Thursday, August 26, 2010

The "ethical" nature of Western companies

A while ago one of our clients, before assigning a job, explicitly told me that they wouldn't allow child labour in India for their jobs.

Of course this high noted and important condition is a give-away for us. Not many children are able to do the computer work we do. As a consequence direct child labour in our offices is unthinkable. In this respect I can just declare everything on a formal paper, so that the 'ethical' need of our client is satisfied. This formal declaration probably lands on a Western desk and will be used for all kinds of marketing purposes.

At the same time however, when you analyse this condition and what's behind of it, the picture isn't so clear any more:
- the ethical condition this client poses doesn't lead to a choice to pay more for the services, at any time he will choose for the cheapest service provider, probably also forced by the current economical crisis going on;
- though direct child labour is easily avoided in our kind of services, the jobs go within India to the lowest possible salaries and the cheapest employees whenever applicable. These employees are all parents. They have to feed their kids and try to collect enough money for their education;
- to be able to do this for their own kids, they lay a high financial pressure on the lower social classes providing services for them; often it leads to a situation where the children in these social classes don't receive any formal education any more and even are forced to do all kinds of low paid jobs to support their family. At the bottom - and I'm talking here about at least 50% of the Indian population - there's only poverty;
- even the lifes of what we could call the social middle-classes is in India always at the edge, and nowhere comparable to what we call 'middle-class' in West.

The whole capitalist system with its typical financial cascade of degradation towards the lower classes is producing poverty and inhuman situations in a structural and systematical way.
This system is invented, implemented and refined by the West and all companies participating in it.

To limit this issue to a formal declaration of the very specific moral objection of 'no child labour' and using the same for marketing purposes in any way, is highly hypocritical and opportunistic. It only serves the own targets.

I include some photographs taken in Gurgaon at a walking distance from our office.
I think I'll never get used to this, neither do I know how to handle it.

Perhaps I should go and ask the people in the pictures to sign me a formal statement that they won't do bad things to the pigs, dogs and cows who live with them on the waste belt, before I let them process my own waste.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Independence Day

As I often proclaim in my blogs, reality always wins over all virtualisations of it.

Much is said about the colonisation and the influences of it on the local cultures.
Objective observations lead to the general conclusion, that once the colonisators left the colonies, the independence of the latter has not led to prosperity for their populations. Often these countries fared not well, as can be seen in Congo, once a Belgian colony, and India, one of the British colonies as we all well know.

As one struggles to understand nowadays India, one of the historically evidenced British policies is to be taken seriously into account: Macaulayism.
The word 'Macaulayism' is derived from the name of Thomas Macaulay, an English poet and politician who lived from 1800 till 1859. In 1830 he became a Member of British Parliament and as such he influenced the Brits India-politics to a great deal.

From his political testament two attitudes towards own and local (colonised) cultures are striking:

1) The superiority of the colonisator's culture

These are his words: "I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanscrit works. I have conversed, both here and at home, with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues. I am quite ready to take the oriental learning at the valuation of the orientalists themselves. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is indeed fully admitted by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education.”
Another citation: "It is said that the Sanscrit and the Arabic are the languages in which the sacred books of a hundred millions of people are written, and that they are on that account entitled to peculiar encouragement. Assuredly it is the duty of the British Government in India to be not only tolerant but neutral on all religious questions. But to encourage the study of a literature, admitted to be of small intrinsic value, only because that literature inculcated the most serious errors on the most important subjects, is a course hardly reconcilable with reason, with morality, or even with that very neutrality which ought, as we all agree, to be sacredly preserved. It is confined that a language is barren of useful knowledge. We are to teach it because it is fruitful of monstrous superstitions. We are to teach false history, false astronomy, false medicine, because we find them in company with a false religion."

I don't think the tendency of these words need to be explained. Nowadays westerners should be very aware that their self-proclaimed cultural 'superiority' is in fact possibly leading to the destruction of mankind and even earth.

Despite our western 'enlightened', 'French-revolutionised' and 'scientific' thinking, western culture has simply no clue how to behave in a world which is bigger than what the mind can grasp and control.
All signs are there that in one or another way western culture lost something along the way, by limiting thinking to rational and serial thinking, to the execution of plans, assuming that the world, including societies, are rational in se.

