Money matters: A short history of the only real currency (part 1)
MBMG International Ltd.
Further to our articles over the last couple of weeks
the one thing that concerns us is that while the long-term weekly charts
look bullish, there is negative divergence on the daily index charts. This
suggests that the long-term trend is up, but that a pullback will probably
Also, most of the internals that we track, such as the
summation indices, bullish percent indices and a few other ratios seem to
support the price action. However, the negative divergence is also
starting to show up on these indicators, thus a short-term pullback is a
Oil stocks are actually setting up again for another
possible rally, and this sector may attempt to break out to new highs
again. However, use caution with this area because (yet again) there is
negative divergence in the MACD histogram.
This brings us to the focal point of this week’s
letter. Gold metal has been in a correction since late June. The
commercial net short position indicates that it may soon hit another major
bottom, possibly within another week or so. Gold stocks are outperforming
relative to physical gold bullion and the sector is starting to look
interesting again. I think a major buy signal could occur within the next
month or so.
Last week we had an in-depth look at the action and
history of the US Dollar (A Short History of Nearly Every Fiat Currency
– 26 August 2005). I thought it opportune to look at the market action
of gold and why we believe investors should hold some insurance (via gold
bullion) in their portfolios. If central banks and governments around the
world hold part of their reserves in gold, why is it that Joe Bloggs
doesn’t keep any of his hard-earned retirement money in the only
currency that has stood the test of time?
Before we have a look at the market action of gold and
gold equities, I think it worthwhile to quickly go through a couple of
economic figures as background information. Although this is not my
specialty, it doesn’t take a specialist to get the gist of it. If the
sheer size of the figures isn’t scary enough, the trend is!
The Internal US Lending
First quarter total US mortgage debt expanded at a $US
1.127 TRILLION seasonally-adjusted annual pace to $US 10.774 TRILLION. US
bank credit expanded $US 1.054 TRILLION seasonally-adjusted and annualised
over the quarter to $US 7.0 TRILLION. US total credit market debt
(non-financial and financial) expanded at a 6.9% annualised pace to $37.31
TRILLION. That’s 306% of US GDP.
The US economy supposedly expanded at an annual rate of
3.5 percent during the first quarter. But (and it’s a big BUT) US
federal government borrowings expanded by 13.8 percent, US household debt
by 9.3 percent, US corporate debt by 7.5 percent, and US state and local
debt by 16.7 percent. All this shows that the US economy - at all levels -
borrows at a rate which is now expanding much faster than the US economy.
A leap in the US Broad
Money (M3) numbers
Over the week to May 27, US M3 jumped $US 23.8 Billion
to $US 9.622 TRILLION. In one week, the US credit money machine created an
additional US $23.8 Billion out of thin air. Those new US Dollars are now
in full circulation. If the US Federal Reserve keeps this weekly rate of
money creation up for a year it will have added an additional $US 1
TRILLION 237 Billion to the already outstanding stock of money in the US
monetary system. This is where the global spill-over starts.
Let the record show
The wider US M3 money supply has grown from $US 7.3
TRILLION at the start of 2001 to $US 9.622 TRILLION through May 2005. Over
the mere four and one-half years from the start of 2001, the US money
machine has decanted this additional $US 2 TRILLION 322 Billion on top of
the pre-existing $US 7.3 TRILLION, which is an increase in the total stock
of money in the USA of 31.8 percent in that time!
US trading with the
At $US 57.0 Billion, April’s trade deficit was up 18
percent from one year ago. Annualising the April trade deficit gives an
annual deficit of $US 684 Billion. US goods imports were up 15 percent
from April 2004 to $US 136.8 Billion. US exports were up 13 percent to $US
74.5 Billion. US May import prices were up 5.7 percent from one year ago.
That hits right at the everyday American’s standard of living, unless
his or her earnings (less taxes) have also climbed by 5.7 percent. It also
hits businesses in the US if they have to acquire imports in order to
complete their final products. Unless they can raise their selling prices
to cover for this cost increase, they will take the hit right on their
The US Global Trading
Card - for April
The US trade deficit with Japan narrowed to $US 7.2
Billion from $US 7.8 Billion. The deficit with the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries widened to $US 7.1 Billion from $US 6.6
Billion. The deficit with Canada, the largest US trading partner, widened
to $US 9.8 Billion from $US 9.3 Billion.
