Asiaworks brainwash

Has anyone here heard of Asiaworks or has any experience with them?
They happened to come in to my viccinity lately…

I kinda have read somewhere that Asiaworks is brainwashing les miserable’s yuppies in Asia, which I couldn’t verify it’s truthfulness.

Please share your knowledge, and let me know the do’s and don’ts…


I know a bit about AW. I even took one of the courses here in Taiwan. Mostly, I have good friends who have worked there or volunteer (and some continue to do so)

First off: it ain’t for everyone.

But for those who feel it was worth taking the courses, they are usually very VERY enthusiastic about it. Hence, the feeling that they’ve been brainwashed.

From what I’ve seen, a great majority of those who do attend the courses leave with very positive impressions.

I took “Basic” in Manila back in 1996 at PSI (a very similar course from a very similar company – AW does not have an office in Manila). Assuming that the pricing hasn’t changed much (I have heard that AW upped their prices this year a bit), you should still be able to fly to Manila, book a decent motel, take the seminars where practically everyone speaks English, shop for an extra day, and fly back to Taipei for less than it would cost at AW Taiwan.

I don’t say this to be critical of AsiaWorks. Far from it, I want to point out that this company has done SO well here, that they can charge two arms and a leg and still have to schedule extra classes each month from the strong demand. Viva la market!

This should also signal to you how cheap things are in the Philippines

Obviously, AW is doing something right.

If you want to get an idea of what AW is “about” – think Anthony Robbins, LifeSpring, Stephen Covey, and that whole West Coast (Cali) living thing that those of us originally from the East Coast (NY) will never fully wrap our brains around.

An American friend of mine who took ALL the courses described the interest in AW’s stuff here like this: it’s like all those feelings and excitment when you first get to college in the US without the pressure for classes – it’s different approach for people here. I agree, becuase there’s certainly a lot of that Quumbaya (sp?) feel goodiness going on.

I better stop there, because I did not take any of the regular courses here. I took the one seminar that did not require attending any of the regular set.

Never heard of them but a quick Googly search revealed someone shares your concerns . . . perhaps even more deeply.

[quote]“In my opinion Asiaworks is an evil ‘cult-like’ group”
July 25, 2002
By a concerned relative of an Asiaworks participant
Recently a relative of mine went through a large group awareness training program (LGAT) called “Asiaworks.” His behavior then changed for the worse, and this prompted me to do some research on the Internet.

Asiaworks is an apparent spin-off from another LGAT named “Lifespring.”

My relative’s behavior and jargon was consistent with what I read on the Internet. I have since found many people who have gone through this course. What is frightening is the realization that LGATs like this are spreading through Asia. Asiaworks has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila.

In my opinion Asiaworks is an evil “cult-like” group, disguised as a self-improvement/development-training program.

Asiaworks operates upon the principle of developing people mentally, and thus somehow claims to promote world peace.

Frequently, their approach is subtle. People who have become involved often recruit their friends and family. [/quote]


PSI… sounds familiar. What does it stand for again?

Thanks for the information Gus.
I was going to their introductory seminar 4 years ago in Jakarta. I didn’t take their courses. I heard a lot of negative rumors in Jakarta about Asiaworks being an evil cult.

I’d rather shy away…


I had a friend who got involved in a group like this. They’re sort of 'self-improvement’s seminars. They work by giving off a lot of entusiasm and sucking in vulnerable people, who then feel like they belong. But the seminars are very costly, so they are really just a vehicle for making money. Also they tend to destory personal relationships, as participants can get discounts for recruiting ohters (a bit like MLM) and tend to get obbsessive about this.


I couldn’t find any chinese pages that warns people to stay away from Asiaworks, only english pages at courtesy of HuangGuangChen’s googling.

I think it’s good for to alarm asians about this too and not to fall into the trap before it’s too late.


One of my old colleagues told me he went to something that sounds like this. Well for most people it’s probably harmless, especially if they are having a crisis of confidence and need to think they can work a revolution in themselves.

A student just tried to recruit me for something called AsiaWorks Training. It lasts five days, for NT 20,000, and then there are other courses too. She can’t say what they do inside, because she signed something that promised she wouldn’t, and anyway, it would spoil the surprise. But apparently, they got her to learn to love her father and cry, stuff like that, and now she’s feeling evangelical about it.

An internet search yields some anti-cult websites who trace it to something called Lifespring. I showed her descriptions of these other seminars, but she said it wasn’t like that at all. My first impression was that maybe this was a disguised form of Scientology. Headquartered in Hong Kong, and she says it’s run by Brits and Americans.

So, who’s got the skinny? Any dirt on these guys?

Sounds like something that you should be wary of. I did something that sound roughly similar. Called-Landmark Forum. It was rather good and I would recommend it to anyone, it sounds like this is similar in concept. If it is, then they don’t want her to tell because eventually someone is gonna find out and shut em down…If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck…

Forumosa is my group psychotherapy outlet :slight_smile:

Asiaworks? Yeah, you’re right about one thing … it’s a spinoff from Lifesprings in the US. In fact, most of the trainings are done by foreigners and translated simulataneously for the locals.

