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It Pays to be Pretty

 

Today I am going to blog about a controversial subject: hiring hotties. Yes it is so controversial that many people don’t talk about it as in filing lawsuits against companies or organizations, yet many employers or organizations are practicing it on a daily basis, 24/7 and 365 days per year in hiring new staff or employees. I know at least ten different companies that discriminate based on “attractiveness” but I am not going to mention names here.

They tend to be young, pretty and female in tight t-shirts and short skirts or shorts, whatever the company is renowned for. The question is it illegal? I do not have a problem with beauty discrimination. Hey but wait a little! What is beauty? If we define beauty based on the facial appearance that is to say impeccable and flawless or the presence of a minute detail like a mole or scar, then that is where it is not okay and I have a problem with some employers. Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder right? If you take care of your body and portray a positive image or attitude about yourself, people will see you as attractive. These qualities are essential for many types of jobs.

However, has the law got a grip on employers forbidding them on the basis of “attractiveness or beauty discrimination”? If you answered yes to my question, please let me know as well. Lawsuits proceed on the fact that it is illegal to discriminate based on sex, race, religion, disability or national orientation. I think every employer discriminates in one way or the other subtly or overtly in hiring its employees.

My next controversial question is does the beauty discrimination come as a result of customer preference for a certain “look” or it’s just a marketing strategy? When can an employer prefer the unattractive, yet intelligent over the attractive and not so intelligent? These are questions that keep my mind-boggling.

What about hiring only single sex in the work place? Is this also illegal? Have you ever applied for a job opening or advertisement and the job specification goes like this “We are looking for a female between the ages of ….with high professional qualifications…Other attributes are: must be physically attractive, smile and be humble…” or have you ever come across something like this “We are an equal opportunity employer…but we prefer ladies instead”. Wherein lies the “equality” in this case? Now please don’t be quick to “crucify” me here yet. You can keep your comments for later and bring them on. In the past, when hiring women, meritocracy (candidates of equal standing or qualifications) was often applied. But these days, most companies have thrown that rule to the dogs and instead applied “the hotter the better” principle. It is now becoming a fact of life that the better looking ones would most likely get the job having a “competitive” advantage over the not so physically attractive ones. After all, doesn’t it pay to be pretty?

Could it be that companies do discriminate based on physical attractiveness to forthrightly tantalize male customers? Let’s talk about it.

 

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From Green to Brown

 

Did you read my article on “water wars‘”? I entreat you to do so if you have not done that yet, it is important as this is the concluding part to the other side of the story.

If the recent past is any guide, things could only turn ugly in the future. Why am I saying this? In recent times there have been records of abnormal weather conditions (warm temperatures) in colder countries and colder temperatures being recorded in warmer or hotter countries. If you can recall, there was an incidence of heat wave in Texas which according to records was 20 times more likely than it would 60 years ago. In contrast, warmer countries such as Algeria, Egypt (Alexandra), Yemen, Eritrea and only recently South Africa (Johannesburg and South Cape) all witnessed rare incidence of snow and cold temperatures. Should we be quick to blame Mother Nature for being confused or rather, should we put the blame on human induced activity caused by global warming?

Most people are still skeptical about global warming and the changes in weather patterns such as tsunamis, typhoons and drought that it brings with it. For a fact, we can expect not just more bad years of extreme heat, drought, cold temperatures, tsunamis or floods, but worse years of hotter, drier and severe winters not just in the United States or Britain, but globally for the indefinite future. For Europe, recording warm temperatures would not have come as something unusual if this were singularly attributed to atmospheric flow system without any long-term warming. Similarly, the drought in the Horn of Africa would not have been attributed to the failure of La Nina (counterpart of El Nino) bringing rains but instead is believed to be caused by the warming of the Western Pacific- Indian Ocean.

When we think about climate change (i.e. if you even think about it at all), we imagine rising sea levels, rising temperatures, severe storms, agonizing wild forest fires and prolonged droughts. Among other things, this write-up will focus on climate change and the impact of drought.

