February 1, 2020

Life is better than ever, so, why so many people seem to be unhappy? Whenever I hear people saying that everything is bad, I think of my late grandmother, born in 1899 (!) into a really awful world in Germany and its surroundings. Yes, I wrote about it already several years ago.  The so-called "Golden Twenties" between the two World Wars (now 100 years ago!) have been everything but golden for her, my relatives and millions of people. "Lola" never complained, even during the sorrowful time in the former East Germany, the "German Democratic Republic". Lola reached the ripe old age of almost 86. We hardly count our blessings. I really count them daily. And praise the Lord for everything! Most people enjoy counting their crosses. Instead of gains, they count our losses. Actually, they don't have to do all that counting - computers do it for us. Information is easily had. Just remember this: Opportunity doesn't just knock - it jiggles the doorknob, and "your friend" - the worrier, is with you day and night, at every corner, following your every step. Complaining and grumbling are good excuses, aren't they? We have time and opportunities to do almost anything. So why haven't we done it? We have the freedom of bondage or restraint, every one of us in his or her very special way - but, we're still our old inferior selves. The job is boring! I don't find a good job! The house is an unpleasing mixture of tidy and dirty things. It's a mess! I am not in the mood to arrange my garden. I can't afford a gardener. That's life. How sad! No, it's not MY fault. Of course not! The whole world is an awful place filled with dreadful and horrible negativism. No wonder, if you look around right now. Yes, I confess, I am also surrounded by many worriers who put their fears into me! Politicians, i.e., many times love to search for some grave alarm that will cause individuals to abandon their separate concerns and act in concert, so that politicians can wield the baton. Calls to fatal struggles and fights are forever being surrounded. The over-bearing person, who tyrannizes the weak, the person, who wants to domineer and to bluster, is simply nothing else than a worrier, who might claim to be a friend. But he isn't! Really not! The bullying of fellow citizens by means of dread and fright has been going on since Paleolithic times. The night wolf is eating the moon. Give me silver, and I'll make him spit out. Well, when will we start counting our courage and not our fears, or enjoy instead our woes? Worrying itself is pointless. Of course,  no society has achieved perfectly rules of law, never-ending education or unique responsible governments. Let's seek out the worries but avoid the worriers, because they try to avoid liberty. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .


January 27, 2020

... ROAR WITH LAUGHTER? "If I only knew how!" A friend of mine contacted me yesterday after watching the news and read his daily paper. Another said, "This is hardly the time to do so." Understandable, if I consider his very personal situation. Anyway, it seems we have no more time and no reason for laughter. That can wait until tomorrow, or better until the day after tomorrow. Anticipation is better... . Sure, the today's new really don't allow us even to smile... . But keep in mind: our enemies laugh up their sleeves, and most of the time we miss to recognize the fortune still smiling at us. But hold on: he who laughs last laughs longest. Remember? American neurologist Henri Rubenstein says, laughter lowers high blood pressure while aiding digestion and fostering sleep. Well, give me even a simple smile and believe in what  experts say: "Good humor can help the gravely or terminally ill to hear their ordeal". Of course, if we look around us these days, we might really don't roar with laughter or split our sides laughing. Or even more then this! Have you heard about the incident at the Danish Imperial Theater in Copenhagen/Denmark sometime during the 1980's, when a spectator dropped dead of heart attack while watching the movie "A Fish Called Wanda" starring John Cheese of my favorite Great Britain's Monty Python Comedy Team? Sure, a heart attack is indeed not funny, and honestly, I still love to watch this movie on VHS. Well, even if we think we don't have reasons to laugh,we should try to express mirth spontaneously, and we should try to be merry or gay. We still have reasons to start with the softest form of audible laughter - the vocalized smile. This is what I learned and experienced from the first moment on while travelling in Asia since 1978, and being an expat living in the Philippines since 1999 for good. Keep smiling - even you are overloaded with huge problems. Experts also say,  good humor works because it helps people feel easier in mind. The French psychotherapist Sylvie Tenenbaum stressed, that, in her patients, laughter often signals the dawning of a wholesome awakening to reality. Gallow humor might be dubious in the eyes of others. But try to sing out loud, try to cry, but try to laugh! As a devote Christian,  I do love reading the bible. Ecclessiastes 3:1-4 say: "There is a time for everything ... a time to be born and a time to die ,,, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh!" Worth to think about it - even in times like now! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .


