Sunday, May 31, 2009

Paquebot Post Office?

I saw this old Brunei stamp on ebay. Do you know what's unusual about it?

What's unusual about it is the postmark. Postmarks are usually done at the post office where the letter is posted. If it is posted in Kuala Belait, it will be postmarked Kuala Belait. Tutong etc. Notice on this stamp, it says Paquebot. But we do not have a post office with the name of Paquebot. If you can find one, let me know. I will really be surprised.

Paquebot is an interesting concept. Here is the long version of how paquebot came about. You see, in the old days, the seven oceans were not so crowded by ships as they are today. If sailing ships spotted another sail on the horizon, they usually came close, unless the crew was afraid of pirates. Especially whaling ships were happy to see company on their oftentimes two year long whaling voyages. It was the only opportunity to get some news. A long boat was lowered, captains visited each other, often dined together, and sometime even the crew was allowed to visit each other's ships and have some fun.

Of course, if one of the ships was full of oil and was heading back to it's home port, that was the only occasion to send messages back to loved ones. If the ships had the same home port, it was definitively no problem to deliver the mail. News about an arriving ship spread quickly and everyone came to check for news. But what about the ship returning to a different port, or even a different country? How was the mail delivered then? Who paid the postage and in what currency......?

Well, all of that led to an international agreement about Ship Mail known as Paquebot, French being the world's official postal language. Simply put, if you are on the open sea, which belongs to nobody, the deck you are standing on is the territory of the country under which flag the ship sails. That means, that if you write a letter on the ship's deck and on the high sea, you should be able to use the stamp of the country under which the ship sails - pirate flags excepted of course :). That also means, that if a ship enters a harbor, the officer should be able to hand over the mail to the local post office at that harbor in whatever country, and the mail should be delivered without any additional charge.

So, this Brunei stamp was carried on someone's ship in those days and the captain of the ship had the Paquebot stamp handy. The letter was stamped on board the ship and wherever the boat landed, that letter was given to the postmaster in that port and for the letter to be posted elsewhere.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sharing Information

These two entries are borrowed from my facebook friend:-

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A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God.

However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food.

The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife.

The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food.

The next day,like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island.

The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.

He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"

"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."

"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of My blessings."

"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"

"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."

For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone,but those of another praying for us.

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A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.

The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

Before she says a word, Bob says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.'

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'Who was that?'

'It was Bob the next door neighbor,' she replies.

'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

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FOOTBALL UPDATE: I am glad to hear that the MOD football team won 11-0 against MOFAT! That certainly makes up for that 5-0 loss against DPMM FC friendly.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't Read and Drive

Someone complained on brudirect's hys about a driver which he saw reading the Borneo Bulletin while driving. He was reading the newspaper while the car was in a traffic jam. I have seen this many times. I am very lucky not to have to drive to work and I have more time to see what others are doing. From what I have seen, texting on mobile phones I think is the number one no-no activity which is carried out the most. Next would be speaking on the phone. Third is reading newspapers or magazines. Yes, I have seen people reading magazines too. One of these days I ought to take my camera with me and take photos of these no-no activities.

Many of the readers who I saw would be reading it every so often even while the car was moving slowly. It is only when the car is moving fast that they stopped reading. Someone argued that they may as well read something as it is very boring being stuck in traffic jams. And that they would not cause major accidents.

Yes, true. However do not forget that the car that you are driving in weighs about 1,000 kilogram. You are in charge of a 1,000 kg car who goes wherever your hands points the steering wheel to. Lose concentration, that 1,000 kg can kill that 60 kilogram man standing by the road or hit that other 1,000 kg in front of you. We have forgotten that with today's automatic gear and power steering, driving cars are so comfortable that we have forgotten that we are all in charge of a 1,000 kilogram weapon, like it or not. It takes just one second of losing concentration that can make the difference between life and death.

So, if you are thinking of arguing that reading newspapers while driving in a traffic jam, think again. And the same argument goes if you are thinking of texting or speaking on phones.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Football Talk

Yesterday afternoon, at Jerudong, together with my deputy minister and deputy ps, we were watching our MOD football team playing a friendly against DPMM FC. The Crown Prince came later. To say it was a friendly probably is an understatement. No doubt our MOD football team is considered among the best, if not the best team among the ministries in Brunei, against DPMM FC, we were clearly out of our depth. So it wasn't a friendly, more like sparring partner ... and maybe even that was not accurate, we were the punching bag would be a more apt description.

We lost 6-0 I think. I lost count. And mind you this was DPMM FC's 3rd or 4th team. The reserves of the reserves. The first team and the reserves were in Singapore playing against the Super Reds. Imagine had this been the first team, the score could have been like rugby scores. Mind you, the DPMM FC management team, a couple of months ago thrashed us 11-0. I don't know why we keep playing against DPMM FC in whatever form.

Anyway, one of the topics that came up was the position of DPMM FC in the S-League. Not our ranking but rather the affiliation of DPMM FC. DPMM FC is affiliated under the now defunct BAFA. But AFC, hence their parent, FIFA still considers BAFA as the legitimate football association regardless of the existence FFBD. DPMM FC would have to stop playing in the S-League if this affair is not settled soon. That huge football FIFA Academy near the stadium is also an issue. The construction is clearly going ahead as the funding via FIFA is there. It would be interesting to see who would run it when it is completed, which I have been told sometime end of the year.

I get clearly worried. The biggest crowd of the S-League matches in the last 13 years was actually in Brunei and that was only around 10,000+. During our run up to the Malaysia Cup final in 1999, our stadium was packed 30,000+. DPMM FC is certainly the next best thing to having our national team in the Malaysia Cup. I am not a football fanatic. My teams Ipswich Town and Newcastle United have clearly seen better days and will not see better days for quite a long time yet. But regardless I still keep up with them through thick and thin. You see, the former Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly once said, “Football's not a matter of life and death ... it's more important than that.” If I have to explain that, clearly you are not a football fan. Nuf said.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Were we born yesterday?

