The New American President

So the new President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, has been elected and taken office. I must admit that I really, really got tired of everyone in Trinidad (and the Caribbean) singing praises for the American President, especially when we have our own mess here to clean up.

I certainly do not expect in any stretch of the imagination that President Obama will put any emphasis on trying to help our Caribbean countries, especially when he has inherited a real sad state of affairs. I think that too much is expected of President Obama and we must realise that he is one man and that his priority is going to be trying to jump start the american economy once again and prevent a long and serious recession.

I am very happy for the new president, but I don’t accept that there is real change in the government. Change is not about colour, but about the way things are done. I guess only time will tell on that one.

In the meantime, stop showering praises and expectations on the man, and try stepping up to help yourself and your community.

My little bundle of joy…

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.

Joseph Addison 1672 – 1719

My baby girl, Sanjana Renuka Ganpat, was born on 21st August 2008. It was a bit tough going there for a bit, but thankfully both mom and baby got through it okay.

And now the real tough part begins… bring it on!

See more pictures in the photo gallery.

Ready for a Recession?

In the US there is a lot of talk and fear about a recession hitting this year. I don’t think I am in any position to debate that. From my pretty much uneducated opinion, though, I believe that one is brewing. Based on the sub-prime mortgage issue, the war on terror and the increase in consumer credit, it just looks like the US is setting themselves up for it.

We here in Trinidad and Tobago should not feel that we are immune to the effects of a recession in the US. As our main importer of our major export good – oil and natural gas – and our main country of origin of imports, we need to think again. I for one is looking carefully at developments.

The fact is that progressions and recessions are part of the economic cycle – what goes up must come down – but as countries develop the net gain should be a progression. As such we should be ready for one should one occur. I was catching up on some news and came across two blogs that discussed how to stay employed in a period of economic recession.

I invite you to take a read of these articles as they provide some pretty good advice. I have some points on my own (that are related loosely to the points in the articles.

  1. Update your skills. Just being continuously employed is not enough if you are not also ensuring that your skills are up to date – get those certifications or do those short courses that you have been putting off. Note that skills not only refers to the technical ones but also the softer ones. Organisations are progressively looking for the kind of skills that you can’t get from a class (although they do try don’t they).
  2. Improve your education. You would find that you not go very far in your own organisation, far less others, if you are not improving your education. If you don’t already have your degree then get going; if you already have your degree, then get an advanced degree or even an MBA.
  3. Have a plan B. Sometimes we will set our careers around only one path that should that industry collapse or become over-subscribed with employable candidates you become unemployable. Ensure that you have something else to go to if your chosen career goes bust, even if then change in career means a reduction on salary.
  4. Create your human network. Cisco has it right, the human network is one of the most important weapons in any one’s arsenal. Make contact by joining and being actively involved in professional institutions, non-governmental organisations or even sports clubs. You know what they say – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

One article (Are Gen Y-ers Greedy or Just Different?) though sees any recession being a wake up call for those Generation Y’s out there. It’s something you see with young school leavers and recent university graduates, especially in the IT industry. You have candidates calling for large salaries and nothing to show for it.

I know that if a recession hits it would be terrible for some, but a part of me wants it to happen to wake up the citizens of the country. With government spending out of control and prices of housing through the roof, we need something to get us back on track.

In Loving Memory of Uncle Prem

“You doh know that if Robinson couldn’t close he leg, he woulda fall through he asshole!”

Uncle Preman referring to former President and Prime-Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, A.N.R. Robinson.
25th December 2007.

 

Deonarine Parsan
Sunrise: 14th March 1951
Sunset: 27th January 2008

 

One of my best uncles passed away this weekend. Deonarine “Preman” Parsan passed away on the night of Sunday 27th January. Born way back on 14th March 1951, he leaves to mourn his wife – Tara – , three children – Sunil, Sunita and Kavita – and four grand-children – Jerome, Joshua, Vinda and Atma – as well as his mother and father, brother and sisters, nephews and nieces, and numerous friends.

He was always the life of the party and you could always depend on him for a laugh with his numerous jokes and antics.

He will be sorely missed.

It is ironic that I said to myself that this year I would keep more in touch with my family and friends. It just goes to show that the time to start anything is now, because you never know, you could be here today, and gone tomorrow.


Uncle Prem and his animated antics on Christmas Day 2004.


Uncle Prem (left) and my Dad at my wedding reception on April 12th 2003.

You can find more photos in my photo gallery.

The IEEE Computer and Communications Society T&T Chapter is now offical!

Those who saw my earlier post on the IEEE Computer and Communications T&T Chapter would know that the inaugural meeting was held on the 12th of January. The meeting was smaller than I had hoped, but did expect. Member apathy is one thing that we really need to overcome. The executives for the period 2008 – 2010 are:

  • Chair – Sachin Ganpat
  • Vice-Chair – Prof. Mansour H. Assaf
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Gifton Caesar

I think we have a very good team here, and I am extremely excited. Below was my address to the small gathering:

Good Morning fellow members, IEEE Executives and fellow professionals.

I would like to thank you for coming out today, taking time from your usually busy lives to come to this our first chapter meeting. And the first of many.

The IEEE is one of the world’s largest volunteer organizations. As such, it is through the work of the local Chapter officers that the work of the IEEE and its Societies is accomplished. To accomplish its goals, the IEEE and its societies are dependent on the involvement of its members through the local Chapters. This means that the future success of the Chapter, the Section and the IEEE as a whole depends on you, fellow members. [Read more…]

Security Heads Retreat!

