Saturday, December 31, 2005
My wish for 2006: For religious zealots to stay out of politics and a very happy and peaceful new year to everyone.
1. Happiness and success are not the result of what we have, rather of how we live.
2- Words have the power to destroy or heal.
3- Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.
4- The true measure of a man's wealth is in the things he can afford not to buy.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
5- Rather than focusing on THINGS and TIME, focus on enhancing RELATIONSHIPS and accomplishing RESULTS.
-Steven R. Covey.
It is not that most people are incapabale of greatness, it is that they are unwilling to pay the price of success. They have the ideas, but they do not have the desire to relinquish the comforts of life. They have the dreams, but they cringe at the thought of having to endure any kind of hardship.
The worm expected to be activated on Jan 5th, is to flood email boxes with pro nazi propaganda in English and German.
All major anti-virus programs can protect computers against the worm. Industry experts are advising users to instal and keep uptodate, anti-virus software.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Indiagames is also making games for the mobile phone market based on Hollywood's tested characters like Spiderman, Predator and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.While Indiagames is a leading contender many smaller companies have also come in to the creative process of developing games. India has no shortage of talent and this will be an industry that is bound to bring enviable financial returns to those who can allow their imagination to take flight and soar upto the sky. Companies that have come into this entertainment industry include Milestone Interactive Studios and Paradox Studios, both located in Mumbai and Bangalore's Dhurva Interactive are all working on original content. Dhruva has developed Pool -On-The-Net an online 3D billiards game targeted to an Indian audiance.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Egypt is the US's closest ally who needs their financial support to run a country with a monopolistic rule and a broken economy that needs fixing. US and Europe have started applying pressure and it will be interesting to see how changes will come about.
taking the cover of the Times as the Persons Of this year for their continued commitment in spending millions to take on global poverty.
In times past, you would think that a rock star will shine and be heard on stage and through his music. Not so any more, the world leaders in global summits such as in G8 and other meetings are now listening to them.
Software architect and Microsoft boss Bill Gates and Melinda Gates have made global leaders listen to them not only with their money but with their innovative programs to eradicate disease and lift the poor out of their plight. The human race is running against time in environmental protection and unresolved conflicts, but if there is any hope for the future, this year's cover of Times Magazine recognizing an unlikely Trio does stand out as beacon of hope that could bring happiness to the forgotten millions.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
How could a distinguished scientist err on such an important matter that he knew would have long lasting moral and ethical consequences for the world community. A remoreseful Hwang can be forgiven by his country and the world community but it is beyond me to understand why he took the road tha he did.
We need more social entrepreneurs to come up with such innovative methods to help the poor. This is a good example the amazing power of human resourcefulness. I salute the social entrepreneurs who work on such projects and feel that the barefoot engineers have more brain power than some of the politicians who have managed to keep them poor for so long.
This is the time of the year when it is fashionable to make new year resolutions though the majority of the people will never keep them.
Change is unavoidable and it happens whether we like it or not. The best way to deal with change is to be flexible and adjust to it. Time does not wait for anyone and our life is just a fleeting moment in the bigger scheme of things. Not wanting change is unwise and therefore we all need change. The question then is, what kind of change do you want?
Do you want a new job?
Do you want to study for a degree?
Do you want to change your lifestyle?
You can decide what change you want or how you will adopt to the changes that occur around you. Make it different this time just by sticking to what you resolve.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Thoreau himself is famously known for as the naturalist philosopher who lived a simple life near the beautiful Walden Pond for two years. He wanted to experience the simplest way to live his life and even by the standards prevailing at that time he was considered a pacifist.
Can you imagine what today's popular culture would call such living, well from crazy to lunacy would be my guess. But wait a minute. There are also simplicity movements that are beginning to pick up momemtum in this rapid fast-paced world. So Thoreau can rest with the knowledge that more people have begun to value his experience of life.
Futurists now predict that the gadgets that are so indispensable in our life are going to be less complex.
