Monday, September 16, 2013

Buffet Mentality.

So, here I am looking at this gorgeous array of tantalising, mouth-watering creations of seafood, salads, vegetables, roasts, curries, stews, fried foods, baked goods, stir fries and best of all desserts.

Now where oh where do I start to do justice to this enticing display? To eat or not to eat is not the question. To leave or not to leave is the dilemma. So here is the problem. My eyes have been enticed. My stomach is rebelling and my brain has conveniently decided to take a holiday so as not to be made middle man in this argument that is currently ensuing on what I must take from this buffet.

So I do what most human beings do when provided with a host of options, all of which is available. I take everything!! Whether I need it, can eat it or finish it, is not the issue. The fact that it is an eat as much as you want, has given my brain the day off and has allowed me to do what I would normally not do. Take a bit of everything.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am a foodie. So for me, these different array of dishes being served up for general consumption is just to exciting for words. My mind is overwhelmed by the possible taste sensations and yummy feelings evoked by food that I normally like but can only have one serving or at one restaurant at a time. Here, lies before me, a selection that begs me to devour it all, to take my fill, to enjoy at leisure all that the chef could muster.

Generally, I do not eat buffets. I just feel that it is a waste of money, resources, food and ingredients. I love the exquisite taste created with love by the chef when I am presented with a gorgeous, yummy gourmet creation. I just feel that more effort and thought was put into a plated dish rather than the mass production that is the buffet.

But once in a while as I walk around a buffet, I am presented by options. Lots of options. Too many options in fact. And what I have noticed is that the predicament of choice and my brain co-operating to guide me is my downfall. I fall into the trap that many find themselves in. I choose lots of different tastes. Whether I eat it all or not, I do not even think about. I take small quantities and justify to myself that it is ok. As I sit down, I realise that it is more food than I can consume. It is more than I will ever serve to anyone for that matter. I look longingly at all the things I would like but do not take and use that as an excuse as if I have made such a huge sacrifice. Eish!

Then comes the eating part. I feel excited and despair that I cannot finish it all. I always think that I can go back for more too. Another dream in the mist. Just like that one that flitted past my brain when I was dishing up and choosing from 10 different meals assuming that I would be eating it. brain laughed at me and I ignored it.

True, there are children starving around the world. In fact a few kilometres down the road, there is a school where the kids go home and there is not even a loaf of bread to share amongst 6 family members, let alone clean water.

None of these thoughts hit me until I put my knife and fork down and look at the wastage staring me in the face. My plate has taken guilt and melted it cunningly amongst the nearly full plate of yummy food sitting and waiting obediently for me to finish. Once I stop eating, groaning at the inability to consume anymore, then triumphantly the guilt jumps up and bites me in the bum.

I look mournfully at all the food I did not finish, envision all the starving children who could have benefited and feel empty in my heart.

I look around at all the people who have piled their plates even more higher than mine and feel a gut wrenching sadness. As I sit there contemplating the nearly full plates of food being removed by the waitrons, I realise the magnitude of our buffet behaviour.

I realise that I could have exercised more caution, more thoughtfulness, more care, more restraint, more awareness and a much more tighter control over my taste buds, my mind and most of all my ability to choose.

Only I can take responsibility for my choices. Only I can limit what I put onto my plate. Only can use thoughtfulness so that my uneaten food that was tainted by myself, is not thrown into the bin. Life after all is filled with choice that stems from a new found awareness and consciousness.

So here is my plea to all of you who have the pleasure of eating at a buffet. Think before you dish before you waste.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Holding our Country's Leaders accountable!!

So maybe I should not get so riled up, but I did. Especially after reading the dumb comments made by one of our Ministers as posted by SA Promo - on the following link - afrikaners-to-blame-for-violence-against-women.

To say that it disgusts and disappoints me is an understatement. In reality, yes, racism still exists. So does inequality, prejudice, anger, hurt and sadness brought on by past events in our historical experiences.

Yes, South Africa had Apartheid. The operative word being HAD. Yes, we still have an imbalance of skills, experience, knowledge, know how and opportunities. Yes, we still have gender issues, diversity issues and cultural misunderstandings.

But above all of this, we have one thing that sets us apart from becoming animals in our behaviour.

