Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Government Inspector

The mere mention of the name should send shivers down the spines of cheating, stealing and good for nothing government officials. Well don’t worry yourselves; nobody is coming on an inspection. I’m talking about the play recently put on by the Old Royalist Dramatist Club at the Lionel Wendt. It is their version of the play written by Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol, which makes fun of the bureaucracy and corruption within the Russian government during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. You can learn more about it here.

This version is one of the many done throughout the years by various theatre companies, and it was pretty good. Unfortunately not many people came for the opening night. The result of course the people who bought balcony tickets got pushed down to the lower floor. Lucky me! Acting was pretty ok, although I thought there was bit of overacting sometimes. Further more some improvements can be made on sound. But overall it was good.

The story is a pretty funny story, but an appropriate one for the times. It may be set in the 1800s but it can be taken as a parody for the situation these days. I guess nothing much changes over time. Corruption and misuse of public property is nothing new. You can probably find examples even in the times of the Pharos. Greed is a part of man since time began and nothing can change that. Corruption will have a long and healthy life.

If you’re looking for example today, you don’t have to look any further than good old SL. Take for instance, admitting your child to a school. It doesn’t matter if it’s a popular one or not, you have to grease the Principle first before doing anything. Otherwise the poor kid won’t have a school to go to, or you’ll have to enroll him in an International school. Most of the government department’s have a knack of moving very slowly, and comes across many red tape. It’s like trying to row a boat through a pool of mud. I personally know several people who had problems getting their house plans passed from the relevant authorities. They drag the whole thing unnecessarily, either by creating new conditions and finding some fault with the plans, or some small problem somewhere which they turn into a big thing. They drag it on until they get their little bonuses. The people ultimately get frustrated and give payola to these officials to get the thing passed. Otherwise building their dream home may take for ever. So the secret to getting things moving and cutting out the red tape is to introduce some additives into the system, something to inspire the people in charge. Think of it like putting NOS in your car to make it fly off the road. This doesn’t always have to be cold hard cash; maybe a bottle of Scotch (or Gal depending on taste), a nice trip or two, some nice jewelry etc. These have been known to miraculously speed up lethargic government officials. Believe me, after a few bribes they’ll be your best mates ready to do anything for you. That is how the system works.

Recently however, I’m happy to say that there’s been a crack down in bribery and corruption. Citizens are not taking it lying down. They are making complaints, and the government is taking notice. A large number of arrests and prosecution have taken place over the past few years of bribe takers and corrupt officials. Let’s hope that this course of action is carried on to the future and people will think twice about accepting or giving bribes. Hopefully we can get rid of this virus and work towards developing the country.

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Public Holidays

These are the days all working people in SL very eagerly wait for to get a break from their busy schedules. We probably hold the record for the highest amount of public holidays in any country. 25…yep that’s number of extra days we get to laze around and get paid for. Great isn’t it, nowhere but in good old SL.

My question is do we need all these holidays? I know some people might have drawn their daggers and ready to kill me for saying something so sacrilegious. Hold on to your horses for a minute and think about it. Well there’s a good side and a bad side to it. For one thing it does cause a bit of a headache when dealing with the international community. Even though you’re on holiday it doesn’t mean that they are. It maybe your clients, customers, suppliers or even your bosses, and they keep on working on these days. When you come back the next day your inbox is filled up with messages that it takes the whole day to go through them. There’s another day wasted. Even if we make our schedules and timelines to incorporate these holidays, it does have some kind of impact on productivity. And sometimes people do have to work on these days to accommodate other people involved. After all we are all ‘interconnected’ these days.

It’s true that most of the holidays are for religious reasons, but truthfully how many really spend the whole day doing religious observances. Couple of hour’s maybe, but some doesn’t even do that. I know there are some people who are religious and make use of these holidays in a religious manner and I offer my apologies to them. But most are quiet the opposite. The best we can expect is going out with friends or eat and sleep the whole day. A couch potatoes’ heaven. Some people have of course have found a loophole to get some more money out of their employers. They put off working during the normal days and come to work on holidays to catch up with it. Dedicated employees you might think, but far from it. They only come because they can claim overtime for it which means the companies are paying them twice. And they are not even doing extra work; it is work that could have been completed during the normal work days. But who has time for work when you have two hour lunch breaks, one hour tea breaks and hallway gossip sessions going on. So many things to do and so little time.

