A few days ago at the close of work about five of us were standing by the lift waiting. I suddenly noticed every single person was looking in their phones. It happened again this morning by the lift. WhatsApp it appeared in this case. It occurred to me that the implications of how our social lives have been altered by technology. It is easier to communicate with someone far away whom we cannot see than to notice someone standing right next to us in a public place.
Are we hiding something behind our mobile phone screens? Have we lost the capacity to look another person in the eye? How will our children fit in socially once they are raised with this everyone-to-his-phone culture? In the first occurrence I described, I was so taken aback by the realization that I put my phone in my pocket immediately. It is like a disease that has caught everyone: Phonephilia! It is spreading fast.
I think it would be a healthy habit to deliberately ignore our mobile phones for hours during the day and do more rewarding things like talking with a colleague face to face, focusing on a book or article and even concentrating on our work. There are so many aspects of life that phones and Social Media generally may be taking away from us and we have to fight back for ourselves and for our children. Say “NO” to Phonephilia.
Working with Oracle and SQL Server I have become used to not-so-simple statements or procedures for extracting the structure of database objects. In order to extract the DDL for a database object, one would typically use a third party tool such as SQL Navigator or Toad. An alternative for more advanced DBAs would be to use DBMS_METADATA.GET_DDL. In SQL Server either you script the object from SQL Server Management Studio or you use sp_helptext for procedures for example.
There is actually a very interesting way this is done in MySQL. It is a very simple SHOW command that is quite easy to remember and extend:
SHOW CREATE TABLE <TABLENAME>
I found this particularly interesting because once you know the basic syntax, it become almost intuitive. Other commands exist such as the following to display on indexes on a table :
SHOW INDEX FROM <TABLE_NAME>
I am sure you may already be familiar with SHOW DATABASE, SHOW TABLES, SHOW PROCESSLIST, SHOW PRIVILEGES etc. A full list of MySQL’s SHOW commands can be found here.
Early this morning on the way to church we got to a traffic light and I was once again reminded of a dilemma that often occurs to me. Right in front of me I notice a taxi driver and another church member asking another drivers on the inner to allow them in. In strict terms of the law, the person on the inner lane should not let them in but we have to be nice on the motorways don’t we. So we keep letting one or two cars in even when they are wrong in their approach. The dilemma I mentioned earlier is if I have a queue of four cars behind me and I keep letting people in front of me in the name of being nice, I am also delaying those behind me while helping those that chose t cut corners. There is a parallel o this in the workplace.
It is said that a team is a strong as it’s weakest link. Some people are too weak technically to be in certain kinds of technical teams and tend to embarrass the team whenever a task is left in their hands. Maybe they are not suited for the role or they have not been trained sufficiently or they have other problems interfering with their work. Whatever the case is, the team suffers their weakness. But they have families who depend on their income. On the part of the manager whose job it is to determine who gets fired, he has to balance between his sympathy for the weak link and sympathy for the bleeding team.
I think it is only fair to reassign the weak link in some way so as not the jeopardize the careers of the rest of the team. It is a hard decision but that is part of what being a manager is about: taking hard decisions.
NJÀNSÍ is a unique, dramatic and action-packed story that is incredibly visual in style while still maintaining emotional content. The narrative is complex, but once untangled, it’s a clear “good versus evil” structure to which many can relate. While the unfolding narrative lends itself to adaptation for either television or feature film, alterations will be necessary in order to strengthen it for further development. One of the most compelling aspects of the narrative is the relationship between Njànsí and his mother, Comfort. The guilt she feels for bringing her child into the world under such evil circumstances and looking the other way as he flourished represents a mother’s unwavering love for her child, despite the fact that all signs lead her to distance herself from him.
Throughout the book, Njànsí expresses anger and sadness towards his mother, and denounces her for making the choices that she did. In a way, this severed relationship is not given a proper conclusion. It’s implied that Njànsí becomes well-adjusted and fits back into his loving family unit after he rejects the Black Witches, but the two are never given a time to apologize to one another and accept their respective faults. If this aspect were to be elaborated upon, it could provide an emotional high point in the story and add to the narrative’s depth.
