and investing in an emerging market involves risk. The risk involved tends
to be more serious and less predictable than in the developed world. To
quote Ana Patricia Botin: “Though the Latin American market has improved
a lot…. it’s still a market for risk taking pioneers”. Ana Patricia Botin
was instrumental in opening up Latin America for Spain’s Banco Santander.
Yet, to quote Ana again: “….many of the most exciting investment opportunities
in the next decade will lie in Latin America". The lady knows what she’s
talking about. She’s been there, done it.
at least half a brain between his ears has heard about Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabel Allende. But not everybody may be aware of
more recent literary developments in Latin America. A very contemporary
literary trend in Latin America is known by the name “McOndo”. With a little
imagination you recognise in “McOndo” “Macondo”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
fictional village, as well as “McDonald’s” and “MacIntosh”. These connotations
may give you an idea what the literary trend “McOndo” revolves around.
“McOndo” as a new literary trend in Latin America revolves around city
life and things associated with city life – e.g. crowds, pollution, money,
As far as my
humble self has been able to get a handle on the tropic, the term “McOndo”
was created by the Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet. There are already more
McOndians – e.g. Pedro Juan Gutierrez, Mario Mendoza and Edmundo Paz Soldan.
However, it looks as if no McOndian has managed so far to stand out of
the crowd and attract attention worldwide. Folks who know a little more
about this sort of thing than yours truly reckon that Jorge Franco may
be able to do so.
won in 2000 Spain’s most prestigious literary prize with his book “Rosario
Tijeras”. “Rosario Tijeras” is set in Medellin, Colombia during the
1980s when Pablo Escobar ran the show there. Whether Jorge Franco is going
to manage to stand out of the crowd, let’s wait and see. My point is “McOndo”
illustrates that Latin America is worth keeping an eye on for its literature
as well, not just for the lifestyle and commodities it offers.
On International Living
It was the
first time that I spent Christmas and the winter vacation/holiday in Colima.
After living so far in the United States, South Africa, New Zealand and
Mexico as well as travelling who knows where else, I can’t claim to have
been filled with the desire to explore unknown turf. It looks as if yours
truly may be getting a little tired of moving around like a wandering circus.
Instead I spent Christmas with friends of mine in Colima and the rest of
the time primarily on my roof terrace.
to be a trend with my overseas stints. After almost a year in the United
States and two years in South Africa, my humble self spent about six years
in New Zealand and so far three and a half years in Mexico. The stints
are getting longer. For the time being, there’s no reason for me to leave
Colima. Let’s wait and see how much more time “we” are going to spend here.
at my overseas experiences in hindsight, I’ve arrived at a few conclusions.
When you leave your comfort zone to live overseas, do it properly. By doing
it properly I mean that it doesn’t really make an awful lot of sense to
spend a few months at one place before moving to the next spot. In case
you’re keen on making a difference and having an impact, you’re going to
need some staying power and stamina. No matter what we’re talking about,
focusing primarily on short term results doesn’t seem to be the wisest
of concepts. Commit yourself rather to something long term and you do make
a difference and have an impact.
In my probably
not so humble opinion, this difference between short term and long term
commitments does apply to international living as well. When you just spend
a few months at a certain place, you can only scratch the surface. Spending
a few months somewhere may be better than being a tourist on a shopping
spree for a couple of weeks. But you can’t realistically expect to make
a significant difference somewhere in just a few months. Instead go for
something long term, no matter what it is, no matter where you want to
do it. Going for something long term will also give you more personal satisfaction.
Going only and always for the short haul won’t help develop your personality
round this sermon up, don’t do what everybody else does. In case everybody
else tends to be your bench mark, you’re likely to end up marching to the
same drum. Instead find your own niche. Develop your own style. March to
your own drum. And keep a healthy distance to the mainstream.
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