Facing Realities In Life!
Before I start, you will forgive me in my usual style of quoting my own examples – or near cases – because first of all there is no better examples and comparisons to give – and more importantly you also do escape a lot of things that Writers like us nowadays of have to be careful for – and some from least expected quarters!
Yesterday night a good fiend of mine an ex work peer told me the sad news that he was going abroad for medical treatment – because his cancer case had returned – and he thought he had beaten it after being treated first abroad a few years back. He said to me – forgive me if I have done anything against you – and in case I do not return!
I also want to quote this story to you as an opener.
1 The Post Office Man
There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job it was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses. One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God. He thought he should open it to see what it was about.
The letter read:
I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100.00 in it, which was all the money I had until my next pension check. Next Sunday is Christmas and I had invited two of my friends over for dinner.
Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with. I have no family to turn to and you are my only hope. Can you please help me?
The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and ca! m e up with a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into an envelope and sent to the woman. The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.
Christmas came and went. A few days later, another letter came from the old lady to God. All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.
How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me? Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. By the way, there was $4.00 missing. I think it must have been those thieving bastards at the Post Office.
2 Et tu, Brute (And you too, Brutus) : Origin and Meaning
What does Et tu Brute mean?
These words are said to have been Julius Caesars last words after being assassinated on the Ides of March
This by a group of Senators, including Marcus Brutus, someone he had considered a close friend.
A number of translations exist:-
“And you, Brutus?”
“You too, Brutus?”
“Even you Brutus?”
“And you, (too) Brutus?”
Today, this quotation is mostly used to refer to an act of ultimate betrayal, usually from a trusted person.
The source of this quote appears to be from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: –
“Caesar: Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?
Casca: Speak, hands, for me! (They stab Caesar.)
Caesar: Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar! (Dies.)
Cinna: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!”
3 The Story of The Scorpion and The Frog
(From The Arab Short Stories and Tales – also from My Book Between Us Only!).
Have you heard this story?
A scorpion saw a frog. So he told the frog – I have my relative who is sick on the other side of the river. I want to go to visit him. Can you carry me across?
The frog said – do you think I was born yesterday? If I do that you will sting me on my back and I shall then die. The scorpion said – How can I do that? Did I not just now request you to carry me across? Do you take to be crazy or stupid? The frog was convinced. So it said to the scorpion – okay jump on my back!
As they were crossing the river, the scorpion said – see, you did not trust me – now do you believe me? Did I sting you? No – said the frog – I am sorry. Ten minutes later half-way the river – the scorpion stung the frog.
‘Whatever are you doing? Do you know what you have just done? I shall now die – and you will drown too. Yes – replied the scorpion – I know!
But it is my nature – I just cannot change.
4 Human Species are The Worst Traitors.
It is acknowledged that Human beings are the worst in deception and in lying. The worst that will turn on their own. Next I am told are the monkeys (chimpanzees) as most near men – though other animals have been known to do it – like driving away the Old Lion King by younger lions to take over the colony!
Thus the old lion joke – I am too old to chase any preys now, I just sit under the tree and wait for leftovers – or weak animals that will stray to my path.
5 Our Religious Book (The Sunnah andThe Hadith) are Full of stories of deception and traitorship – and done against even our Great Prophets of God (Peace Be Upon Them)
6 Ghandi said it too!
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean – if a few drops of the ocean are dirty – the ocean does not become dirty!
Also – I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and retrace my steps ..Mahatma Ghandi.
You simply cannot change human nature!
The Realities of Life!
Did you know that life is a continuous Learner to us of all?. Sometimes one may tend to think that in death then that is the end of learning as it is, but is it really so? For us Believers when we do die (God Give us all long life and health – Amin!), we are made to lie on our right side facing Mecca. Now how many of us sleep that way in our daily lives? I do not know about you, but I surely do not do it that way!
I know you are asking yourself where is this leading to, after reading the topic? Well, Dear Reader, just give me some more space to explain myself, or those who may feel adversarial may comment – give him enough rope to hang himself!
