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Pie In The Sky

Stuart White
THE WORLD IN BLACK-N-WHITE

If I asked you which profession was likely to offer the biggest salaries, it’s a fair bet your answer would be banking and investment.  It’s the old adage that it takes money to make money and the assumption that those in the business of making money for their corporation and its clients will get the biggest bucks – generous salary packages, huge annual bonuses and an array of other perks from boxes at the theatre or opera, private enclosures with Cordon Bleu catering at major sporting events, luxury holidays with first-class travel and high-paying sinecure seats on company boards.  All that goes with the territory and it’s not liable to change any time in the near future.

But this week some interesting facts emerged which show a shift in equilibrium.  German software maker SAP has emerged as the best paying firm in the UK, with staff taking home an average basic salary  of ₤75,000, bumped up to £90,000 in pay and perks.  At current exchange rates that works out at about P1.154m basic and P1.385m with incentives added in.  And remember, that’s the average salary for the entire SAP workforce.

You would be entirely forgiven if you’ve never heard of the company. SAP UK is part a global software and tech support company, offering cloud data storage and corporate software solutions. The little known firm has its UK headquarters in Feltham, a suburban town two miles from Heathrow airport, not a million miles from London but a whole world away in terms of social cachet.  

Second in the top ten best paying companies in the UK is EMC, another technology firm you have probably never heard of.  It is based seven miles away in the London suburb of Brentford and its staff receive an average package of £86,500 (P1, 331m), including a basic wage of £70,000 (P1,077m).  EMC makes micro-hardware for the computer industry so it’s likely you use some of their products daily but you would never be aware that you do.

After those 2 on the Top 10 list comes McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group, both investment consultancy firms, followed by Facebook, then Deutsche Bank and Nomura International (both global banking groups, the first German, the second Japanese),  then technology giant Cisco Systems, Google and French bank BNP Paribas.  That works out at half the UK’s top 10 high-paying jobs in IT and internet support and half for investment and banking.  

In some ways it’s hardly surprising.  No company today can operate without a robust IT system and the bigger the company, the greater the need and the more complex the networking, storage and sharing requirements.  SAP services hundreds of major clients all over the world and in a range of completely diverse categories from: Adidas and Asian Paints, The City of Cape Town, McLaren Cars, Dr. Pepper and the Dole food Company, Nashua, the National Bank of Canada and the New Zealand Department of Conservation to Vodafone and beyond. 

And if you offer service and support to the best, it goes without saying that you need the best in the industry to offer that service and support. In a mercenary world, the best incentive to attract the best in the business is still a pay cheque with many zeros.  A conducive working environment, flexible hours, generous holidays and other perks are all very well but the bottom line is still the top attraction.

Interestingly the list of highest UK earners was released in the same week as Microsoft announced its Windows 10 upgraded operating system has now been loaded onto 300 million devices.  That’s also a lot of zeros!  According to the software leviathan Windows 10 takes users to the next level in working and browsing.  According to Microsoft, their new operating system will run on the “broadest types of devices ever”.  It will come with Cortana in Edge, a personal assistant that helps make Web browsing easier for you, with whatever you're trying to get done and the personal assistant app will run on the desktop.

It merges various app stores into one platform, called the One Store.

It is bringing back the Start Menu, which was removed from Windows 8.

And users can create multiple desktops to keep things organised.


If that all sounds Greek to you, you could always call in a consultant from SAP to translate, but in essence it simply means that the new system is easier to navigate, more visual and more attractive than the previous version,  Windows 8.  That was such a flop that Microsoft decided to skip the number 9 and move straight to 10 to distance itself even further from the fail.  Right now the upgrade is being offered for free, though after July 29th it will cost users $119 (P1310) to purchase, so if you want it there’s no time like the present.

Summing all those statistics up, what it amounts to is that everyone needs IT software, hardware and support and the fastest-growing companies are those that offer those products and facilities and related technologies.  This is the burgeoning new must-be-in industry and whilst investment bankers and stockbrokers are never going to go broke, there’s some new kids on the block showing them that even if money doesn’t grow on trees, it can be found in the Clouds!

STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC

But this week some interesting facts emerged which show a shift in equilibrium.  




 

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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