Karma of Gifting

GiftsIt is common in December to both give and receive gifts. After all, it’s Christmas and there is lots of merry-making. I experienced something this December that made me realise that there’s another aspect to all this ‘gifting’ – returning a gift. It made me wonder if there is a correct way to receive, give and return gifts.

Let’s start with receiving gifts. I confess that I’ve made so many mistakes when I’ve received gifts. I’ve opened packages in front of the person who gave me the gift when I wasn’t supposed to; I’ve not opened gifts immediately when I should have. I’ve even lost a gift and accidentally thrown one away! The incident I remember the most was when I was about 18. My cousin returned from the US and brought with him a few t-shirts. He asked me to pick one. I looked at them and commented that they were so large that I could use them as a nightie. Everyone in the family told me off for making this comment. Apparently, a t-shirt from the US was so valuable that I had offended him by suggesting I would only use it to sleep in. I suppose, I was expected to wear this over-sized t-shirt and parade it around town. Anyway, I learnt my lesson; henceforth, I’ve never said anything more than, “Thank you,” when I receive gifts from the family.

Then there was the utterly embarrassing incident when I was spring-cleaning a few years ago. I found a whole box of tea bags and I knew I wasn’t going to use them. I didn’t have the heart to throw them out and decided to give them to a friend I knew would love some tea. A week after I gave her the box of tea bags, she texted me to say that the expiry date (which was printed on the side of the box and I hadn’t bothered to check) had passed. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she added, “You know, these were the same tea bags I bought for you as a gift from one of my trips overseas.” I was mortified and apologised profusely. Mercifully, we’re still friends.

As for giving gifts, I’ve also learned that when I give a one, I don’t bother to know what the recipient does with it. For example, I’m certain

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Years before Age: 10 Steps to Success

Years before Age: 10 Steps to Success

“After 40, you should be valued for your experience, know-how and judgement, rather than for the ability to work 18 hours every day.” (Korda, Michael. “Ten Steps to Success Before 40.” Reader’s Digest. Jan 1988. 49-51). Korda, the article also states, was editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster and author of half a dozen books, including the best-sellers Power!, Success! and Queenie.

The main premise of Korda’s article is that if you do the ‘right things’ before you’re 40, you will be reap the rewards thereafter. This article was published more than 30 years ago. The time in between has certainly seen many changes and today there are many people who change their careers in their 30s. They are unable to the ‘right things’ before 40 and have had to start all over again. It is probably because they were unable to decide what careers to pursue at a time in their lives when everything was in a state of flux: they had just finished school, they were about to leave the comfort of their homes for the first time, they were leaving their friends behind and so on. It took time for them to realise, accept and have the courage to leave the profession or vocation they chose at 20 and do something that they were passionate about.

Furthermore, once a specific career path has been chosen, at whatever age, it’s not the age that matters, but the length of time spent on this path that determines success. It is safe to say that an average time to succeed in any given profession or vocation – be it writing, medicine, law, teaching or running your own company – is between 15 and 20 years. For example, it is said that, ‘Mantel, 62, is an overnight sensation 20 years in the making.’ (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/person/hilary-mantel). Rushdie suggests in his memoir, Joseph Anton, that he started his writing career in his early 20s and achieved success when he was close to 40.

Therefore, it is possible to re-word the opening line of this article and say “After 20 years at a particular profession/vocation, you should be valued for your experience, know-how and judgement.” Take this further and replace the words ‘before 40’ with ‘after 20 years’ in the rest of Korda’s article, and the 10 things he suggests you do right

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10 Stacks To Success: How to Achieve Success One Goal at a Time by Jerome Jay Isip

10 Stacks To Success: How to Achieve Success One Goal at a Time
By Jerome Jay Isip
File Size: 4613 KB
Print Length: 111 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1502960265
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Genre:  Self Help, self-improvement, life success, inspirational

10 Stacks To Success is this generation’s guide to understanding that there are no limits,” explains Isip. “Unleashing the power of your own creativity can be a challenge. But there is nothing more rewarding that rediscovering all of the potential you have had inside of you the whole time. More confidence, more understanding and more freedom than ever are yours for the taking. My book is the starting point for the lifestyle of your dreams.”

Isip says his book is especially important for people who are stuck in neutral and need inspiration and direction to discover their unique purpose in life.

Amazon Top 50 Reviewer Grady Harp says of 10 Stacks To Success that “He challenges us in a very positive but stern manner, inserts enough bawdy humor to keeps us turning the pages, and in the end makes us realize that Jay Isip really cares that we become what our potential suggests.”

About Jerome “Jay”  Isip A native of Belleville, NJ, and Filipino by birth, Jay Isip was a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter for 12 years, teaches a barbering class and operates a men’s salon, owns a fitness facility, investment relations firm, and is an app developer. The last goal he achieved as a measure of success was to write a book, 10 Stacks To Success, which was released in November 2014. For more information and to view the book trailer visit the author’s website: http://www.10stackstosuccess.com/

Motivational and Inspiring.

