With Dr Franck Scola.
6.30 PM 29th November 2017, 40 Islington High Street, London N1 8XB (In French!)
With Dr Franck Scola.
6.30 PM 29th November 2017, 40 Islington High Street, London N1 8XB (In French!)
When will Sexual Harassment stop?
Pandora’s Box is currently open and what is being released seems ugly yet disturbingly obvious. To an extent, we all share a common feeling of shame at semi – knowing the news coming out about sexual abuse already.
It has taken a while to emerge because we have collectively created a hostile environment of judgement and name calling, where the victims of abuse carried out by powerful men are made to feel afraid and hesitant about coming forward. There was nowhere to hide. Now there is #metoo. Before today, there was only the fear of public ridicule, of another close encounter in a lift or of suffering career aspiration damage.
Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes are up there. And now Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and a stream of unsavoury characters from British Parliament are emerging to upset us further. Again, it is less the shock, rather the confirmation of our collective semi-knowing of the on-going and systemic abuse of position, power and privilege.
No longer can we comfort ourselves that this was mostly just weird victimless perversion, the vice of old men with silk ropes and whips. Now with the #metoo campaign, the victims have found their collective voice. The people are now listening and this will be a day of reckoning for some.
Can we dream of a better world now? Would it be that difficult for the elite to give up their political and financial dominance in order to quash a grotesque trade in requests for sexual access in return for career opportunity?
Obviously those holding the power seem to think so. Vast money and airtime are being spent perpetuating myths around the benefits of young women and powerful old men continuing to work together with all the associated side deals staying in place. Perhaps a simple and healthy alternative narrative is too terrifying and threatening for them to contemplate.
Imagine a world that is economically gender neutral and, in particularly, where jobs are deemed gender free – women can be plumbers, top chefs and physicists, men can be dancers and nurses and no one blinks.
That would take a big shift in our collective memory, overturning a vast vault made up of millions of exposures to belittling sentences, limiting judgements and gender stereotyping images coming at us via press, TV and film.
Imagine a world where the household chores are distributed evenly. A world where care work, domestic work or work traded for salaries were valued as equally significant, equally valid and equally worthy of acknowledgement.
The flip side benefit of this would move beyond Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” where women are subtly asked to become more like men and fill the boardroom with mini – Margaret Thatchers. Instead the testosterone count would be replaced by a pleasant creative and innovating environment where thought based productivity replaced stressed robotic computer terminal template filling sitting silently in a soul destroying open plan office the size of half a football pitch.
How do we know we have not got it right? Sexist banter, prejudice, Christmas party transgressions, the trade in career enhancement for sexual favours, the casting couch, the old propositioning the young simply because the job market is tight and competitive and they can, and the concept of allowing groping hands in the company lift continuing to be justified with, “That is how you get ahead.”
And there is man-splaining (Rebecca Solnit), man-spreading, the hostile work environment – interruptions, dominance and deafness, and something I frequently witness in offices – the small number of women in a team being expected to make the coffee, print out documents and show visitors to meeting rooms.
Before we jump off a collective cliff of hopelessness, let us remember that school leavers, are the future of work and many of them seem to be getting it. No longer is casual sexism or homophobia acceptable or cool. When my son pointed out that some epithets would not longer go unchallenged amongst his peer group, I was mildly surprised as well as being heartened and encouraged.
Our collective parenting has yet to change from bringing up boys to be the little tough guy, overtly manly (& praying that they turn out straight.) And bringing up girls to be pink princesses groomed to lead a fairy tale life of motherhood within wedded bliss with wedding day planning lasting for all of their remembered childhood. And, all this flying in the face of data, our own repeated disappointment, and the cumulative evidence of life experience.
Who benefits from women cleaning and caring? Who benefits from white middle class males dominating the corporate world as well as the higher echelons of education, medicine, all religions and local and national Government?
The bastion of white male privilege is holding fast and shows no signs of being swayed by equality laws, the moral outrage of oppressed group’s or the findings of employment tribunals (recently put out of reach for the majority with the introduction of a £1,200 starter fee in the UK.)
