#1 New Meeting Location – BALI!

Report by Somers White, CPAE, FIMC, Sharing Ideas’ 1st Consummate Speaker, Member SI Speakers Hall of Fame

Somers White returned from an Asian business tour.

One of the highlights was speaking in Bali, Indonesia for a leading Computer manufacturer’s top Asian & South American dealers. His program was simultaneously translated into Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

I have spoken in all 50 states and on 6 continents, but the place I most wanted to visit was Bali. When I was approached to speaker at my regular fee, I was delighted and excited. Bali was even more wondrous than I anticipated. It is hard to describe the island without sounding corny or using clichés. Bali is beautiful, mysterious, sensual, spiritual, exotic and enchanting. In the early decades of this century, Bali, synonymous with “Shagri-la,” was discovered by Dutch scholars and western artists. Even though tourism is an important aspect of Balinese life, the people have retained their unique culture and ways.

How Is This Possible?

The answer is the Balinese people. They are deeply religious and have extremely strong family ties. Most are farmers. The land is so fertile, which they attribute to being on loan from the gods, farmers only have to spend a few hours in the field and the rest of the day practicing their art. They are both farmers and artists. Each village has a different special craft, e.g. wood carving, stone carving, silversmith textile, pottery, cane weaving, dancing, etc.

Contrasted with the rests of Moslem Indonesia, the island of Bali only 29 miles wide, is 90% Hindu. There are 60 religious holidays a years, with 20,000 temples. Each has a festival about every 200 days. There is an average of 100 festivals going on every day! I learned that the hotel had brought in a work staff from Java because they did not want problems with local people taking off time for religious festivals. The Balinese are graceful, attractive, and have an easy smile. My daughter, Polly, accompanied me.       As we arrived at the airport to leave, a team of 6 men dressed in ankle length batik sarongs each took one piece of our luggage and carry-ons. Our only regret was that we didn’t get a picture of this entourage. Nothing is without problems. Bali is a 21 hr. flight from Los Angeles and is very humid. We drank bottled water to avoid “Bali Belly.”

However, “Bali Belly” comes from not only drinking tap water, but also creeps up from eating foods cooked in coconut oil and over-indulging in strange tropical fruits. Although Malaria is endemic to Indonesia, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, informed me that preventative measures in Jakarta and Bali were not necessary. I foresee Bali becoming THE PLACE as the most exciting meeting spots. It is a refreshing change of pace. It has the facilities, sunshine, beach lovely people, lower costs and a variety of arts, like nowhere else in the world. Margaret Mead was right when she said of Bali, “It was like a journey down a dream.” Bali is the place I would most like to return to in the entire world.

“SWA,” Indonesia’s leading magazine published a 3 pg. 4 color picture profiles on Somers White while he was there. The article refers to an Indonesian legend about the man with the “Cold Hand” who made silk people well, and gave the parallel that Somers is the man with the modern day, “Cold Hand” who makes sick companies whole.

Somers White & Hariji Form International Firm

The highest accreditation in the management consulting profession is CMC {Certified Management Consultant}. There are only 2,000 in the world. Somers White is a CMC. Hariji Noensie, pictured here, is the only Indonesian CMC. Somers was approached by Jariji to form an international management consulting firm with offices in Indonesia & the U.S., “Noensie & White Management Consultants.” The new firm will also present seminars and do training.

Business is done differently in Indonesia. In Arizona it takes only a few days to form a new company. In Bali, it is estimated that it will take over 6 months to receive government approval of the name. At a press conference held in Jakarta, reporters from 8 publications interviewed Somers for 2 & 1/2 hours over lunch. Highlight was the “Signing Ceremony” of the agreement to form the new company. Somers will serve as Chairman. The press stories were carried as far away as Surabu, 2nd largest city in Indonesia.

Consummate Professional Speaker Somers White

Is shown standing between two native Thai dancers.

Past Consummate Speakers of the Year have been Somers White and Margaret Thatcher, who are now members of the Sharing Ideas Speakers Hall of Fame.

An eye opening article by Consummate Speaker Somers White about his recent speaking/consulting tour of Indonesia will be presented in the next issue. You will be amazed at the meeting business in this beautiful part of the world.

Somers, an internationally known speaker and management consultant, is shown with two of the native dancers performing at the Hilton International Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. “There are many fine hotels in Bangkok, the Oriental and the Regent, but I like to stay at the Bangkok Hilton International because it is centrally located for business and shopping. Its 8-acre private park is a quiet oasis in business-busy Bangkok.”


