LEADERS - not followers

Saturday, May 31, 2008

WI Extravagant, Class, Fall From Grace

Many of us come from relatively humble backgrounds,
and I guess we can all look back and laugh at ‘harder times’,
as we remember when even the basic, simple pleasures, seemed EXTRAVAGENT


It was built for neither speed nor comfort
But all I could afford back in the day
Was something to get us from A to B
That we could jump aboard without delay
The main thing; it was perfect just for two
My choice of transport was hardly random
A classic; built by master craftsmen
Ok, so what if it was a tandem?

So, where are we now? Has our social status improved?
Or are we worse off than before?
Of course some are born into a life of self-sufficiency.
‘The Good Life’? Or abject poverty?


Harvest time in Isan
Means labour; sweat and pain
Gathering food for another year
That Holy, precious grain

Rice! Glutinous and sticky
Is what it’s all about
We’re off, down to the farm now
It’s time to check it out

The heat is so oppressive
One hundred in the shade
A flash of light that dazzles you
Is just the sickle blade

But it’s money in your pocket
And worth it, in a way,
For ten hours work, not riches,
Two hundred Baht a day

That’s just three Pounds, in English.
Would you get out of bed
For even that, an hour
Or stay asleep instead?

I don’t think so, but here
It’s an honest daily rate
Food and drink included
You go home feeling great!

And when it’s all been gathered
It’s time to sort it out
The rice from chaff; and bag it
Two hundred sacks, about

That’s sixteen sacks a month, though
Much more than we can eat
We’ll sell a hundred sacks, or more
This year we’ll have a treat

And when we get the rice home
We can use it, straight away
Fresh grown rice for breakfast
Lunch, tea, dinner, every day!

Boiled, steamed, or sticky
Cook it how you wish
But in Isan, we’re not fussy
So it’s STICKY every dish!

And what if the ‘unthinkable’ happens? Would we cope without
some of the EXTRAVAGANCES our concept of
CLASS and its 'advantages' provide?
How would we react to such a FALL FROM GRACE?


What happens when all the good food runs out?
When the supermarkets don’t open late?
Will they expect us to just do without?
To take the last resort and seal our fate?
What happens when they shut their doors for good?
Or bad, more like. What do people do then?
The village stores are just not big enough
To cope with the demands of hungry men
There’ll be no choice; we’ll have to live on bread
And water, just like prisoners in jail
But our jail is the world that we have made
We’ll have to put our houses up for sale
Because we won’t be fit to go to work;
Toiling on empty stomachs doesn’t pay.
Are we not men? How come nobody knows?
Where does all the food come from anyway?

Take a look around you and you will see
Many people, not as well-off as you
People who have never known it better
People from countries, not so well-to-do
You never stop to think how they survive
No work, no money; nowhere to call home
How do you think those people stay alive?
Do as the Roman’s do, when you’re in Rome
Do you think that food doesn’t grow on trees?
Swim in rivers and crawl along the ground?
Go out fishing; keep your own birds and bees
That’s what they do; their world still spins around
Survival of the fittest may not be
A ‘cool’ concept for modern-thinking men
But you must know, that when ‘push’ comes to ‘shove’
You’re just like Daniel in the lion’s den
Except, of course, you have to stand and fight
The first time in your life; are you prepared?
Or will you just surrender to the beast?
You should have known; you should have really cared

This life of convenience makes us all
Expect we can get anything at all
When we want; on twenty four-seven call
Let’s see what happens when the dark skies fall.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

TOP Absent friends


Cast your spell, and conjure up your presence
We’ll walk together, hand in hand, again
Holding tightly, savouring the moment
You’ll touch my heart, and smile your perfect smile
A tree-lined avenue, springtime blossoms
Pinks to deepest crimson; glistening jewels
Reflecting shafts of evening’s golden glow
Pale, by comparison to one so fair
Aromatic, your favourite perfume
Drifts to the rhythm of a silent breeze
Surfing the senses, in wave after wave
Until we reach the point of no return
Compelled to walk away, by force unknown
The scene rotates, but part of you remains
The Earth emits a mournful, haunting sigh
So final…so profound…the saddest thing
Yet beautiful; a fitting, fond farewell
In recognition of your life of love
Echoing, and ever more intensely
In moments of despair, sadness, or fear
Calling out to me, offering succour
Reaching, drawing me into your bosom
‘There, there’, you whisper; comfort to your child
Your magic never really went away

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TOP Triolet

Thoughts on getting old(er), including TOP prompt - Triolet


I’m thinking about Time
And how it takes its toll
On our bodies and minds
I’m thinking…about time
I started to prepare
For when Time is no more
I’m thinking. About time!
Better late than never


Do I really remember the Sixties?
Seventies? As well as Eighties, Nineties
Or is it only imagination?
Events just my playful, youthful mind sees?

