Dean Owen

5 years ago · 7 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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One on One with the Wallaby Whisperer

One on One with the Wallaby Whisperer

Fortune has not afforded me a life where I can be on the road all the time. I do travel often, but to fill the gaps, I turn to social networking. One site in particular caught my eye back in March of this year, www.beBee.com. It’s a relatively new site founded by two extremely savvy entrepreneurs based in Madrid, Spain. Launched in February, 2015, beBee’s growth story has been nothing short of remarkable. In a sea of social media startups, beBee has achieved escape velocity with close to 11.5 million members from 100 countries. They are clearly on track to reach their goal of 40 million members by end-2017. But what attracted me, in particular, to the site was it’s international flavour. I am currently “on the road” and right now am sitting in “Ah Teng’s Bakery” at the Raffles Hotel Singapore facing one of my greatest fears, a durian puff, and conversing with an Aussie friend I met through beBee. He is of course, the debonair and ruggedly handsome world traveller, Ken Boddie. If you’ve spent any time on beBee no doubt you would have encountered his delightfully warped Aussie charm and teddy bear friendly wit. He’s been interviewed before on beBee (here), but I thought I’d spend this warm tropical morning digging a little deeper, getting to know our reputable Aussie bee a little more.


One on One with the Wallaby Whisperer


Dean – Ken Boddie, I understand you are relatively conversant in Bahasa Indonesian, so “Selamat Siang” my friend. Let’s start with a quick self-introduction.

KenGood to catch up with you, Dean. It's hard to believe its only six or seven months since we met on beBee. There's a lot of water under the troll-free bridge since then - all of it crystal clear and just the right temperature!

I used to describe myself as an engineer, but now that I am only working part time, I no longer feel defined by my occupation, but think of myself as a regular traveller (and like you, Dean, I wish I could travel more), an enthusiastic but amateur photographer, a writer or commentator (on whatever takes my fancy), occasional poet, husband and father.

Born and schooled in Scotland, I learned my profession initially based in London which was my bachelor base in-between work trips for many years. I am now based in South-East Queensland, which my wife, Bakti, and I have called home for longer than anywhere else since we got married, over 34 years ago, My chosen specialty as a geotechnical engineer ('dirt doctor' to the uninitiated) has allowed me to work in many countries, and to get into a few scrapes and uncomfortable places along the way, but "all experiences gratefully received" and I also have a lot of good memories of those early career days. This same passion for the mechanics of soils and rock eventually afforded me the opportunity to settle and put down roots here in Oz, the Lucky Country. This was after a five year sojourn in the Land of the Long White Cloud, where both our kids (now adults) were born.

Dean - Wow that reply took a while! I've since hopped on a plane and am in a tiny boat in Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong, on my way to dinner. Well reading your articles, it certainly appears you haven't lost that Great British sense of humour despite your years in exile. So tell me about beBee. Where were you publishing before discovering beBee and what led you here?

Ken - Some of us have to work for a living, Dean-san ..... well at least Tuesdays through Thursdays. Keeps the grey matter from focusing on an ever diminishing vortex of dad jokes. Incidentally, say hi to Aberdeen Harbour for me, junks and all. Having been born and brought up in the fair city of same name in the north-east of Scotland, called the 'Silver City' due to its muscovite biotic granite buildings, I always wanted to visit the 'other' Aberdeen, but didn't get around to my first trip there until much later on in life.

So where was I publishing before beBee, you ask? My writing skills were honed in producing myriads of technical reports over a period of far too many decades, taking care to be oh so overly precise with my choice of words, grammar, sentence construction and comma placement (Susan Rooks eat your heart out); all in order to avoid, heaven forbid, the dreaded ambiguity or the litigation beacon at the end of the trail. Then I discovered an audience other than technocrats, as the editor of our local swimming club newsletter in Newcastle (NSW, that is, and not the similarly coal-reliant town in Geordieland). These guys appreciated my sense of humour, or perhaps it was just that nobody else wanted the job, but it was a jolt that I needed to further my interests in self expression for the hell of it, instead of the daily drudge of soil classifications, analytical clarifications, and "it is suggesteds", "it is recommendeds" and "it is concludeds".

