Thank You

A Big Life

So, Germany. This is it for a while. I’m flying home tomorrow night and even though it was what I desperately wanted when I booked my ticket, even though it is what I desperately need, I can feel my toes digging in. I want to leave you and I don’t at the same time and I think this contradiction will be inherent throughout our entire relationship. But we’ll learn to live with that, just like we learnt to live with my jaywalking ways and your thing with rules and wurst. And your terrible television. Just like we learnt to live with a lot of things.


I have to say, Germany, you were a bit distant at first, a bit aloof. You don’t make it easy, you know, with your grey skies and clipped conversation. You can be a bit unyielding sometimes, a bit quietly disapproving. God my face burned every time…

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team building 2012

team building 2012 its more fun in Palawan!

Team building doesn’t just mean getting the team together . The point is that these weren’t team building programmes at all, rather they were generic activities imposed upon teams without any real consideration for what the team wanted, or needed. Similarly, while it may be fun and friendly, a corporate fun day involving inflatable suits where you hurl yourself at a Velcro wall, sumo wrestling a colleague, bungee running, quad biking, karting or clay pigeon shooting, won’t necessarily build team relationships or address any problems in the group. While it may be just the right event for a seasonal celebration, especially if it involves families or partners, this kind of “team build” is seen mainly as an informal motivational activity. For this, you need a more considered approach and above all, something where the objectives are clearly stated and can be met. You need to take into account specific issues that need to be addressed and the sorts or personalities involved in the team. The resulting programme could well involve a ruthless battle for a trophy in an inflatable Olympics arena, but for a hard-working, hard-playing and highly competitive sales team, perhaps this might be exactly what’s needed. For most, however, while it may be fun to get out of the office, you can’t expect that blasting each other with paint pellets is going to be much of an exercise in resolving trust or communication issues. Perhaps a programme involving something a bit more creative and less physical – indoors or outdoors – with plenty of time for discussion is a good place to start. There are always going to be those resistant to the very idea of “team building” or others whose comfort zone is very small. Acknowledging this and creating a programme that takes it into account is going to pay far bigger dividends than forcing them to jump out of aeroplanes or role play in Arctic expeditions.

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The Philippines i/ˈfɪlɨpiːnz/ (Filipino: Pilipinas [ˌpɪlɪˈpinɐs]), officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas) is a sovereign country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.

With an estimated population of about 94 million people, the Philippines is the world’s 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic societies. Trade introduced Chinese cultural influences which remain to this day.

The Philippines has been part of several empires: the Spanish Empire during the age of Imperialism, the United States after the Spanish-American War of 1898, and the Japanese Empire during World War II, until the official Philippine independence in 1945.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. Miguel López de Legazpi arrived in the Philippines in 1565 and consolidated Spanish rule in the islands, which remained a colony of Spain for more than 300 years.

Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila–Acapulco galleon fleet. Christianity was widely adopted. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the Philippine Revolution, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic; the Spanish-American War; and the Philippine–American War. In the aftermath, the United States emerged as the dominant power. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until the end of World War II when the Philippines gained independence. The United States bequeathed to the Philippines the English language and a stronger affinity for Western culture. Since independence the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular “people power” movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others.