On a Different Note … Matsutaro Kawaguchi

I’ve just finished reading an English translation of a novel entitled Mistress Orika by Matsutaro Kawaguchi

Kawaguchi is a Japanese author. Although apparently very famous, he was a revelation to me and a joy to read. The translator, Royal Tyler, did a fine job. Booklist says: “Royal Tyler’s translations are nothing short of superb – crisp, restrained, ably balancing the ribald and the profound.” I couldn’t agree more. The English translation flows like a gentle stream through a colourful landscape.

If you enjoy reading novels and haven’t read it already than by all means pick up a copy and indulge yourself.


New i-Life Comments …

Katherine Boehret tests latest iMac desktop as well the new iLife suite.

I’m a biassed Apple user but even if you aren’t, you might still consider reading Katherine’s evaluation.

Web 2.0 and Teenagers …

Natasha Lomas reports in Business Week on an interesting study done on UK teenagers with reference to their expected use of web 2.0 tools in their future work environments. Employers take note!

Monte Carmelo A New Experience in Education

According to the International Baha’i Community:

Development activities are an integral aspect of Bahá’í efforts to create a pattern of living that releases individual potential and simultaneously promotes the collective good.”

An example of a project close to my heart is an educational project in Brazil not far from the megalopole, Sao Paulo, in a small town in the province of Rio Grande do Sul.

The project deals primarily with underprivileged children. It aspires to help these children to create opportunties for themselves. The idea is that good nutrition, high quality education focussing on acquiring virtues and sound schooling will increase their chances to succeed in life, despite their very humble and difficult beginnings.

Watch this video clip about the Monte Carmelo school. Life at the school is described by a young woman from Iceland, who is teaching there. I find it charming and uplifting to watch for a number of reasons.

I always find laughing wholesome children a joy to watch but so is the fresh and genuine impression of Monte Carmelo given by the Icelandic teacher, who is delighted to be there.

This kind of joy, enthusiasm and respect vis-à-vis the children is not often present in those having to deal with the day-to-day challenges that underprivileged children face.

Poverty and violence are never far apart. To create an island of opportunity and hope in the lives of some of Brazil’s poorest children, where they can practice developing the virtues and skills that will help them to cope with life deserves some attention.

Baha’i Community in Iran Under Attack

It never ceases to surprise me how easy it is to incite hatred based on rumour mongering.

Today a particularly silent and pernicious attack on a peaceful community is occurring in Iran.

Because of their faith and its guiding principles the Baha’i community in Iran has suffered from persecution since its inception well over 150 years ago. Recently efforts to eradicate them have been stepped up.

Not many people are aware of the Baha’is or what they stand for. Yet Baha’is are all over the world, in every country and region of the planet. Some communities are larger than others. Some are freer to express themselves than others but all of them try to put the guiding principles of their faith into practice.

None of the other religious minorities in Iran suffer the level of persecution and deprivation currently experienced by the Baha’is.

The Baha’i guiding principles are so beautifully balanced and modern that it is difficult to understand how they can incite such hatred, although in Iran the sharpening edge of the sword of religious fanaticism is increasingly waging war on the Baha’i community.

A peaceful community that is bound by principle to respect local law and authorities in as much as this does not conflict with the basic tenets of their faith. How harmful can that be, given the basic principles that Baha’is attempt to live by? For example, Baha’is believe in:

  • independent investigation of truth
  • a life dedicated to the service of humanity
  • fellowship with the followers of all religions
  • equality of women and men
  • the harmony of science and religion as two complementary systems of knowledge that must work together to advance the well being and progress of humanity
  • the elimination of prejudice
  • the establishment of a world commonwealth of nations
  • recognition of the common origin and fundamental unity of purpose of all religions
  • spiritual solutions to economic problems and the removal of economic barriers and restrictions
  • the abolition of extremes of poverty and wealth
  • the adoption of a world auxiliary language, a world script, and a uniform and universal system of currency and weights and measures.

Given these principles, some might argue that it is easy to understand why Iranian authorities are vexed. Some of the principles clearly deviate from sharia law and this should threaten religious authorities.

However, rather than judging the Baha’i Faith on its true merits and its followers on their actions, the Iranian authorities judge harshly, often based on rumour and without a shred of credible evidence in hand.

True, some principles implicitly undermine the power and influence that local religious authorities would hold over the Community, but does that justify flagrant abuse of a community’s basic human and religious rights?

Others, like me, would argue that principles such as the ones enunciated by the Baha’i Faith can only enhance the quality of life and collaboration in any society.

Especially, as there is ample evidence world-wide that this tends to be the case. Numerous are the social-economic development projects that the world-wide Baha’i community is involved in. Many in close collaboration with UN Agencies and other like-minded organisations.

Proselytising and fanaticism are not condoned in the Baha’i Faith. In stead, education, peace promoting projects, service to mankind and tolerance towards others are key principles to which Baha’is adhere.

Where possible Baha’i communities around the world have expressed their solidarity with the Iranian Baha’i community by drawing attention to the plight of their fellow believers. Public Information offices and press contacts are engaged in an effort to raise awareness of the relentless persecution.

For further information about the Baha’i Community in Iran as well as the community in the Suisse-romande you can contact Ms Daniele Bianchi at daniele.bianchi@bahai.ch or the local Baha’i Centre in Geneva at 20, route de Malagnou.

Succession Planning for Corporate Blogs …

Many bloggers know that Randy Baseler from Boeing retired recently after a 30 some year career with the Company. Randy set a fantastic example as a corporate blogger who created a real interest in his posts and in the company he worked for.

Read here


how Boeing planned Randy’s succession on the blog. It is the first example of true succession planning for corporate bloggers that I have come across. It is well worth thinking about if you are having a conversation with the market via a corporate blog. Makes pretty good sense, doesn’t it?

Thanks to Des Walsh for his eloquent post of 11 May on the subject.

Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Get Married

The founder of Google marries a biotech specialist. Digg reported that Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki were married this weekend. Congratulations to the happy couple.


Meet Charlie, The Enterprise 2.0 Worker …

Are you wondering what Enterprise 2.0 is? Would you like to find out more about collaboration in the work environment?

Meet Charlie and his team. In this presentation Charlie takes you through on-line collaboration in the business environment and how it could work in your organisation.


Blogs Peaking at 15 Million Says Valleywag …

Valleywag reported today that it seems that bloggers might be moving beyond blogging in the direction of MySpace and Twitter.

“… We wondered, last week, why the blogosphere appeared to be reaching its point of maximum size at about 15 million active blogs. CV said there was a finite number of people who could write interesting tidbits. …”

See complete story: http://valleywag.com/tech/oped/beyond-blogs-256580.php

Collaboration Workshop

We’re organising a Workshop on Collaboration in Business. Is it an option or a must? If you are in Switzerland and in Nyon to be more specific on 22 May than please don’t hesitate to join us.

Oops, you do have to register as space is limited.

Here is the link: http://b-spirit.com/workshop.php