Klong Saen Saep Transport Bangkok

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Klong Saen Saep Express Boat Approaching the Pier Slowly Near Jim Thomson House

Featured Image: Klong Saen Saep Express Boat Approaching the Pier Slowly Near Jim Thompson House

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  7 January 2023


Klong Saen Saep

Klong Saen Saep Express Canal Boats, Transport Bangkok

Background

A group of four of us first went to Thailand in 1991 for a month. We travelled extensively, using internal flights and just turned up at the airport when we were ready for the next leg of the journey. (It was the pre-Internet age. You used Lonely Planet to locate the area for cheap hotels and one person searched for a good one, while the other minded the bags.)

We went trekking north of Chiang Mai staying the night somewhere near Fang on the night Desert Storm began in the first Gulf War.

After the trek, we took an amazing long-tail boat from Fang down the rapids to Chiang Rai in the Golden Triangle. This was a great trip. But, not so long previously, Akha tribespeople would occasionally hijack the boat armed with AK-47s and steal everyone’s money and possessions. They shot any tourists who protested.

But, this is long ago and has disappeared along with the Golden Triangle as the wild frontier. In those days Chiang Rai was a small but pleasant market town or rural centre.

We’d arrived in Bangkok knowing little about Thailand. The Hotel we stayed in on recommendation was in the Street behind Khao San Road in Banglamphu. We found the whole area incredibly exotic. Thrillingly so!

It was my second experience of Asia, the first being my sojourn at Rukmini’s flat in Jangpura in New Delhi in 1981/82. I thought the district was unbelievably strange and third worldy, not really realising at all that it was a middle class enclave in the centre of Delhi.

We stayed at Ashima’s place in 1995 across the Jumna River near Mother Dairy. At dusk, Delhi’s pollution was like a thick fog, with orange sodium-lights and fires and smoke it was like a scene out of Dante’s Inferno.

Later in the holiday in Khao San Road Bangkok, we stayed in the New Nith Chareon (the Nith was one of the early backpacker guesthouses). I’m very conservative about good places I’ve stayed in and like to repeat the experience. I stayed at the New Nith Chareon for several years. Denise and I stayed there in 1995 on the way to Pakistan and the Karakorum Highway.

But, after that Khao San Road had become too feral and we moved our Bangkok base to Patumwan House near MBK, the National Stadium, Jim Thompson House and Siam Square in Pathumwan. Pathumwan was a good place to be during the day but tended to close down around 10 pm. Nevertheless, we still stay at Patumwan House regularly.

Transport in Bangkok

I remember the frustration, when one had to exit Khao San Road and Banglamphu in 1991 to go to the railway station Hua Lamphong or Chinatown, because it would usually take at least an hour by bus each way. The traffic in Bangkok was an intense gridlock and taxis or tuk tuks didn’t help. From later experience, motorcycle taxis are the best way to go at peak hour, but only for short distances (a couple of kilometres at most) without luggage.

The BTS Skytrain system was opened on 5 December 1999. It initially had a much lower ridership than predicted, locals thought the tickets were too expensive. This had consequences in funding and paying off debt.

But, by December 2005, 500,000 single trips were made in a single day for the first time. Nowadays, the in central areas of Bangkok the Skytrain is always crowded.

Continue reading “Klong Saen Saep Transport Bangkok”

Advertisement

Angkor Guide 2023

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Featured Image The Bayon, Angkor Thom

Featured Image: Entrance to The Bayon, Buddhist Temple, Angkor Thom

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  1 December 2022


Angkor Guide 2023

Introduction

We are thinking of going to Siem Reap and Angkor in Cambodia again as part of a trip to Thailand in January 2023. We went there for the first time ten years ago in 2013.

Over the years, I’ve been to many historical sites representing vanished empires for example Borobudur (9th C) in Java, many Greek and Roman cities, Macchu Picchu (15th C) and Cuzco in Peru, Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan near Mexico city, many historical sites such as Khujaraho (885-1000 CE) and Hampi (6-14th C) in India, Taxila in Pakistan (1300 BCE to 540 CE) and others. And, these are only some of many around the world.

The Angkor Archeological Park listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site is the equivalent of any of them. It is huge and it is beautiful and certainly a must see, if possible.

Continue reading “Angkor Guide 2023”

Cathy McGowan Lessons in Activism

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation Cathy Goes to Canberra, 2020, Feature

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  5 November 2022

Lessons in Activism by Cathy McGowan

Notes for Activists from Cathy McGowan, Cathy Goes To Canberra, 2020

Cathy Goes To Canberra is a gem of a book and I’d encourage you to buy it and read it, but for those who want to put doing politics differently into action, hopefully this summary will also prove a useful tool into the lessons Cathy and Indi have to teach us.

