||Issue No. 314 -- 24 January 2005
Quote/s of the Week
Ad Hoc Article/s of the Week
Bits and Bobs
The Legal Beagle
Where are they now?
Club and Other News
Credits and Contact Info
Subscribing and Unsubscribing
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Seems like time has run away with me again this week. Never mind... sometimes we seem on top of things and sometimes the things seem on top of us!
It was Captain Ken’s birthday yesterday... he was adamant that he didn’t want a party, especially a surprise party. So being a dutiful wife I did what I was told. Except my sons decided that he should have a party! We were going out for a quiet supper at a new local Indian restaurant and when we got there we ‘discovered’ family and friends just waiting for us! Here is a pic of the gathering.
Skiing is progressing... my arms are very sore from pulling much harder across the wakes... I want to be skiing the course before we visit the US in July. This time we are going to be taking our waterskis so we can ski on our own lake back in New Hampshire.
For those who might be interested, the summer weather seems to have returned to normal. Sunny and warm to hot during the day and rain only in the late afternoon. We were very pleased not to be in New England for the latest snow storm to hit the North East coast of the US!
Keep your mind on the things you want and off the things you don't want. - Hannah Whitall Smith
Life is like riding a bike. It is impossible to maintain your balance while standing still. - Linda Brakeall
Look and you will find it - what is unsought will go undetected. - Sophocles
Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in, and lend a hand. - Edward Everett Hale
Lose not yourself in a far off time, seize the moment that is thine. - Johann Friedrich Von Schiller
Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. - Anthony Robbins
The first rule of focus is this: "Wherever you are, be there." - Unknown Author
You must remain focused on your journey to greatness. - Les Brown
Send in any quotes you love... that have some special meaning for you... and I will use at least one every week. Usual address! email@example.com
|Ad Hoc Article/s of the Week
Each week we will feature a question and answer sent in to the Company for Immigration. We hope these will help answer any questions you might have regarding any part of the coming home process. If you would like to send in your own question, please feel very free to do so.
We will also be featuring a great amount of information on the SAW Website (www.saw.co.za) under the Coming Home section. You can also find out info by visiting our newly relaunched site, South Africa Online (www.southafrica.co.za) and checking out the Coming to SA section.
Here is a bit more info...
Whenever and wherever South Africans meet, the surest way to start a lively discussion, is to ask someone for an opinion about emigration from or remigration back to South Africa. In 2002 we (i.e. the non-profit immigration service, Company for Immigration, and the trade-union, Solidarity) realized that the return of South African expats had become a fact and that their inputs are essential for the growth and development of the country. We are neither interested in a debate about the reasons why people leave or come back, nor about the merit of their decisions. We prefer to provide a practical service instead:
offering advice and assistance to prospective remigrants;
addressing the problems which cause people to emigrate; and informing people about the pros and cons of emigration, to help them make an informed decision before leaving.
Interested? Want to receive our monthly newsletter by email? Have questions or suggestions? If so, please visit our mirror sites www.comehome.co.za or www.komhuistoe.co.za and leave your details on the visitor's page, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Alana & Annatjie
COME HOME CAMPAIGN
Alana is moving to bigger and better premises! She will be back soon with more advice.
Company for Immigration / Maatskappy vir Immigrasie
P.O. Box 1283, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa
The Good News - South African contact centre industry leads the world
According to a recent survey by UK marketing services specialist, Ion Group, South Africa is now the most favoured offshore contact centre location in the world for UK companies, beating former leader India into second place.
Offhsore call centres are part of a rapidly growing trend in the developed countries of Europe and North America, as companies seek to gain competitive advantage by moving their non-core businesses to centres with lower costs.
Ion Group's researchers asked senior marketers from 1000 top UK companies to rate the best locations for offshore call centres. Ion Group Managing Director Graham Ede said, "Locations which have been popular for offshore outsourcing in the past primarily due to their low operating costs are now facing increased demands from clients and their customers for high quality call handling standards, a robust technological infrastructure and multi-lingual capabilities. Increased competition has seen emerging locations such as South Africa not only able to meet these demands, but offer the advantage of having a similar time-zone and culture to the UK."
South Africa scored 51.1%, while India came in second at 44.9% and Mexico took third with 40%. Other countries popular with companies looking to send contact centres offshore, like the new Eastern European members of the EU, the former Soviet countries and the Philippines, all scored far lower in terms of quality of call handling.
Call Centres in South Africa, and particularly the Western Cape, have become increasingly aggressive at positioning themselves as an offshore alternative for European companies. In addition to English (with an accent that is easy for the British to understand), contact centres in Cape Town also offer services in Dutch, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish for the European market.
