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Showing posts from October, 2010

Bali…the gentle people…and Flores….the unknown

A Balinese temple  I am leaving tomorrow for the islands of Bali and Flores in Indonesia. I don’t know much about Bali, as I am unlike the many Australians who visit regularly. The few times I have visited I have found the people to be very gentle, and charming, the scenery spectacular and the shopping fascinating. But previously I have always stayed around the tourist areas of Kuta, Sanur and Legian. This time I am being much more adventurous and visiting the north and eastern coastlines, immersing myself in the culture of little fishing villages nestled around long, black sandy beaches. A hilltop view in Flores  And then onto Flores, flying Batavia Air. The island of Flores lies to the east of Bali, and takes about an hour in the plane. It is a fairly large island and completely different in many ways to Bali, having been previously colonised by the Portugese. I am always fascinated most by the people I encounter when I travel and I am sure my few weeks in Indonesia will be

Life, Death, and remote islands...

Life takes many twists and turns. My late father, a retired Royal Australian Naval Commodore, chose to spend the last years of his life on a coral atoll, 10 feet above sea level. My mother had died and he chose to live his remaining years with dignity, in grief, away from the madenning crowd on a little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, called Cocos Island. When he first visited the island atoll my sister and I felt that it was a redemptive move as he had nursed our very ill mother for many years. But when he stayed, we were incredulous. Until we visited the island and saw our father adapting to the very natural, harmonious way that life was lived on this island. He was embraced by the community of local Cocos Islanders…who accepted his moments of overwhelming grief as much as they accepted his unbounded hospitality. My father grew on Cocos Island, with the many personal interactions he had. He was equally as comfortable with visiting Government Ministers and Senators,

Chinese Etiquette and Protocol....and bad manners...

I have just finished writing a presentation on Modern Chinese Business Etiquette and Protocol for a workshop I am presenting next Tuesday. Here in Western Australian the corporate community is necessarily looking towards a greater understanding of the manners, etiquette and rituals of the Chinese as the country is now the biggest trading partner as a result of the “boom”in the resources sector here. I was fortunate to have a full time office of The Percy Institute in Singapore for 3 years from 2000. Despite many early difficulties, including learning the nuances of communication with Chinese business partners, the experience was extremely fulfilling. In 2002 we also opened an office in Shanghai. I used to stay in the apartment our company rented in a “middle class”(Chinese description!) area and one of the most joyful moments for me was joining the Chinese at dawn to practice the art of tai chi under beautiful trees. It was a gentle moment before 10 hours a day training, through a

“Gypsies”… and best friends

The Bride and Groom I have just had a lovely discussion with my closest friend and her husband. They have decided to relocate to the other side of the country and then see where life takes them. He has just turned 50 and she is looking forward to the “milestone” in January next year. I introduced them 5 years ago. He is from Africa, a very proud Rhodesian, and she had left Australia and married an Indonesian man at the age of about 20 before returning 10 years ago with her daughter to start her next life chapter. Not only have we been great friends, but also business partners. I hosted their wedding at my home 2 years ago and it was to our great delight, that after the simple ceremony when we went outside for champagne, two kookaburras assumed the role of sentinels on the columns over the pool. To this day, they have never returned. The kookaburras watching the festivities My friends'lives were connected by the innate understanding of different cultures and how to adapt to

Entertaining and smoking..friends and family

                  A beautiful woman in Sarlat, smoking in 2006(photo Louise Percy) Today is an auspicious day. It’s the 10th of the 10th of 2010…lots of tens. And when I was growing up, the total of 10 was the number to which we all aspired. Today I have had two major “10’s” I had a wonderful chat with my daughter who lives in Sydney and has chosen to be like me in the “hostess ”stakes…except she is also a very hard working lawyer and I don’t know how she finds the time. But she does, and she and her partner have wonderful dinner parties, even on Friday evenings, and when I ask her how she manages she replies “Mumma you taught me”.  So that’s a "10" I think. The other “10” is that I have stopped smoking. I stopped 23 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. And 4 years ago, in a time of renewal and love, I started again, and little by little the smoking became more bad influence than a joy in new discovery. Last night I  hosted a dinner party for friends and family. Th

“I’m too busy”…bad manners or not?

A friend called in this morning for coffee and while we were talking generally the subject of people who don’t return phone calls, texts or emails came up. He has been working on a property development project with a prominent City Council and the person he had been dealing with would not reply to him via phone, text or email. This particular friend of mine is a bit lacking in the business etiquette skills department so I was incredulous when he raised the situation with me. His retaliation to what he deemed poor business manners by the City Council bureaucrat was to go tell the recalcitrant’s superior that unless the communication situation was resolved successfully he would speak to the CEO of the City Council and report the council bureaucrat in “dereliction of his duty” …needless to say, the communication responses are now flowing like molten lava! But the conversation started me thinking about situations which have occurred with me in this day and age of electronic immediacy.