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A column about little things that are deceptively similar, yet decisively different. Read & be prepared.

Yesterday I went fishing. Actually, my family were the ones hoping to catch a fish. I was sitting on a deck chair reading Nietzche's Beyond Good and Evil. Ever since I overheard one of my students at Rhodes telling a friend that he thought he might have found Nietzche's best ever quote, I have wanted to spend a few quiet hours working out exactly what this controversial 19th century philosopher really stood for. So here, 10 years later, was my chance. You couldn't really call it reading, as such, because for every one of Nietzche's sentences you need about 10 minutes of deep thinking to work out what he was trying to convey, and longer to work out what he might not have meant to say. Anyway I came across this passage: “From now on all my writings are fish hooks … If nothing got caught I am not to blame. There were no fish!”

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Dr Dave Robinson
29 Oct 2009

Petina Gappah is a delight. Describing herself modestly as a “lawyer who writes, yet a reader above all else”, she was recently on a whistle-stop trip to Melbourne for the Writers Festival – warranted by An Elegy for Easterly, her first book, a collection of 13 short stories. This sanguine, satirical Zimbabwean writer is every inch the ‘what you see is what you get' kind of person.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Colleen Bate
29 Oct 2009

It's Friday afternoon and Curtin University's Bentley Campus is ghost town quiet, the complete opposite environment to the one in which I last saw the organiser of Zimfest Perth, Guy Cockcroft. In the midst of Perth Zimfest I found 20 year old Guy barefoot, carrying a beer in his hand and directing Zimfest activities like an ADHD-infused traffic cop.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Doug Horak
29 Oct 2009

Some of you may think this article is a little bit whacky, and the ideas unattainable. Some of you will hope it's not, because you are experiencing the effects of doing business in the old

world. (We're not talking Africa/Australia by the way). And many of you will know, we either change, or we go out of business.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Catherine Palin-Brinkworth
20 Aug 2009
Last issue I briefly introduced Sabona readers to the seven DaWei Laws. It is the seventh, which states ‘serendipitous events are living proof that the universe is conspiring to provide whatever we need', to which I would like to give special attention in this issue. Whilst happily going about my job of teaching English to foreign students, I was suddenly confronted with the harsh reality that, while I might be a knowledgeable and diligent teacher, the students actually expect to have a bit more fun in class and not be bombarded with grammar, reading and writing. A discussion about their favourite meal or movie, would be quite adequate for their needs, providing them with ample opportunity to better their English while interacting with each other, without much input from me at all.

Last issue I briefly introduced Sabona readers to the seven DaWei Laws. It is the seventh, which states ‘serendipitous events are living proof that the universe is conspiring to provide whatever we need', to which I would like to give special attention in this issue. Whilst happily going about my job of teaching English to foreign students, I was suddenly confronted with the harsh reality that, while I might be a knowledgeable and diligent teacher, the students actually expect to have a bit more fun in class and not be bombarded with grammar, reading and writing. A discussion about their favourite meal or movie, would be quite adequate for their needs, providing them with ample opportunity to better their English while interacting with each other, without much input from me at all.

The fact was that I could be a more effective teacher by not being such an efficient one. Once aware of this, I resolved to change my teaching style. The change wasn't at all painful to implement and it reminded me of a previous lesson I had learnt when I realised how to lead people through situations without necessarily taking the lead.

When asked by my employer a few weeks later to take on the additional role of teaching hospitality management, I decided to adopt my newfound teaching style from the word ‘go'. Rather than present myself as the expert in hotel management and risk teaching my students things they might already know, I would simply make myself available to fill in gaps in their know-how that they themselves would identify. To do so, I allow the students to take the mandatory multiple choice test for each new module before I teach them anything. That way, both teacher and student discover what the students already know and don't yet know, so we can cut out unproductive lecturing time and optimise the productive use of our contact hours.

