Inspired by two blogging friends: Indira of Indira’s Blog and Lauren of Baydreamer

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018 ***

Apologies: I accidentally scheduled another post “Pillars of Strength” for today but have since re scheduled it for Wednesday 7 March 2018. If you received the notification for “Pillars of Strength” please ignore. Thank you, Eric



    1. Dear Valerie,

      You gave me a chuckle – Eric’s Fables – but it is a lovely compliment. Thank you.

      I believe when you say, “she didn’t deserve him”, you refer to the story of the Wongs (in a comment below).

      I am a firm believer, and I speak from personal experience, that for everyone who needs change, god places someone with them; be it a spouse or a friend.

      Because change takes time, the change agent must be someone who is ever present.

      I like to think that I have grown to be a better person because of my wife and my best friend. And I thank God and thank these two generous souls.

      All good wishes,

      A hand for guidance
      Never alone in the dark
      What great changes wrought

      The day finally arrived and Nadia found herself reviewing her life. Seated across her in the elegant white room under warm lights was her Reviewer.

      ‘You set out on this life to learn and experience humility. Have you?’ asked the Reviewer.

      ‘Yes, my Lord. I respected my parents, my teachers, and my bosses,’ said Nadia. ‘I humbled myself before them and they in turn loved and helped me.’

      ‘The people you humbled yourself to and took advice from have always been, in one form or another, your superiors,’ said the Reviewer.

      He scanned Nadia’s life as it played on the table top before them. The Reviewer fast-forwarded and slowed down the reel at will, using the power of his thought.

      ‘Yes, my Lord, they had the experience and wisdom. I was blessed to have them in my life.’

      ‘You were blessed with others in your life too. What advice have you taken from these others, people you deemed less accomplished, whom I sent your way?’ asked the Reviewer.

      ‘Well they,’ said Nadia, and she grappled for words and stopped.

      ‘Relate one instance.’

      Nadia remained silent.

      ‘Do you agree that it takes humility, and earns greater merit here where it counts rather than there which is a mere stage, to learn from those you perceive to be from the lower rungs of society?’

      Nadia was reborn. This time she was destined to become a famous film star. She had again undertaken to learn and experience humility.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  1. Thanks for the ping-back, Eric. I don’t believe you ever suffer from the writer’s block. You are never short of words. You can weave magic with few words. Given a thread, you can weave a carpet, I’m sure.

    1. Hello Indira,

      It’s I who thank you and Lauren for giving me the inspiration. And believe me, I do come close to writer’s block and thankfully, it had not caught on. LOL.

      You’re so kind, my dear. Thank you,

      Random words scattered
      Take life, form, and speak and act
      House cleaning complete

      ‘They say you are the best weaver in all of Anatolia,’ said Allah-Uddin Shah. He was seated at the head of the beys of his tent.

      ‘I am but a humble weaver, Bey,’ said Göksu.

      ‘Can you weave a carpet but using only one thread?’ asked Allah-Uddin Shah.

      ‘That would depend on how long an unbroken thread the master spinners of your tent can provide, Bey,’ said Göksu.

      ‘Wisely spoken, Göksu Bey,’ said Allah-Uddin Shah, and he gave a full laugh. ‘You are just as much a man of statecraft as you are a weaver.’ Allah-Uddin Shah threw a quick glance at the Alps standing guard. He offered his hand and said,

      ‘We are about to break bread, would you honour us.’

      ‘It is I who am honoured, Bey,’ said Göksu, and he took Allah-Uddin Shah’s hand and bent to kiss it.

      ‘Your finger has grown,’ said Allah-Uddin Shah.

      Göksu raised his eyes. His face betrayed a fleeting fear before his left hand flashed. The dagger would have found its mark if not for Allah-Uddin Shah throwing himself back.

      The next moment, the Alps sprang forward and subdued the assassin. They kicked the back of his knee and ground his face to the carpeted floor.

      The guards searched the man and produced a small pouch filled with gold.