Background

1 General

My purpose is to bring Cathy McGowan’s ideas to a wider audience and to highlight the profound lessons she has learned in a long and active career into community-based action.

I want to provide an adjunct or another resource to those already available. I‘d encourage you to visit Cathy McGowan’s website which has an array of other resources and also the Community Independents Project site, which also provides plenty of resources of its own.

At a recent webinar conference of the latter, one woman said: I no longer call it volunteering. What I do every day I call my democracy work!

2 Lessons in Activism

The following is my summary of Cathy’s book. It is probably biased and imperfect and perhaps Cathy would want to change some of it. The saving grace of blog articles is that they are infinitely malleable. I’m happy to accept advice from anyone.

Because of this, I am not as meticulous as my ex-supervisor Professor SA Barnett would want me to be, but I do still feel his presence looking over my shoulder and I try harder.

Despite, the success of the Voices campaigns inspired by Indi and the success of Independents at the last Federal Election we do need to try harder. Independents are still a long way from ensuring that Australia’s governments do politics differently.

3 My Own Interest

My involvement (a minor one) over the past eighteen months was with an organisation called proACT and its endorsed ACT candidate David Pocock for the Senate in Australia.

As with Cathy McGowan in Indi, his key opponent was unpopular, but the window for success was tiny and its achievement amazing — with a lot of hard work by many people in between.

Continue reading “Cathy McGowan Lessons in Activism”

McQuitty Causal Path Statistics

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

McQuitty Feature

 

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  2 September 2022

McQuitty Causal Path Analysis

This article is a necessary preliminary to the articles which follow and define organisational thermometers. An organisational thermometer is a tool to measure staff satisfaction in any largish enterprise in an ongoing way. The article is also related to all the Fred Emery associated articles, two of which precede it. These are 1 Causal Texture Paper and 2 the Search Conference

Main Points

  • My background with Fred Emery and in statistics
  • A general overview of statistical analysis
  • Fred Emery’s consulting work for TIHR on consumer products
  • McQuitty causal path analysis and how to do it explained
  • Examples of McQuitty causal paths or roadmaps

1 My Background

I mentioned in Causal Texture and in the Search Conference that I met Fred Emery when employed at the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) at the Australian National University (ANU) in 1979.

I was finishing up my PhD in Zoology at ANU at the time and was slightly dissatisfied with some aspects of inattentive reductionism in science at the time. When I discovered Fred’s ideas on systems thinking, it was as if I’d suddenly discovered what I was looking for and had to pursue it.

I got into Fred’s theoretical ideas and search conferencing quite quickly, which annoyed at least one person on the CCE staff. I became quite conversant with Fred’s theoretical ideas and reasonably competent at running search conferences in the next 18 months or so. Continue reading “McQuitty Causal Path Statistics”

The Search Conference Fred Emery

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Featured Image: Merrelyn Emery Ed. Searching: for new directions, in new ways for new times, Centre for Continuing Education, Australian National University 1976.

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  4 August 2022

The Search Conference Fred Emery

Fred Emery, was an amazingly perceptive and prescient systems scientist, who was, without a shadow of a doubt, the father of the systems movement down here in the antipodes, to which he returned in the 1970s after a very distinguished career at the Tavistock Research Institute in London. (Richard Bawden, 1999)

Background

My previous article an annotated version of Emery & Trist’s famous Causal Texture paper may have been too academic for some. To make amends I will try to make this description of the Search Conference much simpler.

I covered Fred’s biography in overview in my previous article. Fredrick Edmund Emery (1925-1997) first went to the Tavistock Institute in London 1951-52 as a UNESCO Research Fellow. He returned to the Tavistock in 1957 where he remained until 1969. He collaborated with Eric Trist, Russell Ackoff, Charles West Churchman, Einar Thorsrud and others during this immensely fertile theoretical and practical period of action research.

In 1969 he returned to Australia and remained in residence in Canberra until his death in 1997, whilst still collaborating widely in Australia and travelling regularly overseas. Richard Bawden (pers. comm.) remembers Fred for his boundless energy and undeniably forthright manner, as do many others.

Whilst in the UK, Fred’s ideas though diverse were integrated into a strong framework or discipline that was internally consistent.

These areas of concentration were the discovery and analysis of industrial democracy underground in the Elsecar Collieries by Trist and Bamforth. The development of the theory of sociotechnical systems based on this and on insights from psychology and the social sciences. The Norwegian Industrial Democracy experiments. Ideas on open systems and their environments. A developing understanding of the necessary and sufficient criteria for semi-autonomous and self-managing groups. Preliminary ideas on participative design. Approaches to the study of organisations with West Churchman and purposeful systems with Russell Ackoff. And, work on values, ideals and planning options based on this, which barely scratches the surface.