Then I started 'sharing' my worldly experience on various aspects of 'how to do's' on the Dark Side of SM. Yes, my name is Ken and I was a Linkaholic. Unfortunately, as we all know, there are way too many people out there giving sage advice on 'how to do' various aspects of careers advancement, time management, project management, etc, etc. But try and find someone who wants to 'engage' on the Dark Side and yep, after less than a year, I was miffed at getting too little return with my boomerang.

Then I heard about Señor Javier and Señor Juan, through either Jim Murray or Phil Friedman (can't remember which one). I don't really know either of the "He Said He Said" duo, other than swapping the occasional comment, but I certainly owe them (or him, or whoever) for whinging about the Dark Side and pointing the way to beBee, I rebadged a couple of travel posts written earlier on the Limped In thingy, and wow, there was Javier et al actually making regular 'comments' and 'likes' and 'relevants'. I was sold, hook, line and sinker, and the rest, as they say, is honey.

Dean - You raise an interesting point. If I saw your "how to do" articles on LinkedIn, likely I would not have opened them, let alone connect. But it was, I believe, your very first article you published the week beBee launched Producer that drew me in. It was aptly titled "Shanghai - The Paris of the East". So I notice that these days, like me you don't offer life/career advice but rather share experiences. What are your motives for writing now? Do you feel that dropping an agenda (if you had one before) has freed you to be more creative?

Ken – I didn't really think I had an agenda before, Dean, but perhaps I was just trying to expand my present teaching/mentoring role from my own Company into the wider engineering community. Most of my 'Limped In' community were engineers, but I soon found out that not only were the guys at work not regular SM users, but that many of the wider engineering community are also not stimulated by SM and not using it to good effect. Just ask Lada Prkic, who is one smart cookie, but often voices her frustrations at the lack of response to her technical buzzes. I guess that many engineers are too busy designing and constructing and have no creative juices left over for SM.

I'm really not sure what drives me to write now, Dean; perhaps I just get a buzz out of buzzing (pardon the alliteration) or "sharing experiences" as you suggest? Writing posts that are reasonably well received is of course addictive and, in my case, is fed by the challenge of hooking people in, so that engagement occurs. I don't count the 'views' or bother about the 'relevants'. I'm in this game for the comments and the banter, the sharper and wittier the better, but corny cheesy old dad jokes will also fit the bill, as a couple of die-hard protagonists out there will all too well know. I'll mention no names, but you guys know who you are .... pure gold! Then, every so often, someone just says something which makes me think, "That's so obvious - why didn't I think of that?"; and also, there's the occasional, plain down to earth, really nice person, who opens up and lets us see behind the layers of thick skin, which life's less pleasant experiences can motivate us to propagate subconsciously.

But equally important for me is that I also get a buzz from commenting on the posts of others and taking time out to respond in a more meaningful manner than just the minimalist "Great post!" or "Loved your buzz!" I believe it is essential for us fellow honey producers to convey our understanding of the message being communicated by other producers. This is payment in kind for their efforts and is crucial for newBees if we want to keep the honey pots overflowing and being replenished by new fertile raw contributions. After all, Dean, don't we want our newBees to have the same rewarding experience that we regular producers get, and that I'm sure you must get with your soul-sharing buzzes. You never fail to impress with your wide range of subject matter.

Such a pity that so many bees can get lost in the traffic, as posts roll down our respective walls at an ever increasing pace. Hopefully the promised 'sting' will enable us, when it arrives, to bookmark selected bees (Including the newBees) as they produce, so that we spend less time looking and more time reading and engaging.

Dean – I am really looking forward to seeing how “stings” work. I am pretty confident that you Sir will suffer from numerous stings from fans the world over.


Time for a quick fire round. Five questions.


Dean - If God whispered in your ear and offered you the ability to live to 140 years old, would you take it?

Ken - Only if I could have my wits about me and my health, and a good sense of humour, since nothing dies as quickly as a bad joke!

Dean - If your daughter volunteered and was accepted for the first human expedition to Mars, would you let her go?

Ken - No Mars bars in my house! She's good to go, but "come good with a couple of grandchildren first".

