opinion

Fly by night feng shui

September 27, 2019

Many a client engage Feng Shui as a second or even nth opinion in a desperation move      Often they didn't get what they wished for. Why? Fake or fly by night Feng Shui or hso siao in Chinese!      Here are my findings in the field these charlatan "Feng Shui" do:      1. They have a 'feng shui' shop. This alone hints they are simply out to sell and get rid of their smuggled or fake inventory of socalled Feng Shui enhancers or remedies. Mostly imitations, these things don't work as promised.      2. They are in shiwy costumes just trying hard sell to ompress.      3. They have an office! A real geomamcer holds office in the field, out on ocular visits not tabletop consultation like a fortune teller or tarot reader. To see us to do it for real. A plan presented may not reveal a neighboring cemetery! Got it?      4. They put describe different lucky colors daily. Thus is not Feng Shui at all but fraud just to titillate your gullibility or fancy!      5. They speak fast in a not understandable manner to fool you fast enough.      6. They recommend items that are costly even sell you a house and lit as they get commission or profit on the side.      7. They can hypnotize or drug you so never partake of their food and drink especially tea. For ladies, you can be molested or raped with rape drugs!      8. They require you to stick bagua or yellow sticker if Chinese calligraphy that turn out to be not prayers for protection but incantations or curse to fail in love or career even marriage so that as problems add up, you keep going back to them for more.      9. They threaten you with sickness or death.      10. They wear a moustache or beard, beware even if she is a lady or quack ha ha!      11. They advertise hard sell.      12. They claim to be back if all trades say tarot, fortune teller aside from Feng Shui. Why? Obviously to fool. Even false claims if being ceetified +for nothing). Or that this or that master's taught them.      13. Worst us one who claims it is a gift or that he or she has a third eye, then you are truly dead meat!      Beyond all they make a blasphemy excuse that all is in God's work not theirs or yours when it comes to your date and fortune. Just like a colonial friar named Padre Damaso. And some even do Feng Shui now pay later schemes! they have a PR manager hahaha!      And all the overhead is factored into the price you will or have been swindled to pay!      So be aware, beware! Fly by night? No fly by day too!      Are you ready to part with your hard earned monies and let it fly away by day or night? The answer is not in God's hands but yours, left and right alone. Ciao!

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Family before fortune

September 18, 2019

On behalf of the W+B Family Advisory Group, the event organizer ICON Executive Search and education partner, ExCED Institute, I want to personally thank all the participants who graced the 2nd W+B Family Business Conference titled, CAN FAMILY-RUN BUSINESSES LAST FOREVER: A Talk About Building 100 Year Old Enterprises, last August 31 at the Manila Marriot Hotel, Resorts World Manila. Thank you to Panay News for the media support!      I hope that everyone found the conference informative and worthwhile. The primary goal of the forum was to bring together Governance leaders (Institute of Corporate Directors), Wealth Preservation and Risk experts (Deloitte and Bank of Singapore) under one roof to discuss multi-generational issues currently confronting 92% of family owned and managed businesses in the Philippines. Our objective was to share powerful strategies related to Family and Corporate Governance practices and inspire everyone by inviting a pragmatic Enterprise-founder/CEO and thought leader (Mr. William Tiu Lim) who willingly and generously shared his vision and legacy initiatives geared towards transforming the business he founded, Mega Global, to Centennial status (100-Year old).      Your presence helped to make this event a huge success, making it the biggest gathering of family business leaders in years! Rags to Riches to Ruin      Few family corporations have survived way beyond three generations -- a curse that summarizes the life cycle of a business from rags to riches and then ruin. In the three-generation effect, a family corporation usually starts with the patriarch establishing the company to provide for the family. The second generation inherits the business and grows it, then comes the third generation to squander it. Studies show that seven out of ten affluent families will lose the family fortune by the end of the second generation. By the end of the third generation, nine out of ten of all affluent families have blown through the family wealth, and many have suffered terrible family strife.      Research indicates that family business failures can essentially be traced to several factors:      * Forbidden Issues. Lack of trust and misunderstandings in the family leads to conflict avoidance, lying, hiding things from each other.      * Lack of meritocracy. The inability of next generation offspring to cultivate the requisite skills that match those needed by the current and future business environment.      * Lack of clarity. The lack of planning and governance at the business, family and ownership levels.      * Weak or misaligned values. Lack of common understanding of what values the company and the family lives by, and wants to preserve.      * An unfortunate lack of succession planning. Founders and owners are notoriously poor at planning for the future of their businesses. For one, death is not an easy subject to talk about; not is retirement, especially for rugged individualist and entrepreneurs or their families.      A family business without a formal succession plan is asking for trouble. We often hear this statement from business leaders, "No doubt, my children are being groomed to lead the business eventually but they are too young and inexperienced to make critical decisions." Family business leaders, particularly the founders, often neglect the issue of succession because they are so protective of the business they started.      Although they want their ventures to survive them and to pass the torch of leadership on to their children, they seldom support their intentions by a plan to accomplish that goal. They just dream of continuing the business long after they're gone but take no steps to make that dream a reality.