As part of this process early on Fred Emery designed the search conference in 1959 and further developed it in the early 1960s at the Tavistock Institute.

According to Bawden (1999) via Merrelyn Emery, the Search Conference process was not formalised until the mid-1970s. I also think that Merrelyn’s role in this later development should be acknowledged fully (see M Emery Ed., 1976).

The Search Conference

Overview

Introduction

Fred Emery was involved in industrial democracy, socio-technical systems and other participative methods with groups.

He designed the Search Conference in 1959 for values-based participative planning by groups wanting or requiring organisational change. The Search combines normative planning (values) with strategic planning and active participation.

In part this was because of defining ‘turbulent environments’ as a dynamic new type of environment that organisations faced in the post-war. Much of this is explained in the annotated paper cited above. The salient characteristic of a turbulent environment is complexity and uncertainty. New ways of planning were needed.

The design was based on innovative research in behavioural psychology, group behaviour, social science and organisational planning from the 1930s to 1950s, amalgamated into an integrated framework.

Richard Bawden says:

Weisbord and Janoff (1995) … emphasized [that] Emery was quick to acknowledge the importance of social psychological theories, as well as system theories in informing his understanding of the dynamics of the work groups that he studied. In particular, he and his colleagues explicitly drew upon the consensus research of Solomon Asch (1952) and the group dynamic theories developed by Wilfred Bion (1961). Continue reading “The Search Conference Fred Emery”

Annotated Emery and Trist Causal Texture Paper

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Featured Image: FE Emery Ed. Systems Thinking, Vol 1 Penguin, 1981.

 

Feature Fred Emery Systems Thinking Vol 1 1981

 

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  12 July 2022

FE Emery & EL Trist The Causal Texture of Organizational Environments Annotated

Introduction

I’ve been going back to Fred Emery’s ‘Search Conference’ methodology and my own ‘Search-based’ focus groups recently and thinking about my distant past.

This has brought me republish this classic paper online, as it is fundamental to participative planning. Participation and community engagement may be re-emerging, particularly at the moment in Australian politics.

Many people may not be aware of how participative planning emerged in the 1960s and 1970s and why open-systems thinking was the intellectual base to these activities.

I republished JBS Haldane’s 1929 paper on The Origin of Life in 2015, with some annotations and have been surprised at its reception and ongoing popularity.

Fred Emery & Eric Trist’s classic paper The Causal Texture of  Organizational Environments Human Relations 18:21-32, cited 6356 times (according to Google & others), is longer and slightly more difficult than Haldane’s but also very readable. The annotations should provide a context and perhaps an explanation of some ideas.

I worked alongside Fred & Merrelyn Emery whilst at the Centre for Continuing Education from 1979 and more peripherally in the late 1980s and 1990s. I also followed up on much of Fred’s research and visited Einar Thorsrud in Norway for nearly two months in 1981.

Biographical Notes

Fredrick Edmund Emery (1925-1997) was born in Narrogin in the wheatbelt of WA. He obtained his PhD in social psychology in 1953. During 1951-52 as a UNESCO Research Fellow to the Tavistock Institute in London. He worked with Eric Trist and became aware of the industrial democracy system that Eric Trist and Ken Bamforth had discovered in the Elsecar Collieries, using the Longwall method of coal mining.

In 1957 he returned to the Tavistock Institute where he had a close intellectual relationship with Eric Trist and others further refining the concept of sociotechnical systems, including Einar Thorsrud in Norway, with whom he conducted the large-scale Norwegian industrial democracy experiments. Later, he worked closely with Russell Ackoff at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He probably met Ackoff in the UK in 1961-1962, while Ackoff was based at the University of Birmingham. Continue reading “Annotated Emery and Trist Causal Texture Paper”

Passu Paradise, Pakistan: Our Trip 6

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Featured Image: Corner on the KKH, Passu, Pakistan 1995

Featured Image: Corner on the KKH with the Passu Glacier in the background, Passu, Pakistan 1995

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  1 June 2022

Passu Paradise, Pakistan: Our Trip 6, 1995

Introduction

This is the seventh article in travelling the Karakorum Highway series. The others are: 1 The Karakorum Highway (KKH), 2 The Lower Karakorum Highway, 3 Besham to Gilgit, the Terrain, 4 Extreme Polo in Gilgit, 5 Hunza Valley, Pakistan: Our Trip 4, 6 Rain Danger, Sust. The Kashgar Sunday Market article is also relevant.

If the Hunza Valley is paradise, Passu in Gojal, Pakistan is a little bit of paradise. I covered Hunza my second last article the Hunza Valley, Pakistan: Our Trip 4.