Of course, Thomas Macaulay was a child of his time. He could not know then that his conviction of western 'superiority' would be refuted two hundred years later by the outcome of it in reality.
Nevertheless, such convictions have proven to be false by the effects.
Though I'm not religious myself, I consider the current culture in the west and it's basic assumptions to not contain enough elements any more to provide an effective (in reality) and (thus) truthful world view. Ratio, logic, serial thinking, the omission of all religious elements and traditions in thinking can only lead to an artificial view on humans and societies.
And we all know by now to what this kind of artificiality leads.

2) The destruction of cultures by the British colonisators

While the cultural colonisation of Belgian Congo was inspired by the Catholic religion, the British colonisator seems to have taken a more practical, organisational and logical-rational approach.

Thomas Macaulay's words: "It is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population."

After 60 years of independence, India still seems to doubt between its Hindu/Muslim/Sikh/Jain/... deeply religious culture (I explicitly take the same stand towards all religions you find here) and this western ideology of "western taste, opinions, morals and intellect".
One can feel throughout the society that Indians are teached to admire the 'superior' white culture. One can feel daily that the result of this is kind of an 'underdog' sentiment towards the own identity, which leads often to a exaggerated and wrong-placed arrogance in fields which are not to the point.

Indians are quite easy-going and optimistic in nature, which is one of the great pleasures to be here. For everything there's a solution given that you have the time to interact with people. Indians themselves express their basic attitude as "To Live and Let Live".

I think that this basic Indian attitude is the reason why this Macaulayism in the organisational levels is still so apparent.
But ... we see the effects of colonisation and 60 years of Macaulayist independence: the country quickly evolutes into pure chaos.

I have asked this in previous blogs: Where are the (religious inspired) Indian intellectuals able to make a cultural synthesis of this beautiful religious heritage and to outline a blueprint for self-defined development of this country. Take the good things from the West, but for God's sake don't deny and abuse your mainly Hindu/Islamic heritage.
1.2 billion people are depending on you and will support you.

Don't reach out to become a weak copy of a perceived and manipulated image of the west.
Search for India's soul with your common people instead.

When will India's soul become truly independent?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Only money can be a motivator

From the stories I heard last half year, the Indian embassy in Belgium is making more and more problems in granting some types of visa to candidates from abroad. Though my wife and I never found any problem with this, recently we faced the same hindrance in developing our Indian business further.

A while ago I received an email from a young Belgian who travelled for several years throughout Asia, including two years in India. Apart from that he also worked two years for a local publisher in Sri Lanka, as a volunteer.
Though he has had a good education in IT and psychology, he did only work in several companies to provide him money for his travels. So he had no real career or anything yet.

But he fell in love with India and became attracted to Indian yoga and spirituality.

A year after his return to Belgium, he starts considering to move to India, so he was looking around for a job there. So he found us through Google and emailed us with the question if we could use him in our Indian office.

At first I was afraid about him being one of those late-born hippies: long hair, smoking pot, the type which has problems to concentrate on anything except finding money for the next dose.

Still, while in Belgium in July, we decided to invite him for a meeting. And his motives and expectations were very realistic. I told him clearly, as he had no real work experience and no knowledge about the job, that I could only offer him like I would offer to any Indian fresher. Of course this candidate had a very important and valuable skill for the company: speaking Dutch.
He accepted my offer.

A week later, I had prepared all the documents, the invitation letter and the labour contract which were needed for him to apply for an employment visa in India.

Ten days later I get an email from him: Indian embassy refuses the visa on the basis that his salary is too low.

So I do a second proposal, in which I offer him the absolute maximum which I could possibly give to the best Indian candidate. Again all papers were send to the Indian embassy.

Again ten days later the Belgian candidate gets a direct phone from someone from the Indian embassy. He was asked why he was interested to accept a job at such a low salary if he "can have at least double in Belgium". He answered: I want to build a career and a life in India because I love your country.

The embassy-administrator answered:



My questions to the Indian embassy and to Indians in general:

- Do you support the statement that "Money is the only motivator" ?

- Do you really understand the negativism in the image of India that such embassy personnel is sending out ?

- Do you really support western companies to positively discriminate white people and thus discriminate Indians ?


