Imagine darkness. Then, see the light.

Archive for August, 2015

Facebook Friend Insist – Turned Bad

by on Aug.21, 2015, under Observations

Here’s a conversation happening in my FB inbox today. …………………………………………………

Him: Hello good morning,just say ur twitter handle.. @NADA_ANDERSEN Then i decided to search u here also..b4 i prolong my text..LOL,am called xxxxx.nice to meet u miss Nada.

Me: Hello, nice to make your acquaintance.

Him: Lol,nice word u used there.seems ur good at reading books.. Anyway am here to be friends with u,chat ..have fun..socialize.nothing much..i mean more.

Me: Hi, I don’t have much time for Facebook and I am slowly reducing my friends so not accepting any new ones. Especially people I don’t know personally. Sorry!

Him: Or,but i thought facebook is for making friends too? Come on,accept me as ur last friend on the list And i dont know why u think i wont be a good friend.

Me: I prefer to first meet people face to face and make an informed decision on whether I want to be friends with them or not. So it will be a ‘no’.

Him: So where should i come and meet u?

Me: No, you should not come to meet me anywhere. If we meet by chance – good and well. I do not want to waste your time. I also don’t like when people insist to be my facebook friend because it is not normal in my view. Please don’t contact me. I am not comfortable with this.

Him: Ok.tho it hurts

Me: You’ll survive. Thanks!

Him: But wat do u white Ladies always think when a black insisting guy like me asks u to be a close friend?

Me: But why is it now becoming black and white? I do not want you as my friend whether you are black, brown, pink, blue, green, yellow or orange with purple spots. You are now only confirming what I think, which is that you must be having some purpose for insisting to be my ‘friend’. So please, let us leave it RIGHT HERE as I am truly not interested in finding friends via Facebook and Twitter. Please. Kindly.

Now that the polite conversation is over, my real message to this guy is: listen, you idiot. Which part of ‘NO’ did you misunderstand, was it the ‘N’ or the ‘O’? I was clear, direct, straightforward. I was not flirting, hinting, wasting time. I said ‘no’ several times. Isn’t that my choice, wait, no: isn’t that my RIGHT as a human being??? Male or female, purple, green, blue, white or black, don’t I have the right to choose who I associate with?

And what kind of brain did your mother put into your head that you have to attribute my rejection to the fact that I am not your skin colour? Stupid. Then you will go on to also say how all Muzungus are bad because they colonised you and all the rest of the nonsense that guys like you use to heal their pitiful little egos when a grown up woman of Caucasian roots denies you access to her Facebook page. Stupid just. You want to bring race and colour into conversations with me – you will be called stupid – many times – because that is the only descriptive word racism deserves.

Now, never contact me again or I’ll add your full name to this post, prim and proper.

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I Am Vince

by on Aug.16, 2015, under Short Stories

My mother named me. In protest.

My mother was a charcoal-seller. When she met my father, she was a charcoal seller. When she is about to meet her death, I will not be surprised if she asks to be cremated, charcoal is all there is to her life.

My mother’s name was Sarah and she was the third wife to Musa, my father and the local butcher. She was conveniently named to pass as Muslim, even though she was a staunch Catholic till her death. After marrying Musa and giving him five children including me, she became a bigger Catholic than the Pope himself, though looking at the way this new Pope is, it seems not to be a stiff competition today.

My mother was in favour for a few years because she produced three sons in a row, while wife number one and wife number two popped girls in a devastating sequence. So my three brothers were welcomed into this world as kings and my mother was showered with gifts of land and houses for the boys. Then, she gave birth to a daughter and the situation chilled.

Wife number one soon died in childbirth, giving birth to her seventh daughter and Musa found consolation in twin daughters of a fellow butcher from a village nearby. And I was a sort-of goodbye event, conceived on the last night my father ever spent with my mother.

So mother named me Vincent. Just to spite my father, who insisted on proper Muslim names and upbringing for all his children. He got so angry that he came to my mother’s house and picked Irfan, Adnan, Imran and Hadija and left me behind, still a question-mark of life, clinging onto my mother’s breast and fighting for dear life as I was born so small and hopeless that there was little chance I was going to make it.

Mother was promptly kicked out with me in her arms and a few personal belongings she was allowed to take with her to her charcoal shop. Life fell back to her old ways of making a living in the blackness of the small room and the bleakness of our joint future.

I was growing up on the street in front of our charcoal shop. By the age of five I was perfectly capable of selling the charcoal myself, as mother needed more and more time to rest, due to her freshly developing lung illness that will eventually take her ten years later.

