Thursday, November 30, 2006

MBA students of Latin America coming to India

Nirmala Harrylal of Trinidad and Tobago had a dream. She wanted to get an experience of the education of IIM Ahmedabad. She has just got admission for a one month course in january 2007. Congrats Nirmala!

She is with the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Port of Spain. Her work includes design, development and execution of training and consultancy programmes for Public / Private Sector & Non-Governmental Organizations within Trinidad & Tobago & the Caribbean Region.
As a facilitator, Ms. Harrylal has planned and implemented training programmes in the areas of marketing, marketing research, advertising, consumer behaviour, human resource management, organizational behaviour, communication.

She has published many articles on a variety of management related topics such as logistics management, project management, performance management, change management, international marketing, international business issues. Her research articles are sought after by a leading network of business captains locally and internationally. She is particularly interested in researching geo-political and geo-economic emerging business issues.

I was impressed by her articles on India and China.

In May 2007 about 30 mexican management graduates are expected to join an IIM for a six months course.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This can happen only in Brazil

Here is the Reuters news item....needs no explanation or commentary.

Brazilian town's free Viagra gives elderly a boost

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) -- The mayor of a small Brazilian town has begun handing out free Viagra, spicing up the sex lives of dozens of elderly men and their partners.
"Since we started the free distribution of sexual stimulants, our elderly population changed. They're much happier," said Joao de Souza Luz, the mayor of Novo Santo Antonio, a small town in the central state of Mato Grosso.
Souza Luz said 68 men over the age of 60 already had signed up for the program, which was approved by the town's legislature and has been dubbed "Happy Penis," or "Pinto Alegre" in Portuguese.
But the program also has had the unforeseen consequence of encouraging some extramarital affairs, Souza Luz said.
"Some of the old men aren't seeking out their wives. They've got romances on the side," he said.

Addition: During Carnaval, the government of Brazil distributes millions of condoms free of cost at the parades !

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rojo Amanecer - Mexican movie

I have not got over the shocking impact of this film ( Rojo Amanaecer means red dawn) i watched on sunday night.
It is about the student uprising in Mexico in october 1968. A middle class family is caught in the tragedy of the brutal suppression of the student unrest. The family lives in Tlateloloco in Mexico city and witnesses the tragic clampdown on student protests in the Plaza de tres culturas. The two college going boys of the family are idealistic and passionate about the struggle for justice and jump into the student movement. The father, a civil servant and the housewife- mother try to calm them down, while the grandfather, a retired military officer takes care of the smaller children. The government anxious to prevent the unpleasantness of student protest on the eve of the olympics to be hosted by mexico, is determined to put an end to the student stir. The military and police get into brutal action shooting at the student crowd and killing and injuring many. They follow it up with breaking into houses and arresting and beating up students and teachers. They break into the house of this particular family and discover students hiding there. They kill the whole family and the hiding students ruthlessly.

The movie flows naturally without hype or drama, like a documentary but with a powerful impact. The movie is said to be accurate about what happened.

The film brings back vividly the memory of Tlatelolco Massacre of 2 October 1968, one of the saddest days in Mexican history. This is what actually happened. The Mexican students joined the worldwide protests and the political unrest in 1968. After nine weeks of protests, the students took out a march on 2 October, ten days before the Mexican Olympics. The security forces killed and wounded hundreds of students on that fateful day. In june 2006, Echeverria, who was president in 1968 was charged for genocide, but nothing came of it.

Of course, worse things happened in some other latin American countries under military dictatorship. Still it is a scar and a stain in recent mexican history. Octavio Paz , who was ambassador in in India at that time resigned in protest.

The director of the film Jorge Fans has shown courage besides artistic talents in making this film which was released in 1989. I also liked his other film " Midaq Alley", which also takes up a similiar bold theme.

One of the best Mexican films..

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Trip to Trinidad and Tobago

temple in the sea

Port of Spain city

Reaching Trinidad and Tobago from Guyana, I was struck by the stark contrast. While Guyana is a poor country trying to set up a traffic light system for the first time, T and T is affluent all the way. The highways, skyscrapers, luxury hotels, elegant houses with manicured lawns, tarffic jam caused by the huge increase in number of cars, the stylish MaxiTaxis with red band and shops filled with goodies... speak for the prosperity. The 11000 US dollars of per capita income is the highest in the region. Even the villages are prosperous with modern houses, good roads and all the basic amenities.

