Monday 25 February 2013

Nigeria: MegaNet Resource Limited has all the trappings of a scam outfit

An atrocity of conmanship
I just received this link in a DM (Direct Message) on Twitter and it exemplifies that atrocity of conmanship that bedevils vulnerable and desperate job-seeking Nigerians who some have found heartless schemes to exploit without conscience.
It is bad enough that the quality of English leaves much to be desired but I really do worry about how many schemes like this have had people go on a wild goose chase after jobs that don’t exist dangled as treasures within reach to relieve people of the very little they have.
The malevolent deviousness of this matter beggars belief and it is incumbent on every well-meaning person to expose all the miscreants involved in what I also believe is a scam – if it is not a scam, then the people involved will have to repudiate this so publicly with a media publication or else, we should all take it as given – A Rotten SCAM!!!
A scam, if I ever saw one
The body of the letter sent out as an email appears below. My comments are in italics or parentheses.
With reference to your application sent to MegaNet Resource Limited, after much analyses [shouldn’t this be singular?] of your CV, we are pleased to inform you that, you have been invited for a brief discussion with the HRM of MegaNet Resource Limited for immediate posting to Unilever Nigeria Plc.
[There is a great likelihood that no CV was sent; MegaNet Resource Limited is a front and Unilever Nigeria Plc. did not engage this company as a recruitment agent. Besides, no indication is given of the role applied for.
There is however a Meganet Nigeria Limited, it is NOT MegaNet Resource Limited.]
You have to ask, why?
Note that, there will be a reduction of 10% of your salary for the first month which will be in a written agreement between you and MegaNet Resource Limited, after that you will have no business with us.
[This is no doubt the piece de resistance, it gives the impression that a job has been secured and it has to be illegal and fraudulent for a recruitment agency to charge both the customer and applicant for the same service, if they were genuinely engaged by Unilever Nigeria Plc. The idea that there is a contractual agreement to fleece the applicant of 10% of their first month’s salary and then abandon the applicant is almost convincing in its intent that it looks like the a work of genius. If Unilever engaged MegaNet, I will like to know what they think of this.]
Meanwhile, you are hereby invited for a brief discussion with the HRM of MegaNet Resource Limited.
This is a requirement to meet you in person and review your credentials.
A gathering of the fleeced
Please find details of your invite below:
Date: 27th February 2013
Time: 9:30am
Venue: University of Lagos Multi-Purpose Hall (Main Campus) Akoka.
[An open venue with no links to either Unilever or MegaNet, they might be expecting a crowd but really, this beggars belief. Now, where is MegaNet based? Don’t Ask.
You can be sure that many will be gathering here and suddenly find kindred with many others who have been parted with their cash with no respite, recourse or succour but a stark slap of reality on the bare cheek and curses that will go no further than the strength of the breaths of their mouths.]
Required Materials: You should come along with 2 passports [passport sized photographs, I think this means], original copy of your credentials and the invitation letter for security check point.

[To really show that you’ve been had. I feel so sorry already.]
What will I pay to see you caught?
Note: You are to pay the sum of N2,200 Naira for [a] Medical [examination], as [an] external doctor will be at the venue and a file will be opened for you that will comprise your entire document including the medical result that will be taking to the place of your posting.
[What humiliation, a doctor will examine applicants in a multi-purpose hall in the presence of other applicants? What kind of medical tests will be conducted there? Why can’t Unilever or MegaNet foot this bill? Why do applicants have to pay out of their own meagre resources with no guarantee of compensation to apply and qualify for a job?
Is this not a variant of the Advance Fee Fraud scheme? You pay up for a service you are not guaranteed to get from a stranger who is more persuasive than the serpent in Adam's Eden.]
Find details of the account number below:
Bank Name: Ecobank
A/C Number: 0803043511
A/C Name: Adesanya Kayode
The culpable banks
[As usual the essential collection bucket of the scammer is a bank account especially where banks are usually derelict in monitoring nefarious activities of confidence tricksters who clear out the accounts long before the conned comes to and launches a complaint with the bank.
I dare say, banks by reason of their lack of vigilance, carelessness and negligence inadvertently aid and abet money laundering and fraudulent schemes granting anonymity to crooks who find the intermediary services of the bank a good front for a bad scheme.]
Please, come with the Teller to the venue, we don't accept money at the venue. This is for security reasons due to previous experience.
[One can only wonder what previous experience apart from someone coming to the realisation of this atrocity and demanding their money back on the spot – money in the bank is literally impossible to reclaim without extraneous means.]
Yours Faithfully,
[Faithful to his scheme and insincere to your plight.]
Adesanya Kayode
This, my friends, is a SCAM
I am at pains to find the professional import of this enterprise apart from it being a well-crafted scheme to fleece the vulnerable and desperate of their meagre resources.
It is my intention to expose such machinations which on scrutiny look too good to be true, cajoling and inveigling like a slithering venomous snake looking for easy prey.
As I happen to be involved in contractual engagements with Unilever in the UK, I will be asking their management of the veracity of this subject, because even if MegaNet Resource Limited has been engaged by Unilever Nigeria Plc for a recruitment drive, how they are going about it is reprehensible, wrong, atrocious, audacious and scandalous.
Tell Mr. Adesanya to take a hike
I can see no reason why MegaNet Resource Limited should not be put out of business forthwith and Mr. Kayode Adesanya exposed as a scamming fraud.
Thanks to TheWordSmith on Twitter for intimating me of this scam, there are no two words to it, it looks like a scam, it reads like a scam, it is crafted like a scam and it lacks the trust elements that would make us think otherwise – a scam, is a scam, is a scam and this my friends is what it is – A SCAM!!! I have responded to the comments to this blog here.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Caught in flagrante in Manchester

