Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | thailand
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Michael Paul and Jennifer are hoping to win the Ultimate Thailand Explorers contest.Last time we checked in on the smart promotion sponsored by the Thai government, "The Ultimate Thailand Explorers Contest," we were rooting for one couple to win. Unfortunately, Lori Fujikawa-Choy and Jackson Choy, newlyweds from Long Beach, California, didn't make it to the finals. But we now have a Filipino couple we can help, who did make it to the contest's finals. Michael Paul and Jennifer are newlyweds who live in the Philippines. She's a TV and magazine journalist; he's a travel agent, and they're trying to win a trip to Koh Samui, Thailand’s second most popular island destination. They sound like a natural for taking the big prize, because they can create a travelogue and book travel to Thailand. In fact, they're sharing their visit to Koh Samui on a contest blog and doing a great job. You can follow their adventures on the blog, but the most important way you can support them is to register on the site and vote for them (you can vote once every day). The public's votes will determine the grand prize winners, who will receive:

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.