The gap with Mexico widened to $US 4.4 Billion from $US
4.3 Billion. The US deficit with Europe increased to $US 11.8 Billion from
$US 10.9 Billion. The real geo-political issue that arises here is why is
China’s trade surplus with the US such a huge problem? After all, the US
has a GLOBAL trade deficit.
Trading up a storm with
The US trade deficit reached $US 228.7 Billion over the
first four months of 2005. The equivalent in 2004 was $US 187.3 Billion.
Over 2004 as a whole, the US trade gap reached a new record of $US 617.6
Billion. The first four months of 2005 annualised comes to almost $US 700
Billion. The OECD has predicted a $US 900 Billion trade deficit for 2006.
We are looking at a totally out-of-control situation. Its cause is
straightforward. It is the immense generation of credit in the US; new
additional credit issued through loans and then spilling over into
external trade as purchases with the money which has been borrowed
The Global US Dollar
Global international reserve assets being held by other
Central Banks (excluding gold), as reported by Bloomberg, were up $US
563.93 Billion, or 17.5% over the past 12 months to $US 3.778 TRILLION.
A couple of questions
How come the US doesn’t have to keep any meaningful
reserves? Is it because they can print reserves (currency) at will? Gold,
as a tool of fundamental personal savings, as globally tradable and very
private money, has at all times walked parallel with our new global fiat
and credit money regimes. It has been patiently waiting to roll over the
hill and charge when the monetary malfeasance has gone far enough. The IMF
says in its own rules that Gold is a useless item. If that is so, why does
the IMF hold Gold? Why does the US hold Gold? Why do the European Central
Banks hold Gold, more between them than any other Central Bank? Why did
the ECB acquire its own stock of Gold when it was established? If Gold is
such a “relic”, why haven’t ALL these Central Banks sold the lot,
simply to get rid of it? How come ANY financial institution is prepared to
lend you 100% of the value of your gold, but not your share portfolio
(especially if it contains the likes of Google and Yahoo)? Because it IS a
store of wealth!
Gold is never mentioned in polite Central Banker
Continued next week…
The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be
reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept
any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any
responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not
taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please
contact Graham Macdonald on [email protected]
Snap Shots: The best digitals?
by Harry Flashman
am not sure if the cameras mentioned in this week’s column really are
the best digitals around, but they are the ones that got the nod from the
judges at the TIPA awards in Europe. These are the European Photo and
Imaging Awards from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), and they
were presented in Cologne at the Photokina in August this year.
These awards are given only to cameras and other
photographic products released in the past 12 months, so even though they
might have won an award, it does not mean that there was not something
better released more than 12 months ago. The onus is on you to judge
what’s best for your needs.
The judging parameters included innovation, the use of
leading-edge technology, design and ergonomics of the products and their
ease of use and price/performance ratio. The main category winners in the
digital camera group were the Canon EOS-1 DS Mark II (SLR Professional),
Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro (SLR Midrange), Canon EOS 350D (SLR Entry level),
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 (Superzoom), Nikon Coolpix 7900 (Compact), Sony
Cyber-shot T7 (Ultra Compact) and the Sony Ericsson K750i (Mobile phone
The Canon EOS-1 DS Mark II, the winning pro digital,
was described as the real sensation of the year, pushing digital
photography to a new level by creating image files up to 16.7 megapixels.
This amazing output not only enables print-sizes up to 60 x 90 cm, but
also ensures that professionals can safely crop images without the fear of
losing quality. In addition to the huge file sizes, its 24 x 36 mm CMOS
sensor is a true full-frame, so keeps the focal lengths of lenses exactly
equivalent to those of 35mm film SLRs. This is a huge advantage to users
of wide-angle lenses, and the large viewfinder image that results gives
professional photographers the clarity they need for critical composition
and focusing. The image processing is also second-to-none, and offers
excellent detail at high sensitivity, up to at least ISO 800.
Best mid-range SLR went to the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro.
While retaining the Nikon F-mount and the handling of the Nikon F80 film
SLR, the FinePix S3 Pro offers a new Super CCD SR II sensor, with a total
of 12.34 million pixels. Being half the weight of high-end professional
digital SLRs, the FinePix S3 Pro is a very competitive option for studio,
location or still-life shooting.
