Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are oversseas dentists good value?

I need dental work... and I know people who have had work done overseas. Apparently medical tourism is a growth industry. Where did those people go? Thailand [ the biggie ] India or the Philippines

I am having a working week off in Penang, Malaysia - their growing industry - Dental for tourists. So, I got a quote in Australia for what I thought I needed and spent a few hours yesterday visit two dentists here in Penang to see what their practices were like and what they would recommend.

Australian quote: minimum of $AUD 18,000

Full top teeth implant

Dentist 1: Wow what an operation. Clinically clean reception area, two mature clerical workers behind the front desk, check efficient and professional.

Come appointed time... Dentist welcomes me, takes me to his "room" where he has 5 assistants and screen everywhere which he later used to give me a very graphic example of the work he does.

I brought xrays from Australia which he looked at but said he had the latest 3D equipment on site which allowed a much better examination of my teeth and jaw.

After about 40 minutes I was left with three options:

Preferred option: Partial denture and implants, over 3 visits to Penang a 1 week, a 3 week and a 2 day visit, RM35,000 about $AUD 12,000 plus 3 trips and accommodation.

Option 2: Full extraction, full denture, still three visits RM25,000 which is $AUD 8,000

Option 3: Top jaw of implants - Hollywood perfect teeth MR77,000 which is $AUD 22,000 and of course the visits but I would need 4 to allow healing and adjustments.

Australia was looking OK a this stage and I knew how he could afford 5 assistants in his room, the latest gear and a amazing set up - he said people who wanted perfect teeth pay the most but are the most demanding where as I represented a good option for him as we wanted good teeth but pefection wasn't demanded but was appreciated.

Dentist 2: New modern but reception was part of the assistants duties so I need to be buzzed in to an unattended reception area, The forms and other stuff was handled efficiently not with flourish.

The dentist was a young female professional, and immediately had a more caring nature. All her equipment was new but not over the top. After a brief examination, she asked me some questions like, you have two crowns do you want to keep them and we make your top jaw function with 3 implants... and do extension preservation work on your bottom jaw.

You will need three visits - one to have bone implants to rebuild your jaw - we use a professor from KL university who visits monthly and is the best - "He teaches others the latest techniques " He maybe be able to insert the implant posts in that operation but won't be able to tell until the operation is in progress - this won't change the price but is about healing. If they can't be done then you will need a longer visit on one of the subsequent trips to Penang.

She said... I think altogether maybe MR15,000 and 3 visits.

And here is where the healing kicked in. "Would you like me to do a cleaning and descale now?" I said yes, we discussed how much what she was doing would be in Australia - she had friends thee in Dentistry, and then proceed to clean my teeth. The bill for the examination, and clean RM 140 about $AUD 45

Now I would choose her if I proceed in Penang but the Australian options are looking attractive because of the added need to visit Penang 3 or 4 times for a total of a month to allow healing etc.

It is not going to be an easy decision.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is a Gruen Transfer?

It is day 3 of my break in Penang Malaysia - and the world couldn't be further away. The Gruen Transfer was the only Australian TV program showing at the Park Royal and it still had Todd Sampson on and Donald Trump wasn't US president yet...

And yesterday was a public holiday here for the new king - who knew Malaysia had a king - it swaps every 5 years and seems to keep everyone happy.

And I am shielded from my West Coast Eagles losing to Hawthorne. Three more days!!

What is a Gruen Transfer:

In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer (also known as the Gruen effect) is the moment when consumers enter a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, lose track of their original intentions, making consumers more susceptible to make impulse buys.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hop On Hop Off buses - tourist delight or a rip off?

Hop On Hop Off Bus Penang
Joanne has succumbed to the ubiquitous Hop on Hop off Bus Tour in each new city - London, Naples, Barcelona so yesterday our first day in Penang it was Hop On Hop Off bus day.
My first thought it was reasonably priced - 45 RM about $15 Aus each against maybe 3 times that in Barcelona.