Jakarta Globe reported that National Police on Monday announced the arrest of a group of alleged con artists said to have scammed Rp 20 billion ($1.9 million) from a senior Brunei government official by impersonating a representative of a prominent Indonesian political party and asking for a donation.

The group, most of whom were from South Sulawesi, had been operating since 2006 and made their living by impersonating government officials.

They would make phone calls to their victims and ask them to deposit money into various bank accounts.

This is on top of the other news of Brunei ladies being used as drug couriers. I guess this particular lady has not paying attention to the news. We have already had a couple of Brunei ladies being detained. This one even has 4 kids. 4 kids? She is looking at 25 years in an Australian jail. What will happen to her kids?

The old English saying of 'one swallow does not make a summer' is apt. Two swallows slowly represent summer and these two stories make us look ... well ... you find the word. If you add in the other reports about the Nigerian scam emails, the pyramid schemes etc, the summer is certainly here. Are we that, pardon the expression, naive or if you want a better word, again pardon the expression, stupid? Bengangkah?

Nobody gives free money. Think about it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Depressed Day

I saw among my files yesterday were two letters given to me by my minister received from two brothers who were seeking his help in finding employment. The letters were form letters and I bet the two brothers must have sent them to anyone who they think can help them get employment. The letters listed identical jobs which they applied for which were if I am not mistaken for mandurs, office assistants, labourers etc.

They also listed their one and only qualification. Form 3 school leavers.

I looked at this two letters in despair. What can I do and more to the point how many of them are out there?

Many of the letters we get are from desperate individuals or families. Another was from an MOE staff whose house was run down and he is now staying at an MOE flat. The District Office has written to the Religious Council for assistance under the asnaf daif category whether they could help him repair his house. He wrote to us whether we could provide him housing in which case he said he does not have to repair his house if government housing is provided to him.

Another was from a retired staff who paid to stay in a run down rented house. He could not get public housing because he was part owner of a few acres of land which has been developed. But according to him, his brother who was in charge of the land did not give him anything. Can he also be provided with public housing?

I am so sorry if I sounded a bit down. But letters and reading about the problems of our own people sometime take so much out of you especially when they are so sad and there is not much you can do about it. Though you can argue that some of these writers ought to know better. They should have taken care of themselves better but I guess their priorities were all wrong or maybe they are forced to be in their dire situation. Maybe because of our welfare system, people out there just want to take advantage. There could be so many possibilities.

To the students out there, study hard. Take your destiny in your hand. You are the only one who can help yourself. Be independent. And may the Al-Mighty help you and all of us.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The 1000 Year Old Brunei Food

I wrote the following article for The Golden Legacy column on Brunei Times yesterday:-

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Like most countries around the world which has their own traditional dish, Brunei too has its own traditional dish. The ‘Ambuyat’ is one of Brunei’s well known traditional dish. It is certainly unique and one wonders how the dish came about.

Ambuyat is made from sago. Sago is derived or extracted from the trunk of the ‘Rumbia’ tree (scientific name, metroxylon), a family of palm trees found in Brunei and Borneo. Sago looks like white flour, but when mixed with hot water and stirred with the right consistency, that white flour will turn into a rather unique soft gum or starch.

Ambuyat is twirled around a pair of ‘candas’ which is a conjoined bamboo chop stick and dipped in a sauce known as ‘cacah’, before being swallowed by the diner. The dips are made from local fruits such as ‘binjai’ or ‘pidada’ or from fermented shrimps known locally as ‘cencalu’. Normally the dip is sour but chillies can be added to make it spicier. Besides the dips, there are also a variety of side dishes. One of the popular side dishes is ‘pais daging’ (scrapings of meat wrapped in banana leaves which is then cooked on fire).

If one accidentally swallows a very hot ‘ambuyat’, the cure according to one old wives’ tale, is to hug a banana tree instead of gulping cold water.

How and when was sago discovered?

It will never be known how and when sago was discovered. One interesting theory was written in an earlier Brunei Times’ article about ambuyat written by Bahrum Ali.
In it, one Haji Markandi, a former Malay Literature lecturer at Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College, said that according to stories told by senior citizens, a group of Ibans were cutting Rumbia trees in the jungle to look for edible maggots.
“Some of them ate the maggots, fresh from the tree with the sago sticking to the maggots’s body when they noticed that the sago was also delicious to eat,” he said. They brought the whole trunk back and shared it with the others.

“After a long period and several tries, they found another way to make (the sago) better which is by pouring hot water to make it delicious,” he said. He added that the Iban also invented the ‘candas’ since there were no spoon and fork at that time available in the jungle; and the food then became a delicacy.

Many people thought that ambuyat was a dish discovered recently during the Second World War because of the hardship of the Japanese occupation, many were forced to eat sago as a staple diet. However sago as a Brunei food has been described at least 800 years ago. Sago must have been invented as a food in Brunei much earlier than that.

One of the earliest known written descriptions of sago as a food in Brunei was written in a Chinese book entitled “Zhu Fan Zhi” (Records of Foreign Countries) written by Zhao Rukuo of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 to 1279). It was the only document in which foreign countries southwest of China in the Song Dynasty were comprehensively depicted.

The book covered more than 60 countries and each entry included the geographical position, customs, native products, trade of the countries.

Zhao Rukuo himself is the eighth generation descendant of Emperor Taizong, the second Emperor of the Song Dynasty. He was the head of the custom house of Fujian Prefecture.

