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Powder Women vs. Powerful Women, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 4th August 2017

Women Age

“Dressing up is a bore. At a certain age, you decorate yourself to attract the opposite sex, and at a certain age, I did that. But I’m past that age.”

Katharine Hepburn

Born in 1930, Sister Madonna Buder nicknamed “Iron Nun” was the oldest person to finish the Ironman Triathlon at 82 years old.

Born in 1936 Ernestine Shepherd has been declared the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in the world 2016 by the Guinness Book of World Records.

These women are prime examples of powerful women, who have decided not to give up and lie around in saggy figures and wait for death. They are living every moment and defying the odds of social norms.

When Jane Fonda started her Workout videos in the early 80s, it created a sensation for baby boomers wanting to stay in shape. Jane is still in the prime of her career at the age of 79 years old and she did not shy away from admitting recently that she has undergone plastic surgery and has a fake hip, knee and thumb but can still do Pilates.

You can argue that Jane did not grow in our social media age and right now it probably does not affect her career opportunities as much. We have to agree the 80s fashion was terrible and thankfully millennials have improved in that, we are kicking it in the fashion trends now more than ever.

Therefore then, why is it that today’s woman is shy about her age? If men can grow handsome as they get older (only some by the way) then why shouldn’t women take this up gracefully, anyway they live longer than the opposite sex.

Let’s take you into a film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where the hero Benjamin has been diagnosed with age reversal and he falls in love with Daisy:

Daisy: Would you still love me if I were old and saggy?

Benjamin Button: Would you still love ME if I were young and had acne? When I’m afraid of what’s under the stairs? Or if I end up wetting the bed?

Be like Shakespeare when he writes, “Age, with his stealing steps,

Hath clawed me in his clutch.” Hamlet (5.1.73-4)

Yes, women generally get offended when they are asked about their age. It depends from person to person, remember your information can be easily be obtained or deduced from social media so how far can you run. It depends in which context are you asking a lady her age, for example for a hand in marriage, be honest, for a one night stand you are clearly perverted. For the woman, I would say embrace your age like a flower, your body will wilt at some point but it is up to you to give it the tender care to keep it blossoming. When the inside is peaceful it will shine outside no matter how many wrinkles or white hair catch up. Oh yes, another drama about colouring the hair, you have the prerogative but remember don’t look like a 70 year old powder faced grandma with a bright red lipstick and charcoal black hair, you will scare even the Adams Family members.

Be kind to yourself and be charming, be you. Men are the hypocrites who get away with age. They can be podgy and ugly at 23 and then suave and Bond like at 43, be careful they have much to hide. A man who is careful about his looks but not obsessed like a narcissist will appreciate his lady no matter what her age.

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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It is Time to Step Up, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 28th July 2017

17023684 - abstract word cloud for tribe with related tags and terms

At the brink of our General Elections, the Asian Community was recognized as the 44th Tribe of Kenya on 22nd July as per the gazette notice issued by the President Uhuru Kenyatta. The term Asian will refer to those who are descendants of Indian and Pakistani origins.

While this marks a long time needed recognition it also means many other things. The counting of the Asians will be taken more seriously and their contribution has been notably large to the Kenyan economy. However it will be under further scrutiny and most of all, it is time they stepped up their participation in the running of the nation. These General Elections will probably see the highest ever proposals of various candidates of Asian origin proving that they can be the next Member of County Assembly or begin to play a role as the voice for the community in the Government.

Their results and more so their performance will set the standards and expectations from the rest of the nation as to what this 44th tribe is really capable of when in office. A larger representative can strengthen the image of the community. Becoming a 44th tribe is a tremendous opportunity for the Asians to further reiterate their Kenyan loyalty and to protect, defend and earn for the sovereign nation. For some it can be an opportunity and others can be a responsibility. Yes, the responsibility to do more and speak up about issues and really make that change for one and all and not for one estate or area.

According to Wikipedia: “A tribe is a group of distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood, who are largely self-sufficient, and not integrated into the national society.”

