Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Pictures will be forthcoming! more later!
Heather et al.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I'm sorry for not posting more regularly while I've been here in Singapore -- I've been busy much of the time, and haven't had much chance to catch up on things. But it is now Saturday evening here (Saturday morning back home), and I have some time to share what's been going on.
I mentioned having gone to Sentosa, and posted a couple of pictures from there. On Thursday I was able to catch the ferry to Bintan, Indonesia, and go to a resort there and get in some snorkeling. I remembered to bring my waterproof camera, though unfortunately I was only able to get 200 film, so the pictures came out a little less clear than I had hoped. But I got to see some types of fish in the South China Sea that previously I have only been able to see in fishtanks, and that was a lot of fun. I also had some unexpected free time, because the morning snorkeling trip was canceled due to lack of people for it, so hmmm... what to do? I know! Get a 2 1/2 hour massage in a tropical resort, with the birds and the sea breeze and the warm air... THAT was an excellent idea.
I've been doing my best to eat good local Chinese, Indonesia, Thai, or other regional food while I am here, and today I had sweet and sour pork, which was excellent. Not at all like the thick sticky sauce we often get at home, but something very light, and extremely tasty.
There is one more day of class left, and I think it has gone pretty well. We've covered a lot of important topics, generated a lot of discussion among the students about how their organizations respond to various staffing issues, and a lot of cultural issues that arise in that situation, so I feel like they've come away with some useful things. Tomorrow, our last day of class, will be largely filled with student group project presentations, and the students have really worked hard on them, and I think will end up doing a great job on them.
Sunday will have to be an early evening, as my flight departs at 6:00am, and I'll need to be at the airport by 4:30am. So no last night carousing for me, I think. I've really enjoyed my time here, and will certainly hope to come back, but I think I am ready to get home and see the family, and see how the new house is turning into a new home.
That's about it for n0w -- I've done some good shopping, but some of you won't see the results of that for several months ;)
Love to all.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
OK, Singapore... I left on Wednesday afternoon, and flew to Tokyo. We waited on the tarmac for a while in Detroit, but ultimately landed in Tokyo only about an hour late, which left me plenty of time for the next flight. So I spent 13 hours in the plane on the way to Tokyo, had a 2-hour layover, and then another 8 hours on the plane to Singapore. We landed at about 1:30am local time, and I was amazed that no one asked me a single question at immigration or customs, so I was in the hotel and headed to bed by about 2:45am. Class started that evening at 7:00pm, so I didn't do much that day other than rest, find the class room, go over my files, and get ready for the class. I did go to a mall close by when I realized that I had brought a shirt with a stain on it -- fortunately, this month is "Singapore on Sale!" where everything everywhere is on sale. I got a couple of dress shirts inexpensively, though I did feel bad for the woman helping me. The shirt size she picked out for me was too small, which embarrassed her, but it wasn't surprising, given that the shirts are cut to fit an Asian population which is typically thinner than a North American population, and is certainly thinner than me!
Saturday and Sunday were both class all day. The class is really interesting -- there is a tremendous diversity of experience in the students, much moreso than I have wrestled with before. Some of the students are brand new to Human Resources, and really need to go over the basics of how you do Staffing (which is the topic of the course). Others are HR executives who have been doing this for many years, and no longer do the basics because their subordinates do that work now, and they want to talk about much more advanced topics. So I am re-working the classes for the final three days, and will try to find a point that works for everyone.
Sunday evening, I left class a few minutes early, and went over to the Presidential Palace, which is 5 minutes from my hotel. The first Sunday of every month they do the changing of the guard, and so that was interesting. Lots of pageantry, one military band playing as the new guard came in, another playing as the old guard went out. The MPs did a routine that was very complex, but also seemed to border on a dance routine at times. It was well-done, no doubt, but didn't seem to quite fit my idea of what MPs ought to do. I was looking around for an Indian, a cop, and a construction worker to go with them.