In a long entry about Brunei, Zhao Rukuo described the location of Brunei and its 14 prefectures which are fenced with wooden boards with more than 10,000 residents living within. The King’s house was described to be covered with patra leaves while all the other houses are roofed with grass. He sat on a throne called the ‘Ruan Nang’ and has 500 servants. When he leads his army to fight, the King has more than a hundred warships guarding him. His tableware is mostly made of gold.

However the land does not produce wheat but hemp and rice and people there take sago. Sago was described as something which the local people extract from wild fruits and make a sort of fine powder after filtration and deposition. This was called ‘Sha Hu’ in Chinese or Sago, which can keep one from being hungry. In a later entry, when describing about one of Brunei's then well known export, camphor, the collectors of camphor wearing clothes made of barks, take sago with them as food before entering the mountains.

In later entries from the Chinese records, the sago was continued to be described as part of Brunei’s food. Another book entitled “Sha Yu Zhou Zi Lu” (Records of Alien Lands) written by Yan Gongjian of the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644), a Xingren (an official who was in charge of sending envoys abroad), wrote about sago which the local people extract to make a fine powder through filtration and deposition.

Sago continued to be important towards Brunei’s trade even by the early 1900s. When Limbang was forcibly taken by Rajah Brooke in 1890, the Sarawak authorities imposed export duties on all goods exported to Brunei. The Kampong Ayer folks had depended on Limbang for food, clothing and materials for housing and fishing. With the export tax in place, those goods became expensive that the Brunei people could no longer afford to obtain them from Limbang.

Many Brunei people especially traders such as collectors of jungle produce, found their livelihoods undermined. The situation was so dire that all four sago producing factories in Brunei Town were forced to close down because they were no longer able to compete against the sago producing factories in Sarawak, as the Sarawak factories were able to obtain rumbia tree trunks free of export duty.

For Tutong and Belait districts, sago played an important part in the districts’ trade. In McArthur’s report of 1904, he described the produce of both districts to be consisting of ‘sago, getah, rotan and hides’. McArthur estimated that the sago trade based on estimates from the shops at Kuala Balai, which was then the capital of Belait District was worth some $20,000 per annum and around $15,000 in Tutong.

Today, not much remained of the sago trade in Brunei. The sole producing factory is in Ukong, Tutong. It no longer uses manual labour and is highly mechanised. The tree trunk once trimmed of its bark, would be stripped and cut into pieces. The pith would be brought to the factory to be processed. Today’s piths are processed using machines and is very hygienic.

Not long ago, the trunks were crushed by stepping on them manually using one’s bare feet. During the crushing, untreated river water will be poured on the crushed trunk to extract the sago juice which will then be collected in a big wooden tub or pot.

Today, the process to crush the trunks would be done with a machine with the normal clean treated water supplied by the government. The sago juice is no longer collected in a wooden tub but in a tile lined tub. The juice is then dried and once evaporated will the white powder sago remained to be extracted.

That factory is now a remnant of what once was Brunei’s staple diet.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The 1,000 year old Brunei food

Do you know what this guy is doing?

He is making sago by pressing on the cut rumbia tree trunks. Ambuyat is made from sago which is in powder form. To make sago, a rumbia tree is cut down. The trunks are cut into pieces and crushed. While crushing water is added to it. The remnants of the crushings are washed and when dried, sago will be obtained.

In the old days, crushing was done manually. This is what this guy is doing - crushing. In the old days too, the water added while crushing would be from the river and not treated water. I think the ambuyat from the sago in the old days would have much better character than today's bland transparent ambuyat. So many other ingredients were added to it.

If you visit the factory in Ukong, Tutong, today's process have changed tremendously. The tree trunks now go in a machine. All the crushings and treating are done mechanically and no human hands touched the sago until it is ready to be placed in plastics ready to be sold. Much has changed.

What you didn't know is that sago as a food has been described in Brunei more than 800 years ago written in Chinese records. You can read about it in my article tomorrow in the usual Golden Legacy column in Brunei Times.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who talkin' abouta sexa?

I have to change the name of this blogsite. I can't keep up being informative but I will try to be remain entertaining, if that helps your day.

Yesterday, I overheard this joke while going round doing our rehearsals for HM's visit. One of my colleagues was telling us this story about Lee Kuan Yew. He was telling us that Lee Kuan Yew had 21 siblings. And Lee Kuan Yew was the 21st among all the siblings.

Curious, we asked him who the siblings were. My colleague with a straight face told us that the first one was called Lee Kuan A, the second one Lee Kuan B.... If you don't get that, don't bother to read the next one.

There was this story in America. A bus stops and two Italian men get on. They sit down and engage in an animated conversation. The lady sitting behind them ignores them at first, but her attention is galvanized when she hears one of the men say the following:

"Emma come first. Den I come. Den two asses come together. I come once-a-more. Two asses, they come together again. I come again and pee twice. Then I come one lasta time."

"You foul-mouthed swine, " retorted the lady indignantly.

"In this country we don't talk about our sex lives in public!"

"Hey, coola down lady," said the man. "Who talkin' abouta sexa?

I'm a justa tellin' my frienda how to spella 'Mississippi'."

Okay. Go do your work now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Reap What You Sow


If you plant honesty, You will reap trust
If you plant goodness, You will reap friends
If you plant humility, You will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, You will reap victory
If you plant consideration, You will reap harmony
If you plant hard work, You will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, You will reap reconciliation
If you plant openness, You will reap intimacy
If you plant patience, You will reap improvements
If you plant faith, You will reap miracles
But If you plant dishonesty, You will reap distrust.

