How far would Maverick go to find talent?

How far would a comunications consultancy go to find good people?

In the case of Maverick, the place where I work, plenty far. So far that we actually created a new position of Community Curator this year where one of the main tasks of that job is to organize The Recruit.

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What is The Recruit? It is several things. On one level it is our response to the dozens of requests we get each year from final year or newly graduated students for a chance at internship. In speaking to the students, some of whom had interned in other places before we realised that in many workplaces internship is a horrendous experience. Interns go to work but are treated more like gophers than anything else. The work they get to do, if they are, lucky are the leftovers from the staff, usually routine and mundane.

Usually they don’t have any choice as the number of students entering the workforce outnumber the number of internship places in companies. As a result many of them face the daunting prospect of trying to find work without the advantage of an internship experience.

At Maverick we’ve always believed that there is some great talent out there, especially among the final year or newly graduated students. We also believe that it is our obligation to make the work experience of anyone we’ve taken on board a meaningful, educational and fun one. The reasoning is that even if the intern decides to go elsewhere or into another profession when they enter the workforce, they would have been all the richer in life for the experience they’ve had.

So we combined all those thoughts and came up with The Recruit, where we will run a contest for final year and newly graduated students for an internship position at Maverick. The best of them will get a chance to intern at Maverick, where they will be involved in working for some of the huge brands that we handle. At the same time, we’ll involve then in some of the cool events Maverick organizes such as Pecha Kucha where they’ll get to meet influential and interesting people.

And if they are really good they’ll win themselves a permanent position with us. A permananet position with Maverick unlocks some of the unumsual but fun and gratifying perks we provide to our staff. Some of these perks include the Personal Development Fund, where if you work at Maverick for a year, you’ll be entitled for the Personal Development Fund of up to a month’s salary worth. You can use the fund to take a course that you’ve always wanted to help you develop personally (the course should have nothing directly to do with sork so some Mavericks in the past have taken it for learning belly dancing, diving, getting a drivers’ licence, Reiki etc). Of you can use the fund to travel to somewhere that you’ve not been before. Mavericks have used this fund to go to Santorini, Greece, Australia (to watch U2), Hong Kong and lots of other exotic places.

And we do all this because we recognize that the most crucial element in our business is talent. We are after the best talents and The Recruit, we think, is a great way to discover the best of the best talents coming into the market. So if you know of someone or is a final year communications student, then check out our website about the The Recruit
and give it a shot.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Balloons rise against the rising sun
You rise at dawn, are fed breakfast and then taken to your balloons
A balloon floats over the village of Uchisar in Cappadocia

 

Visually immersed at the Argos in Cappadocia

Unspun‘s been in many hotels, even the ones he can’t afford. Usually he and a few of his cheapskate friends would go there for tea and ask to see the rooms. The Aman and other resorts and fallen prey to such cheapskatery.

But of all the hotels Unspun’s seen none has been so captivating and enchanting as the Argos in Cappadocia.

On a recent trip to Turkey the Unspuns and extended family members stayed at the Argos and it was simply the best hotel ever that Unspun’s lived in, let alone seen.

The Argos whispered of understated elegance, simplicity and elegance combined with an attention to detail that leaves you visually sated.

The Argos is located in Uchisar, a village in Capadocia that is known for its fairy chimneys and moonscape-like terrain, caused by wind erosion over thousands of years. The volcanic rock was also easy to dig into and for thousands of years, until recently, Hittites, Christians and Cappadocians have been hewing cave houses in the rocks.

Uchisar is a charming village with a couple of mosques, a plaza of sorts and topped by a huge rock called The Castle. The Argos is on the side of Uchisar that overlooks a volcanic mountain Mt Erciyes and Pigeon Valley.

If you are an amateur photographer like Unspun, you begin to get visually stimulated as you approach the Argos via a cobbled street among rustic looking houses. At the entrance to the reception vibrant yellow pumpkins lines the stairs and inside the decor of antiques, wooden floors and spacious yet cozy layout.

Our rooms were on the opposite side of the cobbled road. You enter through an old women door. A small antique window is on your left, you go up the stairs and you see a courtyard. On one side is a table of six inside a pergola. Drying corn cobs are hung from its arches.

Outside are a couple of rattan recliners, a huge sofa with brightly colored cushions and a small square fountain.

Go up again and there is another courtyard that overlooks Pigeon Valley and its many fairy chimneys. Our room was there. On entering the room you see the double bed in an alcoves cut into the mountain wall.

A corridor leads you to a sitting room with a view of Pigeon Valley and the courtyard below. Next to it is a bathroom, also hewn into the mountain face that makes you feel like you want to shower till you look like a prune.

When you walk around the hotel you are constantly surprised at virtually every corner with little touches – drying twigs piled on rocks here, small bunches of potted plants there, old horseshoes nailed to another wall, a burst of red flowers in volcanic rock pots elsewhere.