We have CHOICE!
We have the choice to move on, move up and grow as a country. We have the ability to make decisions that are positive, uplifting and all encompassing of each person who belongs in this beautiful country of ours. It is not a Black country or a White country. It is a stunning country filled with amazing people who come from different ancestries and each and every one of them deserves to be here because each of them have stories from their past histories of families who have fought, died and bled for their place here.
Yes..regardless of what language you speak, what food you eat, how you slaughter your cow, grow your food, eat off the earth, fast, believe or not, you deserve a place on this earth. The fact that you currently live in South Africa is a privilege and honour. One that we are taking for granted.
We are defiling our gorgeous country with the filth that falls out of our mouths. It is as simple as that.
Our words and actions speak very loudly about how we treat each other as human beings. Not colours, ages, genders or language groups. Seriously, if you were honest with yourself, there are people in your own language group, family, community, religion, home or culture, that you cannot stand to be with. That is called personal choice - not racism!
Why then, when there is a challenge, someone dies, gets raped, killed, hurt or abused in our country, does it becomes a race based issue. That is beyond pathetic.
If we saw ourselves as human beings then and only then can we start to take responsibility for the havoc we are reeking across our country with our hurtful words.
If we just saw each other as human beings without the bullshit story that everyone is racist - then we can start to deal with the very real issue of counteracting violence against men, women and children..Yes!! I included men in there because men get abused emotionally and physically and get raped too. Let's suck it up and know that it is a reality and stop hiding behind this veil of secrecy.
Women got the sick end of the stick for a long time and now is their time to shine too. I understand that and acknowledge that we have all come so far with much sacrifice and there is still a long way to go. For all of the womens rights that I enjoy and benefit from, I am truly grateful.
I do think however, that it is time to create a balance now. A true balancing act where our mindsets are changed, adjusted and refocussed to include people in our lives without having to fight for a place in society or be disadvantaged based on gender or race.
As a society, we are so hellbent on creating impressions. The impression that our country is so filled with violence, murderers and rapists. Every country has that. We should stop acting as if we are so unique in that regard. Are we so fickle and childish that all we can promote is negativity and stupidity?
In my travels internationally, I have always heard that South Africans are thee most well spoken, hard working, friendly and thoughtful people. Why then are we creating an impression of people who are negative, unforgiving and thoughtless through the abuse of power and words wielded by our politicians and social networking updates?
This current, new form of Apartheid, because that is what it is - A seperation -  is more dangerous than anything any government could have leashed upon a countries people. This one is a seriously dangerous game being played through words.
The inappropriate comments, thoughtless personal opinions - and yes, some of our politicians are really opinionated - have left much to be desired.
Politicians can randomly make comments against an entire cultural or language group and cause an uproar which affects millions. There is no consideration for the aftermath of destruction, feelings, hurt and anger that it triggers. And No, it is not just the people from that culture who feel upset. It is affects people across the board.
If all of us focussed on positivity, doing our small bit for the greater good of humanity then we will start to see real results. Not superficial ones.  
As South Africans we can take charge of our country again. We can do this by simply acknowleging that everyone is a human being. No, you do not have to like every single person you meet. That is called personal choice. The difference there is that you are choosing not to interact with someone based on personal preference because of their behaviour, not the colour of their skin.
If we have abuse in this country, it is because we have not addressed the causes. We are focussing on the symptoms. We ought to start to listen thoughtfully to our fellow human beings more and maybe, just maybe, we could prevent a person who is emotionally distressed from bullying people at home, killing themselves or being abusive. If we became more aware of people around us and stopped skirting around them based on the colour of their skin, and really connected at a deep level, then maybe we could talk. Actually talk, communicate, listen and understand where people are coming from. Maybe, just maybe, you could listen and give advice to someone who has a problem and help them to find a solution that uplifts their lives.
The beauty of coming from different language and cultural backgrounds is this - you come with different knowlege, wisdom, thoughts, understandings, values and perspectives.
It is so refreshing to get a different point of view. People are just waiting to feel valued for who they are. They are waiting to share their amazing points of view if given a chance. Women AND Men are waiting to lend a hand with their fantastic experiences and wisdoms.
Let's work together to find a balance.

A balance where women deserve to be in management positions with equal opportunity WITH guidance and experiences being shared by men who held those positions. Lets dream and think big. Let's stop being so selfish. And when I say equal opportunity, I do not mean, that women ought to be dumped into positions for the sake of it, with the intention of proving that they will fail. They must be given the correct training to help them succeed.
Lets respect the contributions that Men have made. After all, they have done so much and achieved so much - they deserve to be acknowledged.
How about we become more inclusive! We stop throwing people out of the work place based on their previous historical advantages and link them to mentor people who deserve and want the chance the succeed in a professional work environment. Stop putting people who are inexperienced into positions that sets them up to fail. That is so unfair.
Let's build our economy through working together. Saamspan, Unity, Samewerking, Tirisano, ukuBambisana. After all, our country's motto means " Unity is Strength". Unless I have misinterpreted that, it ought to encompass everyone who lives in our beautiful country, not one particular race group only.
Let's bring back the experience, knowlege and wisdom of people and balance it out with the exciting innovative new thinking of our young people in our country. Regardless of the colour of their skin colour.
Lets embrace each other and stand together. Lets stop using racism as a excuse for our inadequacies. Lets stop being lazy and grow up. Let's hold our politicians accountable for their words, actions or lack thereof. Let's take charge of our lives again instead of allowing it to be manipulated by stupidity, squandering of our funds, laziness, blatant fraudulent activities, overspending on entertainment and underspending on upliftment of our country. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.
We are not living in the dark ages without choice or understanding. We all have choice. Most of us have access to technology or media in some form be it a cellphone, tv, computer, internet cafe, school, newspaper etc.. The other form is word of mouth through community meetings.
In South Africa, ALL people have had full access to most neighborhoods, education, school, university, technology, jobs, any choice of car, all modes of transport, restaurants or beach for the last 18 odd years.
South Africa is practically a grown up teenager that is graduating from High School. One that is young and innocent enough to dream big and to experience a world filled with possibilities but old enough to leave home to explore.
It is time, for the fathers and mothers of racism to let their precious child go free.
This New South Africa - our teenager - has gone through the uncertain childish stages, has thrown tantrums and undergone alot of education. Let us entice this child of the world to grow its knowlege and wisdom through spreading love, laughter, joy, thoughtfulness and embracing every woman, child, man and nature to create a country that we can all be proud of.
Let's take this child with a fresh mind and willingness to learn and give it every opportunity to grow.
Let's give this child hope!