The Current Narrative
Do we know just how 1950’s our current gender story is? When we see Mad Men / Stepford Wives, we laugh at the simpering simplicity of their lot. But have modern TV, film and social media characters really changed that much in the last 65 years? Screenwriter for When Harry Met Sally, Nora Ephron often spoke of the paucity of female character definition in the majority of successful mainstream films with the oft repeated phrases, “What is going on?”, “You don’t understand me” and, “We don’t seem to talk any more.”
Geena Davis is commissioning research and making a documentary to point out the staggering gender imbalance in modern films (Men have twice the airtime and talking time of women in mainstream Hollywood film releases.) And 96% of the biggest films where directed by men.
If you believe TV (please don’t), the life choices women are asked to make are between nurse, beauty queen, tough and sacrificing executive or home maker / baby maker.
And, the gritty reality of suburbia is actually worse! multi-generational nappy changing and taxi driving are moving up the job description.
Males are dominant in the economy and make the majority of the decisions that have the power to either maintain the current set up or exchange it for a more inclusive and profitable gender balanced economic future.
But there seems little or no incentive for them to do so.
It is like the Swiss Canton referendum in Appenzell, where it took until 1971 to enfranchise local women because…ONLY MEN COULD VOTE.
A Future Worth Having
Nothing will change until the narrative moves up. We need to see thousands and thousands and thousands of positive images of women in work, women in politics and women in the community portrayed on TV, in film and over Social Media. And those 3 D and robust characters need to be played by women, drawn by women and directed by women.
And let us have merit and not the casting couch as the door opener to career success.
Importantly, in literature this gender rebalancing is already happening. The majority of hit authors are now female – Think of Margaret Attwood, Zadie Smith, Anne Tyler, Donna Tartt, Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, Jodi Picoult and JK Rowling.
And more growth is needed. Isolated collections of intelligent women working in smaller communities is not going to be enough. This is a mass project requiring serious mobilisation. And this means and includes YOU. The necessary amplification of a healthy gender narrative needs to be significant.
A final thought.
And whilst we have your attention, can I ask you a challenging question? And, it won’t make you feel great. Sorry.
What subtle choices have you made today that, as you review them now – make you realise that you have helped contribute to the continued suppression of women in the home, the media and in the workplace?
That question is for everybody.
We can take 3 more generations to get the necessary shift to occur or we can start today. It is up to me and it is up to you.
Author Profile – Matthew Hill works with diverse groups of corporate executives in more than 30 countries to raise awareness of positive difference and to support inclusion in the workplace.
Billed as “Europe’s most popular, most demanding and most comprehensive intercultural Train The Trainer Programme”
The Next block begins on 13th October 2017 in Freising near Munich.
For more details go to; http://www.international-hr.de/en/intercultural-train-the-trainer-programme.html
Trainer, Coach and Speaker – Gary Thomas
A film of the webinar – Malii has developed an idea that borrows from the sweaty physical space of the gym and applies it to benefit a diverse group of people working together and wishing to raise their level of cultural competence as it shows up in process, inclusion and equity. She is talking to YOU.
In this one-hour film (no yoga mat required), Malii expands upon her creative ideas and tells us how high-intensity interval training can be learnt, practiced and applied to good effect. So grab a pen, paper and your water bottle and plug in to enjoy this unique intellectual and emotional workout. Click on the link to watch the film now; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPXVXAXh0oI
About the Speaker – Malii Brown is a trainer and consultant working globally and stateside to equip people with skills to manage the complexities and opportunities inherent to work and life in culturally diverse environments. She has 12 years training experience including Fortune 500 companies, institutions of higher learning, state government and nonprofits.
Malii offers a unique perspective to cultural work as a Millennial woman of color who has worked and travelled throughout the U.S. and 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. She has varying proficiency in English, Spanish, Japanese and American Sign Language (ASL) and holds a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Management from SIT Graduate Institute (School for International Training) in Vermont, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College in California. She now lives in Chicago.
To watch the film click here; https://vimeo.com/224431112
Dr. Judith Mader and Dr. Rudi Camerer Broadcast from Frankfurt on the schools of thinking around culture, where the problems lie, effective blending learning methods, the use of critical incidents and case studies and how a combination of “home” work and classroom discussion for individuals or groups can work successfully.