Calculating how the odds of extreme weather events have changed certain parameters should provide us an insight into how climate change has an influence on drought. Drought disasters most fundamentally, results in diminished food supplies which has rippling effects not only globally but locally as well. To a larger extent, droughts (famine) provoke catastrophes not only physically but socially as well.

If history is any guide, rising food prices would also lead to social unrest and conflicts.

Now, let’s travel down memory lane, first to North Africa and the Middle East to see how that is true. Anger over sky rocketing food prices caused a massive social unrest in these two countries. Catapulted by the high fuel prices combined with the long-standing resentment of their governments sparked off what became known as the Arab Spring. The point I want to drive home is the fact that the remote causes of these chaos in these countries were traceable to the high price of a loaf of bread and other basic food staples.

If we do a quick analysis of the situation, breadbasket regions of countries (Russia, China, Australia) growing wheat were severely hit by extreme weather related effects in 2010 and 2011. These natural disasters immediately sent world wheat prices soaring by more than 50 percent and staple food prices by more than thirty-two percent. Once food that is affordable for human survival is “taken away”, people become desperate, anxious, upset and violent. It therefore, came as no surprise that violent conflicts were sparked off. In a similar fashion, Haiti’s government was ousted by a “food riot” from its angry citizenry for failure to address the issue of high prices of food items in that country in 2007.

The current drought of 2012 is just marking the beginning of what is yet to come. We know for sure the consequences will be severe. Food prices would once again be heightened both globally and domestically causing misery to farmers and more hardships for the poor. One sad reality is that countries that rely heavily on imported foods such as grains from US and China will feel the “economic heat” the more. What happens next is of course possible to predict. This could add to the discontent already being experienced in depressed economies characterized by massive un-employment which would subsequently result into other forms of social unrest.

Pressed by natural disasters (rising sea levels, droughts and floods), there is a high correlation that a countless number of populations will migrate to other countries aggravating further hostilities for whatever little sustenance remains there.

If history be our guide, the pattern of droughts is not a one-off occurrence in any one country at a particular time. Rather it is as a result of an inevitable consequence of global warming which is only going to intensify. Rising food prices would also lead to social unrest and conflicts, state collapse and massive starvation. This should offer us a sign as to what is going to happen next in the future in a world of persistent drought, repetitive food shortages, rising sea levels and temperatures and a dependable consumer driven/famine stricken populations –  HUNGER WAR!

 

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I recently blogged about the issue of race, bigotry and hatred. I chanced on a brilliant piece that relates to this phenomenon which I would like to share with you. It brings to question if racism is born or thought? What is your answer to this question? Did you just answer yes to it? If so please watch this short 1 minute video to learn more.
http://www.upworthy.com/is-racism-born-or-taught-if-you-answered-born-you-havent-seen-this-video?g=2&c=cme

thelisteningvoice

I commented on another blogger’s post olbigjim on hatred, racism and bigotry. This writer was lamenting about the issue of bigotry and hatred which are by and large a forerunner of racism. Inspired by these thoughts, I decided to take on this debate further, but adding a different twist to it by asking myself and also putting it forth to my readers: Does race exist or humans created race (ism)? Identity is a complicated mixture of who you are, where you grew up, and what you find about yourself. Similarly, we can say the same with race. Well, as a matter of fact race does exist but its existence transcends beyond a biological existence.  Some say that race is not a biological category but a social construct. It is a socio-political existence. Is it possible then for example, to be a white skin deep individual (race) but identifies yourself as…

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The poor are different

How many people in the world have bank accounts and what do they use them for? You would think there would be answers to those questions, given that banking is the quintessentially global business, and is important not only in the West but in developing countries, where banks can help poor people save, borrow and invest. The extent of banking around the world is much patchier and less predictable than one might expect. Of course, bank usage tends to increase with income both globally and within countries.

