Thursday, January 30, 2014

Global vs. Native English

You mean, I should eat the regulator?
Diving seems really demanding...

As at most tourist destinations, also in Bali, with some English you can get what you are looking for. Question is, why native English speakers have so many communication problems?

a) they speak funny
b) they listen funny
c) they don't speak real English
d) a fact, that besides their home village dialect even some other dialects exist out there, never crossed their mind

What is proper spoken English is anyhow a mystery. Is it really essential to hold a live fish (or two) in your mouth when speaking? You really need surgery on your adenoids before saying a word in proper English? Do you have to master drunken miner dance before basic phonetic lessons?

When traveling abroad global English is definitely an advantage.
And English native speakers are many times at serious disadvantage.

Imagine two guests ordering a breakfast in Bali.
A German guy: “Please, coffee with sugar and milk. Orange juice. Toast and butter and jam. Fried eggs. Thank you!”
And his friend a native English speaking lady: “I'm not overly demanding at all, but please do try to understand! Yesterday you brought me for my breakfast very spicy fried rice! You should know, I don't take chili at any time, and you put really a lot of chili in my fried rice for breakfast! Please do not repeat the mistake and get me a normal breakfast today! Something like what my companion ordered would be absolutely OK. Thank you so much!”
Balinese waiter is patiently listening to both, nodding, smiling, taking notes.
German guy gets his coffee, toast ... everything what he ordered.
A few minutes later his lady companion gets her fried rice with extra dose of chili.

German guest properly assessed local waiter's English abilities and listed his order like a search query for Google. And top result was what he wanted.
His companion's order caused waiter's processor to overheat and after filtering out the keywords, well, it was still not really bad.
Imagine she would be ranting that she's not a cannibal and she doesn't eat fried babies for breakfast ...

It's really refreshing to listen to comments of my guys on spoken English abilities of our guests. Highest marks for good English are regularly awarded to continental Europeans.
For some Australian and British accents my guys asked, how come these guests can not speak some English?

Thanks be to Gods, educational system in Bali enables most people to speak three languages (passably). And is not copying the system of some third world countries, where well educated adults can speak only the language their mother taught them.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stylish Scuba Diving

A diver is a diver.

Internationally recognized scuba behavioral researcher Liam O'Bubble published his theory why male divers tend to look like hell and female divers usually look like princesses going for a dive. Obviously the function of different looks has rather deep roots.

a) unkempt, wild look of a male will keep away sable-tooth tiger - and mandarin fish as well
b) fragile, beautifully dressed female look will save her from any work (in the prehistoric cave or when scuba diving)
c) savage male diver look is a living proof of safety for his buddies
d) female extremely good looks will calm the raging ocean

With a few simple strokes author managed to draw a perfect picture of an answer to the question older than our civilization.
How come, one part of our specie tends to draw a short straw (again and again), and the other part a long one (again and again)?
Brilliant minds were searching for the answer in philosophy, sociology, religion, supermarkets, old dusted manuscripts, mysterious texts on cereal boxes, on google …
And the result of all the burned midnight oil: nothing.
And yet, the answer is more than obvious even to a naked eye. Just take a look.

Imagine you come to visit your friend. You come in your old jeans, old sweat shirt and you are anticipating a pleasant chat, sipping a cold beer …
She's dressed to kill and you charmingly blurt out: “Wow, you look ...”
And she innocently changes the subject and mentions her kitchen sink is blocked.
Even if you are just a young candidate for a rocket scientist, you'll figure out in one tenth of a second who will spend afternoon under the disassembled kitchen sink, fighting with grime, hair, old food remains …

And in scuba diving it's no different.

Magic these sweet looking devils (oops, divers) use to work on you, is fantastic. You start to believe your one and the only goal in life is to make their scuba diving easier than a stroll in a park.
And all just because of looks.
A gentle, fragile baby – of course she needs help to tighten her fins, to close the buckles on her gear, to get her in the water …
Girls - diving, snorkeling, dry – I love you all even more when little flames are bursting from your nostrils ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Is My Way the Only Right Way?

Try me.

Interesting question by one of my divers. “Are you sure everybody should do it your way? Do you know how arrogant this is?” Question was related to scuba diving, not something else.

a) no, as I respect free will, you can do it either my way or wrong way – your choice
b) maybe I inherited some arrogance from the guy who when brought to the stake repeated “Epur si muove”
c) if my arrogance now and then prevents shit from happening, I can live with it
d) if doing things the right way is arrogant - so be it

Point is, in certain professions you should not be just able to accumulate a load of knowledge and experience to implement your decisions. You should be aware that decisions you make you can not undo. Right or wrong or somewhere in-between – you will have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.

So, this ugly quality – arrogance – is in place under certain conditions. I repeat, under certain conditions.

However, if the only quality of a person is arrogance (this is about 90% dive leaders I see in our waters) – this quality is more properly described as a pure shit. Let it be your chosen dive leader is a failed trekking guide, scuba instructor, gardener … Stupidly smiling, greedy morons taking care of your well being - without basic knowledge, without any respect to safety, no respect to their clients and trying to cover their total incompetence with arrogance – well, unfortunately, South East Asia is a great place for such idiots to prosper.