Singapore is a relatively large city (4.5 million), but a very small country. The class has several Singaporeans in it, but also Brits, Aussies, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Indians, Americans... it is very diverse, which is both fun and challenging. There is a tremendous variety of food available, and I've been doing my share of sampling it, including getting food from the "hawkers" who sell on the streets. These are very common and very popular, and typically extremely good.
Yesterday I went to Sentosa, which is essentially a resort island that is part of Singapore. They have all sorts of attractions, including the beach, animal shows, rides, etc. It reminded me of Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It was fun, and I got to see some neat things. There were macaques with babies on their bellies, peacocks, and I got a picture of me with a large parrot. There is also a large mer-lion at Sentosa -- the mer-lion is the symbol of Singapore, and it is half-lion, half-fish. To get to Sentosa, I took the Sentosa Express, which is a monorail from one of the jillions of malls here, and on the way back, took a cable car over the water, which gave a nice view. While at Sentosa, I went to the Southernmost point of the Asian Continent, which was nothing fancy, but just sort of cool.
This afternoon I had lunch with the staff who are coordinating my visit here, and we had excellent Thai food, including some really spicy things, and some things that I have no idea what they were. I also dropped my laundry off at the Washy-Washy, and will pick it up this evening. As soon as I am done with this entry, I am going to the Night Safari, where you get pretty close to the animals. I am planning to either go on a day trip to Malacca, Malaysia (a historical area), or to Bintan, Indonesia (a resort for good snorkeling), depending on which I can get to (trying to figure out the advance reservations needed).
So far, I am having a great time, though I feel horrible about leaving Heather and Michael and Heather's folks behind to work on the new house. "Hey, we have a new house, you all paint it while I am gone!" I really appreciate what they've done while I've been away, and look forward to seeing them and it in a week or so.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I really enjoy Amsterdam as a city -- it is so pedestrian-friendly, with tons of bikes and scooters, and walking paths, and a great public transit system. I have been there a few times, and always enjoyed it there. I could see living there someday, or at least doing a longer stay of a several weeks, and really enjoying it. Great museums, and just a neat place all around.
I got home on Tuesday, we did the walk-through for the new house on Wednesday, and closed on Thursday. Our water problems in the new home began on Friday... I think now they are mostly resolved, but we've gotten to know the local plumber much quicker than we had expected to. So we started having problems, and then I promptly left for Singapore, and left Heather behind to resolve the problems, and I have to say she is coming through like a trooper. I am really proud of her, and grateful to her for helping so much with everything.
I am going to try to do a post with pictures about Singapore (which is where I am right now), but it may not be tonight, as bed time is approaching. Love to all, and I hope to see you soon! (Come visit our new home!)
Monday, May 19, 2008
Exciting.... scary.... busy...
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
When we get back, we'll wrap up this journal, including a description of our adventures at "very famous dumpling restaurant" on our last night here. But for now, it's time to pack up the laptop, and say good-bye to the warm weather, the culture, and the friendliness of Taiwan.
Xie-xie for following us on this adventure, everyone!
We wrapped up class today, and it was a good class. The topic was Organizational Staffing, and covered things like Recruiting, Personnel Selection, Performance Appraisal, Employee Retention, Cultural issues affecting Staffing, and linking Staffing to the Organization's Strategy. Fifteen students in total, including several people with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in HR and Staffing, and several others with really no Staffing background. It made for an interesting class, trying to balance the needs of both groups. (I'll post a class picture once I get a copy of some of the ones taken today.)
The last part of class is always a group presentation of a project they've worked on all week, and the presentations today were all really good. I was very impressed with the level of effort and understanding, and it was fun to see how they integrated the class topics into their own workplace situations. We also had lunch at Schwarzwald, a local German restaurant, which was a lot of fun.
I learned while I was here that the Baruch HR Executive Master's Program is ready to launch in Singapore, and I am scheduled to teach there the first week of June. I'm already starting to learn about the country, and to prepare for that trip. Apparently the Russia program they had been working on fell through (the partners in Russia were apparently unsavory folks), but I'm excited about the Singapore opportunity.