If you plant selfishness, You will reap loneliness
If you plant pride, You will reap destruction
If you plant envy, You will reap trouble
If you plant laziness, You will reap stagnation.
If you plant bitterness, You will reap isolation
If you plant greed, You will reap loss
If you plant gossip, You will reap enemies
If you plant worries, You will reap wrinkles
If you plant sin, You will reap guilt
So be careful what you plant now,
It will determine what you will reap tomorrow,
The seeds you now scatter,
Will make life worse or better, your life or the ones who will come after.

Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits,
Or you will pay for the choices you plant today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You Get More of What You Have

I found this interesting thoughts by Gretchin Rubins writing about The Happiness Project and I thought this is really good to be shared.

I find myself thinking about it in the happiness context, and I’ve often reflected that this statement sums up one of the cruel truths about happiness, and about human nature generally: you get more of what you have.

When you feel friendly, people want to be your friend. When you feel sexy, people are attracted to you. When you feel confident, others have confidence in you.

This truth is cruel because so often, you want others to give you what you feel you’re lacking. It’s when you’re feeling isolated and awkward that you want people to be friendly. When you’re feeling ugly, you want someone to tell you how sexy you are. When you’re feeling insecure, you wish someone would express confidence in you.

During my happiness project, I’ve been startled to discover the efficacy of the third of my Personal Commandments: Act the way I want to feel.

This commandment is important for two reasons. First, although we think we act because of the way we feel, often we feel because of the way we act. So by acting the way we wish we felt, we can change our emotions – a strategy that is uncannily effective.

Second, the world’s reaction to us is quite influenced by the way we act toward the world. For example, in situation evocation, we spark a response from people that reinforces a tendency we already have — for example, if I act irritable all the time, the people around me are going to treat me with less patience and helpfulness, which will, in turn, stoke my irritability. If I can manage to joke around, I’ll evoke a situation in which the people around me were more likely to joke around, too.

Life isn’t fair. People with a propensity to good cheer will find themselves in a friendly, cheerful environment, while people who are already angry or crabby will find themselves surrounded by uncooperative, suspicious people. “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”

Which leads, as always, to the same conclusion: that even though it’s tempting sometimes to think that I’d be much happier if other people would behave differently toward me, the only person whose behavior I can change is myself. If I want people to be friendlier to me, I must be friendlier. If I want my husband to be tender and romantic, I must be tender and romantic. If I want our household atmosphere to be light-hearted, I must be light-hearted.

Goethe wrote: “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.” And he that brings a sunny day will find a sunny day waiting for him.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Doctor's Misadvice

I don't know where this doctor gets his degree from. But his advice does kinda make sense, no?

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ..... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:
'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride'

Hope this entry cheers up your Monday.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Go out to the world

The Crown Prince gave a good speech yesterday for the ITB graduation. For graduates, a graduation speech is something which you will quite remember, that is the last speech you will hear as a student. I was trawling on the internet for good graduation speeches, in America, graduation is called commencement, hence commencement speeches. Here is one which I found to be very good. Unfortunately the speech is very long and I will only include the last part which I thought will be good for students going to enter into the new working world. It was given by Richard Russo at a small Maine Colby College in 2006.

"If you're lucky, you may have more than one chance to get things right, but second and third chances, like second and third marriages, can be dicey propositions, and they don't come with guarantees. This much seems undeniable. When the truth is found to be lies, you're still screwed, even if you’re tenured in religious studies.

The question then is this: How does a person keep from living the wrong life? Well, here are Russo's Rules For A Good Life. Notice that I don't say "for a happy life." One of the reasons the novelist Graham Greene despised Americans was that phrase "the pursuit of happiness," which we hold so dear and which ensured, to his way of thinking, we'd always be an infantile nation. Better to live a good life, he believed, than a happy one. Happily, the two may not always be mutually exclusive. Keep in mind that Russo's Rules for a Good Life are specifically designed to be jettisoned without regret when they don't work. They've worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

Rule # 1: Search out the kind of work that you would gladly do for free and then get somebody to pay you for it. Don't expect this to happen overnight. It took me nearly twenty years to get people to pay me a living wage for my writing, which makes me, even at this juncture, one of the fortunate few. Your work should be something that satisfies, excites and rewards you, something that gives your life meaning and direction, that stays fresh and new and challenging, a task you'll never quite master, that will never be completed. It should be the kind of work that constantly humbles you, that never allows you to become smug—in short, work that sustains you instead of just paying your bills. While you search for this work, you'll need a job. For me that job was teaching, and it's a fine thing to be good at your job, as long as you don't confuse it with your work, which it's hard not to do.

Rule # 2: Find a loving mate to share what life has in store, because the world can be a lonely place, and people who aren't lonely don't want to hear about it if you are. At some point you're going to tire of yourself, of the sound of your own voice (if you haven't already), and you're going to need someone whose voice you never tire of, someone who'll know you better, in some ways, than you know yourself and who'll remind you who you are when you forget and why things matter. After thirty years, my wife Barbara and I continue to delight in each other's company, and that's astonishing given the number of other people we've grown weary of. I have to tell you that the odds of finding the right person to spend an entire life with are not great, and if you get it wrong, badly wrong, your good life will morph in abject misery. In which case, go back to Rule # 1 and concentrate on your work. Maybe she'll go away. Or he.