Well if you’re wanting to become successful and looking for the way how, then I can’t think of anything better than this book.

Jerome “Jay” Isip is the author, and he gives the reader in this eye opening book, not only the tools to succeed in business and life, but also delivers a short sharp wakeup call to those who think that they might have already been trying.

I really loved this book because it is written from ‘real life’ experience, it doesn’t assume that the reader wants to spend hours at university or already has a degree. Neither does it suggest in any way the fact that it is

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‘Circum’ – ‘Scum’: Small Difference?

‘Circum’ – ‘Scum’: Small Difference?

“My husband cannot come to kenduri because in our kampung, we have scum session,” said this gentle lady I was giving a lift to. She was very helpful to our family in the last few days as she had been assisting with the housework. She explained that she needed to return home early because her niece was getting married in the evening and she wanted to attend the festivities at the ‘kenduri’.

I smiled politely even though I had no clue what she was saying. In those split seconds before she next spoke, I wondered what she meant by ‘scum session’. Did it have something to do with rugby? It couldn’t be because the word used in the game was more likely to be scrum. Besides, a kampung person who managed a paddy field in the outskirts of Alor Setar was more likely to play sepak takraw than rugby.

Could it be a ‘gotong royong’ session? A community-based activity where all the villagers were getting together to clean the place?

“You know,” she spoke again, “scum session. Orang Melayu kata sunat.

I quickly glanced out the window. I didn’t want her to see my smile and feel hurt. What she’d meant to say was that she had to leave early and her husband couldn’t accompany her to the wedding feast because he was involved in the circumcision ceremony of several young boys in the kampung.

Later in the day, it got me thinking about where we should go to learn how to say something correctly. In the time of dot i.e. when I was born and growing up, we turned to the dictionary to discover anything at all about words. We looked at it to find the definition for a word, how to use that word correctly or even how to pronounce it.

Take a word like ‘albeit’. A friend insists that it’s pronounced as ‘al-bight’ although I’ve always thought it should be ‘all-be-it’. Out comes our trusty dictionary. The first step is to find the word. Here’s an image of the one in ours: albeitThen I look at the specific part that teaches you how to pronounce that particular word.


Cross-reference this with the information provided on the page called ‘Pronunciation Symbols’ located at the front

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A Football Chant: Ancient and Modern

Here’s something Association Football fans amongst our readership may be surprised to learn. That is to say, when a capacity crowd of 98,767 Catalans thronging Barcelona’s Camp Nou football stadium sings the praises of its favourite team: ‘Barca! Barca! Barca! – they are inadvertently chanting the surname of the Barca family whose most famous son, Hannibal (the “elephants”, not the “cannibal” one), crossed the Alps in 218BC to threaten the gates of Rome itself.

And lest we make any mistake about it, be it noted that had the outcome of that ancient conflict been different – that is to say, if Rome had lost the Punic Wars and Carthage had won, then those Catalans chanting: ‘Barça!’ at Barcelona’s Camp Nou would not nowadays be speaking another word we might recognize – and we, ourselves in the UK and elsewhere would be speaking a language totally different from what is sometimes referred to as the Queen’s English!

The Barca family (pron. Barka in ancient times) were Carthaginian traders with wide-ranging commercial interests in Spain. (Hamilcar Barca was Hannibal’s father, Hasdrubal and Gisco Barca were his uncles.) So powerful were the Barcas that their place of origin together with the very tools of their trade are still remembered in contemporaneous place names (the town of Cartagena in Spain, for instance) and in the word bark (or barque), which is a small sailing vessel.

The Carthaginians of north Africa were descendants of Phoenician traders from Tyre and Sidon in what is nowadays Lebanon. They settled around the entire rim of the Aegean and Mediterranean in cities such as Troy, Beirut, Care, Tangier, Carthage, Itica, Marseille, Genoa, Cagliari, Palermo, Medina, Rabat, Cádiz, Cartagena, Malaga, Ibiza, Barcelona, Tarragona and – I would strongly (and controversially) suggest, Venice.

Because, notwithstanding the fact that most Venetians would dispute this fact for reasons best known to themselves, it is to my mind somewhat more than interesting to note that the “Phoenix”, the emblem of the Phoenicians, translates as “Fenice” in Italian – that is to say, “Phoenix” translates as “Venice” in Italian if we but give a tad more emphasis to that incipient labial sound.

QED, methinks.

So why on earth would Italians look elsewhere for the founding fathers of Venice? Well, maybe it simply doesn’t suit a so-called Catholic country for the city of Venice to have been founded by devotees of the heathen God, Baal, in much the same way as it

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The Surprising Scientific Reason for Your Unhappiness

by Rohi Shetty

“My mind wanders a lot, but fortunately it’s too weak to go very far.” ~Bob Thaves

Our happiness and success is influenced by the ability to focus our attention on our present activity. One of the biggest problems we face, especially while writing, is the tendency of the mind to be constantly distracted. In addition to external distractions such as phone calls, email, and social media, our ability to focus is severely challenged by mind-wandering.