If you enjoy the show and want to experience the ELC ICE course for yourself, feel free to contact Rudi at; R.Camerer@elc-consult.com
An Opinion Piece by Matthew Hill
The EU government and press are laughing at the collective miss-step of UK citizens, some of whom believed that the NHS pot would be topped up to the tune of £350 million a week or that UK employment would grow along with the economy after Brexit, or that their farm protest vote against the British Government’s DEFRA ministry was a protest vote against an EU department.
As that laughter calms, European minds are turning to our common issues, mutual interests as well as the need for defence and everybody’s prosperity.
The kindness of strangers
It is at this point we witness the kindness of strangers – Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Shaeuble, New French President, Emmanuel Macron, Former Belgian Prime Minister, outspoken and popular EU Politician, Guy Verhofstadt, and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk – all wish to throw us a lifeline and keep us IN and do what is best for the EU and best for Britain – Breturn.
If only we would listen
We are currently being held hostage to Hard Brexit by a tiny number of Tory Euro sceptic bullies threatening the ever fragile Theresa May with oblivion if she does not condemn Britain to the roughest of roads.
Imagine Theresa May is the Bank Manager being forced to rob her own bank to save her family who are sitting trembling in their living room facing a masked man with a shotgun. Oh dear.
Only one person seems weaker and wobblier than PMTM at the moment and that is Andrea Leadsom who attempted to bully and shame the BBC’s Emily Maitlis recently by calling for the British media to be more, “Patriotic.”
How patriotic is it for a Prime Minister to be prepared to say and do anything she needs to just to stay in the job? How patriotic is it to pursue Hard Brexit when she was a Remainer knowing that was the better option. How patriotic is it to bribe the DUP with £1,000,000,000 to keep herself in the job and her minority party in power, or to call an election in order to receive a blank cheque from a divided nation to pursue her version of a bank robbery with Tory Euro-sceptics wearing the masks and holding the weapons? How patriotic is it to chase Brexit when 95% of economists agree it will be bad for the country.
The EU cares more about Britain than do Tory Euro-sceptics. Europe wishes for us to prosper. And for the right reasons – DD – The Brexit Minister, David Davis points out the EU to UK surplus – They bring £290 billion worth of goods and services here and we send £230 billion there.
With a bit of luck DD will continue to bash into a brick wall against EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier just long enough for the confused British public to finally realise that we have little or no power to get a better deal on Brexit?
And, Brexit is completely reversible. That reversal is an opportunity for us to survive and prosper.
If we are clever now, our European friends may forgive us our moment of madness on 23rd June 2016. The powerful influencers, Shaeuble, Macron, Verhofstadt, and Tusk – are offering us a welcome and dignified return to Europe on decent terms. Remember – Europe represents a QUARTER OF THE WORLD’S ECONOMY.
So, What are our Euro options in reverse order from bad to good?
4, No Deal – We collectively fall off a cliff and beg President Macron to please please be kind to us in Calais as our lorries mount up and every pork pie, bottle or brown sauce and Parker pen is inspected by 3 bored French customs officials.
3, Hard Brexit – Bringing an economic recession, a departure of critical EU labour essential to keep the wheels on the British economic bus and the prospect of relying on the kindness of the rest of the world who, obviously, are already supplied with everything they need by OTHER countries. In a decade or two we could recover, though we will have lost at least 6% of our cumulative growth potential as we scramble to catch up.
2, Soft Brexit – We take the Norway style deal and pay a premium for access to the Single Market and have the freedom to control migration (we already do BTW.) This is marginally worse than option 1. It will not satisfy the racists, the Euro sceptics, or the stressed UK regions (that will still lose their valuable EU regional grants) and will hardly have been worth all the grief, cost and social division. Or, lastly,
The Independent newspaper seems to understand Breturn and some significant politicians are now starting to seek cross party engagement to form an effective opposition to PMTM. At the same time the more engaged Brits are warming to the idea of general resistance against the damage of Hard Brexit and its costs to British people.
Maybe we will face a brighter, cancer free, future after all as Brits wake up and face the real prospects of the Zombie Hard Brexit Apocalypse. Watch this space.