Your mobile phone, PDA or didital camera has so many functions that you may not fully understand or test them before they go to their grave. After all most people use these gadgets for their functional convenience and developers of new technology will really start to work hard not just to incorporate more functions but to make the gadgets more simple and even more user friendly for people like the "idiots" for whom a whole series of guides from birth till death is being written.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Cricket is religiously followed by millions in India and Pakistan. Can you imagine the passions that are aroused when these two friendly rivals face each other. Such passions bring out the 'beauty and the beast' out of the fanatic fans who flock to watch their heroes in action and demand that they win.
Pakistan has just won the Pakistan/England ODI Series by 3-2. On the penultimate day of the series England won the last match salvaging some pride and flying home with their heads held high with the knowledge that a very young team has indeed done well, although this performance came a bit too late for the England fans.
There is more cricket to come for the Indians, whose team currently playing the test series against Sri Lanka also recently played against South Africa. They will very soon be playing their great rival Pakistan. Fans on both sides of this divided continent are eagerly awaiting this clash.
When Microsoft is out to impose strict copyright requirements which it has a right to do, it must also make sure that it's products are not defective. Gaming has become big business and both the industry as well the consumers must play it fair and by the rules. This is the way to defeat the piracy business which is also big business .
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
How about me directing my own life and you directing your own life. Seems good, so here I go.
Life does give each one of us the opportunity to live our life. Whether we are successful or not depends not only on how we live our life but also on how we define success. To one person success was, " As long as I am above ground, I am successful." To this person, to be alive was to be successful. I am sure most other people would want more out of their life.
There are some people who believe that success is dependent on factors beyond their control. Such people are bound to suffer the disappointment and unhappiness for they see their lives taking twists and turns that they can't control. While this may be true of certain periods in the life of every person, it cannot be the norm as it deprives a person from taking personal responsibility for his actions.
Our life becomes the product of our decisions and the effort we put in to realize our dreams. Our innate potential will not be realized unless we work to achieve them. The price of our success is not dependent only on money but more on our efforts.
Friday, December 16, 2005
The film is a romantic comedy that propelled Julia Roberts to megastardom. This is a classic love story with two characters at both ends of the social spectrum. Julia Roberts plays the role of a hooker but her beauty captivates the hearts of men including Richard Gere, a successful all- work-and-no-play businessmen.
You'll see some hilarious moments in this film when Julia who plays vivian, the high school drop out prostitute and has to put up with Richard in his business dealing world which Julia has never experienced before. Richard and Julia are opposites, Richard is only interested in making money while Julia loves the simple and romantic life that the 'girl next door' would. They start off liking each other despite their social difference and influence each other at a deeper emotional level.
As the film progresses you'll see a transformation in both their characters. There are great songs in the film including "Oh Prteety Woman" written by Roy Orbisson and won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
This is a great film, although such scripts get turned out to reality only in Hollywood, the land of dreams. Some dreams come true as was the case for Julia Roberts in this film. So keep on dreaming. You may just find the knight to come and rescue you or your country from the your plight and lift you to the stars.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
At that time, the street lanes of coral sand lined with imposing white-walled houses with spacious gardens. Day and part of the night, the doors of these houses were left open so that neighbours can drift in and out to have a chat or gossip about the day's events.
Ironically the tranquil peace that was so refreshing to the residents as well as to the visitors has changed to what we now call a progressive lifestyle. Tourism has become the lifeline of Mladives since the early 1970s.
The tourist dollar has created an elite class that can, not only afford first class travel but are also able to own property outside the country and control businesses within the country. A community that was driven by their desire to live in harmony is now clamouring to forge a new social order. An order where the increasing gap between the rich and the poor is reduced so that the wealth of the country is equitably distributed, opportunities are available and social justice is assured and meted out to all.
The lack of a sustainable housing policy in Male' since the 1960s has seen the spacious gardens and their enclosed homes divided many times over to give rising cubicle homes to the next two generations, that has jammed Male' almost bursting at the seams. This is the inevitable result of a centralized policy to control everything from running the government to control business and commerce to communication and transportation from Male'.
Lack of adequate living space has brought about shoulder to shoulder living, crammed within the one and half square mile island of Male' creating health hazards and a social nightmare. A culture of drug abuse is prevailing among the younger generation and law enforcemnet agencies are unable to control rampant corruption. The crooks seem to be having a field day putting the law abiding citizens at their mercy.