My idea is that these holidays be made optional except for the most important of the holidays. The others should be added to the holiday allowance given to employees. This way if someone wants to take a holiday on that day they can, otherwise they can take it some other day that’s convenient for them. This way they have more holidays to take when they really want it. Eventually they’ll be more productive instead of wasting their time on a holiday which they don’t need. For the truly religious they are more than welcome to take the holidays on these days. Otherwise you can accumulate all your holidays and take an extended vacation for about a month or so. Take a good long break and go somewhere far away. Does you a world of good.

Things maybe not like that in the real world but we can still enjoy the holiday. But let’s make it a point to do something useful and not waste it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Woes of Public Transport

I was riding the bus the other day (like I’ve been doing everyday the whole of my life) and was wondering what utter chaos it is.

If you are among the unlucky masses, like yours truly, who doesn’t have their own private transportation devices such as a car, motorcycle or even a moped, the only means of getting around is to use the instruments of public transportation. In my case these are mostly buses and three-wheelers. After relying on these for all my life, it’s a sin not to write a few words about them.

First of all there are the busses. They provide as much comfort as riding an earthmover. Most of them are basically lorries with seats and railings stuck in. Well at least they have cushioned seats. Some use this neat little trick to load more passengers by setting the seats closer together. The idea being that they can put in more seats in the limited length of the bus. The more seats, the more passengers you can load up. The result of this is that nobody above four feet can sit on them without getting pains afterwards. If you have long legs you have to be a contortionist to get a ride sitting down. Your upper body looks straight on while you lower body is twisted and hanging out in the aisle. If you’re not lucky to get a seat then you’ll have to hang on to something and do a balancing act at the same time. All bus drivers have this wonderful talent of getting a bus stop without slowing down. 60 to 0 in 0 seconds. Unless your holding on tight you’ll be still going forward when the buses stops or have an intimate moment with the floor. It all becomes much more fun during rush hour. You get to ride cramped up with a whole bunch of strangers packed up like sardines in a tin. Errant elbows sticking you in sensitive places, stampedes on your foot, BO and other assorted smells…oh yes what fun it is. And the conductors are true magicians themselves. No matter how packed the bus is they still manage to load more passengers inside. They prefer to think of the bus as having an infinite amount of space. The four walls of the bus is just a trick of the mind you see, it’s all in the head of the passenger and the conductors know the truth. Of course people who are blind to this fact get the life squashed out of them. Oh well life goes on…

So until the day I get my own device of transportation (don’t see that happening anytime soon the way they are raising prices. Just when you think enough saved up the prices go up…oh well that’s entirely another story) I plan to get myself an armour suite and keep on riding the busses…


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Eagle

In the clear blue skies above
A gliding shadow can be seen
Unfurled wings touching the clouds
In a salute to the heavens above
Like a monarch who savours his kingdom
The proud and mighty Eagle soars

Mountains and Valleys
Rivers and Streams
Villages, cities and humans too
All pass below like Lilliputian scenes
Ever so small and quite insignificant
To him they mean nothing,
Yet they are everything
Nothing bounds him,
Nothing holds him back
For the sky is his realm
And he is free to do his will…

Friday, January 19, 2007

Five Minutes to Midnight

Five minutes to Midnight

It’s official, the world is two minutes closer to doomsday. We only have five more minutes till everything goes KABOOM.

For those people who have no clue what’s going on in this world, the Doomsday clock is a symbolic clock face maintained by a group of scientists known as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago. It represents the human race as being as minutes away from midnight, where midnight represents the destruction of the world by nuclear war. So on 17th of January 2007 these scientists decided to advance the clock by two minutes signaling the dire situations we are facing now.

For more interesting information on the clock check this link.