In the digital compacts, it was the Nikon Coolpix 7900,
incorporating several new features such as the D-Lighting function that
adds light and detail to dark areas of shots, while leaving brighter areas
unaffected. The In-Camera Red-Eye Fix function automatically corrects
red-eye in flash photos, while the most innovative new function is
Face-priority AF, which can automatically sense the presence of a human
face in the frame and sets accurate focus accordingly. Great idea, as long
as the face was intended to be the subject matter!
Best Digital SLR Entry Level was the Canon EOS 350D.
With its CMOS 8.2 MP sensor and Digic II image-processor, the Canon EOS
350D is both powerful and compact with a very attractive price-tag (in
Europe). While being easy to use, it also incorporates the latest
technology employed by high-end models in the Canon professional range. It
can be used either on its fully automatic setting, or with complete manual
control of shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings, thus allowing
newcomers to develop their photographic skills. The EOS 350D is compatible
with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, giving a large choice of optics for the
Just to show that film is not dead (yet), Nikon picked up the Best 35
mm SLR Camera award with its Nikon F6. With its robust build quality, its
exceptional viewfinder, its incredibly accurate exposure system, and its
fast and responsive auto-focus, the Nikon F6 gives the dedicated film user
all the benefits of the very latest developments in technology and
ergonomics. It is without doubt the best analog SLR that has ever been
produced, and will provide its owners with a tool that will never go out
of fashion. It’s rugged construction will last for many years - at least
as long as film is available!
Modern Medicine: Beware of doctors’ neckties,
they could make you sick
by Dr. Iain Corness, Consultant
heading to this week’s article was in an email I received recently. Eye
catching enough for me to read further, it went on to say, “The next time
you meet with your doctor and he or she is wearing a necktie, feel free to
compliment them on their taste, but immediately ask them to tuck it in their
shirts and then WASH THEIR HANDS. Neckties are the carriers of a myriad of
germs and bacteria. If the tie rubs against you, or your doctor touches you
after adjusting his/her tie, the chances for contracting an infection are
I read on further, getting more and more annoyed with the
sweeping statements, and then came to the punch-line. Here it comes,
“Available on DVD and VHS video tape for $29.95, (it) gives valuable
insight into the potential hazards of the hospital experience without
instilling fear or blame.” Excuse me? Without instilling fear or blame?
That was the whole thrust behind the email, complete with statistics
claiming two million people enter hospitals in America and contract
infections, and 90,000 of them die! Worry the reader enough and they’ll
cough up $29.95 before they go to hospital, for that DVD that will save
their lives (suitably sterilized of course).
Now I am not going to deny that my necktie might have the
odd bacterium on it, but so also does my nose, and so does yours. And what
about the stuff in your pockets called money? Goes from dirty hand to dirty
hand and then into your pocket. Probably the most dangerous thing you
routinely take everywhere! Perhaps I should make a DVD called “Your money
is killing you!” Instill enough fear and they’ll sell like hot cakes for
$29.95 too. Just don’t pay cash, it’s too dangerous.
Hot on the heels of the DVD that will save my life if I
have to go to hospital (and since I go there every day as part of my work, I
am really facing certain death, it would seem), there came another email to
alert me to the dangers of aspartame, one of the sweeteners regularly used
in diet carbonated drinks.
The email warning went, “If you are using aspartame and
you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in
your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain,
depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory
loss-you probably have aspartame disease!” Wow! I think I’d better stop
breathing, just in case I inadvertently inhale some of this incredibly
potent and dangerous toxin.
Even Time magazine was prompted to write, “A widely
disseminated email by a ‘Nancy Markle’ links aspartame to Alzheimer’s,
birth defects, brain cancer, diabetes, Gulf War syndrome, lupus, multiple
sclerosis and seizures. Right away, the long list warrants skepticism. Just
as no single chemical cures everything, none causes everything.” Well
said, Time magazine.
The very highly reputable medical journal, The Lancet
commented, “Our research revealed over 6000 web sites that mention
aspartame, with many hundreds alleging aspartame to be the cause of multiple
sclerosis, lupus erythematosis, Gulf War Syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome,
brain tumours, and diabetes mellitus, among many others. Virtually all of
the information offered is anecdotal, from anonymous sources and is
The email finished by stating that “Monsanto, the
creator of aspartame, funds the American Diabetes Association, the American
Dietetic Association, and the Conference of the American College of
Physicians. These Associations cannot criticize any additives or convey
their link to Monsanto because they take money from the food industry and
have to endorse their products.”