Penang splits its tour into Beach and city. As we are already at the beach Batu Ferringhi we decided to complete the beach tour and then break to look at the high end malls on Gurney Road in George Town.

The bus came... a relevantly modern vehicle but with the now compulsory sign - we are upgarding [ fill in spot ] so the next people will be an experience they paid for?? In this case it was commentary was being upgrade but in the meantime the stops will be described - number 17 stop Batu Ferringhi where we have the Holiday Inn and the Park Royal.

Mmmm I wonder if I will ever be the tourist who gets there when it is all done - the Park Royal is undergoing an upgrade so if we had of come in July rather than April it would be really wonderful.

The Beach Tour was great - the city tour was, without commentary a very long ride in a bus through the perpetual George Town traffic jam.. bloody horrible.

Park Royal Pool Area
The Hotel is great, the food fantastic and the pool warm and CLEAN. Joanne is off at the spar so she should be a new woman when she come back

Verdict on Hop On Hop Off Bus 100% for Beach Tour 0% for City Tour so 50/50 but not recommended until there is commentary - how much of a broken down city can you stand without being told why it is broken down??

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Are we there yet?

Petronas Towers KL Malaysia
On my way to Penang - in thr golden Lounge at KL Airport - enough time to have something to eat, toilet, and make a post.

The KL airport is amazing... driverless train between terminals and everyone is friendly - importantly books are CHEAP. Why are books so expensive in Australia.

Will let you know when we get to Penang - bloody cold... supposed to be 30c outside but the aircon seems to be on -10c and of course Jaonne and I are dressed for 30c... are they goose bumps... YES!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Are you a citizen of the world?

Blu the Bengal
Today I am in Perth Western Australia

Tomorrow when I update this I will be in transit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

And on Sunday I will be updating from Penang.

How about you??

Joanne [ she who must be obeyed at my place ] has Italian heritage so has two passports... an Australian one and a Italian one ] last year after a month in Italy she said she had started to THINK in Italian... when we were in Spain she was as confused as me... me with English and no Spanish, Joanne with English, Italian and some Spanish

Matthew runs the Middle East part of our business and has permanent residence in Qatar.

Erica with her dual passports lived in London for 12 years before the cold winters lost out to the Perth beaches, sounds like she was born in the UK...

How about you?

[ And Blu the cat is a Bengal! ]

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why don't Doctors care about their patients?

Skin Cancers
A quick question first: Why do we want to rant more than we want to compliment?? Human nature?? I don't know.

Anyway, here goes...
Once a year I visit my health care professional [ code for Doctor ] to have my skin checked for small cancers - a benefit of living in a sun soaked county like Australia. It usually ends with a nitrogen freeze unit for the obvious ones, a prescription of the unseen ones and about every three years a scaple for the bad ones... it has been my lot for maybe 30 years. Big price to pay for 3 years in the sun as a teenage surfer.

Step 1: Make and appointment - Dr "xxxxx" isn't here any more [ 2016 ] Apparently he did something he shouldn't have when a patient was hipnotised! Who is the best GP you have for skin probelms... Well Dr J is a world renowned expert [ as you would be coming from Perth ] "Can I see him"

And he was great, had a nitrogen bottle and said "Nothing bad was happening see you next year!"

Step 1 [ 2017 ]: Everything is no online... try to make an appointment with Dr J but he isn't on the list anymore - do some research, he is shift practice and it closer to me [ but wouldn't it have been nice if they had told me?? ]

Step 2: Make an appointment. Tuesday 11,15am - very efficient a text message comes with a code to have me fill in to confirm I am a human. Done all good.

8am Tuesday Text message - CONFIRM YOU ARE COMING Done!

I take the trip to the city, via the Post Office to collect more copies of The5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

10.15 Text message from Dr J - Don't be late!!

10.50 arrive at Drs, fill in all the forms and that important Medicare number so they can get paid

11.45 I leave - no Doctor, no explanation, nothing.

Don't medical professionals get it - patients time is valuable too. Patients are people, explain why you hassled me to be on time but then ignored me...