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A world without trees

September 18, 2019

Several months ago, I asked here how a world would look like without water. And, is there any difference? My today;s question is, "What would happen if all the world’s trees disappeared?"      As the Amazon fires continue to burn, writer and journalist Rachel Nuwer asks in an BBC-report: How dependent are we on the survival of forests?      In Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa strives to return to “the Green Place” – a tree-filled oasis in the otherwise lifeless wasteland that the Earth has become. When Furiosa arrives at the sacred spot, however, she finds only skeletal trunks and sprawling dunes. She screams in anguish. Without trees, all hope seems lost.      Ask yourself: how would you feel? Hopeless too? Furiosa’s feelings were justified. “Forests are the lifeline of our world,” says Meg Lowman, director of the Tree Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Florida that is dedicated to tree research, exploration and education. “Without them, we lose extraordinary and essential functions for life on Earth.”      Following the Rachel Nuwer's report, trees’ services to this planet range from carbon storage and soil conservation to water cycle regulation. They support natural and human food systems and provide homes for countless species – including us, through building materials. Yet we often treat trees as disposable: as something to be harvested for economic gain or as an inconvenience in the way of human development. Since our species began practicing agriculture around 12,000 years ago, we’ve cleared nearly half of the world’s estimated 5.8 trillion trees, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Nature.      Sad to say but it's unfortunately so very true: much of the deforestation has happened in recent years. Since the onset of the industrial era, forests have declined by 32%. Especially in the tropics, many of the world’s remaining three trillion trees are falling fast, with about 15 billion cut each year, the Nature study states. In many places, tree loss is accelerating. In August, the National Institute for Space Research showed an 84% increase in fires in the Brazilian Amazon rain forest compared to the same period in 2018. Slash-and-burn is also especially on the rise in Indonesia and Madagascar.        Making me sad and angry, or even better expressed angry first and sad then is the reality, that there have been more than 70,000 forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon in 2019. Barring an unimaginable catastrophe, however, there’s no scenario under which we would fell every tree on the planet.       “Let me just start with how horrible a world without trees would be – they are irreplaceable,” says Isabel Rosa, a lecturer in environmental data and analysis at Bangor University in Wales. “If we get rid of all the trees, we will live [on] a planet that might not actually be able to sustain us anymore.”  And Isabel Rosa is so very right.      I am living in a big compound in Davao City with many trees and a wild tropical garden. Every time, trees have to cut or shortened, I have to leave. It's painful for me. But it's the wish of my neighbors, because branches of some trees keep on destroying their roofs.      Fact is, if trees disappeared overnight, so would much of the planet’s biodiversity. Habitat loss is already the primary driver of extinction worldwide, so the destruction of all remaining forests would be “catastrophic” for plants, animals, fungi and more, says Jayme Prevedello, an ecologist at Rio de Janeiro State University in Brazil. “There would be massive extinctions of all groups of organisms, both locally and globally.”      The loss of trees from the world would throw the climate off kilter. The planet’s climate would also be drastically altered in the short and long term. Trees mediate the water cycle by acting as biological pumps: they suck water from the soil and deposit it into the atmosphere by transforming it from liquid to vapour. By doing this, forests contribute to cloud formation and precipitation. Trees also prevent flooding by trapping water rather than letting it rush into lakes and rivers, and by buffering coastal communities from storm surges. They keep soil in place that would otherwise wash away in rain, and their root structures help microbial communities thrive.      So what's the difference between my first and today's question? Can you imagine a world without water? Can you imagine a world without trees? Or without both? Worth to think about. Worth to act about it! Even if we could live in a world without trees, who would want to? +++      Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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Dealing with a Black Sheep

