Ethnic Reconnection -Chapter 3

Marriage Proposal

At eight in the evening an excited daughter burst into Abyasa’s office where he was finalizing work for the day and produced the letters.

“Look what I got from Bert father.”

She began to reread to her father commencing with the first dated letter and Abyasa held up his hand.

“Those are your private correspondence daughter, and you should not be sharing.”

But she kept reading and Abyasa watched his daughter’s joy with foreboding. If this was to go nowhere, he could not bear to see his daughter hurt. She was all he had now, and he wanted her to be happy. She looked up after reading the last letter to him.

“Thank you for sharing my letters father, I’m going to bed now.

At that time Bert was in Amsterdam attending family shareholders corporate general meeting. Each of the grandchildren had a substantial shareholding in the company and were subject to the rule no shares were to be sold to anyone outside the family. If shares were to be transferred from one of the grandchildren, then it could only be conferred upon their children or sold to another member of the family by ancestry. With the current generation not interested in anything but money and no interest in the management of the company there was a war at this annual general meeting between those who wanted to change the rule so they could sell their shareholding to anyone who bid the highest and those traditionalists who wanted to keep control within the family. Bert was a traditionalist who valued the work grandfather had put into building this company which was still very prosperous and yielding good dividends to shareholders each year. Bert could see the stalemate could not be broken so suggested that the company itself buy back shares of those who were unhappy with the current rule at a reasonable market rate provided they sign legal documents acknowledging none of their descendants could lay claim to an interest in the company in future. While this was not what the dissidents were hoping for, they wanted out and cash in hand on their departure so grudgingly accepted the cash at reasonable market value and turned their backs on future family contacts.

Those remaining looked to Bert for help with management problems this had caused as some of the dissidents had been active and talented managers who’d been enticed away by larger competitors who wanted to cripple the company by taking away successful management administrators thus leaving them the undisputed winners taking over customers while the firm was in turmoil. They were particularly interested in taking over Indonesian suppliers that had been the backbone of the company. They begged Bert to take control of company management. Eventually under pressure from the family he agreed to try and meet these challenges, resigned from his job, and returned to Amsterdam to take overall control. He realized his inadequate training in dealing with a commercial enterprise like this and cast about for someone who could give him the professional advice he’d need at a time like this. He thought of Murni with her wealth of studies in America and her hands on work experience with her father’s multiple enterprises.

Abyasa had become used to packets of letters beginning to arrive addressed to his daughter but as he looked at the single envelope addressed to him and checked the sender’s address; he was surprised to see if was from Bert and his address was now Amsterdam. He quickly opened the letter and read its lengthy contents explaining family difficulties and how he’d agreed to take over management of the company. Would he be prepared to spare Murni at least for two weeks to do an in-depth analysis of his family company to access strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. He’d pay Abyasa top market rates for such a service if he was willing to let her come to Amsterdam for two weeks at least to complete this study.

Abyasa was in a quandary. He needed her by his side constantly as the world of business was changing rapidly as the world became a global village and she already had experience on the cutting edge in America as Indonesia caught up. He sighed and left his office to find her.

Finding her in the factory he passed the letter for her to read, and she looked at her father.

“This could not come at a worse time father; we have a lot of commitments here. I’d like to help but I don’t think it’s wise for me to go now.”

Abyasa stood in silence for a few minutes while Marni watched him anxiously. She’d noted he was slowing down now so needed to be here to give him support. Finally, her father spoke.

“Murni, you should contact him and tell him you can only be spared for two weeks no more. I like this young man so we should help him but do not accept any money from him only the air ticket and accommodation. That’s all.”

He turned and returned to his office.

Bert met Murni at Schiphol airport and immediately realized she was not dressed for the cold weather of this season in Europe so hastened her to the hotel and after she’d moved in took her to Kalverstraat where he had her choose warm clothing to her taste then paid the bill despite her loud protests. She snuggled into her new outfit with her Singapore purchased outfit packed into boxes for her to take away along with extra warm changes of clothing. She turned to Bert smiling.

“I’m quite capable of paying for these Bert but it was a nice gesture and I love these warm clothes though don’t know where I could wear them in the tropics. Maybe when I go on future business trips to Korea and Japan it will come in handy. So far, my trips have been in summer, so I haven’t needed winter clothes. That was kind of you, and I don’t know how to thank you.”

Bert smiled broadly.

“You look very nice in that outfit Murni though I’m sure jet lag is catching up with you. If you are hungry, we could go to a nice restaurant before I take you back to the hotel to rest.”

“Bert, I have a close friend who was with me through my PhD study years and she’s coming in this evening to help me evaluate your corporation. She will stay with me at the hotel. Her name is Caroline Vanderbilt. She’s an investment banker in New York and very clued in on corporate takeovers so knows how to evaluate a business and assess its future potential. We will work together as it will be nice to renew our friendship. It will cost nothing as she views it as a holiday and time to catch up with me. We are close friends.”

