Category Archives: Rants

You are You, no matter what may be

In the early days of my professional life, as a young clinical officer working for a private hospital group in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, I had this funny experience. The hospital had this doctor’s resting room, where we would catch a quick nap during night calls. The room was pretty cosy and had this wonderful air-conditioning unit that would hum ever so softly as it cooled both the body and the nerves (I hated night call duty so much).

Unfortunately for me, a cockerel also loved the air-conditioner, that is the warm section outside of the room. So every night he would cuddle there. Not that I cared. But as my nerve-racked self sought respite in my slavish condition, some time between 3 – 4 am, this Mister would begin to crow. And believe me, crow he could. The first day it happened I woke up with my heart pounding, because of the volume of the sound (this cockerel was pretty big), which was worsened by the proximity of the head of my bed to the air-conditioner. When I realized what was really making that awful noise, I ran outside and saw the huge bird perched on the rail of the air-conditioning unit and promptly whacked it with my slipper and chased it off.

Feeling good with myself, I returned to my chambers to continue my dream from where I was so rudely interrupted by my feathered friend.

Then “Cock-doodle-doooo”! It happened again, only, this time around, much louder (apparently he was just tuning up when he woke me up the first time). I ran out again. WHACK!!!

Suffice to say, I didn’t get to sleep again that night. Or the next time I was on night duty. Or the one after that. Until, I presume, the owner of Mr. Cck needed his presence for dinner…As I thought about this, three things came to my mind: Every creature, including we humans, is made for a purpose. Your purpose is defined by your potential. Your potential is expressed in your assignment, your passion. Your passion may be attacked but it cannot be extinguished by anything, including external threats as long as there is breath in you.

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Employees Are Poor

I’ve known this for a while, since reading Robert Kiyosaki’s bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad 16 years ago–an employee is poor or conversely, you can never create wealth from job working for another person. Today I saw it in the book of Truth, the Holy Bible.

In 1 Samuel chapter 2, the woman Hannah delivered a highly inspired speech in the course of prayer and it contains many gems of wisdom. The one that caught my eye regarding this topic is found in verse 5:

Those who once had plenty of food now must work for food, but people who were hungry are hungry no more.–1 Samuel 2:5a (New Century Version)

In the Kiyosaki book, some statements stood out for me such as “Do not work for money, but work to learn” and “Mind your own business“. The Bible verse makes it clear to me that poor people work for food and indeed this embodies the curse God placed om the ground when Adam fell (note, God did not curse Adam, but the ground!) That curse states that he would sweat before he eats. Thankfully that curse has been done away with!

Before the Industrial Age, it was generally a mark of penury for one to be indentured in service to another human being. Free men, even if not overtly rich, favoured the pursuit of entrepreneurship over regular employment. The norm was for a young person to learn a trade or acquire a skill, usually via an apprenticeship, and then use that to build his or her personal fortune.

Today, this natural economic model has been flipped over. People study for years hoping to be servants for most, if not all, of their lives. Individualism is gradually becoming anathema while collectivism and group think is having a field day.

Nowadays, people want the government to provide for them and are prepared to sacrifice the freedom God gave them to avoid personal responsibility. I disagree strongly with this worldview – God made us free agents and gave each of use unique gifts and talents to express that freedom whilst providing value for other members of the human family. I believe that our connection to one another, economically speaking, lies in the value we provide, which also influences the value we receive in return.

So, I think we should work to learn and be bold to use what we’ve learnt to create value for the rest of society and get paid in return. It’s kind of simplistic but that, to my mind, is the beginning. The details for implementing this would vary of course, but that seems to the crux of the matter.

This is just a rant; if you have something to teach me, feel free to do so in the comments section.

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Is Wine Permissible for Christians?

I find myself somewhat bemused at the way Christians run into arguments over trivial matters. The “religionists” would have you believe that there is something wrong with drinking wine (the fermented version), trying to twist and turn the scriptures for their benefit.

Today I decided to look closely at the word ‘oinos‘, which was used in the Greek New Testament book of 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse 23, where Paul was admonishing his protege to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake.

