Saturday, 26 September 2015

Free Lunches End up in the Dustbin

Call me a cynic if you like, but I've learnt to take certain statements by our politicians and government officials with a jar of salt, not just a pinch! Statements like "We will diversify from a mono-product economy" or "It's time to go back to agriculture!" and "SMEs are the way forward for economic development" are all empty promises. You won't blame me for not believing any of it because, years after saying these things, nothing changes.

For instance, weeks after my state governor's inaugural address in which he promised to revamp farming in the southwestern state, I saw about thirty new tractors driving into the state capital. I was very excited at the sight and praised our new 'action' governor. Unfortunately, three years into his tenure, farming largely remains subsistential and manual in the rural areas; with the new tractors broken down and covered up in dust at the various local government secretariats. Why can't we ever get it right?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Making Your Business Attractive

My lookalike in the university, Gabriel, and I were very close. We were like man and shadow, for everywhere he went I followed and vice versa. But, there was something quite disturbing about our regular strolls along the long walkways of the school. If a passerby needs to get directions or obtain some other information he/she would always ask Gabriel. In some instances, the passerby will walk right past me and approach him for the help. Each time, I would ask if he had seen them somewhere before but the answer was no, he didn’t know them from Adam.

By the second semester, I couldn’t stomach it any longer so I asked why strangers always sought him out and ignored me. In his pleasant but blunt manner he asked, “Why will anyone ask you for help? You never wear a smile and when you do it is always plastic!” His remarks cut deeply but, after a minute or so of sulking, I decided to put his analysis to the test. I spent the next few days practising a smile in the mirror. The first samples came out as sheepish grins, but as I pressed on they became more real and more comfortable. The next time we were on the walkway I pasted on my best smile and, as providence would have it, the next stranger who came along asked for directions from me. I was very happy inside but, for fear of jinxing it, I didn’t say a word.