What really happened? – An opinion piece by Matthew Hill
As IC trainers, coaches and academics return from the SIETAR Congress in Dublin, we remember some of the highlights?
400+ People Attended the SIETAR Congress in Dublin, May 2017
With more than 400 attendees it was the biggest event since Granada (when we were joined by the mighty SIETAR USA.) An impressive focus on professionalism and detail delivered a technically advanced event at a top of the range venue – St Pats (Dublin City University) in Ireland has been transformed, enlarged and made relevant, providing an impressive and functional backdrop to the show. With fresh paint, bright colours and a modern social area and the addition of a professional conference organisation crew, this was SIETAR at its slickest, its most efficient and its best.
Special mention must be made of Pari, Barbara and Joe. Their 18 months of hard work, stress, decision-making and perseverance has paid off. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And the 12 volunteers – A great bunch of dynamic and pro active interculturalists working diligently to produce a memorable audience experience and calm the nerves of the presenters, some of whom had never seen a touchscreen interactive whiteboard before!
Keeping us in touch
The Whova app assisted in bringing everybody together, warning us of logistical changes and generally connecting people, before the event, during the busy main days and, now, as we go back to our many countries and various other roles.
Lolo Mayer moved us with his story
We were lucky with the weather and there were some extraordinary moments to take away. Those who saw Lolo Mayer when he spoke will never forget the present and direct moment when this articulate 9 year old told us of his journey from South Africa to Germany and the reactions the people around him – “different race – same culture”. His honest narrative moved us to tears. A special experience.
Milton Bennett brought along an expert in Mysticism – A ripple of hesitation flickered through the full room. As the modestly cynical crowd began their hypnotic meditation submerging beach balls under water, a new line was crossed in SIETAR experiential learning and most of us came out of the exercise better and wiser practitioners.
A third highlight was Andra and Abbey in their WorldWork Trust session – The facilitation was excellent and the atmosphere was conducive to movement, exchange and a worthy end result for all.
Joe Kearns Opens SIETAR Dublin
I must mention the stars of my own film track – Having coerced two local heroes – Dave Walsh and Joe Kearns into attempting culturally relevant and difficult topics, they both more than rose to the challenge – Dave interpreting the cultural significance of “Father Ted” in the context of real events in the Priesthood in Ireland and Joe, with his deep knowledge of Irish and European Viking history, linking this eloquently to the successes and failures of mergers in business and highlighting the choice between cultural domination and cultural integration.
SIETARians Deep in Conversation
And a big thank you to everyone for forming a surprisingly large crowd at my Training films clips session – It was rewarding to see so many people getting fully engaged with the subject and the content.
It would not be a real congress report without one or two negative points to report on. A moan that was heard frequently around the Congress concerned the quality of some presenters when attempting to get their message across. On occasion we seemed to have regressed to pre-Valencia days. Many witnessed poor wordy PowerPoints, over emphasis on research methods vs practical application and a failure by presenters to project, engage or hold their audience’s attention. There were many many TED style talks that were far far removed from the slick professionalism of the real thing. (I will take up the topic of presentation crimes in a separate post next time.)
The drama of the Congress ended with a moving tribute to one of the pillars of SIETAR – Maria Jicheva who died two years ago. She had run and expanded SIETAR UK and SIETAR Europa with years of hard hard work and used her subtle style of influence to make it the success that is evident today. We heard stories and experienced strong felt emotion remembering her effect upon those who were fortunate enough to spend time in her presence. Maria – We know you are watching over us – The success of the SIETAR Dublin Congress in 2017 is a tribute to you, your values and the volume of work you put in. Thank you.
We will see you all in Vienna (Just a GUESS at the next venue…)
An Opinion Piece by German / American Interculturalist Patrick Schmidt
Back in the “Golden ’fifties”, the world was in awe of the American Way of Life. Elvis Presley, the Fleetwood Cadillac and “from dishwasher to millionaire” all reflected the culture. Fulfilling desires was a perfect response to life’s challenges and the formula quickly spread around the world.
But this perception has changed radically since Trump’s election. The U.S. is no more seen as a model for the rest of the world, with Donald Trump’s shallow intellect, public bullying, disdain for facts, and nihilistic decision-making in the service of an us-against-them celebration of “America First”.
