opinion

NUTS AND BOLT

December 11, 2019

24 Tips For Office Etiquette Training Having worked my way to the top during my international postings from Guest Service Manager/ Front Office Manager in Holiday Inn then as Executive Assistant Manager and  Resident Manager before assuming  the role of General Manager in Accor,  it is disheartening to see the deterioration of basic etiquette and professionalism in the workplace. Some say it is just “this generation”. I am not convinced – because I see it in all demographics. I believe it is a symptom of a culture that is modelled from the top down. Employees model the behaviours of leadership   and an organization’s culture is built off of the behaviours of those who lead the organization. Office etiquette and professionalism is important because it lays the foundation for productivity, efficiency and cohesiveness. 24 Tips For Office Etiquette Training 1. Knock First This may sound elementary but I’m amazed at how some people don’t think twice about walking through a closed door without knocking first. Taking the time to knock first demonstrates respect for the person on the other side of the door. 2. Be Nice Simply being nice to other people can have a significant impact on the work culture. Many people are dealing with life’s challenges making it so important for us to be nice to each other. We spend a good portion of our lives with co-workers so let’s just be nice! 3. Answer the Phone I am always amazed when I see someone in a conversation, their phone rings and they simply allow the call to go to voicemail.  Answering the telephone on the first or second ring sends a message that the call is important. Creating  customer service standards helps employees understand the expectation for responding to phone calls.  It shouldn’t matter who the caller is, a professional always responds quickly. 4. Don’t Answer Your Cell Phone Ringing cell phones can be very disruptive in business meetings.   Meeting ground rules should include turning off cell phones  and waiting until there is a break or the meeting ends to respond to cell phone calls. Some organizations don’t allow employees to have their phones on their desk or in their work area. This might not be a bad idea. 5. Don’t Interrupt Meetings Have you ever been in a meeting and someone boldly interrupts? When a group of employees are in a business meeting, wait until the meeting is finished to interrupt.  When people are focused on discussing a topic it is only polite to wait until they are finished. 6. Don’t Interrupt Conversations Sometimes you are in the middle of a conversation with someone and a co-worker will walk up and interrupt the conversation. If you approach a couple of people engaged in a conversation, don’t interrupt and politely wait until they are finished. 7. Use Wisdom When Communicating Sharing sensitive information appropriately can be tricky. Verbal communication is usually more effective than electronic because it minimizes the likelihood of a mis-communication – that can easily happen with email or text. For example, if you need to inform an employee that their work schedule is changing, a face-to-face conversation will allow them the opportunity to ask questions and eliminate any confusion. 8. Respect Authority Everyone has a boss. We don’t always agree with the decisions that are made, but it is important to treat those in authority with respect. Professionals understand  the importance of respecting those in authority.  Strive to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. 9. Speak Quietly We all know the “loud” person in the office. They often make a commotion without even knowing how distracting they are. Be aware of your surroundings. When you’re on the phone, conversing in the hallway or visiting a co-worker at their cubicle, be sensitive to others working and speak quietly. 10. Don’t Play Loud Music Some people work better when they can listen to music. However, we should always be respectful of others in the office. If you choose to play music at your computer, use head phones instead of your speakers so your music isn’t distracting those people who prefer to work in a quiet environment. 11. Don’t Pace While Talking on Your Cell Phone Pacing up and down the hallway while talking on the cell phone is rude and distracting. Personal phone calls should be minimized at work and these conversations should happen in a private area or office. If you sit in a cubicle, and you get a personal call on your cell phone, you should either excuse yourself to go outside, use a conference room or office. 12. Show Up On Time To Meetings Being late for meetings is rude and affects the flow of the meeting and  team dynamics. Be considerate of others, and if you are invited to attend a meeting, show up on time. 13. Return Voice Mail Messages When you get a voice mail message, return it as soon as possible.  The person would not have called you if they didn’t need something.  Be courteous enough to call them back – as soon as possible.

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More harm than good

December 10, 2019

THIS is not to paint a grim scenario, nor a scare crow out to drive away political predators in our midst. This is all about a pretense in the remaining two and a half years of President Duterte in Malacanang. And if  President Duterte  is forcibly removed this early, or killed in an instant, it will be a disaster  no end. In other words, the exit of the President this early will do more harm than good. Maybe, first to go into uprising are the people of Mindanao. Perhaps a revival of pocket rebellion will take place in many Muslim-dominated areas. Mindanao will likely secede from the rest of the country, and all peace negotiations, including the recent forging of the Bangsamoro autonomy  and communist insurgency will collapse and everything  will down the drain. The rest of the country particularly Luzon will go into political shambles and  will likely experience a serious political crisis. Now, would it be okay if President Duterte, in his own volation,  will step down because of exhaustion and leave the country in complete  disarray? (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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A small farewell to Keith

