Viva 2011 (Happy New Year)

I have not written for many weeks now, because I just did not feel like it. Have you ever experienced that? Every time  I thought to myself  that I have not written, I would just change my thoughts, almost like I did not want to think about it.  I wonder what other thoughts I deliberately not think about, but will leave this for another blog.

First I would like to welcome the new year and I look forward to all the exciting  experiences it will bring. I wish you all, the best year yet.

Well this morning, during my morning routine of reading emails, facebook and other blogs, I felt compelled to write this blog about why I started writing in the first place. Ever since I was a very young, I think around 7 or 8, I wanted to be a writer. In fact I wrote my first fictional story when I was only 10. Throughout my schooling years I enjoyed writing but only when something inside of me poured forth. That is really the only way I can describe my writing experience. It is not a deliberate act, I cannot write when I choose to and believe me I have tried. My mind becomes completely blank and all my thoughts are about the fact that I have no thoughts which  quickly starts to loop infinitely, so I break out before insanity reigns or at least I hope so. But when the writing feeling erupts within me, it flows out of me and I cannot write or type fast enough (I should invest in a dictaphone). I wrote mainly poetry or essays which I have never shared with anyone except the occasional love poem I wrote for someone. Unfortunately I have discarded all my writing from over the years and in fact during my University years I stopped writing all together. I am not sure why?

Thorughout the years I always believed that some time in the future I would start writing again, but that future is just not arriving. So finally I started a book which I am still writing and hoping to finish before my worldly departure. I then started a blog called Ahmed On IT which still exists but is pretty much dormant and finally I started Thingz that Matter, which really is meant to be my thoughts made explicit, a place where the writer in me is free to express himself whenever he feels the need to. So I hope the writer in me would make more regularly appearences in 2011 but can make no promises.

Till next we our minds meet……

Reflecting on Tri Continental Film Festival – War Child

Horrific!! Horrific!! The impact a war has on children is unimaginable. This is one of those topics where I am overcome with emotion and cannot reflect on rationally, I just feel anger and helplessness. So I will just provide a synopsis of the documentary.

War Child is the story of a boy, Emmanuel Jal who was separated from his family at the tender age of 7 and had an AK 47 in his hand at 8. He was a child soldier in Sudan’s civil war and all he wanted to do was kill the people who separated him from his family. He was one of the lucky ones (if you can call it lucky) to be removed from his violent playground. Now he uses a microphone as a hip hop singer to promote peace in his land. A land where yet again greed of the powers that be (so called public private relations) using religion to subjugate the people and fan the fire of war.

Emmanuels Jal’s music tells the story of his experience and brings attention to the plight of his land and his people for peace. You can find out more at War Child website!

Human Rights Watch estimates that 200,000 to 300,000 children are currently serving as soldiers for both rebel groups and government forces in armed conflicts. That is 200,000 to 300,000 too many for me!

“I’m a war child
I believe I’ve survived for a reason
To tell my story, to touch lives.” Emmanuel Jal

Reflecting on Tri Continental Film Festival – Dirty Oil

On Sunday the 3rd of October 2010 I attended the first day of the Tri Continental Film Festival at Rosebank Mall’s Cinema Nouveau. I went in the hope of finding a last minute ticket and was also willing to purchase black market ones’ at exorbitant prices as well.  To my surprise, it was rather empty.  Unfortunately it seems that not many people were interested in learning about the challenges that affect other people in other places.

I decided to watch Dirty Oil, which is a behind the scenes look into Canada’s Tar Sands – the striped-mined world of Northern Alberta, where vast and toxic oil sands supply the US with the majority of its oil. What was striking for me is the total disregard politicians and corporates have for people or the environment. People and the environment are just ‘Collateral Damage’ in the quest for must have profit margins.

The documentary focuses on the impact the mining has on a small community who live in its vicinity. As a result of the mining, these people are denied access to safe drinking water and they are now riddled with health issues and their overall quality of life is on a downward spiral. A doctor trying to help this community by investigating the recent spike in cancers and other new diseases and illnesses had his licence revoked and is facing perscution.  It left me feeling sick in my stomach and angry at the powers that be.

Yes, we need oil for our economy to function, but at what cost? At what point does the cost become too much to bear? More importantly for me is, if governments provide the license for mining why don’t they also ensure that those companies are liable for the cleanup. Yes I know we will pay more for oil, but we pay for the cleanup anyway while some fat cats take no responsibility and spends his time counting his profits. I would rather pay for ensuring there is no pollution in the first place than pay for the devastation after the fact.

To quote from the documentary “Saving civilisation is not a spectator sport”.


5 Things I learned from my children

Over the years I have learned many things from many people, but I recently realised that I learned the most important life lessons from my children. I have 3 children aged, 12, 10 and 3 and I have learned many things from them, but I would like to highlight just 5 of the most important ideas that I have learned.

  1. Learning happens all the time, no matter where you are or what you doing, learning happens all the time. You just need to be open to it.
  2. Enjoy the now, as adults we spend way too much time focusing on what has happened in the past and what we want to do in the future that we forget to appreciate and enjoy the now.
  3. Your relationships with people are most the important. You discover that children need your time and attention most of all rather than anything else.
  4. Adaptability, children can find joy in almost all situations even in little ways. So instead of whining we should just find the good stuff and enjoy it.
  5. Fearlessness, we should embrace the unknown with curiosity and enthusiasm rather then fear and trepidation.

