Friday, February 08, 2013

Ah , the long awaited four years

Its 4 years and working in the real world has hurled me out of the comfort zone of a student into a tumultuous world of ever changing plans and fights for bottom-line expansion.

i have waited for this day for many a reason. when I started in this company, the idea was to enjoy the work and do what i had studied to do; design. BUT a few binding agreements held me to the company with no way to escape. my four years have escaped me with a sigh and much to talk about.

four years have seen to my exceptional professional development, one that i could never have sought after but tough times with tough lessons and stories to write home about.

four years ago my idea of work was fairly idyllic. Go to work, design something, implement it, see positive results, get paid at the end of the month , love the job , etc etc.

So, i discovered that its not really like that. Work is made up of people. the biggest reason why work doesn't get done is people and the most productive operations are done by people.

in my fairly contradictory statement, it turns out that I can quite easily find reason not do anything and get away with it because , well, "everyone Else's" productivity is akin to zero. Also, my ego plays a role in how much i get done .i wont explore this is just true. My drive is what sets me apart.

strangely as i have reached this great age of 4, i remember my naivety and am grateful for where i am : on a growing path , understanding the aerial view of business minds and hopeless souls.

not exactly the promise of engineering, but hey, I'm still an engineer of sorts and I'm still doing what i love.

no complaints from the journey thus far, just a big happy birthday to me.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Don"t burndown the E-Toll Gantries

Dear Mr Vavi,  

Is your role to propagate destruction in South Africa? I don’t think so. As a man whose voice is meant to represent the millions of people in this country that work hard to feed their families, I can’t see why you would stand up for a destructive approach to solving a problem. There’s more at stake in demolishing the e-toll gantries than saving the further expenses of the 700 000 odd daily commuters that travel proposed tolled roads! Do you not see this?

South Africa has a reputation in the world for our smooth transition in 1994; our ability to avoid a civil war, our stance to embrace each other’s differences and become one nation. That is a constructive approach. That is what makes us famous. All of this yet in the past few months we have been exceedingly destructive.

We are always praising the Japanese and the Germans for their high-tech solutions to everyday things. We tend to say that the system is great but “we are a developing country and we won’t get such technology anytime soon”. We have appropriated this advancement, albeit psychologically, for our northern first world counterparts. Well Mr Vavi, have you noticed that we haven’t even allowed ourselves to celebrate the availability of one such advancement in our own country? The gantries that will run the e-toll system will be used for the reduction of car theft, to make our roads safe from bad drivers and even to improve on the services of the metro police (for whom we all have an impolite word to utter). Its progress and hi-tech at that! Something that we can show off to our European and American visitors with African pride alongside the Gautrain and our world-class stadiums; we built it ourselves!

Don’t get me wrong, like every other commuter; I don’t want to pay for the new system. Most can’t afford it and many others don’t want to be restricted by the speed limits it will impose. I know that it will start off at a small charge and then escalate into something that will have me looking for a second income to supplement the toll depleted first one. I don’t believe that we as citizens should pay for the tolls. After four years of driving those roads almost daily, I believe that we’ve already paid in damages to our vehicles during the many years of road upgrades; shocks worn, windscreens chipped and many an hour lost in unnecessary traffic caused by these constructions. All I am suggesting is that instead of point blankly rebuking the system, we should find alternate solutions to funding it.

South Africa has in the past few month’s experienced a tirade of incidents which call for good representation, for quick action and sustainable solutions, to give hope to a people getting frustrated by the systems that keep failing them. We had the Marikana massacre in which miners lost trust in their employers, in unions and in government. Could innovative negotiations have saved lives? With the Limpopo text-book debacle again the trust that learners’ had for the education system was lost when books were not delivered on-time and many were later found destroyed and washed up in rivers. Will you tell the people that you represent that you could not do anything to save the future of their children? In Lenasia the poor, struggling home owners whom you represent had their homes demolished because they had built homes on government property. Could you not intervene to save the lives of these families? And this while our president gets away with spending millions on a home he will barely spend time in.  And now this!

You, Mr Vavi, represent so many of these people. I am suggesting that you need to lead them to constructive negotiations with government and private enterprise to take this country forward. It’s not about the talk-shops and the papers. Let me stress on the psychological impact that this has on South Africans. Our current solutions to solving problems have reduced to making the problems bigger: we don’t like the wages offered and so we destroy the our places of employment and leave a trail of death behind us, we burn busses and trains when we want better transport, break down houses when we want improved housing, throw away books when we want education! The president of this country and the government are caught up in a battle of policy making and have lost touch, it seems, with the people. You have not. But you do have their (governments) support and so I urge you to engage them and to lead your people to improvements.