December 8, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City---Allow me to use this corner for a sentimental piece on a beloved brother-in-law who recently passed away. Larry Keith Dennis did not like to be the center of attention and kept true to that description when he took his last breath. He just faded away but the ties he had with those close to him, including myself, are a lot more enduring. It took me a while to think about what to say and write and this is what I came up with. Keith is known for his wide smile and personal warmth to his close friends and loved ones and even to strangers.  He left without saying goodbye and I think he meant it that way but he did leave behind memories and moments that can last a lifetime for all of us close to him who can tell stories about him. During the public viewing of his remains I saw him like he was peacefully sleeping.  He was placed on what looked like a bed draped in a quilt with stars befitting a decorated war veteran.  At 5’10 sure he commands attention and a second look especially with his bald head and military cadence that was evident even when he wore shorts and shirt. Keith left behind wife Doris, daughter Lorie, son Brian, son-in-law Greg Tee, daughter-in-law, stepchildren, grandchildren and brothers Bill, Ronnie and Dean, nephews and nieces—all of whom gathered one beautiful day in autumn at Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens to witness Keith’s cremation. His ashes were placed in his final resting place a day before Veterans Day. Keith served in Vietnam and was a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 DVC Vietnam Gallantry Cross With Palm. He was well loved by everyone he knew. It was his baby brother Dean who did the eulogy, quoting Bible verses that were Keith’s favorite.  The wind blew when Dean told those in attendance during the wake to ‘celebrate’ Keith’s life. In my mind’s eye I saw glimpses of the past when Keith and Ronnie were together, when we visited them at Myrtle Beach for any occasion. Keith and Ronnie loved talking about their childhood and their shared laughter evinced the  innocence and joy of their youth. When they ate together and Ronnie offers him a bite of his own food without actually giving it to him, they would burst into laughter and Keith’s smile would reach his ears. Keith shaved his head and it didn’t dawn on me that he used to have hair until Ronnie told me that Keith wanted to keep his hair short before. During the memorial, Keith’s stepson Troy delivered the eulogy on behalf of his mother Doris who described him as a wonderful man, husband, brother and father who always helped those in need. I recalled the Dennis family Christmas party at Dean’s home when Keith would fetch Laura May, Bobi and Catherine who were cousins of their mama for the party and after the get together he would also bring the ladies home. If anyone of the aunts are indisposed Keith would be at the doorsteps. He did not leave his brother Bill when Bill mourned his wife Cheryle’s death. When Ronnie had heart surgery in 2011, Keith and Doris stayed with me for a week. A small gesture of kindness that would take a lifetime to remember.  Billy said he would always remember a trip he took with Keith and his wife Doris,Dean and Ann  a couple of weeks before he died when they saw the Ark before heading to Ohio to attend the NFL Hall of Fame and the Ohio Amish people. That was also Keith’s last trip outside North Carolina since he came back and spent time fixing their new home. I heard he spent one night at the new home alone days before the heart attack. Keith always made sure everything was done and in order, his stepson Troy said. And I can attest to that when I visited Keith and his wife Doris and I saw that everything was in place. Their house was in order but still retained its warmth and homey ambiance. I didn’t know he was good in playing basketball,indoor handball and saxophone and he must have joined the angels and jammed with them playing a saxophone. There is still a lot to tell about Larry Keith, the fourth son of the late William Dennis and Mary Guinn. To his widow Doris, Keith was the best part that happened to her life. “My whole world is upside down and it will never be the same again. I love him so much,” Doris said in her Facebook post. I join Doris in saying goodbye Keith and may your memories live forever in the hearts of people who loved and continue to love you.

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Huili Fund: where art thou?

December 8, 2019

HUILI Investment Fund Management Co. Ltd (Huili Fund)  has earlier  announced that it is ready to pour in US$4 billion for the country’s first fully integrated steel mill at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Yet the year is about to end and no single nail is visible on the site — a 350 hectare Phividec property formerly occupied by Hanjin, but for political reason, or otherwise, this Korean  shipbuilding conglomerate packed unceremoniously their bags early on before it hit the ground running. Now here comes another billion dollar investment that seems already eaten up by time. Because if we have to go through by the timeline for this project, the gestation period had already lapsed due to the rules that keep changing in the middle of the game. Moreover, this steel project, a flagship of the Duterte administration  appeared to have  hit a corporate snag early even before the project could pour in its initial money.  This investment is targetted to generate about 10,000 jobs from the region. Upstream and downstream industries about 40,000-50,000 jobs. Earlier, a MOA signing  was forged between  Huili Fund Philippines President Jun Hou; Phividec Administrator Atty. Franklin Quijano; Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny “Bambi” Emano ; and Simple Homes CEO and President Robertino Pizarro  for the lease with option to purchase the 350-hectare property at Phividec. Huili Baowu CISDI Integrated Steel Mill (HBCIS) is formed by China’s three leading companies – Huili Fund, Baowu Steel Group Corporation Ltd (China Baowu), and China Mettalurgical Group Corporation’s subsidiary, CISDI Group Co Ltd. (CISDI). It was reported that China Baowu, the new technical partner to operate the steel mill, currently ranks first in China and second in the world as the largest steel producer in the world measured by crude steel output. China Baowu is suppose to apply its  state-of-art, green and intelligent technology in this  steel plant. Yet this  project seems to remain a pipe dream with the current pace it hurdles in due diligence and compliance.(ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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Killing the oligarchs

