A beginner’s guide to press passing abroad

As more of our UK based clients grow and expand into wider markets there has been a growing demand for Callimedia to work with print providers in more far flung parts of the world.

Now you may think this is driven by the need for cheaper prices, and although the lure of this is considerable, it is more the fact that customers need a more timely and less expensive option in delivering literature into this part of the world.

This month we report on our findings when traveling and dealing with our friends in Singapore.

How to get there

Depending on what time of the day you need to arrive, we’ve discovered that the most pleasant time to fly to Singapore out of T3 Heathrow is at 0900 hours. This does mean that you have to get up at times more known to the milk, postal and newspaper industry, but nevertheless pays dividends for your arrival time the following day

The only way to travel is “economy” (unless the customer has a big budget) via Singapore Airlines on their flagship A380s.  I usually opt for the extra legroom seats next to the over-wing exits, which obviously come with benefits. One of which being that you are not constantly climbed over by a poor traveller experiencing the onset of lack of bladder control and therefore disturbing whatever mode you happen to be in. This “mode” can be either, sleeping, eating, working, or catching up on the back catalogue of films that you have missed over the last six months!!!

However sitting here does come with a downside, as usually the queue to the toilets is not too far away from you. This gives people who invariably wouldn’t look you in the eye walking down the street the excuse to chat to you, tell you their life story and about how excited they are as this is the first time they have been to Singapore!!

Top tip –  you will be sitting on this plane for around 12/13 hours, so you need to set your timetable.  Long haul flying is all about working to a schedule to divide up the time, and if you don’t do this, the minutes and seconds seem to be twice as long.

Once you have fed yourself with the accuracy of a prisoner from Guantanamo Bay with one arm tied behind your back, watched some rubbish on the TV, the world is starting to get a bit dark outside. The window shutters come down and you are thrown into pitch black, if you are a conscientious working soul like me, you flip up the laptop to write your next instalment of a blog on web and gravure brochure and catalogue printing industry, errr, WRONG!!! For unless you have invested in a MAC the majority of PC’s come with unlit keyboards.

So here’s another Top Tip from us – buy one of those low priced book lights that clip onto the current instalment of your Peter James or the aforementioned blog. They are effective, losable, and if you’re really lucky you can squeeze at least 10 hours of life out of the battery before you purposefully leave it in your complementary Flight Sock bag when you arrive home. Or buy a MAC.

When you’re there

Walking out into Changi Airport it is amazing, it’s incredible just how much space has been committed over to the weary traveller, and you’ll marvel at the vast amounts of marble in one place!

It is a known fact that the Singapore Government have put stupid amounts of budget into making sure the first 5 miles you drive from the airport are as immaculate as possible. This is so you feel like you are in the most beautiful and well-kept place on the planet, and they would be right. It certainly gives the right impression to all who travel, business or pleasure…..a bit different from press passing your catalogue or brochure printing in Sheffield!!!


We’ve noticed that Asians love their food, and also that when a lot of people there sit down to eat they have to take a picture of it.  They then also spend the next 30 mins posting it on Facebook or Instagram and commenting on it, by which time it has gone cold to the point of any appeal! At Callimedia, we always eat our food in a very timely manner, as travelling and press passing is hungry work.

When visiting with Print and Marketing buyers who have not experienced the delights of the Asian way, I always plump to take them to a Seafood Crab Restaurant. Now we are not talking about the Crabs that you get down at Leigh on Sea near Southend, these are Crabs that have been to the Arnold Schwarzenegger school for shell building. They are huge monsters with claws that bring you out in a cold sweat!! The great thing about Asian food is that in this case you get to choose before you eat. If it’s been a bad day I tend to go for the grumpiest, worst looking crab I can find, I feel good that I may have taken him out of his misery at least!!!!

Top Tip… go for the Chilli Crab or the Pepper Crab, and with the humid heat of the environment you will perspire so much you will lose at least half your body weight in sweat, but boy is it worth it. Also, make sure you have enough napkins worthy of having flu for two weeks, as your hands face and cheeks will be submerged in the sauce. This is never a good look if you have got to go straight to your press pass, to sign off your Brochure or Catalogue printing

Printing Culture

One thing that you have to be aware of is that because of the jet lag, at any time of the day you will want to sleep. This is because the default wake up time, regardless of what time you go to bed and however much alcohol you have consumed, is 3am. So whenever the press pass is set for you’re in danger of feeling exhausted and not on your best form.

Top Tip – Calms – one before you go to bed, doesn’t stop you from waking up but will get you back to sleep easier……a bit like watching Arsenal play !!!!!

Most Asian print companies are steeped in history, usually third generation businesses, with pictures of deliveries being undertaken in an old beat up VW Van, a tradition that they are rightfully proud of.

If you ask for any documentation for an RFI relevant to any RFQ or contractual negotiations you will be surprised at the amount of process and workflow documentation you will be supplied. This approach is steeped with cultural references as it underpins very much the prefect approach and production that you see from this industry within this part of the world.

Whilst waiting between print sections to be passed, you will be plied with every cultural “Sweet” delight under the sun, brands that you have never heard of.

Top Tip –  DO NOT DRINK ANYTHING that says “Birds Nest” on it as it contains Birds Spit!!!!!  Yes, that’s right…….something at the very least you will hold in your memory banks forever if not accompanied on a press pass by a Callimedia Account Manager !!!!

Staff are extremely proud and loyal to their employers, and treat UK customers with the grace and favour as if we are still in control of the Island as we were during the post war period.

The quality, production scheduling and accuracy of account management is exemplary, and whether being printed on Heidelberg, Komori or Man Roland for Brochure, Catalogue, DM or Packaging requirements you are in a safe pair of hands.

Final Thoughts

We love Singapore; it is one of the most beautiful countries that you may have the chance to visit as part of placing your print work in this part of the world.

It has everything; beauty, culture, wonderful cuisine and most of all for us “Press Heads” a great printing culture and service structure that can take hold of “Westerners” hands. Leading us through the process of both printing and distributing printed literature and packaging across the Asia Pacific District.

If you have print or catalogue requirements in this part of the world, there are a queue of willing individuals to show you the way at Callimedia, and to help you drink all the right products!


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