[Forward]: Slowdown culture
  • *An interesting reflection: *Slow Down Culture

    It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them
    has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years
    to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

    Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense
    of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need
    to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of
    the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x
    quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this
    always yields better results.

    Said in another words:
    1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
    2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
    3. Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
    4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned
    companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

    The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the
    hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive
    early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000
    employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything,
    either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed
    parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there
    are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early
    we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a
    place closer to the door. Don't you think? Imagine my face.

    Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement
    establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to
    taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow
    Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands
    for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow
    Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

    Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness"
    generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity"
    (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality
    of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more
    productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour
    workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow
    attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the
    "do it now!".

    This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower
    productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality,
    productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means
    reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the
    "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous.
    It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

    It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more
    productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time
    to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with
    no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and
    services, without losing the essence of spirit.

    In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl
    to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute
    now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance
    to a tango.

    Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we
    die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are
    so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which
    is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the
    world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us
    does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, *"Life
    is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".
    *Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many
    who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this
    globalized world.
  • Dear Sivakumar,


    There have been Corporate Sogans too:


    As rightly pointed Slow does not mean sacrificing anything .. Very slow
    is a different matter.

    And that John Lennon (Beatles) quote "while you are planning Life is
    happening" is a wonderful much talked about Quote ...

    And I do wish to look into myself for an answer to look at my attidue
    to my fellow citizen to compare with your friend's that other's may have
    not time to walk....

    Very nice posting..

    Thank you so much..

    Best regards/

  • > *An interesting reflection: *Slow Down Culture

    Very good mail.

    There is a proverb in tibet:
    "If you want to go to a place quickly - walk slowly
    If you want to go to a place damn fast - walk very slowly"

    This is to tell that walk slowly towords your ambitions and goals
    without missing the fun of life

    This means your journey is as interesting or even more interesting
    than your destination

    There are many stories in zen buddhism which stress this central
    concept in many ways

    Osho has dealt with it in a brilliant manner. He goes to the very
    depth of the philosophy of time and why west caught up with this
    concept of fast life. No offence meant to our christian friends - but
    he actually says that it was mainly because of a fundamental concept
    about time in christianity.

    In hinduism & buddhism (and even jainism) you have come here - to this
    world - many times. And you will come many more times. So there is no
    hurry. You are finishing off some of the things that were left undone
    during your last visit. It is a long and wonderful journey. Your
    journey does not end with your physical death. You have another
    chance. Hence you have lot of time.

    But the christian faith is different. You come here only once. There
    is no chance for coming here again. Hence it puts lot of pressure on
    humans. There is so much that needs to be done in ones life and very
    little time left ! Hence everything needs to be done within a span of
    60 to 80 years. Hurry up ! And as western philosophy spread across the
    world this concept spread all over.

    And alas ! Now, it is in the land of buddhism - china / japan etc -
    where the culture of working more than 40 hours a week is well
    established ! And it is now in the christian world that slowing down
    is being looked at seriously.

    The good thing about globalization and shrinking world is that humans
    all over have started looking at other cultures.Time tested
    philosophies are undergoing massive transformation

    We are living in an interesting era
  • hi

    good concept. Time is an excellent healer. The longer you take to
    reach a goal, the more are the alternatives. Life runs on Plan B. A
    person having a Plan B for a given situation anticipates the
    consequences of his action. This makes him more alert to the
    unexpected. The more you expect the unexpected, the expected happens
    more frequently. It makes your life easy. Taking time is the best way
    of living in the fast selfish world. You will be mentally strong.
    Expect the unexpected.
  • Wow, great concepts for a youngsters like me. All the mails have been
    very interesting.
  • Plan B - appadi podunga sir!
  • Dear Sivakumar,

    Slow down culture is a well written article
    describing a good way of living. While appreciating
    your sincere motive behind writing this article I wish
    to record my quick provocations after reading this

    Please note my comments are pertaining to the
    attempts to criticize globalization.

    India is a well deserved country to be in the top of
    the world. One thing heavily pulling down India is her
    economic status. Globalization really trying to pull
    us out of this misery. Unless some real, urgent and
    rapid efforts are made the economic gap with the rest
    of the world will remain big if not growing bigger.

    Our excellent intellectual and hidden wealths are now
    being cleaned out of rust and we are coming out of the
    thick dark economic ignorance. Globalization scrapes
    out these unwanted coverings at least at some sectors.

    A harsh comparison comes to my mind. Your article
    reminds me a healthy man sitting in front of a full
    plantain leaf served with a hundred dishes along with
    a dozen appetizers and a dozen deserts. A little away
    I am sitting in front of a stitched leaf served with
    curd rice and lemon pickles. The first man really has
    his own choice of eating at his own pace.

    Before deciding the pace at which we have to
    eat we must sit in the same row of full plantain
    leaves. I hope globalization makes us to inch towards
    this place.

  • Dear Natarajan,

    That article was a Forward. But, I agree with it - I have seen the same
    culture in Switzerland where I worked for some time. Seivvana Thirundha
    Seivaargal. No quick fixes.

    I agree that developed countries can afford to take time.We may have to run
    fast till we reach that stage - again, this need not be in all
  • Dear Natarajan, Points well projected.

    Dear Sivakumar, nice reply again.

    Primarily my focus of attention was on the slow - fast aspects and
    relative merits etc. There I agree with the famous quote of John
    Lennon. But when the focus is shifted to Globalisation - the
    plantain leaf example well tossed by our dear friend Natarajan
    obviously stares at us.