Do I really remember The Beatles?
Monochrome TV and the days before
DVD, Internet, or Mobile Phone
There’s just NO WAY I can be forty four!

I refuse to believe I’m so ancient
Therefore those memories of times gone by
Mere visions of a fictional era
As seen through the gleam in my father’s eye.


The future ended a long, long time ago
How do I know…? I was there!
But guess what? You were also there, beside me
It was more than I could bear

Right now, in this stationary, timeless void
It’s always late November
Endless winter – mocking spring’s broken promise
Taunting us to remember
Now, there’s only the past to look forward to
Ah! The past!…Oh! I can’t wait!
A time of promise and great expectation
A time to anticipate
We will have cause to predict prosperity
We will always get it right
We will think of our other, before our self
Why should we have cause to fight?

All those careful plans, we’ll make for tomorrow
We will feast upon the crumbs!
…Asphyxiated by irony…we’ll know
Why tomorrow never comes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Silver Linings

Cosmopolitan Utopia

Beneath the ice of Antarctica
Lies earth; dry land, not just sea
It won’t be long before Climate Change
Reveals its mystery

People from all around the world
Will form queues to catch first sight
And marvel as they gaze upon
Its wonder and delight

In time, it will be colonised
A new nation will emerge
A phoenix rising from the ashes
Of industry’s thoughtless purge

Is how it will be known
A land of opportunity
A no-hate, greed-free zone

Speaking in their own languages
All will be understood
By everyone who inhabits
This sharing neighbourhood

It’s the perfect environment
For those who accept changes
Old-fashioned, old-world attitudes
Will fade from their exchanges

It won’t matter which words they use
Visitors here will find
Translation useless; all will speak
The tongues of all mankind

All gates will be drawn wide-open
Barriers will be lifted
Linguistic skills, no longer
The sole domain of the gifted

Genuine friendship, open arms
Will greet the new arrival
Gone, the frustrating thoughts of how
To guarantee survival

In words that they can understand
Best wishes will be proclaimed
In time, they’ll learn to repeat these words
Once intolerance is tamed

There’s no need for Esperanto
Like Latin, that’s obsolete
Adjustment of their perception
Will help to achieve the feat

Initiation completed
Languages will flow
From the lips of all new-comers
Letting everybody know

“Greetings! Welcome to your new home
The land that grants you freedom
Where everybody lives their life
In perfect harmony”

“Powitaninia! Powitanie do waszego nowego domowego
Ziemia która przyznaje wam wolność
Gdzie wszyscy żyje ich życie
W doskonałej harmonii”

French/ Francais
“Salutations! Bienvenue dans votre nouveau domicile La terre qui vous donne la liberté Où tout le monde vit leur vie
En harmonie parfaite”

“Karn tak tai! Yindee ton lab su barn mai khong kuhn
Tee din khong kharn anuyart nan hai kuhn khwarm pen isala
Tee serng tuk khon mi sheewit sheewit khong kaotanglai
Nai khwarm khlom klern sombun”

“การทักทาย! ยินดีต้อนรับสู่บ้านใหม่ของคุณ

“Grüße, willkommen in Ihrem neuen Zuhause Das Land, das Ihnen die Freiheit Wo jeder lebt sein Leben In perfekter Harmonie”

“Groeten, welkom in je nieuwe huis Het land dat geeft je vrijheid Waar iedereen leven zijn leven In perfecte harmonie”

“Saludos, bienvenido a tu nueva casa La tierra que le da la libertad Donde todo el mundo vive su vida En perfecta armonia”

“χαιρετισμους, για να καλωσορισουμε το νεο σας σπιτι τη γη, που σας δινει την ελευθερια οπου ο καθενας ζει τη ζωη τους σε τελεια αρμονια”

“Saluti di benvenuto a vostra nuova casa La terra che ti dà la libertà Dove ognuno vive la propria vita In perfetta armonia”

“Saudação de boas-vindas ao seu novo lar A terra que lhe dá a liberdade Onde todo mundo vive a sua vida Em perfeita harmonia”

“привет, добро пожаловать в ваш новый дом земли, что дает вам свободу,
где каждый живет своей жизни в идеальной гармонии”

“Hilsener ! Oensk velkommen til din nytt hjem
landet som bevilger du frihet
Hvor alle lever deres liv
I perfekt harmoni”

Brazilian Portugese/Brasileira Portugal
“Benvido! Benvinda a seu nova casa
O terreno que deferimentos you liberdade
Onde todo o mundo vidas seu vida
Em perfeito harmonia”

“Добре дошъл към нов домашно огнище
Определителен член земя този давам ти свобода
Къде всеки живея техен живот
съвършен хармония”

“Dobrodošli na tvoj nov svatko
Prizemljiti taj odobrenje te nezavisnost
Gdje svi svatko marva njihov život
Savršen sklad”

“Vítat až k tvůj nový domov
Člen určitý dát aby dar tebe členství
Kde každý dobytek jejich duch
Do bezvadný harmonie”