The bigger surprises concern how people use banks and other financial institutions. One might expect that, outside the West, banks (which tend to be relatively expensive) would be used largely for business. This entirely is NOT the case. The vast majority of people in developing countries—88%—say they use banks solely for personal use. The commonest reason for taking out a loan, for example, is to pay for family emergencies (typically someone falling ill). That is followed by school fees, home construction and the expenses of a wedding or funeral. In Africa, 38% of those with bank accounts say they use them to receive remittances from family members abroad. In contrast, one particularly important reason for having an account in Europe, Central Asia and Latin America is to bank money from the government, either salaries or benefits. In short, banks in the West are purposely meant to be used to save money whereas those in developing countries are for borrowing money. A popular form of saving in most developing economies is the savings club. A group of people get together to bank their pennies regularly and each month the club pays out the entire pot to each member in turn. How is this type of banking system sustainable for the people and the economy as a whole?

Little is also known about the banking practices of the poor, women and young people. Banking displays a significant gender gap. In developing countries, 46% of adult men say they have an account, but only 37% of women have.

Levels of banking also rise with income and education. For instance, it is more common for an educated person with tertiary education (not necessarily university education) to have a bank account than those with little or no education at all. One of the commonest reasons people give for not having an account is the paperwork. People would prefer to keep monies at home to deal with personal and family emergencies. So in effect it means the poor are different because they cannot read or write to understand basic banking terminologies.

The moral of this write up then is that, apart from income, all other things matter- Education! Policies surrounding banking make a big difference. The question then one may ask is does the government in developing economies make it easier for banks to spread or develop? Must one necessarily have to go to a physical structure such as the banking hall to do any form of business transactions i.e. send or receive money? Are the banks in developing economies making the poor much different from the rest in the lower income quintile?

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A disease called FEAR

“Fear does not have any special powers unless you submit to it by empowering it” – Giovanni Niccolini.

Who is without fear in this planet? Did you just say it’s you? I am not sure you are being truthful to yourself if you answered yes to this question. Why are we constantly on the verge of fear? Are we born with the innate emotions to fear or we develop fears (irrational and rational) as we grow up as children or as adults? Or what is fear? These are questions that remain unanswered by many of us. Most of us usually have a reaction to fear “something” whether physical or perceived. For instance some people may have a fear of lightning, fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of going to hell….etc.

Are individual or collective fears nurtured when you are living in a world of ignorance or is it more pronounced when you are living in a world of technological advancement? In other words are our fears functional or dysfunctional for our everyday existence?

The greatest fear of advanced society today is the US vs.THEM”. We are constantly afraid of “them” and not “us”. Is this irrational or it is a rational fear? We develop functional fears instead of innate fears. Looking at fear from a political perspective, this fear of the “Us vs. them” often yields into possible threats or attacks or may even go as far as protecting airspaces, water spaces, cyberspaces and the list goes on and on. What has even made this degree of fear of the “Us vs. them” worse is the inception of the terrorist attacks. For example, many people are afraid of flying recently because of an irrational fear that their aircraft might be brought down by terrorists or just something sinister would happen up there and that iron bird would suddenly drop from the skies killing everyone. What do you in that circumstance? Religion and its twin brother Faith come into play here by giving your some confidence, trust or encouragement. Once you are in the airplane and your fear and tension levels are high, you would want to say a little prayer to your God(Allah, Hari Krishna, etc) for a sound, smooth and safe flight whether you trust the pilots or the state of the airplane or not. Consequently, our fears override all our cognitive abilities to think. I remember a woman who lives in Belgium and would not fly after the 9/11 incident and has not seen his son who lives in France for quite some time now. She however, forgot or should I say “refused” to think of another alternative – going by road instead. This is the extent to which fear can do to us- break us down.

Even in our own families, you sometimes have this “fear feeling” that you’ve been left out in many things that matter most to us. This feeling automatically creates a sense of fear of not belonging. People who have that kind of strong sense of fear of not belonging would do all kinds of things either to belong (them) or rebel/fight or flee away from their oppressor (us).  Many would do the second option of running away from such a family. If you feel like an outsider in your own family then you would hate your family and you might feel like joining a group that shares your sentiments in this case, “them”.

