Adventures in Sabah Borneo Malaysia – Part 2 – Monkey Business – Best Blogs Series

International Animal Rescue care for a growing...

International Animal Rescue care for a growing number of orangutans like Bunga who have been caught from the wild and often spent years in captivity as pets, caged or chained up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nasalis larvatus Deutsch: Nasenaffen. Русский:...

Nasalis larvatus Deutsch: Nasenaffen. Русский: Носачи. Svenska: Näsapa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sandakan location

Sandakan location (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following on from our last blog which addressed our introduction to Sandakan, Sabah, in  this blog, we start to focus on the fauna and flora for which this area is world-renowned.

In a nutshell, we covered three major highlights with our driver in an amazing day; these were:

We left our hotel at about 8.30 am and headed for the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center. We needed to be there for  10 am to see the first of two feeding times for the orangutans (alternative spelling).

Sepilok does some wonderful work in rescuing orangutans from captivity and human cruelty, providing excellent care and medical facilities, teaching the orangutans the skills that they will need in the wild. The objective is to return as many orangutans to the wild,  as possible, but safely, minimizing the risk to their survival. To understand the depths of the cruelty to orangutans, please open this link in which cites a true story where International Animal Rescue rescues a mother and baby. Even though there are others, Sepilok is the largest and most important rehab center for orangutans in Borneo.

Returning to the feeding ceremony at Sepilok, this is an amazing experience and a photographer’s delight. All the  orangutans assemble as soon as they hear the arrival of the keeper, they start their natural performance by showing how fast they can climb,  jump and do their acrobats in the trees. It is important to understand this is not a zoo but a school for monkeys, and the animals live in a natural environment in the rain-forest. Just as the food arrives, there is great excitement, everyone is happy, and the feeding begins; they sit quietly, eating their fruit until they have had their fill and then they go off dancing in the trees again. It is also so nice to see the mums and their babies hanging on their tummies as mum protects them.

We left Sepilok with a feeling of great satisfaction in the wonderful work that they are doing. We then headed to Labuk Bay, yet another monkey sanctuary, this time the Proboscis monkey, that we are told is endemic to Borneo. A very unusual looking primate with a very long nose – in mature males the nose can be seven inches in length [open this link for some amazing public photos of proboscis monkeys]. The male uses the length of his nose to attract a mate and the longer the nose the more popular he is with the ladies!  This center is privately owned and here we once again saw the feeding of this fascinating animal. Once again wonderful work is done here in trying to save this endangered species.

Our next stop that day was the Rain-Forest Discovery Center [open link for public photos]. This provided a lush forest in which to walk in various paths, with lots of of information about all the trees and plants. It was quite beautiful and very interesting. As we looked at the beautifully shaped and colored trees and plants, we reflected on the enormous percentage of rain-forest that had been lost forever to palm oil production.

After the   Rain-Forest Discovery Center, we returned to the nearby Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center. We had missed the introductory film earlier in the the day, so went back  just before the 4 pm feeding and  this time we were able to see their video describing the excellent work that is being done here for orangutans, also the amount of effort that is being put into trying to educate the public on the importance of being kind to animals. Well, as we were there, we thought we would see the feeding time again! It was extremely crowded with lots of families with very young children, so it was very noisy with excitement. However, we were privileged to see a mum with her newly born baby orangutan.

This was a truly amazing day for us but it left us once again thinking about the loss of of the rain-forest to palm-trees and palm oil production.

We question whether the next generation of children in Malaysia will be able to see orangutans and  proboscis monkeys in the wild or will they just be confined to zoos and wildlife centers? We were fortunate and proud to have seen both of these species in the wild, in the jungles of Borneo; continue reading this blog, as it’s coming up soon!

Opinion – 4 Ways to Level the Playing-Field of Small Business Recruitment – Entepeneur – John Gelmini

Dr Alf’s hopes will be dashed if he thinks that the EU or the UK will reform the recruitment industry because now, as in the past, it has served as a convenient scapegoat for businesses which have hired people on the basis of “fit” and “people like us criteria” and then discovered that the new appointees could not or would not perform.

Many recruiters, and more than a few providers of contractors and interims are greedy, and fixated by commissions and fees. They lack the “cojones” to challenge clients, who are misguided, wrong and incapable of facing up to the truth of brutal marketplace trends. They breach EU employment law by asking people’s ages (This has been illegal since October 2006) and for what they do, they charge too much and then say they are doing a great job. They collude with human-resource professionals, who claim to have found “objective processes” to ensure that appointments are made on merit, and that the UK is a “meritocracy”.

A look at hard evidence shows that 50% of senior appointments fail, even with the help of headhunters who charge 33% of first year’s salary.

At a more mundane level, one can look at sales-people and their CVs, all of which claim startling and astonishing performance, worthy of the man who could “walk on water”, Superman and Neo, the hero of the Matrix Trilogy, all rolled into one. On that basis, there would be no need for austerity, the Treasury would be bursting at the seams, with money from burgeoning Corporation tax receipts and personal debt would be nonexistent, rather than £1.4 trillion gbp and rising.

The reality as Dr Alf may recall from his earlier life, as a globe-trotting financial director in corporate life, is as far from this ideal as anyone could imagine, with our UK worker productivity at 20th in the world, and 16% behind the average for the G7, and our exports running at 50% of the £1 trillion gbp target set by David Cameron for 2020.

Recruiters use test batteries, from people like Saville and Holdsworth, to predict on the job performance and since that firm alone has more than 10,000 test batteries, you might imagine that mistakes in hiring would be falling and the recruiters would be improving their “strike rates”. Sadly ‘no’, the results indicate that blindfolding chimpanzees and having them throw darts at wall mounted CVs of recruiter shortlisted applicants and then appointing those candidates whose CVs were skewered by the largest number of darts yields results just as good as any of their so-called “objective processes”.

To summarize, recruiters as a whole, follow the pattern of the 80/20 rule in that the performance of most of them does not do “what is says on the tin”, and certainly not for 4% of first year salary costs.

Dr Alf likes hard-evidence and the truth is that just 1 salesperson in 250 in the UK and America consistently reaches their monthly targets, and just 10% of a given field sales persons time is actually spent selling (Source:The Management Consultancy Group PLC).

The same is true of the measurable effectiveness of”Human Resource Professionals”, HR consultants who assist them and the testing providers —In most cases it falls far short of what is actually needed.

As with the BSE crisis, the solution initially is a “contiguous cull” of the worst cases followed by the outsourcing and BPO of most of the worst HR and training functions within organisations.

With recruiters no further investigation is needed, just more dis-intermediation by web–sites, like Linked In to reduce their numbers, neural net technology applied to the recruitment process, more competent and better trained managers and directors and more automation to eliminate the need for as much hiring in the first place.

Against this background, it’s not surprising that great hopes are being placed on small-businesses – they at least do not have the bureaucracies of big-business, banks and bloated public sectors, with their cronies in recruitment, outsourcing and business services.

John Gelmini