Rather good example is if we take a look at the experience programs devised for not yet certified divers. Several agencies devised some really good and save guidelines how to conduct this program, also PADI has a good and safe program for this. And when a non diver asks me to don him in a scuba gear and take him down to 30 meters and into caverns on the wall – as this is the only thing worth seeing here, I “arrogantly” explain why this would not be advisable. In many cases he finds a PADI dive center in neighborhood with more open minded dive leaders (idiots from the passage above) and after (if) surviving a horror experience he starts to blame everybody and everything, except his poor choice.

Dear divers!
I'm still working on the issue how to help you find only real PADI dive centers in Pemuteran and rest of Bali.
NSA, Alcoholic Anonymous and CIA gave up.
Fox Mulder seems to become deeply religious. He uttered: “Oh, my God ...”
And owners of the brand name can not hear our pleas. They listen to Sex Pistols song “And we don't care...” at too high volume.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Save the Planet and Bali

E.T. Marine Preservation Consulting Ltd.

Oceans desperately need our help. We desperately need your help.
Donate now!
What's happening?!

a) we are receiving cries for help from oceans constantly
b) UN funds are not sufficient and oceans need help now
c) we started to help with our own resources
d) are you still hesitating with your donation?!

Not very nice, but still a fact is the cruel reality.
Numerous (large, medium, small, micro scale) entities are collecting funds worldwide to protect this. Or that. Or something else.
So far so good.
Problem starts when somebody would like to see how this money is used in the epic fight for declared goals. If fees, salaries, marketing, hotel bills, travel expenses, and so on represent a little more than 100% of collected funds – well, that is not exactly what we donate for.

For instance we are helping to keep clean our small part of environment in Pemuteran, Bali where we live and work. We do this on daily basis and occasional bigger clean-up – as necessary. For many years. From time to time we pay donations to different organizations with similar goals.
We put in our work, pay people to help us, pay for proper disposal of waste. We just use a part of our time and income.
Once I decided to ask one of the world saving organizations to pay the bill for a couple of trucks of garbage we collected in our bay. Answer was nice, we can ask participants of clean-up to donate to this organization and we can buy (at rather inflated prices) promotional material for this organization.
Hmm ...

Are you a horrible hog in your everyday life? You generate piles of garbage on daily basis, you waste energy senselessly, you devastate habitats of animals by burning logs in your open fire-place …?
And now you want to clean the slate.
Don't send me your money – as I will not send you the “Ego te absolvo” email.
Go for a walk, if you see some trash bend and pick it up. Don't rant about an old plastic bag on the beach – pick it up and put it where it belongs.
You got the drift? Do something – small, big – doesn't really matter and the mission is accomplished.

However, if you desperately believe that the only salvation for your soul is by donating – OK, OK, be my guest.
Our Earth saving project is based on brilliant minds and tremendous efforts by some enthusiastic foreign divers, accompanied by happy, smiling and singing local people. We constructed bomb and fishermen proof shelters for last few remaining fish. We were working and ignoring bombs detonating on the beach full of guests sipping their cocktails. If you want to learn more about how we shed blood, sweat and tears for the good of the planet – donate now!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Divemastering in Bali

Do I hear right?
You love my Divemastering?!

We tested a beta version of a new (2016) program “From snorkeler to Divemaster in one day”. This innovative program brilliantly cuts all the fat from older versions and what remains is lean and clean new dive professional. Dive shop owners are already screaming for these new version of Divemastering, so job placement will be a piece of apfelstrudel.
What qualities we (dive shop owners) always expected from our Divemasters, but never got:

a) to allow divers to focus on beauty and excitement of diving
b) to make divers crave and beg for extending their stay with us
c) to prove to our divers heavens are only on our diving boat
d) to retrieve at least 125% of divers back on the boat after a dive

Old crap, such as scheduling, planning, logistic considerations, safety issues, evaluation of the members of the group, ability to establish perfect control during the dive, expert knowledge on decompression theory, diving equipment and so on and so on – is just that, crap.

Evolution is working also in our glorious diving industry. Only the greediest, totally unscrupulous will survive. Mastodons, focusing on pure diving and not only on net profits, will be extinct as dodo in a nick of time.
Previous, “From Zero to Hero” (from non-swimmer to barely swimming dive professional) 30 day instant program is a history.

Good news and bad news for ecstatic dive shop owners.

We will officially launch the new (2016) Divemaster program probably even earlier than initially planned. In late 2014. Start thinking now, where you will invest all your new enormous profits!

However, our legal department (the only essential part of any diving business), successfully protected all the rights on this program. They had to overcome some minor issues with United Nations, as one of the stipulations is to nuke out not just any offending entity but also the country allowing any violation(s) of our copyrights.
So lesser fun providing associations will not be in position to copy our program and you (dear, valued shop owners), will have to beg us for providing the services. For a modest fee, of course.

Dear readers, if an idea that I'm showing a birdie to entities offering (or allowing) “Money Back Guarantee - Zero to Hero Programs” crossed your mind, well, who am I to argue with you?