I have never kidded myself that I have all friends out there, so I am practical and realistic too. There is this famous expression the East Africans like to quote – That which bites your skin comes from the same fabric that is being worn by you. Or as a relative likes to satirically likes to comment – ‘Between Us Only’ whenever he has something (stupid!) to say, especially when I am around to hear it! But then life will not be complete and beautiful without all these kinds of peoples amongst our midst to make our day more beautiful and make life worth living for!
They say in life there are two kinds of peoples. You either fit in one or the other – you cannot sit on the fence and pretend you belong to neither. As I had said in this column before, (Lady I think?) Margaret Thatcher had said – Those who sit on the fence get pelted by both sides – or words to that effect.
My Dear Reader, let me put it this way. You are very thirsty. You go to an Office, and they are still after your business hoping that you will still buy from them, then they ask you – What are you having? (Notice that as soon as you have bought the offers are not there anymore, or have dwindled in frequencies?). Actually the sentence itself is a misnomer – because it should mean nothing, and English is a strange language. So automatically or by default you answer back – Can I have a glass of water please? The water is delivered to you. You look at the glass, it is not full – so what is
your reaction? Either (you may think it all inside or even ask it loud too):-
(a) The glass is half empty – what?
(b) The glass is half full – thank you anyway!
Now, Dear Reader, which one are you?
That is the beauty of life, or the twists, turns and ironies of life.
The same picture can be seen differently by different peoples. Have you had these tests? They show you a picture and ask you what you see? Depending on your sight and view of life, you either see a very pretty young beautiful girl, or a very ugly old lady! They show you another picture and ask you what you see now? And you either see a smiling cheerful man, or a very sad looking man. I was once very embarrassed when I was asked to tell what I saw, and there was a gasp in the class as to what my inclinations were, but I will not bore you with details and keep the secret with me till I die anyway. Point taken that from that date onwards I had never volunteered a quick answer till others had their say first!
Anyway, coming back to the issue of the water in the glass! Majority of peoples would normally say Thank you for the half full of water glass. If they needed more water, they may well ask – can I have another glass please? These are the positive out looking peoples, appreciative of kindness and some bread crumbs thrown to their way, but there will be still some who will sarcastically remark – how much did you pay for the water? Why are you giving mean a half empty glass of water?
These are the kinds of peoples that are never appreciative of kind gestures, kindness, good or mercy of any kind done to them. They are always mean, ghastly dastardly cruel and always finding faults to a tune. Even if others do not see it, for sure for them they will be able to! Whatever you do for or to them is not enough – they never appreciate anything and are always complaining and finding fault. Apportioning blame. No problem to make you the ‘fall guy’ or the ‘scape goat’ and cause of all their misfortunes and troubles! If you have a parent or boss of this kind, woe unto you Dear Friend!
They may remind you of incidences long past and best left forgotten – but they will still do it. If you have wronged them, even unintentionally and inadvertently, they will never let it go and never forgive you. For the rest of their lives they will hound and pursue you, the slightest mistake you make – they will jump on you with guns blazing. They never forgive and forget, even if the shrewder ones may pretend to be forgiving and forgetting, but it is still in the back of their minds.
These are very dangerous peoples, and they can easily without any remorse or conscience destroy your life, career and future – and kill and character assassinate you too – and put you in untold miseries, hardships and difficulties.
These are peoples best to avoid and never annoy and confront – even if you maybe right. They will make vicious campaigns against you and try to harm and destroy you. It gives them great sadistic immense great pleasure and happiness when they have succeeded in doing so!
That is life for you, and the meaning of life – its ups and downs.
Long time back when I was a kid there was this old African lady, whom I respected and esteemed. I always greeted her nicely whenever I had met her. She was staying by herself all alone, abandoned by her family. I do not know if she was the lady who had complained in the past to her relatives of being given ‘half empty glass of water’,
But with me she was always kind and treated me like her grandson. So this lady told me one day – grandson, do you like chicken? I was wondering what to reply thinking maybe she wanted to cook one for me? Seeing me surprised, she went on – If you follow a chicken and see what it eats, you will never eat a chicken again in your life, even if you like chicken! The message was clear – it is best not to delve and look into details into things, and best leave some things best as they are! All Alone!
