1. Dear Valerie,

      Lovely to have you visit and comment. I see that you’ve read many of my little stories and ticked like. You made my day – really.

      Have a blessed week ahead,
      P/s I look forward to reading your next installment.

      Her words uplifting
      Cool water falls on parched ground
      Muse given new life

      Shweta excelled in 100 metre sprints and with every gold medal, she progressed from school, to district, and state championships.

      When she reached national level, every fraction of a second counted and she hit a wall.

      Her stage fright became a great hurdle. She got off the starting-blocks either too soon—and was disqualified in one critical race—or too slow. Though her dash speed was superior to her competitors, she was unable to recover from the slow starts.

      After losing one sprint event, Shweta rushed to the washroom and cried.

      The cleaner, an old man, stepped out of a cubicle. He had been washing the toilet and had not expected anyone to use the washroom.

      ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I forgot to leave the signboard…’

      He did not finish the sentence but neither did he vacate the washroom.

      Shweta continued to sob. Realizing she was not alone, she turned on him.

      ‘What are you doing here?’

      ‘Sorry, madam,’ said the cleaner. ‘I’m leaving.’ He collected his mop and pail, and said,

      ‘Perhaps you should switch to 400 metres.’

      Shweta did not reply. But a year later, she went on to become the 400 metres national champion.

      Ten years earlier, the toilet cleaner, having fallen in disfavour with the politics riven national athletics commission, had lost his job as national coach.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  1. need to try mining
    for hidden talents to gleam
    hard without insight

    Sometimes talents are hidden so far within the individual doesn’t know they have them. And then there are others who think they’re talented when they clearly aren’t.
    Such a great and thought provoking/ promoting haiku.

    1. Wonderful of you to share your haiku, Sarah. Thank you.

      You’re right, some gifted people do not recognise their gifts, while others imagine theirs.

      But we all have talents, I reckon. The problem could be, in some cases, people do not welcome or are not satisfied with the talent they have.


      Gifts match fated tasks
      Cows don’t fly, and snakes don’t walk
      Guppy swims with sharks

      Hartono won the Best CEO Award for three years in a row. The corporation he managed met all the financial parameters with such regularity that it had become a non-event. The staff adored him and he was the shareholders’ darling.

      ‘Mr Hartono, the media often quotes you as saying that your team is instrumental for your success,’ said the journalist. ‘Is that a cliché?’

      ‘No, no cliché,’ said Hartono. ‘The team is the bedrock for our success.’

      ‘Okay, so what’s your secret, how did you get together a great team?’

      ‘I recognise talent in a person long before even the person sees it in himself.’

      ‘Can you provide our readers with some specific examples?’ asked the journalist.

      ‘Well, there are dozens and if I mentioned one and not another, I do a disservice to the rest of my people,’ said Hartono.

      ‘Okay, in that case let me be specific and take the heat instead,’ said the journalist. ‘Dubai, one of your largest subsidiaries.’

      ‘Well then, about fifteen years ago, there was this woman, a divorcee, mother of two, who joined us as a receptionist. One day, while waiting for my car to be brought around, the two of us chatted. Something told me, she was a perfect round peg in a perfect square hole. She was the kind of person who could sell sand to the Arabs. We transferred her to sales and now, she is managing Dubai for us.’

      ‘Ms Sharmila?’

      ‘Yes,’ said Hartono.

      ‘And all it took was, what, a two minute chat?’

      ‘Well, there was more to it of course, but yes, that chat started it.’

      ‘You do have a gift,’ said the journalist.

      ‘No, she’s the one with the gift,’ said Hartono. ‘In your case, you’re reporting the news, when you ought to be the newsmaker.’

      And both men laughed.

      The journalist went on to become the owner of the most successful budget airline in Asia.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Rabirius,

      Yes, and how right you are 🙂


      DeBeers’ stranglehold
      A never ending supply
      Better than tulips

      Security caught the Russian hack and interrogated him. But after several hours, the Russian, though battered and bloodied, held out.