I have found the people of Thailand to be the most gentle in the world.  In Thailand, speaking loudly or showing anger in public, causes a person to lose respect. Thai’s believe in not rushing, or being impolite.

Over 95% of the populations are Buddhist with more Buddhists living in Thailand than in any other part of the world. Buddhism deeply affects Thai life. Traditionally, all young men are expected to become Buddhist monks for at least three months. A person’s head is considered sacred and one should neither touch another’s head nor pass an object over it. The bottoms of the feet are the lowest part of the body and should never be pointed in the direction of another person.

The Thai greeting is called the wai (rhymes with eye). The wai is made by placing both hands together in a prayer position at the chest and bowing slightly. The higher the hands are placed, the more respect is shown. One should not raise the tips of the fingers above eye level. Failure to return a wai greeting is like refusing to shake hands in the West. The wai gesture can mean “hello,” ”Thank you,” or “I’m sorry.”

The side of Texas, Thailand has a population of about 58 Million people. 75% of the people are Thai, 15% are Chinese and the remaining 10% belong to the other minorities. The Chinese have adopted Thai names and, in a sense, become almost invisible; however, the Chinese have a dominant position in the business life of Thailand, but there is not the resentment as in most countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

Perhaps because of the Chinese, Businesses in Thailand are family businesses. The country’s landmass adjoins Cambodia and Laos, on the East and to the North and Burma to the West and borders Malaysia to the south. In recent years, there has been an influx of refugees from the neighboring countries.

Thailand means the “Land of the Free,” and the Thais are proud of the fact that their country has never become part of a colonial empire. Most people are familiar with the story of Anna and the King of Siam, made into the movie, “The King and I.” In 1932, Thailand became a constitutional monarchy, but its recent history has been marked by a series of military coups. The King and Queen are the most respect and honored people in Thailand.

Except the highlands, the climate is hot and humid, with rainy seasons between July and October. Approximately three quarters of the people are employed in agriculture, so the vast majority live outside the cities. Thailand is an important producer of both rubber and rice it is the world’s largest exporter of rice and tapioca is the country’s second biggest export. In addition to agricultural products, there are exports like computer chips and textiles. With almost one new Japanese factory opening each day, they have been adding 700 new factories a year. It is not only the cheap labor, but tax incentives which have brought the foreign investors.

The second largest city, Chiang Mail, is in northern Thailand and has over one million people. With 14% of the population, Bangkok is the capital, a major seaport and its industrial center.

The changes in Bangkok, as well as the growth have been so fast, in a sense they have a danger of being suffocated by their own success. Over one million people are waiting in Bangkok for a telephone. It has the worst traffic congestion of probably any city in the world. Bangkok has about half the roads necessary to handle the car population, and they are adding 500 new cars a day.

There is an important rising middle class, but the villages are largely untouched. As in true of so many parts of the world, there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. As in a way of life in many parts of Asia, there is the corruption.

The rapidly expanding economy has come at a price, e.g., in three decades, Thailand has lost half of its forest. In the past, there was an attitude which translated to, “Never mind. It doesn’t matter.” With the side effects of the explosive growth, this is changing.

For one traveling to Thailand, only bottled or boiled water should be consumed. Thailand is caught between two, “time bombs.” The is AIDs and anyone who has seen Bangkok at night can understand why. The second is the danger of a new Malaria strain coming from their neighboring countries.

Thailand stands on three pegs. In the Thai flag; Red is for the Land; Blue is for Royalty; White is for Religion. However, Education is becoming a fourth peg. The law now requires that all children attend school at least through the sixth grade. Those Thais concerned about the future of their country feel the key is developing a highly-skilled labor force.

Examples of NEGOTIATING Programs for IBM and HP

I have spoken number of times for IBM.  I was hired to go to Cannes, France, to do a program for IBM dealers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.  They had me wait a week, at their expense, to do the same program for the IBM agents from the same countries.

I was hired to go to Bali, Indonesia, to present a program for the top 10% of the Hewlett Packard International dealers.  My talk was simultaneously translated into Japanese, Spanish, Korean and Mandarin.

Newton Walpert held the highest position in Hewlett Packard for anyone his age. He was in charge of all Marketing for all Asia, except Japan.  He was in the audience and flew to the United States to personally become my consulting and coaching client.