Monday, December 29, 2008

Person of the Year - A well-deserved Honour for Obama

It is heartening to know that Barack Obama has been voted the Time magazine Person of the Year 2008. I am sure that many people all over the world will agree that Barack Obama has many a tremendous mark on the American political landscape.
By his achievement, many young persons all over the US and indeed the world have realised that hard work has its reward and that the sky is the limit. The dark veil that conditioned achievement limits to be dictated by personal backgrounds has been torn apart and lifted and all now have unfettered access to the hallowed sanctuaries. By his personal tenacity, Obama has proved that the audacity of hope brings success. see video

Monday, November 17, 2008

Memories of St Lucia

Saturday, November 08, 2008

American Politics Redefined

Tuesday November 4 has been etched in the annals of American history as the date when American democracy finally came of age. The atmosphere was electric, the euphoria was fully justified !! Barack Obama has just made the second moon landing in American history. One big step for Obama and one giant leap for America!! The world was waiting to celebrate.

Watching CNN that night was like watching the festivities of New Year's eve. We saw cheering crowds across all date lines .- It was a night of singular honours and firsts! In the coastal town of Japan called Obama, memories of the pain of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out by the symbolic victory of Obama town crowned as President-elect of the United States of America. The town roared in a victory chorus. The Japanese have had the last laugh as they captured the White House without firing a single shot - in accordance with their post Second WW non-aggression philosophy. Obama became the first town to win a presidential election. The Chinese were ecstatic. Even the reclusive North Korean leader, Kim Il Sung had his latest picture published to show that he was still alive and ready to dialogue with President Obama. In Indonesia, one primary school claimed victory as the only primary school outside the USA to have produced an American President.

As we headed west across the time zones, we came to Russia where, it was the first time an election victory was heralded in with a threat from the Kremlin. In next door in Iran, there was also a first - it was the first time President Ahmadinejad has made a complimentary remark concerning an American event. In the Kenyan village of Nyangoma-Kogelo it was a unique first - the first village in the world to produce the world most powerful political figure. The men were particularly proud of the ability of the village to scatter their seed to all corners of the world. All boys born that day were automatically named Barack and the girls, Michelle.

Back in the US, the import of the victory was a beautiful sight to see - personified in all kinds of emotions, a madly ecstatic crowd, imagine a weeping Jesse Jackson, a Colin Powell so charged with emotion you could feel the tears held up behind his eyes. It was the day! The significance of the victory is that anyone who works hard enough in the US will achieve his dream. Barack had a dream since his primary school days when he wrote an essay, 'I want to become a president'. The American social and political environment has matured enough to make all dreams possible for all those who care to strive. America has put its past behind it and has moved on to an era in which all have equal opportunity to express their full potential, irrespective of their demographic label. Indeed true to Dr. King's dream, America has risen up and lived out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

The road was long and arduous and full of a wide variety of enemy combatants. The enemy combatants came in all forms - from the overconfident matrons to the unbelievably naive and ignorant beauties. Some of these combatants later joined forces with the victorious army of Obama to capture the final objective.

As with all lunar events, the euphoria will die down, the honey moon will be over and then the hard work will begin.

For Barack Obama, the challenge is massive, there are great expectations from all corners of the world, even the Taliban it is rumoured, is expecting its goodies, howbeit crumbs, from Obama's sumptuous table. As Obama aptly put it, we can do it together. Yes, we can!! We trust that God will give Obama the wisdom to navigate successfully through this mine-ridden ocean of opportunities and threats.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Right Thing To Do

Vice President Dick Cheney did the right thing when he endorsed Senator McCain's candidacy a few days ago. Senator McCain has been a very strong supporter of the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration and it was therefore only fair that they give him their explicit support in his hour of need.
Dick Cheney however killed two birds with one stone as he tactfully overcame his personal dilemma - do you support your political buddy or do you support your cousin? In this single move, he supported both of them. What better endorsement do you need than that of the sitting vice-president of your country and party buddy. But by endorsing McCain he extended the burden of the political albatross to McCain's neck. By that one act, he strongly associated McCain with the Bush administration and their failed policies and also provided canon fodder to his cousin Barrack to finish off Senator McCain. This is one endorsement McCain would have preferred to receive discreetly without the news media even knowing about it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The VP Debate

