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The Blue Whale Challenge That Killed Kids, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 26th May 2017

Child Playing Video Game Courtesy Digital Spy UK

Child Playing Video Game Courtesy Digital Spy UK

A long time ago, actually a very long time ago, children played with so many games that did not include looking like zombies in front of a screen. From marbles, cricket, hop scotch, hide & seek and so many others, children ran, fell, smiled, cried, won, lost and explored new places literally physically. According to Research Company based in the US, The NPD Group, 91% of the American children aged 2017 played video games, up 13% from 2009. 85% or more of these video games contain some form of violence and while Pokémon Go looks nicer, it puts the player in a battle position.

Luckily some good news is that gaming with sports toys for kids between 2-5 has also seen a significant rise.

According to the American Psychological Association policy statement of 2015, it notes that the media has often cited the playing of violent video games as s potential contributor to acts of mass homicide. This can be seen as early as in 1999, to the most recent Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012. Unfortunately while children are playing these games, recently a young man behind the Blue Whale Challenge has pleaded guilty to creating the disgusting suicidal game. Philipp Budeikin is 21 years old and was arrested in St Petersburg for the game that has killed over 100 teenagers in Russia. This game also claimed the life of young 16-year-old Jamie Njenga in Limuru. The altar boy did not what waited for him at the end of the 50-day challenge with this game.

This sick game was designed whereby each day the player receives daily tasks and they have 50 days to complete them. On the 50th day the manipulators have you in their grasp and then instruct the child to commit suicide. Each task may involve self-harm, waking up at unusual hours, watching horror movies and do scary extreme other things. The important thing to appreciate unfortunately in this tragic situation is that, it has brought out the topic of child self-harm, depression and suicide around the world in a splash. Children at home, school and anywhere and everywhere are talking about it, asking questions and parents, caregivers and teachers are also participating in this mega serious discussion. How come, with all the Angry Birds or Peppa Pig, why are kids still in such a scary space?

This is their big cry for help. They need to be listened, helped and proven that this is a happy world and that there are good people. According to statistics by the National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment in the US:

  • Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention- 4%, Peer intervention- 11% and no intervention is 85%
  • Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious, with less self-esteem and require more mental health services throughout life
  • 1 million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyber bullying on Facebook in 2016.
  • Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14 and in most cases, they do it by hanging.
  • When teens see others being mean or cruel on social networks, frequently 55% see other people just ignoring what is going on, 27% see others defending the victim, 20% see others telling the offender to stop, and 19% see others join in on the harassment.

Thus, this is a collective effort. Children need our help, from parents, grand parents, cousins, teachers, community leaders and almost anyone. They are the most vulnerable in the society. Also it is a bigger wake up call for the bullies. What is motivating them? Believe it or not some actually do it for entertainment purposes or because they are bored. Humanity is in a big fix, maybe only a mega intervention either divine or Armageddon will put us on a fresh start.

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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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All Ado About Food, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 17th March 2017

Pineapple Pizza Courtesy RedBubble

When was the last time you had a fight over food? Not literally but just when you are ordering it. Each member on the table most certainly has a different taste and they want their preferences. One of my favourites is not including onions in my dishes.


But when was the last time you heard a food drama happen just because a President said so? Yes, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson President of Iceland got the attention when he said he would rather not have any pineapple toppings on his pizza and if he would have it his way, he would go ahead and even make a public ban. It was not long before the Internet world jeered or cheered him and the “pizza debate” was off to a hot chunky start. While many are used to the “Trump State of Mind” it was a change to hear another Head of State speak his mind.

However, President Guðni, later clarified on Facebook, saying “I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza,” he wrote. “I am glad I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power.” Really how much power should Presidents have?

Let’s start with your immediate president, yes your Boss, CEO, MD or whatever you call him or her. They play a major role in the first order of business, what the employees get to wear, eat, drink or talk. Yes there are some obsessed directors who want to control every moment, movement and mood of their employees. Here, the pizza debate is far from even reaching an office desk. But then there are those who a trying to run a democratic empire and leave the beings to be but still pass on indirect message. As we speak there is a current debate about the headscarves once again stirred up where the European Union Court has ruled that wearing headscarves at work is illegal and that any other political or especially religious symbols are not to be allowed.

