LEADERS - not followers

Saturday, January 31, 2009


For Sunday Scribblings - Regrets


Had those hasty words remained
And those broken promises
Been kept
How could we be sure
We’d have no regrets?
In the long term
Things may turn out for the best

Lessons learnt from past mistakes
A more disciplined approach
To words and deeds
Pre-empting cause, effect
And consequence
And avoiding
Repetition of regret

In making future plans
We should
Remember the past
And with hindsight
We may
Look back and smile
All those errors
We can
Put down to experience
So that this time
We shall
Go the extra mile

As we lay this ghost ‘Regret’
To rest
Exorcise our demons
Start afresh
Walk with confidence
While acknowledging
Credit due to past regrets
For our success

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


For TOP Intersections


I only eat one meal a day.
The timing must be exact.
Obsessive, compulsive habit?
Maybe so, but it’s a fact.

Call me eccentric, if you like,
each evening, I eat my dinner.
‘Intersections’ force me to.

One consequence of FOOD’s journey;
anagram formed by enzyme.
Useless Roy – gone; leaves the Romans
to dictate precise mealtime.

A standard diet; meat, veg, fruit,
contains a combination
and, for your information:

Once consumed, the body begins
the process of digestion.
New compounds form, all with new names.
What are they? Is the question.

Nutrient breakdown leaves us with
AMINO ACIDS to cope with;
words we may not understand.

Not easy to remember names,
without a face we know.
Abbreviations easier
to memorise, and so:

is dismissed from further thought.
As we all know, some names don’t fit,
or they’re really not our sort.

Now we’re left with only ROMANS;
Roman numerals, you see?
L C L C L M I C;
not forgetting I and D.

M; one thousand. D; five hundred.
Three C’s; add three hundred more.
L times three; one hundred fifty.
I plus I; two. What’s the score?

It all adds up; the numerals
Everything can be related,
if we really want it to.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fourth Millennium 17


For WIJ 16 Brand New Day
Matinee Muse Power Of Imagination
Sunday scribblings Phantoms And Shadows