Simmering and cooling off
I was back in Manchester this weekend literally spoiling for a fight to pick up my glasses which Vision Express expressly did not have the courtesy to expressively inform me of as to the progress in sorting my order out knowing full well that I was from out of town even though after phone calls to them I was told and assured I will be informed but no information came to my notice.
Meanwhile, on the train from Chester, a journey lasting just 75 minutes had me sat in the middle of a crowd I would not have chosen but for the circumstances.
Behind me was a young man in his twenties but with the mental development of an obstreperous 3-year old being chaperoned back home. He got restless, fidgety and kicked violently at the back of my seat everytime the train stopped.
Holding my hair piece
In other circumstances, I would have remonstrated but this was one of those situations where it was just best to live and let live, enduring it for the experience of knowing how fortunate most of us are and how longsuffering their carers might be not forgetting the frustrations of a big man caught in the throes of a small child.
In front, there was a couple of the alternative kind where one in that time had quaffed two bottles of blue vodka and he still had two legs to stand on when we got off the train.
The conductor found time to joke, apparently, Justin Bieber, whoever that is was performing in town and he said he had just heard from the organisers that the concert had been cancelled because Justin had to wash his hair. Much laughter filled the train.
A 419 experience
When I got to my hotel, I was put on the top floor which required the use of steps because it is not serviced by a lift. When I showed the receptionist my cane, he promptly relocated me to a more accessible floor and also close to the lifts. The room number was 419.
I decided on having no breakfast at the hotel, basically, if they could not get mere toast right that it was just toasted on one side, it was unlikely that whatever else they were offering would be up to palatable standards, I had experienced it before – cheap, tacky and avoidable.
Then I made for Vision Express where my first pair was ready and the spare pair was still in the laboratory. I asked to speak to the manager to remonstrate about the lack of adequate customer service.
Appeased with a deal
She arrived with my spare pair which had different lenses from the main pair. That was not what I  had ordered, they were both supposed to be photo-chromatic or as the lingo is nowadays, transition, scratch-resistant and anti-glare – at least in my case, there was no reason for me to order different pairs of lenses if I wanted to be able to interchange glasses.
The change would normally have cost extra but as a sop or some sort of appeasement, they were offered for free though that would mean another visit to Manchester in maybe fortnight.
The rest of the weekend in Manchester was not that eventful, clubs that required membership for me to gain entrance presented a hostile side to the city which should have been catered for with the presentation of a hotel key card signifying I was from out of town.
Hallelujah in my birthday suit
I found a Nigerian restaurant called Hallelujah African Cuisine, when I called to ask about their services, I learnt they will close late because there was a night vigil – maybe, I should pray a bit more over my food, but honestly, these divinely inspired names of businesses that seem to want to double as shrines to the Levitical priesthood are more amusing than to be taken too seriously. I had a good meal there.
We are to check-out of the hotel at 11:00AM, I am usually barely able to do that until maybe 11:15AM but before 11:00AM there were knocks on my door despite the fact that I had a red Do Not Disturb sign on the door knob.
I cannot think of who could have removed it that by 11:10AM before I could answer the door, the lady was in my room and there I was in flagrante deprehensus nuda nudus...