January 20, 2020

Critics say giving workers unlimited time off can actually deter them from taking holidays - so are minimum leave policies the answer? An interesting question by BBC-author Maya Yang... . It reminds me on my own. For example, I decided to stop teaching. I found out, that from month to month, I really got only very limited time for myself and my family. In 2014, the leadership at social media management company Buffer noticed something odd. Despite an unlimited leave policy implemented in 2012, employees were barely taking any holidays. To encourage people to take more time off, Buffer – which employs remote workers globally, primarily in the US and Europe – introduced an incentive: a $1,000 annual holiday bonus to each employee (and an additional $500 per partner or family member). It was a roaring success. In fact, it was too successful, costing the company too much money. Buffer pulled the plug on the policy in June 2016. Later that year, Buffer changed tack: instead of offering unlimited leave, it decided to strongly encourage employees to take a minimum of 15 work days off per year. Using an online planner, employees input leave requests and HR personnel track the number of days people take off via a collective calendar. Buffer’s minimum leave policy is unusual, even for a tech company. Unlimited time off is a much more common perk among start-ups and other tech firms – but despite the name, unlimited leave can feel like anything but. Often, workers are at the mercy of their workloads, managers and company culture, a situation which can discourage people to take a fair amount of leave. Could insisting that people take a minimum number of days off be a better way to ward off burnout? Well, maybe. Talking again myself: I am in the great situation deciding about my days off and and a maybe unlimited time off. Just to avoid a burnout... . How about millions of Filipino workers? It's interesting to know, that  every country in the European Union is required by law to offer at least four weeks of paid holiday, with varying accrual policies per country (Austria takes the lead with 35 days of annual paid holiday). Similarly, in New Zealand, employers must provide employees with at least four weeks of paid holiday, not including public holidays or sick leave. Philippines is much more different. Yes, I know... . While still staying in Germany, I had the pressure of needing to prove myself and the mentality that I shouldn’t take many days off. Most often, it’s up to management to create a culture where workers feel comfortable taking leave, says Sir Cary Cooper, an organisational psychology professor at the University of Manchester. Many bosses lack the social and perceptive skills to detect employee burnout and remind ambitious employees of the importance of taking breaks. Creating choices? Why not. While minimum leave policies don’t operate solely on ‘trust’ placed in employees, it’s not a model that is feasible for all companies – for those with tens of thousands of employees, tracking individual and collective leave, let alone scheduling individual holiday check-ins and reminders, would be very difficult to scale. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.koausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com. 


January 16, 2020

Very often - sometimes too often! - the thought is back! If we wake up in the morning (or even many times in the middle of the night), the thought is back. Sometimes, the thought will not let us sleep. The "act of thinking". the "reflection", the "opinion" or the "serious consideration", no matter, how we describe it - our memory and conscience is always with us as a permanent companion. We brood over unsettled problem. Sometimes we bear unfair treatments, arrogance, ignorance, incompetent know-it-all-betters, and unbearable oddballs, who inexorable love to make our life a hell while living themselves a disorderly life. We would not like to be distracted, but we're toying with some good ideas how we could throw overboard all that "human garbage". What will come next is a matter of conjecture. Of course, I've got my ideas, but I'm not a mind reader. Too many trains of thought make us thoughtless and absent-minded especially in difficult and important daily life situations. Does waiting and/or sleeping solve our problems? Or is it just again in time? Our life's central idea should not be, that while waiting, time solves all our problems. Thoughts should intensify, condense and deepen plans follow by actions. It's good and helpful to carry thoughts in us all the time. Incomprehensible, or better unfinished and unmatured thoughts, no matter whether positive or negative, should be slept on, before tiredness outstrips us with supersonic speed. Sometimes, we feel that our thoughts and ideas can't be fulfilled with life. Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways; but where the heart is weak, it will find a thousands excuses. If doubts begin to take roots, we should rouse from pink-tinted idealism or wear down and annihilate nightmares and erase and wipe out such thoughts and ideas. If our thoughts are good and have the chance to be fulfilled in action, especially if "the other side" is prepared and willing to step on to such a bridge of life, we might get a support and words of encouragement. And, if not? No action? Maybe it is God's will to keep and protect us from a careless, rash, disadvantageous and uneasy action. Every new day gives us new inexhaustible possibilities to survive, to bear trials and to start a new beginning. We overlook and fail to notice many chances in lie through our sluggishness and laziness while thinking and dreaming of unequaled and unfulfilled ideas. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com  .


