By Douglas Williams (the column for OZB May magazine)

The excitement is building: within a few weeks the World Cup kicks off in Russia. There is no Dutch team, no Romanian team and certainly no Scottish team competing, but the OZB team will do our best to muster some enthusiasm regardless. One way of upping the excitement around events like these is to introduce a financial element. First off you pour over the OZB World Cup pieces in this and the previous two issues (thanks Marcel), you select some teams (I suggest a couple of long shots and a sure thing) then you pop along to your local Superbet and lay down some lei. It really couldn’t be easier and thereafter you will be deeply involved, well, until your teams get knocked out…

 

It was Euro 2016 when things began to move with this OZB project – much stroking of chins and mutterings of “it might just work”. I remember watching a dismal performance by Romania against Albania and being reminded of watching a Scotland match, similarly disappointing, only the weather here was way better and there were fewer drunks.

 

Talking of drunks we had a very enjoyable Whisky Tasting event at the Hilton earlier this month where we learned about the “Water of Life”. And I got, err, merry. Aye well, so shoot me! Don’t miss our next OZB event coming up at the end of June – a pool party – it promises to be super cool.

 

So who are Bob, Andy, George and Roddy Martin of the title? They are three people who have been important in my professional life and one who’s my uncle, and I’ve been thinking about them all recently. Bob Cronin gave me a job on the Shanghai Daily in 2005; he printed the weird and wonderful stuff I wrote over the next three years and he successfully cultivated in me a deep love of print. I was very lucky. Bob finally retired two years ago after 50 years in newspapers and I’m going to send him this mag to hopefully put a wee smile on his face. I managed to slip a deeply inappropriate headline past the Chinese editors and onto the front page while he was out of town, he’ll remember which. Here’s to you Bob.

 

Andy Davison gave me a job running the publishing house in Kuala Lumpur that he’d set up to celebrate and promote Malaysia, the place he (and I) loved and called home. Andy was, and still is, a shining example of what a good idea, hard work and passion can achieve. His business employs scores of people and he is feted by the great and the good of Malaysia for the work he does promoting their country. I hope OZB can achieve similar. I’ll send Andy a copy too. Cheers Andy.

 

Next, we have George Monbiot the acclaimed journalist, author and environmental campaigner who I had the great good fortune to meet a couple of years ago when we went bear watching together in Transylvania. George is something of a hero to me, has been for a long time, for his tireless crusade to “save the planet” with fearless, pointed, impeccably researched writing but late last year he was diagnosed with cancer and he’s endured a rough time since. Lately he wrote for the first time in a while in the Guardian and it would appear, thanks largely to medical excellence, that he has the upper hand. Thank goodness. Here’s to George.

 

Finally my mum’s older brother Roddy Martin is a lovely legend but he’s been proper poorly lately. He lives on the Isle of Skye, speaks Gaelic and is a true Highlander who spent much of his life at sea. He’d have loved the earlier mentioned Whisky Tasting. Get well Uncle Roddy Martin and mum says smoke less. Slainte!

 

As always – if you want to get involved in OZB – advertising, writing, being written about, products, services, NGOs, photography, places, criticisms, suggestions, jokes, freebies I’d be delighted to hear from you – douglas@ozb.ro Good luck with your team selection… Hai Panama!

Noroc!     

 

 

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