TOYOTA took the lead again as it successfully gathered this week—after a commendable perseverance and painstaking patience, of course—a number of motoring journalists to a luncheon-based occasion, which was the first “physical event,” as Alfred Ty so aptly described it, to be cooked up by a car company. I am impressed.
To erase fears, if not doubts, about a guest getting possibly infected amid the pandemic scourge, all the government-decreed protocols on health safety had been observed to the hilt—or so I was told by the likable Toyota frontliner Nadinne B. Capistrano. So that before an invitee gets to enter the Hyatt Hotel in the Global City where the gathering was held, he is asked to undergo the highest standards of screening to ensure a virus-proof “bubble” to the ultimate satisfaction of everyone present.
It was just too bad that I wasn’t there. Sigh.
I missed the chance of seeing my pals, again. Big deal. It’s been almost nine months since I’ve last seen the warm body of a fellow motoring journalist. Sigh again.
Not of my own liking.
Likewise, I’ve hardly missed an event Toyota has hosted—whether for media or its dealerships—since its return to the carworld scene in 1989. Sigh yet again.
You want more history?
Since 1999, I’ve never missed a single Tokyo Motor Show as a Toyota delegate, the last one was in October 2019. That’s how much Toyota had glued me—lucky me, indeed—to the much-revered TMS in its last 11 editions, a biennial meet that assembles the world’s latest vehicle models and prototypes. Gratitude as the Rome of old would put it.
And why did I miss the Toyota event on Monday?
Don’t blame me.
My doctor did his best to prevent me, almost putting me in chains, let alone sedating me.
“You are vulnerable,” he said. “Stay at home. Never argue. How old are you again?”
Age does matter.
Anyway, here’s what I missed, too—the speech of Alfred Ty, Toyota’s top gun himself. Here:
“Good afternoon dear friends, thank you for joining us on our first physical event for the year after the pandemic. I appreciate that you took the time to go out of the safety of your own homes and be with us today. I understand that like everyone, health is our top priority. So I hope that we are able to give you peace of mind with the highest health and safety standards implemented today.
“In our 32-year history, 2020 is the most challenging by far. The year started with the eruption of Taal Volcano which had temporarily impacted some of our production, logistics, supply chain and dealer operations. Little did we know that it was some form of preparation on what is to happen next. From the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine 8 months ago…to where we stand today, we have experienced and learned so much.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for standing with us all the way through these challenging times.
“Toyota Motor Philippines supports the country’s initiative to gradually open up the economy. We understand that we have to co-exist with Covid while remaining vigilant and safe. We cannot stay in ECQ mode indefinitely. We need to take small steps in line with the guidance of the government.
“We believe that it is our role to be drivers in restarting the economy. Today’s gathering is the first step. It is our goal, through today’s activity, that with you, we can experience for ourselves the reopening of the economy. We can go out, dine with friends, or hold business meetings physically and safely. With your help, we would like to promote awareness about the big role of the automotive industry towards economic recovery. We would like to send a message of hope that while there are continuing challenges brought about by the big volume reduction, the automotive industry is doing its best to gradually recover production, sales and service.
“So today’s lunch is really about appealing to you, to the Filipino spirit of BAYANIHAN and MALASAKIT, so that we can support our country and HEAL AS ONE.
“So thank you again, thank you for joining us and I look forward to a fruitful discussion on how to support our economy throughout this afternoon.”
Direct to the point. Just as the doctor ordered.
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