Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aligning Your Job With Your Values

Some soul-searching can help job-seekers find what they really need.

By Wendy Cornett


You spent months combing the classifieds and surfing the Web for
that "perfect" job. You nailed the interview. The potential
earnings and advancement sealed the deal. You accepted the offer
with earnest enthusiasm.

That was six months ago. Now the pairing you thought was kismet
has turned out to be catastrophic. Meanwhile, a colleague in the
next cubicle thrives. What did you do differently? Chances are,
it's what you didn't do that cost you your job satisfaction.

Before opening the paper, logging on to the Internet or running
off 200 copies of a resume, job seekers should strike a lotus
position and do some serious soul-searching--literally.

"People spend too much time evaluating potential opportunities,
and not enough time evaluating themselves and what's important
to them," says Celia Crossley, career strategist and owner of
Celia D. Crossley & Associates in Columbus, Ohio. "A little
reflective time speeds up the job search because you know what's
important to you." Self-discovery not only saves time, it also
helps to reduce a job seeker's chances of making the wrong
decision.

To help clients determine what brings them professional
satisfaction, Crossley uses an exercise in values. Supplying
clients with a list of 15 common values, Crossley asks them to
pinpoint their top five. The list includes friendship, location,
enjoyment, loyalty, family, independence, leadership,
achievement, self-realization, wealth, expertness, service,
prestige, security and power. The client must determine which of
their top five, if any, are supported by or shared by the
employer. Where Crossley witnesses alignment, she sees a
potential for career satisfaction and success.

People dissatisfied with a recent job move or those adversely
affected by a merger or change in management can use this
exercise to help determine whether or not their situation is
salvageable.

Crossley recommends that, at the very least, an employee needs
to find an alignment among two of their top five values.

One recent values assessment that Crossley conducted with
executives from a small, growing Columbus company revealed that
each manager aligned five out of five values. The company,
Crossley says, is growing by 17 percent.

"I keep seeing this pattern," she says. "When you see four, or
five out of five values in alignment, you see successes."

Conversely, Crossley recently assisted someone whose values were
in alignment with those of the company, but who still considered
moving on because of a recent management change. A decision of
this kind, she noted, should not be taken lightly.

"If you're two or three years from being fully vested and
there's a management change, just recognizing and acknowledging
the facts can help you find ways to work it out," Crossley says.

Crossley refers to her process of values assessment and
self-discovery as "doing your due diligence."

"This means doing your own personal homework to make sure the
facts and figures align with what's important to you," she
explains.

As in personal relationships, occasional periods of discontent
do not constitute a mismatch. This is when it's time to refer to
the values assessment for reassurance.

"Never change jobs on emotion," Crossley adds. "Do your due
diligence before deciding upon any transition."

Consider time spent on introspection as a valuable investment
toward building a satisfying professional future.

"A job paying $50,000 annually turns into a $1 million
investment in 20 years," Crossley says. "No venture capitalist
would give you $1 million without a plan."

Once you've done your due diligence, it's time to make sure the
potential employer has done the same. Crossley recommends that
all candidates ask about expectations.

"Once the job has been offered," she says, "but prior to
accepting it, ask the hiring manager the following question:
'Let's say I've been on the job for six months. You're telling
me I'm doing a wonderful job. What would I have accomplished?'"

If the question isn't answered to your satisfaction, it might be
best to pass this one up. "You can't deliver unless someone has
well-defined expectations," she says. And likewise, "Unless you
have your own criteria, you're likely to make another mistake."

Whether you achieve self-discovery privately through meditation
or by seeking help from a professional career adviser, what's
important is that you define your values, refer to your list
from time to time and update it when circumstances change.

The secret to any successful relationship is determining exactly
what you want, and then finding it.

"We spend a lot of our week in that (work) relationship,"
Crossley says. "If it doesn't make us happy, we're not
productive."

Wendy Cornett is a freelance writer based in Columbus, OH. She
worked for the Columbus Dispatch for six years after a four-year
stint in corporate communications. She is a member of
YourWriters.com.




Monday, December 15, 2008

Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam



Q.Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam? ? 

A. 1. Definition of Polygamy Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited. Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?