11 Shades Of Grey

Sleep, and its confusing, unrelated sequence of dreams, added further irritation to the persistence and torment of unanswered questions that Marc’s lengthy explanations, or suppositions, had provoked. The promise of answers; clarification, had been dangled tantalisingly before the eyes of the three friends. The bait had been cast, and the collective curiosity that had been aroused, even prior to meeting Marc, now became an obsessive requirement that could not be permitted to elude them. Marc’s indication that the details they craved, required the fulfilment of certain conditions, and would be presented to them in ‘qualifying stages’, was clearly a reference to the even greater complexity of the difficulties they would, undoubtedly encounter, once they had confirmed their already pre-determined decision to continue with their quest. Like everything else, it was a process, and had to be allowed to unfold, without artificial influences that mere desire might inspire. Analysis, logic, and dedication, would have to overshadow the compelling radiance of the trophy they sought. The ultimate goal; the priceless treasure of truth, could so easily, and so rapidly, mutate into a shallow lie, if the obsession were allowed to become dependence; addiction. The guiding light it offered could become a blinding beam of intensity, burning with the deceit of fool’s gold. It was the realisation of this depressing factor that tempered the inquisitive yearnings of the trio, and disciplined their malnourished attitudes.
Ironically, their patient, controlled approach was a direct result of the doctrines of the regime, under which they endured existence in the Nation. ‘Questions and lies; if you don’t ask, you don’t get; if you don’t want, you don’t ask’; the slogan that had been instilled into the consciousness of each inhabitant of the Nation, practically from birth. The phrase was designed and practiced, with great success, to deter the ‘unconstitutional’ concept of creative thought, and the potential storm that the possession, let alone the interpretation of concepts, could create.
One question, however, which seemed entirely pertinent to the continuity of the quest, repeatedly visited Starling’s thoughts. Although he believed he knew the only possible answer, he felt it prudent to pose it to Marc, for two basic reasons. One; he would be able to gain a clearer insight into Marc’s pattern of preparation for a task. Two; he would be able to assess the competence of his own idea.
A third, coincidental outcome, may be the introduction of the prospect of options. Alternatives, or back-up plans, may be luxuries that would be denied them because of the restraints imposed on them by the nature of the quest. At the very least, they would prove invaluable assets of increasing rarity, as progress was either granted, or thwarted by that unknown quantity, circumstance.
Starling delivered his question with a certain amount of expectancy that possibly hinted at his possession of a credible and practical solution.
“I understand the requirement for a proactive approach, from us, to certain predicaments that, tackled effectively, will determine our OWN effectiveness, but tell me please, Carp…or Marc; how do YOU envisage actually ‘escaping’ from the Nation?”
Marc’s response was predictably matter of fact, at the same time as being an invitation to Starling, to demonstrate his initiative.
“We have but one means of transport available. With or without it, the ocean is what lies between us and St. George. I propose we FIND my boat.
First and foremost, we must confirm the continued existence of my boat, then evaluate, and if necessary, restore its seaworthiness. Finally we will navigate to the ‘Ring’. There, our real trials begin.” Marc let out a sigh and continued. “Life used to be good…better at least; simpler, believe it or not, on St. George. Unrestricted travel was permitted; encouraged…AND it was safe. One would think that progress would have been made in a hundred years, but time seems to have…correction HAS, unquestionably, stood still in the Nation.
I appreciate that nobody is officially aware of the former existence of boats, ships and sailing vessels, but it is quite clear to anyone, with ANY knowledge of the properties of water and air, that certain objects are able to float, while others sink. I suppose most people attribute this to the weight of an individual item, and the forces of gravity. They are probably unable to contemplate the concept of water-based transport of objects unable to float on their own merits; their density. I also appreciate that all forms of water-based transport were abolished at the time of the ‘Purges’. I realise that this was mainly because sea-going craft were no longer relevant modes of transport, but in practical terms, it was yet another restriction, imposed on personal liberties.
YOUR initial task will be to determine by what means, if any, we are able to gain access to beyond the coastal defensive wall.”
The one-on-one conversation continued, with Nightingale and Rose content to listen, and wait for its conclusion.