In addition, little is shown about the life that the family leads before the accident that forces the family to believe their son is dead. It’s said that they live a fairly traditional life, although Maureen has always been uneasy around Njànsí. The narrative would benefit from showing more of the family’s previous daily routine in order to provide a starker contrast to the current story. This approach would further illustrate the love that the family has for one another, and make the current circumstance all the more tragic. For instance, the book mentions that Njànsí and Nkechi are very close as children, but this isn’t illustrated. The narrative taking on more of a “show, don’t tell” mentality would give audiences something stronger to grasp onto as the story moves forward.
Finally, the conclusion is left somewhat open-ended since the Black Witches still have power. The Kalu family has found peace, but others are still susceptible to the persuasion of the dark lords. The end of the narrative could provide a strong jumping off point for a new segment of stories in which Njànsí commits the rest of his life to defeating the powers that nearly ruined him. NJÀNSÍ is incredibly creative and emotional. The emotional stakes can be raised by providing a cathartic moment between Njànsí and his mother. In addition, showing the family’s life before it was torn apart by the Black Witches will add to the dramatic impact. If this issues are addressed, the book has the potential to be adapted into a compelling feature film or alternative television series.
Written by Louie Nielson, Authorhouse, UK. February 2015
Today in Ghana we celebrate Founder’s Day, the recognized birthday of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The twist to this agreed date is that September 21, 1909 was a Tuesday. Some sources claim that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah himself stated he was born on 18th September, 1909 rather than this agreed Founder’s Day date while his mother put his birth year at 1912 (both Saturdays). This reference comes from the well-known culture of naming children based on the day they are born. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah insisted he was born on a Saturday and wanted to maintain his Ghanaian identity by emphasizing this name: Kwame.
A Case for Identity
A name is a fundamental part of our identity and I must add that many other cultural aspects define our identity as a people (wherever you come from). Kunta Kinte’s resistance to being called Toby was an issue around retaining his original identity. The same goes for someone like Dr. Mensa Otabil who stopped wearing suits many years ago, and maybe Mohammed Ali who changes his name from Cassius Clay. Many other fathers particularly of the oppressed people of the world have done things or developed habits that indicated their insistence of preserving their identity.
A Revolutionary Leader
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is very well-known for his revolutionary speeches, passion for Africa as a whole, his camaraderie with the East, and socialist philosophy. Many thinkers still make reference to his ideas and many Ghanaians still laud his achievements after decades of changes in government. He is one great example that shows us that there was something the early fathers of African countries knew and experienced in their exposure to Europe and the West that made then very adamant about protecting the African identity and building our own history of which we can be proud. Take a look at the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Alex Ekueme, Obafemi Awolowo, Thomas Sankara, Kenneth Kaunda, Jojo Kenyatta, Nelson Madela, Julius Nyerere and others. Even Robert Mugabe with all his advertised flaws had something about him that showed he had more depth than many contemporary African leaders. It is quite difficult to compare the intelligence, diction, oratory prowess, commitment to duty, sacrifice and passion we saw in the early post-colonial fathers with what we see today. what happened to us?
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s foresight in advocating something as outlandish, as threatening to the West as the United States of Africa is a testimony to how advanced that generation was. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s foresight showed up again in such investments a six-lane road that connects Accra to Tema which is still being used over five decades later. Some of his contemporaries considered such a wide motorway a complete waste of money. He envisioned the future of his grand-children, I wonder whether we can do same for our own descendants.
We, The People
Now let me conclude by going back to the issue of identity. Our fathers know we have something to offer. The rest of the world knows and they come to help us exploit our resources. But we ourselves seem totally oblivious of the extent of our wealth. This shows up in our intense craving to travel, purchase foreign goods, entertain ourselves from other country’s creativity and so on. But let me be clear, I am not advocating some kind of xenophobia or a hatred for the West. I am saying that correctly defining our identity as Africans means bringing what we have to the table of nations and being proud of it. Growing our own technology, our fashion, our own creative expressions. It means creating real value from what God has given us rather than advancing policies that enslave us to others. It means sacrificing a little now so we can buy the future. We do have a a unique identity as a people and we have to preserve it.
