Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Help Lori & Jackson win Ultimate Thailand Explorers contest
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Help Lori & Jackson win Ultimate Thailand Explorers contest

Lori and Jackson are an Asian American couple from Long Beach, California who love Thailand and want your vote to win the Ultimate Thailand Explorers contest.Help out a brother and sister, everyone. Lori Fujikawa-Choy and Jackson Choy are newlyweds from Long Beach, California. She’s Japanese American; he’s Chinese American, and they both love Thailand. They first went to Thailand as “college sweethearts” (awww, aren’t they cute!) to do some volunteer work there and fell in love with the country and its culture. They’ve traveled there several times since then, but now they need your help to go again… as guests of the Thai government.

They’ve entered the Ultimate Thailand Explorers contest, which sounds a little like a reality TV show and in fact would probably make a pretty interesting one. The contest is sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and it works like this: Couples from all over the world (not just spouses, but friends too) submitted applications and a video saying why they should win a trip to one of five destinations in Thailand. A panel of judges sifted through the applicants and chose five semifinalists for each destination.

Our intrepid AAPI couple are semifinalists for Phuket, Thailand’s largest island in the southern part of the country, and the site of terrible devastation from the 2004 tsunami. To get to the Finalist stage, Lori and Jackson need your help: the couples are judged this round by public votes on the contest website. As of this moment, the two Californians are third behind a French couple and a couple from Oshkosh.

Take a look at their profile page (their video entry is above) and give Lori and Jackson your support and vote them to the next round.

(Note: You have to register to be able to vote, but you could win a trip to Thailand yourself for registering. Also, when you type in your birthday, not the format is DD-MM-YYYY with month first, and hyphens instead of slashes between. Just sayin’…. Also, you can vote for them once every 24 hours until November 12, 2009.)

The final winners for each destination will be chosen by the Tourism Authority on the basis of the couple’s ability to blog and capture their journey for posterity’s sake.

Lori and Jackson feel sure if they get to the final round, they can prove their ability to communicate their love for Thailand. Although there’s been some political controversy in Thailand recently, Lori says the reports have been exaggerated and that the country’s fine to visit.

Let’s wish ’em luck, and help them on their way.

By the way, ShiHeng and Jen are a Chinese Canadian and Korean American couple who are vying for your vote to go to Bangkok (once you register, you can vote for one couple for each destination). Cheryl and Genevieve from Singapore also are vying for Bangkok. Adam’s and Charmaine are from Toronto, and Charmaine’s Asian Canadian (just taking a stab from looking at the videos); they’re hoping to get to Pattaya. Michael Paul and Jennifer are Asian Americans living in the Philippines who want to visit Koh Samui.

Should you automatically vote for Asians in the contest? Naw, but just thought I’d point out the peeps!

Here’s a page of tips for traveling to Thailand.