Monday, January 17, 2011


I am sitting here with a big plate of watermelon slices. Mmm...

It's the first full plate of food that I have eaten in about four days. I have been very sick. Oh Asia, how you I love you even though you always make me sick.

My tum is still not the best. So, watermelon and yoghurt is all I can eat. But, I can't really complain. The watermelon in Thailand is sweeter than at home.

I remember when my little brother was a kid, he used to say: water - mee - lon. He was developing his own dialect back then, heavily influenced by the German-speaking girl (also known as "ish-girl"), who lived around the corner.

I spent a lot of time thinking about influence, today. After several consecutive hours of meetings where high-powered business contracts are negotiated, you can't help but think about what influences people, companies, nations.

Some people say it is all about money. But, I could add more things to that list: culture, religion, education, sophistication, peer pressure, family, etc.

It's not exactly a formula.

Sometimes, the least likely people have the greatest influence. For example, a certain nun who lived in Calcutta comes to mind.

My decisions and actions have been positively and negatively influenced by people around me. And yet, I have had the most outside-the-box life, which could not have been contrived by sheer self-will or the expectations of others.

I lived in a foreign country for several years and absorbed the culture like it was my own. And yet, most people don't even know what life was like for me then.

My brother's little-kid expression has mysteriously influenced my taste in watermelon: it's all about mee.

So, what causes someone or something to have great influence?

That's the big question.

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