By the end of each module, the students are able to achieve 100% in the quiz and demonstrate adequately their mastery of the required competencies through a comprehensive practical case assignment. It means the students and I cover 20 hours of work in just 12 contact hours, while they have flexibility around the remaining eight hours each week. The arrangement works well because my afternoons are freed up, my employer saves a lot of money (as I am paid by the hour), and I can continue to teach my English classes two mornings a week.

Now, before the sceptics start to point out that my new improved teaching style just did me out of afternoon teaching hours, here's the serendipitous bit: In the very same week that my afternoons became free, I was invited to lecture at another university. The invitation came totally out-of-the-blue and the times they needed me corresponded exactly with my availability. What's more, the rate per hour is a lot more lucrative than the afternoon work I would have had.

I have found over and over that serendipitous events, often precipitated by a coincidence or even an accident, open up new opportunities for our optimal survival, learning and personal growth. Sometimes, serendipity stares us in the face and says ‘give me a chance to help you'.

Dr. Dave Robinson is a lecturing professor at Central Queensland University, principal director of The Academy of Business Acumen, adjunct professor at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, an entrepreneur, director of companies, consultant to business, author of books academic journals, surfer, musician and poet. He currently teaches English Language, Hospitality Management, Marketing, and Human Resource Management on the Gold Coast. Write to Dave: acumen.dar@gmail.com

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Dave Robinson
20 Aug 2009

Greek mythology regarded mercury as the fleet-footed messenger of the gods. A patron of translators and interpreters and the cleverest of the Olympians. He ruled over wealth, good fortune, commerce, fertility…and thievery. He bought the souls of the dead to the underworld, and was honoured as a god of sleep.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Simone Sleep
20 Aug 2009

The audio book that I listened to this month was Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella. I really enjoyed listening to something light-hearted that got me laughing. The story follows Becky Bloomwood as she heads to the shops of New York, accompanying her entrepreneur boyfriend Luke who decides to move there for business. Becky is totally addicted to shopping and finds a way to justify her every purchase, but then things go wrong, and Becky's career, her relationship with Luke and even her access to credit are in jeopardy. Shopaholic Abroad is entertaining and funny; a welcome book to listen to in between some more serious and thought-provoking reading matter.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Cheryl Goodenough
20 Aug 2009

April

The boys went back to school after a lovely long weekend in Burrum Point National Park near Woodgate, a small seaside resort village four hours north of Brisbane, which is only accessible by 4x4. The Swanepoel family joined us at this lovely out-of-the-way camp site at the mouth of the Burrum River, which is full of pelagic fish. Our dinner on the second night comprised of fresh Silver Travelli caught by Fred. My Giant Herring caught on a lure off the back of ‘Chilly Bean' our canoe, was too bony to cook. Our stay also included some 4x4 exploring along the river, a walk along the Banksia Trail and lots of relaxing in the perfect champagne weather.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Migrant Saffa
20 Aug 2009

March

Having been living in Australia for almost two and half years the question of Australian passports has become a reality. The one thing about immigration is that you leave a mile long paper trail of submissions, applications, approvals, certificates, clearances and licences before you become eligible for citizenship. All this paper work and hard work culminates in a final test to qualify as a ‘fair dinkum aussie' to show you embrace their traditions and culture. This I finally passed with an automatic induction into the Aussie hall of fame on Friday when our touch rugby was moved to the Manly Hotel Pub due to wet and dangerous conditions. Here I become a member of Australia's elite when my raffle ticket was drawn and I won the meat tray and a six pack of beer. Traditionally all Aussie pubs have a meat tray on raffle which is normally rigged and won by a ‘battler' who is a struggling local.

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Anonymous
25 Jun 2009

In the last edition of Sabona I wrote about the two choices that we have in business when it comes to finding customers. We can either ‘chase' after customers or we can ‘attract' customers

 
 
 
Posted in humour |
Posted by Peter Swensson
25 Jun 2009
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