      Footsteps preceded Dutch, the casino frontman for the owners. When he reached the cellar, the two security thugs who had been working over the hack stopped the beating.

      ‘He’s not spilling, Boss,’ said one thug.

      ‘I’ll ask you once and only once, Russkie,’ said Dutch. He took out a loop of thin wire. ‘Give me the code you used to get into our slot machines.’

      The Russian smirked and spat on the floor.

      ‘Okay,’ said Dutch with a sigh. He tossed the loop of wire to one of his thugs.

      ‘But Boss, if we waste him, we’ll never get the code,’ said the thug.

      ‘If there is one Russian hack, there are more out there,’ said Dutch.

      Within two weeks the slot machines again started returning seventy five cents on the dollar, and Dutch was a happy man.

      The latest compilation from immigration flagged five more names as “out of status”. The lay would refer to them as “over-stayers”.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  2. This brought a different interpretation to me, Eric…All people have talents, though they may be hidden. At this time, they are in the mountains, rocks, and sand phase. But when their talents unfold, they become polished diamonds that sparkle for everyone to see and their talents become enjoyment for all, as well. lol
    Happy Weekend!

    1. Dear Lauren,

      This is a marvellous interpretation and one that I too subscribe to.

      That is why I like haiku – so few words and so many interpretations. The trick is to catch the theme rather than get bogged down in semantics. And you, my friend, generous as you are, always do the latter.

      All good wishes for the weekend too,

      A latent sparkler
      Formed under heat and pressure
      A gift forever

      Mathew bullied the intern, Ying. He would slam stacks of proposals on her table.

      ‘You’re the grammar Nazi here, sort it out.’

      It started when on her first day at work in the legal practice, Ying, with eager spontaneity, pointed out some errors in a document drafted by Mathew. After that, he made life hell for her but Ying swallowed the abuse and stuck with the job. She needed the money to pay her college tuition fees.

      Then one day, the managing partner came to Mathew’s office, berated him, and left. It had something to do with a contract. They were caught out by some clause which their opposites were leveraging.

      ‘With your permission, can I go over the terms?’ said Ying.

      But Mathew, red around his ears, swivelled on his chair and looked out the window.

      A few hours later, Ying returned with the 120-page document. She had found a sub-clause which contradicted the earlier clause, the one their opposites were leveraging.

      After that, Mathew continued to deposit draft contracts on Ying’s table. But he would also bring her a cup of her favourite coffee.

      ‘You are the detail-oriented one here,’ he would say, with a smile. He also gave her a raise.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. I’m glad my thoughts made sense to you, too, Eric. Again, your follow-up haiku and story are amazing. Did Ying have a hidden talent or was it only hidden to Mathew? You are inspiring, my friend. Enjoy your day/evening. 🙂

      2. Hello Lauren,

        Yes, and thank you too for your kind words.

        Ying was a meticulous person but Mathew chose to view her as a “grammar Nazi”. Instead of leveraging her talent, he became defensive and stomped on her.

        It was only after she saved his bacon, he recognised her meticulous nature as “detail oriented”. Same attribute but different perceptions – the former negative, the latter positive.

        I could have made this clearer in my flash above.


      3. Oh my gosh, Eric, I’m sorry! My question was more kind of rhetorical. I totally understood your story, so sorry for the confusion. Your writing was perfectly clear; mine wasn’t! 🙂

      4. No worries, my dear,

        I took no offence and in fact welcome readers who point out large as well as little things. How else can one improve.

        Trust me, I took no offence, you did good 🙂


  3. Sometimes we are able to see the sparkle though the diamond is hidden. Yet marvel at the zircon who brazenly took credit for the dazzling light, where the diamond stood silently behind it.

    She was employed as an ordinary order data entry person and I was quite puzzled because she had applied for the higher sales position. Despite not being in the interview, the minute the person came on board, I knew she was capable of more. She was put under the mentorship of a senior staff. In less than six months, she managed to secure the sales position when the vacancy was available again. This time she had proven her abilities, but the mentor took all credits openly. I knew it was her own innate talent. The mentor still continues to bask in all her achievements especially when she posed some good questions in a recent high management meetings.