An old fisherman friend to the family said of the same things – if you follow a crab or lobster – it is the same story!
My First Column Article.
With my first article titled “More Dangerous and Troubled Waters Ahead” that first appeared in this column on 23rd April 2003 (after the Iraq invasion) – I had said – Quote – Now those of you who know me well would recall that I am not by profession or even by design a military analyst or military expert, or even a political expert one at that –
However, I had warned of the dangerous spiraling of events into more dangers, troubles, and malaise and decadence post-Iraq invasion. So far what I had said there and predicted has come to pass. Than how come it that this ‘own true son of the land’ is still unemployed and gone unnoticed, I ask you?
In my jobs life, I have always believed in respectable esteeming treatment of my Staff. My door has always been open to them. Some even call me at home, raising ‘jealousy levels’ at home when it is the ladies who will call. I listen to my Staff; I hear them too (didn’t you know there is a difference between the two?). The Staff who stands up to me is never judged as a ‘Personal danger or threat’ – I respect that. I hate ‘Yes-Sir’ Staff. I also hate ‘Tell-Tales’ Staff in trying to please me.
You can ask any of my Staff who worked with me, I am sure they will affirm to what I am saying here. When I worked for one small firm, I had arranged for a welcome-party-after-delivery-thing for one of my lady Staff.
The day I left the place, she cried. This had never happened in that company’s plus twenty years existence. I can never forget you – and now you are going…
When I had any issue with a Staff, I believed in calling in the person and trash out the issue vis-à-vis (face to face), and no other way. The last thing I would do is write that Staff an Official letter, and then discuss with him. I would discuss with the Staff, and then put it in writing as ‘A Gentleman’s Agreement’ of where we had reached! As a matter of record and for future reference only, and for nothing else! Not for punishment; nor for vengeance!
You know in all my life, I have been a ‘Pusher’. I always and firmly believe in ‘Live and Let Live’. I am always a great believer and always after a ‘win-win thing’ (remember my last 2 weeks’ back article? Win Some; Lose Some!).
I stand my grounds and issues. I let no one scare me to make me change what I strongly believe in! Yet if I make a mistake, I am not stubborn – I shall accept it and apologise!
Do you know what people really want? You turn the other cheek when they slap you – or poke fingers in your eyes – you do not raise your hand to protect yourself – even if they wiull take the eyes out!
Do not squarm – or complain! Who are you to have such audacity? It is this reason why everything is burning around us now!
Making Employees always happy was all I had wanted!
Frankly and honestly, I am always against unfairness and injustice, favouritism and unethical unprofessional behaviour. If some peoples think that is aggressiveness, then let them continue to think so!. In the Management classes, I was always classified by the Lecturers ‘As the ‘Leader who cares, feels and stands with his Staff.
Polite, kind and decent and tactful too’ Leadership style!. Besides one should not judge a person by what others paint him from what he is not really (by the cover of the book). Don’t you agree?
Thanks to the MBA course and post-my company (after early retirement) experiences, I have now learnt that the best way to transform changes and systems are from within, rather than confront from outside. I am fully aware that some companies tend to prefer softer approach.
Criticisms can be healthy when only considered positively. In life they say – You can never know how far out you can go, until you have tried. Or birds can fly because they know they can! Did you hear about Murphy’s Law? That things will only get worse, before they can get any better!
The Africans have this * expression – sometimes just a kind word or compliment can do wonders (* you can even draw that snake out of a rock, praise its beautiful eyes, and ask ‘just to see it’). I think this is the reason that many have misunderstood and misjudged me in my last jobs.
It is not that I do not say NO too like the others – I too do it and am a Team Player – but it is the question of how I say it – with care and feelings touch, and also to explain
I never broke any rules or regulations, possibly bend them a bit in really acute and taxing situations – letting humanity set in, with no distinction in any way!
When the chips are down and things are at its lowest ebb – it is not easy to face someone with your problem, and that needs intervention, help and assistance. You have to swallow your pride, esteem and honour.
