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Mustered Musings

"The years teach much that the days never know." -- Emerson

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Are you aging gracefully..or growing old real badly ?

Aging gracefully, one would like to, I am sure; however this so often is not the case. Perhaps retirement has been over-rated. The time of life when the world is your oyster, so to speak. Old age does not always mean retirement either; retirement can become a dirty word for those who can not tolerate idleness or have problems learning how to relax! Many things for many people means that now is the time that you should really know yourself and have a good idea what you can do with the rest of your life. Some kind of flexible plan.

Youth appears early and stays for long in the lives of some people, while for others it comes late and fades early. Mental and intellectual capacity do not decline, except in debilitated conditions, until a very advanced age, but physical and sexual capacity wane with time, often before it.

Beauty is only skin deep. Yet, fortunes are made selling anti-aging drugs, creams, Hormone Replacement Therapies, cosmetic surgeries, beauty creams, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. As life-spans are prolonged with the help of medical science, there's an upsurge need for healthcare and services for the elderly. Since you can't defy aging nor are you happy joining the Aged Club, the next best thing is to Age Gracefully.

Here are precautions, when 40 comes knocking.

Friday, November 26, 2004

A Poor Country !

Nigeria is endowed with natural resources so vast that it would have made it a very beautiful country if only it had governance to handle her natural endowment. In 2000 Nigeria was the 5th largest supplier of crude oil to the USA. The fact is that Nigeria is an oil rich but at the same time one of the worlds poorest countries.

It was only last week that PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo painted a gloomy picture of the nation's perceived wealth, saying that Nigeria is really a poor country.

Within a week's times comes another statement by the President ridiculing the World Bank report on poverty level of Nigeria.

Whatever be the economic state of the nation, the public spending by those in authority can not be justified.

President's chicken's lay golden eggs ...

Against the backdrop of allegations of diverting public funds to finance his private business ventures, for the first time President Obasanjo has declared his monthly income.
As per reports, the President earns about 30 Million Naira ($ 250,000) per month from his private farm !

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A land of unlimited opportunities ...

Nigeria is a land with unlimited opportunities. Still many people wonder why Nigeria has failed to develop despite its oil wealth.

Nigeria is among the nations that have depended on the IMF and the World Bank for development cash. The harsh economic policies foist on nations by these organizations as conditions for loan, have derailed and destroyed their economic destiny. For instance, the IMF austerity measure imposed on Nigeria in the1980s led to rising inflation and unemployment, which cut the workers’ purchasing power in half. And class conflicts boiled prompting massive ‘capital flight’ and ‘brain drain.’ The Nigeria economy has since been in shambles.

When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo took office of the President in 1999, many thought of him as the savior, but he is today one of the controversial leaders in Nigerian history. The unending fuel price increases, which is also the hallmark of this administration, has caused more crises in the society than during the years of military misrule. This has particularly overburdened the poor, as the middle class has virtually withered. Nigerians are working harder and paying more to feed their families and for transportation. Despite the administration’s claims that its reform programs are making economic miracles, the Nigerian economy remains comatose. The hardship currently in Nigeria gets one so depressing you want to scream!

Ineffective and inefficient utilization of the abundant resources and the inefficient social institutions are seriously hampering growth. And the prospects for economic recovery are bleak because the nation still depends on the policy prescriptions of the IMF.

Is there any wonder why has Nigeria failed to progress? Nigeria has failed to develop economically because it lacks the preconditions for meaningful economic growth and development. For the nation to progress it must first tame corrupt practices and change the mindset of the population. The 2004 Corruption Perceptions Index released recently by Transparency International (TI) rank Nigeria as the third most corrupt country in the world, against its second position in 2003.

In addition, the society should fix its roads, provide reliable electricity and good water supply, and improve its communication systems, and basic health services. And the failure to provide good operating environment, such as political stability and rule of law, are among the obstacles for sustainable economic growth and development. Evidence shows that political instability has caused serious disruption in the economy. It has been pointed out that a mere democratic form of government is not a prerequisite for economic growth, but a lack of it could limit the prospects for growth, if it results in political instability. That is the crux of the matter in Nigeria!