2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says, "marry only one". The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one. Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives. In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one. Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

3. Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures. Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

4. Qur’an permits limited polygyny As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an: "Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur’an 4:3] Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them. In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women...." [Al-Qur’an 4:129] Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife. Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts: (i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory (ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged (iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed (iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged (v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

5. Average life span of females is more than that of males By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females. During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

6. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

7. World female population is more than male population In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband. Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first. In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life. Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam



Q.Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam? ? 

A. 1. Definition of Polygamy Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited. Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?

2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says, "marry only one". The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one. Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives. In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one. Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

3. Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures. Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

4. Qur’an permits limited polygyny As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an: "Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur’an 4:3] Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them. In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women...." [Al-Qur’an 4:129] Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife. Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts: (i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory (ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged (iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed (iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged (v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

5. Average life span of females is more than that of males By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females. During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

6. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

7. World female population is more than male population In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband. Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first. In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life. Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam



Q.Why is a man allowed to have more than one wife in Islam? i.e. why is polygamy allowed in Islam? ? 

A. 1. Definition of Polygamy Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited. Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?

2. The Qur’an is the only religious scripture in the world that says, "marry only one". The Qur’an is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one. Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives. In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one. Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

3. Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures. Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

4. Qur’an permits limited polygyny As I mentioned earlier, Qur’an is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an: "Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur’an 4:3] Before the Qur’an was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them. In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women...." [Al-Qur’an 4:129] Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife. Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts: (i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory (ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged (iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed (iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged (v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

5. Average life span of females is more than that of males By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the pediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females. During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

6. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

7. World female population is more than male population In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband. Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first. In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life. Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second. There are several other reasons, why Islam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A flirter's guide (but beware!)

The following is a selection of popular chat-up lines. The list does not claim to be an accurate cross-section and most certainly offers no guarantee of success.

"I seem to have lost my telephone number, do you think I could have yours?"
Assessment: direct and in certain circumstances very effective.

"I thought you were great in the last episode of Bay Watch."
Assessment: fun, but what if she doesn't have a television?

"What a horrendous day. The only thing that could save it now is the smile of a beautiful woman. Would you give me a smile?"
Assessment: A classic line with a lot of charm, unless she has crooked teeth.

"Who does this cute little fellow belong to?"
Assessment: solid, so long as it's his or her dog. A love of animals always goes down well.

"Excuse me, but which of all the chat-up lines would you most like to hear?"
Assessment: intellectual, polite, but risky--she might demand a list of the alternatives.

"If I were to follow you all the way home, would you keep me?"
Assessment: cute, in a humble sort of way. Chance he or she might say no.

"I would love to cause you sleepless nights."
Assessment: ambiguous--do you really want to compare yourself to a nightmare?

"You're turning my software into hardware."
Assessment: very cheeky, only for computer nerds.

"I'm an organ donor, do you need anything?"
Assessment: witty enough, if you have two kidneys, that is.

He says, "You look a lot like my fourth girlfriend."
She says: "How many girlfriends have you had?"
He says: "Three."
Assessment: Love and maths don't mix, not very romantic.-- dpa




Friday, December 5, 2008

A lift for the lowly umbrella

Sunday, July 23, 2000
Living

By Kee Hua Chee

Human friends tend to desert us in our hour of need, preferring to consort with us during fair weather. Dogs and four-footed friends stick with us through thick and thin but they too will abandon us at the first raindrops.

It is the trusty brolly, parasol, sun shade or more commonly known as 'umbrella' that is our indispensable companion regardless of fair or foul weather!

An umbrella is one of the few items that can span the spectrum of usage--it is used to keep us dry from the rain or prevent us from getting wet from sweat due to the sun! It is the most unsung item in the house, discarded into the dark recesses of the cupboard and forgotten until the heavens open or a heat wave beats down on our bare heads!

The Malay Sultans use only yellow umbrellas on public occasions. This tradition stems from the time of the Malacca Sultanate about 600 years ago. Legend has it that the Ming Emperor sent his daughter Hang Li Po to wed Sultan Mansur Shah and augment the relationship. The princess arrived with an entourage of 500 and was brought ashore beneath a yellow umbrella.

The Bunga Emas tribute sent to the Thai King by Kelantan assumed the shape of umbrellas in layers. The King of Siam's umbrella consists of nine alternating umbrellas to signify the nine stages of paradise.

