Monday, March 8, 2010

Class of 2009

My brothers and sisters of the class of 2009,

Be humble

You reap what you sow

In a new place
Remember where you come from
Remember you come in what form

Get familiar with the people
You never know who can help you put up a great show
You never know who can help your dreams grow

It’s a jungle
So create an identity
That you can take pride in


Be prepared to meet all sorts of people
In all sorts of places

Learn from the experiences of others
Especially when they are willing to share

(but not too much)

It may be nature’s call
For you to give back to others
Even when you only have 30 seconds to decide

Surround yourself with inspiring characters
They may just inspire you

(but don’t forget how much)


Take a stand
But don't be afraid to stand corrected
Get your voice heard
But don't forget to listen

Even to those who can’t see you
Even to those who can’t hear you


Plan and prepare
But be prepared to change and adapt
But still create wealth


Fight for your rights
Fight for what you believe is right
You can't make everyone happy
But try understand what's it like being in their shoes

Remember the masks people wear
Remember the masks you wear

Appreciate the value of others
and the value of yourself


Partake in the simple joys of others
It may make you smile too

Carry babies from the cot
And notice the hornbills on tree-tops

Go outside sometimes
And do battle with the elements

Let the natives dance
And then join them


Like what you do
I say it again
Like what you do

Practice, many more times

Have fun with acronyms
But find out why things are named so weird

like it really matters

Be prepared
along the way

It may turn out to be the best

Embrace your results
But promise yourself
You will move on quick

Don't underestimate
what you can learn from others
Don't underestimate
what others can learn from you

It's not too long
It's not too short
a time
It's what you do with time

As time goes by

But always

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday...

but never remembers her age.

Although my birthday celebrations tend to be more muted than the average Joe, I've had a few that will stay with me for a few more birthdays to come.


There was one when I turned 10 I think, where I got many M.A.S.K. toys... Thunderhawk, Condor, Raven, Switchblade, Iguana…


In high school, there were three of us in my class who had the same birthdates. What are the odds of that??

(seriously, what are the odds of that?)


Surprise birthday parties can go horribly wrong. This one year, there were about 30 people crammed into a house in Nottingham waiting to surprise me. What no one realised was I had wanted to spend the night quietly, and had other plans. The guys who were to bring me to the house only managed to convince me to follow them after a considerable amount of time... and by the time I made my entry, I had to face quite a number of pissed people!


This one five years ago takes the cake!

I got a bouquet of flowers sent to me at the office, signed off “secret admirer”. I immediately thought it was my colleagues, as they were the ones who would tend to remember these dates, but their denials revealed it wasn’t. The handwriting on the card though, looked familiar. I had my suspicions.

I went home and dug through some old papers at the bottom drawer of the cupboard, and finally found some evidence! I looked at the handwriting on the card that came with the bouquet, and compared it with the one on the note written by a friend 10 years earlier. The similarities were obvious! Add to the fact that this friend's birthday was a day before mine - she would definitely remember! The first thing I did was to inform my colleagues how I solved the mystery of the "secret admirer" so quickly.

I also figured it must have been a double act, and so messaged this friend and another who I was certain was involved as well.

They feigned knowledge at first.

And still feigned knowledge a few phone calls later.

They denied and denied... and continued denying... till the end of the day.

The next day, late afternoon, I finally found out it was indeed my colleagues. They were apparently splitting slides the whole evening before as I updated them the progress of my forensics...

The next year, those two friends sent me a bouquet on my birthday, and in the card they wrote, “we’re sorry we forgot your birthday last year, but this time it’s really us!”


Two years ago, and this time back in Nottingham, 4 big guys (Florian, Chris, Bilal, Wira) waylaid me and bundled me into a cab to an all-you-can-eat buffet. These guys were really hungry. My birthday was just an excuse.


This year, it was the first with the wife. Very memorable! Thanks dear.

Now if only birthdays came every month… :-)