The CNN analysis of the performance of Palin and Biden in the recent debate simply means that Biden is the better communicator, that he reached a wider audience. In reaching an audience at the eight grade level, he has automatically reached all those above that level. He had, on average. more sentences per paragraph which implies they were shorter sentences and therefore more likely to be clearer and comprehensible.
Theoretically therefore, more members of the American electorate picked up and understood Biden's arguments. That is what politicians should always strive to do - reach the widest possible spectrum of the electorate. Joe Biden was the better tactician in the war of words.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A New Dawn of Change

Tuesday, the 3rd of June 2008 marked the beginning of a new era of American politics with the victory of Illinois Senator Barak Obama over his arch rival Senator Hillary Clinton.

Obama's victory over Clinton is a victory for America and it marks the threshold of political emancipation in the US. Oh the Great Martin Luther King would smile in his grave. This unbelievable victory
would indeed "will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation"

America has put its past behind it and has moved on to an era in which all have equal opportunity to express their full potential, irrespective of skin colour. Indeed
true to Dr. King's dream, America has risen up and lived out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

We can now leave behind all the acrimony of this long and closely fought campaign as Barak and Hillary bury their hatchets and make peace that would unite the Democratic Party and make the democrats forge ahead in the battle for the main prize the Presidency itself. Oh, how things have changed!!

Obama has been brilliant in his strategy, his well choreographed speeches, his deep understanding of the American psyche and in his calm confidence in his ability to bring about change. If only all young men can live out their dreams, what a wonderful world it would be. Obama believed in the audacity of hope and has lived it out.

Because of Barak Obama a new generation of Americans now have vistas before them to live out their personal dreams. I do not take the view as many do, that it was a victory for the black race. For me, this is a victory for all Americans - native Americans, black, white, hispanics and all, that they can now absolve themselves and live beyond their dark ugly past.

Let us rise to toast the New America and watch with eagerness to herald the soon-to-be President of the new era, President Barak Obama.

Yes We Can and We Will!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Immunisation of Obama against common political afflictions

The practice of immunisation in public health is based on the principle that a person is deliberately infected with a mild version of a known pathogen so that his immune system can build up resistence and ward the danger if and when the real thing comes.

In political terms, Hillary has administered the immunisation programme that Obama has been exposed to. The Hillary vaccine had little attenuation and at times appeared quite potent and unsettling but Obama pulled through without serious consequences. Having pulled through, he can stand quite strong and confident that when the real infection comes in the virulent form as the McCain bug in the autumn, it will only be a question of a few sneezes and coughs and he would be just fine.

In boxing terms, Hillary has been a very effective sparring partner, giving Obama a hell of a fight but leaving him to go to the main fight without broken bones and head injuries.

Hillary is not done yet as she has vowed to fight until the best man is left standing and according to her the 'best man' may well be a woman. Obama should be grateful to Hillary for her doggedness, her tenacity to fight till the last drop of sweat or perhaps blood, if she can spare some, even if some streaks of meanness and arrogance were shown. It was meant to be and Obama should take it in good stride.

After Indiana and North Carolina, the American people have seen it all and even the super delegates are beginning to move over to the right camp - now in trickles but soon in full flow. Hillary has done her bit to ensure that the Democratic Party wins the presidential elections in November.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mrs. Thompson’s 5th Grade Class


As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.'

His second grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.'

His third grade teacher wrote, 'His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken.'

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.'

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, 'Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.'

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her 'teacher's pets'.

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favourite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favourite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, 'Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.'

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, 'Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you.'

(For you that don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

See a video version of the story

Warm someone's heart today, pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? Tomorrow? Just 'do it'.

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it! 'Believe in Angels, then return the favour'

Sent to me by a friend

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

End of A Restful Weekend

May days and Queen's days and Liberation days all add up to a long and restful "weekend". Back on the beat.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Austrian Sonar Probes

It is interesting to know that Austrian Police say investigators are using a sonar probe to make sure there are no more underground dungeons at the Fritzl property where the man held his daughter captive for 24 years.
I would go further and suggest that they should do the sonar probing of cellars nation-wide, to free any unfortunate person who might still be in cellar. This is a time to be proactive not reactive.

