Saturday, December 30, 2006

CCTV in Jamaica

Was reading the editorial in the Gleaner the other day. It was expounding on the benefits of CCTV in assisting in catching criminals and wondering why there didn't seem to be much will to implement it in Jamaica.

I wonder myself. As the editorial said, it doesn't cost much and even so, various neighbourhood watches could be asked to help pay the cost. It is even more relevant in Jamaica when there are so many instances of communities not being able to identify known criminals because of fear of reprisal killings.

Come on people, get on with implementing something so simple, inexpensive but so helpful. The prime reason people leave Jamaica is crime, the prime reason well educated people who could get well paying jobs in Jamaica don't return is fear of being killed. SO if there is something that can help in the huge battle against crime, which is helping to keep Jamaican down, why on earth not do it?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What Next?

Well the festivities are over now and it's time to start looking towards the new year. What will 2007 bring? Hopefully prosperity. Hopefully a vast improvement in the situation in Iraq.

All the best to you all in the new year and I hope it brings you the utmost in happiness and prosperity.


Friday, December 22, 2006

The Colour of Evil

Saw part of Spike Lee’s documentary on Katrina this week. It saddened me greatly but most of all it pissed me the hell off. After more than a year many of the people of New Oreleans have still been largely forgotten and much of the debris is still there. This is disgusting. I lived through Gilbert and I heard about the last hurricane to hit JA. It certainly didn’t take a year to clear up after those hurricanes and Jamaica is a so-called third world country. The only reason New Orleans hasn’t been seen to is because the US government doesn’t think it’s worth doing – not even for good publicity. That is how much the people of New Orleans are regarded. I tell you, it is time for like skinned people to stop seeking to approval and acceptance of those who so clearly have not human or civilised regard for their fellow human beings. We must get serious about building our own community and building and consolidating wealth for our own welfare.

After all those years of civil rights demonstrations and people being killed etc. not much has changed. But we must change the way we think. We must stop asking for a space at the table and build our own instead. I strongly encourage you to see this film – better to buy it too.

Nuff said.

Slipping into a Recreation of 30s Germany

In the Guardian we were told that the Home office wants to start with ‘non-European foreigners’ in terms of forcing them to give up biometric data if they wish to continue to live and work here.

Many British people including seemingly the government are so racist it is disgusting. Let us be frank. ‘Non-European foreigner’ means black and Asian people. Believe me, the Brits are not concerned about Americans, Canadians Australians or New Zealanders (white ones of course).
Stating that only this group of people needs to be fingerprinted etc. before coming to this country or before being allowed to stay if they are already here is tantamount to saying only black and Asian people are the cause of crime in the UK. Ridiculous.

A move like this is all predicated on the premise that all things that are bad for this country come only from non-Europeans – this is just as bad as what they did to the Jews in Germany in the 30s and why should the UK feel that they should have access to information about foreign nationals that even the governments of these foreign countries don’t have on their own people? How would the British feel if they had to provide this type of information before going to foreign countries? They’d be up in arms that’s what would happen. Campaigners are threatening to sue the government saying the move is discriminatory. I wish them well.

Bahamas anyone?

Working From Home - a Way to Reduce Congestion

There was this story in the Times this week stating that a southern train company will offer large discounts on season tickets if people don’t come into London for a couple of days a week – the feeling being that people can ask to work from home a couple of days a week.

I’ve thought for a long time that the solution to easing congestion and reducing emissions more significantly has to include more home working. But most places I’ve worked, management thinks working from home is akin to skiving off (of course unless it’s they who are working from home, then it’s work).

There is an unbelievable level of hypocrisy and shortsightedness with respect to this issue in the UK. Most of my jobs have involved me, a computer with internet access, a phone and a photo copier. I can do all of that from home, but I’ve never had a request to work from home for part of the week approved. Meanwhile, every boss I’ve had since coming back to the UK has frequently not showed up for work and called in to say they are ‘going to work from home today.’ They rarely plan ahead to work from home you notice?

Until working from home can be seen in the mature light of saving resources instead of a perk for management then businesses and transport systems will continue to suffer unnecessarily.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A First in the UK

For the first time ever this evening in the UK a black person and a female won a phone-in singing competition.

What has usually happened here is no matter how good a black artiste is they are always voted off as quickly as possible, no matter how bad the white contestants sound. In addition, traditionally the winner will be some acne ridden tennage white boy, because those who vote the most are thrteen year old white girls.

This year the final two were the above mentioned teenaged boy, Ray and Leona a mixed race (black and white) female singer. Ray can only sing swing songs, and those only passably well, whereas Leona makes Maria Carey look like a failed back-up singer! And that is hard to do as Mariah sounds fantastic. Ray had no business being in the final and the poor sod who got voted off in his place was reallly good too.

In the final Leona so outclassed Ray that it was embarrassing and it is lovely to see the British public finally begin to join the worldwide community of civilised people who are able to judge on merit and not on appearance.

