Tonight I performed two songs at our community Talent Show. I performed a solo version of the Roy Orbison classic, “Oh Pretty Woman” and a duet of “Endless Love” by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross. We did very well. In fact, everyone who performed did a fabulous job. My partner on “Endless Love” also performed a solo of a French song (she hails from Belgium and is fluent in French). We made a couple mistakes during our rendition, but we got the crowd into our duet and had a lot of fun. Preparing for two three-minute songs was a lot of work. We practiced a couple of times together and worked out singing logistics. We used a large karaoke machine and sang along to instrumental versions of the songs. We didn’t win the competition, but I’m sure it was a crowd pleaser. I’m so tired now that I will retire early tonight after I finish writing my blog.
All in all, it’s been a long, long week. It ended with the Talent Show. It also included a presentation at Chung-Ahn University in Seoul and an important meeting with my section chief. I put together a pitch to sell my chief on the idea of implementing a quality management system (QMS) and achieving ISO 9001 certification for our section. Although it’s an office, it still functions much like what I affectionately call “a white-collar factory.” The principles of operations management used in manufacturing can be modified and implemented in an office setting. My chief agreed, and he gave me the green light to start working on implementing a QMS and pursuing ISO 9001 certification. It will be a huge undertaking. My goal is to achieve certification before I leave Seoul in 2007. Implementing a certified QMS requires a lot of documentation, employee cooperation, and support from management. The task will be daunting, but I think it’s achievable within two years.
CNN reported today that three members of a family in the area where I grew up were brutally murdered, and two children from the same family were abducted by an unknown assailant. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is usually a quiet, unassuming place. This murder must be an extreme shock to local residents. When I grew up there, I never heard of murders in our area. Murders always happened in the big metropolis of Spokane, Washington (population 175,000). It’s such a sad, sad story. I’m so sorry to hear what happened and hope that police find the murderer and the abducted children before anything happens to them. I have no idea why anyone would do such a thing. My parents still live in the area, so this story hits close to home for me.
I often hear from many Americans about how dangerous it is living and traveling overseas. For example, when I lived in Austria as a youth I wanted to visit nearby Zagreb, Croatia. The Bosnian conflict had recently ended, and my family insisted that I forgo the trip because they thought that visiting Zagreb was “too dangerous.” Perhaps, but sometimes perceptions do not match reality. I respected their wishes and regretfully aborted the trip. Danger is not limited to urban or war torn areas. I feel much safer here in Seoul than I did living in the Washington, D.C. area, even though Seoul is more than twice as large as D.C. I even feel safer here than I did in Seattle, which is a fairly safe American city. I think statistics meted out my contention that sometimes living outside the U.S. is safer than living in America. Coeur d’Alene used to feel safe, a place where you did not even have to lock your door. Now my idyllic hometown has been shattered by a brutal murder and abduction splashed across headlines throughout the country. It goes to show that danger can happen anywhere, at any time. I think it’s best to live life with that thought in the back of one’s mind without letting phobia control of your decision making. In 2001, immediately following 9/11 and before the Afghan War, my wife and I toured the Middle East on tour. We seriously considered aborting the trip. I am so glad we decided to go anyway despite tensions in the Middle East. We met just four Americans during our journeys there. Tourism was so depressed at the time that we felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. I am so glad that at that time I did not let caution thwart our trip. Live life to the fullest, I say.