The ninth month of the year has become typical for memorable events. In the year 2001, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were virtually destroyed by aircraft supposedly under the control of Al-Quaeda. In the year 2008, we had the global financial crisis triggered by questionable practices perpetrated by some of the biggest financial institutions int eh United States. Once again, in 2018, we are recording the funeral of a notable son of Africa, Kofi Annan, the only black man to be named a Secretary-General of the United Nations.
I would like to hone in on a series on the BBC has been airing about the events that led up the near collapse of the global financial system as a result of questionable practices perpetrated by staff of some of the world’s oldest and “richest” financial institutions. The re-enactment of these events showed the utter confidence that people like the CEO of Lehman Brothers voiced out to his President, confidence that, to my mind, bordered on arrogance. He was absolutely sure that the United States or Barclays Bank would buy them out but he was utterly wrong. Yes, an institution with more than a century of success can definitely fail.
There are a few things we can learn from the events surrounding the fall of Lehman brothers. I will simply outline them and let the reader think through:
1. You are never too big to fail. We have seen it with institutions and we have seen it with great men. A history of great achievements can easily be erased from memory with one colossal failure.
2. Failure is often a series of wrong steps. Your habits are amplified as you grow in influence. The are amplified because you actions affect many more people that previously. The effects of a bad habit are much worse when you are a person or an institution of great influence.
3. You are never guaranteed someone else’s help. The decision as to whether your friends will help you when you are in trouble or not is not your decision, it’s theirs. You have no right to count on that help especially when the failure is your fault.
I am sure there are many other things we can pick from this part of the world’s history. Maybe you think, I should mention the need to keep out of any kind of debt but I am sure you have already heard that from Dave Ramsey.https://www.daveramsey.com
This week millions around the world paid last respects to Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian-born former Secretary -General of the United Nations. It has been a mix of sadness, inspiration, and even conspiracy theories like ” …the body never made it to Ghana”. (What?!!!). For me it is mostly the second: inspiration. I am inspired by one who was able to achieve much and make impact in his lifetime. He was a consistent performer academically in his early year and throughout his career in the United Nations, rising quickly through the ranks.
One key characteristic I have noticed about anyone who makes impact in this world is focus. Thing about all the great heroes of the past and present. Most of them were all know for one thing or the other. Be sure that as bright as they were they must have had many talents. Mandela was known for activism even though he could have made a great motivational speaker. Usain Bolt is known for athletics but maybe he can do well in football. Kenneth Hagin was known for Christian Ministry though he could have made stand-up comedian with his sense of humour (with all respect). I am sure Kofi Annan was skilled at a number of other things other than governance, negotiation and transformational leadership – his roles in the UN – but we recognize him for one thing: he led the UN!
You see, we do not have enough time in this world to explore all our capabilities. If we really want to go deep in any area of life and fly high in achievement in that area, I think we each stand a better chance sticking to one thing or a limited set of related items for a significant period of time. Focus is the first law of success.
It was about 3:58 AM and I had been listening to music all night while at work. Most of the songs I was listening to were African praise songs on YouTube. I come across a comment by an American referring to the rocky spring and huts in a certain video. In her words:
“love this song it touches my soul, I am an American but it seen as though I’ve been in the place of the rocks before. Can you tell me where is it please? Especially the thatch huts with the branches on it’s roof”
My first thought was that Jennie was not saying she had been there and had forgotten where she went. Obviously a tour to such a rare place would be something worth remembering and even recording. My thinking is that she was saying she feels as though she had been there and the feeling was so strong that it was not just her imagination. It was to her as though something happened to her there that she was trying to remember even though she has really never been there in her own lifetime. Spooky!
At this point, the thoughts began to roll in. Is it possible that this Jennie is an African American who is picking up fragments of memories passed on to her from her ancestors; experiences they had before they were enslaved? Is it possible that some aspects of our inner selves can actually be inherited? This Subconscious Residue may be responsible for some kinds of Déjà vu or some dreams of things past, character traits which cannot really be explained as being genetic. Deep Spooky!
