scenes as Chinese relatives of missing passengers were separated from the media by security personnel.

In the video embedded at the top of this post and on YouTube here, I discussed the scene and some video I shot.

And finally, in the video embedded above and on YouTube here, I participated in a live Google Hangout with our Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Patrick McDowell, and aviation expert Harro Ranter to answer readers’ questions about Flight 370.

Stay tuned.

And if you don’t already, follow me on Twitter, as I’ve been posting frequently Flight 370-related updates there.

Belatedly, my story on Singapore startups

I’ve been remiss in sharing some of my recent stories here.

In case you you missed it last month, I wrote an in-depth piece on Singapore’s increasingly lively startup scene.

Click through for an interactive feature on some Singapore-specific apps and a rundown of some local tech companies — and some potential challenges to the industry.

2014 03 26singaporestartups

(The story is for WSJ subscribers only — if you don’t already, subscribe! — but here’s a non-paywalled blog post introducing the piece.)

Next up: How I’ve helped out with Malaysia Flight 370 coverage. Stay tuned…

A round-up of some of my recent Quartz stories

Some posts you might’ve missed if you don’t follow me on Twitter, where I self-promote link to my work more often:

Self-Promotion: My NewYorker.com Story is on the Site’s ‘Most Popular’ List

2013 09 22 nyer

I’m delighted that my recent NewYorker.com story, which I mentioned earlier, has made it to the site’s “most popular” list; the piece has been shared one thousand times on Facebook and has been Tweeted sixty times.

The list is visible on the right side of the home page, pictured above.

What I’ve Been up to This Summer

2013 08 22 bloombergdotcom

I’ve had quite a twelve months.

After completing an intensive nine-month master’s in business and economics journalism at Columbia in late May, I embarked on an equally memorable, though shorter, experience: a ten week internship at Bloomberg News‘s headquarters here in New York.

I finished at Bloomberg last Friday. It was a fantastic experience.

This recent BBC video provides a look the Bloomberg HQ as a workplace.

And embedded below — and online here — is an overview of Bloomberg’s operations.

I worked on the Emerging Markets team, assisting with coverage of everything from debt markets in Argentina to global currencies to equities in Mexico.

Here are links and snippets from just a few of the stories I worked on:

China Out of 10 Biggest Stocks as PetroChina Ousted:

Chinese companies have dropped out of the ranks of the world’s 10 biggest stocks by market value for the first time since 2006 amid a cash crunch, slower growth and the biggest U.S. stock rally in a decade.

Give Us Your Real Dollars for Our Fake Dollars: Argentina Credit:

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s wish of being able to print dollars is coming true as the central bank begins issuing dollar-denominated certificates today that trade in pesos.

Slim’s Frisco Surges as Gold Mine Strike Ends: Mexico City Mover:

Minera Frisco SAB, billionaire Carlos Slim’s gold and silver mining company, gained the most in two years after saying the government intervened to help end a strike at its biggest mine.

‘Fragile Five’ currencies unravel as developing economies suffer:

Emerging-market currencies are trailing their peers in advanced economies by the most since 2009 as a global recovery eludes countries from China to Brazil.

While helping out on stories like these was excellent training, perhaps my most instructive experiences came during the interactions I had in the newsroom with some truly top-notch reporters.

The timing of the internship worked well, too: This year at Columbia, I studied corporate finance; financial accounting; the history and future of journalism; computational journalism; and more.

And this summer at Bloomberg, I was able to put what I’d just learned to practical use in a fast-paced, competitive, collaborate environment where news moves the market in real time. In short, it was the perfect way to spend the summer.

So, looking ahead: What’s next for me over the coming twelve months?

Stay tuned.