O: Oriental and Occidental

When I was in consulting, the first thing we needed to do when we were placed on project is to determine if the client is Oriental-oriented or Occidental-Oriented.

Oriental-oriented meaning give reasons first, conclusion last

Occidental-oriented meaning give conclusion first, reason last

This was important as delivery approach determined how much buy-in we had from the clients, which in turn determined how much follow-on projects we get. It was not easy, as with all MNCs in Asia, our clients also usually had oriental culture with occidental-oriented top leader. Thus we had to tailor our approach depending on who we were speaking to. The challenge came when we did workshops or final presentations. These events were usually attended by the top leader as well as his direct sub-ordinates, who are usually locals…resulting in tense and hilarious situations sometimes 🙂

Anyway, now that I am in the industry, I realized that this is one of the most important lessons I learnt. Determining if my boss / colleagues are oriental or occidental and approaching them accordingly determines the success of my initiative. In fact, I can confidently say that 90% of the initiative success depends on this.

I also realize that this approach determines a lot of other factors; e.g. my response time/decisiveness/assertiveness etc which in turn affect perception. And as we know; perception is reality. Occidental people tend to make decisions faster as the reason justifies their conclusion while oriental people do not know the conclusion. That’s a gross generalization but I noticed it works in most cases.

Which one are you? Oriental or Occidental?


N: Nature

How much of nature do we really appreciate? If we suddenly find ourselves in the a place of absolute human-silence; with no traffic noise, no sounds of people and no phone; just us and nature and the sounds of nature – How will we react? Will we panic coz we are too used to human-generated noise? Will we be tensed like a cheetah about to pounce? Or will we relax and list to nature-sounds? Will we jump at the sound of bird or will we rejoice in them?

Similarily, what will happen if we find ourselves in the middle of a growth of trees? Will we scarper coz we are not use to the rustling of leaves the shadow of branches? Or will we enjoy it?

I know I do get frightened if I am in a middle of a boulevard of trees at night. As the sway of the branches casts eerie shadows which I am unused to. I know I may enjoy absolute silence for a while, as long as I know the humans are not too far away.

However, I don’t think I will quite survive in absolute human-silence or would be able to enjoy nature at night. Which is sad but that’s a city-person for you.

How about you? Can you enjoy nature?

M: Mother

I think moms are the most under-rated of people. Sure, we have mother’s day, appreciation for mothers, more posters on moms than moms on earth, but I still think most kids take our mom for granted.

I sure do 🙂 I don’t think twice that I always have good, home cooked meals at night. I have breakfast on table if I wake up late. No matter what, I do not leave the house empty-stomach. I can hide my feelings how muchever I want but mom always finds out.

I don’t think twice that one day dad is against something I want and another day he is all for it. That suddenly all sorts of creams, lotions, home remedies turn up in the house if I have some issues. That no matter how ill or tired she is, she is there besides my bed nursing my headache. That…that…that…

The list is never ending.

So there’s to mom! 🙂

K: Karma

Karma is a word which everyone, regardless of their faith, is familiar with. In English, the term is “you reap as you sow”.

There are slight differences between Karma and the English term but let’s ignore that for now. I happen to be a strong believer in Karma. How people treat me, is how they get treated. How people respect is how they get respected. There may be a time lag but it always comes back.

The issue I have is with the time lag 🙂 If I get treated like shit, I know sooner or later the person will suffer, so I don’t bother giving back. However, sometimes I wish it’s sooner rather than later, primarily in the hope that the person realizes and mends her ways.

I also realize belief in Karma seems to be age-related. Kids do what they think. Teenagers think the world is theirs. 20-something think they can get away with anything. 30-something start realizing that life is passing them by. 40-something realize they have crossed the halfway milestone and start valuing relationship. 50 and above? Relationships matter.

Good karma ==> Good, strong, healthy, loving relationship

J: Justify

How do you justify life? And how to you justify one life over another?

I work in the healthcare sector. Specifically in the genetics disorders sector. Most of our patients do not survive if they are not treated. Treatment is life long and genetic disorders rare. Given that it takes the same cost to develop a drug for genetic disorders as it does for other drugs, Approx USD 1bn from R&D to market, it means only one thing => drugs for genetic disorders are freakishly expensive, AND they are life long.

Now let’s say you have 2 infants. One infant has a genetic disorder and needs medication to survive. If treatment is started early, this infant would have a normal life with normal life expectancy. The second infant is diagnosed with cancer, let’s says prognosis is that if treated, the infant can survive and life a normal life.

You have money for only one infant, which would would you choose? Why?


I: India!

I am in Indian by birth. I was born in India and migrated to my current country 24 years ago.

By all measures, if a person has been in a country for 24 years, grown up there, studied there, made friends there, they would consider that country as their home. They should by right gain affection for that country.

I did not; I love India with all my heart. I remember the Indian national anthem which I learnt when I was 8 years old for 1 year but don’t remember my current country’s anthem, which I sang every morning for close to 6 years.

This begs the question; whose fault is it? I don’t consider myself stubborn and I don’t think any teenager will be stuck up upon a abstract concept as nationalism. Thus, I don’t quite believe it’s my fault, meaning the only other area could be the country itself; the people, the environment, the opportunity etc.

My post on foreigners says all that is needed for people and environment. Opportunity? Links back to people and environment in some sense.

India has her own issues, she discriminates against my community. She has double standards with females (worships goddess but not really women). I visit India once in 2-3 years for 1 week at most.

But I still LOVE India and will anyday do anything for her – sadly can’t say the same to the country where I spent 24 years.