Paradise on earth

The more islands we visit, the more we are in love with the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia.

Are you part of a distributed team?

Team activities, courses and guides for companies with virtual teams!

Vietnamese Art

Propaganda posters, paintings and sculptures.

Happy Wesak

Procesión budista en Malasia

On how Asia reminds me of my childhood

Flowers, construction, poorly paved roads,...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Am I in Luxembourg or in Mordor?

Image by James0309

Luxembourg is beautiful and like most of the attractive places it has a really dark side. In Luxembourg the dark side is open and it shines in front of everybody. People are aware of it and do nothing to change it, they love it.
Coming from South East Asia, stopping in Spain and now being in Luxembourg I feel like Frodo who goes from the nice and happy Shire to Mordor. 

Some words to describe my Luxembourg experience:

Greed: People here say “I don’t like to live in Luxembourg, but I have to”. They have to because they want money no matter what. They are here because they want to be rich. They are here because they don’t want to drive a Peugeot, they want to be like most of the people, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche. They come here because they smell the money and they want some of it. That would be fine if it wasn’t that they take it to another level: Greed. And we all know what happens when greed comes into place. 

No morality and no respect for the other: Apparently everything is fine. Nobody smiles but they all seem to be fine with each other. The reality is that in Luxembourg the work relations are similar to what they are in developing countries. People working 14 hour work days and getting paid for 8h. Bosses calling employees at 11pm at home. Bosses calling telling their workers to start jobs that know will take them 4 hours at 9pm. Really strict hierarchy. No respect for female workers in the shape of nasty commentaries about their body and how they would put them under the table. The list is endless. Not all the companies are like this but at least the ones in the financial sector are.
No fun: at 8pm there is nobody on the streets, only people walking back from work with really sad faces.
Aggressivity: I have seen the same number of accidents after 10 days in Luxembourg than after 1 year in South East Asia. Cars here drive fast and dangerously. The Luxembourgian takes the frustrations from their work to their car.

Positive things about Luxembourg:

They understand my French: My favourite thing is that I can speak French and people actually understand me! People in Luxembourg speak a number of languages and they are so used to accents  (40% of the population is not from Luxembourg) that they understand my French!!!

Sculptures: walking around the city is like being in a museum, Calder, Henry Moore, Richard Serra, Fernand Léger, you name them!  

1 friend: There are always flowers around if you look for them, and we have made a friend that I hope I will see again very soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Voice, a show I love!

Reality shows tend to be very cruel to people, since Simon Fuller and his American Idol, these shows have been humiliating singers, cooks, parents,,, even animals! Now we have a show that is 100% positive: The Voice this is why I love the show:
  • There are no judges, there are coaches. 
  • The coaches help the want-to-be-singers to get better.
  • The singers have a saying when they get to choose a coach.
  • You see how people improve.
  • The coaches are professional, respectful people.
  • There are no insults.
  • No yelling.
  • No bad moods.
  • No humiliation.
It is a 100% positive, constructive and human. I love it! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thank you dear husband!

Fortunately there is no rule about the Facebook status updates, but recently I have noticied that some of my facebook friends post really weird things, here's some examples:
  • Ridiculous. Myself, today I was looking for a friend in Facebook that died some years ago to thank him for recommending me to read a book. What was I thinking? Who was that status update for?
    • For his memory, so I don't forget him? if that is the case, why don't I just write him an email? Or think about him in silence? Or free some birds? Light up a candle?
    • For our common friends:
    • So I make them remember that he died?
    • So they all know that I am a really nice person and I don't forget him?
    • So they all know what I am reading and we can talk about the book
    • For myself? But why?
  • Another funny example: "Thank you dear husband for this fantastic 2 years, happy anniversary to us!" Her husband has never been on Facebook and never will. Who does she write this message for? Why does she write "happy anniversary to us!" if he is not on Facebook? It is like if she went inside the bathroom and said "Happy aniversary!!" but nobody was there to hear her. Nobody? Well, her 878 "friends". 
Facebook sounds like the new church, a place where we go to be seen by our neighbours, so everybody in the community knows that we are good believers and that we are there like everybody else.

It also sounds like a lot of unnecessary noise. I'd better shut up, I have almost erased my account to many times but I still cannot do it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vietnamese painters: a few more

Hong Viet Dung
Here's a few more artists that you might like, very tourist oriented, but what can you do? Art shows the reality of a country!
Nguyen Trung
Doan Thuy Hanh

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Thoughts about Asia reminding me of my childhood

When 10 years ago and we were still in college, Robert told me that according to his economics book, Spain was a Second World Country. I didn't understand or agree with that until I came to Asia.

I must say that right now Spain is considered a First World Country and Robert's book was very old. Well, now we are considered a First World Country, but we will see how long that lasts...

Where do I see that Spain was a Second World Country while I was growing up?

I was talking to a friend from Australia older than me and I was sure she was going to tell me that Asia reminded her of her childhood years and she was very categoric about it "No, my childhood was in the suburbs. Everything was very sanitized and structured. No, Asia does not remind me of anything I have seen before". Then I went to talk to some other people from north american countries, most of them in their 50s and 60s and they agreed, their childhood was nothing like Asia.
I can't wait to go to the US and talk to the people who are 70 to see if they lived something similar to me! So would that mean that the way people lived in the US 60 years ago is the same that I  lived in Spain 20 years ago?! Fascinating!

Does the difference depend on if you come from a small town or from a big city?

Obviously not, the difference is on how developed your area is, but coming from a big city or a small town might make a difference.

I think the answer might be "yes" in Europe but "no" in North America or Australia where nobody lives in big cities and people live in the suburbs, and suburbs look pretty similar if they are from a small towns or from a big city. All the things that remind me of Asia are related to memories from my grandparent's town but hardly anything from my life in a small flat downtown or later on in the suburbs. The suburbs give us a feeling of small town no matter where we are. Maybe the difference comes on how long it took for the suburbs to arrive to your country. The suburbs are the key when we are talking about middle class people like me or the people I normally hang out with.

I am trying to think about some friends my age from bigger cities in the north of Spain and I have no idea if they share this idea of Asia, maybe you can tell me what you think? What about people in Latin America?

Here's the series of posts about the subject:
Everything is under construction and there are lots of flowers
Sun drying food and stone tables 
Poorly paved roads and reusing stuff 

*About the photo: Thanks Max for the photo! Those pineapples where good!!!! :-D
This kind fruit shop can be seen today in many south-east asian countries but is no longer common in Spain.