Thursday 21 February 2013

Thought Picnic: It was a Black Valentine

A Black Valentine
In one week, I have written nothing and a lot has happened since I penned the piece about My Funny Valentine in the earnest desire for love, company and companionship.
However, as we woke into the morning of St. Valentine’s Day of the year 2013, 4 shots reverberated round the world as it became an echo chamber of a tragedy that still leaves many in shock but worse still, the irreparable losses, the loss of freedoms to love, to live and to roam – it is all too sad.
She started the night before in the arms of her love and by daybreak she was in the arms of her Lord, the whole episode unfolding like a horrific thriller with both entombed in the ground and in a cell, the former we must never forget for the enduring glory of the latter.
Guns with irrational backbone
One cannot comment on the specifics of the case but one thing is evident, regardless of the status of whoever was caught enclosed and defenceless in that place, that person would have ended up dead, be the person an intruder or a lover and that for me is unacceptable aggression in the face of somewhat irrational fear predicated on the assumed extreme vulnerability of the perpetrator.
Guns appear to give people an unusual sense of bravado and daring where other defence mechanisms to seek help or flee, and I mean flee will kick in.
Four gunshots was four gun shots too many, too determined, too irrational, too demonstrative, too controlling and too self-assured of dealing with a situation. We may never know the mind of the how and why but result is devastating enough that the absence of a sense of great remorse of what was essentially avoidable will never be acceptable.
My sympathies are with the victim, totally
One must not stand to judge, but between the extremes of the benign of the fear of an assumed intruder and it must be clear that this was not fighting off an intruder and the unfortunate pall of spousal abuse resulting in a fatality all too common in many places around the world, my sympathies are squarely with the victim regardless of provocation; no non-aggressive provocation where the other party does not present an existential threat to life should have anyone ending up in the morgue.
The circus of love ended on Valentine’s Day and what we have now for entertainment is the circus of the macabre, it is almost as unwatchable as it is reprehensible as the media feeding frenzy has settled down south on a basic gavel hearing that has now stretched into the fourth day.
For all the accolades, glory and heroic feats of determination and achievement that dogs the principal and masks his attendant foibles, weaknesses and shortcomings, none of which must be discounted with the flippant wave of the hand, my thoughts, my pains and my heartache are with Reeva Steenkamp, her bereaved family, the death of the life force of an amazing dream and the many partners who have by pre-meditation or inadvertently fallen at the hands of the person they chose to love.
Rest well – Reeva Steenkamp.

Thursday 14 February 2013

My Funny Valentine, 2013

One day for me
There be many like me who have long sought a day when this day will not be spent alone having been battered, bruised, used and abused many times before that we know not what we want anymore.
We are caught in the maelstrom of love being in the air but not our love, it is the love of others living like they have no care in the world because their joy is fulfilled, their heart is content, they are with the one they want to be with and are as happy as can be.
Then again, there are others who cannot be with the one they love to whom one would say, love the one you’re with.
One day for us
But this day must not end just like that, for those who are with none also matter too, maybe before the sun is down the heart might just skip a beat and there will begin a story yet untold to last happily ever after.
We seek our own funny valentine, the sound of the voice, the touch of the hand, the kiss of the lips, the embrace where the warmth is cosier than anything nature can provide, giving life, bringing hope and the dare to touch the sky with fingers entwined.
It need not be so extraordinary, maybe I will settle for nice, but when my love brings joy, laughter, companionship and fun even that beauty will be indescribable.
My Funny Valentine
Ella Fitzgerald [YouTube] sang an interesting variation of My Funny Valentine, the first verse shows we will make do with a lot less and in the end gain a lot more.
Behold the way our fine feathered friend,
His virtue doth parade
Thou knowest not, my dim-witted friend
The picture thou hast made
Thy vacant brow, and thy tousled hair
Conceal thy good intent
Thou noble upright truthful sincere,
And slightly dopey gent
You’re my funny valentine,
Sweet comic valentine,
You make me smile with my heart.
Your looks are laughable, un-photographable,
Yet, you're my favourite work of art.
Is your figure less than greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?
But, don't change a hair for me.
Not if you care for me.
Stay little valentine, stay!
Each day is Valentine ’s Day
Is your figure less than greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?
But, don't change a hair for me.
Not if you care for me.
Stay little valentine, stay!
Each day is Valentine ’s Day

One I wrote for today, three years ago Where is my funny valentine?