Apparently they were a Doctor short and they were behind - didn't they know that when they were hassling me to be on time?? Didn't they kn ow that when I was filling in their forms?? Didn't they know that when I was asked to take a seat "Dr J will be with you shortly"?

Maybe they did but did they think to tell me to be able to make a decision about whether to wait, or reschedule - I had a 12 noon important appointment with my dentist around the corner.

What did they do?? NOTHING!! After the event an apology and explanation were offered - too late and also rude!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fake News? No it's from YOUR Government

USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier
We got closer to a full blown conflict with the hermit state North Korea last week...


The US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and 4 other war ships were steaming toward North Korea BUT they were actually going the opposite way to Australia in play in friendly war game.

All over the Western World Easter gatherings were discussing what Trump / Kim Jung Un would be doing next. I was at one of those gathering where those thoughts were expressed loudly. I differ dramatically politically with the person showing genuine concern and it reminded me of parties during the Vietnam War debate in Australia where I was asked not to bring my friend because he was so loud in his views he made people uncomfortable.

But hey, all the emotion was based on Official FAKE News. It must be right if the White House said it was happening? Must'n it?

Oh we are in strange times. My first thought when the news broke the UK was having a General Election on June 8th was "Is it true?" So, I stayed up for hours seeing Ms May telling me it was true.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What is an essential writers tool in 2017

Backpack - modern writers must have
Sometimes change comes hard and takes a while!!

I have walked every morning nearly without exception for a coffee and a walk back - in frozen UK, balmy Italy, near LAX in the USA, amongst the lions in Kenya, in heat and sand in Doha, rain, hail and shine [ mostly shine ] in Perth every major city in Perth [ even Hobart! ] and ideas to write always pop into my head - but my trusty computer [ Now a Microsoft Surface - wow they are good ] has been else where.

The solution has always been staring me in the face - a back pack! [ staring me in the back I should say ] This morning is day 2 of walking with my trusty computer strapped to my back.

And I will - I promise self - write every morning and post it here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Practicing for the life a blogger on the move

It is Easter Monday in Perth - I am practising my "on the go" stuff for the week in Penang - so new backpack, wifi connection at Macca's but needed to shift the travellers from my spot.

Apparently a young couple camped here for 3 hours last week, and when asked to remove feet from chairs, complained to Head Office and demanded free coffee and food... oh the first worlds problems of the 21st century... I would have been banished for feet on chairs... but now feet on chairs is an inalienable right and for that being infringed, give me some free food... I have lots to learn.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Retire the Idea of Retirement

Retire the Idea of Retirement
It is a purple kind of day
Stop planning what you’ll do when your career ends and figure out how to continue it—on your own terms. “The second half of your life can be more fulfilling, more rewarding, and richer than the first half,” says John Anderson, author of the upcoming book Living Your Legacy. People over 50 are launching more businesses than their younger peers, and many corporate types are boomeranging out of retirement and back to their former firms to work part-time. Your future will be far more exciting if you find new ways to keep building on what you have learned and nurture the next generation .

Monday, April 10, 2017

Are mobile phones the new black?

We do a session called Successfully Managing People which talks about digital immigrants and digital natives. I hear all the item that “young people are always on their phone” and I would nearly always believe that the person saying that is not giving a compliment.

My attention was drawn to this article in the Age newspaper about how the use of a phone by a young person was negatively viewed and how some quick thinking saved the day.

“I was ready for my first advisory board meeting at Blackboard, an educational software company in Washington, DC. Most 17-year-olds don't go to eight-hour board meetings, but Blackboard had invited me to participate as a member of the generation that the company serves. The board members thought I could give them some ideas about what makes us different from the people who came before us.

I was honoured but mainly petrified, afraid I would disappoint them. I knew that many boards lack a younger voice and wanted to set an example so that they would know that we are worth bringing to the table.