Gentle reader, let me assure you that this is fatuous
nonsense. Before any scientific papers are published, the researchers have
to declare any ‘Conflicts of Interest’ to ensure a lack of bias. They
can, and do, criticize the chemical industry, where scientific evidence
exists. Once again, scare tactics being used to distort public thinking.
However, if you want a chemical that does cause tremors,
brain function loss, ascites and liver failure, coma and death, go no
further than C2H5OH, otherwise known as Ethanol, and often called beer. And
I had one (or two) at the weekend! Perhaps I should strangle myself with my
necktie before it is all too late!
Learn to Live to Learn: The Guru
with Andrew Watson
That’s it, then. For international school students,
the holiday’s over. It’s back to school. The pleasure and pain of a
new school year awaits. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be boring
(can I hear some students yawning in disagreement?). Of course, schools
shouldn’t be boring places, quite the opposite, and they should be
positive places too. Thus, I trust we can rely on student and parent
power to ensure that those who bore are given short shrift! And what
better way to celebrate returning to the daily joy of teaching and
learning by reaching into the heart of education and indeed, the heart
of this column!
Wright: “We must never forget that educators are not just transmitters
of knowledge but cultivators of souls.”
Just before I boarded the plane back to Thailand, it
was my consummate privilege to visit a man whom in my opinion epitomises
what transformational twenty first century education is about. Not
content with leading a school, with vision and compassion, through the
midst of the Intifada, he returned to the neglected industrial heartland
of the United Kingdom in Stoke-on-Trent, where he immediately set about
implementing a stunning new vision for his school, the community and the
city, its operation, its infrastructure and its identity. In a
multicultural city under political threat from the BNP (British National
Party), this man was well equipped for the challenge. A Christian
married to a beautiful Muslim, he lives his dream. His unmitigated
success is sending massive positive karma across Europe and beyond.
Chris Wright’s record of achievement speaks for himself. A recent
Ofsted inspection rated him ‘inspirational’ and he’s now Head of
two schools simultaneously. Clearly, he is the ‘Wright’ man for the
His front door was open when I arrived. A light
summer breeze flowed through the hall of an aesthetically alluring
interior, full of light and works of art from around the globe,
preaching truth, love and integrity. Chris appeared, wearing a djellabah
and a warm smile. He was all charm. Sitting comfortably in the twinkling
sunshine of his conservatory, I asked, and then listened, to a real live
AW: What does education mean to you? Why is
CW: Education encompasses the whole of life.
When it is true to itself it awakens the soul of each person caught up
in it to a celebration of life in all its rich diversity. Its purpose is
to help its students to mature into fully compassionate human beings.
I often start the new academic year by reading the
following letter to my staff to remind them what education is really
I am a survivor of a concentration camp.
My eyes saw what no man should witness:
Gas chambers built by learned engineers
Children poisoned by educated physicians,
Infants killed by trained nurses,
Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.
So I am suspicious of education.
My request is – help your students become human.
Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths,
Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make
our children more human.
Although this letter was originally written in 1953,
it is has retained its poignancy, especially in the light of the
increase in terrorism around the globe during the last few years.
AW: But what does it mean to be human?
CW: At the heart of the human person, I
believe, lies a mystery, a place of yearning for eternity, for awe and
wonder. Helping our students to become truly human means that
• when our young people leave our schools they are
able to stand being alone;
• they can understand that pleasure and happiness
are offshoots of activity and service to others and are not ends in
• they can look at themselves in the mirror at 2
o’clock in the morning and not be frightened by what they see;
• they listen respectfully to the views of others
yet be willing to pursue their own search for truth and justice;
• they can begin to exercise compassion for those
who do not belong to their own group;
If they have begun to reflect deeply on the meaning
of life and the central religious questions and their alternatives then
we have helped them on the journey to become fully human. If not, then
however glittering their achievements, we have failed them.
AW: What are some of the dangers of education
CW: Especially in the UK, there is a danger
that educational establishments become so obsessed with the formal
aspects of raising attainment that they limit their sights and become
obsessed with assessment procedures and the measuring what has been
learnt and in so doing, miss out on the great adventure and challenge of
enabling our students to become fully human. We must never forget that
educators are not just transmitters of knowledge but cultivators of
souls. C.K. Chesterton wrote that “Education is simply the soul of a
society as it passes from one generation to another.” As such, schools
have a grave responsibility to be the change agents of society. Instead
of merely mirroring the society in which they find themselves schools
should be, paraphrasing Gandhi, the change they wish to see in the
world. This is probably the greatest challenge that educators face these
days. It is a far easier route to copy the mores of society around them.