Part of the reasons why Nigeria has failed to develop could be linked to the poor state of its educational institutions. Investment in human capital is a critical area Nigeria has neglected for too long.

The policy prescriptions of the foreign financial institutions would not make up for the lack of transparency in governance, tame corruption, bad leadership, improve the educational system, and or its skewed value system and dilapidated social institutions. In addition, the policies would not resolve the inappropriate fiscal and monetary policies and Nigeria’s long history of relative political instability, which are the stumbling block to sustainable economic growth and development. In fact, these are the more compelling reasons as to why Nigeria has failed to develop, like is the case with any third world country !

Another Fraud involving Indian Firms ...

While most of the big industries and business houses in Nigeria are owned by Indians, almost at regular intervals we continue to get news about many of such companies being closed without any notice, proprietors either collecting all money and running away to other countries or being deported out of this country for unethical business practices.
These people are not only responsible for making things more and more difficult for the expatriate community but are also contributing to the further degradation of already rusting economy of this country.
Now we have another news about fraud of 3.2 Million Naira by Indian firms in connivance with Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture.
But at the same time, is it also true that Nigerians, and not foreign contractors, are the best image-makers for their own country. If Nigerians do not put a good image on their country, no one else, no matter how competent he may be as a public relations guru, can do it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

मेरा पहला हिंदी पर्यास ...

शुक्रिया जितेन्दर चौधरी का, जिनकी बदौलत यह कोशिश भी कर ही डाली | गल्तीयों की उतनी चिंता नहीं, जितनी खुशी हिन्दी में लिख पाने की है | उम्मीद है, भविष्य में कई पूर्ण लेख लिख पाऊँगा |

A Classic Coup ...

K. Asif's all-time classic Mughal-e-Azam has caught the nation's fancy. From Mallika Sherawat, everyone seems to have switched loyalities to Mallika-e-Husn (the goddess of beauty) Madhubala.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Interesting advt..received on forwarded mail ...

More of Nigeria ...

There is more of Nigeria, in many more aspects to write about, but today's headlines seems to be highlighting what everyone knows this country to be best known about -- 419 scams (advance fee frauds), financial crimes, its churches and pastors, armed robbers , travel advisories or call for nationwide strike given by NLC against fuel price hike.
Talking of armed robberies, it seems Benin Republic already has surpassed the Nigerian records that it has to seek Nigerian police's help in curbing the robberies manace outside Nigeria's border.
There is much more to write about this wonderful nation but seems its everything negative that gets the media attention !

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Electronic Voting System of India

Indian electronic voting machines have been receiving a positive response ever since they were put to use in 1998. During Indian elections 2004, many delegations from various countries including United States, Australia, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, European Union and Pakistan visited India to get a better understaning of Indian electroal process. The world witnessed the largest democracy conduct its the first-ever all electronic poll.
Now its turn of a Nigerian delegation to visit India to study Electronic voting system of India for possible use during its 2007 presidential elections.

Computer staring may lead to Gluocoma !

A new study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology says too many hours in front of the computer is putting us at increased risk for glaucoma. As per another study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, heavy computer users were 74% more likely to develop visual field problems as compared baseline in a group of 10,202 randomly selected workers. Furthermore, heavy computer users were found to be 81% more likely to develop glaucoma."
news items .. here and here.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Cosmetic Neurology

Cosmetic neurology: the fix for brains that have trouble with algebra or suffer from any phobias ! It’s coming, whether bioethicists like it or not ... link

