Why do we need Politicians?

This morning I woke up from a dream that almost like a nightmare. I was crying and I could not help myself because I felt the pain of hopelessness people in Eastern Cape where I was born and raised. This province usually ranks as poorest in GDP, worst in public schooling and endless corruption in local governments. Why do we need politicians?

Recently I read a story on social media that got my blood boiling.

Politicians in local governments want an increase to R1.2 million per year for their salary currently over R400,000 per year. Those on the Mayoral Committee earn about R800,000 per year. So what’s wrong with this picture? Their bloated salaries are an insult to the poor.

Imagine my father, a pensioner earning about R1,300 per month. The Marikana miners now earn over R11,000 per month. So ward councillors earn about 3 times more than mine workers. Forget about the other benefits and freebies that come with their power positions.

The arrogance of these lines and cheats are unbelievable. They make the rules by voting for laws to benefit themselves. When you outsource the leadership of your community to politicians, you get what you deserve. Are you angry yet?

Why don’t you get angry when they abuse their power? Maybe it’s because you don’t event know what the hell they are doing.

Why don’t you vote them out office in next local elections? Maybe you believe better the devil that you know than the one you don’t know.

Why do you accept the status quo? Maybe it’s because of decades of group behavior. The individual in society is truly a lost cause as Jon Rappoport so eloquently writes.

You either don’t care or don’t want to rock the boat.

Only when you become angry, will you stop others from abusing you. While you remain passive aggressive, the status will remain. A wise man once said silence is akin to acceptance.

 

My Eulogy Andrew Arries RIP 1926-2014

Andrew Arries RIP 2014For anybody who doesn’t know me I was raised by my mother in Uitenhage, South Africa – a small town near Port Elizabeth. Andrew Arries was friends with my grandparents, and later everyone just called him, Uncle. For as long as I can remember he lived with us, in the old house at the back of Sass Street.

As my grandparents died in early 1980s, I now see that Uncle was a surrogate father to my own mother and her sister Brenda, who passed away in 1995. He was the rock of ages because we could always depend on him. Even in his 80s he was more often looking after us than we did him. Always independent, he was the epitome of self reliance.

When I was about 10 years old he took me along to Sunday School at the Dutch Reformed Church. When there was no lift from Dominee Esterhuizen we walked about 6km to church without question. In 1996 I celebrated my 21st birthday and graduated from university on the same weekend. My own father could not be there, so Uncle stepped in.

The last time he visited me and my cousins in Johannesburg was in 2008 for almost three months. I remember booking his flight back to Port Elizabeth. He took time to visit and stay with everyone including my mother’s brother and sister who lived there for > 20 years. My group of cousins including Alberton and Bernice Murray  took him to the OR Tambo airport on a Sunday. At the boarding gate he almost refused to leave because he was unusually emotional. It was like he was saying goodbye to all his grandchildren for the last time.

Each of us was touched by Uncle in a big or small way that lived at Sass Street. I remember him mostly for this quality: integrity. He was truly a man who led by example. An example we can only imitate now that he’s passed away. RIP Andrew Arries 1926-2014, Uncle to many and oupa to a few who’s lives he directly impacted.

 

Happy New Year 2005

As I thought about what to write on my BLOG this week I remembered a famous quotation by Winston Churchill, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

2005 Year of the Rooster This is what I took from 2004, one of the best and worst years for me. In business I achieved some measure of success with my Online Dating project getting great media exposure in August 2004. I made the front page of now defunct daily South African newspaper ThisDay, and several stories in Cape Times, Pretoria News and a Durban based weekend paper. Interviews on P4 Durban, and twice on SAFM really allowed me to reach a wide audience but the cherry ontop was my interview for the eTV 7pm news! So I am eternally grateful to my mentor Arthur Goldstuck for his undying support in 2004.

Now on a personal note I broke up with two women and the last one was very traumatic. I never wanted to let go but had to in the end. Breaking my ankle in September 2004 certainly didn’t help the situation as I was left to my own devices hopping around like a mad cow around the house 🙂 But during this time alone I taught myself how to cook, and now I really enjoy that. Finally I can put Jamie Oliver’s cook book to good use! So in 2005 my plans will be to find a new love, having found new happiness inside myself. All the self-help books, tapes and CDs are making a difference in my life. All those people who continue to believe in me, thank you again.

Forward we march to conquer more in 2005. Together we stand, etc etc…

 

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

Pablo NerudaMy best friend Bradley Minnaar introduced me to the beautiful poetry of Pablo Neruda. He paid me one of the best compliments I’ve ever received by telling me that my poetry was similar to that of the great Neruda. You can read my poetry on the Allpoetry.com website. But here is one of the classics of love poetry ever written. Shakespeare eat dust!