Here's to New Beginnings!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Respect for Time.

Respect for Time!

Now I realise that this is an age old discussion within the work place, within relationships, within individual encounters in social interactions and at home.

Yet, I find it imperative to bring it up again. Respect for time is not something that we as adults want to be chatting about, discussing and dissecting in a time when it has been spoken about and killed as a subject.

But I find that as we proceed with caution, trepidation and much fear into a world filled with diverse cultures within the workplace - time management, puntuality and a lack of respect for people's time, has become really prevalent in a seriously negative way.

People seem to love the new excuse of "this is my culture", that is why I am late, do not arrive or will even give you the courtesy of knowing that I am not attending a meeting or function.

When did we as human beings become so disrespectful that we believe that we can use our beautiful cultures and traditions as an excuse for our disgusting behaviour. There are millions of people who have similiar if not the same cultures who do not use their inability to respect time, as an excuse.

I am so fed up with the nonchalant way that some business people have become so blase' in their rude approach when they do not even arrive on time for conferences, professional work functions and meetings.

Since when has it become ok, to be rude? Since when has it become ok, for us to sit in anticipation for someone who does not have the decency to pitch up? And for the life of me, I cannot understand why people are afraid to speak up and tell the person that it is not acceptable!

Now is the time to get over the nonsense of rolling over and accepting lower standards. Now is the time to stand up for what is right. Now is the time to take charge of the way our professional teams interact with each other, guide and support each other to become more effective.

Time is a precious gift given to us in this world. No-one knows how much time we have or when it will run out.

Being thoughtful and caring towards someone else's time shows that you respect and honour them as a human being.

When you arrive on time for a get together, you show your own dignity and respect for yourself. Of course there will be times when you have an emergency or a valid reason why you cannot attend a meeting or function. In those times, it is imperative to phone or contact the person/s and let them know that you are not arriving. This allows people to make alternate arrangements, go ahead with the meeting or dinner or even replace you with someone else.

There is thoughtfulness in liaising with people and this leads to trust. To honour someone elses time, is to give them the ultimate acknowlegement that they are important to you too.

After all, they have made space in their lives to include you. It just makes sense to respect people in the way they wish to be respected too.

Some pointers to consider for future interactions that allow you to be on time:
  • Confirm the date, time and venue in anticipation of making it on time.
  • If you are driving, leave at least a half an hour before you are due to arrive, just in case you run into traffic.
  • Be prepared at all times.
  • If you are in the office and are heading to a meeting, be prepared beforehand. Have your documents ready, speech prepared and double check the venue of the meeting.
  • Be polite to people that you are talking to and let them know that you have to leave to be on time for the next person.
  • Be strict with your own time and people will respect you and your own time too.
  • Do not get side tracked by emails, telephone calls and conversations whilst you are heading towards your next appointment, get together or meeting.
  • When you are going to a personal function or someone's home, arrive on time if not a little bit earlier.
  • When people prepare for you to come to their home, they usually go all out and anticipate your arrival with excitement. To arrive on time makes them feel that you care. That is so awesome to build and deepen the relationship with trust and respect. Very cool
  • If you cannot make it for some reason or due to an emergency, then be thoughtful enough to let people know before hand.
  • Phone, email or send a message in advance if you are going to be late too.
  • Invest in others and they will invest in you. Trust cannot be bought, it is earned. So strive to be trustworthy.
And last but not least, have fun doing this. Challenge yourself to be on time. Challenge people around you to see who gets to meetings first - create a fun, reward system.

Remove negative excuses and do not accept complacency from anyone who uses it too. Life is too exciting to be stuck waiting for someone who does not respect you or your time.

Also, remember that life is filled with surprises. So if there are times when you really do not or cannot make it on time, then do not stress. Unexpected weather, situations and moods may attack you just to create a little excitement in your life. The important thing to remember is this...people remember your integrity as a person when you communicate with them and are upfront about what is happening so that they are able to adjust their own lives.

I personally appreciate it if I am told in advance or even at the time if a person cannot be on time. This allows me to do something else, concentrate on what is important or adjust my day accordingly.

People and their time are precious. Let us all take heed and look for ways to acknowledge it and be on time from now on.

Here's to being on time. :)