After meeting Caroline at Schiphol Bert deposited both women at the hotel and suggested they take it easy next day to get over travel fatigue and he’d pick them up and take them to the corporation administrative offices the day following which the women were glad to do.

Murni and Caroline were introduced to the administrative officers and Burt told them whatever information the women requested should be supplied. Information technology gave them passwords to work through the systems to harvest information they required for the study. Caroline worked with the corporate information and Murni researched through the internet information reported to the stock exchange on other corporate entities in Europe by way of comparison. The two women worked long hours often sitting in conference with Bert or other administrators to share what information they were gleaning and compare it with best practice in corporate management. They worked intensely for one week being supplied with food and drinks as they called for it as they didn’t want to take time off for restaurants.

Then after bringing it all together into a report they called for a meeting with Bert and delivered their findings. Considering huge war chests of money modern corporations were able to lay their hands on through public share offerings and by way of comparison the restrictive rules in this family company where finances essentially could only to be generated within the extended family this corporation could be expected to be slowly driven out of the market. The business was sound for the present but too limited to take on wealthy multinationals in future. Caroline frankly told the family meeting she could muster resources through her contacts to take over this corporations’ markets by undercutting the price models underselling competing products to dominate the market and wait for this firms collapse before restoring prices to profitable levels. That’s what could be accomplished through public share offerings. Big decisions had to be made. Either they went public or go on a slow decline until the only thing remaining of this once profitable corporation was the building assets.

Alarmed Bert called the family representatives together and Caroline and Murni made their presentation. The family were shocked. Perhaps the dissidents had been right after all, and they’d made a foolish move in using corporate cash reserves to buy out the dissidents thus weakening their cash position further. A special general meeting was called, and it was decided to go public and raise money to modernize and expand their business to meet multinational challenges that were sure to come.

Caroline indicated she’d be prepared to guide them through the process if they wished and only charge them for airfares and accommodation when she needed to hop across the Atlantic to help. She’d forego her astronomical professional charges as a favor to her good friend Murni. Both Caroline and Murni indicated they may be willing to buy substantial shareholdings in the reformatted corporation as each could see possibilities of using it as a vehicle to further their own ambitions in Europe.

Murni and Bert had seen Caroline off on a plane to New York and Bert suggested he could take her to see some of the interesting tourist attractions in Europe which Murni accepted. They enjoyed days together and in a restaurant in Paris Murni inquired of Bert as to how he saw his future with the reformed corporation after Caroline had worked her magic on it. Bert sighed.

“Murni, I don’t want to continue as President and CEO when the corporation is reformed. It needs someone at the top to steer it in a new direction and I don’t feel I have those skills yet. So, I’d like to see it started and a new management team elected by shareholders to take the corporation into the future. I’d probably keep my shares which are quite substantial in the corporation but look for other administrative challenges in a field I can enjoy working in. I know I’m good at administering but this is not my interest here.”

“Where is your interest, Bert?”

Bert looked at her smiling and sat taking her in while he thought of an answer.

“I think my interest is in Indonesia Mani.”

“And what is your main interest in Indonesia Bert?”

He sat silent for a while. This was not a time to make a false move, but he’d been thinking about it for a while now and this was a chance he should take. The worst she could do would be to say no.

“My main interest in Indonesia is someone called Murni. She is in my mind constantly and I don’t know how to resolve this problem.”

Murni smiled. She’d been wanting to hear this since this man had been with her in Irian Jaya on a trip to villages there. Both her father and she had soon realized this was a man who was a rare find and had history in their country and obviously loved it and was proud of his association with the Suharto family.

“This Murni seems to have a similar problem getting a man named Bert out of her mind too. I wonder what can be done about that?”

Bert leaped from his chair at the restaurant in excitement.

“Mani would you marry me. I know I’m not adequately informed about the protocol of doing these things the Indonesian way but if you will accept me, I’ll be a good husband and father to our children. Would your father accept me though?”

Murni slowly took out her cell phone and punched in a number carefully as she was so excited and didn’t want to make an input error. The sleepy voice at the other end sounded a little irritated.

“Murni it’s the middle of the night here. Are you alright daughter?”

“I’m so sorry father that was inconsiderate but I’m excited and was not thinking. Someone wants to talk with you.”

To be continued.

Copyright Notice

© Copyright 2023 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved

7 thoughts on “Ethnic Reconnection -Chapter 3

  1. Oh, no! Now you have left us wondering what Murni’s father is going to say. I am enjoying this story, but the waiting is not going to be easy to see what happens next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It all comes together in the next chapter Damyanti. Thanks for following the story. Being so close to Indonesia as you are in Singapore or Sin jar pur as the old locals call it you have no doubt visited the places mentioned in this story. Indonesia is worth the tour and travelling through the channel at night by ship with full moon is a glorious experience too. Its the tropics at its best in that area.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Indonesia is a beautiful place. And yes, Singapore is conveniently nearby! It’s always interesting to read about places I’ve visited, and take notice of how other people view or describe these same places.

        Liked by 1 person

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