“That ought not to present too much of a problem.” Starling sounded confident. “The guards here are not as efficient as the ‘Service Personnel’ in our Sector. As long as you possess official proof of your travelling permission, which is generally issued only to ‘official’ government representatives…for which I easily qualified myself…they don’t even bother to ask any questions.” He displayed his travel permission disc. “I’ve ALREADY put this to use, in order to gain access to beyond the wall. Although, officially, only Nightingale and I are included in its validity, it was simple enough to invent an excuse for taking Rose along with us. I’m sure it will serve, equally effectively, to repeat the exercise; this time with YOU in tow.” Starling presented his solution and awaited its evaluation.
“This is precisely the kind of creativity so many of the previous candidates were, sadly, lacking. You see Starling; physical abilities as well as mental agility, do not come from the tools one employs to perform an action or activity. They come from here;” Marc patted his chest, indicating his heart; “inside one’s very essence. It is possible to apply the principles, that each of us possesses; has acquired by association, to ALL things; everything we do; everything we ARE.
The revelation of your ‘disc of authority’ could speed things up exponentially.” Marc was duly impressed, allowing Starling to add further comment.
“Something I learnt from Robin was the discipline of studying reactions. I picked up the principles he taught me, very quickly, and in this short space of time, I have come to learn, and more importantly, UNDERSTAND, much about human nature, and how simple it can often be, to manipulate a given situation to your own advantage.
Robin taught me that reactions are not ALWAYS opposite and equal to the actions that cause them, and it is the difference between one reaction and another that enables us to evaluate a situation. In the case of the security staff, at the wall, I just played off their arrogance as the means to my end.” Starling believed his mentor, Robin, had taught him well.
Marc responded with his own assessment.
“By ‘arrogance’, Starling, I assume that what you REALLY mean is ‘self-confidence’, which YOU possess in spades. It is the CLASH of one person’s arrogance against another’s that determines the TRUE strength of an individual’s personality. The inevitable outcome, without exception, is that the stronger PERSONALITY emerges victorious.
In many ways, or in one way in particular, ‘arrogance’ is an indication of a highly sophisticated, organised and advanced intellect. I don’t refer to ‘bravado’ or ‘impetuosity’. If one TRULY knows one’s self, one will become aware of one’s boundless capabilities; and it is the reactions of others that influence one’s acquaintance with one’s TRUE self. This is what allows one to realise one’s true POTENTIAL.
It is MY considered opinion that REACTIONS, however they may APPEAR, are in fact opposite AND equal, just as the laws of Physics dictate. In human perception, the reactions of SOME seem POSITIVE, while those of OTHERS appear NEGATIVE. However, if we put this into PERSPECTIVE, they ACTUALLY amount to PRECISELY, ABSOLUTELY the same thing.
If one is able, capable of DRAWING from the ENERGY created by BOTH examples of PERCEIVED reaction, to one’s own ACTIONS, one will discover that BOTH will produce an IDENTICAL end –result.
Allow me to pose a brace of rhetorical questions, in order to illustrate my point.
On how many occasions have YOU been able to achieve the ‘impossible’, just because others have ‘willed’ you to do so, by their support of your cause?
By the same token, on how many occasions have you achieved a similar result, by your OWN ‘will’, in order to prove your doubters WRONG; accepting their apparently unfeasible challenge, and claiming victory?
Sometimes it is necessary to FOCUS on the ACTUAL reaction, not on what one merely PERCEIVES as the reaction. This is where most people become confused with the principle of Newton’s law. The REAL reaction, in this instance, is not that of your CHALLENGER, but your OWN.”
Marc’s deliberately excessive use of stress on particular words, or phrases, highlighted his specific interpretation of what was, essentially, an absolute. However, he emphasised correctly that it was not possible for everyone to fully understand and appreciate the principles of absolutes. His characteristic quotation mark animations, which Starling now realised Robin, and others had merely inherited, increased the dramatic effect of, as well as adding further emphasis to, his consideration.
Starling’s revised understanding was that, although Robin had, in all likelihood, misinterpreted or misunderstood the premise; the fact that his assessment of what he only PERCEIVED to be the real reactions to any given actions was what determined the eventual outcome of his analysis; it was in fact, what validated them.
He thanked Marc for his explanation, and turned to Nightingale and Rose.
“Well, it’s down to us now, let’s use today to prepare ourselves and tomorrow we’ll make our initial move. Marc, do you go along with that?”
“That’s the kind of decision making ability my previous ‘guides’ were lacking. Tomorrow it is; get everything ready you consider useful.”