Constructive action you say? Well, how about we start to own the roads? I’ll bet you that a comrades Marathon run on the N1 from JHB to PTA or the other way round can rouse a lot of interest and also send the e-tollers smiling to the bank! How about engaging private business for a sustainable solution ? A barometer to indicate how much of the pay-back is complete and where the monies are going. I personally would like to see that any funds derived from the e-tolling system or any other system is used up in the correct manner. How about you help us to become proudly South African and active citizens?

 Am I asking too much?
Concerned  Citizen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A post on posts

owing to a rather busy year , my blog posts have reduced to the occasional or rather quartely rant on the personal dilemmas and fascinations to poltical drama that shades our media directed days.

I miss blogging on a more regular basis, the daily rant about a misguided persons perceptions of engineers or the quizzical behaviour of randoms.

the world has perhaps become boring to me ...every nuance that used to fascinate me and to which i'd dedicate hours understanding has found itself into the book of average.

the one "mad man" who chats to himself at length about some topic that only he can comprehend is now a person who i am sure is the guy allocated to this corner and who has a collegue performing the same opera at the next corner with a different chord.

the unenviable person dressed in a power suit and armoured head to toe in corporate confidence is just that , unenviable. this person defines lackluster aspirations of capitalist slaves.

the child that hides behind a text book in defiance of a lost future is the only glimmer of possibility that drives me. A light that shines where darkness prevails! But even this child has a standard avenue , a path that is already trodden and which is punted as the only by the lazy policy creators but which could be innovated to more sustainable solutions.

right now, when nothing really takes any effect on my being, i see myself settling into a comfortable and select space in world development .

Upskilling and upgrading of manufacturing spaces! the past few months ive actually learnt that people can achieve anything but complacency holds people back. Ive been told of the amazing leaps of the Chinese and the level of attention to detail while observing the South African industry cutting corners and losing hope little by little.

not all of it is bad but so much of our growth will be attributed to what we learn , how patriotic we are and how smart our leaders really are ...this being the subject of usual rhetoric!

And my banter begins again!!!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

City girl engineer

I am a city girl
My heart beats to the jostling of people through busy streets, the bargaining of traders at the corner shop , the hooting of taxis @ Noord, the chugging of trains at the break of dawn. 

Its the drone of traffic without which I cannot be lulled to sleep, the sirens sounded by earnest burglars without which I wouldn't be awakened to sweet smelling mornings. 

I am an engineer. I dig deep into my soul to devise machines ...
That turn and churn and keep a pace
Like the endless energy of the N1 Highway
Like the tireless approach of the stop-street beggar.
Like the perfection of the smog settling dust on the Ponty tower.

I am a city girl 
Ticking, clicking, texting, chiming to the abuse of the city
Dulled eyes for the innocence of "die platteland"
I'm poised and perched and vehemently pressing buttons

I am an engineer
Designing shafts to lower people to jobs
Mining my soul
Innovating a skyscraper to avenge the hollowed heart
Creating a mirage of dead-end possibilities
Replacing gold with thirst and hunger and need 

For more and more and more of this pulsing antithesis;
Services-Poor delivery
Gated homes-Excessive crime
Fauna -Concrete

It is by these excitements and challenges that I humbly genuflect to my city - as an engineer and city girl.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Expression of DIStatse

The media is alive again after a rather quiet few weeks of post Malema, no uncanny cum irrational outburst- like- announcements or remarks. We had all forgotten that Malema's rather loud voice was masking a similar and perhaps more decisive voice of Mr Zuma.

so the circus acting has yet again begun . This time the media is aflock with drama of the presidents family jewels being painted by an artist. The painting named, "Zumas Spear" . Ive never understood art and by the reactions of the public , neither does majority of the country,  i don't think I'm deep enough to share the understanding that the shades used or the type of brush stroke or the scene depicted can mean anything more than i see.

