Unsung Heroes

This morning I fetched water – six six liter jugs. Suffering from “Peter Pan” syndrome, I figured I can carry all 36kg the 16 floors up to my apartment. I brought a backpack to carry said liquid load. After I had paid, I loaded my back pack and raised it on my back…….holy f…ing smokes, Batman, this is heavy. After about five steps, I remembered the porters w saw in the Himalaya.


Like these two guys, who carried plywood boards from Lukla to Görak-Shep. We met theem early in the morning on a breezy high valley. They carried each about 50kg of boards not to mention the sail effect in the wind. To ease the burden a little, they bent theonupper body forward so that the baords on their backs were horizontal. Needless to say, I gained perspective on the comfortable 36kg on my back in a backpack. Then I reached the staircase. I conside myself to be in pretty good shape, but after the first half storey, the prospect of 15 and a half more storeys had my utmost attention. I started to think about the loads I had sampled on our way from Dugla to Lobuche – they almost snapped my neck, I am not kidding.

The porters are scrawny, sinewy men and they lug insame loads through the mountains, just so toursits can have a familiar candy bar or three-plied toilet paper at 5000m above sea level.


These loads were sets of lawn furniture, consisting of tables and assembled chairs, each pack weighed between 40kg to 50kg. That memory, powered me the up the stairs where an AC cooled room and a lemon juice were waiting for me. quite posh compared the reality of a porter on the Himalayan trekking trail. The porters are truly the unsung heroes – try walking for fifteen minutes in their shoes, should you feel the need to gain perspective.

This little post morning workout experiment reminded me once again, that hardship voluntarily chosen ends in comfort, while hardship imposed by circumstances stays hardship. The question is are we fine about it, do we care or are we not bothered by mostly faceless misery. 

Alright, we all need to be able to sleep at night and I am not here to judge. Having said that – Stay Sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/

Thailand….!?

Alright, Thailand is in transition…in one of many transitions. One transition I find fascinating is the fight of a middle class to emerge. And immediately, as soon as there are a few middle class people, there are companies and fairs that want nothing more than to relieve said middle class from their hard earned money.

Enter The Money Expo. What di you make of that? Will there be different currencies on display? What could it be?

 

Better, yet, because Thailab is suffereing from ANYTHING 4.0 fever, the by line of the money expo is:”Financial Innovation 4.0″. I was attending tjis fair, since I was on the premises for another fair. This is what the Money Expo had to offer. – tons of banks throwing credit cards at anybody with a pulse, car companies, a dude selling Chinese made shoes and all other sorts of nick-nacks one can hope to charge money for. It was a lot of hype for nothing.
A few days later then, I was rewarded – although I really don’t know for what – with this view.

 You’ve got to love it. I sometimes wonder if Westerners are just too chicken to pull a “manly staubt” like this? I know I couldn’t. But sau what you want, you’ve got to give the manad props for his cool, calm and courage.

Stay sharp

Markus \m/

Signage

When you see a sign like this – keep eding, you’ll see it – in any city, you know you are not in the US or in Europe anymore. Japanese, Korean cities are also highly improbable, too. Heck, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur do likely not qualify either – OK, maybe around the city limits. The vast majority of Russia and Mongolia is completly out of the question.


A year ago, one felt suicidal and forced a hot date with the front wheel of my road-bike. Nothing serious happened. My bike was fine (most important), I was a bit shaken and the lizard gave me an accusatory “Evil Eye”.

But this is all just a precursor to share the new signage that was installed in the park nearby. This one for example encourages bicyclists the ride their bike without their hands on the handlebar – carefully, though. It is part of the Thailand 4.0 initiative – everybody can try to join the circus.


On second glance, it could also emcourage people to read while exercising on their bike.

This last picture looks to me like a Charlie Brown tie – yellow with black stripes – it would match his yellow shirt with the zigzag black stripe around.


Alright then, stay sharp.

Cheers Markus \m/

Simple Stuff…

…I made or saw makes me happy. I saw this flower, hanging on a wall and I stopped and looked at it and I smiled. I smiled, because of the beautiful colors and the unique shape.


After my morning run, Barbara and I declared this a “Lazy Saturday” – which means, reading until I nap. After which I noticed a paperclip on my desk lying there at a weird angle so it looked like a saddle.


And that was today…..so far. Gotta do something mundane now – towel the dishes.

Appendix:

Barbara has been making handbags for ages and she still does. And thus the paperclip gives an encore performance.