To a simple westerner like me the situation is clear:
- If a white employee wants to accept a job at Indian conditions, but he has a skill that I could not find in India in the past 5 years, then the candidate is valuable. This does not mean I can use him profitably immediately, but we will teach him, just like we do every other Indian. As a consequence he should not be payed more than any other Indian entering the company;
- Motivation is very subjective in nature. The salary is only a small part in the total experienced remuneration. I'm still especially proud on the fact that no employee left out of free will our (small) company to work for another company;
- If I were an Indian myself, I would be proud on my country if people from abroad would be willing to live in these conditions out of interest in Indian culture. Not so the Indian officials!!!!!!! What image of India are they sending out to the world?
- It becomes for me increasingly clear that the Indian happy few are just despising India's culture and that it's their own responsibility that the society quickly evolutes to a grab-and-greed culture!

According to me, the embassy statement "Only money can be a motivator" implies the following:
- Indian officials are NOT proud on their culture;
- Indian officials are trying to discriminate Indians voluntarily;
- Indian officials are promoting a wrong image of India to the outer world;

Hopefully the expressed statement by one of the Indian embassy officials is only a personal opinion (which I doubt though), I demand apologies from this official in the name of India and its population!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

SMS terror

Despite telling Airtel already long ago that she does not want to receive marketing sms messages, this is the list of sms-messages my wife received on Saturday 7th August 2010. I myself don't carry a mobile in India anymore, as it disturbs me constantly from what I'm doing.

from: Airtel
Your approx. unbilled usage as on 07/08/2010 00hrs is 0.9(excludes monthly charges/roaming usage/discounts). Actual amount will reflect in the next bill.

from: a friend
A friend with mobile no. 7501621236 has sent you a sms. To stop receiving sms, visit Register at & send FREE SMSM across INDIA

from: TD.NoidaExt
Now Launched Noida Extn's Most Presigious Project CHERRY COUNTY frm makers of Olive County & Orange County. Indirapuram. Contact. bookyourflat@9891172286

from: TD.InvestCL
Supertech launches "CAPE TOWN" at Sec 74,Noida * 2BHK 23,4 lac (al inclusv) * 3BHK 30.2 lac (al inclusv) * Adjoining 100 acres park. SMS IP to 54999

from: TD.DryClean
DRYCLEAN@40.any fab wearable.even blankets/curtains. Top up your existing pkg or opt for new.Available till 10/8/10 by just paying 1000 for 20 articles t/c apply logon to or call 'SUPER' drycleaners at 9999369369.9999742742.9999752752

Enjoy Happy Family Holidays with Club Mahindra! Sign up & get FREE 32 inch Panasonic LCD TV + 7 days internatnl holiday. Call 9958141043 / sms HOLIDAY to 54545

J.P. launches Kensington Boulevard. Apart@2850/ft on DP next to Golf Course & Knights. Court@5670/ft. on the GOLF COURSE on Noida X-way. 2/3/4 bhk. SMS JP to 53456

from: TD4ReadMe
Studio Appartment @rs 4.95 lacs only.30 Mins Drive Away from Gurgaon. Reknowned Builder. Limited Units. For best deal and Location call now 9910417501.9718863121

from: TD.SALON
L'Oreal Presents "INOA" HAIR CoLoR giving u a superior result. Call/Visit: SONIA's HAIR BEAUTY MAKE UP STUDIO. DLF-CITY II, GURGAON. 9811031773

from: TM-Univ18
University18 Announces One Year Online Executive MBA, MS (IT) Programs for Working Professionals in India & Singapore. SMS U18 to 56070 to know more.


I stop here, but if you - being my highly estimated reader - think that you miss some very interesting offer from the afternoon, don't hesitate to contact me.
You can simply call 9811031773 or SMS U18 to 56070 to know more.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Anamika suffers

Corruption is in India not something which is hidden.
Corruption is the way the whole country is organised !
In India, it is supported by the State itself and by the higher social classes!
And as a result ... Anamika suffers.

The Indian money on Swiss bank accounts can pay back India's total statedebt thirteenfold. Read the article of which I placed the link at the bottom.
While Anamika suffers.

When I start talking about the shame of poverty, Indians often reply: "I'm sure you mean to do good, but you don't know anything about India." (they are right of course - what do you expect?)
Another popular reply from Indians: "If you don't like it the way it is here, then leave the country."
Some say: "Well, India IS a poor country, and the poverty is caused by the Brits."
My only reply can be then: "I pay my taxes, so I think I have the right to express my opinions."

This grab-and-destroy culture on State-level absolutely needs to be addressed by the rich and powerful in the first place! They even don't need to change their attitude for the sake of morals. Morals has even nothing to do with it!
I refer to the fact that Social Security in Europe was started by the upper classes out of fear for the spread of physical diseases and other motivations originating from self-interest.