The challenge is to take hold of their prophetic role, at times to offer
a critique of the over arching secular materialist culture and to
present a vision of humanity as it is meant to be.”
In thrall, I hadn’t noticed the shadows creeping.
As dusk did its work, Chris cracked open a bottle of Chablis, then
Next Week: The Wright Man
Heart to Heart with Hillary
A frequent visitor to Thailand and Pattaya I have read the books written
about bar girls also read with interest your column whilst in Pattaya
and at home on the net, it is a great source of quality information and
Two years ago I met a young lady in one of the seafront bars and the
usual holiday romance ensued, liking this girl too much I arranged for
her to return to her family home in Chiang Rai whilst I returned to
Manchester sending her money on a monthly basis.
After lots of contact via email telephone and a further few trips back
to Thailand we applied for a 6 month visa to the UK and brought my young
lady home, we returned to Thailand in the November last year and were
married; now we reside in the UK but hope to live in Thailand by this
time next year.
All my family and friends adore May and she brings to me fits of
laughter on a daily basis, this Thai lady is a joy to be with full of
genuine love affection and compassion.
May works extremely hard in and around the house and garden and always
has a smile to give to everyone, the elderly people next door think she
is a true treasure and are extremely fond of her, so am I one of the
lucky ones or are the Thai girls too much maligned by a few bad apples
Dear Happy Harry,
Firstly, may I congratulate you and your wife and thank you for writing
in, showing that there can be another side to the well tossed coin. In
any group there will always be a bad apple or two, and the question
really comes down to the relative proportion of bad apples in the local
beer bar(rels). Judging by the plethora (now there’s a nice word) of
letters of complaint, I would surmise that bad apples might be more
plentiful than nice fresh and tasty ones, but I doubt if there has ever
been an in-depth study, possibly because any researchers would probably
have fallen in love by the third evening and all results would be the
subject of extreme bias and too many “buy me colas”. Enjoy your
times with your delightful young lady, and always remember that 50
percent of UK marriages fail, without any “buy me colas”!
Dear Hillery (sic),
Has it not come to your attention that the term “farang” is as much
a racist term as “Nigger” or “Gook” or “Whap”? The Thai
people have come to a place where they can choose to be racist or not.
It is up to you. Hillery (sic), are you a racist, or can you choose to
be better than that?
Al from Canada
Dear Al from Canada,
You’re not a lumberjack, are you? I’ve heard some bad things about
those guys. No, Petal, I am not a racist, but the term “farang” is
one used by Thai people to generally describe all the white-faced
foreigners with big noses. This is merely a terminology that says “not
brown-skinned locals with small noses”. It comes from the French, and
is a derivative of “francais” who were the most usual white-faced
foreigners with big noses a few centuries ago. However today, when
discussing people in this country, “farang” is non-specific as far
as the country of origin is concerned. Now if you had chosen “Kak”,
which is used to describe those of Indian descent, then it is a racial
term, even if not racist. There is a significant degree of difference,
Al from Canada. Racial refers to race, while racist refers to racial
superiority. And no, Hillary (get my name right, Petal) is not a racist.
I’ve got just a short one for you, Petal. Are you one person, or are
there more than one of you? Just can’t imagine some one person sitting
down and reading all the drivel that must arrive every week. Surely you
must feel like throwing them away unopened? Do you use a secretary or
anything? Just interested to know. I do enjoy the weekly columns.
Glad it wasn’t Jumbo, Jimbo. I must commiserate with you too. Having
“just a short one” must be a definite drawback these days (size does
matter, Petal, don’t believe what the other magazines might tell you).
No, there’s only one Hillary, and as for a secretary! Are you kidding?
On my salary? Although are you looking for a job? Was this a kind of toe
in the water exercise? Unfortunately, Jimbo, even if you stand in the
water to mid thigh, I still don’t need a secretary to open letters for
me. And as far as reading drivel every week - I read yours, didn’t I?
And I didn’t complain either. I get a masochistic pleasure out of some
of them, I must admit. By the way, do you know what a sadist is? It’s
someone who is nice to a masochist! Glad you are enjoying the columns,
and thanks for your letter too. Opened by myself, read by myself and
answered by myself (but sometimes I use a dictionary for some of the big
Psychological Perspectives: Our humanity outweighs our differences
by Michael Catalanello,
There are many ways of dividing and
subdividing the human race. We have males and females, young and old. We
can divide people according to their countries of origin, and subdivide
them according to regions of origin within the country.