Contact Centres have become an important source of investment and employment in the province, with several hundred million rands being invested and around 11,000 people already working in the industry. Employment is expected to grow by 25% within the next year, according to a study done by Deloittes and industry promotional body CallingtheCape. Other provinces, particularly Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, are putting a lot of work into growing their own industries too. With the appearance of the Ion Group's research results, their job will be made easier.
For more interesting and exciting news about developments in South Africa, subscribe to the International Marketing Council's regular BrandSA newsletter by visiting www.imc.org.za/goodstuff.htm or www.imc.org.za/subscribe.asp. You can also visit the South African gateway website at www.southafrica.info.
Work or play: which would you rather do?
When it comes to mindfulness, most people-- teachers and students--refer to it as work.
Hmmm. Maybe I'm just too darned lighthearted, but I think we'd all do much better if we viewed it as PLAY.
Here's a look at making mindfulness FUN.
Playing With Mindfulness: Sneaking In The Back Door
I often meet people who say things like, "I've been working with mindfulness for over twenty years."
My response is always this: "Oh, you poor thing! Have you tried *playing* with mindfulness? It's very effective, and much more fun!"
They tend to look at me like I'm some kind of kook, and then ask the million-dollar question: "How can you play with mindfulness?" Glad you asked....
We tend to think of mindfulness as something that develops only after years of dedicated meditation. We must sit for hours, contemplate in silence for days, go on retreats for weeks, practice daily for years. Okay, that can work.
The unfortunate thing is that it IS work, and consequently, it's about as appealing to most folks as lying on a bed of nails. Sure, they want to develop a clearer perspective on life. Yes, they want to become calm and contemplative. Of course they want to live more meaningfully and with greater joy. But does it have to be so hard?
Absolutely not. You see, while most people knock politely on that front door of meditation in order to get inside the House of Mindfulness, I like to sneak people in the back door to steal a few cookies. Why can't we play with mindfulness, dance with it, treat it like our favorite goofy cousin who happens to be brilliant instead of our strict uncle who happens to have a Ph.D?
Why can't we tiptoe toward mindfulness through eyes-wide-open exercises that are engaging, uplifting, informative, and--dare I say it--fun?
Mindfulness should be like a big game of mental hide-and-seek: "Where am I now? Gotcha!"
As a student of Buddhism for nearly 30 years, I have the greatest respect for the Buddha and the philosophy that developed around his teachings. I have tremendous admiration for those who have dedicated themselves to a regular meditation practice.
But it's disturbing to me that mindfulness is seen as "belonging" to Buddhism and that meditation is seen as the only vehicle that will take us there. This sounds a bit like, oh, attachment? Clinging, perhaps?
I just can't find it in my heart to believe that the Buddha would be ticked off about the idea of developing mindfulness in whatever way works best.
Not everyone likes the idea of meditation, but here's the cool part: those who start off with easy, enjoyable exercises often find themselves seeing the value in sitting still. In fact, many clients say they'd never have started with meditation, but they so enjoyed "playing" with mindfulness that they have begun a regular sitting practice!
Sneaky? Sure, but that's part of playing. Fun--in whatever form that takes--is what keeps us going back for more. If you're not grinning, you're not winning in this big ol' game of life.
If "working" on mindfulness isn't working for you, try playing instead.
Throw open the doors.
Let your inner monk go out and play. It's recess!
More Fun With Haiku
Wow! Since encouraging you to write haiku in last week's Friday Mind Massage, I have received well over one hundred haiku from subscribers all over the world!
Thank you all so very much. It's not possible to share them all here, but I'd like to pass along a tip from my delightful subscriber Mary Lee McClure, a poet from Kokomo, Indiana who is a member of the Haiku Society of America and was first bitten by the haiku bug nearly 60(!) years ago.
Mary Lee tells me that haiku "rules" have changed significantly and that it is no longer true that the syllable count must be five-seven-five. Modern haiku places less emphasis on the numbers and instead focuses on using as few words as possible.
Mary Lee shared three of her haiku that have been previously published in Heron's Nest (www.heronsnest.com):
under the eaves
through the moon-filled night
the cat leaves a hairball
on my pillow
Many thanks to Mary Lee for the tip, the inspiration, and the smiles. ;-)
Purple Round M
Yes, I did write an entire book in haiku (nearly 500 of 'em), and yes, it's all about playing with mindfulness.
Now I'm playing the "find-an-agent/publisher" game. Wanna play?