Also, the word Asian is different in the United Kingdom and United States.

In the UK it refers to South Asian ancestry, those from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In the United States they say East Asian.

Asians have worldwide been known to also include Japanese, Chinese and others from East Asia. Thus, in a way things may go ahead and get complicated and others may want their status recognized too. This, brings the question that is there any benefit for this recognition? The most important classifications should actually be based on age and income levels, then the demographics can be more effective in producing change. When you start dissecting which tribe is outperforming or underperforming then you are certainly working on the divide-rule factor. Then, where can the country progress too? All should be one, and one passport can mean just that. It is the constitution that holds the power and a strong judiciary to put the balances right.

Kenyan Asians are starting a new chapter of their millennial history since 1963 and what the youth do will certainly set the pace of what it means to be one, just like British Asians have so far done. We may not be as diverse as India itself, but Kenya certainly is setting up for the new way of governance in the coming decades, where youth of all tribes are bringing in new ideas to shape the country. How tribal it will get only time can tell, what is more important is always the candidate’s capability and performance, all words and no action will never create a Rainbow Nation.

 

 
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The Power of the National Language, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 21st July 2017

Kiswahili

Kenya gained independence in 1963 and the young country is learning to cope with its challenges. From the upcoming General Elections to the everyday living of school, work and life there is a lot to look forward too.

The Kenyan history has been rich with historical figures from Tom Mboya, Makhan Singh, the Mau Mau Movement and much more. Subsequently it is important to keep it on the mind and especially so for the younger ones who will go on and becoming earning and voting citizens of the Nation.

Kenyans hail from the Bantu peoples who come from the African Great Lakes region and today we know them as for example Kikuyu. When it comes to the languages, while the Southern Bantu speak Zulu, the Eastern Bantu or the Swahili people speak Swahili. Swahili comes from the Arabic word Sawahil meaning coasts and it quickly took form in the Coastal region of the Indian Ocean. Around 1700 there is evidence of Swahili letters and it was not until June 1928 that an inter-territorial conference took place in Mombasa. This included representatives from Kenya, Tangayika, Uganda and Zanzibar to formalize Swahili for those areas.

In 2016 Kenyan Government made Kiswahili mandatory for all Kenyan schools and in a recent move the former Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that it would also become part of the curriculum of all the international schools from September onwards after the August General Elections. They must also include Kenyan history as part of their learning subjects.

In almost all countries the national language is part of the national education curriculum. For example in India students learn in the Hindi medium and neighbouring Tanzania adopted Swahili at all its levels of education as the language of education from March 2015. However this move seems drastic especially in the times of increasing globalization. Having Kiswahili as part of the curriculum for all Kenyan schools is smart, since it is the main language of communication. But to try and shut out from the world which is speaking hundreds of languages and trading mostly in English, French and Chinese. According to one list, the top ten most spoken languages are (in order of first to last):

Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese and Punjabi.

Bringing national history across all schools is also an important move especially because it will make the younger ones and in some cases parents aware of what has transpired in the Nation. A good national lesson in history is always useful. International schools may argue that they do not have allegiance to any nation, but if you are based in a particular country then that country is hosting you. Thus, it is important to respect their culture and history too.

There might be a school of thought that why should be keep the adopted language of the colonial nation? Well, English being the 3rd most spoken language is necessary to get work done, education earned and relationships built. A complete isolation will only leave the population behind in every way.

 
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The Wise Words of Pushy Politicians, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 14th July 2017

Political Manifesto

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”

US President ABRAHAM LINCOLN, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

The United States Declaration of Independence is one of the most cited manifestos in the world. The word manifesto comes from the Latin word manifestum, meaning clear or conspicuous. Thus, political manifesto therefore becomes the views and intentions of what the Government will do and its people are expected to follow. It is done within the political party framework, for example the Tory party in the UK or the Republican party in the US. In the case of Kenya, recently the Jubilee Manifesto was released with much pomp and fare. It is made up of Three Pillars: Transforming Lives, Transforming Society and Transforming Nation.