“Velkommen hen til jeres ny hjem
Den lande at tusind dollars jer ubundethed
Der hvor hvortil lever deres liv
I ren overensstemmelse”

“Mieluinen jotta sinun veres koti- joutua
että apuraha te vapaus
Johon kaikki heidän elinikäinen
Kotona moitteeton sopusointu”

“Szívesen lát -hoz -a új haza
A partot ér amit engedélyez ön szabadság
Hol mindenki él életük
-Ban tökéletes összhang”

“Velkominn til þinn nýr heimili
Sveit þessi fjárveiting þú frelsi
Hvar hver og einn búpeningur þeirra líf
Í fullkominn samræmi”

Filipino/ Filipino
“Bati taggapin sa mo bago tahanan
Ang dumaong atipan ng pawid pagkalooban
Ka kalayaan saan lahat ng tao buhay kanila buhay
Di ganap pakakatugunan”

“Bun venit la spre al tău nou casă
Art.hot. pămînt that măreţ tu drum liber
Unde fiecare ficat lor viaţă
Înăuntru parfum acord”

“Pozdrav! Dobrodošli u tvoj nov dom
Određeni član kopno taj odobrenje te nezavisnost
Kuda svatko stoka njihov život
Unutra savršen sklad”

“Voščilo izreči1 Dobrodošlico v vaš nov dom
Svet to dovoljenje vi svoboda kraj
Vsi govedo svoj življenje
V vzoren soglasnost’

“Hälsningarna! Välkomnande till din ny hem
Jorden så pass tusen dollar du friheten
Var var och en lever deras liv
I perfekt harmonien”

“Chroesawa at 'ch 'n grai addef 'r
Dirio a chymorthdaloedd 'ch rhyddid
Ble pawb bucheddau 'n hwy buchedd
I mewn berffeithio chynghanedd”

“Selam Hoş geldiniz -e doğru senin yeni
Ev belgili tanımlık toprak adl.
şu vermek sen hürriyet nereye herkes çiftlik hayvanları onların
Hayat içinde mükemmel uyum”

/Arabicالعربيةالأرض التي تمنحك الحرية حيث يعيش الجميع حياتهم فى انسجام تام

Latin – just in case/Latin - iustus in theca
“Exspectata! Exspectata ut vestri novus domus
terra ut tribuo vos licentia
Qua omnipotens ago suum vita
In perficio consensio”

- Translated word for word; please corect/transliterate/add languges

Saturday, May 10, 2008

WI Faithful


I don’t hold in contempt the familiar
Without intimacy, how then faith?
Yet I yearn for acquaintance with the unknown
Without wisdom, how could there be hope?
People, places, things I know offer comfort
Without respect, how then charity?

But it’s you I turn to for sanctuary
Without goodness, how could there be love?

I don’t know who you are
Still, I know my faith gives me strength
I don’t know of your plans
Still, I know you’re my only hope
I don’t know I’m worthy
Still, I accept your charity

I can’t even prove you exist
Still, I love you…still, I love you

Saturday, May 3, 2008

WI Ferocious

Ferocious v Cautious

Never hesitate
Don’t procrastinate
Strike while the iron is hot
Don’t just stand and wait
Don’t be so sedate
React quickly as a shot
No time like today
Time won’t find a way
When time is of the essence
Wasting time won’t pay
No time to delay
Don’t give in to reticence
A single mission
No repetition
Be courageous, don’t succumb
To indecision
There’s no revision
Tomorrow may never come

Choose a lower gear
Careful as you steer
Study, argue and debate
Panic will bring fear
Don’t hurry, stay clear
Chill, mellow and marinate
And biding your time
Is never a crime
Don’t let a rush of blood
Cloud reason and rhyme
Ridicule the sublime
And convince you bad is good
So contemplate, learn
From bow to the stern
You have to negotiate
Each twist and turn
In time you will earn
The rewards of those who wait

Thursday, May 1, 2008

TOP Like a Cowbird

Fair Weather Friends

Brutal but clever
Birds of a feather
Choose surrogates for their brood
They don’t even watch
As their own eggs hatch
And others provide the food

A similar trait
And one we all hate
Displayed by some we call friends
Who live to receive
Flatter to deceive
Merely a means to their ends

Isn’t it funny?
When it gets sunny
That’s when these leeches appear
They stick to your back
And feel like a sack
But not full of Christmas cheer

According to climate
Leech becomes primate
Not a chip on your shoulder
Monkey on your back
Always ‘all right Jack’
Acceptance makes them bolder

When weekends seem wet
It’s an odds-on bet
They’re gone in a cloud of dust
They’re fair weather friends
They’ll grab what life sends
Taking advantage of trust

Use plenty of salt
If you want to halt
Parasites; it’s better for
Getting rid of pests
With selfish interests
More than just a metaphor