Considering the sensitive and dangerous nature we are in today a lot of countries must feel the need for having nuclear weapons. It’s natural to have good defence mechanism when some powerful nations carry on making bigger and better nuclear weapons, without any sort of policing going on. Then in turn these nations themselves will place restrictions on other countries and act like the policeman and curb the development of these fabled ‘WMDs’. So ultimately the big boys and their friends will have the biggest toys, while the little boys will have to satisfy themselves with scraps, or have nothing at all. We all know what happens when there’s an imbalance of power, the big boys start to bully the smaller ones. So naturally the smaller ones want to defend themselves. Then they start to develop secret weapons of their own and then the big boys get worried and cry unfair and try to stop the little boys from developing their bad toys. Then the little boys get worked up saying that the big boys are stepping on the freedom and rights and so on, and they resolve to build bigger toys. You can guess where I’m going with this. It’s a never ending cycle. Unless someone gives we will face doomsday in the near future. Personally I think it’s the big boys who should make the first move and get rid of their bad toys. Then the smaller ones will not feel threatened and will cede making their toys. Unfortunately the whole problem is ego. The big boys will never give in and always try to suppress the little ones. But beware the little ones have patience and they will ultimately kick ass.

With no solution in sight I’m sure that the four horsemen of the apocalypse are getting ready to ride out. It’s a scary thought when you come to think of it. I mean its’ like you know the time you are going to die. But on the plus side we can change the situation and turn back the doomsday clock unlike our time of death.

Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope everything turns out ok.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Jumping Jacks

The big news these days is that a bunch of opposition MP’s are crossing over to the government side, and I think they are getting ministerial portfolios as well. Call me dumb but, ummmm… who exactly is running the country?

Ok this is not something new in good old SL is it? We should be worried if opposition MP’s DO NOT CROSSOVER.

To tell you the truth I really don’t get politics. Forgive me if I’m too stupid to understand it. But I think it just silly, especially SL politics. You vote for and elect a bunch of people into power with a majority vote. But after a while all this shuffling and jumping over fences happens and suddenly people whom the majority didn’t vote for are in powerful positions. They are practically running the country. Hmmm is there something wrong with this picture, or is this how politics is supposed to work? I thought the whole reason of an opposition is to make sure that the government people don’t get up to nefarious stuff. But when all this jumping around happens it defeats the whole purpose. Further more it removes the necessity for a multiparty system of governing, which in turn defies the whole idea called democracy…ok it’s getting too complicated for me.

Personally I don’t have a high regard for politician or political parties. To me they are all the same. I really don’t care who runs the country as long as they work to solve problems, develop the country and better the lives of the people. The trick is trying to figure out who will do these things come election time. I look at politics like a three ring circus where everybody wants to be the ring master, but without any performers. Anyway let’s hope that all this jumping around will be beneficial for the common man. All hail the Jumping Jacks!

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Purpose of life

That is the million dollar question running through the minds of man. Many a wise man has pondered about this throughout history. Some have come up with various theories and ideas, while some others, sad to say have lost their marbles thinking about it too much.

Well do not fear my friends for I have the answer. Truthfully I didn’t actually come up with it. It was dished out by a wise friend of a friend who got my little grey cells thinking.

So the simplest answer to the question is this. "The purpose of life for all living beings is to procreate and ensure the continuation of the species" That my dear friends is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Ok Ok maybe it's not that much of an original thought and I'm sure many of you've have already know it. But I suspect quite a few still don’t' want to face the facts.

It's so simple that it's shocking. I mean why the heck are we doing all this if that’s all there is to life? Once the initial shock wears of and you give it a bit of thought you begin to realize how true this is. The trick is to see the bigger picture. It applies to all forms of life, from the lowly microscopic germies to the giant Redwoods. They all live to create the next generation of offspring to ensure the continuation of the species. Consider the life of a Mayfly whose whole adult life is about one day. The only thing on its tiny little brain from the time it sees daylight is to find a suitable partner, mate and present the world with the next batch of Mayflies. They in turn will give birth to the next generation and so forth the cycle of life keeps on turning. Of course not all mayflies are not so lucky and never get a chance to pass on their genes, but then again that's nature and the survival of the fittest.

However when it comes to humans, things get a little more complicated than this. We supposedly have a little more brains than your average Mayfly and so we have made our lives a complicated mess. After all we are supposedly, and I emphasize the word supposedly, the most intelligent, sophisticated and civilized creature on this planet. We have established social structure, governments and what nots and made our lives so complicated that even we don't know what we're doing half the time. We have made the mother of all messes and we have no idea how to clean it up. But no matter how complicated things have become the basic primal urges are still there. To create offspring and to have many offspring as possible to ensure that a part of you carries forward into the future. All the other things like social structure, politics, technology etc are like incentives, to make life better for the future generations. We study work and earn money to satisfy our basic needs, food, shelter and sex.

