It takes a while…

…but it isn’t that much longer than you would expect if you consider disturbances from multiple sources and their side-effects.

As usual, I share the link to these posts in my business&private social networking profiles, but I post on the business side exclusively what about business&politics: so, here is a mix 🙂

This week I decided to (mainly) stay away from the news- hence, (almost) no news links on Twitter and Linkedin, and no digest tomorrow (it wouldn’t make sense).

It was certainly in part due to being a “busy working bee” since late August, but that did not refrain me from publishing a first post-summer issue of the multilingual news digest, or few more posts here and there.

The main reason? As the focus of my news review is Europe (from and about it), I remembered what I was told in the Army: shooting on the Red Cross would be “un-sportsmanlike”: too easy a target.

And certainly over the last few weeks Europe is mumbling its way through a tsunami of mishaps that in part are self-inflicted, in part due to third party activities, but overall a side-effect of an inability to plan and decide.

It is impressive that we got so far basically by (as I wrote repeatedly in the past) “leveraging on crises”, i.e. pushing through change thanks to crises, using crises as excuses, or even (once in a while) generating crises that then needed to be solved… democratic oversight optional.

In Italy, this is customary: I wrote before how, in the early 1970s, I saw that what happened in Southern Italy in squares had been simply invisible in Northern Italy- “omerta'” as a way to build consensus is a risky approach, as those involved can always jump ship, and nobody is really responsible end-to-end.

Outside my work, I see that the usual Circus is still running, so my update on Linkedin is focused on assuming that I will have to be sticking around for a while, and therefore I am planning accordingly.

Invisible online, my publishing plan continued, and by the end of the next month there will be some material to share.

Few of you probably noticed that in my last books I started using Issuu.com as a “sharing platform”, and Slideshare just for presentations: the side-effect is that I had to renounce to some option on Kindle, and publish mainly the paper version on Amazon, with the Kindle version as a freebie for those buying the paper version.

The reason is simple: Slideshare is a little bit cumbersome for bookreading, and, after designing and releasing a series composed by few mini-books (a business case on compliance- see http://www.issuu.com/robertolofaro), I did re-release BerlinDiaries as a freely downloadable book (but you are welcome to buy it on paper and get the Kindle version for free).

Re-releasing that book is obviously a further stepping stone toward another new book, in this case inspired by my visit to the Expo2015.

I still do not understand the local Circus: their behavior is only ensuring that their pampered children and grandsons/granddaughters, expecting to inherit their “roles”, not to have to earn it, will become a larger chunk of aspirants to benefit from a dwindling tax base, and now most of those attending Italian universities with no hope of being “coopted” are simply preparing to export their brains and knowledge that was transferred to them abroad.

Further reducing the tax base that should support the various bits and pieces of the various branches of the local Circus (as with the “omerta'”, that is the really successful “private public” enterprise in Italy- in public spending, we aren’t just “pork barreling”, we try to systematically convert anything into a pork barrel).

My longer-term readers will remember that my “solution” was simply to attract more foreigners- and not just for Foreign Direct Investment: I meant foreign communities and individuals.

As in Italy we are doing, decades later, the same “demographic timebomb building” that other countries did with their former empires, i.e. creating “cultural walls” within our communities.

I didn’t leave Turin for a while (except for my July 4th visit to the Expo2015 near Milan), but I still see routinely, when going in the center, how Italians often avoid shops owned by foreigners- and that reminds me how (experience shared by others) I was in the early 1990s “grilled” by people who were supposed to be open-minded (artists and the like) in Germany, simply because I looked younger than my mid-20s, and they could not believe that I was doing what I was doing- organizational change, or that I had turned down at the last minute (really: I was in front of HR with the CFO and declined to sign as the agreement had been changed- pacta servanda sunt) an option to become a financial controller for a large company that was on an acquisition path at 27.

It is sad to see the same in Italy over 20 years later, as at least my German friends admitted that they were German-German (I and my better half split as eventually she could not leave Germany for The Netherlands, as we had planned, and I had had enough of people who didn’t have a clue using each encounter to “test”: if I had told that I was an hairdresser or pizza cook it would have been fine, so imagine thinking of doing my job in Germany :D).

What I saw in Berlin was different, and I met in the 2000s foreign friends and colleagues who were happily living and working in Germany, so maybe it was just too early (my experience was while the American were closing down bases all around Baden-W and new taxes were set up to pay for what they called “Ossies”- or something like that).

So, I do not really understand my own fellow Italians: once, twice, then you get tired of listening how we had an empire, how we have a Church that was organized 2,000 years ago and still thrives… as if my American friends were to turn each day into a Thanksgiving turkey feast 🙂

And, incidentally, I remembered today (thanks to an “endorsement” on Linkedin), how probably my latest (hopefully not last!) Thanksgiving eating turkey was… in German Switzerland, along with an Asian-American colleague and my Swiss partner and his family.

While I was still in Brussels, beside listening to Russian and Chinese courses on the way in and out of my temporary job in the last phase of my presence (about 5km), I then got used to listen to another course of introductory Arabic while doing house chores.

Over the last few years in Italy, I made a point of using few words with foreign shopkeepers, as my concept of our future language is closer that that depicted in “Code 46”, a pidgin based on English with a mixing with other leading languages, plus local words.

And, as I wrote I think in 2008 or 2009, that isn’t to far from reality: while living nearby Schuman, in Brussels, within the European area, once a friend brought in a friend from France, and so we switched to French- and we were a not-so-small group.

After a while, he said: “which language are you speaking”? And we replied “French”. And he replied: “no, it isn’t French” 😀

Polish, German, Lebanese, Italian, English, Hungarian, Dutch, whatever: we were so used to understand each other as “pub friends”, that we didn’t really realize that, while in office we used “official” languages, while between us we happily mixed and matched- we understood from the context, and then gradually started replacing, as if by consensus, “standard” words with our preferred choices…

Yes, I confess (and this isn’ the first time): the diplomats and Eurocrats kept repeating between pints of beer the Brussels Expat mantra- you either love Brussels, or you hate it; and I was obviously the former, also because I know of few multinational towns in the world were, if you get tired of the Washington-like closeness and “talking shop” (or gossiping about it) you have just to go to one of the rail stations in town, spend few dozen EUR, and within less than two hours you can be… in another multinational town with a different ambiance 🙂

As I wrote above: it seems that I will have to stick around longer than I expected, and therefore, beside writing few more books, joining/rejoining few more associations outside the borders, and maybe at last working seriously on my Go/Weiqi/Baduk skills (there are enough Asians now in Turin to be able to at last find humans to play with :D), I should be able to go ahead with my old language skills plan- and complete “basic+” on all the official languages of the UN

So far I can read fluently only English, French, Spanish, and speak mainly the first two fluenty, albeit the third once in a while “is on a business level”, as I told in Brussels by native speakers- and maybe Go will help also in using my Chinese, so that, after “testing” Chinese and German, I will have time to re-work on Russian and Arabic.

You have to escape terminal boredom somehow, and as do not want to bring anybody into my Circus (it would be unfair), better to keep the brain busy- as for the body, once in a while update about my “roadrunner status”, but I am back on my Brussels daily mileage (albeit I have still to work on my running upstairs “a bout de souffle”, but without the special effects of J-L Godard movie :D)

Now, if my mobile phone could stop downloading updates, I would like to use it 😀

To paraphrase an Italian culture minister (I posted the funny video a while ago): “please, do visit Italy”- not because we need you money (OK, we do), but because we need to have a continuous brain-storm to wake us from our torpor induced by keeping talking to the world while looking only at our own belly button 🙂

Have a nice Sunday!

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