Mind-wandering means our attention is on something other than what is happening in the here and now. We may be sitting in front of the computer, apparently working, and instead we may be thinking of something else:

the fight we had with our friend, dinner at the posh new restaurant next week or the assignment you should have submitted a week ago.

We all know that mind-wandering is a universal problem. But how much does it affect our happiness?

To answer this question, Harvard-trained psychologist Matt Killingsworth created Track Your Happiness, which uses smartphones to monitor and analyze people’s moment-to-moment happiness in daily life all over the world.

Killingsworth used Track Your Happiness to send people signals at random times throughout the day and asked them questions about their experience at the moment just before the signal. The purpose was to track their responses over the course of the day and to study how their happiness was affected by what they were doing, who they were with, and what they were thinking about.

Killingsworth’s study focused on responses to three questions.

How do you feel?(on a scale ranging from very bad to very good.) This question assessed their present state of happiness. What are you doing?(on a list of 22 different activities such as eating, working, watching TV.) This question assessed their present activity. Are you thinking about something other than what you’re currently doing? No (they were focused only on their current activity) or Yes (they were thinking about something else).(Yes responses indicated mind-wandering) This question assessed their mind-wandering. (In addition, they were also asked if the topic of their mind-wandering was pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.)

Track Your Happiness collected over 650,000 real-time reports from over 15,000 people from over 80 countries. The subjects were a diverse group with a wide range of ages, incomes, education levels, marital statuses, and occupations.

Results of the Track Your Happinessstudy

Our minds wander a lot.

People were thinking about something other than what they were currently doing

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Mental Health: The Forbidden Concept

I began my career in the early ‘60’s. My chosen professional goal was to try and reach as many people as possible in an attempt to help change the negative connotation of mental health into a more positive framework. It is now almost sixty years later and I’ve not completely succeeded in my quest. Mental health is still the bastard child of medicine. To some, the very mention of this concept, or god forbid, the words ‘mental illness,’ seems to be avoided with even more trepidation than the word ‘cancer.’ In most auspices serving the public, like school systems and clinics, mental health specialists are usually the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Why?

I’m sure that there are a number of plausible reasons for the kind of avoidance and stigma that mental health and illness experience. The one that I believe might best suits the explanation, unlike a physical condition, is not able to be as readily visible or even diagnosed. In the turn of the last century, those with mental health problems would be locked away in family attics or in mental institutions. The classic movie, Snake Pit touched on the horror of those days.

People make jokes about mental illness. Since it has to do with the mind, there is a tendency for people to be afraid of what is considered to be an unknown entity of the human person. That which cannot be seen may be considered to be evil … like a curse … which has been cast on an individual. The obvious reality is that a person is made up of both physical and mental components that can become ill, needing specialized care and understanding. Social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists have labored within the parameters of their professional specialties not only to treat but to find ways of eradicating the devastating effects of mental illness through medical and pharmaceutical research, direct services and the greater availability of services and programs.

All of that professional activity is fine and good but it will not provide the answers that are necessary. In order for any sense of accomplishment to become reality, the public sector must recognize and support these efforts in a way similar to how so many other physiological illnesses receive public support and funding. In other words, the emotional atmosphere surrounding the issue of mental health needs to be more conducive to accepting

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Just a Moment

flameCan you take just a moment …?
Well, maybe more than just one.
Can you let yourself go and share in my daydream?
The letting go part will allow us to consider all of the possibilities
In life … in your life … in the lives of others,
It only takes a moment to turn darkness into light.

Imagine, if you will …
Imagine that if it were possible
To gather all of the weapons throughout the world
And trade them for life’s fortunes.

Not for riches but for reason;
Not for power but for empathy;
Not for revenge but for justice;
Not for oppression but for peaceably co-existing.

Imagine the words of those names that are famous
Like Christ, Ghandi, King, Kennedy, Lincoln, Confucius, Einstein
Being emphasized more for the actions they purport to take
Instead of the oft-quoted words of wisdom that they represent.

As your mind wanders to all the possibilities,
Imagine the knives sliding food instead of throats.
Imagine the bullets as bringing food to the hungry.
Imagine the guns and rifles bringing water to the thirsty.
Imagine the powers of presidents and kings creating homes for the vanquished.

Imagine soldiers bringing peace to people instead of war.
Imagine the sick and diseased in the world receiving humanitarian help.
Imagine those rendering political power, instead, relinquishing power to the people.
Imagine a society where people take responsibility for their mistakes.

Imagine children developing with confidence instead of fear.
Imagine the aged being looked upon for their wisdom, not their frailty.
Imagine spouses treating each other with respect instead of abuse.
Imagine peoples of the earth working together to save their planet.

It only takes a moment
To reconsider and believe what we were taught by our Founding Fathers.
Could their sacrifices and concepts become so lost and misconstrued,
That they cannot be found and put back into practice?
The answer may lie in a moment of imagining … everyone letting go and allowing themselves to imagine.
It takes just a brief moment to turn darkness into light.

(22 October 2014)

Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website

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