I took their ‘basic’ program about 5 years ago, which sounds like the one your friend attended. If you’ve never attended a personal development seminar, then it’s an eye-opener to say the least. Yeah, you’ll cry a bunch of times, bond with a bunch of people you’ve never met before, share your deepest secrets, and if you’re like most, come out of it with a new attitude on life. That’s the good news.

The bad news is:
a) the price
b) their overly-aggresive guerilla marketing tactics, which include pushing people to go home and push their family/friends/colleagues/anyone to attend … the basic persuasion tactic goes something like this “Hey, if you enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, don’t you want to share that with those you love?” I’ve known about 8 foreigners that have attended and they all had the same response - the content of the program is powerful, but they leave a bad taste in your mouth by pushing you to take the next level/program.

If you have other questions, feel free to ask.

How in the hell do they make you cry? And how do they make you share your deepest secrets?

How in the hell do they make you cry? And how do they make you share your deepest secrets?[/quote]
Onions and electrodes.

How in the hell do they make you cry? And how do they make you share your deepest secrets?[/quote]

Well, you find the weakest link in the room, i.e. the one person who talks the most or is the most vunerable or looking for attention. Get them to spill a couple of their beans, make a "change’ with them and then you’re almost home free. Mind you these people probably sat in the room for 8 to 12 hours, listening over and over and over how their life would change if they would ‘give up’ something. By the end of the next 12 hours you do, and your resistance levels begin to fall… :bravo: :bravo: :bravo:

They show you the bill.

That’s just too weird for words. I cannot imagine anything such people could possibly say to me to make me behave in that manner.
Oh wait a minute, I can – “Hey, sucker, how much did you shell out to be sitting here in this room all day? Yeah, that’s right. Weep, you worm, weep!”

How in the hell do they make you cry? And how do they make you share your deepest secrets?[/quote]
“Oh my God! I could have gotten my boobs done for this much money! And then my husband wouldn’t have left me for that cute 25-year-old with the huge knockers.”

Well, you had to ask, didn’t you.

In answer to your two questions: How do they make you cry? … and … How do they make you share your deepest secrets? Well, first of all I should probably clarify what I mean when I use the word ‘make’ cause that has the potential for negative connotations - manipulation, brainwashing, etc. They don’t actually ‘make’ you cry in the sense that they do something TO you. Instead, they conduct exercises/activities that lead you to get in touch with deep, regressed feelings.

Here’s the basic formula for getting people to “open up” (share secrets) or “open in” (get in touch with those deep emotions):

  1. create a safe environment for the participants, one in which they feel safe to share/experience deep emotions - this is done through a variety of means (trainer speaking to group about the importance of getting in touch with core feelings; simple ice-breaker activities leading into ‘trust’ activities, etc.).

  2. wear them down physically by offering a 5-day training that goes from 9 in the morning till midnight

  3. play soft, strongly emotional music

  4. and then more often than not, the trainer leads you through a ‘guided visualization’ exercise - one where you’re invited to re-connect with old pains, and the relationship that was a part of it

  5. the end goal is to process those ‘negative’ feelings (anger, resentment, depression, sadness, guilt, etc.), let them go, or reintegrate them (as some people call it), and hopefully move towards the more positive and authentic feelings of love, peace, forgiveness, joy, optimism, etc.

And believe it or not, it doesn’t take much effort. Based on my own experience with these sorts of trainings, people are emotionally starved and are generally very willing to experience and play around with their true/core emotions.

Think about it … when was the last time you sat quietly with yourself, closed your eyes, thought about your deepest pain, and then let whatever feeling came … to just wash over your body? Powerful self-therapy, if you ask me.

Sorry, I’m getting a bit off track.
Hope that answered your question.

Thanks! I’m starting to get a better picture (aside from the NT 21,500 price tag). A lot of my problem was that information on the internet on this group is apparently not too reliable. I did some web-surfing with that student looking over my shoulder, looking for “anti” websites, but most of them didn’t sound to her like what she did. One critic said they spoke of “opening the third eye,” but apparently that’s bogus–they don’t talk like that, their language is psychobabble, not New Age.

Do we know anything about the history or underlying theory of the group? Like, what kind of psychology is this based on?

I’m still struggling to understand the appeal of all this. What makes people enjoy crying, enough to be moved to go recruit other people to pay the fee? My student made it sound like it changed her life somehow–gave her confidence, helped her forgive her father, etc. I guess the people willing to go are more likely to think they need some experience like this, than people who say no thanks? (She seemed surprised when I told her I was basically happy with my life, and didn’t understand what their goals were.)

Apparently this is being “network marketed”–my student heard of it from her family who heard of it from friends, like that, and now she’s turning it into her own personal Amway. She’s in the “leadership” course, which is intended not to produce leaders for the classes, but to give you leadership skills for your own life. There are also courses in “intimacy” (before you ask, in all one’s human relationships) and “prosperity” (well, it must have worked for them).