January 10, 2020

We could spend all year living healthier, more productive lives, so why do we only decide to make the change at the start of the year? Why do we all make (and break) New Year resolutions? Many of us will start 2020 with resolutions – to get fit, learn a new skill, eat differently. If we really want to do these things, why did we wait until an arbitrary date which marks nothing more important than a timekeeping convention? British psychologist Tom Stafford asked this. And not only he. The answer tells us something important about the psychology of motivation, and about what popular theories of self-control miss out. Today is a very cool and rainy day. I am lazy. Not on the mood to do anything. It's even difficult to write this column. But my motivation gets bigger and bigger while writing. New Year resolutions? Many writers discussed about this topic already. Here are my two cents in. While celebrating during New Year's night, my family and friends found out, that what we want isn't really straightforward. At bedtime you might want to get up early and go for a run, but when your alarm goes off you find you actually want a lie-in. When exam day comes around you might want to be the kind of person who spent the afternoons studying, but on each of those afternoons you instead wanted to hang out with your friends. Believe me - I heard it many times from my students. You could see these contradictions as failures of our self-control: impulses for temporary pleasures manage to somehow override our longer-term interests. One fashionable theory of self-control, proposed by Roy Baumeister at Florida State University, is the 'ego-depletion' account. This theory states that self-control is like a muscle. This means you can exhaust it in the short-term – meaning that every temptation you resist makes it more likely that you'll yield to the next temptation, even if it is a temptation to do something entirely different. A corollary of the 'like a muscle' theory is that in the long term, you can strengthen your willpower with practice. So, for example, Baumeister found that people who were assigned two weeks of trying to keep their back straight whenever possible showed improved willpower when asked back into the lab. But, and more importantly, that theory doesn't give an explanation why we wait for New Year's Day to begin exerting our self-control. If your willpower is a muscle, you should start building it up as soon as possible, rather than wait for an arbitrary date. Another explanation may answer these questions, although it isn't as fashionable as ego-depletion. George Ainslie's book 'Breakdown of Will' puts forward a theory of the self and self-control which uses game theory to explain why we have trouble with our impulses, and why our attempts to control them take the form they do. The virgin page of a new calendar marks a clean break between the old and new you - a psychological boundary that may help you keep your resolutions. And, so to speak with Tom Stafford again, Ainslie gives us an answer to why our resolutions start on 1st January. The date is completely arbitrary, but it provides a clean line between our old and new selves. The practical upshot of the theory is that if you make a resolution, you should formulate it so that at every point in time it is absolutely clear whether you are sticking to it or not. The clear lines are arbitrary, but they help the truce between our competing interests hold. Let me ask you now,  my dear readers: How about your 2020 resolutions! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .


January 3, 2020

Ever wondered why flight times seem to be getting longer? Yes, I do. Checking my last ticket Davao-Manila-Davao and remembering some  real flight times from the past, I wonder why.  I learned from BBC-author Kathryn B. Creedy, that it’s called "padding", a phenomenon that helps airlines arrive on time – but at a cost. My previous flight back to Davao from Manila one hour twenty minutes. My ticket showed a "flight-time" of exactly 2 hours. I guess, it’s a secret the airlines don’t want you to know about, especially given the spillover effects for the environment. Padding is the extra time airlines allow themselves to fly from A to B. Because these flights were consistently late, airlines have now baked delays experienced for decades into their schedules instead of improving operations. It might seem innocuous enough to the passenger – after all, what it can mean is that even though you take off late, you’re pleasantly surprised to arrive on time at your destination. Remember the final arrival announcement by the smiling stewardess last time? Kathryn Creedy is right in saying that however, this global trend poses multiple problems: not only does your journey take longer but creating the illusion of punctuality means there’s no pressure on airlines to become more efficient, meaning congestion and carbon emissions will keep rising. “On average, over 30% of all flights arrive more than 15 minutes late every day despite padding,” says Captain Michael Baiada, president of aviation consultancy ATH Group citing the US Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report. The figure used to be 40% but padding – not operational improvements – boosted on-time arrival rates. “By padding, airlines are gaming the system to fool you.” So, how late is late? The ultimate goal is ‘A0’, or arrival at the gate exactly on time. If a flight is early or late, it can disrupt several other things – like gate availability and airport capacity. To be fair, global airlines have invested billions of dollars in technologies to enable more efficient flight paths, according to industry body Airlines for America. But this has not moved the needle on delays, which are stubbornly stuck at 30%. A lot of different things can cause a delay but Baiada believes 80% of the factors involved – like schedule, airport arrival flow queueing, aircraft availability, gate availability, maintenance and crew legality – are within the airlines’ control. But to date they have left it to air traffic control to remedy once planes are in the air. Another option could be to reduce the number of flights – but airline flight schedules are designed to meet buyer demand. So, if there were fewer flights, fares would increase. Well, should we give up and telling ourselves: better late than never? So what does all this mean for passengers? With airlines gaming the system, as it stands, flight times will likely increase as more and more planes take to the skies. Fact is also that many airlines will try to make it tricky for passengers to get an eligible claim accepted. The tactic of extending flight times is yet another way to decrease a passenger’s chance of filing a claim and getting financially compensated for the hassle they have gone through.  Better late then never? I guess so. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .


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