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A few weeks ago I passed my neighbour while heading out to grab some milk. She was leaning forward, talking to a dog on a leash. She spoke rapidly in mandarin, while the dog listened intently. The canine replied with two sharp little barks. They clearly indicated a message of “yes, I understand”.

I was amazed, caught off guard by this development. But why was I dumbstruck? Yes, it was a surprise to me, but certainly not to to the world’s 1 billion-plus mandarin speakers. …

And we didn’t have the chance to say goodbye

Beautiful sunset in Indonesia
Beautiful sunset in Indonesia
Photo by Oktomi Jaya on Unsplash

9:15…I WhatsApped him in Surabaya. I asked if he would assist with some information.

2:30 pm…I WhatsApped him again and there was still no reply. Frustration was settling in.

3:30 pm….He’s gone.

He’s not down the hall.

He’s not having a coffee.

He’s not with a colleague.

He’s gone.

The forecasts don’t matter.

The proposal doesn’t matter.

The Q1 target doesn’t matter.

He’s gone. But I wish we’d known he was going.

We didn’t get the chance to play golf in Batam.

We didn’t get to have more awesome Indonesian food.

There’s Many Sides To A Great Nation

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

America is such an amazing mix of cultures and ethnicities. Brush the collective skin tones onto canvas and you may have a brilliant piece of Impressionist art. What about languages? Translator apps will be helpful. There’s at least 350 different languages spoken in homes across the nation. (2009–2013 American Community Survey/U.S. Census Bureau)

Despite such a diverse population, there’s a tendency to divide everything into two sides. Pick any issue. You must get on one side of a stripe or the other. Standing on top of the line is forbidden, nor can you straddle it. …

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Photo by Ludovic Migneault on Unsplash

You say you’re good with equality among races. You stand proud with your friends, denouncing prejudicial treatment against people of color. I suspect, though, that it will be tough for some enlightened white people to shed deeply ingrained beliefs. You and your friends are taking some bold steps. The walk seems to back the talk, but deep down in your soul, old habits are difficult to break. Wearing a Protest t-shirt is nice, but it won’t change your nature.

Congratulations if you’ve taken a stand against racism, but understand this. You’ve still got much work to do. The excitement of…

Crisis Leader Required Now, Before It’s Too Late

Picture of a Man with child, holding sign that says “Make America Think Again”
Picture of a Man with child, holding sign that says “Make America Think Again”
Photo by Jose Moreno on Unsplash

It’s been painful to watch America from afar during some difficult times.

I‘ve thought about it long and hard. America has seen some difficult times this century, but saw far worse in it’s first 200 years. The Civil War wiped out 2.5% (1) of the population and split the young nation in half. It represented an impossible chasm to cross. The Great Depression (1930s) was the economic downturn for the ages, lasting a decade with limited scope for recovery. World War 2 was the war to end all wars, with American troops split on opposite sectors of the globe, freedom…

Our blood runs through them

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

You cannot deny it boomers. Your blood boils when you hear them say OK boomer. But it’s that same blood that courses through the veins of Millenials. They are your children.

Yes, I’m a boomer. I’m not apologising. I’m proud of my team, but you won’t see me waving a flag. I love our music, love the way we fought our olds in the 60’s and 70’s, battling for civil rights and against the war. But by nature, I’m not a flag-waver.

We boomers spend a lot of time complaining about Millenials. They’re narcissistic, immature and disengaged. They won’t commit…

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Photo by Luisa E on Unsplash

Say It With a Southern Drawl and Tip Your Hat

There I was, at the front door, tired and needing some rest. I was locked out. Worse yet, my phone battery was dead. No phone, no lifeline. My wife’s estimated arrival? Three hours away.

Next door neighbours? Not home. Things were looking bleak when the voice of my neighbour James piped, “you look lost Lloyd. What’s up?”

He invited me in before I could finish explaining. He’s a transplanted Englishman and his wife Emma is Malaysian. She was quick to welcome with a cup of tea and biscuits. …

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Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

You Friends Love The Family Pics But The Political Commentary Can Grate

It goes like this… friend of a facebook friend posts a preposterous comment that makes your blood boil. Your unwritten rule is no political posts, but this is so bad you can’t let it slip. You drop an alternative viewpoint. It is subtle and polite. No harm, right? Think again.

A deluge of name-calls are aimed at you. “Nut job! Moron! Go back home where you belong!” Suddenly you’re a demon with no redeeming qualities. Your citizenship and national loyalty are being questioned.

You are cut up and…

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January 1 through May 9th 2019 (kilograms)

Last December 31st I was preparing yet another New Year’s commitment to remove spare kilos. This time though, the plan was to achieve a target and keep the newfound benefit. We’re talking long term here.

So it commenced, a concentrated, though not totally dedicated assault on excess body fat. The sad state of affairs on January 1st was 86 kilograms, or 190 pounds on the American scale. I set a target of 79.9 kilograms (176 lbs.), with an achievement date of June 30. That’s 6 kilograms over 6 months, 1 kilogram per month. Sounds easy-peasy doesn’t it?

No friends, this…

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Recently I played some tennis at Singapore’s Changi Prison, 2–3 hours of friendly games with inmates and prison officials. It was great fun, with nice rallies and a pleasant social atmosphere. Some of the other visitors were surprised at just how “normal” the inmates were. Their shot-making was reasonably good, and there was nothing abnormal about their behavior. I could easily envisage walking past them on any street, unable to differentiate them from non-prisoners.

Now let’s transit to another continent, a few years ago. I bumped into a former prisoner who I have known for many years. I had moved…

Lloyd Bowling

Citizen of the world, based in Singapore.

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