Blog It Forward – Paul Bakker
I’ve enjoyed reading the BIFs of SCN regulars, so I might as well chuck my own into the mix. Thanks to Susan Keohan for passing the ball to me, and to Moshe Naveh who started it rolling in the first place.
I was born & bred in Brisbane (Australia), and that’s also where I live. Brisbane is a sleepy city about halfway between Sydney and The Great Barrier Reef.
When I’m overseas, I hear a lot of myths about Australia. One is that we have loads of dangerous snakes, spiders, and sharks. Untrue! OK, maybe a little true. I’ve lived here forever and have never seen any dangerous critters, except perhaps for the occasional redback spider or drunk driver.
In fact the only time I was ever attacked by a snake was in Sweden, of all places. But you never see any bad press for the huggorm!
The dreaded huggorm (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Another myth is that we have cute & cuddly koalas sitting in trees, refusing to drink water. This is untrue on two counts. I once encountered a koala in my backyard who lunged at me with his vicious bear claws. And here – as an SCN exclusive – is a koala sneaking a drink of water, when he thought there were no scientists around.
That’s the stuff…
Life Before SAP
It’s been an interesting life so far. I’m an identical twin (with SCN ex-MotM Rick Bakker), which has provided plenty of laughs. We attended high school in Amsterdam. This gave me the priceless opportunity to learn some Dutch, French and German. All of these have helped enormously in my SAP career. I still speak them occasionally, but with an hilarious Australian accent.
Les gemeaux terribles (aux Pays Bas)
University (or ‘college’) was back in Australia where – completely free of charge – I could study whatever I wanted and for as long as I wanted (thank you again, Australian government). I ended up completing a PhD in Computer Science and Psychology, which led to a job in Tsukuba Science City (Japan), tinkering with humanoid robots. The idea was to make robots learn independently, by letting them watch and imitate humans. Then we realized how dangerous this was and quietly closed it down.
Go get ’em
After this I spent 18 months working for Shell in Gabon, Central Africa. If I had to sum up my African experience in one word it would be: ‘insects’. However, this was the place where Rick introduced me to SAP. Yes, it was love at first sight.
The famous Jocelyn Dart taught me ABAP for 5 straight weeks in Sydney in 1998. I have so much respect for her. PwC then sent me straight onto a client site (an explosives factory outside of Brisbane), and that’s pretty much all I’ve done since.
Around 2004 I branched out into SAP workflow and a few years later returned the favour to Rick by dragging him into it (he was a frustrated Oracle DBA). We both work as SAP workflow contractors now.
Nowadays I hang out in the SCN Workflow and ABAP Development spaces. I tend to post blogs with lots of pictures.
What is the most fun thing you ever experienced?
We once did a trip to North Korea. We wrote a silly travelogue about it that – incredibly – was translated and published in a serious South Korean news magazine.
Which superhero best describes you?
I don’t know anything about super heroes. That’s a geek thing.
If you could have one superpower, which would you choose?
China. (Great culture. Even better food.)
What would you be doing now, if you weren’t in IT?
I’m a trivia buff, so that would have to be: trivia quizmaster in a pub.
In closing I’d like to pass the BIF baton to two notorious Australian lurkers, Rick Bakker and Adrian Vaughan.
My question for them is: If you could be reincarnated as an ABAP keyword, which one would it be?
Thanks for reading!