      ‘Crusader gold, and what a poor price for my head,’ said Allah-Uddin Shah. ‘You asked, you dog of a Frankish whore, whether my tent’s spinners can make a thread long enough for a carpet. That I do not know. But this much I do know. You will feel the width of the ropes they braid around your throat and ankles as the executioner slowly turns the wheel and snaps your neck.’

      Allah-Uddin Shah had met the real Göksu. The master weaver had lost the tip of his forefinger in an accident.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. See what i meant. I read somewhere that there are two types (or kind ?)of writers, one like spider weave from their own saliva, other like carpet weavers, need various threads provided by others. You seem to belong to both kinds.I hope you won’t mind examples. Loved this story.

      2. Dear Indira,

        I don’t mind your examples at all. In fact you have given me high compliments and I remain humbled by your generosity of heart.

        I am very happy that you enjoyed the story. That is music to my ears and so very encouraging. Thank you again.

        All good wishes,

  2. Communication is indeed a skill. There are those who say less but speak volumes and there are those who love their voice so much, you wonder after a while what was that all about. Listening takes a greater skill as you need to absorb, discern if it is fake or genuine, extract the essence and to relay the fact.

    Written communication is worse. We had a customer who had refused to sign a supply contract with us simply because ours was a 20-page contract while others have given a 5-page contact. After 2 years of lost sales, legal woke up.

    1. Hello Windy,

      In this case, I’m with the supplier. I dislike voluminous contracts. They are usually confusing, pretentious, and cost a bomb – to read and, every time there is a glitch, to review. I’m especially put off by all those Latin words and phrases.

      Yes, you got me going there. LOL!

      All good wishes,

      Save face while pants drop
      Lawyers justify their pay
      Lay people look dumb

      Ong was one home renovation contractor who did not provide prices for each line item of work. He would list down the work but sum up the costs into one single figure. Clients who insisted on cost breakdown for individual items of work complete with stamped contracts were politely shown the door. His contracts were no more than a list of the work requirements and signatures at the bottom.

      Over the years, Ong’s Home Décor flourished and Ah Choy, as he was called, became one of the largest players in the home remodelling market.

      His methodology was an open secret but something his competitors were often unable or unwilling to mirror. Three outcomes usually led to law suits: poor quality of work; missing deadlines; and, cost overruns. Quite often this was due to suppliers of labour and material pursuing their own interests.

      Ah Choy melded his suppliers into a coherent team and everyone enjoyed an eagle’s eye view of all the on-going projects. The lump sum figure gave him the flexibility to add and pull back resources to deliver good quality work and on time. Work completed ahead of schedule meant additional profits which he shared with his circle of suppliers. And they in turn took lower profits or even losses when matters went south, something that was inevitable in job shop operations.

      Whatever the challenges Ah Choy faced, his clients enjoyed peace of mind and moved into their homes on schedule.

      For a business with a $100 million turnover, he did not have a single lawyer on his payroll; not even on retainer.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  3. Yes you dealt with the two sides of communication and the validity of the communication very effectively in that short statement. Well done! 🙂

    1. Hello Ian,

      Thank you for your ever presence and encouraging words. Yes, it does take two doesn’t it?

      As a former hospital administrator pressed for time, I’m sure you valued staff who cut to the chase.

      Have a great week ahead,

      Easy to touch nose
      Not by going round one’s head
      Some take scenic route

      Proust went to the front of the hall and addressed his team of sales managers who had come from all over the world. It was their mid-year sales meeting and having recently taken the job, it was the first time Proust was meeting them in one place.

      ‘Some of you have complained that you need more than fifteen minutes to make your spill,’ said Proust. ‘You hanker after the one hour you’re used to.’

      The men and women, all in sharp attire, remained expressionless. In the short time they have known him, Proust had come across as having an edge. But the day’s program handed out that morning, as they entered the reception, had blind-sided them.