I saw some school in those years, in fact I managed to do the primary school with reasonably good grades and just when I was hoping to be sent off to a boarding school as I could see mother suffering and me unable to help, she died. I was left alone on this world since my father and siblings decided to deny me completely, even though we resemble so much I get called their names on occasion by some senile village elders.

So I sat with mother, dead on her bed, in our charred room so near to my father’s butcher shop, and I did not know what to do. I just sat there for a very long time. Until our neighbour woke me up from that feeling of loss by barging in, wanting to buy charcoal and ending up wailing and calling the whole village to come for an impromptu vigil.

Everyone came. I listened to the stories about my mother, how kind she was, how eager to help others, how devoted in church… I was probably for the first time understanding the depth of her faith and struggle, the scope of her rebellion against my father and the pain of being rejected, abandoned, disowned, alone. I began seeing how much she expected of me, how she put all her love and resources into me, all her beliefs and dreams. I received her praise, I received donations, I collected so much money from the mourners, money I never saw before in one place was now actually in my pocket, and it kept pouring in.

I was told that mother will be buried by the church since everyone knew we had no burial ground anywhere. I wasn’t even able to think that far but the villagers had already agreed with the parish priest and she was given a decent place in the far corner of the churchyard, and villagers planted flowers on the grave.

I survived her death and many attempts by the older boys and men to get the money out of me in the name of investing it for my future. I bought a bike. I decided to become a boda-boda. I was fifteen but a bit taller then my agemates, and a bit stronger from offloading all those bags of charcoal. I was quickly taken through the basics of riding by the boda-boda who sold the bike to me, and I was stupid enough and lucky enough to ride the bike all the way home, some thirty kilometres from town where I had gone to buy it.

Following day, I was ready to start my new life. The whole village was in utter shock seeing me at the stage. Everyone was full of admiration for my brave and bold move. I was soon taking my first ride, then the other, and another. by the end of the day my pockets were full. I have arrived.

Five years down the road, I have seen it all, done it all. Life had started way too early for me. Innocence gone way too early. Too much money and too little wisdom is a bad combination. I wish mother lived longer, no matter how poor we were because with all the money I am making I have remained green and stupid. Mother would have saved me from what I’m going through now.

My two girlfriends are pregnant. I know life will go on but when they find out, I’m in real trouble. But mother used to say that I am Vincent, the invincible, and no matter what obstacles Satan puts in my way, I shall conquer and carry on. So let me see how this one goes for me.

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Is Your Latest Recruit Fit For the Job At Hand

by on Aug.10, 2015, under Advertising, Workforce and Work Ethics

Actually, is any of your employees truly, completely fit for the role they are employed to perform?

To answer such questions, as a CEO you must have a system in place in your organization that clearly defines employee roles and provides clarity and guidance through well-written Job Objectives and Job Descriptions. And yes, these are two different things.

Job Objectives provide clarity on why this particular job exists within the organization. They define key performance areas of the job. Usually, Job Objectives are written in collaboration with the employee who is already in the job for enough time to understand the job and its role in the organization.

Job Objectives are the key guidance to the employee. When in doubt about performing any task that is becoming a part of the routine, each employee should review Job Objectives and find a connection. If none, employee should seek guidance because his performance will be affected by performing tasks that are not related to his Job Objectives.

Job Description is a more detailed explanation of various aspects of the job, and how the job interacts with internal and external customers of the organization. Internal customers are colleagues, coworkers, team members, subordinates and superiors. External customers are everyone else outside the company and some companies include here employee’s family and friends, depending on the company’s culture and company’s brand ambition.

In combination, Job Objectives and Job Description are a fantastic tool to explain the employee exactly what to do, and with great clarity why he is doing the job. Any employee would be glad to get Job Objectives and Job Description in the very first week of their existence with the company. This is really the resuly of most people in our workforce wanting to know exactly what they are supposed to do, and what they are not supposed to get involved in. This hugely stems from our collective dire need for dong the right thing in order not to be reprimanded or criticized – which is somewhat (albeit not scientifically diagnosed) our national phobia.

If we play on this fear of criticism correctly, as CEOs we can develop another tool to help employees understand their jobs, as well as perform the tasks required by their roles. It is essential that, together with employees, we develop individual Performance Evaluation Guidelines. To simplify the reasoning: to earn 100% of monthly salary, each employee should perform 100% of what is required. So if we don’t provide guidelines on how to measure this 100% performance, we will not be able to get it out of the employee. Which means the company will be paying the employee based on Employment Contract that is one-sided where employee has no parameters against which to deliver his part.