Rule # 3: have children. After what you've put your parents through, you deserve children of your own. Next time you're back home, get out the old photo albums and take a good look at some pictures of your parents when they were your age. Talk about the witness protection program. But don't let these snapshots of your parents when they were happy and carefree dissuade you. Have kids. Don't worry that you can't afford them, though it's true, you can't. Don't worry too much about the world they'll be born into, which will suck, because that's what the world mostly does. You won't be a fully vested citizen until you have someone you love more than life to hand this imperfect world over to. And don't worry that you may have poor parenting skills, which you will. Just remember this: everything you say and do from the time your children are born until the day they move out of the house should be motivated by the terrible possibility that your son or daughter could turn out to be a writer, a writer with only one reliable subject: You. When my father, whom I loved dearly, died over a decade ago, I'm sure he rested easy in the belief that most of the evidence had died with him. There was no way he could have predicted that there would one day be over a half a million copies of The Risk Pool and Nobody's Fool floating around, not to mention a major motion picture. Had this possibility occurred to him, I can't help thinking he'd have done one or two things differently. So, as Carrnela Soprano says, "Watch your step." But by all means have children. No one was more aware of the danger inherent in reproduction than I, and I have two beloved daughters, one of whom graduates here today. They are the pride and joy of my life, and neither of them would ever, ever write about their father, would you, Kate?

Rule # 4. If you have one, nurture your sense of humor. You're going to need it, because, as Bob Dylan has observed, "people are crazy, the times are strange." Just as importantly, remember that in an age as numbingly earnest as this one, where we're more often urged to be sensitive than just, where genuinely independent thought is equally unwelcome to fundamentalists on both the left and right, it's laughter that keeps us sane. Indeed, the inability to laugh, at the world and at ourselves, is a sign, at least to my way of thinking, of mental illness. Mark Twain, overcome by loss and bitterness and despair near the end of his life, stopped laughing, but he never stopped believing in the power of laughter. The angel Satan in "The Mysterious Stranger" fragments, which were among the last things he ever wrote, reminds humans that, "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand. You [humans] are always fussing and fighting with your other weapons. Do you ever use that one? No, you leave it rusting... you lack sense and courage." Or, as critic Kathleen Powers puts it, "We Americans worry about humor, confusing it with a lack of seriousness. [But] Look here. Along with art and immorality, it is humor that distinguishes human beings from animals. It is, furthermore, a truly civilizing force, nemesis to the big battalions, and a vexation and puzzlement to the purveyors of mediocrity." And speaking of the big battalions and lethal mediocrity, keep in mind that we are unlikely to vote anyone out of public office who hasn't first been the subject of private hilarity.

Okay, that's pretty much it. It’s all I know, and then some. Four simple, deeply flawed rules to live by. Go to it. Be bold. Be true. Be kind. Rotate your tires. Don't drink so much. There aren't going to be enough liver transplants to go around."

Friday, May 15, 2009

MOD Fear Factor Team

After signing the contract for the Tutong District Masterplan yesterday, we headed towards Ukong. Ukong has a speciality which we feel can be developed further under the district masterplan. Ukong is the home to the only Ambulong Factory left in Brunei. Ambulong or sagu is the flour which we make our local delicay 'ambuyat' from. I have a whole bunch of photographs of the visit to the factory. But the most interesting was not the ambulong factory. The most interesting is the live creatures that lived in the trunk of the ambulong trees - drum rolls.......... the maggots!

These maggots known as Utod in Dusun language is edible. And of course no visit could be made to the factory without tasting the edible maggots would be complete. So the challenge to our team yesterday was who could eat these maggots.


The maggots lived in the tree trunk. So once the tree trunks are peeled, the maggots are exposed and can now be harvested.


The maggots are very fat. Their diet consist entirely of the tree trunk of the rumbia. They looked like any maggot that you probably know. I am not sure what insect these maggots belong to.


You have a choice. Maggots can be eaten raw like what this worker is doing. He said it is very delicious. At this point, none of the team dare tried it yet.


We prefer it cooked. Or rather we prefer to prolong the agony and delay the process of actually eating it. These maggots are washed under cold water. They are still alive and wriggling.


The maggots are cooked or rather fried in a frying pan. No cooking oil is required. What the lady did was to take the maggot with a pair of scissors and nip the stomach of the maggot. A yellowish fluid oozed out and that became the oil.


By now, the number of maggots in the frying pan has increased and so has the amount of 'oil' in the frying pan. It looked as if they are being cooked in a gravy.


The maggots are fried until they are relatively dried.


One of our brave officers trying the cooked maggot. It is actually very tasty but we all have to get over our psychological fear of eating maggots.


Another brave officer.


Even the young officers are game. By now everyone has tasted it and we are all eating the maggots like pros.


Our brave male officer. It is said that the maggots beat tongkat ali and can easily challenged viagra. We are not sure whether it is the cooked one or raw one which does the trick.

The fluid which became the cooking oil turned into paste and this tasted much better than the maggots.

Well done everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Lessons of Burnt Toasts


I was feeling a bit peckish last night. So I thought I will toast two slices of bread for myself. I switched on the oven toaster and watched television while waiting. When I thought the bread was done, I went into the kitchen. I had a shock. There was so much smoke and my toast apparently went over from being toasted bread to being a candidate for winning the blackest burnt thing on earth.

I must admit it has been quite a while since I last touched the toaster myself being over dependent on my better half. I think I set the settings wrong. It is an oven toaster and it was capable of doing other things, other than just toasting bread. But I have to admit that even simple skills like that have deserted me on account that I hardly touched the dials. If I had, then I would have been able to do it so much easier.

There are other skills which we all lose as we either progressed in life or simply do not use anymore. My son talked about my driving sometimes when I misjudged the timing of the traffic lights, stopping way ahead. I don't drive that much anymore too other than at the weekends. But I haven't lost my typing skills. I do that everyday and I think I typed even faster than most of my staff. I took up an evening typing course at university then using a manual typewriter.

Where am I going with this entry? I was watching my son doing his arithmetic by long hand. Then I remembered my minister talking about the Apollo programs (sending men to the moon in the 1960s) which resulted from talking about the Vision of NASA (Sending Man to the Moon) which was successfully cascaded down to the janitors that when asked what they do, they said that they were helping send men to the moon. Anyway, we moved on to talking about the Apollo programs which was using computers having the power of today's calculators.

