As may be expected of a blog, it is an ongoing affair. For the moment, we publish here three types of texts that suit the definition of a blog.
- in English: texts that Touché and Guy post with a certain regularity at LinkedIn.
- in Portuguese: contributions of Touché to Brasil com Z, a blog by expat Brazilians about the countries they emigrated to. The cooperation stopped some time ago, but Touché's texts are still interesting.
- in Portuguese, Dutch, English and even French: whenever we travel, we send newsletters to friends in several countries. At first, these messages appeared only in Portuguese, later a Dutch version was added, and in 2016 we were crazy enough to add a French and an English newsletter during our stays in New Zealand/Australia and Costa Rica. We will progressively post some of these travelogues, going back in time.
Note: the latest post is at the top. Use the menu at left or scroll down for older messages.
Touché at LinkedIn in 2020-2
Obviously nobody can ‘praise’ the corona-19 virus. Such a devastating power from a tiny invisible thing definitely is not to be valued. Tiny or big, invisible or not, no cause of death can be seen as good. This virus has cost humanity lots of pain, sadness, distress, despair. Indexes of violence, unemployment, depression, suicide and so many other social and personal disgraces increased. This virus also disrupted human relationships obliging people to be afraid of their own beloved ones: just anyone became a potential death sentence! Hugs, kisses, physical demonstrations of affection turned into dangerous paths to killing those who express love for each other. A real disaster.
2020 comes to its end not only as a critical year for most of people but also enters History as a turning point. Despite talks, hopes, expectations and marketing, life will never be ‘normal’ as it was before the pandemic. We must create a new state-of-normal. Life must go on and it is crucial that those who suffered losses and all of us who miss the freedom of moving around our planet can be compensated in any possible way. We need a new normality to be able to feel normal again.
Creating a good life is a way to render homage to those who strived for our happiness. Focusing on losses does not help us evolve and move on. Crises are moments that demand creativeness. We either search alternatives or we plunge in the dark waters of sadness. We lost so much, we experienced pain, we miss those who left us forever. Irreversible losses, irrecuperable moments.
Fortunately the world goes on. Thanks to some great people who faced and embraced the challenge to fight for solutions and so much has been done so far! Everything has a positive side and here are some examples of what we’ve already achieved during 2020: big cities could breath and in some polluted areas the blue sky was seen for the first time in decades. Working from home allowed a significant reduction of traffic jams and all the stress caused by commuting. Online courses, many of them totally free and the wonderful possibilities to watch lectures, take part in seminars, develop computer skills, open up to new ideas, develop talents and projects.
Science has become more heard and professionals of all fields received the well-deserved applause for their work. Researchers, teachers and diverse types of intellectuals have been looking for options to help students study and learn. Psychologists started to assist their patients at distance and some medical support could be given without the obligation for the patients to go to the clinics. The concept of medical appointments changed giving more space to those with urgent needs.
Tutorials, variety of courses, surveys, quizzes, a whole collection of games to keep people busy and creative. Enterprises like youtube expanded the horizons of those interested in all sorts of subjects.
E-commerce facilitated all purchases and enterprises that care for delivery had a significative increase in their growth. Companies understood that an open line of contact with clients plays an important role in business relationships. Industries sped up to offer products that may be practical for those who stay home or go out (for example, hand gel, masks, gloves, visors…). Human Resources established new parameters to select professionals and those looking for jobs have more opportunities to find positions in different companies and environments.
Communication has another meaning now. Not only due to fantastic platforms allowing talks and meetings at distance, but communication as we mostly know it: the exchange of ideas, the transfer of information. Reading the news and the possibility of getting involved in different causes online made us exercise our feeling of unity beyond frontiers.
Many businesses related do social activities were severely affected but we have seen many restaurants and cafes which found other effective ways to remain open. Drive-in cinemas are there for long now, but creative people have been using this system to organize social moments, like celebrations and weddings. Tourism agents and organizers use their knowledge to offer trips and accommodations that still allow people to live their dreams regarding other places and cultures.
There is always a way for those who look for a way. As we open up to reality we avoid the mummification of our minds and the closeness of our hearts. This is what we got now: sad memories from a very difficult year mixed with the challenge to build better conditions for all in the future.
Without fantasy about ‘the return to normality’. Life is a road with no return. We built the ground on which this virus developed. It’s now time to learn from the past to try and avoid repeating the errors that led to this pandemic.
We must start acting. Immediately. Move on to a normality based on genuine empathy and mutual support before individualism and fear block the bridges between us.
Children and youngsters are entitled to have a healthy, safe, beautiful life. We owe them that.
Nobody needs to be an expert on movies, nor enjoy this or that sort of films to be able to understand that sometimes the combination of a role with an actor makes the whole difference that may transform a text into a magic moment when images speak more than the words itself. Some films are unforgettable because they go far beyond telling a story or a show of images and sounds. This transformation of an idea into a souvenir to be treasured demands some genius behind and in front of the cameras. When it happens we can talk about art.