Obviously, CEOs of complex and large organisations delegate all these tedious activities to their HR departments but it is only prudent to review the output of your HR department periodically. This can be done by requesting an informal meeting with any employee and reviewing their Job Objectives, Job Description and Performance Evaluation Guidelines together, probing for employee’s understanding of the job and requirements. Likewise, any CEO should take time to sit in a few Appraisal sessions, again to get a feel if the HR department is doing it right, if there’s two-way communication, if the employee is satisfied and agreeable to the result of his appraisal – basically to ensure connection is being made and employee provided with a platform for excelling at his job.

But, is the employee in the right job from the start? How do you ensure that? What is the scope of investment required to get the right recruit in the right job, to make that fit right from the start?

Some organisations use head-hunters for senior positions. Others use internal mechanisms for evaluation and recruitments. Sometimes weeks of work are gone on evaluating CVs and applications and thereafter weeks of work are gone on sitting in interviews, engaging numerous key people. And still, your chances to get the right person for the job you have advertised are 50-50.

I’ll list common causes for failure, in no particular order and this is not an exhaustive list, feel free to add your own.

Nepotism and returning favours. Someone had influenced the panel and the job is given to a candidate that comes highly recommended from a person your panel can’t refuse. This is very common and unspoken. You as a CEO are not supposed to know – or – you as a CEO will make this decision on behalf of the panel.

Candidate’s interview preparation. Some candidates spend huge amount of time preparing for interviews, researching answers to common interview questions, tailoring answers to their personality and the job on offer, tailoring their personality to the job on offer. Many candidates will act the role so well, but only on the interview day. The moment they get the job, they will become their old and very different selves.

Roadblocks. This also translates in no genuine interest within the panel to employ a person that’s better than themselves. Senior employees too often fear of the potential of the younger recruits and are prepared to let go of an excellent catch for the company in order to keep their own chair safe from any performance-related attack. Some simply do not want the boat rocked too much, others don’t want anyone to outshine them. So they lay roadblocks for the candidates and always choose a lesser threat.

How to manage wrong recruitment will require a long answer but the short of it would be to hire the best person for the job, without compromising. Use any or all tools available to you to get the right candidate. Sometimes it will go over your budget but if you are convinced, go for it. Because successful organisations are built by great people, nothing less.

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Fishermen on Lake Victoria

by on Aug.09, 2015, under Short Stories

This is a shit life. I’m standing in the water, knee-deep, my trouser is wet and I can feel the wetness creeping up to my balls, and it’s cold. I’m pulling this net in for the fifteenth time today and all we got to show is four small, miserable Tilapia fish. Life sucks.
Must be the curse of Ssalongo who still thinks I fucked his wife. Maybe I did. I don’t remember. I fucked many wives, other people’s wives, down at Gerenge. On a lucky day when I get a couple of big Nile Perches in my net, man, a few hundred thousand shillings in the pocket, I’m the fucking village king for the night. Anything that moves… Everyone wants the share. And women get it, I promise you, they get it.
Why he cursed me, I don’t know; his wife has been all over the place. She has been through all of Gerenge several times over, anyone with a few thousand shillings and a cup of booze can have her. I remember guys saying she also gives some itchy discomfort which gets worse for us who stand in the water long time, that’s how I remembered to actually stay away from her. Why he cursed me, I don’t know.
I must save some money to buy my own net. This bloody net is too heavy and too costly to rent, especially when you catch fuck-all like today. And unless I get something big quick, I don’t know how I’m going to eat today. Not good to be hungry. Maybe Nansubuga will give me food on credit, even though last time I took long to pay her. Maybe. But I better get something quick.
And if I can buy my own net I will make sure it is even smaller than this one. I feel all the time that fish is passing through. I know even this size is illegal, but I will get myself a net that will net even the fish eggs, I tell you. Do you think it’s easy to row for an hour to spread the net in the water, then to pull for an hour only to find these four miserable shits, and we’ve been on the job since yesterday? I have no more strength left in me, I’m like a zombie standing here, I have no idea what power commands my hungry movements now and I’m on my last sachet of Waragi so soon, even the little fuel I have is finished.
And this boat needs fixing, holes everywhere. It is really depressing. If you don’t freeze your balls on the shore, you will freese them rowing while sitting on the boat floor in all this stinky water because the sitting bench broke off and I have not time to plug the holes. Not that they can be plugged, local canoe will always leak, but at least I should reduce this inflow because as I’m rowing, Katende is scooping the water with the bottom of the jerrycan and it’s a full time job, I tell you.
I was thinking of letting this life go but then, what is there for me? I have no land, my father chased my mother and has two other wives who have drunk and fucked everything we used to have at the village, my siblings are village drunkards and fools and anyway, they always hated me for being a free fucking spirit as they called me. Look at me, where this free spirit brought me. Fat chance of a happy life.
I should wisen up to start saving. Really, each time I get a hundred thousand, I should aim to save, like, ten. MAybe, one day, I can save enough to buy the net, fix this canoe, buy a new pair of oars – Katende should be rowing too – and build myself a hut instead of renting that concoction of planks and iron sheets that I sublet to village hookers while I’m away at work.
Aha! What’s that jumping in the net? Man! Katende! Katende!!! This is BIG!!! Oh man, this is big! This is the biggest motherfucker Nile Pearch I have seen this year! This is it! My money! Katende!!! Come we get this out!
Prayers answered! Just let it not get away! So here comes rent, net, food money, booze money, bitch money, oh man, here comes everything at once! Done for the day! Done for the rest of the weekend! Man. I’m going to eat pork tonight.