When I entered the big conference room, a vice-president named Craig Chanoff asked me to sit next to him. Whew. I felt as if I were being invited to the right table in the cafeteria on the first day of high school. And there was another good thing: I was comfortable with Blackboard's business.

The company has an app that helps high school students identify our interests and narrow down our college choices. Something I find very cool about this app is that it is very visual and easy to navigate.

So when an executive began talking to the board about marketing strategies for Blackboard's new services, I felt I knew what he was talking about.

But when he started to get into specifics, I noticed that other people were pulling out their laptops and notepads. I knew I had better take notes, so I reached for my phone. That's what I like to use. The next presentation was even more intense and detailed, and I typed out as much as I could and thought I was keeping up pretty well.

Before I knew it, it was time for a break. Two hours had gone by, and I realised that I could get through eight hours of this. My thumbs would be sore from all the note taking, but I didn't think I had looked like an idiot, which was my main concern.

If I could figure out a way to pipe up with some opinions in the afternoon sessions, I might just feel good about my first meeting. As I headed to the bathroom feeling on top of my advisory board game, Craig pulled me aside and said, "Listen, you're doing great, but I want you to be super-successful here."

What really upset me at the meeting was the assumption that by pulling out my phone, I wasn't paying attention.


"Many board members noticed that you were on your phone a lot," he said. "If you can hold out on texting friends or checking your Twitter feed until the breaks, that would be great."

Mission failed. Now I did feel like an idiot.

But I was also quite angry. The thing is, I hadn't checked my Twitter feed for over two hours. I'd been taking notes.

I walked down the hall and began to think. I realised that my friends and I are glued to our phones all day long. That's just the way we are. Phones are crucial to our identities and lifestyle. Telling people in my generation to put our phones away is not a solution. Just ask our teachers how that has worked for them.

Even so, the workplace is not ready for how often we are going to pull out our phones. Rather than fight it, I think the other generations are going to have to learn to let go and adapt to us. The reality is that social media breaks take less than 15 seconds and can be re-energising. That's less time than the widely accepted practice of taking breaks for coffee or snacks.

That said, there is no denying that we will need to be mentored so we know when even a 15-second break is unacceptable. The good news is that teachers have been trying to coach us about this for years. We can learn and we can adapt, if the other generations adapt, too.

What really upset me at the meeting was the assumption that by pulling out my phone, I wasn't paying attention. I'm a digital native. My friends and I have only known a world where phones are smart. My iPhone is a computer, and it's natural to take notes on it.

I thought I was being diligent, yet they thought I was being rude. I even thought I was being efficient by quickly looking up something online and not missing a beat, and they thought I was playing video games. Clearly, my generation cannot assume the older generations know how we use technology.

Rather than allow others to see our phones as a distraction, we have work to do to prove that our phones are vital tools that we need to get the job done.

Just as I was feeling better about what had happened, my phone buzzed. It was a text from Craig that said: "Hurry up. We are starting again soon." And so I walked back to the conference room.

As much as I hated the feeling of being reprimanded, I was glad that Craig had pulled me aside and had given me a heads-up. So before we resumed the meeting, I told him that I had been taking notes on my phone, and not using it to text or check Twitter or any other social media.

Craig seemed to appreciate that. And he was nice enough to announce after the break that if anyone needed notes from the earlier presentations, I could text them from my phone. I knew what he was doing and why. My generation will need mentors like Craig who will listen to us and look out for us.

Jonah Stillman is the author with his father, David Stillman, of Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace.

Originally  published:

Sunday, April 09, 2017

How Many of these books are worth reading

James Altucher listed 40 books he reads again and again.

