HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 596: 29 December2011

Maria Tanner Spends 5 Minutes With ... Tracey Berg
Sitting and talking insurance wouldn’t strike most people as the best conversation ice breaker but after chatting with the charismatic Tracey Berg, here in the Cook Islands visiting her family for the Christmas period, for five minutes about her recent trip which saw her travelling across the terrain of Malaysia and Singapore and immersing herself in its vibrant and bold culture she had me searching for the nearest pen so I too could sign on the dotted line.
Berg who originally trained and graduated with AUT in New Zealand to work within the graphic design and advertising industry decided to take a career turn that now sees her travelling to her clients homes to talk about the, “most important type of insurance, yourself,” Berg says eyeing earnestly. Having become an official advisor for the past year Berg jumped at the opportunity to travel to Singapore for a work conference to rub shoulders with her contemporaries and the likes of recently retired All Blacks Coach Graham Henry.
Making tracks for Singapore during mid July would excite anyone bold enough to endure a New Zealand winter however for Berg describing just how “muggy and humid” the place was is a saga in itself. On arrival Berg says the most stifling of her many experiences during her stay was definitely the heat, “it was so intense and tiring I found it hard to do anything,” Berg sighs. Singapore, boasting an impressive 80% humidity range and an average temperature of 35 degrees, on a decent a day meant for Berg that she had to jump from one shop to the next, “just to stay cool! Plus,” she adds laughing, “they have some pretty good shopping too.”
Staying in opulence for a week Berg was booked into the five star Fullerton Hotel, once home to Singapore’s General Post Office, and from there set about trailing across the metropolis ticking off all the major tourist attractions. In the time that she was there Berg visited the Singapore Flyer to catch a glimpse of the million dollar view of the city, rode the entirety of the Scooby Doo laser show at the Universal Studios, and spent her days eating rather bland and under seasoned dishes from the many road side stalls. “It’s just so busy and fast” Berg says of describing the city. Getting immersed in her surroundings and chatting with the local Singaporean community Tracey says, “everyone there walks and the number of people outnumbers the amount of cars on the road, it’s just too expensive for them, because of the way that they are taxed it’s more economic to walk,” which explains the heavy foot traffic that lined the already bustling streets.
Taking a short hour flight to Malaysia, Tracey and her partner dedicated the next week to tripping around the small island of Langkawi soaking up the breath taking views of the powder-fine sand lined beaches and eating the “best bbq kebabs” she’s ever tasted. Hitting the Langkawi night life Berg set off to the night markets to check out the array of stalls and road side bbq huts where she found “the food so much more better, there were tons of stalls everywhere and selling all sorts of stuff like huge chili crabs.” Taking in as much of the Malaysian culture Berg was intrigued with the traditional dance that she viewed, “It was really quite different, the girls had on these elaborate costumes there was so much metal sticking out of their hair,” Berg says bewildered, “and for the whole duration of their dance they held these small trinket boxes in their hands, it was quite weird, but cool,” which sounds like a lot of what she encountered during her visit to the south east Asia.
“You know what?” Berg says lowering her voice and leaning in closer to me, “even though it was beautiful there and everyone was so nice, I still think it’s better here.” - Maria Tanner

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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