Slide rules and log books are what we used in the past before the usage of calculators and before the coming of computers. Many engineering marvels were engineered on slide rules. And so was the atom bomb. Go backward further in time, the pyramids were built using hand calculations. Do you think we can go back to the time and do what we do today without computers? I guess the answer is no.

I am not saying it is a waste of time, sometimes I wonder about my knowledge of the pythagoras theorem. The things I learnt in additional maths, the vectors, the differentiation and the integration which I learnt as if it was going to be the most important thing in my life and find out now that I am not even using it anymore. I can draw three dimensional mechanical drawings complete with what it will look like inside but I don't use it. I studied geometrical and mechanical technical drawing up to O level.

But does it may make more sense to concentrate on using the "extended" knowledge that the internet and computers supply rather than going to first principles? I read somewhere that someone asked whether we should contintue to cultivate these "obsolete skills"? Or do we move forward making the assumption the "enhanced knowledge source" that the internet and the computer supply. Even handwriting is becoming obsolete.

But the scary thing is that if I don't know the basic stuff, I end up with burnt toast and an empty stomach. Hmmm. Just a thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't Be Selfish


Yesterday, we were at this ceremony in Danau. It was the laying of the pillar for a house for the 'daif' or the very poor and those who cannot afford to build a house. Together with my colleague at PMO, we chair this working committee building houses for the very poor paid for by the Baitul Mal fund of the Brunei Islamic Religious Council. Baitul Mal has funded a number of welfare projects but this is the first time that the fund is going on an institutionalised house buildings for the poor. The houses are built by our Public Works Department through private contractors tendering for the jobs.

A working group identifies those who belong to the 'daif' category. Most actually have their own houses and own land but can't afford to better their dilapidated houses. We try to repair these houses but where the repair costs are too expensive, then that house is demolished and a new one was built in its place. The newly built houses are made of concrete and cost around $40,000. Since the houses are built singly in various places throughout Brunei, the prices actually differ for the same type of house designs. For those without lands but have been identified as 'daif', their houses will be built in empty government lots throughout the country.

This first group targets around 60+ families throughout Brunei.

Now, comes the hard bit. Everyone wants a free house, who wouldn't? Even though, the houses are basic but it is still a house. A free house is so much better. The hard bit is drawing a line. Since the news came out that we are building free houses, the number of applicants have increased like crazy. Up to yesterday, we were looking at about 500 applicants. No doubt with the publicity last night on television, we probably would be inundated with applications, perhaps easily doubling by another 500 today. Remember the time when it was announced that debtors can get assistance from Baitul Mal? They ran out of application forms and had to be moved to the stadium just to get the forms.

There is a criteria for applying. Many of those who applied would not be eligible. But every single one now has to be processed and has to be investigated. Those who are eligible would get their houses much slower simply because everyone especially those who are in the for free ride think why not apply? They think they might get lucky, they got nothing to lose. It is just an application form. The Singaporeans and Malaysians called it the kiasu mentality. We haven't called it anything just yet but I am sure we will come up with a word for it. For them it is true they got nothing to lose but those who are eligible and entitled to be help are held back and slowed because of these 'free riders'. We are trying to help the truly poor to have a better life. Think of them. Don't be selfish. Please.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quote of the week


PLAN while others are playing.
STUDY while others are sleeping.
DECIDE while others are delaying.
PREPARE while others are daydreaming.
BEGIN while others are procrastinating.
WORK while others are wishing.
SAVE while others are wasting.
LISTEN while others are talking.
SMILE while others are frowning.
COMMEND while others are criticizing.
PERSIST while others are quitting.

William Arthur Ward

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thinking About Higher Education

I was chatting with one of the senior officers yesterday morning. I saw his application to transfer one piece of his landholdings. I ask casually why he wanted to sell it. He said he needed it to cover the cost of sending his son studying abroad. That is indeed an expensive education.

When I told the story to my better half, she was saying just how much parents are sacrificing for their children without the children realising how much it is costing their parents. I looked at my 9 year old and wonder whether he too would realise just how expensive education would be in the future and whether or not it will be affordable then.

Up to the late 1980s, scholarships were widely and freely available. I remembered one of my very senior friends whom I met when I first arrived in England and I asked him what year he was in. He told me that he is still in first year and trying to find another place to study. He has been there for more than 4 years and he still has not completed his first degree. The interesting bit was how he managed to continue his scholarships from year to year and how generous our government was.

Education became very expensive when our own university was started. A bit of an oxymoron there. Educating yourself at our local university is free but if you want to go abroad and did not get a scholarship, it is very expensive. Getting into our local university is quite competitive as well and it forced a number of families to finance their children's education either locally or abroad. Many think it is worth the money they put in. But for many too, unless you can finance it by selling property or using up your savings, you will be forced to take up a loan and that can be very expensive especially when you have more than 1 child.

The Paper Chase is something which we can't avoid. I think we have to start seriously think whether or not we can bring in overseas universities locally. In the past, the argument has always been the lack of students. I personally think there is a market out there. I wonder whether there is anyone out there willing to take the risk. Otherwise it may just become too expensive for us. Not having a high education will be costly too. Just a thought.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Golden Warisan Volume 1 Final

It has been a tiring one week. Asia Printers printed all 500 copies of my book about two weeks ago but since I ask for laminated binding, that apparently took a while. I ask for the first 20 copies which I brought with me to Singapore as my gift to all the Singapore agencies which I visited. The remainder came out last week.