The manifesto aims to capture the transformation and pledges the political party is making in terms of education, security, infrastructure, economy and culture.

For example in the ruling party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) of India, their Election 2014 manifesto including a reform in the Police force, where it stated, modernize the Police force and give special emphasis on the working conditions and welfare of police personnel. Recently last year the Mein Kampf was republished since 1945 and this was Adolf Hitler’s collection of the policies he wanted for Germany. Libya’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi also wrote one, called The Green Book.

The oldest manifesto known is that of Baghdad Manifesto of 1011 where it states that majority of Arabs and Muslims do not view the Fatimids as their legitimate descendants from Ali.

Thus, a manifesto can be a declaration of a belief that needs to run far in the country or faith.

The best example of how a manifesto can literally change an election, is the concluded US General Election. When the presidential candidate adorned caps with the slogan “Make America Great Again” he was creating history. The message from his opposition candidate Hillary Clinton of “Stronger Together” did not hold any power in the end and break the glass ceiling. This election campaign was also an excellent example of how the slogans, marketing gimmicks and the political debates took away the attention from the intricacies of the party manifestos. If the party is weak and falling apart even its own manifesto can not support the candidate. It is easy to write promises but difficult to fulfill them. There then needs to be a section of corporate like responsibility on productivity and efficiency. The most important being transparency, for example the government can put the live BOQ (Bill of Quantities) on their site for all to monitor cost and items used to build a railway. It may sound extreme but there can be several other measures to put in the place to check the accountability of these pledges, just like the sales teams get KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Instead of politicians lashing out in the parliament or senate and having a blame game match, it is time for some more sophistication of saying what work needs to be done and getting it done and checking how it was done.

According to the World Bank Governance indicators, they check out:

Voice and Accountability

Political Stability and Absence of Violence

Government Effectiveness

Regulatory Quality

Rule of Law

Control of Corruption

An example from the World Bank Governance and The Law Report of 2017 says:

“The past 20 years have seen enormous progress around the world in socioeconomic indicators. The rapid diffusion of technology and greater access to capital and world markets have enabled economic growth rates that were previously unfathomable, and they have helped lift over 1 billion people out of poverty. And yet increased flows have also led to rising inequality, both within and across borders, and to greater vulnerability to global economic trends and cycles. Indeed, although the global spread of capital, technology, ideas, and people has helped many countries and people move forward, other regions and populations appear to have been left behind, and they are still facing violence, slow growth, and limited opportunities for advancement.”

Ultimately the power of the constitution still matters but it can fail if the judicial process is not allowed to function to its proper level of authority and transparency. Then, a large manifesto will remain nothing but a marketing campaign for the political party.

 
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Open Love, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 7th July 2017

Love-Quotes

“You know I love you when you loving me

Sometimes it´s better when it´s publicly

I´m not ashamed I don´t care who sees

Just hugging & kissing our love exhibition all

Let´s go to the park

I wanna kiss you underneath the stars

Maybe we´ll go too far

We just don´t care

We just don´t care

We just don´t”

That is from John Legend’s song P.D.A (We Just Don’t Care)

What is this P.D.A? For John Legend it is Public Display Affection but for the United Arab Emirates it means jail time.

An expression of love can be made from the smallest things like holding a hand to the largest, making out by the subway. An expression of love can be done by the smallest thing like making a cup of coffee to the largest, building a house. Historically, Shah Jahan made the Taj Mahal for his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, but how is the current generation expressing their love?

Love is what you make of it. “To be loved by someone is to realize how much they share the same needs that lie at the heart of our own attraction to them. Albert Camus suggested that we fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally ‘together’ – when subjectively we feel dispersed and confused. We would not love if there were no lack within us, but we are offended by the discovery of a similar lack in the other. Expecting to find the answer, we find only the duplicate of our own problem.”

