Computers and Cookware and stinky fruit!

Really busy day today.  In the morning we visited IBM.  I have been bringing groups to IBM every year but one, since 2009.  Not only is it interesting to see IBM’s core business model, but also their family style approach to human resources.  Their motto is “work hard, play hard” and they provide their employees with lots of opportunities to join teams and other interest groups sponsored by IBM.   Thanks to Elicia, Crystal, and Gerry.

After IBM we participated in a perennial favorite (at least for me): The Durian Challenge!  If you haven’t followed this blog before, durian is a fruit native to Southeast Asia, that smells like a mixture of rotten onions and feet.  Many Asians love it.  Most Westerners do not.  The smell is so pungent that is is banned from most public places and transportation in Singapore.  Yum.

In the afternoon we visited Tools of the Trade.  TOTT is a cooking and housewares company based in Singapore but with a global reach.  We learned about TOTT’s business model and how they market their products in a society that traditionally doesn’t do much home cooking.  Thanks to Grace Tan for her hospitality.

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Above: Crystal explains not only about IBM, but also a background about Singapore.

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Gerry (left) is the world’s largest Singaporean (he’s actually from Ireland).  He says this is the most photographed spot in Singapore.

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Morgan’s look pretty much sums up the reaction to Durian, although Jonathan seemed to like it.  No one sat next to him on the way home.

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Above: Grace Tan explains the history of TOTT, her family business.

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After the business discussion, the group made cookies!  One thing we found out is that Westerners have freakishly large hands compared to Asians.  The gloves didn’t fit too well.

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Below: We had a group meal at Samy’s Curry.  The ordering was a bit of a chore, but the food was great.

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See how happy Lauren looks when she doesn’t have to use chopsticks?  When Lauren uses chopsticks, grown men shy away and women cover their children’s eyes.  It isn’t pretty.

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That’s it!  Free day tomorrow so I don’t know what I’ll have to report.  Check back and see.

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