Cleansing Austria's Image - The first step

The Austrian authorities have in the days, following the exposure of the most bizarre crime in recent times, sought to reject any insinuation or suggestion that there is anything typically Austrian about this crime. However the fact that two similar crimes have been uncovered within a short space of time is worrying. For Austria to absolve itself and improve its image, it must take clearly visible efforts to inspect all cellars to ascertain that no unfortunate victims of abduction and imprisonment are left in some domestic dungeon. All Local Government Authorities should instruct residents to open up their cellars for inspection. After all, no one imagined that we could get to this after the Natasha Kampusch incident in 2006. This is the simple first step Austria must take to redeem its image.
Since the unfolding of this bizarre event, witnesses have been said have come forward to claim they saw or heard unusual activity, such as Fritzl allegedly struggling under cover of darkness to bring large quantities of food and water into his home through a rear entrance. Let all those that have similar suspicions now come forward so that the nation can deal with this type of crime once and for all.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Weird Stories from Austria

The recent story of an Austrian incestuous father, Josef Fritzl, defies all imagination. He imprisoned his own 18-year old daughter, Elizabeth, and held her captive for 24 years. In the meantime, he fathered seven children by her.
Rosemarie his wife and mother of the victim must be one of the most naive people on earth to have lived with a man, who had a double life and regularly went to sleep with his daughter downstairs, without ever suspecting his actions and movements. A husband sneaks out in the night to his second home presumably on a fairly regular basis and there is no iota of suspicion.
This is the second case of abduction and imprisonment in a cellar in Austria. Not long ago another girl, Natascha Kampusch, escaped from her captor after eight years of imprisonment in a cellar. I think the Austrian Police should do random checks on cellars to find out how many unfortunate children are still locked up - Austrian cellars being very secure prisons on the one hand, and recreational centres for sexual perverts on the other.
This is a bizzare world!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Accra: Post-Nations Cup

I arrived at Accra on Saturday March 31 - my first visit since the African Nation's Cup which Egypt won.
There is still a freshness that seems to have lingered on from the facelift the city received in the run up to the nation's cup. The roads are very tidy and all the buildings seem to be freshly painted - at least in my part of town.
It is also my first visit to Ghana since the revaluation of the cedi. Every 10,000 cedi has been compressed to just one cedi. The cedi now rubs shoulders with the US dollar (at US $1 to .94 cedi.). I had been curious to see what effect the revaluation woud have on general price levels. True to my expectations, prices of many articles and services have been rounded up in favour of the sellers. A price hike of 1 cedi seems insignificant whereas a price hike last year of 10,000 cedis was clearly significant and a seller would have given a lot of thought to it before implementing such a change. I found many of the items I tried to buy to be cheaper in Holland and just wondered what the common man in Ghana must be going through.
It was perhaps a good thing that President Yar Adua suspended the revaluation of the naira in Nigeria.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Fickle-minded American Electorate

It is very amusing to watch the democratic process in America. Up till last Tuesday, Democratic Party Presidential contender, Hillary Clinton was all but written off after Barack Obama had scooped up 11 straight wins. On Tuesday, he made it the 12th straight win by capturing Vermont. Later that day, Clinton's big moments came with wins in the primaries of Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.
Suddenly Clinton's 'new momentum' is on everyone's lips whereas it had been known for months that she was the hot favourite in these delegate-rich states leading with double digits. The fact that Obama nearly cancelled the great advantage she had and the almost exclusive popularity she enjoyed was lost in the euphoria of her victory.
We shall wait to see what the reaction will be when Obama starts his next round of wins string with Wyoming today. The great number of undecided voters mirrors the degree of exposure of the American electorate to events both in their country and around the world. Americans seem to get informed about solutions to their problems only at political rallies and town hall meetings - a sad testimony to a people who would like to be considered as the most advanced electorate of the world.

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Begining

I am back on this site after a long absence. Hopefully I can maintain the blog and keep a proper log of things.
The Winter Efteling is my starting point.