Then there is the patio where you have your breakfast. Being summer, the weather was perfect. Every morning there we would sit in the patio with Pigeon Valley laid out before us.

They would serve a Turkish breakfast – olives, tomatoes, cucumber, simit (a kind of bread), cheeses, jams. Then would come the omelets, coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice…you get the idea. And all the while there is this heartbreakingly beautiful scenery drenched in sunlight before you.

Pigeon Valley is also where you can go hot air ballooning. A hot air balloon trip starts at 4.30am when a driver picks you up from the hotel and takes you to their office where you have – surprise – a Turkish Breakfast (although not as good as the one at the Argos) before putting you on a balloon.

At just about when the sun rises, your balloon takes off – together with what seems a hundred or more of them. The tourism in Turkey is so hot, any destination attracts thousands of tourists at any one time.

Ballooning in that area is particularly a treat because the balloons hover over the moonscape like terrain and dip into the valleys, all alit in the glow of sunrise.

After that we couldn’t wait to get back to the Argos again, just to immerse ourselves in it earthy aesthetics and to discover new nooks and corners that continue to surprise the eyes.

Ball bearings and horsehair shoved into penises? Eeeeewwwwwww!

I don’t know about you but the story by the ever fascinating Elizabeth Pisani who’s traveling in East Indonesia right now makes me feel all queasy – especially where they shove ball bearings, biro parts, human hair and horse hair into their penises – all in the believe that size matters.

Men who laugh at the lengths women go to with their plastic surgeons to make them look attractive should read this article.

But horse hair???

What’s wrong with Indonesian penises?

A statue outside a health centre in Enarotali, in Indonesian Papua

Reading the newspapers in cities across Papua, I cannot help but notice the full-colour ads for penis extensions. In only half an hour, with no invasive anything, men can see their organs grow, thicken, harden, for ever. The ads are explicit about the results, down to the last half centimetre; clients can choose both the length and girth of their organ, up to 20 cm by 6 cm (the more modest promise diameters of just 5.5). All of this with just some magic oil and a few prayers, guaranteed free of side effects. The “Specialists in Vital Organs” promise services for women, too, tightening up our fannies “until you are like a maiden again”. And for both sexes, they will pray away our sexually transmitted infections.

Why the obsession with sex organs, and why especially in Papua? Are people encouraged by the blatantly erotic sculptures that are common in these parts? Do migrants from other parts of Indonesia feel inadequate on arrival in Papua, or do they feel the magic will be especially potent in the nether regions of the nation? And isn’t it mildly ironic that all of the people offering their dick-swelling charms claim to be from Banten in western Java, where mystics sometimes break their fasts by eating light-bulbs? They offer other mystical services too: tying down your spouse, implanting a protective aura, ensuring you get promoted or elected. But most of their force is expended on delivering: “What other people only promise, we prove with results that are Large and Long”.

It turns out that the penis obsession is not, in fact, confined to the tens of thousands of immigrants from the rest of Indonesia who have been sucked east by Papua’s booming economy. I learned this when I asked a Papuan nurse in one of the province’s largest hospitals what brought men to outpatient services. Three things, he said: injuries resulting from violent fights, injuries resulting from traffic accidents, and prison. Prison? Do people get sick in prison? “No, that’s the penis stuff.” Prisoners, Papuans and others, are operating on one another’s members — inserting ball bearings and biro parts, threading hair through the urethra. A doctor friend who ran an STI clinic in Papua for many years says he saw a lot of penises embellished with horse hair, but the nurse said since that’s in short supply in prison people weave ornaments from their own locks. Not surprisingly, many of these go septic, hence the hospital visits.

My doctor friend blames the porn industry for the penis-plumping craze. “People watch these porn films where everyone has a giant dick, and they begin to think that that’s the norm.” Certainly porn films are enough of a norm in Papua to have their own nickname: “film o-ya”. The name derives from the script, which in many films does not go much beyond the repetitive groaning of “Oh yah!, Oh yaaaaaah! Oh yaaaaaaaaah!

A more serious aside: data newly released by the Indonesian Ministry of Health show that one in four of the Papuan women who are selling sex to their men-folk on the streets of the Papuan highland town of Wamena are infected with HIV, while well over half have another STI. Perhaps because condoms don’t fit snugly over the horsehair, three in four of these infected highland women are not using protection with their partners.

via What’s wrong with Indonesian penises? « Portrait Indonesia.

Unspun’s impressions of Mrauk U in Tempo English

Been a long time since Unspun played writer (as opposed to a mere blogger) and Tempo, the English version of the magazine, this week carried his travels and impressions in a 6-page spread from the ancient city of Mrauk U in Myanmar. Here it is:

For more photos of Sittwe and Mrau U, go here

For text of story, buy Tempo English, but if you’re too cheap or too far away, leave a comment and I’ll send you the text.

Happy New Year and some more images from Myanmar

Happy New Year everyone. Still to get back to mother ship in Jakarta so for the meantime here,s some photos fro m Myanmar to keep you occupied.

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