Dean - If one day you woke up with the power to talk to your regular visitor, Williamina Wallaby, would you tell the world?

Ken - No way, José, I don't want my lawn trampled to bits by visitors! The first thing I'd say to my little friend would be "Stop with the maltezers, sister!"

Dean - If God told you that the only way to get into Heaven was to live out your years stark naked, would you strip?

Ken - What could 'She' possibly offer me that I don't have now - except 'sting' maybe - and some clothes?

Dean - If you were granted an exclusive 5-minute segment to address the North Korean citizens on their national network, what would be your message?

Ken - Wear comfy undies! They're not likely to listen to anything else.



Dean - I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles this last year. For those that may be new to Ken Boddie, which article are you most proud of as a starting point to get to know you?

Ken - Now for the 'Last Post'. Perhaps this might be a good starting point:

True Tales of Haggis and Bagpipes

But just like my favourite photo, my favourite post is the 'next one'. so stay tuned!


One on One with the Wallaby Whisperer


Dean - I think we all look forward to the day those “dad jokes” become “grandpa jokes”



Title picture - Karaoke with the boys at Kaliorang, near Yogyakarta

Middle picture - Bakti and I at a restaurant in Yogyakarta

Last picture - with a few of my extended Indonesian family outside the front door at home


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Comments
Lyon Brave

Lyon Brave

4 years ago #42

ken is funny

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #41

#51
No worries, DLE form T&T, the party's still going, and will be until I can find my clothes. Don't worry, though, 'cause I still have my 'budgy smugglers' on, and my deerstalker hat and spats.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #40

#49
Ohmmmmmmmmmmm. ⛩

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #39

#39
Yes, it happened off and on for about an hour or so today. They may have been having some issues or they are busy with their upgrades Ken Boddie? Glad to hear I wasn't the only one. Maybe it just happened to those of us that are Scots? hehe

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #38

#43
Thanks Aurosa!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #37

#40
and keep "flapping".

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #36

#41
missed you, buddy. But remember if "banter at a.canter" is too fast for your wifi signal, show us what you've got at a trot.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #35

#37
Funny you should day that, Lisa. After posting my comment #34 to you, I tried to respond to Auroras and my 'Send' froze, so I had to move onto other tasks, off beBee. Sounds like the problem was more extensive than your emojis?

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #34

#33
#32 Good idea, Dean-san! How about it, Aurorasa Sima. No rush ..... but we're waiting! 😊

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #33

Let me try this again... you are very correct, you're both grand men. I tried to post 2 comments today and a message came up telling me something was wrong with the site. Maybe it was the emoji extension I added. They both had emoji's, so I will try again.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #32

#34
As I keep saying, Lisa, grandad jokes.are just grand, dad jokes, so, like a good wine, let's hope they mature with age. 😉

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #31

#34
Thanks Lisa, but we are not that funny! The good thing is that neither of us are grandpas yet so perhaps there is hope....

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #30

Ok, I've concluded- we need a beBee meeting! You are all so funny & fun. I think I could spend a few days doing nothing except laughing (at your expense that is) Dean Owen et al. JOKING of course. But laughter is GOOD!!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #29

#32
You'd be more than welcome to answer any of the quickfire questions! 😏

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #28

#29
sharp as a tack as usual, Deb. As for food, I'll stick with the offal in sheep's bladder (nothing weird about haggis) and leave the vomit-inducing smelly spike balls to others. 👍

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #27

#26
glad you liked the chat, Paul. 👍

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #26

#10
Sounds like a plan Ken Boddie LOL!

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #25

#22
oops just lost my Apple Cider, sorry Ken... Dean pulled a funny!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #24

#24
As I said to Praveen Raj Gullepalli the other day, Kev, grandad jokes are just grand, dad joked! 😂

Kevin Pashuk

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #23

"Great post!" , "Loved your buzz!" Great conversation between you two... except for the naked thing. That's why God gave the Scots kilts. Thistles and dangly bits do not go well together. I can speak with experience that Grandpa jokes are even better.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #22

#20
"Boys from the Gap!?" - I kinda like it! We certainly do cover an interesting gap in the world, which is strange as it is also the most populous gap in the world. One of these days we should do a meet, right in the middle (now why do I suspect without looking at a map that Bali might just fit the bill?).