“America First” means only a certain America. Ironically, it resembles the media images alluded to above — TV from 50 years ago. Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, immigrants of any kind are virtually invisible, as are homosexuals and anyone else seen as too different to fit in (hippies, socialists, atheists, the handicapped).
Donald Trump personifies a sizable segment of “Middle America”, people who avoid complicated questions, prefer simple answers and some form of instant gratification. This gradually withers the ability to think beyond an elementary — and subjective —worldview. Hence, the preference to bomb the hell out of anybody who doesn’t agree with us rather than spending time reconciling complex problems.
But what have been the cultural factors that created such a self-absorbed, ignorant wannabe showman and allowed him to get to the number one position in American society?
Donald Trump, like myself, learned early that what made the country unique was that it was the “land of the free”. Citizens were free to be and do what they wanted — it was a nation of unlimited opportunities, a beacon for people all over the world, which rebelled against the traditions of the Old World and greeted new ideas with enthusiasm.
One in particular was Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s philosophy that if man decided to believe in the good of others, society would become highly efficient and dynamic because trusting people would eliminate the time-consuming process of doubting and judging. It was exactly what America needed to develop itself; when building a nation, decisions have to be made quickly. “Time is money.”
This simplistic notion of life ignores complexity and nuance and has created the typical American trait of being unsentimental, inherent in a people wishing to break away from the past and march into the unknown. It also paved the way to a certain superficiality in human relations, which magnified itself with increased material prosperity.
Rich natural resources, Yankee ingenuity and shrewdness, few real historical tragedies, and militant individualism, all in the “pursuit of happiness”. It’s no wonder America transformed itself into the most powerful and influential country in the world. The belief that anyone could evolve from “rags to riches” allowed millions of poor immigrants to move up the social ladder. These were the seeds that gave birth to the “happy ending” myth.
This belief, however, sends the childish message that good guys always win and bad guys lose. That’s all fine and dandy for a 10-year-old but when a complicated problem arises, Americans often refuse to see it from every aspect. This is the result of always wanting to believe in the inherent good of everything. When TV was introduced in the 50s, it reinforced this mindset.
By the time Trump hit television in 2004 with his ersatz “reality show”, things were far more cynical. TV had long been used to transform complex issues into superficial images but “The Apprentice” went one step further. It was a Roman circus spectacle for peasants in which a series of victims are humiliated (“You’re fired!”) over the course of a season before one winner is crowned…and given a job. Trump’s audience saw the process like a sports contest, mirroring a simple-minded attitude toward life.
“The Apprentice” provides us a look at Donald Trump’s idea of reality. (Photo Wikipedia)
Now that he’s in the White House, Trump prefers watching cable TV to reading government reports and meeting with advisers. Not only does he not read newspapers, he gets most of his worldview from Fox News reports, which pander to the people who voted for him.
But how has this numbness to real survival issues come about? Excessive material wealth, technology and consumerism may provide a clue.
At the end of WW II, the U.S. found itself in a unique position in the world — unlike Europe and Asia, its massive production facilities were virtually untouched. It converted its manufacturing potential into peace-time goods and catapulted the country into a consumer paradise of unbelievable dimensions.
Add to this the technological revolution, which has profoundly altered our ways of feeling and thinking. Take the pocket calculator, for example. At first glance, it saves an enormous amount of time and frees you from laborious mental calculations. What we forget is that it leads us one step further toward non-involvement.
The long-term consequences of passively consuming technological goodies (from TV to the iPad) have slowly resulted in a couch-potato lifestyle, exemplified by Homer, star of “The Simpsons”.
Worship for both consumerism and technology creates insecurity by sheltering us from real-life experiences. We notice far too late that our thinking and judgment have gradually diminished. This is clearly noticeable when you meet a person who exclaims “wow” as a reflex but can’t explain why. One gets the feeling that this person doesn’t want to pursue the thought any further and is perhaps unable to communicate in any real depth. A high degree of non-involvement often generates a half-developed personality.