December 7, 2019

IT’S just  like David fighting Goliath. The goliaths here are the oligarchs and how to kill them is a matter that involves political will. They are heartless operators of Maynilad and Manila Water who have been salivating the country’s natural resource (read:  water) via onerous deals long time before DU30 came to power. The recent  ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore has surprisingly caught the PH government with its pants down — and  out, literally! And outrage was the only reaction so far of Malacanang over that decision, directing the government  to pay Manila Water billions of pesos for the non-implementation of water rate increases. The irony of it was the stupidity of our lawmakers in entering a contract  inimical to the interest of the people. Under  our Constitution, all natural resources including water, belong to - and are owned by - the state. It is a given  fact  that water is  for the use, enjoyment, and welfare of the citizens. No pun intended here but simply for the interest of the  greater mass. Water is life and therefore its use  is painted  with public interest. In fact, water is a privilege and must not be abused by the few,  to the dismay of the many. More so, water is not a commodity, but a necessity to stay alive. And most importantly, water  is not  a money making venture,  but  a public service per se. In this case, the proper delivery of water,  as a basic service has not been fostered but thwarted to the   detriment of the people. Now, regardless of whatever power or influential these operators have, they are bound to stay a lifetime behind bars.              That said, do we have that kind of onerous water deal here at the local front? Your guess is as good as mine. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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Our limited time on earth

December 7, 2019

MOST of us tend to think of time as linear, absolute and constantly “running out” – but is that really true? And how can we change our perceptions to feel better about its passing? While becoming 66 already, I use think about my age. Yes, it's only a number. I know.  “Time” is the most frequently used noun in the English language. We all know what it feels like as time passes. Our present becomes the past as soon as it’s happened; today soon turns into yesterday. If you live in a temperate climate, each year you see the seasons come and go. And as we reach adulthood and beyond, we become increasingly aware of the years flashing by.   While keep on thinking about age and its consequences, I came along with Claudia Hammond, author of Time Warped: Unlocking The Secrets Of Time Perception. She wrote that although neuro-scientists have been unable to locate a single clock in brain that is responsible for detecting time passing, humans are surprisingly good at it. If someone tells us they’re arriving in five minutes, we have a rough idea of when to start to look out for them. We have a sense of the weeks and months passing by. As a result, most of us would say that how time functions is fairly obvious: it passes, at a consistent and measurable rate, in a specific direction – from past to future. Of course, the human perspective of time may not be exclusively biological, but rather shaped by our culture and era. The Amondawa tribe in the Amazon, for example, has no word for “time” – which some say means they don’t have a notion of time as a framework in which events occur. (There are debates over whether this is purely a linguistic argument, or whether they really do perceive time differently.) Meanwhile, it’s hard to know with scientific precision how people conceived of time in the past, as experiments in time perception have only been conducted for the last 150 years. Physics tells a different story. However much time feels like something that flows in one direction, some scientists beg to differ. In the last century, my very favored Albert Einstein’s discoveries exploded our concepts of time. He showed us that time is created by things; it wasn’t there waiting for those things to act within it. He demonstrated that time is relative, moving more slowly if an object is moving fast. Events don’t happen in a set order. There isn’t a single universal “now”, in the sense that Newtonian physics would have it. It is true that many events in the Universe can be put into sequential order – but time is not always segmented neatly into the past, the present and the future. Some physical equations work in either direction. Here, I strongly agree with Claudia Hammond. One aspect of time perception many of us share is how we think of our own past: as a kind of giant video library, an archive we can dip into to retrieve records of events in our lives. But psychologists have demonstrated that autobiographical memory is not like that at all. Most of us forget far more than we remember, sometimes forgetting events happened at all, despite others’ insistence that we were there. On occasion even the reminder does nothing to jog our memories. Several years ago, I started writing my biography. With Beethoven under palms. The great German composer and me under palms. Wow.  Meanwhile, I found out: as we lay down memories, we alter them to make sense of what’s happened. Every time we recall a memory, we reconstruct the events in our mind and even change them to fit in with any new information that might have come to light. And it’s much easier than you might think to convince people that they have had experiences which never happened. The psychologist Elisabeth Loftus has done decades of research on this, persuading people they remember kissing a giant green frog or that they once met Bugs Bunny in Disneyland (as he’s a Warner Bros character, so this can’t have happened). Even recounting an anecdote to our friends can mean our memory of that story goes back into the library slightly altered. So we shouldn’t curse our memories when they let us down. They’re made to be changeable, in order that we can take millions of fragments of memories from different times of our lives and recombine them to give us endless imaginative possibilities for the future. Thank you very much Claudia Hammond. I changed my opinion when it comes to time. My limited time on earth. +++ 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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