We cannot think straight when we are afraid and we need someone to say “this is what we need to do” to get you safe from point A to point B. This is where religion plays a major role in our lives.

Religion has often defined our lives and allayed our fears or worse still created fear in us.  In religion, we are constantly fearful about SIN and DEATH. Not just death of any kind but death that will lead you to hell as a result of a life lived here on earth that was ungodly. You begin to cope with this anxiety that when you die, you might go to heaven where you will see all your family members or best friends. Subsequently, you become conditioned to do “good” so that in case you die you might be saved from eternal damnation.

The third medium for propagating fear is the media. The media has to a greater extent conditioned fear in many of us. It constantly feeds us with “negative stories” or breaking headlines news if you wish to call them that way but positive ones as well. This is because our minds are made to grasps fearful stories than a news item that simply says “a mother gave birth to beautiful baby girl”. Many listeners or viewers would not find that as news or something that is relevant for their consumption or survival. The media thus uses a carrot and stick approach. It plays up the dangers and fears of those things happening either to an individual or groups of individuals. That said, increasingly we get to know where disasters come from, where disease comes from, where danger comes from and how to get away from danger (flee). The media attitude portrayed makes one prone to fears and volatility that might lead to personal distraction.

Fear leads us to doubt and this doubt leads to discouragement and subsequently this discouragement results into distraction. What do you have to do to quell or uninstall these irrational fears? Just like installing an anti-virus in your computer that detects viruses, we can also install an anti-virus to detect our “fear viruses” in us.

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I got 99 COOKIES but a BITCH ate ONE!

 

It’s a Friday evening. Once upon a time, not too long ago I went to a pub not ‘cos I was stiff bored sitting-in on a Friday night, nor because I was not an avid pub-goer, I happened to be at this pub by accident. The pub was crowded with people as it is typical of Fridays! Not anything surprising though but was unusual with a massive crowd most of them standing rather than sitting.  It was a popular spot I figured. A live band was on stage blurring up noise with no music talent at all, just making it all up with volume probably with the notion that the louder it was the harder it would be for the audience to notice their missed notes. The audience did not seem to mind the discordant sound most probably because they were too drunk or were just getting a “high” from having some ‘fegs’(cigarettes) or probably a ‘joint’ or two.

I was seated close by the entrance of the pub when a lady stepped inside the pub. Holy smoke! Even in such a crowd of other women dressed, she simply was too distinctive for the most part in her summer clothes. The short skimpy type I mean, this was definitely a stand out.  Surprisingly, she was alone, no other friends- male nor female. Not a meat market like this pub do people come in all alone. Even if she were to be alone, then her friends should be coming in sooner than later into the pub. She had a great good look- sleek, tanned and athletic looking. She had legs that were shown off by a short skirt and low-heeled sandals she was wearing.

I sat down sipping my drink and enjoying the pleasant atmosphere. I was also scoping around with my eyes in the pub weighing my chances of getting lucky.  Judging by her looks, I was gauging her to be loner who was either searching for someone to make her feel cozy for the night or she had been ditched by her boyfriend and she wanted to drink away her sorrows. Now don’t read my motives here. I was not committed to doing that neither was I exactly uncommitted either.  Disappointed but not surprised if she could be a gold digger waiting for a loot or kill?

The night was gradually rising to a heightened peak. The band was playing a soft tune and the lead vocalist was inviting everyone to pour onto the dance floor. The floor soon became packed with bodies coupling each other. Suddenly, I felt a hand from behind on my shoulders. It was the lady whom I had spotted earlier in the pub. She whispered into my ears, do you wan’na dance? What a fat chance I thought! Was it a coincidence or she was also scoping me out? My thoughts are running wild at this instance, whether to say “No, thank you” or be a gentle man. After all a gentle man doesn’t refuse offers from a lady especially of her attributes. Does he?