Trump’s rallies, both before his election and since, regularly feature primal chanting and barely-disguised racist themes. Trump’s own speech patterns are similar, as well as the lack of detailed thought. As Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”
In the early ‘70s, I already sensed the symptoms of a non-involved lifestyle. Growing up in the southern California, I experienced the era of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”, pushed to the extreme. California was engrossed with hedonic “wow” pleasures and far more advanced in material consumerism than the rest of the country.
The Eagles’ song “Hotel California” articulates this perfectly. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but I knew a society couldn’t last long if its highest goal was only that of continuous pleasure.
The Eagles’ worldwide hit describes a consumer society gone amok. (Photo Wikipedia)
Those were the conditions when I left the country at 23 and ended up in Stuttgart by sheer accident. It was such a sharp human contrast — Germans were still recovering from the horrors of WW II and displaying unusually sincere feelings. Human interactions were more real and done with the goal of the betterment of the community. It was like living in the States in the late 1930s as the country was coming out of the Great Depression.
Two generations later, Germany and most other western European countries enjoy a high standard of living but are showing signs of social fatigue, though not to the extent that we see in the U.S.
Each generation of humans has to face circumstances not of its own choosing, where character is measured and spirit is tested. In the last 70 years, the American mindset has embraced an almost magical consumer lifestyle. Many people live a make-believe existence, where real crises can be denied and reality is replaced by a virtual world of memes, tweets, Facebook.
In a fragmented, attention-challenged America, Donald Trump has now become, if not the norm, the President.
About the Author – Patrick Schmidt is an intercultural trainer, past President of SIETAR Europa and author of such books as; Understanding American and German Business Cultures (1999) and In Search of Cultural Understanding (2007).
Training Resource Films – Intercultural Exchange, Diversity in Work, Leadership and Coaching, Conflict and Debate & the Power of the Individual in Business.
1, Wild Tales (2014) 6 Tales of Revenge. Directors – Pedro Almadova & Damian Szifran
Training Themes; Revenge, risk taking, morality in business and relationships
2, The BP Coffee Spill – Humourous Metaphor – UCB Comedy Channel Team
Training Theme – Introducing a difficult topic into the training room.
3, Morning Glory (2010) – First Meeting Scene – Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton. Directed by Roger Michell
Training Themes; Multi – Focus orientation, assumptions about youth, change, active listening, testing authority & managing in chaos.
4, Recursos Humanos (2013) Rosio Manzano, Xavier Pamies, Director Juan Alvarez Llados
Training Themes, Sexual harassment, trading favours, wielding power and gender assumptions, bias and prejudice.
5, Deloitte Diversity & Inclusion in Business (2015) Deloitte University Press
Training Theme – Diversity, inclusion, values in business
6, House of Cards (2014) Frank Underwood Ruthlessness Kevin Spacey, Netflix
Training Theme – Power, corruption, manipulation & ethics
7, Suits – A Different Kind of Power – Donna Poulson – Sarah Rafferty, Netflix
Training Theme – Alternative sources of power, female roles – defined, prescribed and actual in business.
8, The Intern (2015) – Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway
Training Theme – Age discrimination & diversity.
9, Erin Brokovich (2000) – Julia Roberts, Veanne Cox. Directory Steven Soderburgh – “F*cking Ugly Shoes”
Training Theme – Social status, educational prejudice and the consequences of assumptions.
10, Andrew Stanton (Writer of Toy Story) – The Clues in the Story TED (2014)
Training Theme – Reputation, story telling & humour.
11, Finding Forrester (2000) Murray F. Abrahams, Rob Brown, Sean Connery. Director – Gus Van Sant
Training Themes; Assumptions about scholarship students and social status,
white privilege, institutional compliance, rules, power & race.
12, Any Given Sunday (1999) – Motivation Speech – Al Pacino. Director – Oliver Stone
Training Themes – Responsibility, consequences, reputation, coaching, leadership, accountability, sacrifice, personal choice, motivation, power & salvation.
Please share and let us spread the word.
A Big thanks to all those that contributed to this list and those that took the time to prepare the work for YouTube.
A Guide to the European Intercultural Event of the Year by Matthew Hill 1, Meeting people With up to 360 people attending the SIETAR Congress in Dublin later in May, There is no better opportunity this year to … Continue reading