Umbrellas are among the first inventions as they are obviously easy to make and are relatively important in sheltering the head and body from the elements. The first umbrellas taking our present form was made at least 3,000 years ago by a Chinese carpenter. A Chinese emperor was so enamoured with what he called 'mobile pagodas' that six men were needed to carry the umbrella.

A PART OF HIS ARSENAL: In the business district of London, every man worth his credit card is a member of the brolly brigade.

In Buddhism, umbrellas played a part in protecting Siddarta Gautama, the Enlightened One. After he attained enlightenment, the Mara, Evil Incarnate, sent a devastating storm to demolish him. He was protected from the onslaught by the Naga king with an umbrella.

Umbrellas even played a role in creating a Chinese deity. A young man was told he could be a god only when he saw men carrying bronze umbrellas, a river flowing backwards and he was neither inside nor outside a house.

One day he saw a funeral procession. Suddenly it rained. The pall bearers covered their heads with their cymbals. At first the young man laughed at the ludicrous sight of men wearing bronze hats. Then he realised the significance--bronze umbrellas! He glanced at the nearby river. Some men were damming it with rocks so, for a while, the waters were forced to flow backwards. Transfixed, he noticed he was standing in the porch of a walled courtyard, neither in nor out of the house!

He knew the time had come. He sat cross-legged in the lotus position waiting to be transformed. His mother ran out and not knowing what was happening, tried to prise his legs apart. At that moment he became a god and that's why his statues show him with one leg sticking out!

The common saying "to be under the umbrella of so-and-so'' means to be under the influence or dominion of a particular person and is often used as an emblem of sovereignty. In 1876 the sacred and royal umbrella of King Koffi of the Ashanti tribe was forcibly captured and whisked to South Kensington Museum as proof Koffi was not invincible. The ploy worked as the Ashanti tribe became so demoralised the British took over their lands without bloodshed. Umbrellas were always buried with royalty and nobility as no one could ascertain posthumous weather.

In the business district of London that is simply referred to as the city, every man worth his credit card is a member of the brolly brigade. The lowly umbrella continues to be part of his arsenal of bowler hat, pin-striped suit, pressed trousers, brogue shoes and brief case. Despite
the entrenchment, the umbrella was not common until the middle of the 18th century.

The person responsible was Jonas Hanway (1712-1786) who carried the modern day umbrella to stave off rain, sleet, hailstones and ordinary rocks thrown at him. Street urchins enjoyed throwing stones at him just to see him use the umbrella as a shield while stagecoach operators saw him as a threat to their business and would threaten to whip him or run him into the gutter.

The wealthy, of course, summoned the coach each time the skies darkened and owning an umbrella made it patently clear one did not own a carriage. Worse, small boys would point to the folded brollies and call them "sticks in petticoats!''

Umbrellas had a tough time weathering such assaults before becoming socially accepted!

The French naturally took it to new heights of folly. An enterprising man set up a roaring business by renting out colourful umbrellas at each end of the elegant Pont Neuf in Paris. For a few centimes, fashionable ladies and foppish dandies could pick a parasol to match their outfits and sashay across the bridge where they could give it back at the other end. The parasols bore perplexing but provocative names like Suppressed Sighs, Dauphin's Dirt, Aroused Nymph's Thighs, Stifled Passions or Golden Cascades to the Bosom.

By the 19th century, there were patents for everything, including telescopic, self-opening umbrellas and even a safety umbrella for those fearful of venturing out in stormy weather. This version had a built-in lighting conductor with a metal spike earthed by a wire attached to a small metal ball. This was to conduct electricity safely away should the holder be struck by lighting.

The handles, of course, were put to good use and turned into an art form. The handles or knobs crossed the spectrum from the sublime to the silly to subterfuge. Handles concealed ticking watches, a poodle's head that, when pressed, shot out its tongue to one containing a small knife. Some knobs were nothing more than pepper shakers, used to great effect in breaking up dog fights in the park!

The Pathfinder model included torchlight and candles while some handles could be unscrewed to expose space for cigarettes, powder, opera glasses and contraband.