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Nigeria's Guru of Peace

It is on Lagos - Ibadan expressway that I read 'Sat Guru Maharajji' written on a series of roadside sign boards. I was a little amused to notice a walled compound on lines of any Ashram of an Indian Holyman, in Nigeria. Time passed and I never got a chance to probe more about the Nigerian Sat Guru Maharaj and his sect called One Love Family. It was much later that I came across some new items on this Nigerian holyman.
Despite appearances, Maharaj Ji is not an Indian, but a native of Oyo state who declared himself God after a trip to India. To his followers, "God is no longer in heaven but in the Satguru Maharaj Ji Village, Kilometre 10, Ibadan-Lagos Expressway, Ibadan." His claims are, not surprisingly, widely controversial among Nigeria's Muslims and Christians, many of whom mention him unfavorably in their prayers.
He's also well known in the law enforcement community, which has investigated him repeatedly for drug offenses and murder (although he's always beaten the rap).
Complete story about Nigerian Sat Guru Maharaj ;-) and the clarification from One Love Family member.
Another site with detailed story is available here.

Nigerian prophets saw Kerry win

The headline story on BBC News, UK Edition that "Nigerian prophets see Kerry win…Prophets are predicting a win for Democrat John Kerry in the United States poll, says a Nigerian tabloid," published Tuesday November 2, 2004, threw some challenges to those that might have some doubts in prophecy. It went on to report that "Spiritualists and church prophets told the Daily Sun newspaper it had been decreed in the spiritual realm that President W. Bush would lose." The most captivating from the story was that "Nigerian spiritualists are best known for making vague predictions at New Year about people's health and wealth." Satguru Maharaji said, "His chances of retaining his White House seat are very slim because of his antecedents."
The outcome of the US election to the astonishment of the rest of the world, Bush won the election. Now it gets more confusing with this type of publicity about prophecy. Let us leave the rest of the story to History.
The complete story is ... here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Union Suspends Looming Strike

"We have decided to suspend the strike for now, to give the government a chance,"

"It's not exactly what we want. But we're convinced one important point has been made — the government can't behave as if its word is cast in stone, irrespective of what the people what," congress leader Adams Oshiomhole during press conference announcing the suspension of nation wide strike call given by National Labour Congress and other civil liberties groups.

Unions had threatened to cripple Nigeria's daily oil exports of 2.5 million barrels. Nigeria is the fifth-largest supplier of U.S. oil imports.

A four-day "warning strike" called by the unions in October shut down schools, hospitals, banks and other businesses but did not target oil production or exports

Monday, November 15, 2004

Happy Diwali ...

It's Diwali time .. and the time for our annual official get together. So this time on Saturday night, the Diwali party was organised at the Lagoon. Since Ananya had just recovered from the viral fever, we decided against him attending the dinner along with Arti since she had to stay back with him. So, I left on time, at about 7.30 pm for the venue, and was questioned by one and all for coming all alone without family. It was at about 9.00 pm when I noticed Arti and Ananya in the party ... thanks to Sanjeev, Geetu and Mrs Gill who called Arti on her mobile, and as per Arti..terrorised her to make her attend the party. They even sent a car to pick Arti and Ananya from home. No need to mention that she was too pleased to receive their calls. So, it indeed was a pleasant surprise for me and do I need to mention that I had a gala time thereafter.

On Diwali day on Friday the 12th, lots of Indian families from all over Lagos come to our residential compound to burst crackers. It is a big compound with ample open space. As usual, the police came at about 11 pm and arrested a few people who were released later in the night after payment of heavy bribes. It is the annual ritual here. Am told, same thing happened at other places also.

From tomorrow we again are having nation wide strike called by the National Labour Congress (NLC) against recent petrol price hike.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Persona non grata !

An Indian historian Ramchandra Guha was not allowed in by immigration officials at the Vancouver due to reasons well known to them, or may be due to reasons mentioned by Guha ... here!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Nigerian Scam Baiting ...

An Interesting site on courses on 'Ethical Business Studies' - exclusively for prospective scammers ... can be found here !

Friday, November 05, 2004

Blogware comparison

An excellent comparison of various weblog software (server installed scripts only) is available here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Latest Browsing ...

It was during casual browsing that I landed at Kamat's Potpourri. It indeed is a mind boggling site of rare depth and coverage on literally anything and everything concerning India. I have yet to come across any site which can match Kamat's in terms of coverage, completeness, and depth. A must visit for everyone ...