Thought Picnic: A Task of an Ask

What an atrocity of wasted time
Nothing is more annoying than when jobs are created for people for the sake of it and in the process what was a simple process of interaction becomes a bureaucracy bottleneck of suddenly officious personnel frustrating others.
For a long time before I arrived on the scene, you got access just by asking reception, there was a sign emblazoned at reception saying this service is available on request from the same reception staff, no questions, no quibbles and no red-tape.
Inserting frustration
However, now a layer of unnecessary officialdom has been added to the workflow, even though ultimately the reception staff will service the request, the poor requester now has to do double legwork to get anything done.
The sign is still there but a renewal now requires that we visit reception to learn that we need to contact some pen-pusher who will click a button to ask reception to grant access whilst asking you enter the bureaucratic nightmare of service requests that end up on the desks of first responders whose powers of the basic perception of communication will make explaining the very visually graphical scene to the those with severe sensory deprivation a greater pleasure.
Bothering less
I wonder to myself if I really want to run the gauntlet of this essential to them but somewhat cumbersome for me situation, there are things that are not worth the bother besides creating a situation that the frustrated get creative and for all the resourcefulness available to man will be much tempted to break the system and get the fresh air of freedom and liberty.
As I write, the pen has been pushed but the reaction is late in coming, a 5-minute ask is easily becoming a 1-hour task for the sake of God knows what but eternal frustration.
Let’s not ruin a fine day, when it happens, it happens.

Monday 11 February 2013

Opinion: No Time to Pat Mr. Fox on the Head

I believe
I do believe that animals need to be cared for and treated humanely; they have a place in this world as much as any of us who live on earth. We must however distinguish between pets, domesticated animals, exotic animals and wild animals, properly categorising them and handling them in their appropriate habitats.
However, I also do believe that man by reason of providence immemorial is at the top of the hierarchy of the animal kingdom and for that we have a responsibility of husbandry of the earth, the inhabitants and its resources.
Sensible usage
More pertinently, we have come to the understanding that there must be judicious and fair use along with conservation to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of the earth but not exhaust them that those who come after us end up living in a barren world.
We can use but we must be careful not to abuse, we can manage but resist the licence to plunder; there should be a balance in the way we work the system for the benefit of all.
The fox has moved
Now, I was not one in favour of the ban on fox hunting, my opinion was it had been an age-old tradition though at the same time a celebration of the class system which is patently British and it is something we cannot divorce ourselves from for the sake of modernity.
There might neither be consequence or causality but the news that a four-week-old baby boy was attacked in his cot by an urban fox was as terrifying as it is troublesome that it needs to be addressed before a more unspeakable event becomes the news.
The fox has somewhat moved from the counties and the shires into the home, our homes and that is just so not right.
Fox on the throne
What is quite bothersome is the fact that the fox did not scare easily when the mother of the child approached it; she literally had to fight off the fox that had the literally bitten off the finger of the child as if it felt it was being denied its well-earned meal.
The fox had gone on the hunt, albeit in an urban area, gained access to a building, found a baby and sunk its feral rabid teeth into the child without any consideration – as if foxes have the powers of consideration that human-being have.
This is just an unacceptable development, a rise of urban fox numbers helped by the way we discard our rubbish and the lack of a natural predator to keep the numbers down.
What to do
In the longer term, we do need decide how we secure our homes, to manage better how we dispose of our food waste that foxes do not see our urban areas as easy places to feed and be fattened, our encroachment into the usual habitats on the outskirts of town needs to be curtailed but as a matter of urgency, this issue is one of vermin, a pest and the need for a controlled process of extermination to rid our cities of thousands of foxes.
It is impractical to have them relocated and they are not necessarily exotic enough first for domestication or for mass deployment into zoos, the hard truth is they need to be culled, we should make no bones about that.
Before some animal rights advocates rise up in arms about the need to pat the fox on the head as it makes chicken drumsticks and chicken wings of the thighs and arms of our vulnerable babies that we have simply left to sleep peacefully in their cots, there is no reason for foxes and us to live in the cities, they belong in the bush, in holes that they by nature used to dig to live in and must either by management or otherwise be sent back to the bush where they belong.
My simple view is this – this is no time to pat the fox on the head.