Tonight is the last night for us here, and we're not yet sure where we're going to dinner, or how we'll spend the evening. Heather did all the laundry, so we're pretty much ready to go. So we'll find something fun to do to wrap up our Taipei adventure and Heather's first trip to Asia, and Pei's initial trip anywhere.
Friday, February 22, 2008
|Make a photobook - it's easy!|
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Today was supposed to be rainy BUT instead it was sunny and over 70 degrees. We finally made it to the Taipei 101 building. It is very tall, but not as wide as most buildings. In the center of the building there is a damper system which is comprised of many pillars and one HUGE "damper baby" Damper Baby is 660 ton steel weight which hangs in the center of the building to help absorb the sway of the building. They are really proud of the damper giving it a super hero character named Damper Baby. They even display the Damper. We EVEN got our picture taken with the damper. The viewing area for the damper is on floor 88. To get up there you take a superfast elevator. It was like half a minute to go from the 5th floor to the 89th. Our ears were popping!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
|Make a postcard - it's easy!|
Here is more about the hotel:
"After Chiang Kai-shek's retreat to Taiwan in 1949, Chiang felt it was difficult to accommodate foreign ambassadors, as there weren't any five-star hotels in Taipei. Thus, he wanted to build an extravagant hotel to treat foreign guests. His wife Soong May-ling suggested to build it on the old Taiwan Hotel on Yuanshan Mountain, the site of the ruins of the Taiwan Grand Shrine, a Shinto shrine during the Japanese rule. Chiang decided on a Chinese palace-style architecture to promote Chinese culture to the West through its extravagance. Taipei-based architect Yang Cho-Cheng was responsible for the design of the new hotel.
The hotel was established in the May of 1952, but it was expanded several times before it became the landmark as it is known today. The swimming pool, tennis court, and the membership lounge were constructed in 1953, and Golden Dragon Pavilion and Golden Dragon Restaurant opened in 1956. The Jade Phoenix Pavilion and Chi-Lin Pavilion opened in 1958 and 1963, respectively. In 1968, the hotel was rated as one of the world's top ten hotels by the US Fortune magazine. And finally, in the Double Tenth Day of 1973, the main Grand Hotel building was completed, making it an instant Taipei icon.
In June 1995, a disastrous fire broke out on the roof during necessary reconstruction and refurbishment, and because neither ladders nor high pressure pumps could reach the fire, the roof and the upper floors were destroyed. Not until 1998 did the hotel recover from the damage and became fully reopened to the public. Following the fire, the two dragon heads on the roof were rotated 180 degrees to point inwards. As dragons are traditionally a symbol of rain and water, this was intended to symbolize preparedness against a future fire."
Monday, February 18, 2008
Today Pei, Marcus and I went to the National Palace Museum. Here we learned alot about Chinese Calligraphy. I was of course interested in seeing the art and figuring out its influences. One of the things I thought was so incredibly striking is that if there is a great piece of art that it often copied. In fact copying great works was looked upon as a GOOD thing. The more closely copied the more honor you did the artist. This is very much counter to the ideas of the western world that prizes art as individual expression.
I had to put together a slide show from the Palace Museum site. When Marcus was there last he was able to take pictures. WE however were not. So I gathered pictures of some of MY favorite things. I was there on Sunday with a quick tour group. Then again today with better company;) Sadly though, I am beginning to really feel under the weather.
The National Palace Museum Slideshow-
|Make a slideshow - it's easy!|
After the National Palace Museum we made our way to Longshan Temple and finally the market-
The original was built in 1738by settlers from China. The temple has since been destroyed either in full or in part by earthquakes and fires and in 1945, it was even hit by American bombers who claimed the Japanese were hiding armaments inside. Taipei residents rebuilt it as soon as the war was over. Determine no? Longshan is seen as an emblematic example of Taiwanese classical architecture. At the site one can worship Buddhist, Taoist or even folk deities like Matsu.
But here is my slideshow for it:
|Make a slideshow - it's easy!|