Thursday, October 26, 2006

Indian Politician's Ignorance

How ignorant Indian Politicians can be ... when they go to any extreme to be in the good books of voters. Here is Bihar CM - Nitish Kumar - wearing Arab Head Dress - in order to win hearts of muslim community - while attending Eid program.

It intrigues me that if Indian Muslim would be able to relate with someone in Arab dress. In Arab countries, no one - not even muslim brethrens from other countries - can wear their national dress except their own nationals.

Happiness Index

I am yet to come across a Philippine national- Filipino- who is grumpy, gloomy and cribbing about life. I am not aware the reason behind it – they are neither affluent nor spiritual – a common benchmark for happiness. He or she may be it maid, waitress, nurse, salesman, worker, physician or technician – all of them portray tremendous zeal to savour the life. They enjoy food, drinks, clothes, movies, music and above all chatting. Its rare to see a Filipino sitting quietly in one corner reading a book or complaining about job satisfaction or economic hardship. Very often, they would be seen huddled, chatting ,drinking, laughing and if alone – humming and singing. They appear to live for TODAY, work to live, NEVER live to work.

I felt this could be true with Philippine Expatriates in Middle East – who are outnumbered by their Asian expatriates. Often minorities cling to ecahother and remain contented but Filipino are the happiest all over including in their own country. But what surprised me is that they are not ranked at the top of ‘happy ladder’. They are still languishing at seventh position two rungs below Mexico and the United States. I would love to be in Mexico or meet Mexican to compare them with Philippines. Does Spanish inheritance have something to do with this?

Researchers claim that “the most important sources of personal happiness are close ties to friends and family, wide political freedom, high income and a narrow gap between rich and poor.” Other than close ties with friends and family, Philippine and Mexican may not match other benchmarks.

Denmark makes the happiest place on earth with Danes being the happiest people (Is it something to do with zero censorship?). The Danes scored a 7.69 on a 10-point scale. Following Denmark are the Netherlands (7.49), Norway (7.45) and Luxembourg (7.30). The US scored 7.29, Mexico garnered 7.18 and the Philippines 7.03. Other countries on the list of 21 are Brazil and Ireland (6.96), Belgium (6.91), the United Kingdom (6.88), Germany (6.59), France (5.98), Japan (5.88), South Korea (5.79), Italy (5.78), Portugal (5.58) and Greece (5.54). I wonder how Caribbean countries missed out.

What would be the India’s score ? Would it go beyond 2.00 ? But within India, I am sure Goan would take away the honors followed by people from mountains (pahadi’s). ‘Marathi manus’ perhaps be struggling in fractional figures.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Great Quote

Today is my father's b'day. He used to have this quote in his diary :

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Eritrea

I met Syres waiting in the lobby at Hotel Horizon in Khartoum, Sudan. I was waiting for my escort to pick me up and initiated conversation when I saw him curiously watching Asia net Malayalam channel on TV that was mounted on the wall. I asked him if he understood Malayalam. It was unlikely that Sudanese woman at the reception would know anything about Malayalam and I was keen to change it to BBC. He looked famished but had glint in his eyes. He had dusty brown complexion with wide ears, a bit skinny and wore cream coloured full sleeved shirt and gray trousers. Sitting at the one end, his torso was almost sunk in the new cushioned sofa. His eyes displayed eagerness while responding to my request to seek his permission to change TV channel. He wasn’t Keralite but from Eritrea, whose name I had only heard about but had no idea.

Soon I learnt that he was part of 3 million populations that spun off from Ethiopia just 15 years ago. Ethiopia with 90 million populations is not yet reconciled to this separation and has raged ongoing war Eritrea. After all, Eritrea has taken away Ethiopian access to Red Sea coastline and lucrative ports. Syres was proud of Eritrea fighting with all their might and refusing to succumb to Ethiopia despite American backing to Ethiopia. His village and home, being at the border was ravaged during ongoing war. He had to flee his hometown, abandoning everything he had and now entered Sudan to try his luck with job with refugee card given by UN. His ambition is to migrate to USA, Canada or any other western countries. He knows with his refugee status it is possible but is also aware that being a bachelor, it won’t be that easy. Preference is always given to those who have been displaced with family. Being orthodox Christian, and no knowledge of Arabic language, he knows he is like a fish out of water in Sudan. But with his rudimentary English language skills and graduation certification in accountancy; he has managed to get a job as an accountant in Hotel Horizon in Sudan.

That was his first day for work when I met him. Next day, when I entered the business center, he was sitting across the table, proudly going through ledger books on his table. His smile broadened, glint in his eyes became sharper, when I wished him and he greeted me as if I was his boss.

Now that I have met Eritrean national, I must know more about this tiny country.