Copyright © Stanislaw Skibinski

Thursday, January 22, 2009

TOP Ceremonies


Tradition dictates a ceremony
Speeches, parades and pageantry
Custom and practice; habitual
Oath of Office; a ritual

Once the theatricals, parties are through
Duty dictates a job to do
Breaking tradition; be first in all things
So all can come first; a dream fit for King
Priority issues, economy, wars
Global Green worries the World ignores
Each day a fresh page in history
So don’t ever stand on ceremony

The first hundred days will act as a gauge
Be proactive; first to engage
Rise to the challenge with dignity
Embrace each task with humility
Approach the doubts of the critical
With an attitude, analytical
Perform to your best ability
Modestly; without ceremony

First amongst equals, the first to achieve
First term in office, a change we believe
Given a second term, what irony
No need to change the ‘Change’ policy

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday Scribblings Pilgrimage


If the aesthetic nature of Nongbualamphu province was pleasing enough to the eye, then Loei was more beautiful still. Set high in the northern hills, close to the border with Laos, it is surrounded by even higher mountains. The scenery is quite breathtaking and if the poverty appeared a little less evident than in the villages around Non Sang, the lifestyle was equally relaxed.
It was an emotional visit for Mok who was being re-united with her real mother for the first time in quarter of a century.
Long, as ever, had driven us the hundred or so kilometres and we arrived to a welcoming party of Mok’s mother and four children. The children, two girls in their late teens or early twenties and two boys aged six and nine, were not as intrigued by me as had been the case in Nongbualamphu, but they were just as eager to hold and cuddle our son Changnoi, and introduce him to his new surroundings.
The house, again a traditionally styled wooden construction, was quite different to the one we’d stayed in the previous week. Inside, it was partitioned off into individual rooms and the ground floor area was completely enclosed. One of the typical low-slung tables; timber framed with split bamboo forming the surface, stood under the porchway at the front of the house. Mok and I sat and joined the family, who had invited us to share the food that had already been served prior to our arrival.
We spent a relaxed week, visiting, or being visited by, relatives and friends, enjoying lakeside picnics and walks into the hills. Bangkok and the rest of the world seemed a million miles away, and I could tell by the sparkle in Mok’s eyes, as well as the sheer pleasure she took from showing me around, that Isan was where her heart really was. It had me enchanted too and I couldn’t have asked for more from a region of unspoilt natural beauty.
The people I met always seemed so genuinely pleased to see me and nothing was ever too much trouble for them. The knowledge that every single ingredient in every meal I had eaten had been grown or reared by the same hands that had prepared, cooked and served the food, added an extra dimension to the chore of eating. The children, old and young alike, especially impressed me. It was their willingness to accept their circumstances without complaint, that shamed me into realising I’d grown up abusing many of the privileges that I’d come to expect as of right. An incident, which served as a poignant example of this, occurred the day before our departure.
Next door, other members of the extended family were celebrating the return home, from working in Bangkok, of their eldest son.
The twenty five year old had made his own personal pilgrimage, for the first time in three years, bringing with him the customary collection for the temple that served the village.
The money he had collected from friends, neighbours and workmates in Bangkok was still inside the sealed envelopes, the village monks had sent to him. These envelopes had, in turn, been placed into a small bag which was now being emptied out onto one of the low bamboo-surfaced tables in front of his family home.
His mother was carefully knifing open the envelopes, most of which appeared to contain multiples of the twenty Baht minimum required donation. Much of the cash was in ten or twenty baht banknotes, but there were also several fifties and half a dozen hundreds, in the collection. A few of the envelopes only contained the bare minimum, twenty Baht, in loose coins.
Once again, a young banana plant, dressed with coconut palm leaves had been prepared for the offering. This one was bigger than the standard size, most of the other villagers would offer, due to the number of people who had donated. It was much more ornate, with jasmine petals, speared to the tips of the palms. It was mounted on a four legged support, constructed from bamboo. Further strips of split bamboo, had been arranged in tiered fans, forming a focal point, on which to display the offering. The finished structure, measured almost two metres tall.
Once all the envelopes had been opened, the family began counting up. On average, the contributions worked out at around sixty Baht per envelope, with a grand total of just under six thousand Baht.
Family, friends and neighbours, gathered to add their own collections to the total, and a quick whip-round, made the final figure, eight thousand Baht. Mok and I contributed a further one thousand Baht apiece, rounding off the sum to ten thousand.
Banknotes were arranged, from the centre, in order of value, onto the spliced bamboo strips. Our two, one thousands took centre stage, followed by the hundreds, fifties, twenties, and finally, on the extremities, tens.
The loose change, totalling one hundred and eighty four Baht, was deposited inside a silver fruit bowl, along with the empty envelopes, which bore the names of the donors. The whole display would be paraded through the village, where similar groups of collectors would join in, with their own offerings, in order to process to the Wat and make the presentations to the monks.
The carnival atmosphere, which always seemed to accompany such processions, was once again in evidence, as we made the now familiar, tour of the village, picking up more people at every turn, until it seemed the entire population was in attendance.
Three circuits of the main temple building, gaily festooned with colourful depictions of Buddha’s travels, were completed, before moving inside, to attend a service, in which all the fundraisers would receive special attention and blessings, from the saffron-clad monk, leading the ritual.
Mok had been unusually quiet throughout the day; our last day before returning to Bangkok. I could see that she obviously had things on her mind, and I already knew how much she disliked being away from her home and family. I would wait for a conveniently quiet time, before tackling her, and finding out if she was thinking the same thoughts that had begun to spark conjecture in my own mind.
We’d opted for the overnight bus journey back to Bangkok; leaving the village’s tiny bus station at seven ‘o’ clock. Estimated arrival time at Morchit was four thirty in the morning.
Although I’d have loved to stay on for a further week, the visit was over, and also it seemed, yet another phase of my life, as the bus rattled along Isan’s highways.
I turned towards Mok, who was cradling the sleeping Changnoi, staring pensively, out of the window, gazing at the stars.
I came straight out with the question that I hoped she was burning to ask of me, but dare not, for fear of disappointment from a negative response.
“When do you want me to take you home?”
She stared deep into my eyes, exploring my features for any trace of irony, but could find none. Tears welled up in her own eyes and fell, silently, caressing her cheeks with the warmth of their moisture. She swallowed hard and managed;
“Soon;” sniffing and swallowing once more, as her face brightened into an angelic smile; “very soon.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