Getting back to food, there are also those bosses who do not allow non-veg foods in their kitchens and so forth. Here is the thing, create an environmentally friendly structure. You have to realize your employees or workers in this case are almost giving you about 8 to 10 hours of their active life, make it worth it for them. They too need to reciprocate and not abuse. The Head of State should not be able to influence the ice cream flavor of the month, but he should be able to make food prices friendlier and balance out inflation, standard and quality of living.

Australia is facing its own turmoil, through a beer campaign, which has run dry after it hit a rainbow. A beer company release an advert sponsored by the Bible Society where two Liberal MPs are discussing the “heavy” topic of same-sex marriage. This entire episode has not gone down well with consumers or any type of audience. This is an almost unusual mix of Members of Parliament discussing a serious topic and having product placement involved. The owners of the beer company say they did not approve the advert and that they support the Bible Society as a philanthropic project.

Basically, in a world where we are faced with the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945 according the United Nations and that even Kenya is struggling through drought and hunger, we have better ways of getting attention to the food problems. Let the pineapple toppings feed the world or the beer make people merry but not let all food go down a rubbish debate or bin and leave others hangry!


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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Just Google It, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 15th July, 2016

Just Google It!

Just Google It Courtesy of Some Call Me Jem

Just Google It Courtesy of Some Call Me Jem

Imagine you are having dinner with some friends and the conversation leads to when was the Second World War, and one of the friends goes, “just Google it!”

That’s happening more than often, from small facts such as the size of a tomato to real issues, like a recipe, location of an office, or biography about someone, we are just “Googling” it.

There’s nothing wrong with this, but in a way there is something a little wrong. Remember how we could rattle off the phone numbers off the directory or recall any relative’s number so easily, today it is almost impossible to remember anybody’s mobile phone number. So yes, let’s start with when the mobile phone came into our lives, we started getting reliant on the technology in our hands and not our memory. Sure, some numbers are easier to remember and its impossible to remember the hundreds of numbers in the phone list, but if I challenged you to remember your closest friend or family member’s numbers you will be blank.

Very quickly we started browsing the world of the Internet and we are flicking through hundreds of lines of information and possibly very little is registering in our brains. That’s where Facebook has scored, by giving you photos and videos, images are easier to store in the memory. That’s why Instagram is so popular, because we want to see photos, poses and stories.

We have forgotten how to engage productively in conversations with most people because our references are these Social Media and Search Engines. While they are the leading contributors for our news and gossip, they don’t have to be the leaders in knowledge. I would recommend remain old school and keep reading books, magazines or newspapers. You can read them digitally but they are the treasures that have given birth to geniuses and that knowledge remains for you forever.

When you over rely more than required on a third party to get your information, remember it will be broken down and now as real as it should have been. The internet is an encyclopedia for absolutely everything from the hair colour of Donald Trump, to the waist size of Kim Kardashian but while the sources maybe reliable then should be the ultimate. Looking back and catching up on your favourite subjects is a great way to use the Internet, to expand knowledge is definitely a plus but to always refer to it, that’s saying something. The healthier and busy you keep your memory the better for your mental health in the long run. Unfortunately the children are all growing up around all these devices and very few can live outside their video games or mobile phones. Don’t destroy their potential to intelligence and imagination by denying them the time off from these machines. Let them be with the nature that first gave us this energy to bring ourselves this far.

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Posted by on July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Out of Touch, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 22nd April 2016

Out of Touch


Here’s a typical day in the life of an office worker about twenty years ago, drive to work, settle at the desk and take out the diary for the day and just move on with things. At lunchtime, take a break with Boss or colleagues, or if the home is close by pop in there for lunch and head back home to leave work at sharp 5pm. Things started to change when the mobile phone came in. Since only the bosses could afford that luxury, then started making more phone calls and check ups after hours. When mobile connectivity became more affordable, the bosses and workers engaged in more conversations and well it was the start of a 24-hour working culture, because very soon emails on your fingertips followed.