Sunday 10 February 2013

A Full Yoruba Prostration in the Centre of Manchester

Seeking insight on sight
I found myself at the much improved Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester where just 17 years ago on my very second visit to Manchester the IRA set off a bomb that had shards of glass fall on someone hardly 10 yards from where I was standing.
For a while, I have been thinking of my sight, the state of my natural eye-sight as compared to when I have my glasses on, basically, I have not had an eye-test since well before I fell ill, so I walked into an opticians to have a test with the hope that I will walk out with a pair of glasses in an hour – well, that is the spiel but nothing could be further from the truth.
Squinty eyes with puny pupils
In any case, the tests began with a check on the strength of my glasses, then what prescription might be right by peering into kaleidoscopic instruments that brought a colourful hot-air balloon into focus before jets of air were shot at my eyes to test my eye pressure.
Then, reading the charts where F, P and R or Y and V had you seeing one thing and thinking another, though it is better not to second-guess the system and let the natural sight guide you.
The light tests to observe the back of my eyes left the optometrist running the tests thrice before he decided my pupils were too small that I needed my pupils dilated with the help of rather stinging eye drops; this easily added another 45 minutes to a visit that I thought will not be over an hour and 15 minutes.
Choices between frames and types of lenses took their toll between avoiding the trendy whilst at the same time getting something fashionable and traditional enough to fit my generally conservative and typically formal look, I just about succeeded but my lenses were not in stock; which means another visit to Manchester in two weekends rather than having the glasses posted by mail without the benefit of a fitting in the shop.
I’m an Englishman
However, something more bizarre happened, a loquacious young man, well-dressed in a single-breasted suit with all buttons done up walked in apparently to fix his glasses and when he saw me he came over to ask where I was from. I already sussed he was probably Nigerian and Yoruba but I had to avoid being accused of sorcery.
The answer I always give to that question is, I am from many places, starting with my being an Englishman of Nigerian parentage. He scoffed at the idea that I might be denying my Nigerian heritage but the real story is I have spent almost two-thirds of my life outside Nigeria apart from the fact that I was not born in Nigeria.
The optician’s assistant who has Pakistani parents was also born in England and we stated that the fundamental difference between us and him was that he was naturalised whilst we were born here, it meant that he could lose his acquired British citizenship whilst we could never be denied our status by any organ of the state.
Undue familiarity
By which time, we had exchanged mobile phone numbers and he had learnt I could speak Yoruba and on realising I was over twice his age, he prostrated in typical Yoruba genuflection in the shop, I had to pick him up and tell him it was unnecessary.
At the back of my mind, the familiarity was getting concerning as he fawned in language and action towards me, suggesting I could become his new father he having lost his father only the year before.
From then on, he addressed me as daddy as we made to leave the opticians and walk out of the Arndale Centre.
Tales of convenience
A number of uncanny situations came up, I could not say if he was channelling me or he was genuine, as he fed off my answers to find affinity, like going to the same secondary school as I did though I had left long before he was born – now, the whole story on reflection does not seem to fit together if he is 23, he has lived in the UK since 2002 and he apparently finished secondary school in Nigeria.
In any case, he said he had just moved up to Manchester from Cambridge and when I said I lived in London, he averred that he once lived in Edgware.
As we conversed, I had a phone call from a friend that interrupted flow of communication though he seemed to be keen on talking over the conversation I was having on the phone.
The loaded invitation
I promptly ended the phone conversation and asked about Nigerian restaurants in Manchester, he offered that instead I come to his home where his wife who from his rather chauvinistic tone was available to cook and make homely meals for me and I could also have the opportunity to bless his new born son in more traditional ways than through Christian provenance.
It made me more uncomfortable that I was ready to tell him that I was too much a stranger to be invited to his home just like that.
No apple for this worm
Then I saw the toilets and politely excused myself to use the conveniences; by the time I came out he had disappeared, it was like a hit-and-run event, as if my break for toilets had interrupted a confidence trickster’s ploy to inveigle his way into my confidences and in turn relieve me of something that he might have wanted to use to his nefarious ends.
I was both relieved and strangely concerned but somewhat happy that I had been left to my own devices. I can only wonder what he can be up to and though I have his number, I will rather wait for him to call if he would, else, one can deem the encounter one of those where providence and good fortune have spared me much pain and the embarrassment of being used or worse abused.
But the ‘Coming to America’ moment was a classic, in the middle of Manchester, well away from the cultural hotpot of Yoruba civilisation, a man recognises the presence of an elder and prostrates fully in respect – let us not read too much into what the intentions or ulterior motives were – encounters like this are just as well the spice of life.
Was this respect on retrospect? I do not know.