― Alain de Botton, On Love

Every culture has its own rules on how to display love. If wearing a saree shows love for your husband or family, and on the other side wearing a skirt does the same, then so be it. There can however be a harmonious way to live about this. About 30 years ago, the arranged marriage was conducted and the bride and groom hardly saw each other. Thereafter followed a simple honeymoon, because baby making was the agenda. Since then every 10 years changes have happened. 20 years ago, the new marriages happened, and there was a dating process. Now 10 years ago dating opened up more and partners did spend slightly more time privately. Finally in today’s times partners before marriage are in open relationships. Yes, there is Public Display Affections happening around. European and Western countries are liberal in the cities mostly and they understand this affection. There are conservative towns too within the Western world and the family values are higher. However, what your values standard is can vary from your own perspective in life and upbringing.

What is important however is to respect the area which you live in and also who is around you. For example when the couple cut their wedding cake, there can be a kiss, but a French kiss and thereafter being openly lovey dovey can be rude to the rest of the members of family and friends gathered around. When you are having the private friends party the equation is different, you can be open. Once again when couples are cuddly in front of single people it is rude. An office environment is not an appropriate place for P.D.A. no matter which country or culture you are in. Couples who are also cozy in front of younger nieces and nephews can be misleading. Children still need to be brought up in a moderate environment and as they grow up they can be left to be on their own. When they have strong values of culture and moving around society they can handle relationships better. A P.D.A. can be mistaken for an ego trip for a couple to show off, but it can mean, “we just don’t care” in a lovely way. A honeymoon couple walking down Oxford Street in London and giving a kiss is beautiful but of course the same cannot be expected when there is a family dinner.

Be respectful and loving.

 
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Where Art Thou Bus? Point Blank with Asian Weekly 30th June 2017

BRT Courtesy Newsbytes

BRT Courtesy Newsbytes

The world has several transport systems. The earliest known mode of transport to man were the use of horses, carriages and then the motorcar, until the railway line changed the dynamics. When the Wright Brothers were making the airplane, it was thought that is the craziest thing possible. Now we are hopping from continent to continent.

Every country is unique and while a metro is successful for London it may not be for Namibia. The best public transport systems in the world have been known to be in yes London, New York, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Dubai and Zurich. But while their success mostly comes from the subways and railway lines, there is the successful Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) that has made life easier for many cities too. The Bus Rapid Transit System was first used in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974 where it requires the following corridor in order to operate successfully:

  • Be at least 3km length with dedicated lanes
  • Score 4 or more points in dedicated right-of-way element
  • Score 4 or more points in bus way alignment element
  • Score 20 or more points across all five BRT Basics element: these are Dedicated right-of-way, Bus way alignment, Off-board fare collection, Intersection treatments, Platform-level boarding

According to recent research BRT can reduce travel time by millions of hours so instead of us wasting our time at the mercy of the Kenyan Traffic Police, they too will get a relief. In Johannesburg users are saving 13 minutes each way during their daily commutes, so imagine what we could do with that kind of time. It is also an excellent way to keep commuters active, for example according to the World Health Organization adults aged 18-64 should walk at least 150 minutes per week, with this BRT they will have to because of parking the private vehicles at terminals and then heading to the bus station.

Recently the current Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero announced that the BRT System would be built along Mombasa Road, Thika Super Highway, Ngong Road, Jogoo Road and Waiyaki Way. According to the research by the City Council of Nairobi, “about 8000 vehicles are registered by Kenya Revenue Authority each month and 7000 end up in Nairobi. At independence, Kenya had 3000 cars and about 800km of paved roads. In 1974, the country had about 3000 vehicles and 2000km of tarmacked roads compared to today’s 8000km.”