September 16, 2019

I highlighted in my last column the word “elephant” suggesting that the issue or problem is so big and so heavy that no one wants to confront it or try to move it.      These “elephants” eventually become embedded in how the business operates and how family members interact at all levels. When ignored, a very large problem will continue to shadow whatever successes the family business has achieved and when the issues become emotional and highly charged, they can compromise the business and split the family apart.      For this article, instead of a black sheep, I will use “Fredo” as the “elephant in the room”.      Having a “Fredo” in the family is a result of inconsistencies that are far and wide. Fredo as a family member grew up with values such as unconditional love, being nurtured and equality among siblings while expectations of “Fredo” as a business manager or employee centers on performance, meritocracy and accountability.       Prof. Kimberly Eddleston explained it succinctly, “When this logic (of love and equality) transfers to the business, however, it can be dangerous since it encourages the family to compensate for the weaknesses and failings of family members and to forgive indiscretions.”      While it is indeed difficult for a family business leader to initiate change, it will always start with a firm resolve of separating the family and the business.       As part of my governance advocacy, every next generation family member interested to join the family business must demonstrate that they have something of value to contribute to the business. In short, the family member must apply just like any employee and be deserving of the employment.       We are aware that not all family members are capable, therefore I encourage leaders to resist the urge of including all family members in the business. Guaranteed employment may have been the practice of the founding generation but the growing complexity and the increasing number of family members have made it unwieldy to manage the family and the business.       To operationalize these initiatives, the enterprise must also invest in HR consultants and professional managers so they can formulate “best practices” policies and introduce an environment that promotes accountability, transparency and consequences for bad behaviors.      I am suggesting a few rules to avoid or deter a “Fredo” from creating problems for the family business: Avoid hiring a “Fredo”      Develop and communicate rules of entry and exit for family members      With the guidance of an HR consultant, establish minimum standards for entry such as education level and years of experience. The rule of “No Nepotism” must apply      Do not create jobs for relatives. Avoid becoming an employer of last resort                                                                           Don’t force family members into the business if they are not interested. You are compromising the business by having demotivated, unfocused, dispassionate employees who happens to share your bloodline and last name Do not reward bad behavior      Kim Eddelston also pointed out several points worth mentioning, “if you feel you must hire a family member with questionable abilities and drive, place him or her in a job where the rewards are based on commission, such as sales.”      She also added that “having clear job requirements tend to decrease the prevalence of “Fredos” since they know what tasks are expected of them and how their performance will be evaluated.      And finally, Eddelston cautioned business leaders by raising the alarm bells regarding this issue: “do not allow family employees to have special privileges. This creates an us-against-them mentality with non-family employees, spurring feelings of injustice. It also encourages a sense of entitlement among family”      (esoriano@wongadvisory.com)