So it seems that the Minister of Backpedaling, umm, I mean National Security, has taken the heads of all the security agencies and others to a nice weekend at the Salybia Beach Resort. While they are calling it a retreat, I think it is to breaks from the licks they are getting after Joseph admitted that the Government failed with it’s anti-crime initiatives.

Later Joseph recanted his statement after the PM said that they did not fail.

Now, I take the ole talk sometimes, but now is not the time; we need action and no amount of ole talk can create that. A source revealed that some of the new anti-crime initiatives were:

  • the return of round the clock bike patrols in residential communities
  • a gun amnesty
  • increased rewards for information leading to arrests
  • a return of the community police
  • a restructured Rapid Response Police

Now, does any of these “new” anti-crime initiatives look new? All these were suggestions made so long ago, by everyone, including the current government. Again, ole talk!

Are they going to address the public’s non-trust of the police service? Are they discussing the social issues regarding crime? Are they discussing the apparent non-intelligence of the police force? We don’t know what they are discussing.

The Opposition also only wants to politicise the issue when we need to come together to resolve this mess.

We need to have action now, and stop the blame game. The police service needs to get their act together and start enforcing the laws. We need to get the criminal elements out of the police service, and we know that they are there. And we as a people need to start holding the government of Trinidad and Tobago accountable for our security. Every month we pay for them to provide protection for us, we must ensure that we get our money’s worth!

Airplaneseatreclineology

I’ve never considered Stephan Pastis, the author of the comic “Pearls Before Swine”, to be much of a philosopher, but this one from the 23rd of December 2007 really got me.

It just made so much freaking sense!

New Year, Same Shit…

The new year has come, but besides trying to remember to now write 2008 instead of 2007, nothing has changed.

The murder rate has started with a nice even figure of four for the year, so we are have started on the way of setting a new record. The assistant commissioner of police is trying to dispute the murder figure of 396 by saying the newspapers have it wrong and that if we take away the manslaughter figures you end up with 384. Phew! What a big difference that makes; that figure makes everything okay now. Oh for fuck’s sake, accept that you didn’t do your fucking job and do something about it. This trying to smooth everything to make it sound better may fool some of he people, but believe me, people are getting real fed up of the shit.

So this year what would I like to see:

  • Better police enforcement from to smallest crime up. So charge the PH drivers, the CD and DVD pirates and the litterers. Working to ensure the lawlessness stops will help.
  • A more efficient judicial system. This thing about waiting years for the trial to start have to end. By the time trial starts you can’t find the witnesses or people memories get fuzzy; heck my mind gets fuzzy after a week far worse for two or three years.
  • The enforcement of the death penalty. Contrary to what many people are saying, there can be no return of the death penalty because it never went anywhere. It is still the highest form of capital punishment and it is required by law that a person convicted of first degree murder be sentenced to death; it just has not been enforced.
  • A stronger agricultural sector. For a small country like ours, with many families starting out with farming and agriculture, should not have to paying through our nose for produce far less having to import food. Come on people, we will not be able to eat bricks and drink oil to survive.
  • Government spending our money wisely. While I will quicker see Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny playing poker at the Tooth Fairy’s house than see the government of Trinidad and Tobago manage the country’s finances effectively and efficiently, I will still wish it.
  • People having a better understanding and appreciation of the environment. Once they do, they would understand why we need to do all we can to protect it.
  • People learning to respect all life and not see other animals as “dumb”
    or “lower”. I’m pretty sure that if aliens were to come down here and
    treat us like how we treat other animals, we won’t like it.
  • People just being more courteous to each other. I think this will solve a lot of our problems.

While I don’t expect these things to happen, I can always hold on to the belief that it can. And maybe I can also convince myself and a few others than they can help cause these things to happen. Whoa, what a wonderful thing that will be.

The IEEE T&T Joint Computer and Communications Society Chapter

The IEEE has a Trinidad and Tobago Section of which we are trying to get a Joint Computer and Communications Society Chapter up and running. We already petitioned and got permission from the IEEE to form the chapter about a year ago, but have been unable to get the other aspects working. So I have now taken that up to get the inner parts working – getting an executive, members active, etc., etc.

Trying to get people involved is proving to be difficult, but I still have high hopes. I am hoping that it is the season that is affecting everything – Christmas is a bad time to try to get anything done down here.

We have a large number of members, so it is just for them to get actively involved. Let’s see how it pans out for the new year.

The Breathalyser is coming!

I had the opportunity of seeing and using the breathalyser recently. It was quite easy to use and easy to understand. The officer (I can’t remember his name) was quite helpful and gave a pretty good presentation of the product, not to mention  displayed good product knowledge. What I can’t understand is why it hasn’t been introduced as yet.

What the officer explained was that while it has been passed, it has not been assented to in law (at least I believe that is the term). For sure we need this product in this country, especially for the Christmas and Carnival seasons. I could only imagine how many people will be caught using this product.

Here are a few things to note:

  • Mints will not help you to pass the breathalyser test. It may cover the smell, but the alcohol on your breath comes from your lungs and is not covered up.
  • Using mouthwash just before the test as an excuse will not save you. If you use mouthwash and the test reads high (which it will), you will be placed in the back of a police vehicle for the most ten minutes. During this time, the mouthwash would dissipate, and the reading should be low; if the reading is high, it means you are drunk.
  • More than two beers can bring you over the limit; it all depends on your size and gender (men are less affected that women).
  • Water helps. Drinks lots of water while drinking to help rid your body of excess alcohol.

In all I do hope they bring this out soon, but I can see a huge culture clash when it does come out. We are a nation of drinkers and it is especially expected during the Christmas and carnival season. It will take both a change in culture and a great deal of police enforcement.