Send your tips and secrets my way. I won't tell-- pinky swear! ;-)
Write to email@example.com
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse offering specialized mindfulness training to individuals and groups in Portland, Oregon. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 100 countries. To subscribe to her free ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, please visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.
©Copyright 2004, Maya Talisman Frost
52 Best Stories – The House We Build
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter:
"This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.
Think of our self as the carpenter. Think about our house. Each day we hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life we will ever build. Even if we live for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.
We built our life today. It is the result of our attitudes and the choices we have made in the past.
We can build the life we want. It will be the exact result of our attitudes and the choices we make today and tomorrow.
~ Author Unknown ~
One Man’s Australia
Musing on a mythical system
January 23rd is a day of musing for me nowadays. It is the anniversary of the night I met Gretta Lynette. She was 14, I was 18. Nowadays I have Miranda Lynette who was born four days after she died.
A trigger for the focus on the musing this week has been the realisation that Australia's contribution to Iraqi expatriates' voting in the Iraqi elections on January 30th has collapsed. Of the nearly 75,000 Iraqis in Australia who are eligible to vote, less than 10% have registered.
One reason is the Australian Government's up-front admission that it cannot guarantee the confidentiality of their information for reasons that include that their details are being sent to Iraq and that in any event the Australian Voters' Roll is a public document.
As many Iraqis appear to see it, that means that local Al Queda franchisees may well call on their families in the near future.
Looking into it a bit further the problem appears to be world-wide.
Iraqis living abroad are being given more time to register in the country's election because of a low turnout.
The International Organization for Migration, which is organising voting in 14 countries, said registration would be extended for two days.
Fewer than one in 10 Iraqis had registered abroad, out of more than a million eligible voters.
Registration for Iraqi exiles and expatriates had been due to end on Sunday, but is now being extended until Tuesday.
The IOM said registration rules were also being eased. An Iraqi passport will now be accepted as identification, instead of the two documents demanded previously.
According to the IOM the numbers of eligible Iraqis living in the countries participating in the voting plan are:
The question that arises is that if this is the situation in ostensibly secure countries - how much worse can the situation be in Iraq?
On yet further investigation it appears that the imposed political system is that of proportional representation - which has the huge downside that voters do not vote for a representative to represent them directly. Instead they vote for a Party. The Party then appoints members of the parliament from its internal list of apparatchiks.
It would appear that these Anointed Ones from the Party list will be loyal to the Leader of the Party - who after all has the right to hire and fire them. They appear to have no good reason to be loyal to the voters.
Sitting half a world away the results of the Iraq elections appear to be a foregone conclusion. The Shia will steamroller the Sunnis.
In the rhetoric leading up to the election much has been trumpeted about the benefits of democracy. Little, if anything, appears to have been done to prepare the Iraqi population for the obverse side of the coin. In a democracy BY DEFINITION there MUST be losers.
The Sunnis in Iraq appear to realise that they are on a hiding to nothing in the coming election and appear to be unwilling to accept being losers without a violent struggle.
And the problem appears to be widespread in the Middle East. Mr Abbas ostensibly won a resounding victory in the recent Palestinian elections with a reported 62% of the vote - in which reportedly 16% of eligible Palestinians voted. What will happen now appears to depend on how successful he can be to bring the apparent 91% of eligible Palestinians who did not vote for him on board.
And the one man, one vote, first past the post system appears to be potentially undemocratic - although it was cutting edge politics in the 18th century.
The minimum percentage vote that is needed to win is:
W% = (100%/N) + 1 vote
Where W = the minimum winning percentage
And N = the number of candidates.
If, for instance, there are 5 candidates then N = 5 and W = 20% + 1 vote.
Leaving up to 80% - 1 vote as the losers.
In a modern democracy it would appear that the minimum winning vote MUST be 50% + 1 vote.
Many of the EU countries espouse this principle - as does Australia. The EU method of achieving it is by having an open vote for as many candidates as are running. If no candidate gets the minimum of 50% + 1 vote then there is a run-off election at a later date between the two candidates with the most votes.
That means that the elected candidate has achieved a genuine majority of votes.
Australia has always had the problem of the tyranny of distance. Having a run-off election at a later date was not feasible. Large sections of the voters would have been disenfranchised.
So an equivalent system was devised which would allow for voting once only - but with multiple sequential votes.
Each voter has to vote for EVERY candidate on the ballot paper in order of preference by writing 1, 2, 3, 4 etc next to their names. The candidate with the lowest "1" vote is eliminated and his votes are redistributed to the candidate who is shown as the next-preferred. This continues until there are two left. The one with more than 50% of the vote is elected.
