Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Black and White King

So the King of Pop is dead. Who the eff cares!! I must confess that his music never really hit it off with me. I did like some numbers but he was just another singer to me. Then came the child molestation charges and I vowed never to listen to his songs again. And I never did. I do not care how melodious the music if it comes from the soul of a pervert. Of course he was cleared of the charges of molestation but we all know how many children’s parents were bought to keep their mouth shut.

What appalls me is the never ending tributes that one encounters over the Internet for this man. A man who was never comfortable in his own colored skin. A man who was never proud of his race or color. A man who was so ashamed of his African roots that he engineered ‘white children’ with white women so that the Jackson name would be carried on by white progenies from the next generation onwards.

Where is the black pride that is so legendary amongst the African American population? What makes this man immune to contempt that he so richly deserves not only for the alleged child molestations but obvious attempts to ‘erase’ his racial heritage.

Has the world taken collective leave of its senses to worship this man?

While the world grieves for this man I wonder why no one is grieving for the children and that includes his own children whom he has left penniless after fathering them for his narcissistic purposes. What a screwed up human being!!! I cannot imagine anyone else that I hold with so much contempt and distaste that this man!

Another take on the subject.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

People governance

The racist/mugging incidents in Australia have been done to death as an issue by now. I would not like to pass any remarks on the same sitting here in India at my keyboard. That would be too foolish. But there are some things that I want to comment about purely on a personal level. Personal as in if I were a student in Australia what would I expect if such an incident happened to me. I would of course expect the cops to take action, but most importantly I would expect support and diligent follow up of the case by the Indian High Commission staffers. I am told by some cousins of mine studying there that foreign students studying in Australia have their embassies at their beck and call for any problems that might arise during their stay. While the Indian High Commission as well as the Indian Embassies elsewhere are notorious for their absolute apathy towards their people. I am told they function more or less like Government offices renewing Passports, stamping Visas and giving foreign postings to government officials who have greased the right palms, besides some diplomatic overtures of course.

While it is easy to sit here and advice a change and petition the government to make our embassies more citizen friendly, what is needed is a deeper change in attitude by our government itself. For example, the new Tourism Minister put off her visit to Australia presumably due to the current situation there. A government communiqué however made it clear that it was her personal stand and that the government would have appreciated it if she had gone to Australia for the Tourism promotion scheme. While it is understandable that the government is keen to promote tourism and bring in the much needed dollar, it is also imperative that it shows compassion and empathy for its people there along with the eagerness for revenue generation. After all it was elected by the people to look after their well being and not mere revenue generation! Economic governance and people governance cannot be divorced. It has been for a long time in our country which is why our students are going abroad for higher studies and jobs. Which is why our embassies are cold mausoleums and why those Indian students bore up the attacks silently all these years. They have long stopped expecting anything from the government. Aren’t they in Australia because of the same?

The hundreds of failed Garibi Hatao movements are testament to this fact that we have governance without compassion. Rolling our official programmes will not help much if you do not understand the pinch of hunger or the humiliations of constantly living hand to mouth. What we need now is not only a government that can govern well but one that understand the more intimate problems of its people. Like crossing a busy road, getting a license, support when abroad, a seat for your not so brilliant son/daughter or personal safety to name a few. Right now our administrators are cold machinery's distant from the people. They only bother about getting the government institutions running and rules and laws enforced. What they do not realize is that these institutions and rules and laws apply to people and should be people friendly. Cold official governance as opposed to governing with humanness, the right mix has to be achieved for overall and better impact.

And when the government gets it right we will have our public servants falling over themselves to be of service to you. :) Maybe that was being too Utopian. But a visit to a government office is enough to understand how compassionate your government is towards you!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The language of work

My classmate, who is pursuing her post graduation in Mass Communications, recently joined a mid size company of 400 people for her industrial internship. The first thing she noticed when she joined the company was that the owner of the company, an NRI was a man of principles. Employees at this small IT unit were given all the benefits given to employees in the US without any bias. He did not believe in blocking Internet or Chat or Webmails. The working atmosphere in this company was however not very nice thanks to the Indians who work there.

To begin with the NRI who is a second generation Indian from US has no clue about the social dynamics in India. This led to exploitation of the situation by employee’s especially senior managers. The Sysadmin for instance had ensured that all his team members were from his religion. The technical head on the other hand had ensured that all his teammates were Gult. The facility manager had ensured that his team consisted of Malayalees only and so on.

All the team members talked in their respective language and soon enough a situation developed when there was a total communication breakdown between employees, teams and departments besides fierce protection of team members by team manager even if they were not upto the mark. Performance appraisals were similarly rigged in favor of team members.

An interesting thing to note about this phenomenon was that employees who have grown up in metros were resentful of this ghettoisation. It was people from smaller towns who fell prey to this trend.

The NRI boss was totally clueless to the problems on the ground and regarded hiccups like severe attrition as part of the industry trend. Into this scenario walked in an HR manager. The lady summed up the situation pretty quickly and rolled out rules and regulations that totally wiped out chances of managers from hiring only from within their community and or caste or religion. She also banned the use of any vernacular language including Hindi in the office premises and after a rough ride of implementation, peace and a lot of progress has returned to the company.

The NRI learned a valuable lesson and the divisions and misunderstandings caused by use of regional languages vanished. People became more professional and managers were left red faced when they realized their unprofessional conduct.

I was reminded of this incident when I read about two nurses in Delhi who were reprimanded for talking in Malayalam within hospital premises. On the face of it, it does look discriminatory. But such rules and regulations go a long way in providing a conducive work environment in a country like ours. It is not language chauvinism but prevention of language chauvinism. And the fact that such rules are increasingly being applied goes to show that Indian employees are yet to develop a professional attitude at their work places.