So to me, Jacob Zuma in the Van Gogh like replica with his pants unzipped is really just that...the artist finds Zuma worthy of being in a VG( i hope i have the famous artist right ) painting but perhaps feels that Mr Zuma is a bit free below the belt. Whether this is an insult or not is probably dependent on the artist. Perhaps like poetry, art is dependent on the artists impression...i guess. That's all i can gather from the painting which i haven't even seen. Ive heard about it...on every news show from radio to TV and i cant stand it!!!

there are millions of other things that we need to fix up in this country and we asked for freedom of expression in the constitution. This gives people the right to curse openly , gives homosexuals a place in society , gives songs like "shoot the Boer" a chance of being heard and draws a grey  line between moral and immoral. WE ASKED FOR IT. WE ACCEPTED IT.

so what am i doodling on about ?

we are unfair in that we put the presidents image before the rest of the country I am a citizen too, i have rights too, dont I ? If I am a victim of crime don't i deserve the same kind of swift action, the same kind of hullabaloo?  If the same people who are given first prefernec in the courts are the same ones who have left a residue from previous or pending implications in the very crimes that we feel are unresolved. if i am burgled, hijacked, raped and my case never reaches court but my presidents painting is given first preference then are we not a nation led by DISrespectful, DIShonest, DISregarding , DISpleasing, DISgraceful and even DISturbing persons?

Perhaps when the painting is dealt with and Mr Zuma has his name re-etched in the minds of hos supporters, he will win the next election. Perhaps the artist will be fined or imprisoned for expression of something he felt legal, perhaps those in power will sleep well knowing that they have won....but for the rest of us who live in the real SA, sleep will still be disturbed by fear of losing ones life, losing our hard earned possessions, being prey to monsters that are justified by the actions of our leaders...if they can , why cant we?

its no wonder that people are again beginning to take things into their own hands. It may be wrong , but their plight is not being heard. Everyone needs to live and dignity is everyone basic right. Why should we leave this as a privileged for the people in power. Surely we should consider this as a something that people earn like respect. in this case , those in power don't deserve it...they have turned us into their minions...working for their comfort. When you look at the really poor people in this country...its a real pity that this is allowed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

beginning of yet another year

i wish i could sound more enthusiastic about this beginning. Beginnings are supposed to be chocolate coated with hope of better and bigger and brighter.
I feel that i am neither better, nor brighter and only my waist line has found itself a whole lot bigger.

i keep trying to put things into perspective. I have a whole lot to be grateful for. For one i have the job that many will dream of, i have a wonderful family with whom i spend lots of quality time despite the physical distance between all of us, I have a successful NPO that keeps good kids in school and motivates them to be as much as they can be, i am well set on the path of completing my masters degree and I have my car in which i disappear to meditate (so to speak) when i need to find direction.

so i guess this is sounding a tad bit too similar to the girl next door! I cant help it. She's going through it too. The quarter life crisis. I have everything that independence can buy but I'm stuck in a vicious cycle of being so independent that i don't want to depend on anyone. And dare anyone offer to be of assistance to me! These people are not looked upon with much regard as they try to steal my hard earned independence. Why on earth would you like to help me if I can do it myself? no don't pick up those shopping bags for me I can do it myself! how dare you buy something for me, don't you think i could have bought it for myself if i needed to ? Oh no you wont solve the problem for me, I have the ability!!!

i have discovered though that with all this independence comes a large ( and i mean super huge ) amount of stress and the impossible  "I" problem. I worry that i wont actually be able to carry those shopping bags or solve that problem. I worry about the need for the item "i really didn't need". What if i need it ? So yes I'm stressed. Stressed that I'm not good enough on any level. My competitiveness has gotten the better of me and boy oh boy is it harmful.

so here i am, 2012, starting off with tons of stress that i cant deal with. I don't know how to slow down. some little being inside me is warning me that I'm heading for a breakdown!

Sometimes all I wish for a shoulder to cry on (dependence!) . That's what friends are for , right? When i meet up with friends though, its always the same story. We are competitive to the extent that lunches turn into shows of accolades, comparison of status symbols and battles for first place.
we were never like this. Growing up, we used to be there to support each other. A wedge has grown between us and the only description that i have for it is the mantra that adults taught us..."strive for success"

i wish they explained in more detail what success is. Why must success be depicted as the flashiest cars and the latest apparel. To me success is being able to manage the shift in responsibility of older societies to modern society. Where the older generation barely grappled with these questions because it wasn't their focus, I find myself and people in my circles constantly trying to solve their modern lives while deeply immersed in the remnants of the genetically superior beings shortfalls. there is no written plan on how to make it work. the goal post keeps shifting though. Next month , success will be painted in a different shade of grey.

I'm standing at a crossroads at the beginning of this year. while the two paths wont kill my ambition they may redefine success for me: the one may lead me to another mirage of ultimate success, the other will yield and accept the present achievements as my success and perhaps success of a different kind. Its a choice i have to make.

the only enthusiasm that I have is hidden in the pursuit of happiness. I hope that the existence of happiness isnt another fallacy created to get the world to beat to a silent pulse.