We often assign people to various categories of social
or economic class: lower, upper, middle, upper middle, lower middle, etc.
We can make cultural, religious, and ethnic distinctions among people, and
we can make distinctions based upon any number of physical characteristics,
including height, weight, hair color, facial features, skin color, and body
We sometimes categorize people according to their
respective sexual orientations: homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. We
even divide people according to their dominant political ideologies, such
as liberal, conservative, neo-conservative, democrat, republican, labor,
libertarian and independent, to name a few.
A person’s membership in a group often influences the
positions he or she takes on issues of controversy. For example, the
citizens of Iraq have, according to the media, experienced fundamental
disagreements concerning key issues addressed by their new constitution.
Positions concerning these disagreements have generally lined up according
to citizens’ membership in one of the three major ethnic groups
inhabiting the country: Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds.
Some groups, such as Israelis and Palestinians seem to
have intractable differences and longstanding rivalries with one another,
based upon conflicting claims of divine right over tracts of land. Much is
made of the importance of one’s identity as an Israeli or Palestinian.
This was painfully demonstrated last week when some people were evicted
from land and homes in Gaza, while other people qualified to be granted
land and homes, based solely upon their identification with one or the
The Thai culture seems to promote the making of very
fine distinctions among people, resulting in a highly stratified society in
which everyone holds a position of importance or unimportance in relation
to every other person in the society. These distinctions are based upon
such factors as age, education, occupation, apparent economic status, and a
host of other factors, combined in a way that can seem baffling to
With so much emphasis upon various divisions, groups,
and subgroups, the human race often appears very fragmented. We might feel
quite alien from groups which, on the surface, appear so very different
from us. With so many divisions, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that,
as humans, we actually have much in common with one another.
All of us, of course, share a common biology. We each
experience sensations, such as heat cold, hunger, thirst, and pain. Our
prenatal development from a single fertilized egg to an embryo and a
growing fetus followed a common path. Once born, there was a predictable
and unvarying sequence in our growth and development. As infants we rolled
over before we were able to sit without support. We stood while holding
onto objects, then crawled, then began to walk, in exactly that order. We
learned to communicate with others by using a complex language, the likes
of which we do not find among the nonhuman inhabitants of our planet.
We are all social creatures. We form strong bonds, first
with members of our family, and later with our friends. We exhibit bias in
favor of members of groups to which we belong. We exhibit a vague mistrust
of outsiders. We experience a range of emotions, such as liking, love,
happiness, frustration, sadness, disappointment, anger, fear, agony and
ecstasy. We laugh, cry, eat, drink, sleep and dream. We sing and dance to
celebrate. We mourn the death of a loved one. We universally recognize
basic emotions communicated in the facial expressions of another human,
regardless of that person’s country of origin or cultural background.
There is a good reason for this similarity. We are all
related. If we go far enough back into our human history, we find that we
are, in fact, one family. Archeologists tell us that we are descended from
a group of humans that originated in Africa in the distant past. In that
sense, we may all consider ourselves Africans, members of our family tree
having migrated far and wide to populate the globe. Many of our differences
are the result of groups of our ancestors having lived in prolonged
isolation from other groups, and having developed separate identities,
cultures, and biological adaptations to meet the challenges of survival in
a range of environments existing across our planet.
Divisions among humans will undoubtedly change over time, but never
disappear. Disagreements and conflict among groups, likewise, seem
inevitable. As long as we are human, I suppose we will favor our own
groups, and look upon those who are different with a degree of suspicion
and mistrust. By viewing our differences within the context of our much
more fundamental shared humanity, however, we might learn to approach our
divisions with greater sensitivity, appreciation, and tolerance of the
interesting diversity present in our human family.
Dr. Catalanello is a licensed psychologist in his home State of Louisiana, USA, and a member of the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Asian University,
Chonburi. You may address questions and comments to him at [email protected], or post on his weblog at
Personal Directions: Those old familiar words keep popping up…
by Christina Dodd
Most of us at some time or another fall victim to the words,
“Sorry I couldn’t get back to you, I’ve just been too busy”, or one of
the many variations – and there are indeed many. Last week I was on the
receiving end of three such excuses and so it prompted me to write down my
thoughts. And as I write them, I can recall numerous other examples that crop up
out of the blue and in all walks of daily life – not just in business.
