Saturday, October 13, 2007


Malaysia is the first place I've needed to start from 0 in building a community, network, group of friends, or however you'd care to name the concept. Coming to college was the last time I had to restart from this level, and that was 5 years ago. It's been a while.

But what I find is that it's in this environment where I am most acutely aware of the details of human and group interactions. I less frequently am occupied by dynamic dialogue and verbal jiving, so I more often can sit back and observe. Some stem directly from my immediate environment, some are supplanted from elsewhere.

Should I continue these observations, the casual observer will take comfort in the "Interpretations" title.

My tenure in this country was gearing up just as another's was winding down, and I had the pleasure of being his roommate for this short 2 week period. Whenever you join a pre-established community, as an initial outsider you can usually note the few players acting as the glue holding the community (and sometimes the community's fringe as well) together. The person or people act as a glue, a connector of different circles, a totem pole just a little higher that the others look to. This person was that glue, by my eyes. Having spent more time here than many others was a definite advantage, but not a requirement for reaching this status. It is something you can observe but also something you can often just feel.

But alas, that time is now left for the books. For now I can only salute. Short but sweet.

And so that figure leaves and you have a void. This symbolic leaving is replicated across many fields, a star player getting hurt or leaving a team, a general struck down, and a star manager leaving an organization. People seem to react in 2 ways to this void. They either retreat away from it, lament the loss and wallow in pain, wishing it to never have opened. But others, they see the opportunity, and seek to fill it. They carry out the rebirth, and use the (hopefully) large hole to an advantage, as a vessel to create a great foundation on which to build their own pillar. The bigger the hole, the bigger that foundation could be. The duty of the original Figure is to provide others the ability to build that new foundation. Sometimes their "followers" find those tools on their own.

But when the hole is there, it must be filled. If not, the structure weakens and the building falls, the enemy gets through and the army defeated, or the passion leaks and the community dwindles.

It is every one's choice, but the view up top is usually nicer.



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