Like a lamb led to the slaughter, I followed her to the dance floor. She didn’t bother asking my name; instead she asked me “Do you come here often”? Pretending not to give myself out, I replied “not on days like this”. I figured these were one of the girl lines? She then gave me a smug smile and gazed up to me. Is this a done deal? I thought to myself. We began dancing but not that tight close. Never let it be said that chivalry is dead. Give a lady some space on the dance floor when you don’t know her that well or its your first date. Let her take ‘control’ of the situation if she is a decent type you would definitely determine that for yourself. After three romantic songs that were played by the band, she stepped back and said she was going home saying “I appreciate you dancing with me”. My response was instantaneous “My pleasure”. Raising her head she gave me a retiring look which I interpreted as a fake one since she was full of energy on the dance floor and did not look that tired.

Meticulously, she walked out of the pub. I needed to act like a gentleman so I decided to walk her out. There were several taxis that she could have flagged down to give her a ride home instead she just ignored them. As I watched, she opened her hand bag and pulled out her mobile phone to make a call. Was she placing this call to her boyfriend, mum or dad to pick her up since she ignored other taxis? I contemplated these thoughts in my mind. After hanging up on her call, she asked me if I fancied a cup of coffee at her place? Another of those girl lines isn’t it? Not waiting for me to answer she said ‘follow me’. It was becoming a sticky situation I would imagine. We drove home together in a taxi. I didn’t take an easy breath until we got to her house. She pushed her door open after opening the lock. Rather than smelling clean, her room smelled musty like an infrequently used abode. She gave me time to adjust to her apartment and to become acquainted with her after our meeting in the pub.

She told me her name was Celia, and I told her my name was Sam. I lied to her because I had my misgivings about her all this while. She asked ‘what about some juice, water, wine, coffee, beer, rum?’ I told her anything that she had in her fridge. It took her more than five minutes to return to the sitting room. This also gave me time to snoop around her apartment. Moments later, she came with a glass of rum-cola for both of us. She came willingly into my arms whilst offering me my drink, seemingly eager for a kiss than I thought. I lowered my head and instead pressed my face to her neck. At this moment things started working really fast. Celia began kissing her way up to my ear. I tried resisting her kisses by saying to her ‘this is crazy’. Then she replied ‘Are you afraid of me?’I chuckled. Her lips began to rub against mine in a not-quite a kiss manner. ‘Afraid of the situation?’ she whispered into my ears. Her mouth was dissolving in mine now. I told her ‘let’s wait ‘cos it’s such a rash, reckless and –’.

‘I want you to’’, she paused as her hands found their way beneath my trousers. I saw she was sex-flushed and the temptation was growing really very irresistible now. Her nipples were distinct and fully erect as they were protruding visibly through her dress which indicated she had no bra on. I began getting hard! Tonight is a bitch I murmured to myself. Adrenaline mixed with the rum-cola was reacting pretty well on us from this point in time. One thing led to another and I can’t remember what happened thereafter.

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to find an empty apartment. I smelled like sex, I smelled like her. Celia was nowhere to be found. I did a quick check but my wallet had been nicked. I was in a mess and felt stupid and ridiculous. In circumstances like this I am always on top of any given situation. I really felt like a dumb-ass and I disliked the feeling vehemently. Oh she’s a gold digger way over town? Now she digs on me!. What else can I say….If you got boy problem, I am sorry for your daughter, I got 99 cookies and a bitch just ate one!!

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Cereal Killer!!

When you got the crunchies for cereal munchies

Then my soul gets whole and I look into my bowl

A bowl full of Cruesli or is it Muesli

I try to smack my lips as I sip my juice

Everyone knows how I love my cereals

I will dip you into my bowl to get a sip of you

      I feel like a loon as I search for my spoon.

So be bold ‘cos you need not told

                  That the truth remains that I will always be a cereal killer!