I have alway kept in mind the discrepancy between theories in text books and practices in reality. Yet until this week, I did get a hands-on grasp for the first time of how reality can differ from our existing perceptions.
Our group is assigned to help an organic farming business, the person in charge of which is a middle aged lady with a quite knowledgable appearance, Rosy. Our first meeting with her is far less than fruitful, at least worse than my expectation. We were transferred to a female employee for a 10 minutes farm tour immediately after we said first hello to Rosy. She seems to be occupied at all times and I feel like she wants to control everything that span the range of her whole business. She runs an organic farm, sells mangoes and cucumbers, proceeds raw mangoes, operates a restaurant in town, and also holds position in many associations.
I feel surprised at her current responsibility, but her super superb memory astonishes me more: she keeps all the data information all in her mind! Yes, there is no accountants, no secret or manager working for her, and even no accounting book, which left us ill-prepared for the financial statements and analysis we planned to work out earlier. I felt hopeless at this moment. Should we be more grateful because we know who we can refer to for the data we want, or should we feel worse as it is just this hard to EXPORT her mind to our notebooks? I have no idea, and what we are trying to do is to make the financial table simpler, simpler and simpler.
This really fetched me a slap in the face. For the past of two years studying economics and finance, I always took the number given in every financial case or accounting statement for granted and regarded the later valuation and analysis part as far more important, which is exactly what we are learning. There was a time when I had questions like where were those data coming from, but all of those seemingly irrelevant questions failed to get a rethink at the presence of coming examinations and a weird decent interpretation of finance analysts, the kind of job to which hardly would primary data collection, especially collecting data in person be attached.
Thus, you can tell how mixed my feeling is now. I feel lucky when in university for the incredible easy access to all the data that is supposed to be hard to obtain, just as what we are struggling with now. And I also feel sorry for my underestimate and overlook to collecting primary data in reality. It’s really really not an easy task, in a sense even far more meaningful and challenging than the later analysis part.
The second lesson that slapped me again is never, and never to judge people by the first “look”. “Look” here generalizes all the trivial aspect that you may feel you are so smart to find out and seize on as a powerful evidence for one’s character prediction you’re doing on a whim. Take us as a vivid example. Rosy is really very busy, but the degree of her being busy is not fully observed and understood, or believed by us in first place. The first meeting with her can be a strong evidence to her being occupied and us being ignored. We sat in her restaurant for over hours looking at how she treated each customer and even cut the leaf herself. The only interest she showed to us was when she asked us how many bottles of juice we wanted to have. 20php per bottle!~
This made me really upset. We seemed to be more customers to her than consultants. I tried to stand on her point and understand why things go like this that she would even like to do those silly and trivial task like leaf cutting rather than come to us, and I concluded all of Rosy’s indifferent responses as our lack of profession to win her trust. Customers can bring her immediate profits and pay back her efforts, but to her, students like us can do nothing, ok can do things students feel good and fancy but in her point of view useless to her business. I felt really sad about this point and almost gave up when I reconstructed the underlying logics:
There is no concrete data obtainable from any books.=> I have to communicate with people concerned to get them. => Only Rosy is concerned and well-informed as far as we know. => Rosy doesn’t want to sit down and talk with us.
==>> I CANNOT GET ANY DATA AND NO HELP CAN I DO FOR HER!
It almost drives me crazy. However, that’s not the reality. In fact, it’s us that misinterpreted what we observed and made wrong estimate regarding Rosy’s responses. In our second meeting, Rosy in fact answered all the questions we prepared without impatience, though during the period she walked away for several times to pick up her phones and made orders.
Yes, the reason why she left us there is quite simple: she is just too busy. And the reason why we felt ourselves useless and abandoned is also straightforward: we are just too urgent. We have get used to fast-moving world as modernisation and digitalisation define the way that data and information are delivered. And now, it’s time for us to slow down, sit and talk to people with our full attention: no need to hurry for deadline, as real voluntary benevolence should never be limited.
Guimaras is a place where you should never jump at quick conclusions, no matter whether it is to the people here, or the climate. I have misinterpreted it as good for people to follow healthy bed timetable, and effective to have fancy long efficient working hours: 5am to 8pm. But now I intended to revise it to, long daily working time, but low efficiency as either sun burns or bugs trouble!