Being Australians - and always supporting a fair go - if the last two candidates end up with the same number of votes their names go into a hat they the name drawn out is elected.
The way the system works is as follows:
Assume that there are three candidates, A, B and C.
When the votes are counted the % of "1" votes collected by each candidate is:
B, as the winner of the lowest number of "1" votes is eliminated and his votes are distributed to the candidates marked "2" on his ballot paper. Assume that these split 3% for A and 14% for C.
Then the result is
A 46% + 3% = 49%
C 37% + 14% = 51%
C is elected.
Australia has also addressed the issue of voter turnout. Among the duties of citizenship are:
" To bear arms when called upon to defend the country
" To sit on a jury to judge peers when called upon
" To vote when called upon
A quid pro quo of compulsory voting is that Australians must be able to vote wherever in the world they are on election day.
This can have risks associated with it.
Five of us were arrested in Indonesia for voting in the 1998 Australian Federal elections. We had applied for absentee votes, were issued with the documents and sworn in as electoral officials by the Jakarta Embassy so that we could certify each other as having voted.
Our Indonesian colleagues were agog and we were arrested for having violated the terms of our visas, which stipulated that we would not engage in political activity while in Indonesia.
That is what Australians describe as being between a rock and a hard place - originally referring to males.
The interesting thing about living in Canada is that some of the events that take place just couldn't be made up.
Perhaps a quick recap of some the strange events that heat up the passions here in the country which is going through a serious cold snap may have the rest of you in warmer countries shaking your heads as you laugh at our strange peccadilloes.
While Ontario still mulls over the right to have Sushi with fresh raw fish out in Newfoundland a Judge has sentenced a local truck driver Carl English, to three years during which time he is not allowed to eat Atlantic Salmon.
Apparently English was sentenced for illegally catching and possessing the fish. At no stage was he eating the fish as it was destined to be sold I gather.
Probably on the illegal sushi market in Toronto.
What is now taking place though is that a whole raft of lawyers in Ottawa are now trying to determine whether this judgement goes against the Charter of Rights and indeed whether the Supreme Court of Canada should be called in to make a ruling on the issue as to a Canadians right to eat fish. Only not raw fish apparently as I gather that the Ontario stupidity with regard to Sushi didn't get this legal attention.
Which may just be as a result of Newfoundland's taking down of the Canadian Flag at their Premiers request. - The Premier was a little annoyed (to say the least) at Ottawa's reneging on their promise to provide Newfoundland with more money from their oil fields. Or more correctly put they weren't prepared to provide Newfoundland with money from the Equalisation Fund (which is tax money from the "Have" Provinces which is given to the "Have not" Provinces.) as well as revenue from the fields.
Aside from the cheek of expecting to be given money while you are making it where was the Premier when the Liberals in power everywhere else have broken every promise they made anyway?
No sorry. They have in fact raised taxes on cigarettes in Ontario as they promised.
Three times in under a year.
In the meantime Newfoundland has taken a leaf out of Quebec's book and started chanting the separatist mantra.
"Plus ca change plus ca meme chose."
Then we had the interesting sight of a Liberal Cabinet Minister actually resigning.
Which is when you realise that the evidence against her must have been so overwhelming that there was no hope of lying her way out.
Judy Sgro the Minister of Immigration stepped down after to many whispers of her strange way of conducting the department's affairs started to appear.
The first was the Romanian Stripper who was allowed to stay in Canada after she had worked on Sgro's campaign during the last election.
Well not exactly allowed to stay. Let's just say that working for Sgro was a condition of her deal. Apparently working for Sgro, or doing favours for her, seems to be the way to get immigration status in this country.
Shortly after "Strippergate" popped up another bombshell was dropped.
An Indian under a deportation order made the claim that he had provided Sgro's campaign team with Pizza's for the duration of the election in exchange for "preferential treatment". This is the same person who was implicated in a huge credit card fraud and had sent proxy people to stand in for him at other deportation hearings.
Perhaps he should have merely given the judge an extra large rising crust pepperoni instead.
Ottawa once again has risen to the occasion though. The anguish there wasn't about the morals, or lack thereof, inherent in the Government, but whether the Minister should have declared the Pizza as a campaign contribution.
I swear I do not make this stuff up!
Our esteemed heads of Government are of course overseas at the moment. Well it is freezing cold after all and why stay in the country you lead. Or pretend to lead, when you can be feted in a warmer country overseas.