This is what happened when Sean Connery incarnated the super spy 007. The perfect chemistry of the actor and his role, led James Bond to be one of the favorite espionage films all over the world. And why? Should there be intellectual reasons for this phenomenon? Probably not. But thinking can be a good exercise for those who like to venture into the unexpected universe of understanding. Thus… let’s think a little about 007? Maybe we come to some exciting discovery, not about how to chose an actor for a role but about to make our own choices to our various roles.
Quick profile of Bond/Connery: intelligent, reliable, competent, attractive, sexy, nonchalant, charming – irresistibly charming – innovative, brave, charismatic. And if all of this was not enough, here we have a spy entrusted with the most difficult (and honorable) missions aimed at protecting the world and humanity against evil. As such, someone with the permission to eliminate The Evil using all conceivable resources – which, of course, include seduction, lies and betrayal, power, assassination – without the risk of punishment! Because 007 defends those who are victims of misuse of power, his deeds are above the law, beyond all rules and codes. In name of protection of the right of living he is allowed to literally eliminate the causes of disrespect to this very right. Absurd as it may seem, this is so. Ian Fleming is genius. His 007 is definitely the best. As we watch him in action we are convinced of his doing good. We want him to escape danger and stay alive. We agree that his killing other people is justifiable. He is our hero!!! Yes. We applaud James Bond and of course, we love Sean Connery. No other actor would ever be our perfect 007. Honestly speaking, who would not be happy having such a spy around?
Besides the great filming effects and creative stories, ‘our’ spy cares for our deep need for catharsis. The possibility to eliminate those who oppose our beliefs by means of any killing techniques without any ethical concern nor worries about consequences. Wow. James Bond does it for us. When the film is over, some burden was taken from us, that is the fear of criticism, judgement and punishment.
This is film industry at its best.
Forests are burning, Mother Nature in despair, people leaving their homes without any other reason than trying and staying alive. Our planet is in flames, crying for help. Climate activists protest, multitudes request urgent action from authorities, open-minded entrepreneurs adopt new formulae to work, artists denounce the irresponsible behavior of governors, and some politicians express their sincere concern for what is happening.
While we shout in protest, while parents do not know what to do to give their children a shelter, while many of us express our deep concern and do what we can to avoid the total destruction of our natural areas and their resources, there are those who are toasting with the finest champagne the increase of the profits they make out of the global catastrophes.
Shame on them! Our forests are burning. BURNING. B-U-R-N-I-N-G !!! this macabre ritual became ‘usual’ in some parts of the world. Millions of trees are disappearing in minutes leaving those who live around forests without basic conditions for survival. Smoke is not breathable!!! Orange skies are not part of the concept of Earth. Looking up to such a color in the sky can never be real but only a special effect in science fiction movies. We can NOT live like this. There is fire everywhere and our dreams and hopes turn into smoke in the air. Literally.
The brave professionals who risk their lives to protect the forests, animals and people who live there and in the surroundings know much more about fire than we may ever think. Because they fight out of the flames of their generous hearts. They do not have to do this. And yet they do.
There is so much beauty around fires. Exciting rituals, cozy places, wonderful moments with friends… not to mention the fire of passion, ideas that burn our brains and souls and lead to artistic creation, changes and developments. These are the fires we need to be happy human beings.
We urge to stop burning our trees. We must protect life.
May fires only bring warmth, light and good emotions.
Fire and Life.
Never fire and destruction.
Fire and Life.
There is no doubt: options are fundamental. The possibility to do something differently, to choose and decide how, when, where, why… all those aspects are crucial for a good and healthy life. Inaccessibility to use other patterns for any tasks than the ones already determined – and often outdated – can only generate frustration and sadness. Laws that never change and cause cultural stagnation. Options are open horizons. They allow freedom to become an experience, not only a dream. Wonderful: in our modern times there are options for almost everything, from human contact to no contact at all, you name it.
Artists are experts in offering alternatives to our perception but there are other creators who produce options for our ways of living. So many careers have blossomed as time passed and the constant flow of inventions has led humanity to a reality where deciding became a piece of art in itself!
Constant challenges lead to development of new capabilities that lead to new discoveries that lead to new ways of thinking and doing! More and more we are confronted with doubts and problems demanding solutions that many times we do not have, not because we do not want to, but simply because we do not know how to start looking for them! So ignorance has become a stigma. We must know. Punt.
More and more experts, then! Not gurus – they seem maybe a bit out of fashion… but the puzzle became too difficult for simply normal minded people. It is not a matter of nostalgia but as we look back to older generations we can easily realize that among the problems our ancestors had, decision making was not top. As complexity took hold of our lives either we are self-sufficient enough to find ways out to the various questions arising every day or we need professional help. This is what experts are for, right? To guide us out of our daily chaos.
Then suddenly we are surrounded by them. So many people who know better what we should or should not do to ‘get there’. Follow me. Do this. Eat that. Study here. Write that way. Talk thus. Watch this film. Use this product. Join this community. Move. Stop. Go. Stay still. Buy. Do what I say. Be what I say. Don’t worry: just follow me.
With access to all possible knowledge being compacted in portable high-tech devices for most the brain became an old and almost unnecessary tool to find and discover solutions. Too much information at the cost of less and less effort and imagination.