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Virtues most needed today

September 16, 2019

Far from falling into irrelevance or obsolescence, as some people claim, virtues are actually most needed today. And that’s because with the fast-moving and more complicated developments of the times, virtues actually help us properly tackle the challenges of these new developments.      We are actually in urgent need of these stable qualities. We have to debunk the myth that virtues hinder our reactions to the challenges of the times. It is a piece of pre-historic thinking that would consider the virtues as obstacles in our effort to grapple with the new developments.      It’s amazing some people, even the self-proclaimed highly educated people who are supposed to be very scientific in their outlook, still cling to that fiction. Virtues help us not only to facilitate our reactions to these new developments but also to see to it that our reactions are the right ones.      We need to dismantle the bias against virtues as wrongly understood by some people. In fact, these days we should be into some intense campaign to promote the importance, development, and practice of the virtues. This should start in the family, and always reinforced in parishes, schools, offices and everywhere else. They are always relevant. There is nothing in our life where the virtues would be out of place.      For example, the cardinal virtues under which all the other virtues are grouped and which are the hinges of a virtuous life, a life that would resemble us more and more with God who made us to be his image and likeness.      Given the confusing culture of our times where we not only have to distinguish between what is good and evil, but also between competing good options, we really would need prudence to be able to make the right choice.      Justice enables us to give to others, especially God, their due. (cfr. Compendium 318) This virtue is always necessary since we are not supposed to live simply on our own. We always live with others, and we have duties and responsibilities toward them. This virtue will help us avoid falling into self-indulgence and self-absorption.      Fortitude “assures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.” (Compendium 382) Since our life will always involve moves of conquest and defense, we cannot overemphasize the importance of this virtue.      And again, given the complexities of our times, we have to make sure that we are tough and strong enough to tackle the many challenges of the times. Sad to say, many now have fallen into despair precisely because they lack this virtue that will always include a certain sense of optimism despite all the possible mishaps we can experience.      And then we have the virtue of temperance which “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts and provides balance in the use of created goods.” (Compendium 383)      This is a virtue that I would say is most immediately needed, since we are easily carried away by the movements of the flesh as it interacts with the new, fascinating albeit intoxicating things of today’s environment.      This is where we need to have self-discipline and a good sense of restraint and moderation in the use of the new technologies, for example.  If we want to be truly human, let alone, authentically Christian, we need these virtues more than we need food, drink, and air.

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Come on, give me a smile!

September 16, 2019

I keep on writing columns for several papers from all over the world since the early 1980's. Sometimes, while writing, I am indeed not in a good mood. I rewrite and rewrite - and then the moment comes, I am asking myself: "Do the readers of this publication really like to read my columns?"      Anyway, I try my best. It's actually a sweet day today, so sunny, so calm, so bright, it's like the bridal of earth and heaven.  The grandeur  of  God flames out like shining from shook foil. I feel like as the waves make towards the pebbled  shore. An incredible and peaceful Sunday, while writing this piece.      I observed again a multi national couple somewhere in my neighborhood fighting each other. Gosh. Stupid people have an uncanny way of hitting the right nail on the head with the wrong hammer!      Maybe, you are angry also right now, while reading this. You are angry, even for others it's a beautiful day. You are angry? It's okay. We are all battling against one of the most powerful emotions known to man - anger! Anger. A day rarely goes by without us feeling angry. Or,  maybe seldom a days goes by without feeling anger... .      Anger is the main part of our daily life. That's why it's really important to talk about this phenomenon. What is anger, what does it do and how does if affect our lives? Where does it come from and how can we learn to handle it in a constructive instead of destructive way? Only, if the roots of our anger exposed and explained, we can defuse its explosive and dangerous potentials.       As I said earlier, anger is one of the most basic emotions. Everyone can get angry. You and me? Now, later, tomorrow...! It's a feeling of being against something or someone.      Anger is a hostile emotion that sets people against one another, or even themselves. By its nature, anger involves opposition, hostility, hatred and disliked. It happened between Filipinos, and between Filipinos and foreigners as well, living here in the Philippines. It even happened at political levels right nowadays.      Anger, however, is simpler to define than to identity. Emotions of antagonism can take a wide variety of faces. Expressions of anger range from the overt, in-your-face brand of open hospitality to the cold indifference of a silent individual. At times, anger can be felt like an inner fire... .      Millions of defense, not a damned penny for tribute, as Charles Pinkney stated... . Anger between people: the one side remains cold as ice while the opposite plays meek as a lamb. Sige, burn the midnight oil! And what the result at the end? A shadow of doubts remains after each fight getting its origin out of anger.      The silent withdrawal and lack of understanding  and innumerable shortcomings of one or both partners are often an indication that one is angrily punishing the other for not doing things his or her way.      We are all selfish! Yes, me too! That's why we see the cause of anger as something outside of ourselves. Life is unfair! Life is hard! +++      Email me: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit one on of my websites www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or  www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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