Superficially we are rich and living a life of abundance in Male'. But this feeling is only skin deep as evident from peoples homes to hospitals to public services and to the way we are struggling to look after an aging population.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
How did this happen to a country that was devastated after the second world war, its old military might demolished, and its citizens had struggled to get up on their feet?
The Japanese are a resilient people. After their defeat in the second world war in 1945, they shifted their focus from miltary expansion and the government and the industry was united to build the nation. The Japanese companies adopted the "best practice" methods to improve productivity and enhance performance. They imported raw materials and used them to manufacture world class products which were exported out.
Now The Land Of The Rising Sun is winning back its old colonies whose memories are fading of the past brutal occupation, purely by economic means.
Observe how Tokyo works and you begin to to realize the collosal work that has brought about this massive transformation of a country in ashes to one that is towering above the rest of the world, holding its own in economic might. Tokyo is the seat of the government, business and finance, communication and culture.
Tokyo is one the most congested cities of the world. Millions of commuters take the trains daily but their train stations are kept whistle-clean. White collar workers abuzz the city throughout the 6-day work week.
Here is what I think we can learn from the Japanese.
Japan is a small country and after their defeat in the second world war, there was bitter acrimony among the people. There was suffering and regret among its citizens. But they pulled together, geared the economy for export and worked hard.Today they have become a prosperous nation and are sharing their prosperity with other nations. Their traditions and work ethics have stood good through trying times. Community interest above individual motivation seems to have propelled Japan sky high, this time not dominating militarily but economically.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I cannot fully understand what will be unique about this university. Certainly India has a strong tradition of a free press and a vibrant democracy. The future looks bright and India is the fastest growing country in Asia, keeping up the economic pace with China.
This is very exciting news. This research suggests that bees may play a more prominent role at airports and other places where face recognition is important. They may also be used by law enforcemnet agencies to spy on and catch the perpetrators of crime who may traffic drugs or may be involved in terrorist activities . In the years to come, who knows , the bees may be able to do a better job not just in face recogition but in several other aspects of crime detection and public safety.
It will be a crying shame if we, the humans are beaten by the bees ....with such small brains I guess.
This is the situation in the world's biggest economy with federal and state oversight regulations tightly designed to protect the consumer interest.
In several developing countries with less than perfect state of high accountability, the consumers are the mercy of the crooks whose action seems to go unpunished, giving the impression that they are above the law.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Before the next world cup is played out, the punters and pundits will raise the stakes and general mood to fever pitch. The politicians who have nothing better to do can have their constituents engrossed in the battle of the games that will be livecast across the globe entertaining the rich who can certainly afford and the poor and the poorest of the poor who can transcend their daily struggles to connect with this absorbing contest.
What a joke it is! The muslim countries knew all along, what the OIC Secreatary General has lamented, ie. call for , concrete action to solve problems such as poverty, illiteracy, epidemics, lack of equal opportunity and unequal distribution of wealth. These problems did not culminate overnight, infact it has taken decades for the situation to become so rotten as they have acknowledged.
So long as the leaders of muslim countries and organizations such as OIC only give lip service to the problems outlined, nothing will change. It gives more ammunition for the radicals to flourish. I am against extremism and all forms of violence but the sad reality is that the collective leadership of the muslim world is only playing games without the conviction and the resovle needed to bring about real change that is so vital to defeat the extremists and their agendas.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Two religious scholars took turns to quote the muslim scriptures, advising a listening audience to refrain speaking about contentious issues. Speak good of everyone and everything, if you must, think before you open your mouth to speak.
How interesting. Why don't you religious scholars direct your advice to individuals who contravene your advice, ie. those who speak good but act against what they speak. Why not name and shame them.
It's time for you scholars to cut out the hypocrisy and come out clean. Here in Maldives, you know that the moral fabric has been badly damaged and requires enormous effort to put it right. If you wish to be taken seriously and more to the point, if you wish others to honour what you say, stop taking cover behind a smoke screen. Our society is small enough for you to know who speaks what publicly like what you do on this progamme. When their actions do not match the words they speak, take them to task and let the chips fall where they may.