While towing that line, I might as well mention a certain event from my teen years. I was making a statement and at the conclusion, I clapped my hands in a certain way and I noticed the pause in the air. My mom asked my second cousin “Who claps his hands like that when he finishes talking?”, she replied without thinking “De” referring to my father. I mean, I can understand the appearance of one’s nose or one’s complexion being transferred via genetic code but mannerisms and character traits being transferred in this way is a bit extreme for me. Maybe someone can explain. Subconscious Residue.
“Where is the Tree?”
Back in the nineties, my distant cousins came in from abroad for the first time. While in the village, I understand one of them asked about a certain tree that had been cut down as well as an old dining table that had belonged to my grandfather. Spookier! Well it was either a case of familiar spirits or still my theory of Subconscious Residue. I never got to ask her about it myself.
At this point you might think this is a case of blabbing gone too far. Well, you will agree that there are many things which are yet to be explained about our human experiences. I look forward to asking the Creator when we get to Heaven. I do hope you are coming.
The concept of a Christian Businessman can be understood in a number of ways. One may think of the term as implying a fellow who was a Christian and then became a businessman. Another could think of it as a businessman who does business with Christians (meaning he has to speak like them to get contracts). Some simply think of a Christian Businessman as one who prays before every deal.
The Prayer or the Game
Thinking of a Christian Businessman as one who prays before every deal is like thinking of a Christian as one who prays before every meal. Praying before deals and meals is great but cannot completely define a Christian or a Christian Businessman. I believe it is more important to Christ how the businessman who is professing His name conducts his business than whether there is morning devotion ever hour at the place of business. I think He is more interested in hearing Christian Businessmen asking what He wants to do through them than asking what He can do for them.
Christ the Businessman
Our contemplation would be: If Christ were a businessman how would He conduct His business? How would be price His products? To what extent would He lie about His capabilities? How would He treat His staff? How would He relate with African government officials and regulators. Often “Christian Businessmen” sink in the quagmire of “It is the way it is done!” without asking “where?”. The way it is done in Ghana? Nigeria? Africa? Asia? Or the way it is done in Heaven? How would business be done in Heaven, if any such thing exists?
The Grand Cover-up
I think everyone needs to be alert when people try to hoodwink them with religiosity. One who has never heard of Christ should be so impressed with the conduct, honesty, fairness, genuineness, diligence, excellence and so on of a Christian Businessman that he asks, “What is it that makes you behave this way?” Rather than the “Christian Businessman” boring him with empty religious words and cliches.
46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” Luke 20:47
According to https://www.infoplease.com there are about 6500 spoken languages in the world. But I dare say that wherever you come from or whatver language you speak, there are means of comunication that are understand across all culture which we can take advantage of to win friends and influence people.
Wear A Smile
A smile is one of the most powerful indications of acceptance across the human race. A smile says to the other person, “You are welcome to my personal space…”. If nothing else is said, a smile is enough to tell the other person that he or she would like to see you again. Best of all, wearing a smile is the most inexpensive accessory you can add to your outfit, and it can come with significant rewards.
Make Eye Contact
Looking at someone when they are talking to you tells that person that they are important to you. It tells them you are paying attention exclusively to them while they are trying to communicate with you. It tells them they are more important that your phone or computer or whatever else is competing for your attention at that very moment. And guess what, you can make every single person that walks into your personal space feel that much important. The value of such a disposition to you is that you will also be important to every one of those same people and more. Eye contant may not come naturally but it can become part of you by practice. However, be careful not to stare or say what you don’t intend to say with your eyes.
Pass a Compliment
Saying something nice to some about something they are wearing or the way they look is a wonderful way to get remembered wherever you go. Your name may not even be the point of reference, maybe just what you said. And what you said, will be the starting point for the next discussion. A compliment makes the recipient aware that you noticed them in detail and they will notice you too the next time you need their help. Passing a compliment is not like buying a gift or giving a tip: it costs absolutely nothing yet works with almost everyone in creating a high-yield investment. Say something nice to the waitress, the receptionist, your colleague, your boss, whoever. it is simply universal.