When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
-Viktor E. Frankl
JU’S 3 QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH
- How do you experience the ‘time of corona’ in yourself, in your country, on the planet?
- What are your strengths and where do you make an impact in this world? Where would you like to make an impact in the future? Who would be on your team?
- What does spirituality mean to you, in daily life and on a universal level?
For my first Blog I have interviewed the following persons:
- Shira Moriel Singer 🇮🇹🇳🇱🇮🇱🇦🇹
- Lisa Paglietti 🇮🇹🇬🇧
- Klaus Schneider 🇦🇹🇪🇬🇸🇦🇰🇪🇹🇭
1st Interview, April 13th, 2020
Shira Moriel Singer 🇮🇹🇳🇱🇮🇱🇦🇹 and I met in Vienna in 2006. Together with her husband, Gideon Singer (*June 29th, 1926, Brno – ✝︎May 11th, 2015, Tel Aviv), an Israeli-Austrian actor, we lived for 9 years in a warm and enriching vicinity. Shira lives in Israel today, spent her childhood in the Netherlands and in Italy and was 28 years in Vienna.
I appreciate Shira’s wonderful creativity and her talent to adapt very quickly to new circumstances.
On the one hand, it’s very relaxing. Living in Israel, especially in Tel Aviv, can be pretty stressful – life is fast paced, there are lots of cars, people are not very polite etc. Corona forced us to halt for a moment, to reflect, to lower the pace. There is very little traffic, and one can hear the birds chirping again. Even nature feels empowered again. On the other hand, the economy is on the verge of collapsing, and the future is still very vague. I take it at ease, as there is actually nothing we can do about it. Pondering and worrying would not be helpful. So I enjoy the stillness, the wonderful time at home with my pets. Globally, this is an opportunity for humanity to reconsider what we are doing, what our values are, what we have become…
My strengths lie in working with healing energies and communicating with the higher self, with animals and with higher entities. Spreading light to the world, trying to support changes in society, so that we would respect animals and nature, raising awareness for these causes – that is where I and other light workers can make an impact, not only in the future, but right now.
Spirituality is accepting the multidimensionality of everything. It’s realizing that we actually do not live a linear life, but a multidimensional one. It is expanding one’s awareness and thoughts and agreeing to accept that there is much more than we have ever known or learned, even accepting that most of what we have learned turns out to be false. In my daily life I communicate with animals, I meditate and connect to my higher self, I communicate with higher entities and more.
2nd Interview, April 22nd, 2020
Lisa Paglietti 🇮🇹🇬🇧 and I met in 1998 in college in London, taking our Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English – we actually sat our oral exam together as a team. Ever since we have been connected in a very warm long-distance friendship. Lisa lives in Rome and works as socioeconomist for FAO, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, travelling to many different countries, from the African continent to Central Asia and Estern Europe.
I admire Lisa for her straightforwardness, for being a good listener and being very grounded and I love discussing world topics with her.
It has been a challenging personal experience. Within a weekend, I found myself confined with restricted movements – only for the essential necessities! That was a shock. I am an outdoor person and very active, being stuck in an apartment with my boyfriend needed some adjustment. As time went by, I discovered the beauty of waking up later, being away from the negative dynamics in the office and from the daily stress (traffic, noise, administrative chores etc). I do have more time for myself and use the mornings for my rituals: yoga, some reflection and meditation. For my country and the entire world it is clearly a wakeup call, as more than ever the business as usual is challenged and we would need to think of a different development model.
I am a calm, proactive and organized person, with strong interpersonal skills. I have been managing projects in different parts of the world and juggling with multiple activities in different locations requires clear guidance, an open mind, patience to listen, and the flexibility to changes when required.
I would like to make an impact in empowering women, providing them with the freedom of action and initiative – not only in the developing countries where I work, but also in the western countries, which are still infused with machismo and a patriarchal attitude.
Spirituality for me means personal growth, understanding the deeper values and meanings by which people live. I do a daily check and balances on how I feel and how I interact with people.
In its origins, spirituality was driven by religions, then it evolved, encompassing many areas of people’s lives: personal growth of the inner self, social values, religious values, etc.
3rd Interview, April 16th, 2020
Klaus Schneider 🇦🇹🇪🇬🇸🇦🇰🇪🇹🇭 grew up in a village in Ennsvalley, Styria, Austria; he has lived and worked as a master baker in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, almost 20 years in Kenya, where he founded Ennsvalley Bakery in 1996.
He has also worked on a big cruise ship for 2 years and is now living in Thailand with his wife and family. We met in 1992 in Vienna – he was a guest of my flatmates back then, waiting for a visa to go back to Saudi Arabia.
I have always admired him for his authentic way of living life and sharing his experiences with others, for his sense of humor and his great entrepreneurial talent.
In the airline catering unit where I work, we are on 80% of our salaries and all allowances have been cut until further notice. I will finish my contract by end of April 2020. The company I started with my wife is called ATG (Austro Thai Gourmet Co Ltd) and supplies British international schools with baked snacks, frozen doughs and other baked goods. Since mid-March we had no business, so we closed that production until the end of April. We think that by the first or second week of May the schools will open again. We need these two months of business before the summer break; then we will be in a good financial position.
Klaus says that, personally, he doesn’t feel threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, as he considers himself very fit.
We paid the full salary to the team members of our ATG bakery in the month of March. Even if we supplied the schools only for about 2 weeks in March, we paid the staff 80% of their salaries and of course the bakery will be closed the entire month. We will consider what to do in May if that situation doesn’t change.
The Thai government has announced that it will support employees who lost their job and companies that were forced to close, but we have not received any kind of support and I also don’t expect any.
It is possible and, hopefully, it will happen that country leaders worldwide rethink the craziness of our present economic system – it can’t go on like this: why should 3-4 billionaires have the ‘monopoly’ of producing at its ‘cheapest’ in China and then selling these cheap products for many times the price to customers around the world. Klaus believes that the younger generations in, for instance, China won’t be willing to work for such low wages anymore; in this context, corona might initiate change in a more positive direction.
Looking back to my time in Kenya, I can proudly say that I, as an entrepreneur and founder of Ennsvalley Bakery have made my positive impact on society there in many ways. When I arrived in Kenya in 1993 everybody would eat white toast bread or white baguette. I started to produce whole wheat and multigrain breads, first in the hotel where I was employed and then starting from 1996 at my own company, Ennsvalley Bakery. After 14 years I sold the company. ‘The eight-grain bread’ is still the bestselling quality bread in Nairobi. I have trained one hundred Kenyans to become bakers and have a successful career, taught them a lot about hygienic standards, created ‘a healthy breakfast’ for Kenyan athletes in cooperation with the Kenyan government.
What I would consider as one of my strengths is that I am always searching for new ways, taking new risks and feeling like I was born with an entrepreneurial mindset – I love to create something new and can see very clearly where others could improve. On my team I prefer having people who are inspired and love the work they are doing.
When I was working in the Middle East, my co-workers and my then-girlfriend were Muslims, so I lived in a Muslim society for about 2 years.
In my 40 years long career I’ve worked with different people having different religions, but I never had any issues with any of their believes and I would never give advice on what a person should believe in.
I am thankful for my Christian upbringing, but I don’t observe any religious practices at present. I don’t want any church to tell people how to live, but I agree that religion can be used as a guidance through life. Concerning the existence of God, I prefer listening to scientists ;-). I have read parts of the Bible and the Quran and I get to know the Buddhist lifestyle here in Thailand now.
There is no ‘final truth’ – Live and let live.