I thought I would see which ones I have read and which ones maybe I should read. Here goes my take on Altucher’s list:

James says: “Time is the ultimate judge of wisdom. How you bounce back from misery and despair in order to thrive. I hope I learned that from these books.”
  1. Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl
This book is a hard read and my thoughts are you need to be in a “dark” place so it can give you “light” I wasn’t in such a dark place when I read it [ Twice ] so I read it for professional curiosity and must admit it didn’t do anything for me.
  1. Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb (and “The Black Swan” and “Fooled by Randomness” by him)
I read “The Black Swan” because I come from a place where that is the norm… Swan’s in Perth, Western Australia are BLACK. So white swans are those things that are unusual. I found the book challenging and helpful.
  1. Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed
I have just come across Cheryl Strayed in a podcast and want to read her book.
  1. Master of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz
This one I haven’t read and I don’t see any desire to read it - yet!!
  1. Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers
After hearing Derek Sivers on James’s podcast I ordered this book [ have since ordered 6 and given all but the first one away. ] My first reaction when it arrived is that is wasn’t very thick and that it better be good for the $20 odd it cost. It is a very useful book offering many insights. I use it for my management seminars and use the example of Sivers’ creating a manual of “What would Derek Do?”
I also use… “it is either HELL YES or no!” Just used that yesterday when something I was half hearted about, and I had said YES [ mistakenly ] I needed to explain that by saying yes to them I had said no to me… but what I needed to do was more important than their yes. It was hard saying this BUT I feel much better now.
  1. Mindset” by Carol Dweck
  2. Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  1. Sapiens” by Yuval something.
I see people rave about this but I can’t get it!
  1. The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
  2. Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
  3. Jesus’ Son” by Denis Johnson (a collection of short stories, not a religious book)
  4. The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley (and the Evolution of Everything by him)
These four I haven’t read… and probably won’t.
  1. Bold” by Peter D. and Steven Kotler
Just love this book and “Abundance,” the first one. I often use examples from “Abundance” about how the world is soo much better than C[onsanttly] N[egative] N[ews] reports. Diamandis’s books are a source of inspiration.
  1. Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell
The work of Gladwell will live for ever. I read and reread his books for ideas.
  1. Peak” by Anders Ericsson
  2. The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer (along with The Untethered Soul by him)
  3. Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist” by Stephen Batchelor
Tim Ferriss references these authors although I can’t say I am a fan.
  1. Mastery” by Robert Greene
Greene’s books are very well researched and get brain fooder
  1. Zero to One” by Peter Thiel
Thiel, a Silicon Valley super Hero and Outcast [ at the same time ] challenges everything in this great read.
  1. War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield (and “Turning Pro“)
To help me write better, I have started to read and study the thoughts of Pressfield. Not a fan yet but getting there.
  1. Post Office” by Charles Bukowski
Not heard of this one before.
  1. Purple Cow” by Seth Godin
I can still recall reading this many years ago as if it were this morning… “Look dad, a purple cow!” The works of Seth are pure genius.
  1. Maus” by Art Spiegelman
Haven’t got the urge to find this one.
  1. On Writing” by Stephen King
This is in my toolbox for learning to write better. It is also a good read.
  1. How We Got to Now” by Stephen Johnson (and his book on ideas)
  2. Creativity, Inc” by Ed Catmull
  3. Sick in the Head” by Judd Apatow
  4. Born Standing Up” by Steve Martin
The previous 4 books hold no interest at this stage.
  1. The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (and “Practicing the Power of Now” by him)
Great reads for those looking for a purpose… apparently an Oprah favourite authour.
  1. 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
  2. Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut
  3. A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  5. The Stranger” by Albert Camus
These 7 books haven’t spoken to me as yet. I have had the Harry Browne book for 5 years but it hasn’t jump off the bookshelf demanding to be read. The others are not on my radar.
  1. The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo
I would have read 15 of Coelho’s works, his blog, his tweets… my favourite resource is the favour bank from “The Zahir.” Coelho is the MASTER.
  1. The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner
  2. The New Evolution Diet” by Art Devany
  3. Poking the Dead Frog” by Mike Sacks
And rounding our James’s 40 recommended reads are three books that I haven’t considered and probably won’t.
To contemplate: Here is an interesting aside. If you looked at a list like this what would you think?? Have you read enough books to actually contemplate those you have read, those you want to read, and those which have no interest at all?