Father Sez

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What I have learned from the Sandwich Man

Monday March 16th, 2009 by fathersez

This morning I read an article in the local papers about the state of the economy in Thailand. Malaysia and Thailand have many similarities besides sharing a border. It’s safe to consider this Thai view as another opinion on Malaysia’s own state of the economy.  

Update: Our Government is now talking about bad times…finally.

The writer had talked to none other than the Sandwich Man, Mr. Sirivat, who found fame selling sandwiches made by him and his wife at Bangkok street corners, after tumbling from the lofty heights of being one of Thailand’s richest businessmen.   Mr. Sirivat had quite dire predictions for the Thai economy. His logic being that Thailand’s main earners are export oriented manufacturing and tourism. And the customers i.e. the rest of the world, are in too bad a shape to do much buying. He expects that the next quarter will start seeing serious pain being inflicted on the Thai economy.  

Mr. Sirivat’s website explains how after his highly leveraged business collapsed in 1997, he took to selling sandwiches. His first 20 sandwiches took over 6 hours to sell. Now, 12 years later, he has a number of coffee restaurants and has turned his economic fortunes around.  I am not sure about his current age, though his website says he is 59. Asians generally are a proud people. Very cognisant about face and social status etc. At this age, and from his prior position, it must have taken a tremendous sense of tenacity and courage for him to have taken on the sandwich business. 

I, too, am seeing tough times ahead for me. Though I believe I have my plans worked out and am implementing them to the best of my ability, it is clear that the traction has not taken place yet. 

Tough times never last, tough people do. This title of a book by Robert Schuller, is a really powerful phrase!  Being reminded about the Sandwich Man’s fall off his economic cliff and his climb back has given me renewed strength. An example of there is always another way. A guide to looking at every option available. A true life example of the phrase, “Tough times never last, tough people do!” 

Tough times never last, tough people do! This is what I should have said this morning to one my best friends, when I visited him in hospital. He has one of the highest levels of inner strength that I have ever seen in anyone and perhaps he was already running this phrase through his mind many times. 

Tough times never last, tough people do! This is what I should tell my eldest daughter as she tries to find herself and merge her love for applying psychology on children with the earning requirements of her everyday life.   This is what I should also tell my second daughter as she works her way through unrealistic and unreasonable deadlines.  

Tough times never last, tough people do! This is going to be my mantra for these economic times.

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