Though a straight line appears to be the shortest distance between 2 points, life has a way of confounding geography. Often it is the dalliances and the detours that define us. There are no maps to guide our most important searches; we must rely on hope, chance, intuition and a willingness to be surprised.

Friday, April 10, 2009

India, the Philippines... and a free tv??

I’m a bad blogger. Bad blogger! Once again, I’ve managed to go a month without updating this website, and though the ‘too busy’ excuse is more true than ever, I’m going to refrain from the sob story. Besides, it’s been good to be busy!

I’ve been working like a drone again. And why? I’m off to India today, for the first time in nearly six months. The trip is timed to coincide with our second MFI Partner Workshop. I’ll be talking about Social Performance Management – and a few other things beside – with our partners. I’ll also be taking photographs, interviewing partners and visiting SEWA Ashram again, but I’ll save that for my post-trip blog, which should be a good one!

As if that weren’t excitement enough, this isn’t my only upcoming trip. Oh no. I’m only back from India a week and I’m flying off again, this time to the Philippines. Once again, I’ll be attending a conference with some of our partners. And once again, I’ll be talking about Social Performance Management. There’s a packed agenda for that workshop, which includes karaoke (an intense passion of the Filipinos) and an evening in regional costume - hold your breath, this could be an outing for the kilt! After the conference, I’ll be staying on into May, for some well-needed R&R. I’m planning a week’s diving in Busuanga, a beautiful white-sand island, famous among divers for it’s Japanese WWII shipwrecks. Again, more on that in the next blog.

I’ve got much other news aside from work, but I’ll save some of that for now. Instead, I have to mention one story that’s huge in Australia, not least because it directly affects a substantial proportion of the population.

Yes, the big news here is on the economy front where Kevin Rudd is attempting to turn bad news ‘global financial meltdown’ into good news ‘free cash for (nearly) all’. And yes, free cash is pretty much that. Though officially going under the moniker of 'stimulus package', Kevin’s whiz consists of A$900 (450 pounds) paid out to every resident taxpayer earning under A$100,000. About 10m australians (half the population!) are eligible and the impact on the economy has been felt even before the payments have been made.

Most amusing has been the constant barrage of adverts for consumer items all priced around the A$800-900 mark! High definition TVs, washing machines and leather sofas are all mysteriously (or not mysteriously) converging on this figure, in the hope of getting secondary exposure to Kevin’s wad.

I for one have my eye on a Samsung 32 inch full-HD LCD tv. I’m not exactly sure what all of that means, it's just that, in their ubiquity, these adverts are becoming mighty persuasive. There is one potential drawback for me, Samsung, and Mr Norman’s electrical emporium. I’m not exactly sure I’m going to get the cash. I think i'm eligible as i'm a resident for tax purposes, but i pay so little tax that – as I say, i'm not really sure. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. all the payments go out in the next month. That bank balance will be getting more close attention than usual in the next couple of weeks…

Bye for now. Will be back online after India.