Kenya is on the path for further development, especially so with the phase 1 of the Standard Gauge Railway, which has been completed and successfully launched on 31st May. This mega project is a bigger picture of connecting East African passengers and cargo. The single-track line between Mombasa and Nairobi has been dubbed Madaraka Express and will pass through 40 stations. Kenya is definitely a growing economy and transportation of goods via the road network cannot be the only option to be relied upon. Thus, the SGR will make the bigger difference. The matatus and coach buses probably fear losing business in the entirety with all this development. But then again they have been a menace to the roads, with their reckless driving and rash behavior, maybe their time is over. There is no need for useless road rage that is converting regular drivers of saloon cars to join this rough gang of unruly drivers. We can be civil drivers, passengers and commuters. Also anyway most countries have multiple modes of transportation for various requirements, ultimately price and service will have to be king. The only discouraging thing is that usually Kenyans are so complacent with poor service that they really will not create that tipping point needed for a transformation in public transport. Yes it will have different options, but they will either deteriorate because of poor maintenance and corruption every step of the way, or really Kenyans will stand up and demand what is their right, their right to a better life, after all their taxes are running the nation.

 
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An Unstoppable Crime, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 23rd June 2017

Say No To Drugs

“I’m sometimes accused of drug trafficking. It’s an activity that for the time being, historically, shall we say has been declared illegal. It’s illegal at the moment, but in the long run and in the future, we’re going to show that it will head toward legalization”- Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobar was the most famous Colombian drug baron who earned over $ 20 billion a year in trade of narcotics and illicit drugs.

This year, the theme for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is “Listen First”. In April 2016 the UN General Assembly held a Special Session (UNGASS) marking an important milestone in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009 “Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards and Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem”, which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.

Some of the drugs that used regularly for addiction and negative use include amphetamines, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, crack and heroin. Apparently it has been known that 25% of people who try heroin at least once, easily become addicted. A shocking fact by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that “even though one out of three drug users is a woman, only one out of five drug users in treatment is a woman.” Men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines, whereas women are more likely than men to misuse prescription opioids and tranquillizers.

The movement of drugs is also key, UNODC notes that the Afghan heroin is smuggled across the Indian Ocean into East and Southern Africa where it also the trans-shipment area for smuggling cocaine to Europe. The rate of drug abuse is still on the rise, over a quarter of a billion people between 15 and 64 years have had a drug problem. According to an unverified list, the top 10 countries who are the Most Drug Addicted include:

10- Mexico- Methmphetamines, 3.9% per capita

9- Brazil- Oxi (mix of cocaine paste, gasoline, calcium oxide and kerosene), 4.29% per capita

8- United States- Prescription Pills, 6.2% per capita

7- Canada- Marijuana, 6.4% per capita

6- Afghanistan- Heroin, 6.9% per capita

5- Russia- Alcohol, 7.1% per capita

4- Slovakia- Inhalants, 13.01% per capita

3- France- Prescription Pills, 13.2% per capita

2- United Kingdom- Alcohol, 13.65% per capita

1-Iran- Heroin, 14.32% per capita

Kenyan youth no doubt are suffering drug abuse, in fact it is the highest from the ages of 15 and 29. They are using alcohol, tobacco and cocaine as the leading drugs. According to the NACADA (National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse): “bhang is the most easily available illicit drug in the country at 49% followed by cocaine and heroin.”

The whole thing about drug abuse comes down to many factors. The basic one being financial stability of the household, the poorer the family the most likely the children are to fall into this menace. If also the cultural stance is not stable then they will get easily distracted to find their place elsewhere. In the villages, when unemployment is high, education quality is poor and rise in HIV and AIDS then they will resort to these illicit drugs to be relevant. Drug abuse is high with teenagers because they are feeling peer pressure, they want to fit in with their friends circle and what they do, they sometimes follow unknowingly the consequences.

Can these drugs be stopped, basically can demand and supply be controlled? Not really. This is a big cycle of good health, good life, good values and good governance. There is no perfect country, perfect home, perfect lifestyle or perfect values. What is possible is a better balance in law and order and opportunities for the people. When there are better structures for education and employment then these let individuals prosper. You may argue that riches make you bored and that’s when some resort to unusual activities, taking drugs make them escape boredom. Well spirituality can take over and charitable work. The richest man in the world is not high on drugs, he is high on good work, so set an example. Governments may be reluctant to loose the income tax they earn from drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, but at some point they will have to pay the price. If farms become heroin farms, then there is something seriously wrong with the entire system.

The high must remain on being good and not evil.

 
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