But in all this life otherwise carried out very normal and people still switched off from work or unnecessary social chat. This bubble burst as soon as Facebook came to life in 2004. While it might have taken time to hit Africa and when the Internet accessibility improved, people were corrupted, especially because of the smart phones and tablets, Facebook followed you everywhere. With WhatsApp the Blackberry Messenger fever quickly wore off and soon everyone was chatting, chatting and chatting.

We were now living in a culture that was abnormally social because until this time “social” meant lunches, dinners and family gatherings. Now the scene was taken over with first a lot of showing off and this happened through photos, befriending or unfriending, commenting and stating opinions. Luckily while the showing off has slowed down considerably, there is an addiction with a few to keep an eye on other people and draw conclusions or maintain a sort of inspector update on their activities yet they don’t even talk to each other face to face.

Thus, a typical office worker’s day has now become, wake up with the smart phone alarm clock, listen to music on the tablet, keep checking the phone for loved, work messages, emails and get into the car, still checking messages, get to the work desk, charge the phone and keep checking. Yes keep checking, turn on the desktop and before going to the company software or emails, log on to Facebook incase you missed some breaking friend or family news. Then every chance you get if you are lucky and have access to the Internet on your desktop the obsession remains. If you are not allowed internet access then you have made sure you have bought the best bundle for your phone and continue to check, comment, like, look and spy.

Most western countries don’t allow the mobile phone to remain on and are making policies on the use of Internet and how it can be productive instead of distracting workers; Kenya has a long way to go. Here social media is considered almost taboo and those who are on it regularly are called “losers, desperate, lonely” behind their backs. It is unfortunate that social media can be used positively for both personal and most definitely professional uses.

Social media should not be banned from the workplace or restricted, it has become a part of our lives whether we like it or not. You need to figure out how to use it productively and keep the balance sheet going, targets met and hey, it can be an excellent way of team building and opening up the staff to new possibilities.

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Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Retirement Starts at 30, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 4th December, 2015

Retirement Starts at 30


Almost 30 years ago life was as simple as, go to school, get a degree, get a job and get married. But somewhere in between came the dotcom bust and then the millennium goals. Things start to change, people dropped out of school to become entrepreneurs, or went on studying and getting one PhD after another. Some got married quickly and have teenage kids now; some are still waiting to get married. Some got great jobs and are happily married and own at least one car if not a house. Some got into business and now are globetrotters seeking new adventures. Whatever the case, life went from being simple to being complicated.

The biggest shift has been the exposure to Western culture both socially and professionally. They are primarily known to put career first and make a difference to the world through business or a social change. In other words even religions were challenged and the idea of why are we here, what are we to do and how are we going to leave things were the talk of the town. Things are still changing and there is more spiritual consciousness in the air more than ever. The “Secret” happened and most started questioning what it is that I really want for my life? Thus, the concept of retirement has changed.

In our parents time, retirement meant working hard, cashing out at the end of the job or handing over the daily running of the business to the son as the successor. Few have continued to work in service because of capability or need to pay bills. Few have continued to manage their businesses because of interest and lack of capable successors. They are however lucky that they at least have in most cases decent children and maybe a few grandchildren who will take care of them after they stop their income. But what about my generation?

We are utterly selfish human beings who are so wrapped up about “poor me” that we are really not learning from lessons of our elders and watching some peers who are creating great solutions. For example not all of us will have the chance to work for Mark Zuckerburg (creator of Facebook) who is giving 4 months parental leave to his employees. So you really have to get serious and think about the options you have, I am talking especially to the 20 year olds, because what you do now will impact you forever.

