Lessons from the Madras Club – Lesson 2: India and X-efficiency

Lessons from the Madras Club – Lesson 2: India and X-efficiency
India and X-efficency

In the late 1990s I studied at University in Japan when the world was fascinated by Toyota’s low car defect rates compared to every other brand on the market. It was driving the proud American, car hungry consumer insane! Their efficiency and reliability was so inexplicable, intoxicating, and seemingly unobtainably magical, they termed it ‘X-Efficiency’ and people came from the world over to study this new manufacturing witchcraft. What does this have to do with India?

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Perilous propositions and precarious positions in the land of the Pharaohs

Perilous propositions and precarious positions in the land of the Pharaohs
The pool overlooking the beach at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sharm el Sheikh

I suddenly noticed my heart was racing and my breath was getting away from me. I looked down at the page I was writing on, one of those things I would do to amuse myself while waiting, and it was filled with illegible scribbles, and not the fully formed words I was used to putting down. The hairs on my arms were standing at full right angles to my skin, and I thought I was most likely in a cold sweat as I was freezing to touch. Holy crap! I was having a panic attack! Me. Right now. I had a friend from high school who had them, which is the only reason I knew what was happening.

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Notes on being different from a privileged whitey

Notes on being different from a privileged whitey
Me wearing a bright pink wig

Ever since the video of George Floyd’s death and the rapid amplification of the #BlackLivesMatter movement the world over, I have been pondering the privileged whiteys who don’t believe in white privilege. NEWS FLASH! Everyone is racist. Everyone is judgemental. I don’t care who you are. I have been asked about whether Australia is a racist country when I have travelled in India, the Middle East, and Asia and my answer is always the same.

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Homestay hilarity or horror show? You decide…

Homestay hilarity or horror show?  You decide…
Not the actual street I lived on, but you get the picture! Photo by Camille Villanueva on Unsplash

I was one of the last people waiting when an older couple walked in. Wizened is a word that comes to mind as my first impression. One of the University staffers brought them over to my table. They most certainly had absolutely no English. Awesome! My Japanese was going to get really good, really fast, I thought.

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Whatever you do, don’t go to the doctor

Whatever you do, don’t go to the doctor
Photo by Ian Valerio on Unsplash

“I thought Japan was supposed to be a developed country,” he said with a look of pure horror on his face. “I’m from a third world country and our conditions are better than this!” (Of course Spain is not a third world country, but Diego was prone to dramatization back then). We surveyed the situation as our translator gestured for us to come to the front counter. We then looked at each other and, in that moment, decided to roll the dice.

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