30th October, 2011 (personal account written in November)
The experience of the fund raising had a grip on me. We agreed that it was not enough to create a sequel of the wipe but to establish a permanent flood response group around it. If bangkokvanguards was a social business working in the service for this country and its people than Wipe the Tide should become an integral part that could be activated every time a disaster would hit Thailand, thus from the beginning it was not set up as a spontanious, effective fundraising event but something that has yet to fully emerge.
The initially idea for this flood response group was by creating a network of international students from all the major universities in Bangkok, which could be mobilized for the wipes. The problem here was that many students had fled the city down south to escape the flood chaos and Michael Stroemer had to continue his studies in Germany. With Stroemer and other students gone a new plan was needed. It was out of the question to let the fundraising idea slip out of our hands, and thus we initiated to mobilize more volunteers through our social media channels.
Watching our group in action from afar during the first wipe and noticing the characteristics of a flashmob style military operation a military-like yet funny codeword “Wipe the Tide” was born.
To deliver our message across I relied on our strength which is producing videos and thanks to Nitchi and her U2 playlist during our drive to Thammasat Rangsit U2 was my first choice to be the soundtrack of our first trailer. On October 20 at
With a name and a video being online, Wipe the Tide was officially born, drawing positive feedback from friends as well as over 1,000 views within a few days. People commented and shared and the feedback people expressed gave us a first glimpse that we’ve started something positive. The video eventually ended up on scoopit.com featuring also our videoblog http://bit.ly/qnmH8O. and on various FB pages like the super cool Lub D Hostel or House Rama RCA Bangkok’s prime cinema for independent movies and from these cool social media platform our campaign started to spread and we had no idea what it would lead to.
To fully deliver our campaign we needed to create a flow of outreach, coordination and transperancy.
After the second wipe the burden and the responsibility is big but we are working with a group of great people and we will make sure that the donations are going to be used to create the best impact possible as you will find out throughout our blog. Our bro Marc Schroeter tried to start the Hamburg Wipe to support our initiative from our homeland Germany but unfortunately it didn’t spark the same enthusiasm so they’re still thinking of how to support from Germany.
The logo was done by Bjoern Gottschall founder of Schwenktheworld who did us a great favor by designing a logo for our Wipe event. (If you’re looking for cool logo designs just click on his name and get in touch). Bjoern was given a logo of Fast and Furious to convey something dynamic and in-your-face and a day later his epic logo reached our inbox. For Bjoern it was just the first draft, but actually it was already ripe for action.
As friends were recruited for Wipe the Tide 2 at that stage we still had the luxury to work down lists and note down t-shirt sizes. It was important that volunteers would show up with the right equipment hence bucket, squeegee, donation box and signs. Unfortunately we couldn’t provide those since it’s an open event and we never know how many people will eventually turn up.
First we thought of printing T-shirts with logos on it but then again we’re not a professional or cooperate organization and everything is super grassroot so we usually hand out markers and have everyone design their own t-shirts by writing and drawing their slogans on it.
Our first slogan that was submitted by a supporter on Facebook was: ร่วมใจต้านภัยน้ำ” = “Ruam Jai tarn pai naam” which translates into “united to fight the dangers of the flood” and we managed to unite more and more people from all over the world. While I was cycling home at night I answered phonecalls from strangers, people from Kenia to Iran to China, all based in Bangkok, all willing to help out. Once I sat down and turned on the computer people commented on our videos vowing to join. I felt that this time we’d be way more than 9 people and indeed the group expanded to roughly 50 wipers. FB update the night before Wipe 2
“Ok preparations are more or less done, sabai sabai Thai style :o) we got people from all over the world joining in, from Kenia, Belgium, Iran and many other countries joining hands and buckets with our Thai brothers and sisters!! Awesome, you wouldn’t believe how much I’m looking forward to meeting all of you guys :o) Good night“
This Wipe 2 exceeded the expectations of many and we tried to figure out how to best organize it. We had no maps printed, no checklists, notes or team leaders assigned as in later wipes. It took an hour till everyone was there, all t-shirts readily designed and teams assembled.
Quite a few people raised their concerns on whether it would make sense to host windshield wiping campaign when there were comparatively few cars driving around. In its state of normality Bangkok belongs to the world’s Top 3 cities when it comes to traffic congestion but facing a natural disaster that threatened to engulf the entire city the traffic intensity reaches Singaporean standards. People were either struggling with the flood, leaving the city or in the mood to go for Sunday shopping in downtown. Oct. 23, 2011 FB Update:
“Down Town’s streets were eerily empty, if we had done the wipe today there wouldn’t have been many wind shields to wipe. Got to think which day / time would be the best for the next campaign… I think we should keep on observing the situation..”
My Statusupdate on the Wipe the Tide FB Page from October 24th.
“Shall we postpone the fundraising campaign from Sunday 30/10 to Sunday 06/11? As run offs are expected to reach deeper into Bangkok later this week it’s questionable whether coming Sunday would be a good fund raising day, since I believe that most people are either in no mood Sunday shopping (hence the city will be fairly empty) or will be cut off from traveling anywhere. Alternatively weekdays could be an option since lots of people are probably still commuting to work.”
To make the best out of the “Sunday-empty-Bangkok” situation we expanded our activity to three more major intersections to a total of four intersections (Asoke, Ratchaprasong, Henry Dunant and MBK Center) which are at the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district. Despite our anticipations it proofed to be still sufficient for fundraising and all groups went in full force and had a great time
Wipe 2 like all the other wipes had many surprises in store. One volunteer was given a Buddha amulet by a taxi driver, it’s this human connections among people that makes these events special. They don’t just walk passed and drop a coin into your box but they sit in their cars and wonder why you’re wiping their windshield. This gives it the crucial time-span for interaction and exchange.
On our second a wipe a few mishaps occured, the bank at Paragon closed earlier than expected and we had no place prepared to count the donations but we were given the taxi-waiting room of Siam Paragon which was our refuge to count all the donations.
It was mind-blowing, the room was boiling with energy and excitement seeing how much money each group had achieved to collect thrilled us and everyone was super excited to hear the final result from the bank.
But for that Imko and I had rush last-minute on motorbike taxis with a bucket and box full of money to the Central World branch. The motorbikes dashed off with us that it seemed and felt as if we had just robbed the bank, weaving like crazy through the streets i was glad that the money did not fly out of the box. After an hour at the bank it was official that our teams raised 131,670 Baht within a period of 2.5 hours and that was definitely the start for more since the feel of our mission the chemical between the people and what we can achieve as a community filled us with so much energy and happiness that it was screaming for another sequel. My Facebook Status on Oct. 31,2011
“What a grand day with awesome people!! I had so much energy I could have hugged every stranger along my way, who could resent? Given the fact that we’ve managed to raise another 130,000+ Baht in about 2.5 hours despite a massive mass exodus out of Bangkok!! Guys, that was just so mindblowing, so many stories we shared and so many great people I had the honor to get to know. Bangkok is truly an international place, Kenia, Iran, Turkey, Germany, China, France, we all love Thailand ;o)“
And I was not alone with my feelings on this day, Hueli’s Status update:
“What an amazing day today :)) We will reachhhhhhhhhhhhhhh theeeeeeeeee oneeeeeeeeeeee millionnnnnnnnnnnnnn Michael Biedassek :)) all together hand in hand cause NATIONALITY IS ONLY A WORD :))“
And of course, it is self-evident that Wipe 2 was also the opening of a series of hilarious night-outs at Cha’s Bar on Rambuttri Road, be prepared for more…
For more action check out the albums on our Facebook page and feel free to like it :)