Not for yourself, but for those who depend on you to look after them! The Swahilis call it ‘Kuchonga Uso’ which literally means ‘to carve up one’s face’ – that is how hard and difficult it is to some – but than what other alternatives do they have?
Sometinmes the people that can hurt and pain you the most are those supposed to be close and near you – like your wife, family and children – friends and relatives – when they become (unexpectedly?) mean, selfish, self-centred and even evil against you! So what do you do? Sulk in – and go in deep distress and self destruction – or hold up your head high?
Eve did it to Adam – so what else is new?
Actually I am indebted to the person who really ‘SAVED’ me is this esteemed paper – offered me a Free Lance Column Writer job! And you know what – they say in the Management spheres, if they can pay you whilst still doing your hobby and interests, you have made it!
Certainly I do not feel so. Though the money is not that much and always delayed, but at least I get paid for a hobby and interest in writing per se! Besides, my salary (pension) just evaporates into the Bank’s Accounts as soon as they receive it from that old good company of mine!
What else can I do, I ask you? It is as if I am not getting any pension after working for more than 25 years of dedicated and loyal services to The Company – and to The Nation.
Ironically, sadly and tragically the same Bank that takes away all a Pensioner’s salary – is the same bank introducing a Pension Savings Scheme – but yet in an Arab and Muslim country – the same bank is ‘screwing up’ Pensioners by taking all a Pensioner (mine!) salary. The lessons of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria is easily and conveniently forgotten – and all too soon too!
How despicable and pathetic one can get?
In my life, I have helped so many others in my prime before, but this is now all easily and conveniently forgotten now! No one remembers, or wants to! I have personal references in good men CEOs who will stand by me, because they have seen ‘The real me’ and I in action too. One has become even a very close personal friend too. When he says – I wish I had met you long time back, but I have still time to change my Management styles. Surely that must mean something?
I had great opportunities to ‘get quick rich thing’ – but in all my life I have NEVER taken anything that did not belong to me. Nor do I intend to start now at this age either! Not everyone can be an accursed and bad peoples.
Some of us are quite different. Born different and in outlook, perspectives and in behaviours.
Being at the top does not mean being always unscrupulous, evil, shrewd, mean, bad and ugly!
Or being shunned and cursed at!
So next time you feel like being judgemental, criticizing and to be opinionated – think of what I have just said!
E-Mails In Hindsight.
It is immaterial and of no consequence of the fact that I had already opted out from a sinking ship by going for an Early Enhanced (Voluntary) Retirement. It is immaterial of the fact that my pension should have taken care of me and my family for that matter had I the smartness, foresight, vision and brains not to try to be an entrepreneur and get myself involved into such business at late stage of my life, into a Consultancy business of Human Resources Development that was supposed to take off naturedly as being the talk and craze in town to encourage development and entrepreneurship – especially this sector – but instead ended with a big thud and crash.
It is immaterial and of no consequence that the ‘big attractive contract’ that my Consultancy was bidding for and had won would cause the fall and demise of the company for a lower bidding, though successful to get it though. Even though they had promised us ‘Take this now, we will give you more in the future’ – but none came!
It is immaterial and of no consequence also of the fact that the International Consultant with us were paid three times (if not more) to the same job scope and aspects that we too as a local fully Omani owned Consultancy were to do – and yet for a large National Company too.
It is immaterial and of no consequences now either that at the interviews there were younger Omani Candidates (some of them educationally even higher educated than me.
But with little or minimal work experiences and exposures – 25 years in that big oil company in all Human Resources aspects and on top of 6 years as a HR Expert and Consultant. And they were ‘surprised’ to see ‘Uncle’ in the competition too!
Immaterial and of no consequence that too that there were Expatriates who were retired and older than me too in the same place – but of course being from different ethnic backgrounds (overseas) were opened doors to come in!
Whilst for me the citizen of the land the doors were closed in front of my face – including windows too that were barred shut from inside.
Immaterial too and of no consequence whatsoever that jobs supposed to be reserved for the likes of us Nationals of the land, were given instead to Expatriates based on personality basis (whom you know!), and that too International Companies supposed to be of high repute and fame and their Corporate and Social culture, values and missions cum vision to develop and encourage local available talents, experts and competences.