It's also nice to see UK girls growing a spirit of solidarity and vision too - hopefully some of them gave up the futile hope of some pop star going out with them and replaced it with the hope that one day, they too might become an excellent (you fill in the blank, depending on what you want to do.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How the Beginning Can Determine the End

Jus read this story by Mark Wignall in today’s Observer. Very good piece, take a look:

A sad testimony on life in Jamaica, indeed life in many parts of the world. I know it often sounds like you’re submitting to the victim mentality when you say things like this but I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I had been born into wealthier surroundings with highly qualified family members. Though my family is great, the culture is hardly that of high achievers, whereas some of my wealthier friends with the help of expensive extra lessons etc. – have gone on to be trained in those professions that make a lot of money and are by extension not having to worry about cash.

There’s a lot to be said for setting yourself up financially I such a way that you can have some long term residual income for your family. And also there’s a lot to be said for adopting a high achieving attitude. With just a little push (if that push comers when your are tine) you can have created the climate within which a child can go on to great things. Whether or no that child accepts that push or fights against it is their business.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Caribbean People Doing Well All Over

Read an interesting story in today’s Gleaner about this Jamaican born man who is a very successful farmer in Devon, in the UK.

When he came on the scene the locals called him ‘that black farmer’ so he used their labelling him as such as his trade name. His brand is called The Black Farmer. Check out the Gleaner story here and his website here

In the Independent, Viv Richards gives a vivid and glowing account of life in Antigua. I’ve only visited there twice and on both occasions it was on tour with the University Singers, so I didn’t see much of the island. But what I did see (mostly Fort Charles beach) I did like very much. Check out the story here

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Hampers and Respect for Your Earnings

Some people here in the UK join Christmas hamper schemes. Now as far as I can make out this means they pay a company a certain amount of money each month and at Christmas they get a hamper filled with goodies and some store vouchers. Apparently people who subscribe to these types of schemes are the poorer amongst us. Recently one such company went under. They didn’t ring fence the funds and so al of these people have lost the money they paid over the year. The company has been slated in the press for taking these poor people’s money and now, a loan company is targeting those affected and offering them loans for up to 177% interest.

The reaction of the public to this whole thing has largely been on the victims’ side. I beg to differ. Some of the figures being bandied around, that some of these people have been paying each month tells me they are most certainly not poor. The fact that they would regularly pay a company large sums of money in return for a hamper of goods you could get from most supermarkets and some vouchers tells me at best, they are incredibly uninformed of modern ways re: finances and at worst they are stupid.

People who work for a living, and work hard for a living must respect the fruits of their labours. They must respect them enough the give a flying fart what they do with their hard earned cash. Lord knows that after the taxman has finished with you there’s not much left, so why would you hand over any part of your earnings to a company that is not regulated as a financial institution, in exchange for a hamper?

Unless I’ve got it all terribly wrong, a hamper and some goods from high street shops could be purchased if these people had put their money into a savings account. Why did they choose to give their money to anyone else but a bank?

People, like I said above, respect your hard work and its fruits enough to pay attention to who you give your money to and what you get in return and most importantly, for the level of risk in relation to your potential earnings. Start being a lot smarter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

WInning the Lottery and Buying a Giant Swiss Army Knife

We’ve all dreamed of winning the lottery and telling our boss to shove his/her job. Well a man here in the UK did just that. He bought a scratch card, matched the numbers and won a million dollars. Ecstatic, he began to chuck money all over his desk (he was at work), ordered colleagues to buy champagne and generally had a good time. When his boss entered the scene to see what the excitement was he told him to stick his job. Then he called his girlfriend to celebrate and only then did he call the lottery people.

Turned out he hadn’t won after all; he’d missed one of the numbers. Bad luck eh?

But seriously, I feel a bit sorry for this bloke, but then he really should have double checked before cursing his boss. If I ever win such an amount, I’d have to have the cheques already cleared in my account before I begin to burn bridges – and then onto buying lovely things.

Speaking of buying things, have you seen the latest Swiss Army knife? Have a look at the picture above.
Now I know it looks ridiculous, and the manufacturers (Wenger) of what is called the new Giant Swiss Army knife do admit that this one’s ‘practicality is limited.’ According to the Guardian story Wenger says that ‘its purpose is partly to promote the company.’ It has 85 devices and weighs about 2lbs and costs about £450 so you’ll hardly be dropping it in your handbag – but it would be cool to back it out when you’re with your friends one evening wouldn’t it?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And a roundup of today’s news stories . . .

From the Daily Mail we learn that though gas companies have benefited from a drop in gas prices, the consumer won’t see a drop in their bills for ages, if ever. The gas companies claim that as they buy the gas in advance we won’t benefit from low prices for a while. But I wouldn’t advise you to hold your breath. Because they have been given permission by energy regulator Ofgem to spend more than £5billion over the next five years on gas pipelines and the electricity grid. So this will give them ammunition to continue to charge us a fortune. Last year we had an £800 fuel bill – and there’s only 2 of us, and we work in the day. I tell you I feel sorry for pensioners.