Why do we do this? Perhaps we really are so busy that we
can’t get back to someone’s call or email or request. It is a reality and
certainly the workloads today are taking their toll on how people handle and
sort out what tasks they should do first, second, third … or not at all. This
problem of managing our time either in our personal life or work life is
seriously on the rise and is confronting most of us.
But the knock-on affect of this particular phrase about being
too busy to attend to someone and the inaction that comes as a result, is
extremely negative and destructive to the recipient of such a message. I know
how I feel when it is said to me and I am sure you feel exactly the same way. I
feel as though my particular needs are unimportant and that moreover - I am
unimportant. I firmly believe that for us to use such an excuse means that our
own personal management is out of sync and it’s not about how busy we are - it
is about us! We need to look more closely at ourselves, and how we manage
I have seen hundreds of executives fall prey to Time
Management training that skirts around this issue and that concentrates on all
the tools in the world to get things prioritized, and listed and delegated and
so on. Some of this is of course useful, but if you can’t manage yourself and
understand what the triggers are within you in order to overcome your
limitations, no amount of tools will help you!
To me, hearing the “busy” excuse is really a cry for
help. This person is in need of someone to help unravel the mountain of thoughts
going on in their head and to help them begin to take charge. They have
developed a bad habit that has become so automatic that it has taken hold and is
controlling their responses rather than allowing them to think. And it may not
have ill intention, but it certainly sends the wrong message to the listener. Is
that desirable? Is that what you want to do to your friends, colleagues,
customers and clients?
Another area for concern here is that when you do this
frequently, and people brush it aside as they may not want to upset you and so
they let it go, then you begin to feel that it’s “okay”, it’s acceptable
and there was no harm done. This leads you further into the habit becoming part
of how you normally behave. And ultimately, you end up not being able to see
what you’re doing wrong. But the crunch factor here is that others do.
To remedy this is not to find nice, pleasant sounding words
that try to make the message sound better. This is like applying a band aid to a
broken bone. It is totally the wrong call. What needs to be done is to get to
the heart of the matter and that is to dig deep and begin to look at your
personal competencies - self awareness and self management. You need to get to
the source of the problem. And one very effective way of doing this is to work
with a coach to help you on a “one-on-one” basis examine these areas and
begin to develop ways of changing behaviors - changing bad habits. Finding the
reasons why you are so busy and redefining individual development initiatives.
Understanding the “triggers” within you that cause you to divert to bad
habits and starting to apply techniques and self-discipline to rectify them;
looking at change within you. Subjects such as these require personal attention
through the guidance of an experienced coach and many executives in the hectic
pace of businesses today recognize this approach to the development of their key
Coaching has proven to be one of, if not the most effective
method of enhancing a person’s growth. It is “real time” which is focused
on the individual and this is where it is so valuable. For most people with deep
needs the only way to attend to them is through this close contact. Addressing
these needs through attending regular training programs is not the right
approach as the objectives are very much different. That is not to say training
is not effective - the objectives and the issues at hand are what should
determine whether training or coaching is the approach needed.
There are more and more executives in major corporations
undergoing coaching programs simply because it works. Senior executives are key
players in the successful running of any company and their development through
this method is now becoming a “must have”. In countries such as Australia,
the UK and the US for example, most senior positions will have the opportunity
to work with a professional coach.
In Thailand the coaching approach is in its infancy but it
has sparked great interest in the boardrooms of certain companies and
organizations which are looking at leadership development as a priority in their
HR Development plans. This is a very positive move and one that we at ATA –
Lifecoach are keen to embrace as it is at the center of our “individual
development and human capital philosophies”. And at the very heart of that is
Emotional Intelligence without a doubt. For those of you reading this article
who are interested in this subject and would like to read up on it, Dr Daniel
Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence & Working with Emotional
Intelligence. He also wrote Primal Leadership of which there is a recent edition
entitled The New Leaders, and for anyone involved in managing people, I can’t
stress enough that it is “compulsory” reading.
If the “too busy” excuse shapes your day, why not drop me
an email at christina .[email protected] Or for more details on how ATA –
Lifecoach can work with you on training and coaching matters, check out our
website at www. atalifecoach.com
Until next time, think about what other old familiar words
keep popping up?