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Unconfused Mind

by on Aug.04, 2015, under Uncategorized

Rains are back, or so it seems. All I see is gray. Probably the effects of my second malaria in only three months. and that handful of blue pills I have to take daily at 3pm.
I have been dreaming lately and it doesn’t help see the world any clearer. To step forward into the abyss – that’s exactly how I feel the next steps. Finally the inactivity has brought me to this place. Some kind of strange fear crept in. I am looking but not seeing the right keyhole for the key I think I have.
This is how the mind gets confused into not doing, not working, not thinking, not activating. I think I understand now. Discipline is important and this is where I fail.
Making up my mind to grow more discipline, more order. Orderliness. That can be a good start. Then one step at a time. Small things, like keep the house tidy. Make your bed in the morning. Wipe the bathroom floor. Put dishes away after breakfast. Small things.
I think I’m ready. Rain is drumming on my roof and three out of four dogs are sitting across from me, hiding from the rain. Their life is simple. All they want is to be near me. Without worrying about my issues. It’s beautiful to see that all other creatures exist totally oblivious to your issues. Reassuring in a way. In this rain, we hide in the house together. Unworried. Beautifully relaxed.
That’s the clarity I needed. I think I’m ready.

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#CancerUG Alex Mulamba dies

by on Aug.03, 2015, under #CancerUG, Advertising, Observations, Workforce and Work Ethics

I’m hash-tagging this story with #CancerUG because this is another death that could have been prevented, even though it wasn’t cancer. Yet it is cancer of our society that we don’t try to give our all to find meaningful solutions in advance, before disease strikes and before life is critical, then lost.

Alex was a graphic designer. I remember interacting with him ages ago, when he still worked with Graphic Systems. I met him a few times, that’s all. But his story is painful and is a story of many.

I was told that Alex made some poor decisions in life. Drinking and getting on people’s nerves because of it was one such poor decision. Starting a family where three kids are now orphans is another poor decision, as he knew well he won’t be able to manage with his habits and salary.

Not looking after his health was another poor decision. Finding out about the kidney problem way too late was another poor decision. All these things would have been avoided if Alex had more focus on his own life and wellbeing.

I don’t know much more but this is miserable enough. It is, also, in a society of ours, a very common thing to abandon ship when it finally starts sinking. So when Alex started dying, his family, friends began building some distance.

Please – I’m not naming names and I don’t care who did what and for what reasons. I hope the guy gets a good, clean, quick burial and I know he left nothing behind so there won’t be any fights over property and money. Maybe the little NSSF money but I hope wife gets that, she’ll need it with three kids.

I’m calling you to think. About our future. Look at this society. How can a guy just die of kidney failure yet the efforts were put in place to fundraise and help him make it? What can we do, as an industry (advertising) to ensure we have a buffer that will cater to these cases in the future?

I suggest we start a fund, under the Uganda Advertising Association. If each person employed in the industry or related to it (suppliers, clients) contributes $100, we are going to have a healthy start. Further contributions will be based on good will and periodic fundraising activities.

Fund should be invested for sustainable growth and administered by trustees who will have a difficult task – to say no to cases that are not critical or can be managed in other ways. But should anyone need a kidney transplant again, the money would be there.

We can not hope to grow Uganda’s capacity to perform complex lifesaving medical procedures but one of the things trustees can do is to investigate all improvements in provision of medical services in the country so we can know who is capable of doing what kind of procedure and at what cost. Keeping our options open at home and abroad.

This, I hope, inspires thinking in a positive, proactive direction. We have the power to decide should we continue mourning lives lost or should we do something about it, joining hands to save lives. I’d much appreciate comments and Ideas as I believe this is the topic worth discussing further. Thanks for reading.

