German Memories in Asia: An Exploration into German Lifestyle and Economy!
The Aquarius Sports Resort Hotel in Marawila, a sleepy western coastal town of Sri Lanka is always a fascinating place to me.
My association with the Asian-German Sports Exchange Program (AGSEP), a Non-Governmental Organisation and the International Institute for Ratings and Consultancy (IIRC), a German based Think-Tank made me to visit often to the Aquarius resort, which hosts both of the institutions.
The beach-end restaurant of the resort facing the scenic Indian Ocean will become at times a forum for various international issues.
My conversation with the students from various leading German universities who were in their exchange programs and doing their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the fields of economics, political science, social science, engineering and other disciplines gave me a chance to know more about the German history, economy and cultural issues.
My discussion with Marita Kanter, a diploma student in the field of managing social science gave me a chance to be better informed about the role of the German Government and its people towards the international community.
Germans are open-minded, modern and tolerant people and these are the hallmarks of German society at the beginning of the 21st century. For the vast majority of people, the family still forms the nucleus of their lives, yet the forms people choose for living together has become far more numerous. Supported by consistent measures by the state to ensure equality, there has been a chance in the interpretation of the roles men and women play.
An increasing number of couples are now sharing domestic chores and the task of bringing up children, who are regarded as the parents' partners.
Violence as part of bringing up children is despised, whereas peaceful co-existence with people from other countries and cultures has become part and parcel of everyday life. Around nine percent of the population is foreign. In every sixth marriage, one of the partners has a foreign passport.
My discussions with Gunther Wagner, the founder/director of the IIRC, a retired officer of the then East German Air Force turned entrepreneur and with his coordinators and consultants Stephanie Vilein, Pascal Sadaune, Romy Geiser and Maik Kastnev gave me a clear picture about the German economy today.
The German economy has transformed from a war-torn economy to the one of the best in the world. The German economy is ranking third in terms of total economic output. In terms of exports, Germany takes first place worldwide. The country continues to be an attractive market for foreign investors, offering a superbly developed infrastructure and a highly motivated, well-qualified work force. Top-notch research and development projects are additional hallmarks of the country.
Compared with other industrial nations the German economy has an almost unprecedented international focus. Companies generate almost a third of their profits through exports, and almost one in four jobs are dependent on foreign trade. The high level of international competitiveness is most evident where companies vie with others in the international arena. Despite the slump in world trade, the share of exports expanded at a higher than average rate.
As the IIRC is based in Munich, I had a chance to know more about the leading Bavarian Companies Audi, BMW, Bogner, Bosch, Grundig and Siemens with the overseas companies in Munich Accor, Aventis, Denso, Fujisawa, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Roche, and Valeo.
Germany's major ICT companies are based in Munich. It's because of the availability of personnel. For young persons, Munich is one of the most appealing places to work and live in Europe. Very definitely the location and all that go with it, a large supply of executives, staff members and immediate access to prime customers and markets.
For a management and technology consulting firm like Sapient, Munich is a unique location. The area offers immediate access to highly-qualified staff as well as premium clients. Yantra chose Bavaria as the headquarters of their German operations because of the ease of doing business here, the excellent transportation and communication facilities plus proximity to Switzerland and Austria.
The present Germany is playing a very important role in the European Union. When the EU is expanded to include 25 member states in 2004, the repercussions of the Cold War and Europe's division into two camps have finally been eliminated.
About the Author: Rajkumar Kanagasingam is author of a fascinating book on German memories in Asia and you can explore more about the book and the author at AGSEP