In my last article Rain Danger, Sust I said that we passed though Passu in the rain it: looked like the end of the earth and one wondered why anyone would bother staying there.

On our way to China, the whole area was wet and dismal and no mountains were to be seen. But, on our return to Passu on 14 June, 1995 not only could we see the scenery but the weather was hot and with little wind over the three days we stayed there. Continue reading “Passu Paradise, Pakistan: Our Trip 6”

Rain, Danger in Sust, Pakistan: Our Trip 5

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Featured Image: Featured Image: Magnificent Glacier Riven Mustagh Ata, 7546m, 1995

Featured Image: Magnificent Glacier Riven Mustagh Ata, 7546m, 1995

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  1 May 2022


Rain and Danger in Sust, Pakistan: Our Trip 5, 1995

This is the sixth article in travelling the Karakorum Highway series. The others are: 1 The Karakorum Highway (KKH), 2 The Lower Karakorum Highway, 3 Besham to Gilgit, the Terrain, 4 Extreme Polo in Gilgit, 5 Hunza Valley, Pakistan: Our Trip 4. The Kashgar Sunday Market article is also relevant.

In my last article Hunza Valley, Pakistan: Our Trip 4 I said that we left for the border in the rain. We’d had rain in Gilgit and were fortunate that we saw the best of Karimabad before the rain began again.

We took the last places almost in a Wagon from Gilgit to Sust. We left at 10.30 am and the trip (70km) was much longer than anticipated — four hours — we arrived at Sust at 2.30 pm. Because of the rain the rocks looked grey and dreary, Passu in particular looked like the end of the earth and one wondered why anyone would bother staying there. We had lunch at a Hotel up near the border post. It was a surprisingly excellent goat and dhal dish (they called it chicken). Some of the goat was white meat and some on the bone was brown but tasted bacony like a ham hock (although in the present company of hajis, it wouldn’t be polite to mention this).

We’d known of the dangers of rain whilst in Gilgit and we were very careful, when walking around the irrigation channels on the outskirts of Gilgit, that we kept away from the edge of the hills. Rain loosens rocks that can come thundering down from above. Major landslips are also common in the rain. My journal continues:

The rain continued heavily all day and we were a bit worried about landslides up the highway. We’d crossed two recent landslips. On the way up and near Sust rocks were falling onto the road in several places (the ones we saw were small), which was quite harrowing. It was worse for the conductor of the wagon, who had to rush ahead into the rain and remove the larger ones so that we could drive through.

A Near Death Experience (31 May, 1995)

A near death experience, not ours fortunately, as my journal relates:

That night, at the Mountain Refuge, we met the foreigners who’d tried to go to China that day. Sam (Dutch), Ilse (American — Swedish Passport), Al (American), Ben (Dutch) and Jason (English). Jason was wrapped in a large blanket because he’d left his gear on the bus.

Continue reading “Rain, Danger in Sust, Pakistan: Our Trip 5”

Postcard from McLaren Vale

Have a look at breadtagsagas.com! Same blog complete stories.

Home   about   contact   travel   food   books   art   the rest   galleries  navigation

Autumn Vineyard Feature
Autumn Vines, McLaren Vale

Featured Image: McLaren Vale Vineyards

ORT_Logo Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony,  1 April 2022


Postcard from McLaren Vale

Other Postcards are from: Boudhanath StupaDubaiViennaRock of CashelLake Tabourie, Tongariro Crossing and Tupare Garden.

Australian outsiders often don’t think of South Australia. But, South Australia is an amazing tourist destination.

We came to McLaren Vale to house-sit a vineyard, a dog and two horses in early May for 5 weeks in 2021 between Covid lockdowns. We have a big family reunion over Easter in 2022 and have returned to house-sit the same place for around 5 weeks from 24 March to near the end of April in 2022.

McLaren Vale

45 minutes south of the city of Adelaide. The McLaren Vale wine area is a unique protected region just south of the Adelaide suburbs. With the Onkaparinka Gorge and surrounding rural area on the north, the beaches of Port Noarlaunga, Maslin’s, Willunga and Aldinga to the west, the Adelaide hills or Mount Lofty Ranges to the east and the rest of the Fleurieu Peninsula to the south (Victor Harbour and Goolwa/Coorong about 40 minutes away), McLaren Vale is an idyllic gem of sustainable vineyards and native bush.

The size of McLaren Vale is slightly variable the official size is 59 sq km but doesn’t include Willunga. My estimate is about 75 sq km or 7500 hectares. McLaren Vale is small by comparison with other wine areas. The Barossa, for example is 912 sq km. Hence McLaren Vale is very manageable for visitors.

Continue reading “Postcard from McLaren Vale”