WI Just Around The corner

Updated 15 Feb for TOP – Coin a New Word

No newly coined word from me, but an entirely new method
of communication develops in a recent post that takes the
concept of word verification to its absurd extreme


When the curtain is drawn down
On ears that refuse to hear
And voices that will not speak
Then eyes that no longer see
Can no more bear false witness
To the illusionists lies

When they do away with words
The silent minority
Have just cause to celebrate

Not one syllable stated
No debate, no argument
Muted moral victory
A quiet satisfaction

An unspoken prophecy
Fulfilled by unchecked default
Unwritten suicide note
Undelivered, unaddressed
Language’s self-destruction
Assisted by apathy

The process begins with speech
Complacently corrupted
Silent H’s, G’s and T’s
Word mispronunciations

Ignored communications
Inarticulate voices
Colloquial expressions
That nobody understands

Deaf ears, dismissed instructions
Render vocals obsolete
Illegible handwriting
Transmitted to printed words
Completes the transformation

But few will even notice
Because eyes will be tight shut

When the sun no longer shines
And eternal darkness reigns
Over disillusioned eyes
Voices will no longer speak
Because ears don’t want to hear
That the end is soon to come

Defiant in denial
A new beginning beckons
Human nature steers its course

In the place of sights and sounds
Tactile communication
Expressing thoughts in feelings
Touching hands and hearts and minds

Inspiring understanding
Subconsciously accepted
By subliminal consent
All hands are joined together
All hearts beat in unison
And all minds become as one

Future, present, history
Height, length, width; irrelevant
Thus condensing time and space
To a single dimension

Senses dulled, but sense sharpened
Witnessing without seeing
Speaking though never talking
Listening without hearing

Ambiguity banished
Controversy defeated
The blind are blind no longer
Mute voices are amplified
And the deaf, at last, can hear

Mankind – created equal –
Recreates equality

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Naisaiku a new word coined by Wendy Naisa.
CLKNCHK, or do I mean Click and check?
Meanwhile. Here’s something that tickled me.
I thought it was worth repeating

I heard it said on TV
‘Blasphemy’, surely?
‘Blasphemy’, surely?
I heard it said on TV

But seriously – isn’t the beauty of the
English language it’s flexibility?

TOP The Other Side

Looks Familiar

A stone’s throw away
Stands my executioner
A man without sin?