Putting Malaysia on the map


For almost four years and more, Professor John Doody Chacko spoke about nothing but hosting the IAA World Congress in Malaysia.

The man was fixated, and tenacious. He hijacked almost all of our social get togethers with the same topic for years.

I won’t hazard what his family had to endure.

He asked me if he should approach the Selangor state government for support, and I advised him to head to Penang.

In fact, at one of our meet ups with good friends he was clearly warned on his arrival not to mention IAA during the evening or else….

But later I did see him whisper something serious about Congress sponsorship to someone I dare not mention.

I remember inviting John for dinner with some important people which included a Minister and government advisors.

No guessing what was on his mind and lips all evening.

Having organised many events all my life, I can understand what he was gong through.

And at one point, I worried about his health.

John was intolerable and a hustler, but in the end he triumphed.

The 45th International Advertising Association (IAA) World Congress was held in Penang about a week ago, marking a historic milestone as it was the first time this prestigious event has been held in South-East Asia.

It was supported by the Penang State exco office for tourism and creative economy (Petace), and the Penang Conference and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB). Plus a host of premium sponsors and partners.

Many friends help him along the way, too many for me to mention.

John did not have to convince me to cover this event, but because I’d never hear the end of it, so I said Yes immediately.

I was also reminded by his committee to do so when I attended the event in Penang.

And why not.

After all, I am the one who brought John into IAA Malaysia after having served two terms as President.

John, as Chairman of 45th IAA World Congress 2024, and his tireless team have put Malaysia on the map.

Datukship next, I say….

FLASHBACK: John, maybe do another biggie in 2026 in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year. According to industry oracle J Matthews, Malaysia hosted the AdAsia Congress with the Asian Federation of Advertising Agencies (AFAA) in 1990, in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year and was opened by the King and PM. Since the late 80s, AFAA and IAA have maintained a policy of cooperative coexistence and have held Congresses working together for some years.

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