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Amama’s Diction and People’s Funny Reactions

by on Aug.01, 2015, under Observations

I posted a tweet that reads like this: “First thing that stands in Amama’s way is diction. I’m struggling to understand him.”

I was at the dentist’s, alone in the waiting room, TV was four metres away from me, Amama was on and I was struggling. Truly struggling.

First thing that came to mind is that he never had any public speaking/diction classes. He did not have to, he was on the inside, moving through the ranks, he was the guy. We had to listen to him and pretend we understood by default. His position was not under threat, he did not need to convince the whole country at the time that he should be the MP for Kinkizi West and neither was it the country population’s decision to make him Minister of State for Defence, Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Minister of Defence, Minister of Security and Prime Minister.

But he’s on the outside now. He’s on his own. And he wants to be our next President. Time to get all his ducks in a row.

First, most Ugandans never saw him up close. Never had a chance to interact with him. He wasn’t very popular when he made some decisions in the past and that will be aptly used against him in the few months to come, before the election day. I have no doubt that he’s a nice guy, I have no doubt he can deliver on everything he’s talking about. But I have a very basic problem, which is – to understand him when he’s talking.

Diction is one of the most important elements of public speaking. There is a reason why actors go to school for years on end. To have a perfect hold on body language, emotion, speech – takes years of practice. Amama did not need that at all, until now. And in my opinion, he needs diction/elocution classes more than anything.

The reason I detest Kizza Besigye when he speaks is that he delivers facial expressions and body language that are just – ugly. The way his voice goes to high pitch, almost squeak, when he’s upset or trying to make a point, reminds me of the over-accentuated CBS Katto Lubwama comedy skits. And little wonder Lubwama wants to be a politician too. This is, in a way, a generic speaking style that I can nickname ‘Tamale-Mirundiism’ – unnecessarily loud, overdone in gestures, grimaces, squeakiness and all in all – producing a certain cheap and uncultured look.

In sales profession, for example, how you look like and present yourself visually contributes to 60% of the positive opinion a buyer forms about you. 30% is attributed to the tone of your voice, the way you articulate what you are saying, the melody of your voice, intonation, the way you accentuate particular words and so on. Only ten percent of the positive opinion about a salesman is formed based on what he actually has to say. Amama has the looks so huge part of the job is done. He has the content, I have no doubt. But what he has to work on is diction or, as George Bankole puts it, elocution.

I had many opportunities to explain this before, especially whenever I trained TV presenters in the past. How you stand, breathe, where you inhale in the sentence, how much air you take in – these are the basic building blocks of excellent diction. The way you hold your head in relation to your body, how stretched are your vocal cords, how much air your lungs can hold – define the capacity of your voice to sustain expressing a sentence as and way you want it.

Shape of the mouth, teeth, how tongue relates to the palate, teeth, lips when saying words – all attribute to the speaking excellence. And where we are not excellent, we need to know how to improve and how to take control.

Most people just speak. And they speak the way they do, and nobody really cares how it comes out. But a public figure and an aspiring presidential candidate, right out of the wraps of safety and security of NRM where he successfully played a major part in our government in the past – has to watch his words. In more ways than one.

What Amama has to be aware of is that his pronunciation, although good, gets lost in the voice itself. His voice is not exciting because he speaks in a very flat way. Words in his sentences are either wrongly accentuated or all parts of the sentence have equal importance. He is over-composed, over-rehearsed, too rigid and he rarely smiles. All these elements make him look uncomfortable. How do you vote for an uncomfortable President-to-be?

There’s only one message that I wanted to send all along: Amama has to work on his diction. Diction is his speaking style that encompasses all the rest – tone, volume, intonation, body language, grimacing, gestures etc. He needs all tools available to him to be captivating, believable, engaging and so on. He needs to convince me to vote for him and If I can’t get what he’s saying he will fail – with me and many others.

Every vote counts, for M7, Amama, anyone else. If I want to understand him, I have to be close, TV volume up and I have to watch his lips intently. If he speaks during a public rally, quite a few people who are far away from the loudspeakers will not understand him. Visually impaired, people with wax in their ears – they will fail to hear and understand. Result: huge attendance for his rallies, little to take home in terms of convinced voters.

All this can be corrected with a few hours of coaching and a couple of weeks of exercise. Amama can be an excellent speaker, potential is certainly there but if he doesn’t take this seriously he will have only himself to blame. Speaking to be clearly understood is his huge obligation to all citizens of Uganda in these interesting times.

Finally – a message to overly excited people on Twitter who think they should hammer me on the head: read the dictionary more often than never, be open to learning a new word a day, know that one word can mean different things and – no need to be too smart with me. I’m not that smart after all.

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