There is no doubt options are fundamental, just as there is no doubt that in order to search an option we must be able to define why and what for. We need to be able to recognize ourselves as investigators, researchers, students before we ask help.
Maybe we should talk to mirrors before we ask someone to tell us who we are? As inscribed on the Temple of Apollo in Delphi: know thyself.
We must show respect for scientists and express deep admiration for the work of all people involved in helping those who are suffering due to the covid-19 pandemic. Be it researchers who desperately fight against time to find a vaccine against this lethal virus, doctors and nurses who fight against limited resources to save lives, professionals from diverse fields who contribute by distributing medication, delivering equipments, preparing and bringing food to those in need, communicators who indicate probable solutions for some practical problems, entrepreneurs who provide safe jobs and working conditions to their employees, teachers quickly adapting to giving lessons online, media providing updated statistics and all types of information, volunteers of all sorts helping in different places and many times under difficult conditions… surely this list is not complete.
At this point it is very improbable that people living in cities are not aware of the risk of contamination and how to act in order to avoid the disease. Governments in many countries responded firmly and took immediate measures to have folk protected. Where official actions took long to be taken the whole society has been suffering the consequences. It seems that there is a battle against the irresponsible attitude of those who keep doing as if nothing has changed in the world, putting at risk the lives of those who are doing their best to survive and protect others.
We now seem to have humanity divided in three groups: those who still do not know what covid-19 is, those who are trying hard to find a way out of the pandemic and those who just don’t care. Ignorance vs science vs individualism. While ignorance can be eliminated by information and care, individualism seems to be incurable.
We must nurture our hearts and minds and not abandon hope. In a situation where hugging became dangerous and our faces can not be seen during a conversation, we desperately need ways to save our life from diving into loneliness and stagnation. We need music! More than sounds of public demonstrations against public dangers we need music. Simple delicious melodies of birds, complex compositions from singers, beautiful combinations of instruments, whispers, lullabies and kind words.
This is a call on talented people who can create music, play instruments, sing and speak. We need your help! You can translate feelings into the only international and eternal language that is music. C’mon, don’t be shy! Ours is not an invitation for a special audition but an outcry for a general show where anybody can be touched by the magic of sounds.
By the way, where are the flashmobs? Isn’t it possible to play and have a mask at the same time? C’mon! Teach us how to sing and dance! Maybe music can chase sadness away and make us strong and resilient to pandemics, because joy is one of the most powerful cures.
Please Maestro! Music!!!!
How come you did not request a budget before having the work done?
This question makes sense. In our individualistic, non-ethical society, you must mistrust just anyone who will provide a service to you. Why is that so? Well… because if you take for granted that professionals and companies will deliver good service taking your finances into consideration you might end up being smashed by the hardness of reality. Better said, by the sad fact that ethics and finances may take different roads when leading to your pocket.
It is more than probable that this is a repetitive story: you get used to having good services from someone. The company is solid and the professionals are competent and friendly. You have used their services more than once and never had any reasons to complain. That means you grow to build a trust relationship with these people and become more and more relaxed about how they will do the next job you ask, or how much it will cost. You are a satisfied client and they know you are grateful for their services and are sure they will never have any inconveniences regarding payments or work conditions when working for you. All in all a win-win situation.
Time passes, all is fine. Or better saying… so you thought. Let’s think of a handyman, someone who has already been to your house and has an objective possibility to evaluate your life standard. He knows you are a good client and he also knows you are not a millionaire. Ok? Well… not always.
There comes a moment when you need an ordinary installation for an ordinary equipment. You are not handy and you have a good handyman. Obviously you call him and as usual he does not leave you waiting long to come and solve your problem. Smiles and thanks, see you soon, we still have some more work for you to do.
This time you wait a bit longer. Your trustworthy professional does not show up at the time he said he would but you understand, it is vacations, less people to work, more people asking for services. You wait, no big deal.
Then you receive a bang. The invoice for that ordinary installation for that ordinary equipment arrives and it is all but ordinary. You are charged with an amount equivalent to some nice days in a nice place… You are not going anywhere, you are paying that bill. You pay it, as soon as you get it, because this is you, a simple-minded person who believes in honesty. You are not going to argue with that company, nor with that professional: you requested the service, it was well-done. You pay. And you are unsatisfied.
Now the question: is this the best way to make business?
A good reputation is based on more than excellent technical service. It goes beyond quality of material, punctuality, quick execution.
Loyal clients are a treasure and must be treated as such. It takes time to build a relationship of trust between companies and clients and this confidence is what guarantees that companies to go on, specially in times of crisis. But the quality of services rendered is not defined by the existence or not of crisis. The basics of good business and its consequent success relies on ethics. Caring for offering alternatives which will give the client the possibility to get good service without having to fall into financial pits plays a fundamental role in the dialogue between those who ask and those who offer services.
No, we did not ask for a budget in advance. We trusted we would get the best service for the best price.
Unfair enough, this means being punished for having trusted.
Please… try and don’t feel stupid.