Friday 8 February 2013

Thought Picnic: Intentions suffused in communication

Communicating sarcasm
Sometimes the only tool one has to deploy against a situation that is veering between the embarrassing and the untenable is not force or wit but sarcasm, albeit understated.
The art of communication still remains an art in the choice of words, the choice of audience in anticipation of an expected outcome, unlikely as it might seem.
The system is no doubt broken by reason of the fact that if a process fails, there is nothing to take up the slack, no initiative proffered and responsibility falls through the gaping cracks as the problem festers without resolution.
Chance on this
One last ditch effort was a reminder with a half-finished sentence that I allowed to trail with the deft use of the ellipsis, I did not write another email after that but it got one furious, another acquiescent and then finally a helpful statement.
In the background, much as the project has useful remuneration, it was becoming ethically unhealthy to continue to take benefit for little even though the situation was no fault of mine and I intimated those that mattered on the looming decision.
Resetting the engine
Soon after, we were filling procedural forms anew, signed and delivered with a list of requirements and declarations, all in the hope that eventually something might just shift and the desired will be granted.
20 hours after, an email arrived with all the information that should have been supplied 4 weeks before and most of the access that was requested only the day before.
The process of analysis and documentation began, exploring the layout, accessing system and getting a clear view of one’s entire to which one will be called to support and assist in the great work ahead.
At the conclusion of a moon cycle, we have eclipsed the one-time insurmountable and one can presume a baptism of fire awaits the advent of the next sunrise at the coal face.
Great result, though if it were much earlier, the lesser angst one will have suffered.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Thought Picnic: Painful hours of nothing done

Waiting in vain
He is at the point where exasperation is plumbing the depths of incredulity as the simplest task is gaining layers of complexity that defies logic.
It is not rocket science if the people with the responsibility get on with it and do their jobs, but as one expects somebody to do the job, everybody thinks anybody can do it but nobody ends up doing it and with that comes email churn with all the traffic but not progress still.
No matter how much those who matter fume with anger and fury, there isn’t much one can do to tackle disinterest and indifference borne of petty rivalries played out by minions of an organisation.
Hours by nothing
Being brought up on the principle of dignity in labour and the honest application of self to duty for which one can be handsomely remunerated, it does not sit well to be present without the presence of productive activity to justify one’s keep even though the situation is no fault of the principal.
As the middle management ran around like headless chickens making some bend over backwards to the extreme to fulfil some fleeting purpose, contrast was drawn between one and the other.
Doing hours for nothing can somewhat be more painful than doing nothing for hours neither case is comfort for anyone, whether things will change is left to hope forlorn, they don’t work like we once thought they should.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Thought Picnic: Welcome to the global enterprise

Working out the system
Work environments present interesting challenges to people as they walk and first try to understand, then appreciate and maybe adapt to the way things are done.
Indeed, you meet new people and you engage them tentatively to decide how best you will be able to work together and hope that in that developing relationship you will either adapt and be subsumed or bring a new perspective to things that might just change things for the better.
In all the places I have worked, I believe the force of personality is crucial to making a useful impact whilst contributing to the team and work dynamic.
People over process
Many times, the situation is about people, the amenable, the amiable, the pliable, the misunderstood, the indifferent, the antithetical, the impossible, the eccentric, the genius and sometimes the sociopath.
Each needs a model of interaction that for me should appeal to the neutral if negative or make the best to accentuate the positive.
Working in the Information Technology industry, I know that there is much you can do with computers but I do not believe that basic management issues should be offloaded unto computing solutions when what is needed is a conversation, an email or some resolution where someone in authority has decided to assume their responsibilities and operate in the office that they occupy.
However, simple processes get unnecessarily complicated by people who politicise issues impeding the advancement and progress we all require to do our jobs whilst they think they are doing their effectively.
The politics of inertia
We get snowed under by puny power plays along with the constant avalanches of email that are a multitude of words and an absence of activity with the ones needing support left to wonder about the institutionalised dysfunction that has been allowed to fester to be the point of grinding everything to a halt and filling all reasonable people with utter exasperation.
You get to a point where the smartest thing is to allow the system to sort itself out else an email that is as forthright as it should be might well be the nuclear option to crack heads together, put boots in backsides, yield solutions but array enemies for a future encounter.
In the end, when your patience just about runs out, what needs to be done, needs to be done – welcome to the global enterprise.