      ‘I’m paying you about two hundred dollars an hour,’ said Proust, ‘and that’s before bonus and share options. You know the maths. You have half an hour to revise your slide stacks and return ready to say it all in fifteen minutes.’

      He gestured and the people started to push back their chairs and rise.

      ‘In case, one moment please,’ said Proust, raising his voice over the clamour. The people stopped, frozen in various poses.

      ‘In case you think I’m being unfair, know this,’ said Proust. ‘Screenwriters, when they meet studio executives, get no more than a logline to pitch their movie ideas. Think about it people, a ninety minute run reduced to a 30-word sentence. You’ve got it good.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  4. communication is at the core of so many issues – it would seem like it’s so easy to fix, but it turns out to be one of the hardest things in an organization to address.

    1. Hello Bill,

      Thank you for your visit and comment.

      Very true, what you say. For corporations who supposedly employ professional types, it is amazing how bad their internal communication. And there is a chasm between knowing the right thing to do and getting it past petty politics and getting it done.

      All good wishes,

      Chest thumping dramas
      Actions replaced by clichés
      Staff become zombies

      ‘You’ve twenty employees and that’s easily four hundred emails a day you’ve to read,’ said Wayne, Munir’s boss. ‘Are you sure your staff copying you on every single email is wise?’

      ‘It works for me, and anyway I speed read and have some other little techniques to help me do my job,’ said Munir.

      ‘What other techniques?’

      ‘One glance on the subject lines and I prioritize,’ said Munir. ‘And I don’t handle an email more than once. Open it, fix it, and move on. Plus, I only zoom in on the critical and or time sensitive issues.’

      ‘Micromanagement,’ said Wayne.

      ‘Who, you or me?’ said Munir, and Wayne’s eyes turned dead.

      ‘Look Wayne, unlike other departments, where what the staff are supposed to do, what their managers think they are doing, and what they are actually doing – all vary. But in my department, I know what my staff are supposed to do and what they are actually doing. And I have the ability to steer the team in real-time, not after the fact.’

      ‘You’re going to burn out, and fast.’

      ‘Not really, Wayne,’ said Munir. ‘With every passing day, my staff know what to do, when to do it, and to do it bloody super well. And they knock on my door less and less. That generates free time for me to do more, and to go on holidays.’

      Munir snapped shut his briefcase.

      ‘Where are you off to now?’ asked Wayne.

      ‘For a short holiday break,’ said Munir. He stopped at the door and said, ‘Oh, don’t worry. I still get to read my daily dose of four hundred emails. But unlike other departments, my staff will not bother me with calls. And we will make budget.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Lauren,

      Thank you very much. Amazing, how someone says something and that triggers a haiku.

      The ping-back was my pleasure,

      Keep open, receive
      One’s muse appears unannounced
      Banish writer’s block

      Wong worked late hours and, upon returning, would share his day with his wife, Suen.

      But she would chatter away about “Martha’s cakes” or “Asnah’s grandchildren”—her friends.

      ‘How about the children?’ he would ask. That was his prime concern.

      ‘Oh, the usual.’

      And she would continue about what interested her—her friends.

      There were days he would return home and find the kitchen or a room papered and ready for painting.

      ‘Oh, the painters will be back tomorrow to finish the job.’

      ‘You didn’t say you were planning to repaint the house,’ he would say.

      ‘Oh, well, now you know.’

      Another time, the swimming pool had been emptied for some repairs. And Wong had returned home early—a rare event—to relax with the family at home.

      ‘If I’d known, I would have taken time-off on another day,’ he said.

      ‘You didn’t tell me,’ she replied.

      One Sunday, the family bundled into the car. They had tickets for an afternoon show.

      Wong slipped behind the wheel and switched on the ignition. The fuel gauge read empty. The day before, Suen had used the car. And the nearest petrol station was about fifteen kilometres away.

      ‘Not to worry,’ said Wong. I’ve a spare jerry can in the shed.’

      He had anticipated this day.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

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