Since my printers only print, I have to do the marketing myself. So I have to find out who in Best Eastern and Bismi were the ones in charge of purchasing books and got the books to them. Hopefully the books are doing well. I don't get paid unless the books are purchased. I don't intend to make a profit, just enough to cover my printing cost. Any profit I make will go towards printing my next book. I realised the only way to make money from book writing is to print and sell a few thousand copies. Otherwise forget it. You will just be doing it like me - for fun and for experience.

My efforts to give away free books have not been successful. Like I said, History teachers apparently do not read blogs and therefore do not write in for free books. I received emails from one teacher at Sharif Ali, another from STPRI and two from Science College and one request from MOE. They all get one hardcover each. I am not entertaining any more requests. I will be sending each secondary school one book to be kept in the school library including the four schools whose teachers wrote in.

The second volume of the Golden Warisan is completed. I am sending it to Dewan Bahasa tomorrow to get the ISBN number and by Wednesday, hopefully DBP would have given me the number. ISBN numbers are given out fast for a government service. I presumed not many Brunei books are printed in Brunei. By Thursday, the draft will be at the printers.

The second volume is much thicker and has 48 articles. There will be more photos and there is a long list of biographies which I forgot to put in for the first volume. Hopefully there will be less errors. There are so many errors in the first book that I am very mortified. Maybe one day I may have to reprint the first one and maybe I will correct all the errors.

Thank you for your support.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Let Your Boss Have First Say

You know when I am bereft of ideas to write in this blog - I always repost something from my friend's facebook notes:-

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.

The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.'

'Me first, me first!' says the admin clerk. 'I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.'

Puff! She's gone.

'Me next, me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.'

Puff! He's gone.

'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch.'

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

+++++

UPDATE ON THE GOLDEN WARISAN: So far I have requests from History Teachers from STPRI and Sharif Ali. These two will definitely get hard covers. Other school teachers who have not emailed me have until Sunday.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

H1N1

I admired the fast action by our medical and response team in isolating the 200 soldiers. Our response team has been ready since 2005 with avian flu. Previous bouts of pandemics have left us with better preparations.

Luckily too H1N1 can be cured with antiviral tamiflu. But I am sure that medical and our ndmc have got situation under control. I just want to congratulate and thank those involved fos their dedication.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What to do with your enemies?

One of my facebook friends posted this story. It was too good to be left there without being shared:-

A kindergarten teacher has decided to let her class play a game.

The teacher told each child in the class to bring along a plastic bag containing a few potatoes.

Each potato will be given a name of a person that the child hates, so the number of potatoes that a child will put in his/her plastic bag will depend on the number of people he/she hates.

So when the day came, every child brought some potatoes with the name of the people he/she hated. Some had 2 potatoes; some 3 while some up to 5 potatoes.

The teacher then told the children to carry with them the potatoes in the plastic bag wherever they go (even to the toilet) for 1 week.

Days after days passed by, and the children started to complain due to the unpleasant smell let out by the rotten potatoes.

Besides, those having 5 potatoes also had to carry heavier bags. After 1 week, the children were relieved because the game had finally ended.

The teacher asked: "How did you feel while carrying the potatoes with you for 1 week?"

The children let out their frustrations and started complaining of the trouble that they had to go through having to carry the heavy and smelly potatoes wherever they go.

Then the teacher told them the hidden meaning behind the game.

The teacher said: "This is exactly the situation when you carry your hatred for somebody inside your heart.

The stench of hatred will contaminate your heart and you will carry it with you wherever you go.

If you cannot tolerate the smell of rotten potatoes for just 1 week, can you imagine what is it like to have the stench of hatred in your heart for your lifetime?"

Moral of the story:

Throw away any hatred for anyone from your heart so that you will not carry sins for a lifetime. Forgiving others is the best attitude to take. "Learn to Forgive and Forget."

++++++++++++++++++++




UPDATE ON THE GOLDEN WARISAN: I thought there would be like a million emails from History teachers for 30 books that I was going to give away for free. But unfortunately not a single history teacher sent me an email. I guess history teachers don't read blogs. I had one MOE official and that was just about it. Anyway, since my niat is to give 30 books to history teachers, I am still going to give them away to History teachers. You have up to Sunday and if I still don't get any email by then, I will put the books up for sale.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What I have learnt

My apologies to regular readers. Ever since my trip to Singapore and coming back and the publication of my book, The Golden Warisan, I have not had much time to devote to updating the blogsite.

The Singapore trip was very informative. A group of us went to visit the various agencies looking after planning and land issues in Singapore. Under the Singapore e-government projects, there are three information hubs which everyone in the Singapore government agencies can access to. The most important is the People Hub where the records of everyone in Singapore is stored. Data regarding personal information are kept there and Singaporeans as a rule do not have to fill in forms but merely indicating their IC, whatever system in the government service can already locate their full name and updated address. Similarly for issues with regard to land and planning, a Land Hub is used to keep records of land registers etc. The visit to Singapore was basically to see the Land Hub and also the various systems that go with it. We do hope to implement this and make life easier for everyone.

The MOD Customer Day is on for the entire week. We made the exhibits more interactive and related towards what MOD and its agencies services. We have a seven storey tall scaffolding for adventurers to do absailing and also flying fox. There is also a mini wall climbing. You can visit all the services as well as see our new MOD Garden complete with a relexolgy path. You can drop into my office while you are there and get my new book (facebook news).

Publishing and marketing books is what I have learnt the hardest way. When I was completing the book, I look at a number of options. One was to use an international publisher and pay for all their services or use a local publisher such as Dewan Bahasa. With either one, I don't have to do anything but just receive royalties. The international one would be good - international exposure but would make the book horrendously expensive for local readers. The DBP option is good too as DBP takes care of everything. I decided to do my own publishing and printing and my own marketing. I am glad I did it my way. Now I know about publishing and printing and I have now contacts with the leading bookshops in Brunei. And I can charge my own low prices as I know what the bottom line is.