Monday 4 February 2013

Thought Picnic: Finding significance in our shared humanity

A multi-cultural person
I always find myself at the point where cultures conflict though it is not as obvious as it is for those of mixed race ethnicity.
However, I am grateful that the conflict is externalised rather than internalised but difference is accentuated in voice and reasoning, I will not give up either to conform because the wonder of being a product of the influence of many cultures is that rather than get pigeon-holed, you don't get placed, categorised or judged too harshly if you refuse to be subsumed into a dominant cultural experience.
The inspiration of circumstance
Why have I started this blog in this way? I just read of a second suicide of a university student in Nigeria that no one could attribute to anything – the stories concerning the two young men who took their lives are sketchy and peripheral and knowing how the dominant cultural expression thinks, it is unlikely that anyone will get to the bottom of why presumably promising, quiet and academically able young men will take their lives.
Now, this is where my difference is, I was born an Englishman, it has a strong imprint, part of my formative years were spent in Nigeria amongst people who were not on my tribe and culture and then my late teens were spent in the potpourri of diversity that you will find in post-secondary education.
Proud of all influences
I only had to speak and my accent betrayed a difference but when my dad said, I have always thought like a Westerner and my brother suggested I was not really one of the rest, though my sense of belonging was challenged the innate ability to adapt and thrive wherever I have lived has stood me in really good stead, I belong where I choose to belong.
Roughly, I have spent a third of my life in England, Nigeria and the Netherlands respectively, all with much that has influenced my outlook to life and the most important one for me is to be more understanding of people, their circumstances, their decisions, their persuasions and their sometimes unfortunate judgements that fuel moralising, sententiousness and intemperate attitudes.
Understanding matters
Again, we may never understand why those young men took their lives but knowing what I know now about many things that I have experienced and observed of our societies, we will need to tackle some taboo subjects to appreciate these issues better.
I remember too many instances where what I needed was just some care and understanding when I faced some psychologically threatening issues but the circumstances real as they were to me were dismissed with frivolity that you internalised turmoil and found some sort of attitude adjustment – solutions are not easy to come by.
Have I ever contemplated suicide? I have and many times, times when you hoped the ground will open up and swallow you than face a situation, the wrath or live through a circumstance because you were badly behaved, you had been violated, you were threatened or you were not performing as expected of you – I read a comment accompanying the news of the suicide – “Everything will fail you, but Jesus never fails. Try him today.”
Walk a yard in my shoes
Such hit-and-run philosophical musings are hardly helpful, as we approach the Christian Easter, we should remember that the Apostle Peter in the most trying times of his followership of Jesus Christ denied his master thrice and his master was not even dead yet, nor must we forget that Judas Iscariot was as much an apostle chosen amongst men who saw all that deeds and heard all the words and still he committed suicide.
We sometimes believe we know all things though many have hardly walked a yard in the shoes of another nor are we the embodiment of the total experiences of the many that we see around us. If we all told our stories to the detail necessary to sympathise or maybe even dare to empathise if we could, we would realise that the second, third or fourth man from us has probably seen more of life than we could ever have the capacity to face that we would faint at a fraction of what they have faced.
Good Samaritan aspiration
I wrote yesterday that I do not want to be a better Christian, I would rather be just a good Samaritan, there is much to that realisation. It is commonly said that we judge others by their actions and ourselves by our good intentions.
The Good Samaritan matched his good intentions with his actions, he dug deep into his humanity putting himself in the state of the wounded stranger and doing all he could do to help that stranger than the more religious people who left the stranger for dead.
I dare say that the more religion we profess, the more likely we would leave people for dead, judge their actions, find reason to castigate them, give foundation to our prejudices and boldly expound on our bigotries.
Let your humanity show through
The core of humanity is a different thing, it is not subject to any belief system it is just the heart connecting to that of another thinking this simple thing – If I were met with the circumstances the other person is in, what will I do and what will I hope others will do for me?
Our society suffering the turmoil of negativity of abuse, expectations, criticism, dangers, threats, mistakes and much else piles on pressures that the simplicity of words will not assuage, it is  involvement, engagement, listening, touching, hugging, understanding that some people need to see beyond their clouds – before you so readily judge and condemn, be aware that that invincible and inviolable man within you might just in the right theatre be like the person we have suddenly rubbished, excoriated and condemned with disinterest and indifference thinking we are being helpful.
In all that I have written here, I have not even begun to tackle the issues that I had to mind when I started this blog, let us read this as an introduction, there is much to talk about on these suicides – if anything, just say a prayer for anyone you have until now been unable to bless for reasons of your religious beliefs without which you might have been more understanding.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Thought Picnic: Real humanity transcends religious belief