Port of Spain, the capital has lot of greenery. The Queen's park in the heart of the city is green,very large and well maintained. The hills provide a great view of the city and the sea.

The music scene is vibrant with steel band, chutney music and calypso. The Trinians are proud of their Carnival, the much anticipated event in February-march.

The Indian community tries to preserve and follow the traditional culture and rituals. The Hindu houses fly colorful flags honouring different deities. Dalpuri is a staple diet as in the other diaspora countries.

Pictures of the trip

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Eagle's Throne- novel by Carlos Fuentes

The first book of Carlos Fuentes (from mexico) I read was " Death of Artemio Cruz" . I did not finish it. I found it like catch-22, going round and round. Even my familiarity with magical realism did not help in appreciating the book. Then i tried another book " crystal frontier" about mexican emigration to gringoland. It was so so.

With this experience i started reading The Eagle's Throne hesitantly. I was in for a surprise. I enjoyed the book thoroughly. It is a political novel about the six-year cycle of mexican politics, starting with the assumption of power by the new president who gets one single non-reelectable six year term. As soon as the President is elected the conspiracies start for getting into his shoes for the next term. King makers, cabinet ministers and officials start the game of promoting and spoiling the chances of potential candidates by resorting to any means including sex,money, defamation,flattery and blackmail. For anyone who wants to understand Mexican politics, this book is the ideal guide.

Carlos Fuentes has brought out the character of mexican politicians so vividly with biting sarcasm and striking punch lines. Fuentes has filled the novel with a complete cast of characters including congressmen and druglords, lovers and mistresses, noble minded statesmen and corrupt politicians and senators and lowly clerks. He has included historical details and characters.

Fuentes has told the whole story in the form of letters from one character to another.

It starts with the letter of Maria del Rosario Galvan, the queen of politics, who starts grooming the young Nicolas Valdivia as the next President and succeeds in achieving her goal. she uses sex, seduction and blackmail so matter of factly, dispassionately and is candid about this with her adversaries and admirers. She weaves a series of schemes including sending Valdivia to get lessons and secrets from an ex-president retired playing dominoes in vera cruz. Tacito de canal, the chief of staff of the president controls access to the President and implements his orders even before the boss issues them..anticipatory compliance.

It is an extraordinary novel with suspense and thrill added to spice up the real life mexican political story.

I am going to read more books by him now.

Fuentes has quoted a mexican bolero..which has become my favourite one

No me preguntas mas
dejame imaginar
que no existe el pasado
y que nacimos
el mismo instante
en que nos conocimos

dont ask me more
let me imagine that
there was no past
we were born
at the same same time
as we met

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Speech at IIM Kolkata on 2 November

The topic of my talk was "Business and management culture of Latin America". I traced the evolution of this to the history of the conquest and colonisation by Spanish. While in north america the business precept was " consumer is king" , in latin America it was the other way," "King was the consumer". The king asked the colonisers to get him the gold and silver and let them do what they wanted. While the common law in north america laid the foundation for sound business culture, the civil law of Latamerica gave rise to Sociedad Anonymo companies which depended on trustnot on the legal sanctity of contract. The rule of men( as against rule of law) and the Latam approach of " justice to friends and law to enemies" did not help in providing a solid base for business culture of the region. Later the uncertainties of hyperinflation, debt and currency fluctuations also gave rise to the culture of making fast bucks. But now the business culture has undergone a fundamental transformation with the paradigm shift of the region politically, economically and culturally.

I talked about the "manana" culture and magical realism of Latamerica which have also influenced the management culture. There are, of course ,variations of bz and management culture depending upon the country, region ( Rio and sao paulo- so different) altitude( hill people different from the costenos), and ethnic groups ( lebanese, japanese, germans, italians...)

In my meetings with the Director, Dean and Prof Abraham( who has come back from trip to Latamerica),they showed interest in student exchanges, faculty and research cooperation and organising India programmes in Latin America and vice versa. These exchanges would add a business management dimension to the growing relations between India and Latin america. They remembered an alumni , Rakesh vaidyanathan,who is in Brazil in the business of promoting business between India and latin America.