There’s a story in the Times saying that in order to stop students cheating by using their mobile phones, schools have been told to invest in phone jamming technology. Why in God’s green earth are they allowed to have phones in exams anyway? Surely it is more sensible to forbid them from taking any technology into the exam room? Later on in the story it does briefly visit this option but all the story says is ‘The banning of mobile phones in exam halls tends not to be effective.’ My question is why on earth not? Forbid them to bring in phones and search them. When I suggested the searching bit to a colleague she said that that couldn’t be done and she didn’t look too pleased at the suggestion. I imagine she was thinking of some ‘rights’ attributable to the kids. I say sod the rights and search them – let them know that cheating is not acceptable.

The BBC website mentions that youngster Alex Tew who came up with that website where he sold pixels for a $1 each to advertisers and made $1million in 4 months. He’s sensibly turned down job offers and is doing his own thing. I am praying each day for a similarly ingenious idea!

In the Independent a ‘senior cardinal in the Catholic Church’ has called for priests to be allowed to marry. He correctly notes that;

‘Celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma of the Church. Certainly, the majority of the apostles were married. In this modern age, the Church must observe these things, it has to advance with history."

Catholics, like other religious groups have a perverse way of adding requirements to the Christian faith that have nothing to do with what God has asked us to do, celibacy being one of these things (along with idolatry, forbidding contraception, diluting the kingship of Christ by ‘praying’ to others among many other things). I cannot understand for the life of me why they wish to take something as simple and beautiful as the gospel and edit it so much with the end result being the misery of millions. I hope this guy gets some support. Unfortunately it seems he was slapped down a few days later as he backtracked and softened his statement. Ho hum, another progressive idea bites the dust in the Vatican!

And finally there’s this gem from the Mirror. Some woman (who should be forbidden from reproducing) tells the story of how she was so terrified giving birth would ruin her sex life with her partner and would ruin her body that she insisted on having a C-section. She intends to have many more kids and wants them all by C-section. Here are a few gems from this imbecile:

‘. . .it wasn't the pain that bothered me. The idea of a baby forcing its way out, stretching my most intimate parts, was repulsive.’

"I'm worried that having a baby will stop me enjoying sex," I'd heard about women whose sex life had been unsatisfactory after childbirth. What if that happened to me?'

Then after she forced the authorities to give her a C-section nature steps in but this woman won’t have any of it:

‘But then five days before I was due my waters broke. I was out shopping with my mum when I felt a trickle of fluid between my legs. I immediately panicked. What if I had to give birth naturally?’

Horrors, dear reader, what a terrible thing to happen, to give birth naturally! Now I hate pain as much as the next woman, and when my time comes would welcome an epidural, oxygen, water birth, spliff, bottle of gin – anything to take the pain away (I was joking about the last 2 by the way). But come on, many women are able to have fulfilling sex lives and good bodies after giving birth and that should definitely not be your main reason for putting yourself and your kid at the added risk of a surgical birth.

Some more gems:

‘I took the decision not to breastfeed him because I feel my boobs are also a private part of me and I don't want a baby hanging off them.’ So the kid gets an inferior form of sustenance and the world accepts some more plastic wrappers. Lovely.

‘Having a Caesarean was the right thing for me. I probably would have ended up resenting my baby and blaming him for making me go through childbirth if I'd been forced into it.’
Is she serious? Resent your kid because it was born naturally? She goes on:

‘I believe all women should be able to elect for a Caesarean if they wish to. Ultimately, a natural birth could have ruined my relationship with Simon and having more children wouldn't have been an option.’

She is incredibly immature and so is her partner for supporting this hysteria.

But I have noticed a lot of bizarre attitudes since I came back to the UK to live when it comes to pregnancy. Two work colleagues dieted while pregnant because they didn’t want to get fat. Get fat! When you are carrying a child, you’ll gain weight, the kid weights something you know. It’s dreadful to restrict your intake when you’re carrying another life. Looking skinny vs healthy baby? Mmmm. You’d think healthy baby would win wouldn’t you? Another woman I knew, who’s husband was in leadership at my church at the time gave a 15 minute speech one evening about how disgusting breast feeding was and how her breasts were just for her husband’s sexual pleasure. She went on to recklessly state that she didn’t know how any woman could perform such a disgusting task – in a room of women 4 of which I personally knew had breast fed all their kids. I nearly throttled her.

One thing I’ve noticed and I hope it doesn’t become de rigueur in the third world, is the tendency for western women to talk rubbish like this and for it to be acceptable, even Christian women.

Your body will change with childbirth but millions of women have managed and all the research has already been done; breast feeding your baby is best for them. And as a Christian, saying it is disgusting is tantamount to saying God got the design wrong is – after all he made us. Get a grip western women – there’s more to life than how you look.