My humanity
I have found that the greatest quest I face is understanding my humanity better and knowing the vocation that allows me to give it the best expression.
There are weaknesses I have that I have accepted as part of who I am and there are strengths I am learning to use to become more than I have even imagined I could ever be.
As I thought about this, I realised that in accepting what might be termed unusual by others but has become the norm of my personality and honouring the beliefs that others find difficult but are the clearest expression of humanity of have seen of the incarnate that melds the spiritual with the natural with mental agency, I am perfectly imperfect and incompletely complete.
Driven to strive
I am driven to achieve and attain being very aware of the fact that I can only do so much and what I cannot do, the means arrives to fulfil that much that I am caught in awe and gratitude of influences that urge me on to success.
My body and my spirit has always been at war, I have won and lost many battles unsure of whether victor or vanquished are either spirit or body because they are both me and beyond the long truces we must find peace, calm, accommodation and acceptance down paths than do not represent the journeys the majority tread in their own lives.
Humanity is greater than religion
This morning as prepared to attend church with all the obstacles thrown my way by circumstances well beyond my control, I persevered because within that fellowship laid an assurance of sustenance for my famished soul.
I could find no greater or profound statement than then ordinariness of this thought that I shared. I now realise I do not want to be a better Christian; I just want to be a good Samaritan. That is the embodiment of humanity that appeals to me most.

Thought Picnic: No ruins in hope

Out without rout
Three weeks ago I embarked on a journey to a little village, Ewloe  [fascinating Wikipedia story] with castle ruins of its own on North Wales, just west of Chester, a more significant city just on the border of between England and Wales.
It was not the easiest to prepare for, the contracts were finally signed just before the weekend though, I had just about set up banking facilities in the UK, having eventually acquired documents that included that essential proof of address that UK residents require to open a bank account.
Nothing is impossible
Then, there was the matter of getting there and the means to live there, tough, it was, as despair wrestled with hope that as I walked down a road to see some friends, I calmed myself saying things will turn out right completely oblivious of how things could really turn with the risk that I would not be able to take up the appointment.
The miracle of life and hope does have a way of bringing providence to those who refuse to worry as one also learns the subtle difference between the humiliation of begging and the humility of asking.
That one will not beg is not haughty and it is not the loss of pride when one asks I appreciated what I needed and I asked those closest to me if they could help.
All is possible
Out of their generosity, I found much, the ticket, accommodation, something to spare and enough to get by. It meant I could concentrate on what had taken me from the city to the country and hope for the best.
I only had enough for a week and a bit, within that, there were nights when a fast was as good as supper but I believed it will all turn out right because that is just that way journeys are, long, arduous, testing, trying, difficult, adventurous, fun and satisfying – there is a destination to get to not forgetting the prospect of a story to tell.
In the end, it was three weeks before I returned home, by which time I had paid all the bills and planned for the next four weeks.
It is called life
In my wake, I have shared of my somewhat ordinary and mundane story, the vagaries of what we all call life, it happens to all of us in different ways for all sorts of reasons, some known and many unexplained, but for those who decide they are in this life to live it, they begin to write for themselves a tale that has a unique voice of expression and fulfilment that hopefully encourages others to live their lives to the full.
As I returned to London this weekend without much time to meet up with the many I love and cherish, I spoke to most of them and met up with a few of them. They give me joy, the company is like an elixir of life, the sound of their voices bring calm to the clamour of nature and the thoughts of them makes one realise that life has great purpose that we must never fail to lose sight of.
In all, there is something I noticed hugs can do that words cannot be found to express; it heals the heart, nourishes the soul and maybe even warms the body.
I have friends like lovers, dear and good – for me, life is worth every single day and that is what matters.