Brollies were useful weapons for fencing or poking others in rib and eye, which is why modern versions have softly rounded tips instead of the old, dangerous metal tips.

In England, don't be offended if a stranger dropping his umbrella near you asks you to pick it up for him. He is not treating you as cheap, oriental labour but is asking a favour as it is considered unlucky for the dropper to pick it up himself.

If you open one on a sunny day, you are tempting fate and it will pour buckets later when your umbrella is left at home! Nor should one be opened indoors.

"Umbrella'' comes from the Latin 'umbra' meaning 'shade' or from the Italian 'ombrello' referring to the shadow cast by it. 'Parasol' reveals its lineage as 'sol' is sun.

One would have thought there is nothing left to spout and shout. The last option is lethal. Remember the Brolly Murder of 1978. A Bulgarian exile in London was crossing Waterloo Bridge when he was accidentally poked with the tip of an umbrella in full view of passers-by. The man apologised and strolled away. Hours later the victim was dead, poisoned by the tip of the assassin's umbrella!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Life & Times: School daze: All about ringgit and sense

By Mariam Tan Abdullah
09 August 2000

KHAIRUL only learnt to handle money when he started primary school.
Although he had copy cutouts of the different denominations of coins as
a kindergarten project and knew how to add and subtract, he'd never
bought anything on his own.

He managed to buy food from the canteen but forgot his change on several
occasions. Once I forgot to give him his pocket money of RM2 for the
day, so he had to go hungry. His friends refused to give him a loan
because he did not lend them money when they wanted to borrow from him.

Recently, his toddler brother ferreted his wallet out of his school
shirt pocket and hid it under the bed together with a colourful sock and
a loose parquet flooring. Khairul had to go hungry again.
On another occasion, Khairul dropped his food and since he had already
run out of money, he had to pick his food off the floor and eat it after
giving it a wash.

Although it might not be apparent from their behaviour, children take
their cues and life-long attitudes about money from watching their
parents. Children pick up their traits, tendencies and mistakes.

When it comes to discussing money, "it's sort of like teaching children
about sex. You don't want to tell them more than they need to know, and
it's never appropriate to draw children into an overly detailed
discussion of the family finances," said a clergyman.

General personality traits can be taught through teaching a child how to
use money. The larger themes and issues of responsibility and discipline
can be taught through the handling of money - how to save today for
tomorrow, how to realise you can't have everything and someone has to
work hard to get the money.

Khairul is picking up very mixed signals from his parents on monetary
values.

I am very cheap to run on and shop like a man these days - dash in to
grab exactly what I want and make a quick exit. Will Khairul learn a
woman will pay RM1 for a RM2 item she doesn't want or will he be
nonchalant like a man and pay RM2 for a RM1 article which he needs?

I am tightfisted about money. Blame it on my background in economics but
someone has to do the dirty job in the family.

Abah never borrows anything - be it money or things - which he can buy.
He goes for originals as far as possible, never bargains nor waits till
the sale.

Khairul has upped his fee for vacuuming the flat from RM1 to RM2 since
the start of the century. Talk about confused messages about money -
abah and mama paid him independently of each other when he first started
his chore and he ended up with RM1 and 50 sen for the same task!

Ever since I gave him an emergency stash of RM2 two weeks ago, in
addition to his regular pocket money, Khairul has been raiding it.
Issuing dire warnings of being left in the lurch does not seem to
provoke any verbal response or a mending of ways.

Looks like I have to revert to getting him a prepaid telephone card
which he lost after a term in school.

Ahmad, Khairul's brother aged two plus, has the last word on money:
"Abah ada 10 dollars," was his reassuring reply to my rhetorical
question of whether money grows on trees.





Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunday Focus: Ramblings: Paying RM9 at cineplex and being buffeted at dinner is too much


By S.H. Tan
13 August 2000


TED Dorall, a friend, dropped in and after the usual courtesies, said:
"Have you seen Dinosaur? "Nope," I said. "Haven't been to the pictures
for ages."

When he chuckled, I was baffled. So I asked him what was the joke.

He said: "Nobody says go to the pictures anymore.

When I blinked, he said: "Nobody says go to the movies either."

When my jaw dropped, he said: "Nobody says go to the thea...."

"All right, all right," I interrupted. I said that I had the hang of
what he was driving at. "So what do they say?" I asked him.