If we take a look at the life of a wild animal there is no difference. Animal offspring learn by watching and emulating their parents. They learn how to hunt, fish or whatever they do get their food. They learn where to get the best shelter from the elements. And sex...well lets just say it's mostly instinct. And when they look for a mate, they look for the best provider who can ensure the survival of the offspring. Simply put it's whether or not you can bring home the bacon and give protection from dangers.

With us humans it's basically the same thing, only a bit more complicated. When we are kids we learn the necessary skills to survive in the world. Because of its complexity the parents alone cannot do it. So we have specialised group called teachers. Then when we grow up we do jobs to earn money, which in turn we use to buy our food and shelter. Thank god that we don’t have to hunt for our food and shelter these days, otherwise a lot of us will definitely go hungry. When we are selecting a partner, wealth has become an important factor for consideration. Because we don’t hunt or gather foods like our cave ancestors did, the earning power of humans have become the measuring stick. The more money you can make the less likely the offspring are going to go hungry or be without a roof over their heads. It's like the mama bird deciding whether the daddy bird can bring in the best worms everyday and make the best darn nest in the block.

This necessity impress is what has created this culture of showing off. We have to have better jobs, better houses, better cars and better spouses than the next person out there. We don’t want to be left behind in this great rat race do we now? We are so engrossed in beating and being better than each other we don’t even know what we’re doing half the time. No wonder people are so screwed up these days. This doesn’t apply to all the people out there. I know some people who live simple lives and probably the happiest people on earth.

Hold on one darn minute. Where does love fit in all of this you may ask? Well to tell the truth I have no idea. Hopefully I might find out one day and tell you then.

Well all this maybe how nature ensures the survival of the species but as I said before we have made everything complicated. Theoretically it can be nicely packaged but practically it’s not that hunky dory. The world already has a population of over six billion people and it can’t take much more of it. We are running out of natural resources. If it goes on like this there won’t be anything left for the future generations. No I’m not saying stop having kids. By all mean have many as you like. Just give a little bit of thought to Earth as well. It’s the little things that matter.

What’s the point of all this rambling of mine? Nothing at all so don’t worry yourselves. I was just wondering why we have made our lives such a complicated mess.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Grim Reaper

A long black robe reaching the ground
A hood hides a face so proud
Staring ahead with soulless eyes
Without emotion without care
Darkness follows his every step
And all where his shadow falls
Life whither like leaves in fall

A skeletal hand holds a scythe
Its blade curved in an evil grin
Waiting patiently until the time is right
To proudly serve its master’s request
He roams the earth
Watching and Waiting
Until the sands of time run out
And finally when there is no more
The blade of silver will do its work
To sever the bonds of life
And grant the freedom they yearn

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Wish

I wish the eyes of man to open
So that he may see the truth
That his heart should not be
A place for hate to call home

I wish the eyes of man to see
The ruin caused by his hand
All because he has let his life
Be ruled by the demons of hate

I wish the hearts of man to feel
The wonders a little love can do
That he may turn from destruction
And save mankind from annihilation

Greetings for the New Year

Hmm…the first entry for the year 2007. Ok…Ok… It’s a bit too late but what to do…

Well another year is upon us and I’m sure most of you out there greeted it with the usual way? Getting stoned drunk I mean…There’s nothing wrong with that so why break the tradition. It’s a time to drown away your sorrows and forget all the stupid things you did in the past year and get ready for another new year of sorrows and more stupid idiotic things to do. What’s life without these I ask. That’s what makes it more fun.

The new year shouldn’t be a time to make some pointless resolutions in a drunken stupor and forget them as the year progresses. That’s why I never make them coz I never keep them. Life is much more fun and exciting if you just roll along with it and see what fate decides to throw at you. Mind you it won’t be all hunky dory. There will be bad times as well as the good, but what makes life is how you handle the bad times. It builds character, or so I’ve heard the wise men say. In the middle of all this you can have your own goals and dreams and work around to achieve them. If you can do that I’d say you’ll have a great year ahead of you.

To the world in general, I hope that this year people will care about each other a little more and put an end to these wars and other such stupid nonsense. So here’s wishing all of you out there a superb year 2007!