Sonnet XVII (100 Love Sonnets, 1960)

I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

So I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

=== the end ===

You may want to read Pablo Neruda’s Nobel Lecture, December 13, 1971

 

Stress Tension Loneliness Depression

A friend of mine Jess Miller wrote a book called “We’re all in this together“. In the book he spoke about Stress, Tension, Loneliness and Depression (STLD). I have been trough two serious bouts of depression first in at the end of 1999 and into 2000 and then to a lesser extend in 2001. These days the depression is mild but I feel it from time to time. My thoughts are like those thoughts I had back then. Life is to much, everything is so complicated, I wish I could start all over again. It is in such times turning to God is much better then any therapist. Talking to God, talking to yourself, healing yourself. For some people this can seem self-centres but Jess told me once if I didn’t look after myself, FIRST, I wouldn’t be able to look out for or after my loved ones i.e. my mother, my sister, my brother and my father. The world we live is interactive, it is also interdependant. We cannot isolate ourselves like the ancient masters. When Buddha left his kingdom and meditated for so many years under the Bodi Trea it was a enourmous act of self-sacrifice. Many people depended on him but he let go of everything. So I think to myself, Ramon, are you read to let go of everything yet? And the answer is always “not yet”. So when I discovered the real issue is not letting go but rather letting things happen without trying to control and with trying to stop them, or bypass them, I realised there is still hope. Hope of a better future, hope of new found love, hope of making a difference and contributing to humanity as a creative benefactor. But before there is hope you have to start with desire. The desire to change for the better.

 

An Ode to Tania Hoffman

I have beautiful memories about YOU. Thanks you for all you have taught me about Life. We had it all for a moment in time: friendship, love, pain, joy, happiness, anger, wisdom, pleasure, blessings. This is the last goodbye to my beautiful ex-girlfriend, Tania Hoffman. Loosing my Faith in Fate was the last poem I wrote in November 2004 after we broke up. You really inspired me more then anyone had done in many years.

Maybe I can remind you of how amazing things were not so long ago when I wrote my first poem for you in May 2004: Goodnight Kisses. This was my first poem in more then a year and it is one of my best I believe. When I posted this poem on Allpoetry.com one of the people commented as follows, “Whatever inspired you to write a poem as good as this one, keep it. Don’t let whatever or whomever inspired you to write get away. They did a really good job.” Within 2 weeks I wrote another poem, When You Opened the Door. I really felt inspired. Things were very good for a while and I though since we were good friends our love would only grow in leaps and bounds. Well you know how difficult it became. By August 2004 when I wrote There She Stands the writing was probably on the wall but I choose to ignore it.

Thank you for sharing this and many other gems with me…“The greatness comes not when things always go good for you. But the greatness comes when you’re really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” Richard Nixon

 

I Want To Believe

X-Files Poster - I Want To BelieveThis was a quote on a poster always present in the office of Fox Mulder from the X-Files. The last X-Files season ended about a month or two ago in South Africa.

Wanting to believe in something seems to be inherent in most of humanity. If you want to believe there is a God, whatever you want to call him, or if you want to believe there is NOT a God, it is your choice. However, we all strive to believe in something. There has been a proliferation of people calling themselves “spiritual but not religious”. How wonderful it is that we can claim to believe in a higher power without really committing ourselves to the cause.

Today I was surfing the Web and stumbled across and article by one of my favourite religious commentators: DM Murdock’s views on The Passion of the Christ. Reading through this reminded me of a confirmation of her views I found in the writing of Thomas Paine back in 1795. Paine wrote his most controversial piece The Age of Reason while in a French Prison. One of the founding father’s of America and his views are expressed so crisply and clearly if only people are willing to be more open minded.

 

Vista University – I salute you

They say there is a time to reap, a time to sow. There’s a time to be happy and a time to be sad. Today as I’m preparing for exams on Tuesday, 8 June, I’m thinking back to my initial tertiary education at Vista University. In 1992 they visited my high school, Uitenhage High, and gave a presentation on the benefits on joining Vista. Thinking about it as logically as possible I concluded it was in the best interest of the family for me to go an do my BSc at Vista instead of University of Port Elizabeth, or even PE Technikon. These institutions are all being merged as from 1 Jan 2005. Vista itself will cease to exist from the end of June 2004. So it was with a heavy heart I can say goodbye to this institution that blessed me with so much. I wish there could have been closer co-operation with alumni, and that may yet happen. The changes in the South African tertiary landscape is for the better. I am convinced of this and it is in the best interest of the entire population we support these changes, embrace them and start to use the facilities and opportunities more. Viva Vista Viva!

 

Trying to imagine a future possibility

I’ve had a flu since last Friday and the coughing comes out in bursts. Besides that and little else I’ve been spending time with a real special person. She cannot be named right now but I hope to real soon. A good friend and more she has emerged from a shell and allowed me into her heart. Suffice it to say I’m on the road to happiness again !-)

Just kidding I’ve been very happy with my life for the last several years since I conqured depression the 2nd time around. I first read a book by Jess Miller called We’re all in this together. And I recently stumbled across some great articles written about famous people who suffer/suffered from bipolar disorder / manic depression. My advice to you is take it easy. Slow things down and enjoy the MOMENT for what it is.

 

Happy Birthday to Me in April 2004

Well its that time of the year ago. But this time there is no cake, no candles to blow out. I’m supposed to be grown up. Well I still miss those things that makes you feel special. Between the ages of 10-13 my mother baked several cakes that resembled the numbers of my age. Those are still classic memories I have and the photos of the events put a huge smile on my face. Last week I split up with my girlfriend Sandra, and what a freak of nature it happens just before my birthday. Now I am alone but at least I’m not lonely. A good friend Cornel Rayners has moved up to Joburg from Cape Town. We’ll probably hook up with my friend Tania Hoffman for some drinks. So wish me luck, all the best for the new year, and 29 hugs and kisses!