On The Frontline.

He Probably Still Is - In A Different Way.

“They come for three months - they stay for four years - and I welcome that. That’s how we learn. They see us up close and personal and we see them. A lot of countries that they come from have very different governments, with different rules. We get to learn about each without the filter of what they are told. I wouldn’t say that when they leave we fully understand each other’s cultures, but we are surely better off than we would have been if we hadn't.”

“We bring people in from all over the world, staff and customers. So, why would we treat anyone differently? Them, Us, Staff, Customers, Family … each one of us is part of another’s world. And I mean all of us.”

“I don’t know much about those large companies you hear about in the news. You could fit our entire community into one of their office blocks. They have their ways. We have ours. So we’re different. Except we’re not. None of us are. They just haven’t worked that out yet.”

“Turns out, we have more in common with ‘foreigners’ - like you” (he smiles and points his finger at me) “than some of the people from our own country. Turns out that the ones that are just here to 'party' are the odd ones out. That’s why we came up with the 'Silly Bugger' rule.”

“It goes like this. When you come here, you can work and you can party. But that’s on your time. If you play 'silly bugger', there is no second chance. You are out on the next boat. That’s how we build and strengthen our community. Everybody is welcome until they make themselves unwelcome.”

“Maybe that’s something else those big companies could learn from us. If they did, we wouldn’t charge. That’s another thing - we don’t charge to learn - learning makes us all better.”

[To play 'silly buggers' is to generally act the fool, lark about, waste time or generally mess things up.]

‘On The Frontline’ is a story from the ‘Travels Without Charlie’ series. Our converation occurred just two months ago. I hope Sylvester is still doing ok. I know it will be tough - he works in the travel industry.

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