Choose your career wisely. In Kenya the employer still has the upper hand and if you are wrongfully terminated there is unfortunately no court of law that will support your rights. Get real and think how much income do you want, why and for how long? What is it going to take for you to get to that level, for example is becoming a doctor so important to you versus having a stable income quicker by becoming an accountant? These are difficult things to accept especially when education anywhere in the world is so expensive and the choices are closing in on you. That’s why your retirement starts at 30, that is when you must buy your car, your house and start building a future for you and your family. Retirement benefits schemes will help you but remember if you can’t learn how to manage your money by 30 then the times we are living in are not going to help you at the real retirement age of 60.

If you have secured yourself with the above suggestions, you will have a life after 60. This life can be looking after grandchildren or having a new adventure in life. Nowadays you can choose any new career easily, for example if you want to become a singer, actor, painter or even learn a new profession, it is possible. With this digital age and new social trends. It is possible to make your Picasso at 70 or a new viral YouTube song. It is up to you, how do you want to spend your time and hard earned money? Do you want to drink it up at Karoga nights, gossip and create hell for the ladies circle or really make a difference with the wisdom and experience you have earned in life?

You can work as long as you want for whoever you want. Just know nothing is impossible.


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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Point Blank with Asian Weekly 6th February, 2015

Point Blank with Asian Weekly 6th February, 2015

Social Media and Photos

Remember the last time you were having or were at a Birthday party and taking photos with a Kodak camera? Well Kodak missed the opportunity in digital photography but the millions of people haven’t. Then came along Facebook which made everything from publishing, audience, showing off, sending messages to ex-boyfriends, or girlfriends, relatives, enemies, the list goes on, very easy.

But wait, with all this ease of taking digital photography, came the evil called “Photoshop”. Let’s deal with this step by step. Honestly way back then, we all looked nerdy and were wearing baggy clothes, but hello 21st century and Facebook and we are wannabe models. From digital cameras came the smart phone and the best thing ever, “selfie” and huge fan following of admirers, jealous fans or opportunists via Facebook.

Social media in Kenya took off unfortunately at the risk of the post elections violence of 2007-2008. It wasn’t until later on that it became cool to be on it and link up with old friends. But wait, we forgot we have stalkers and haters. They followed every post, move and yes the photo! Immediately less camera shy people put up their photos and didn’t mind doing a pose or two, but now even that is old school. The most irritating part is taking photos of your baby, niece, nephew, whatever without permission or for the sake of empathy, popularity, sympathy, attraction etc. At least babies look cute no matter what and you don’t have to photo shop or use special filters to make them look sweeter.

Ok, you can argue you that the smart phones and Instagram have interesting tools to make your photos look epic and once in a while there is no harm. But when you look completely not who you are or in some cases, there is a blank on your photo (people still do that with their LinkedIn profiles, I mean what have you got to hide, are you not doing legitimate business that your photo is blank).

The funny ones are passport styles; luckily they are on the downhill. I often think if you are a single person and you put your photo looking fabulous, could it be your are propositioning? Is that why some people are just terribly shy at joining Facebook or secretly look at others and claim, “You know I just hate Facebook and all those photos, oh my God, don’t people have other things to do?”

Here’s where filters or photo shop is absolutely necessary on social media. For your business, the staff and products. You must present a professional image and please if you are not in the fashion industry, don’t over do it or be fake. Just be real but good looking. After all your business reputation is on the line.

When it comes to the personal side of things. Yes, whether you like it or not there should be some decorum unless you are a fake person or don’t care attitude.

Don’t every look drunk; sleepy or angry, it doesn’t go down well at all. When you were those minis or tops, make sure the necessities are not on the outside but well covered. To the aspiring photographers, yes sure use the tools to make your photos look better; you never know your photo could be the next wow! Rarely it’s the men that get busted with made up photos, men are lazy and don’t have that much time to glam up. But the women can be unreal in some cases. Here’s a tip, be yourself, everybody knows wedding or party time is dress up time, but when people meet you then you shouldn’t be looking like someone else.

Don’t be shy about being on social media. Always remember you are in control, you can set up the settings to filter people watching you. Be responsible in how you are seen, that’s it. Respect the request from parents, relatives or newly wed couples if they don’t want their photos splashed all over unless they take themselves.


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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


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