While the Americans lead in "working harder", the Europeans and the notoriously industrious Japanese have some catching up to do on the path blazed by America.
Simply because the trend appears in the direction of working harder than we used to, it doesn't mean we are worse off. We need less time to prepare our meals, thanks to the microwave oven. Modern technology has made available to us many such conveniences which cost us more in money but save us time. Even shopping is a breeze for those of us using the internet.
Working hard or having a lot of work isn't necessarily bad. Work does give order and meaning to one's life. It can provide a sense of self-worth and dignity. Even from a moral perspective, there is virtue in hard work. "Free time" means idleness- this is the cornerstone of the work ethic that has brought us to the civilization that we are enjoying today.
So, the short answer to my question abve is: Yes, we should all care about hard work.
Hopefully, we can work smart as well. We can only realize the full value of our work if we work in a place with a system that operates on meritocracy, ie. recognizing and rewarding effort on the basis of merit.
In many countries plagued by corruption and operating on crony capitalism, contracts are awarded and promotions are given to suit political objectives. In such places, there is no equitable distribution of wealth and how hard you work is not the solution to how well you do in your life.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
A deranged fan took his life and we've lost a musical genius who led a controversial life but always stood for Peace. His songs "Give peace a chance" and "Imagine" still stand out as favourite songs.
Together with The Beatles, John Lennon played a prominent role in the music world that unleashed profound social changes in UK, Europe and The United States which John later adopted as his home.
Even a generation after this musical great has left us, his fans continue to pay tribute to his music and his legacy.
"Mohamed Thakurufanu The Great liberated Maldives in the latter part of the 16th Century."
I must confess I do not know enough about Maldivian history to make a crtical assessment of this liberation. But when I look at the social injustices that are prevailing in our society now, another more startling question comes to my mind.
"If infact we were liberated in the 16th century, how did we manage to get ourselves enslaved again." You can debate that this is a subjective opinion, each person entitled to his as I am to mine. For all I know, when I arrived Daalu Meedhoo an island with 1200 hard-working self confident individuals, there wasn't a single cyber cafe from where I could post this piece earlier.
On 5th december2005, evening I had gone in a launch to Faaf Nilandhoo, the capital island of that atoll, with 1600 inhabitants. Although there was one small cyber cafe, it was not opened even on 6.12.05 morning as not many people ever used it. The lingering question in my mind was, " when we came this far to nearly a developed country in Male', how and why did we leave the islands so far behind. This piece will run too long if I were dwell on the various social issues that are horribly wrong in these islands.
In order to maintain the social fabric of a unified people we need to learn to reach out to each other. We need restore trust between individuals and community leaders. We need to unlearn some of the corrupt practises that have crept into our society, which superficially give us a pseudo-western lifestyle while conveniently calling ourselves a 100 percent muslim nation.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
- 4.45 am arrive at the Hulule Ferry Point at Male. I was in group of three others.
- 5.00 am Depart Male' by dhoni to Hulule'
- 5.20 am. Arrive and wait at the counter to take Sea Plane to Vilu Reef Island.
- 5.25 am counter staff comes in without the key to the counter locker.
- 5.30 am Counter key received, locker opened. Passengers names cheked and baggage tags issued. Thereafter we were fereried by bus to tmi seaplane terminal.
- 5.45 purcased our tickets and await boarding for flight leaving at 6.10am
- At 6.05 we were told by tmi staff that the plane has departed without us. We were furious and not in a mood to give in tmi duty staff nonsense. They said we were wait listed and showed thier passenger list and our four names at the very top had been struck off.
- 6.20 am we knew we were at the mercy of these liars but decided to take our breakfast and cool off while waiting for the next flight at 7.10 am
- 6.22am. We approached the "Riyaa Cafe" counter. Counter staff told they could serve tea/coffee with traditional roshi with fish etc. But the food is being prepared and we had to wait a while. We took a table nearby, our frayed tempers still getting the better of us as we were talking only about how the tmi duty staff lied to us without slightest feeling of an apology on their part for the inconvenience caused to us.