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #21

#7
Do not be picturing Ken naked dear Lisa Gallagher, you already have problems sleeping....

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #20

#3
Terima Kasih Vincent Andrew. Semoga akhir pekan anda menyenangkan! Wkwkwkwkwk :)

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #19

#19
Well said, Gert. Remember we (Gert Scholtz in the "Boy Group". 😊

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

5 years ago #18

Ken Boddie Bebee just would not be the same to me without Dean's generosity and enthusiasm, and Ken's wit and fine writing. Here in one very enjoyable interview. Perhaps there is something in the fact that Dean, Ken and I sit in far corners of the world and therefore enjoy the worldwide company of beBee especially.

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #17

#16
Hahahaha!!! I'm not but my mother used to sing that song when I was a child, and I did it with her "see you later alligator..., in a while crocodile..." We loved rock&roll at home, and oh my... If you talk about Rock Around the Clock I stand up and start dancing!!!!! If fact I'm doing it!! Hahahaha... LOL!!!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #16

#15
May I introduce you, Pascal, to Dean Michael Parkinson Owen, interviewer extraordinaire. I know it helps when the interviewer and interviewee have been reading each others' posts for the last 6 or 7 months, but Dean really did his homework on this one.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #15

#13
Is that a reference to the "muscovite biotite granite", Mamen? You won't be old enough to remember Bill Haley and the Comets, but I used to love rocking around the clock. See you later, alligator!

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #14

Dean Owen what a nice cocktail of togetherness, wit, exotic vibes, humour and common sense :-) Pretty Kool chat :-)

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #13

#12
Thanks again, Javier, for affirmation from the top, but your welcome visits to buzzes are certainly not an expectation. The beekeeper has so many bees but so little time. 🐝 🐝 🐝

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #12

You two really rock!!!! Lot of laughs with the quick fire round... 😂

Javier 🐝 CR

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #11

Ken Boddie thanks a lot ! you both are a great source of inspiration for us !

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #10

#9
You sure know a lot about Scotland, things I've never heard. I'd love to get a great history lesson Ken Boddie. Interesting stuff you share! No worries, if you wobble, you cant fall down!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #9

#8
Always up for a challenge, Lisa. But since we're both of Scots heritage, who can we get to pay for the drinks? Hey, Dean Owen, how's your singing voice?

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #8

#7
Will have to do some research and get back to you, Lisa, on the Scots dark side. Assuming that it's not a reference to the evils of Limped In, it me be something to do with the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland which goes back to the days of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Incidentally a naked Ken dancing is not a pretty sight. too many wobbly bits.

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #7

PS: Love all the photos too! If we ever meet up, I will challenge you to some Karaoke. Well, maybe not, you'd probably win. I stink at it but love doing it.

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #6

How exciting, two of my favorite bloggers and people got together!! Dean Owen , I mean Uncle err... cousin?? I think you're too young to be my Uncle, your answers were just as hysterical. I wouldn't expect any less from the two of you. The photo of you and your wife Ken, love it... she looks like she also has a good sense of humor. Humor is contagious!! I'm glad you 'get a buzz out of buzzing," Ken 🐝 , now I'm picturing you buzzing around without clothes so you don't miss your chance to enter the Pearly gates hahaha. Oh wait, you just need a sting or new clothes. This was great guys! Enjoyed reading this interview. Ken, I was always curious, my Aunt once told me my grandfather came from the 'dark side of Scotland,' and for years I thought that meant the bad side. I learned later, the people were just darker skinned and probably from the Mediterranean? Have you heard of this before? I traced his side of the family back and from what I could find, they immigrated from France. Be good boys!!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #5

#4
I always make a point of reading your posts also, Paul, but please don't forget to tag me, so your Porsche doesn't disappear down Wall Street, and I have to catch a cab instead. 😊

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #4

#3
Are you advising me not to advise, Vincent? 😀

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

5 years ago #3

@deanowen great great interview. Have always enjoyed his posts!!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #2

#1
At least this batik shirt has a breast pocket, Dean. 😀

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #1

You look great in Batik Ken Boddie!

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