These traits seem to be so simple and natural for children, which makes me wonder how and when do we as adults lose this ability? I have found that as an adult, it is very difficult to live these traits at least for me, but I try everyday nonetheless. I also try to ensure that my children dont lose them either.

Cheers 4 now

Seeking Al Mugda

“Pre-emptive strikes” a term made famous by the bush clan is a very interesting term. Have you ever wondered what does this actually mean? Not literally that is! It means I want to be aggressive but not be the aggressor, I don’t want to be the first to strike but want to strike before I am struck a.k.a the minority report in action. Yes really powerful stuff, so my simple mind says ok, so what does this mean to me.

Lets pretend I am the head police commissioner of the world, I always wanted a big title, and my wife is out shopping in the big apple. Yes it is the only city in the world where a head police commissioner of  the world would live because thats where everything happens including alien visitations, but I digress, this is a another story for another week. After her visit to a third brand X store for her umpteenth pair of must have shoes, someone of dark colors (that is hair, skin etc just for realism) put a makeshift knife at her throat and requested that she hand over her cell phone, jewelery, purse and priceless shoes. Now the cell phone, jewelery and purse was a no brainer to hand over as was practised many times in those how to behave in a mugging situation course, but the priceless shoes was a step too far. So she did what any self respecting shoe loving women would do, she flatly refused to hand them over. Her rationale of course is we should not give in to muggery and be victims, we should stand firm. Good will conquer evil so help us God!!! And so the slogan began “We don’t negotiate with muggers”. Unfortunately the mugger subsequently wanted the shoes with even greater fervour and ended slitting her throat….not to worry it was just a flesh wound and she lived to change the world forever.

I, as the head police commissioner of the world am flabbergasted that some mugger would actually have the audacity to mug my wife and leave her alive. They surely did not fully understand the repercussions of such an action. Like any good husband I was forced to avenge this or look forward to a life of personal misery. So I did what any self respecting head commissioner of the world police would do. I gathered all those suffering the same situation as me, actually I just called a staff meeting and we brain stormed. We decided that all the stats will indicate that there is definitely a worldwide and organised muggery. All muggers the world over are using the same tactics everywhere picking on the rich and defenseless. So there was only one conclusion we could reach, they were receiving the same training and instruction. The word on the street informs us that there exists an organisation called “Al Mugda” run by a Juan Ahmed Jonathan Oki Lee a.k.a JAJOL. The case was cracked wide open, I could go home and tell my wife that the world and I got together and we figured out who took her shoes, it was the one and only JAJOL. He was responsible for mugging all over the world. I promised we will find him and bring him to justice. So my think tank was now analysing “Al Mugda” and discovered that it consisted of a number of individuals all acting individually and independently all around the world. Secretly we were so impressed that an organisation could function this way we decided we could inculcate this work ethic within our organisations secretly of course, but once again another story for another time.

Weeks had passed by and could not find this infamous JAJOL, well actually we made him famous but we don’t need the credit, and my wife was starting to loose her patience. Suddenly I was making my own breakfast, now I knew things were taking a turn for the worst. One morning on very low blood sugar levels I decided somebody must pay, and does it really matter who pays they are all muggers any way. And so “Pre-Emptive Arrests” was born. It was decided that the whole world would be a safer place if we used pre-emptive arrests, arrest the thugs before they mug, what a brilliant idea!! I once again displayed my great leadership skills and vision and I would bring safe and secure shopping to women all over the world. And so it began operation “Mugless”. Everywhere, all around the world if anyone even walked like a mugger, talked like a mugger, smelled like a mugger, dressed like a mugger, looked like a mugger, even scratched his/her nose like a mugger or in some way or form was associated to a mugger, they will immediately be arrested, interrogated and also incarcerated. And now we have wives who can shop safely and securely in the knowledge that muggers have all been arrested or will be shortly……HELLALUYAH TO PRE EMPTIVE ARREST!!!! Now I wonder what pre-emptive action should we take next….Oh yes we are still looking for JAJOL…..keep your eye out for him….you may still see him in a mall near you.

Cheers 4 now…..

Welcome Note

Hopefully this would be the start of a general outpouring of my insane but yet somewhat troubling thoughts on the world we live in and the other nutty inhabitants. Now, the definition of normal is “conforming with or constituting an accepted standard, model, or pattern; esp., corresponding to the median or average of a large group in type, appearance, achievement, function, development, etc.; natural; usual; standard; regular” and apparently according to all the other living organism that speak a similar language to mine consider me a bit of an eccentric. So I have accepted this because I would much rather be called names than fit in with those sad, pathetic, downright boring beings. 

The other day,  I went into a store and purchased a bottle of water – yes, I know that is horrible. I pay a huge some of money for some one to put water into a bottle and locate it conveniently for something that falls freely from the sky. This got me wondering how did we get from free water to water that we pay for and be fine with it. Even worse when are they going to figure out how to charge us plebeians for the air we breathe, surely some corporate oddball is thinking if only I could sell air. So I have a theory, all the pollutants in the world were actually created so that sooner or later fresh air could only be had in a bottle……..

Check this out

Cheers for now, more musings next week…….