Just to update you with regard to The Golden Warisan Volume 1, the books are now available at Best Eastern (since Sunday) and Bismi bookshops (starting today).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Golden Warisan PUBLISHED!

In early March 2007, I was approached by The Brunei Times on the possibility of writing a weekly column for the newspaper. I went over to Wisma Haji Taha and discussed the matter with a consultant and the then Features Editor who was a former Malaysiakini.com editor. We talked about it and agreed that I should contribute a weekly article to be published in a column called Golden Legacy starting from the 24th March 2007 and that a week before that I should submit another article to be published in 'My Take' column, sort of an intro to the Golden Legacy articles.

More than 2 years down the road, I am still writing for that column. The column expanded in size from a two column half page to an entire half page and now shrinking a little bit as that page which used to be mine solely has expanded as well. The column moved from Saturday to Sunday. I underwent around 4 Features Editor since March 2007 so much so that it seemed that I am the permanent staff of BT and the editors are the part time ones.

The subject matter covered has ranged from the stone age to today - all the history that you ever wanted to know about Brunei. From how Bruneians celebrate Hari Raya to how Bruneians fish.

Many asked me why don't I publish the articles in a book form. I have always wanted to. But you have to remember, writing is a part time job and should not detract me from doing my real job. But whatever spare time I have, I will spend it on the articles and the book. And finally, I got the first book published.

This is not the greatest of all books. I don't even know where it stands. All I know is that it contained the 40 articles that I wrote for Brunei Times for the entire 2007. The subjects ranged wildly and so did the chronology. I did not write for a specific time period but I am hoping that you can open a page and read an article for ten minutes. Then you can close the book and open it up another time and read another article.

I am just happy that the book is out there. Hopefully it can contribute in some small ways to the knowledge about Brunei that everyone out there can enjoy.

The details? The book is 238 pages long with lots of old Brunei black and white photographs. There are 40 articles in the book. The cover is laminated, you see, nothing but the best for you readers.

Where can you get one? Best Eastern Bookshops in Athirah Building in Jalan Tutong, in Giant in Rimba, in Hua Ho Mall in Manggis, in The Mall at Gadong and finally in Centrepoint at Gadong all carry the book priced at S12 each.

Any discount? If you are working for MOD or happen to be in MOD Building, you can pop into my secretary's office and she will exchange one of my books for one red piece of paper that you carry in your wallet or in your purse. Smile sweetly and she will ask me to sign the book for you if I am around.

Free books? Yes, if you are a History teacher, I am giving away 30 copies of these books to you. Email me admin(at)bruneiresources(dot)com (replace the (at) with @ and (dot) with a proper full stop and I will give the books on a first come first serve basis or rather in this context on a first email first given basis. The only downside I will have to ask you to come to my office to collect your copy. Please email me your full name and the name fo the school that you teach History in and the classes that you teach. If you want to buy more books from me for your students, I am willing to go even lower than the red piece of paper.

If you are still not convinced, here is what the book says on the back of the book:-

Friday, May 01, 2009

Labour Day

Today is May Day or Labour Day for a number of other countries. However like Brunei, there are a few other countries who do not observe Labour Day today. The Americans celebrate their Labour Day on the first Monday of September.

But the oberservation of the first ever Labour Day was on the first Monday in September is usually attributed to the Knights of Labor who held their first parade on September 5, 1882 in America. As the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to make a basic living. Children were also working, as they provided cheap labor to employers and laws against child labor were not strongly enforced.

With the long hours and terrible working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life. On Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from city hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants took an upaid day-off to honor the workers of America, as well as vocalize issues they had with employers.

But far more important is the Haymarket Riot/Massacre of 1886. There are several interpretations of what occurred, and monuments have been constructed to both the demonstrators and the police. A reasonable summary is that the labor organizers were peacefully demonstrating for an eight hour day, an anarchist threw a bomb in to the crowd, which killed a policeman, the police killed several demonstrators and some policemen, the powers that be arrested the labor leaders.

It was in 1887 that Oregon became the first state to establish Labor Day as a holiday, which it put on the first Saturday in June. Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York observed Labor Day on the first Monday in September that year.

On May 11, 1894, workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago struck to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. They sought support from their union led by Eugene V. Debs and on June 26 the American Railroad Union called a boycott of all Pullman railway cars. Within days, 50,000 rail workers complied and railroad traffic out of Chicago came to a halt.

On July 4, President Grover Cleveland dispatched troops to Chicago. Much rioting and bloodshed ensued, but the government's actions broke the strike and the boycott soon collapsed. Debs and three other union officials were jailed for disobeying the injunction. The strike brought worker's rights to the public eye and Congress declared, in 1894, that the first Monday in September would be the holiday for workers, known as Labor Day.

Then in 1889, the First (Paris) Congress of the Second Socialist International selected May First as a day for international celebration of the working man, no matter what day of the week it fell on. May first was chosen in commemoration of the Haymarket Massacre which occured in Chicago in 1886. In 1894, the first Monday in September was established as a federal holiday in the United States.

Why should the American working man celebrate Labor Day in September when the workers of the world are celebrating it on May first in commemoration of American Martyrs to the labor movement? This question is clarified by the fact that May first is observed unilaterally by workers (not by management), while the September holiday is enjoyed by all, perpetuating the myth that Labor and Management are both working together.

According to critics, the proclamation of Labor Day in September in the United States can only be interpreted as an effort to isolate the working American from his colleagues around the world, and obscure the history of what Management did to Labor in Chicago in 1886. Labor Day in the United States is better described as mocking than celebrating the working man in America.

Inspirational Quotes

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