Now, I will stick to this passage and not try to put together scripture upon scripture to support the consumption of alcohol. Some say that the oinos refers to both fermented and unfermented wines, and that Paul was referring to the latter. To this I ask this question: of what ‘medicinal value’ would ordinary grape juice be to one’s stomach? Our old-time mothers would laugh us to scorn if we were to make such a suggestion.

For the avoidance of doubt, I, as a person, do not take anything alcoholic and my reasons for being a teetotaller are strictly personal and not based on any moral or religious stand against alcohol consumption. Alcohol, when misused, is a destroyer of destinies and is best avoided entirely, but one thing I hate passionately is when people are put into bondage by the whims of fellow humans. My leaders at church preach against it vehemently – and I respect them nonetheless – but the record of the Bible (both Old and New Testament), as far as I’ve currently seen, is very clear on this. If anyone feels like going into this discussion on a deeper level, you’re free to prime me with a comment.

That said, I would suggest to all Christians that they “study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed. rightly dividing the word of truth.”

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Let’s talk (please!)

People talking

I tried something out recently. There was a time I was part of one of these high yield investment programs (HYIP), which many will tell you is actually a fancy word for SCAM.

Anyway, somebody I trusted (and he is indeed trustworthy, to a fault) invited me to participate in a particular program and after a while I got bored with it. Of course, I wouldn’t be fooled to actually drop any dollars into the site, particularly as due diligence revealed that, at that particular time, people were not able to withdraw their funds when they needed them. Of course, I never recruited anybody, but tried to find whether this program could be any use to me as an individual. This was some 5-6 years ago.

Why am I talking about this? Well, recently, as I was looking at the stats on The Opportunist. I discovered that a few years ago, this blog was enjoying a lot of views with the referrals coming from this HYIP site. Wow, I thought to myself, I had better get back on this program now!

I rejoined the program a couple of years ago, and after ignoring them for a couple of weeks, they gave me $10 worth of credit for what they call the “Traffic Exchange” which got me 200 views on any site of my choice. The Opportunist in me couldn’t resist the opportunity, (haha!) and truly, I began to enjoy a significant increase in traffic.

A few days ago, I received a visitor to a recent blog posts that I had shared via an Empire.Kred “mission” (see this blog for an explanation). Interestingly, I get a few visitors  this way – people who actually engage my posts via Likes, Reblogs and Comments. It is always heartwarming to interact with some of them and to connect in a richer and deeper way.

I think this is what “social” is all about.

I have decided that I won’t ever be going back to the Traffic Exchange. I don’t just need rooftop stats like views or visits. I want engagement. I prefer genuine contact. I long for discourse.

As we do our thing online, let’s remember that we are people and people are social beings that long to stay in touch with one another.

“And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone…” (Holy Bible: Genesis chapter 2, verse 18)

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Be selective which debit card you use in Nigeria

Atm clip art

Sometimes one wonders whether the people in the government ever know what they are doing.

The other day, I tried using an ATM belonging to Fidelity Bank, but the machine decided to retain the card. This was after a successful transaction a few minutes earlier on the same machine. I was asked by the security guard to come the following day as it was already very late.

On getting to the bank the following morning, rather than return my card or direct me on where I could collect it (the last time such a thing happened at the same branch, I was referred to my bank (Zenith Bank) for collection – and it went smoothly.

To my utter dismay, I was informed that in line with current central bank regulations, all ATM cards that got stuck in machines other than those belonging to the issuing bank were to be forfeited and destroyed. This really got me angry as I questioned the rationale behind this, given that whenever we used our debit cards on ATMs of other banks, we were being charged N65 per transaction (or thereabouts).

Well, I had no choice but to go to my bank for a new debit card. I got my replacement quite alright, but (1) I had to wait 5 working days to collect it, (2) it set me back N1,000 and (3) the validity period of my “new” card is just 5 months, which means that, technically, I’m still operating my old card.

So, is it any wonder that the government’s ‘Cashless Policy’ is a total failure? I wonder what part of the body they use to do their thinking…

If you’re in Nigeria, my advice to you is this: Never use your debit card on an ATM that does not belong to issuing bank. The stress you will face should anything go wrong (not to talk of the expense) is not worth the so-called ‘convenience’.

Debit xard

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