    1. Hello Windy,

      You’ve related a true life incident in your office, I believe.

      I am happy for the person who made it to sales, though the ‘mentor’ does not impress me.

      I’ve met people like the ‘mentor’ – quick to take credit when their charges do well but even quicker to blame their charges when things go south.

      Look no further than our Singapore cabinet. With all the failures in our transport system and overspend of public funds—remember that $470,000 rubbish bin centre and another idiot who spent $400,000 to come up with a suitable name for the revamped Marina Bay, and decided on, well, “Marina Bay”—not a single minister has stepped up or stepped down. Instead, they continue to pay themselves millions.

      Hopefully, we get in more alternate voices in parliament.

      Meanwhile, all good wishes,

      Quick to take credit
      Even quicker to lay blame
      Blind keep voting blind

      ‘I prefer her, she is a diamond in the rough,’ said the line manager.

      ‘But she has flaws, made mistakes,’ said the Vice President, HR.

      ‘She owned up to her mistakes,’ said the line manager. ‘That’s honesty.’

      ‘I suggest you take this candidate instead. He has more experience and a sparkling track record.’

      The vice president had greater sway in the organization and the “sparkling” one, Tsuen Ma, got the job.

      His performance did not sparkle but he managed to pass probation; especially with the vice president, eager to safeguard her own reputation, batting on his behalf.

      Six months later, Tsuen Ma was sacked. The company discovered that he had doctored his university credentials.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  4. Diamonds are sought after by the majority, but even the other basic elements not sought out by the majority of society are searched out by an artist and can become beautiful statues in the hands of the master artist. :).

    1. Hello Ian,

      Yes, from mud rises beautiful statues. Man’s ingenuity, god’s gifts


      Not one is wasted
      Even poison has uses
      Plastics fill dumpsites

      ‘He is an angry man that one, and violent too,’ said the slave master. ‘But my whip will break him. Or kill him.’

      The guards had spread-eagled the slave on a wheel. He was a big man with heavy muscles.

      ‘Tomas, oh my dear, Tomas,’ said Flavius, ‘he cost me a small fortune and here you are, so intent on sending me to the poor house.’

      ‘Better to lose one than to lose the lot, my lord.’

      ‘See this, Tomas,’ said Flavius. He picked up a handful of soil and worked it in his hand. ‘When it rains, the roads turn muddy and our wagons bog down. But mud in the hands of a sculptor?’

      ‘But what good is anger and violence, my lord?’

      ‘Perhaps the farm is not the best place for him,’ said Flavius. He dropped the soil and rubbed his hands clean. ‘He needs to use his bull strength and bleed his anger.’

      The slave went on to become a champion in the arena and won his freedom.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  5. This one is quite a teaser,. I like them that way and may come back to comment further when I have wrapped my mind around it. I also look forward to reading the ensuing interesting dialogue which you always trigger.

    1. Hello Jane,

      Always a pleasure to have you visit and share your thoughts.

      I hope the following do not disappoint.

      All good wishes for the weekend,

      Flint free life boring
      Problems bring out hidden gifts
      Cripple fights off dogs

      John, a volunteer in the church’s souvenir shop, was about to call the police. He had caught a fourteen year old who had broken into the shop.

      Father Fortier stopped John.

      ‘But Father, we’ve been losing many items, and finally caught the culprit,’ said John.

      The priest smiled but did not reply. He took the boy to the nave and spent the afternoon talking to him. For the following three months, the priest gave up his afternoon naps and spent time counselling the boy.

      One day a police officer turned up. He had the boy in tow.

      ‘He stole from the supermarket,’ said the officer. ‘He mentioned your name and I thought he deserved one last chance.’

      ‘He’s a lost cause, Father,’ said John. ‘Why bother?’

      Father Fortier smiled but did not reply. He took the boy to the nave.

      Thirty-five years ago, a man, released from prison on parole, had turned up at the doorsteps of the church. A young seminarian had convinced his parish priest to take the man in. The seminarian’s name was Fortier.

      The parolee was John.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

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