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Words Of Encouragement

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Usually at this time of the year some of us are starting the New Year with ‘recharged’ batteries or dreading the just arrived New Year, so we all need words of inspiration to help us face the New Year.

Because my very busy schedule I have chosen something that I previously shared with readers years back and I hope will to put a smile on your face, fill you with comfort and enthusiasm but more importantly inspire you to ponder about adopting a life changing attitude. Inspiration comes from outside but change comes from within. Life is Like a Book. Some chapters are sad, some are happy and some are exciting, but if you never turn the page, you will never know what the next chapter has in store for you. 
 

  • The best teachers are those that show you where to look but don't tell you what to see.
  • Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers. Or you can grow weeds.
  • Laughter if the best medicine but if you laugh for no reason – you definitely need medicine
  • When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘We’, even ‘illness’ becomes ‘wellness’
  • We all smile in the same language
  • Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.
  • Most people walk in and out of your life, but only friend's leave footprints in your heart.
  • True friendship "never" ends. Friends are forever.
  • The eyes are like great friends: They don’t see each other except once in a while in the mirror, they blink together, they move together, they cry together, they see things together, and they shut out each other only in sleep: that's what friendship is.
  • People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
  • If we are incapable of finding peace in ourselves, it is pointless to search elsewhere.
  • The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
  • A change of heart changes everything.
  • Our greatest glory is not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • You only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough.
  • One generation plants trees, and the next enjoys the shade.
  • When you grow older you realise how rich you are. You have silver in your hair, gold in your teeth, crystals in your kidneys, sugar in your blood, iron in your arteries and an inexhaustible supply of natural gas!

The Road to Success is not straight and easy:

There is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, caution lights called family, and you will have flats called life’s daily challenges. But, if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith, and a driver called God, you will make it to a place called success!

Live for something:

Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten. Your name and your good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.

A Lesson in Life

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it, and wanted to give up. She was tired of all the fighting and struggling. It seemed as though in solving one problem, two more would arise.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil without saying a word. The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After a few minutes he turned off the burners.

He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and poured it in a cup.
Turning to her he asked. “Darling, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.
He asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
 Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked. “What does it mean dad?” He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.

The carrots went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, they softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, the insides became hardened.  However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

 “Which are you,” he asked his daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? How about you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?

Are you the egg, which starts off with a changeable heart? You were a fluid spirit, but after difficult times, you became hardened. Your shell looks the same, but are you tough with a stiff spirit and heart?
Are you like the coffee bean? The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain. When the water reaches its peak temperature, it just tastes better. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you.

I hope that these few lines will give you ‘food’ for thought and who knows you may be inspired to re-look at your life and make some changes to our lives so that we learn to live in peace and harmony with our hearts and our souls. Now that we have learned to fly in the air like birds and dive in the sea like fish, only one thing remains – to learn to live on earth like humans. ~ George Bernard Shaw
 
…and celebrate the constantly the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before its setting; yes celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at the sides of the day; that you may have spiritual joy (Qur’an 20:130).

Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Roses may have thorns, but they’re still beautiful. The greatest joys and pleasures in life are often accompanied by a little pain. Life is a journey; Heaven is the destination.
Finally the ‘golden median’ from Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): ‘My Sustainer has given me nine commands: to remain conscious of Allah, whether in private or in public; to speak justly, whether angry or pleased;

to show moderation both when poor and when rich; to reunite family relations with those who have broken off with me; to give to him who refuses me; forgive those wrong me and oppress me; that my silence should be occupied with thought; my speech be full of Allah’s remembrance; that my looking should be an admonition and that I should command what is right.’
Smile God Loves you.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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