- 6.45 am Food from the Cafe still not ready. We decided we should approach the departure counter and make sure we did not miss or better put that we shall not allow the tmi plane to depart without us.
- 6.55 am. Cafe' staff approached us. Food is ready! It was too late to have breakfast when you know you are at the mercy of tmi. On hindsight we should atleast have taken a coffee even though food was not ready. Well, we can do better next time on that.
- 7.15 am. Left by fight number 53 PNR number 491636. Feeling angry at the Tmi lousy service who seem to think, that only the tourists they take are important while they can neglect the maldivians as it appears there is no one to protect their interests. This is stupid and arrogant thinking and hopefully we can put sense into these people sooner than later.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
This concept is very interesting. We can have public servants and politicians to serve their communities better using similar approches of service.
Your purpose in life could be:
- To be a godly person
- To raise happy children
- To achieve a distant vision, and many others.
While many people have not taught about this question, there are others who may not want to think about it. To them, not thinking and making future plans may be their purpose.
Some people believe that we are pre-programmed creatures and our life will take the route that we are intended to live. This is fatalistic view and I believe there is more to life than the narrow view offered here. There are others who believe that a creator has an unseen hand guiding us along a path of our life.
My view is that I am endowed with free will to choose right from wrong. I am resposible for my actions and when I face my creator, if I can say that I have done all I could do to lead a righteous life, that would be good enough to achieve my purpose.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
But why do we need such stimulants and why do we crave for such highs? Can we not live our lives without these stimulants lifting us momentarily to such highs? As the world is too complex and since we as individuals have different reasons for why we do what we do, seeking answers to these questions would have to be an individual matter.
Eventually for some of us, our craving for arousal and our dependency on stimulants increases our need for more potent stimulants like cocaine and other cocktail combinations. At these higher levels, the threshold of an arousal by taking coffee has been crossed over to the kind of "addiction" stage that I have explianed in a previous posting. The consequences of higher potency addictions could be fatal and we are far better off if we can avoid experimenting with our lives at that level.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Ronaldinho has won the Golden Ball as the European Player Of The Year, ahead of Frank Lampard of Chelsea and Steven Gerrad of Liverpool.
The winner is chosen by France Football Magazine's annual poll of 52 journalist around the world.
"God gives gifts to everyone," Ronaldinho said. "Some can write, some can dance. He gave me the skill to play football and I am making the most of it."
The term passion applies both to positive and negative emotions. If I say, it is my passion to help people in anyway I can, that is positive and productive. In a fit of passion if a person strangles his friend, that is negative and counter productive. Thus, you will find that passions do come in many different ways.
The indisputably harmful effects of addictions such as drugs are well known. But sometimes the word passion is also used loosely in such situations as if I were to say, "I am addicted to reading." In this case the proper description perhaps, would be passion.
Your passion to do legitimate business helps in trading and distribution of goods. That is positive. If your passion is to make profits at any cost, then you may be adversely affecting the lives of many people. In this case, greed has taken control over you. That is a negative emotion.
Thus, passion crosses the line into addiction when any activity becomes destructive to yourself or to others, or when the passion is characterized by fear or compulsion. To determine this crossing line from passion to addiction is not always an easy call to make.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
The human brain too, needs a control panel and a programmer. The human mind acts as the control panel of the brain. It does the thinking for the brain. Our life is controlled by what we think, i.e, our thoughts. Our thoughts can be organized and our efforts can be directed to achieve the goals we st for ourselves.
Left Brain and Right Brain: The brain is divided into two parts. The left brain is analytical, rational, critical and does the work of step by step thinking. The right brain is creative and keeps in contact with our feelings and emotions. The right brain brings out flashes of inspiration. To be successful, we must use both sides of the brain.
Inside your head reside a super computer, the made equivalent of which cost around $10,000. This is good value waiting to be tapped by you. You may ask, How will I do it? Take a clue from Isaac Newton. When someone asked him as to how he discovered the law of gravity, his reply was:
"By thinking about it all the time."