Stay sharp

Markus \m/

Change Of Heart

They are renovating the pool where we live. It is a pretty big undertaking, that will take many months to complete. Why will it take many months? Don’t ask, don’t get me started, I tell you.

But, we are progressing. Demolition is underway and I can’t help but feel sorry for the workers. The sun is burning down mercilessly, there is not much to provide shade and the empty pool is reflecting the heat and light with much more efficiency that imaginable or physically possible (well, at least that’s what it feels like)

Anyway, I was watching the workers yesterday morning and I saw this one guys sitting poolside with his feet dangling in the semi-demolished work-in-progress. And I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his head as he sat there idly.

At first I thought, he was bumming hard, thinking “So much work, so little motivation.” Then I thought of an ice-cream commercial with its catchy title-song, any German saw who went to the movies in the 1980’s (“Like Ice In The Sunshine”, Youtube it – it is a good mood commercial). I empathized with his current situation and what an ice-cream could do in that situation – bring a smile to his face and give him a 5-minute vacation. Then again, I did not act on those thoughts, primarily, because the construction site is protected and guarded like a nuclear missile silo and by the time I would have made my way to the guy, the ice-cream would have been a sticky-liquid mess of paper, molten ice-cream and sugar – pointless.

My final thought was one where gratitude and guilt competed for my attention. Gratitude, because I don’t have to perform my work in the open in the sweltering heat – I can choose everyday where I want to spend my time at work – the heat and noise of a production line, the quite and calm of product development, the vibe of creation in the tooling department or the air-conditioned comfort and solitude of an office.

Guilt, because it is by sheer coincidence, that I am in a position to be able to watch this worker. I happened to have been born in a country where opportunity is much more equally distributed and where my parents have been making it their mission to provide me an education and opportunity to find and develop my strength and to fail without the my and my family’s life collapsing into a pile of shattered dreams and aspiration.

I am glad,  waited a day to publish this entry, because it was initially destined to a funny entry about this gentlemen sitting by the pool doing nothing – based on a frozen snapshot in time that is the above photo. Now, it forced me to think a little deeper.

Stay sharp and stay cool – ice-cold.
Cheers Markus

Night Life (Photos To The Willy Nelson Song)*

I have had this great Willie Nelson song in my head for a while. And it reminded me of the people and the life you see around Bangkok. So I thought to my self:”Self, why not illustrate the lyrics with photos from here.”

“When that evenin’ sun goes down
Yeah you’ll find me hangin’ around
Because the night life, it ain’t no good life
But it’s my life


Oh, all the people just like you and me
Oh, they all dreamin’ about what they all used to be


I wanna tell you the night life, it ain’t no good life people
Yeah, but it’s my life


Yeah, yeah, yeah, listen to the blues
Listen to what they’re sayin’
Oh please listen to the blues
Listen to the blues they playin’

Hey, they tell me in life
Life is just an empty scene
Oh, oh, an avenue people
An old avenue of broken dreams


But I tell you the night life, yes it ain’t no good life
Hey, but it’s my life


Yes, oh-ho-ho, yeah, can’t stop singin’ it
The night life, yes it ain’t no good life
People but it’s my life
Hey, oh-ho-ho yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
The night life ain’t no good life
Oh but it’s my life


Yeah, help me sing it again
One more time
Oh-ho-ho-ho,
You nkow the night life ain’t no good life
Oh, but it’s my life



Stay sharp

Markus \m/

* = my favorite rendition is the one off the VH1 Storytellers album with Johnny  Cash. The entire album is great – two truly great musicians at work and inconcert. 

Sorting

In the heat of daily life, one can easily confuse the important with the superfluous, unimportant. These confusions lead to frustrations and spoil joy and fun. Fortunately, I have had some time to rebalance and sort out the important from the noise. It is nice to do that, fully knowling that one always has people, events and even places that are nothing but a distrurbance in getting joy out of life. I have pulled together five images from a recent trip to Germany’s higheste mountain, the Zugspitze, that put things into perspective – at least for me.

Looking south, towards Austria and Italy way back on the horizon

Looking south-south-west towards Austria and Switzerland

Looking South-East towards the Inntal

Looking north over the Eibsee at the foot of the mountain and the Alpenvorland towards the horizon.

Overlooking the skiing area

So, how does this put everything into perspective? All the petty things like power, amassing influence and scheming to gain more there of was not there before the mountains and will have vanished long before the maointajns have crumbled.
cheers, stay sharp and happy Easter.

Markus \m/