No matter what image of India Indians are upholding towards people from abroad who move from 5-star hotel to fancy continental restaurant and back. No matter what Embassy employees, living in farm houses of which the monthly rent is higher than a
yearincome of an average Indian family, show in their expensive brochures to promote India as the "evolving market where you need to be present".
India is a country which is NOT (yet?) ruled by law, justice, rational organisation and compassion.
It is ruled by greed, envy, self-interest, moneypower and destruction.

And so ... Anamika suffers.

It will take still many decades to change this.
What is the planning in this respect?

Can somebody explain me how this way of organising a society is
doing honour to such a rich Hindu-culture? Or am I wrong asking this question?
Does Hinduism perhaps lack a moral chapter and aren't there ethical implications in the religion which can support a better organisation of this society?

To end the suffering of Anamika.

India still has to find its own soul.
Where are the intellectuals? Are they merely thinking about their own pockets instead of standing up for Anamika? Is it necessary for them to keep there left eye focused on the West while directing their right eye only to what is potentially career-threatening for them?

How long can Hinduism be misused and raped by the upper classes to divert Anamika's sentiments away from reality?

How long Anamika still needs to suffer?


I want to explicitly say that of course I am a big hypocrite myself.
The human condition seems to be as such that hypocrisy can not be avoided.
It's the human way of handling unbearable reality.

The purpose of many of my blogs is NOT to bring down or bash India, as some of my Indian readers might think. We only need to go back 70 years to find in Europe pure barbarism ruling.
We only have to go back two years to blame the Western economical model for causing the global financial crisis, which now leads to so much suffering everywhere in the world.
I won't mention here the western imperialism and colonisation period ...
Indians and Congolese to name only two, can do a far better job in analysing the cruelty, destruction, robbery and suffering which has been caused by the European countries.

I only have to go back to my own youth, 30-40 years, when my father who had a business never got a fine from the police in Belgium, because he was offering them other 'services'.

Corruption is NOT invented by Indians, it seems to be an inevitable phase in a developing society.

However, I personally don't like virtualisation of reality when this leads to conservatism and status-quo. I believe Hitler's Germany lived in a virtual world. I also think the financial system lived in a virtual world. And I'm pretty sure the colonisators lived in a virtual world.
And my own poor father could not help going broke during the oil crisis of '73. No matter how much money was laundered (indeed, he was in the laundry business).

They all pushed reality at one or another point too far.

It is my conviction indeed that, at the end, reality always takes back its lawful rights.
Without hypocrisy or ethics.
To end Anamika's suffering.


From Times of India, 7th August 2010

About the amount of Indian money deposited in Swiss banks
click here

People from Gurgaon

No parking ! Police control !

Thursday, August 5, 2010


A homeless father with his daughter, selling selfmade ... birdhomes.
He must have heard that Real Estate is a booming business in Gurgaon !

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gurgaon, the Millennium City

Gurgaon is the city we based our small company in.
Five years back they told us: "It's a posh place". I never understood what they meant. As a small company we didn't have the means to lease an office in the few new MNC-buildings. We had to go with the regular places, where also normal people are living.

During the years I have seen:
- lots of big projects coming up, including thousands of skyscrapers
- these skyscrapers are for a big part not used, as can be seen from the few lights that are burning inside the flats in the evening
- though flyovers have been constructed, and a metro, the quality of the regular roads is really pathetic
- the city gets more and more crowded with people, vehicles, ...
- lease prices going up till 2008 and collapsed in 2009 (according to me to never come back to the old levels)

Though my wife and I considered for a while buying some property in Gurgaon, I'm very happy that I didn't take the risk. You can just see how much cheating, stealing and robbery is going on with these constructions.
Buying a flat in Gurgaon? With the levels of maintenance accepted by Indian people ? Not in a million years ! It's lost money.

The video from this link clearly describes what is going on. The report is in Dutch but you can easily follow the video by the witnesses.

I will not mention the social inequality which is apparent everywhere, but not shown hard enough in this video:
There's the woman pretending to find no single beggar. However, if I myself walk ten minutes from my office, then I see hundreds of families living on a waste belt. I will shoot some photographs and place them here one of the next days.
The same woman tells openly that "her maid is not allowed to leave the compound". Now the shown maid is an adult but in India the majority of maids are just kids below 18. In my eyes that is sheer child-slavery.
It's very disturbing to hear Indians talk openly about this shame!

I hope they will be able to enjoy their Commonwealth Games.