Paul Martin the PM has been gallivanting around the world on a photo op jaunt while Her Supreme Empress Highness Adrienne let-them-eat-cake Clarkson was in Paris shopping.
Martin used the Tsunami devastation in Asia to pop across for a set of photo's showing him in various moods. Sadness, pity, worry, felicitation etc.
Mind you they all make him look like a ferret with constipation.
At least he was able to completely ignore the Canadian DART team that was sent to the devastated areas to help out the population. Which given his proclivity for the camera must mean that his antipathy to the military is greater than we believe. Perhaps the fact that the Canadian public shamed the Government into promising more aid may have something to do with it as well.
He has since moved on to China where a row over a Conservative MP visiting the family a deceased and disgraced member of the Chinese Government broke out. As did a lot of questions over Martins lack of questioning of the appalling human rights record of China.
Seems that trade is more important than morals when it comes to government. Unless it involves same sex marriage that is. Martin for some reason blathering on about holding an election around the issue. In China.
I bet even the most inscrutable Asian was taken aback by this latest round of off the wall posturing.
Actually I am noticing a trend toward appeasing the visible minority voters in Canada rather. There wasn't this much cow towing and appeasement displayed when the odd genocide and earthquake take place in the Middle East or Africa.
But then I am a noted cynic.
Lastly I was rather amused to hear from my daughter an exchange that took place in her store the other day.
"Oh look there's a CD by Ladysmith Black Mombazo"
"Is she any good then?"
The above exchange was between a husband and wife at the HMV in Oakville Centre who were being served by my Daughter. Subsequently the wife pointed out to the husband that they were in fact a band and that they were coming to the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts sometime soon. Which I think I need to find out more about. Some form of sanity is desperately needed here in this cold winter weather.
Even if it is only the sounds of sunshine.
No queries received this week.
This from Lisa
My daughter will be visiting New York City during July this year. This will be her second visit to the city and she's really looking forward to it.
We were wondering if there are South Africans that would have accommodation available.
I would appreciate it if volunteers could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for a lost friend... if you would like old friends to contact you... If you want to find old school friends... if you just want people who used to know you to find you again for a chat...
Send in your info, the info of anyone you are looking for and let’s see if we can find them for you!
I would like to find an old friend of mine I lost track of.
His name is Brian Walters and his wife Ross (nee Hethkis) formally of Daan Pienaar Rd. Kloof. He moved to the Cape, if I remember correctly to Hermanus.
My name is Andre von Schoenebeck, presently in Germany Tel 49 315471 80805 email JandrevonS@aol.com.
Thanks for your help
We have decided to do our share for the Asian Floods and donate all profits from our annual Carnival Party. So please support us and come along and have a great evening, please could you hang the attached poster in your office and sell as many tickets as possible. Remember this is all for a good cause. Some great prizes to be won and lots of fun to be had!
Please pass on to anyone you think might be interested.
We need as much advertising as possible.
Pat and Elaine
South African club of Luxembourg invites you to attend their annual carnival party
At the Check in, Findel Tel: 42 35 85
On Saturday 26th February 2005, 20h30
Featuring the South African group "Fade to Gray"
Let us keep with the spirit and wear some form of fancy dress.
There will be prizes for the best, worst and funniest outfit.
Euro 10.00 per person
Profits will be donated to UNICEF for the Tsunami relief efforts.
For bookings call Pat on tel: 88 90 54 or Elaine on tel: 021 397 586
Nothing publishable sent in this week... so check out your joke files and send me the ones you like!
I haven’t tried this yet but am planning to at the weekend... recipe from Vegan Chef (www.veganchef.com)
Garden Patch Goulash
2 cups onion, diced
2 cups carrot, diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
2 T. olive oil
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. Hungarian paprika
2 T. freshly chopped parsley
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
2 cups Roma tomatoes, deseeded, and diced
1 - 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed, and drained
1 - 15 oz. can cannellini beans (or other white bean), rinsed, and drained
1 cup tomato juice
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
tofu sour cream, for garnish (can use dairy sour cream)
In a large pot, sauté the onion, carrot, and zucchini in the olive oil, for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Add the tomato paste, paprika, parsley, and nutmeg, and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve the goulash in bowls alone, or over pasta, dumplings, grains, or mashed potatoes. Top individual servings with a dollop of tofu sour cream.
Kallis caution costs South Africa [BBC]
England managed to cling on throughout a dramatic final session to claim the series but, frankly, South Africa did not deserve to win this Test match.
Cronje leaves Quins without playing [This London]
South African lock Geo Cronje has been forced to part company with Harlequins without having played for them because of a serious knee injury.
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