Finally, it is immaterial and of no consequence either when ‘some of those’ doing these jobs are not even experienced and professional peoples in this line of business at all, but their being pretty things and of different ethnicity (or other attractions) allows them in?
What do you do? Complain and write in your book and column? Nobody hears or listens to you anymore now. Yet they brand you a colour you do not have nor ever aim to have in your life. They stereotype you. Prototype you.
You are trouble. Your name is not glory but just headache and trouble. You are to be avoided, ignored and to be discarded.
Even from the filthy rich who had made it in life, from humble poor levels and beginnings that you were in together, and shared the same corridors in the Offices before at one time. From the big profile peoples whom you had looked after and handled their cases more personally than official requirements when they were just students with many sick and other family situation.
Would they remember you? Bet your life they have conveniently forgotten, and just do not want anything coming from you. Just nothing!
What The Bosses Had Said – Saying Goodbyes…
1 Majid is a very caring, kind and spiritual person – a shame and pity that many do not give him the time and the
efforts to understand him better – American CEO
2 His coming here was like A Fresh Blow of Wind – now that he has gone the air is more stale than ever before!” – British GM
3 Some time back I met this old European boss of mine who came to visit Oman. He is now working for a very powerful conglomerate and in a very high position. He nearly made me cry when he said to me – I knew M the day I had left that you will not go far in your career because of what you are as a person and in outlook.
But I still have the highest respects, esteem and like for you, in actual case the few I had always remembered. Because you are a real professional ethical (and courageous) person who had the courage (audacity?) to stand up to me and tell me what I was doing then was actually wrong – not like the others who pretended to go along with me, but behind my back were saying something different to those they ‘really trusted and had confidence with’.
4 I have a good boss friend of mine. He tells me this point blank ‘of what is wrong with you’.
Stop caring and feeling – it just does not pay (or at least increase your salary!). Be rough – hit your heart strongly and just say – I just do not care or feel anymore. You said your bit – nobody cared to hear or listen, so move along. Just take care of yourself and your direct family members only. The others and rest are not important.
5 I had an expatriate CEO once – he told me what? You are giving me just your hand to say goodbye? I cannot have that. Come here! And the poor man hugged me kissing me on both cheeks. That I had to bend my face (he being short!) is another issue, and his hands could not get around me (remember that diet!).
The same had happened to me with a British lady boss, who I had thought not cared but she did the same wiping her face. I gave her my handkerchief – it was clean anyway! She tells me she still has it – for remembrance sake (do not worry, madam does not read my articles!).
6 This Indian Peer Manager says to me – Are you really leaving us now? I cannot believe it! But I can appreciate your position – even I am looking for a position outside – have not got it yet! But I will leave – as soon as I get a good offer elsewhere (he left later on!).
He caught my hand and kissed it in goodbye. I had never been so embarrassed in my life before – till then!
7 Always it had been those in the lower rungs that cared more as I left. It was the Indian Tea Maker in Abu Dhabi – the old man cried! Who is going to say Thank You now to me (as he served me tea – a thing that really upset my Emirati National Boss. Do you want me to say thank you, every time you did something for me? What is wrong with you – he screamed to me!
8 If the machines closed down, it triggered an Emergency code to The USA CEO in Dubai. So he called The Production Manager – what is going on? He gets the reply – all the Staff have switched off the machines – they are saying Goodbyes to Majid – and escorting him to the gate! Some are visibly upset and angry – some are sad! That includes the Non Omani Staff too. Yet I had come in 7 months back to take over The Human Resources Manager job from an Indian peer – who had been in the position for the last 12 years – till the position was Omanised by me.
One of the Indian Technicians pleads – Why sir? Who will look after us now?
9 I always believe this. If there is unfairness and injustice – Allah God takes away blessings from anything. It can perhaps explain all the chaos and commotions – and why everything is burning now around us! And the reduced everyday incomes, profits and sustainibilities – and the increased chaos, confusions and corruptions – and so much sadness and unhappiness!
Allah God Protect and Preserve us all from His Anger and Fury – Amin Amen!
By Majid Al Suleimany