"Go to the cineplex," he said.

When I was perplexed, he said: "A cinema is five six or seven cinemas in
a shopping complex."

Embarrassed, I decided to do what companies do when they have been found
wanting.... reinvent myself. That Sunday, I took my wife and daughter to
see Dinosaur at the cineplex at the One Utama, Bandar Utama. Coo...
things have certainly changed since I last when to the pic.... I mean
whatever. To buy a ticket, instead of a tiny room with a tinnier hole
through which there was just enough room for me to slide my cash in and
for the ticket seller to slide a ticket out, there is a counter like
those in banks.

And transactions are carried out not surreptitiously but through wide
open grilles the length of the counter itself.

Chocs, popcorn and drinks can be bought at a colourful booth and not
from roadside hawker stalls or from a digny cubicle in the cinema. The
lobby is carpetted. So are the stairs. And the hall. What is more, the
carpet is so thick, it makes the mattress I sleep on feel like a tikar
(straw mat).

And as for the hall ...! The cushioned seats, tapestried walls,
decorated ceiling, and all-round sound system make the last cinema I
went to look and sound like a squatter hut.

How many halls are in this cineplex I could not tell as there was such a
crowd, I could not see the number for the people.

Finally, to go in there is one entrance and to go out there is another.
So when the show ended, there was no stampede with people going out
elbowing their way through those coming in.

The only complaint I have is the admission charge. It was RM9 whether
you sat in front or at the back.

The first time I went to a cinema. I paid one cent, it was a zinc
enclosure with no roof, the film was silent, the star was Buster Keaton,
the seats were benches and the grass was still growing under them.

All right, all right, it was so long ago you do not want to hear about
it.

Ancient history aside, the last time I went to a cinema, there were 1st,
2nd and 3rd class seats, the 1st being upstairs or the balcony. And the
prices were RM3, RM2, and RM1. And I would cough up to RM2 only when
there were no more RM1 seats.

But RM9? There is no doubt about it... my cineplex days are over. It is
more thrifty to stay at home and watch TV.

No sooner had my general knowledge been enhanced than I was brought down
to earth again.
Siow, Ching Cherd, a former colleague, dropped in with an invitation to
his daughter's wedding.
When I glanced at the card, I said: "H'm ... dinner is not buff fat is
it?"

Unlike Ted, he did not chuckle. He looked at me in disbelief instead.

When I said that I could not stand buff fats, he said gently: "It is not
buff fat but boo fay."

"So what?" I said: "No matter how you pronounce it, it means the same to
me."

As we had the whole afternoon for idle chat, I said that buff fats, boo
fays, or whatever are merely a stampede by too many people for too
little food.

More often than not, when the host or hostess hollers "come and get I "
pandemonium breaks out. The guests who have been behaving themselves
with decorum and small talk, suddenly go berserk.

The women are told "ladies first". So they trot to the table groaning
under the grub, garb a plate, and fill it with whatever catches their
fancy.

And this is when the men have to keep a look out for the rustlers _
other men waiting for their turn to swoop in.

Women being women, they would take an unbearably long time to make up
their minds what is good _ or bad _ for their waistlines, their
resolutions or their taste buds. If some of the rustlers were starving,
their patience would be exhausted. They would then sneak in and join the
women.

The louts among them would think nothing of falling either in between or
in front of the women and not queue behind them.

And this would be enough to goad the gentle men in charge in _ they were
dashed if they were going to allow the others to sapu (sweep) the meat
and gravy and leave them the skin and bones.

As the guests jostle with one another, the scene is like a free-for-all
at a refugee camp.

When Ching Cherd could not believe his ears, I said: "Now you know why
it is called buffet, never mind how you pronounce it. To scoop up a few
tit-bits, you are buffeted from left, right and at the back.

"Veterans of such campaigns like myself prefer to sit down and be
served. As I am timid, when I go to a buffet, I enjoy the spectacle more
than the spread. After all, who cares for soggy, left-overs, the
bishop's nose, or the skeleton of a pomfret?"

Ching Cherd assured me that at his daughter's wedding, I will not be
bufetted as it will be a Chinese dinner. So I accepted his invitation
with alacrity.


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