    Further dimensions related to India's (Venkat will ask where was it
    before the British?) past Glory will be more spicy too.

    Then as Sivakumar replied it need not be in all the spheres ..

    Very interesting views generated..

    thank you both..

    best regards / sps
  • Siva,

    Inga ippavae avanavan thoongi vazhiyaraan. Idhula nee vera "slowdown"
    culture-nu solra.
    Idhellaam sonnaa inga "breakdown" culture aayidum.

    Anniyan padathula varra Charlie maadhiri thaan inga niraiya per "VIP" (velai
    illaadha payal) maadhiri suthittu thiriyaranuva.
    Idhellaam namma oorukku sarippattu varaadhu.

    Apdiyae konjam wikipedia-lerndhu, Japanese "write-up" onnu eduthu vidu
    machi. Namma naattila ellaam Summa "pambaram" maadhiri suthinaathaan
    velaikku aagum.


    PS: Namakku enna, summaavanum "aduthavangalukku advise" pandradhula ulla
    sugamae thani thaan.
  • under employment like its predecessor is the major indian problem

    there is a severe labour shortage in towns like tirupur and erode
    which churn out our exports.

    the industrialists there feel if a population gets rice for 2 rupees
    and and a free t.v its bound to get lazy.
    we have already half way thro a process of creating a slow and lazy
    the system has already slowed down in many parts of our country.
  • An interesting reflection: Slow Down Culture

    Very good article Mr.Sivakumar.
    Slow means 'NITHAANAM'
  • Third compliant received within a month that mails are getting delayed.
  • Good view Venkatesh. I got that forward more than a week back and I
    too feel that we need to slow up a bit. But on further thoughts this
    fast paced life is only in the cities. Outside cities the life is
    still slow.

    As you said, if govt gives 2rs rice and free TV, free Gas etc. who
    will work. Right from colonialism till date, the rulers always wanted
    to keep the praja lazy and dump. yosikka arambicha vote poda

    But on other hand there is a serious problem of unemployment. People
    tell they dont get job. The problem is that we Indians think, if we
    can read and write, we should get IT job, 6 digit salary at the first
    month and without doing work should get promoted (ayyooo....nethu than
    enga team appraisal mudichen athoda impact kandukatheenga...)

    People never think of what they are capable of and what they should
    get. Talking about people who complaint that they dont get job
    easily...I always feel 'muyarchi udayar igazhchi adayar'.

    A recent incident really shook me off and I felt really proud for this
    guy whom I met. A month back, I happened to stay back in office with
    my team late night for some urgent work (as usual in any IT company).
    We thuoght we can leave in next half an hour and so skipped our
    dinner, but till 2 in the morning we couldnt retire. By 3am we all
    felt a bit (??) hungry and thought lets check out for anything outside.
    (i am in Elnet, near Tidel and except for these two buildings there is
    not establishment near by. manushan saga vendiyathuthan.concrete jail)

    To our surprise we could find a fellow, on his M80 fully loaded with
    snacks, tea and all possible stuff and doing great business. We got
    something to fill at that hour and when enquired he said he generally
    comes ther by 6pm and retires by 2am, but today just prolonged
    sometime (lucky me!!). He also said, they are totally 3 of them and
    comes in three differnt timings. He does good business with people in
    Tidel and Elnet and leads his life. A new business model which he
    could innovate. I praised him a lot in my heart and prayed for his
    well being.

    I feel if someone wants to survivie decently, they can. Only that we
    lack that instinct. Unless the attitude of blaming others for our
    mistakes changes in Indian hearts, slow or fast, we will remain the
  • Mr.Venketesh's views are totally accurate. Ive just experienced this first
    hand. My vendors in Coimbatore are facing severe labour shortage. They are
    unable to find machinists, etc. Thier labourers are shunning these skilled
    (but tough) jobs for lesser skilled jobs like painting/whitewashing
    homes,offices,etc. The pay is more or less the same and they have to work
    only 4 hours a day (8 hour day reduces to 4 hour because of
    coffee/lunch/smoking breaks) when compared to the machinist's work where
    they have to work 8-10hrs a day. The machine shop owners are taking up
    unskilled labourers from Madurai,Namakkal and training them as machinists!
    Every machine shop owner is of the opinion that skilled labour would be very
    very scarce in the next 3-5 years.
  • Dont know if this is connected

    sweden is the country for quite some time ( now overtaken by belarus)

    witht the highest rate of divorce.

    60% of marriages end in a divorce.
  • I think we are mixing slowdown culture with laziness. The article was
    targeted at
    the workaholics who miss the simple joys of life. It has nothing to do
    with the
    lazy culture that is getting developed in Tamil nadu for 2 Kg rice and free
    gas connection, tv, land, marraiage(that's all I could think, did i miss
  • Okay sivaram

    what percentage do you think needs to slow down.

    5% 10% 15%

    we have had some very great slow down cultures in history too.

    the hipie movement- the flower people just left the speedy cities to
    adjust to their natural speeds. but that movement became a joke when
    it degenerated into drugs and free sex culture.

    I think a natural correction is always in the offing and mankind can
    adjust to itself.

    one nice kutti kathai

    in the forest the deer that runs slow is eaten up by the lion
    in the forest the lion that is slow always goes hungry

    it doesnt matter if you are a lion or a deer,

    the moment you get up start running.

  • Okay sivaram

    what percentage do you think needs to slow down.

    5% 10% 15%
  • so 5- 10 % of the people need to slow down by 30-40 %

    but then there is a natural phenomenon. these guys crack up if they
    work too much too.
    a nature's way of slow down I gues.

    venketesh--- In [email protected], "sivaram

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